The Butterfly Effect Redux

Doug WarrenIf a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong, will there be a monsoon in Hawaii?

Stewart’s Story.

About 6 years ago, I was doing a lot of networking, and met someone who needed a temporary CFO in the Boston area. One of my long-time clients and a networker in the 500+ class on Linked-In, Dallas-based attorney Peter Vogel introduced me to Steve Crane, an avid networker and then a partner at a national firm that provided just that service.

Although I never spoke with Steve directly, through Peter, he introduced me to a Boston-based partner.

I called the Boston partner, and connected him to the potential client. The story could have ended there, but it did not. The Boston partner invited me to meet others in the group in the Boston area. When we met, I shared my view that people in business should treat each other with trust, caring and respect.  One of the partners, Doug, said to me: “You sound just like my B-school classmate, Charlie. You ought to talk with him.” He offered an introduction.  I accepted.

Turns out Charlie was Charles H. Green, now CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates LLC, and co-author of the then recently published The Trusted Advisor. We talked, and did indeed sound alike. That was the start of our valuable and continuing relationship. It’s been great for each of us. All this from doing a favor for someone in Boston seeking a temporary CFO!

Charlie’s Story.

Many years ago, I went to Harvard Business School. I didn’t have long business experience, so initially felt a little outside the group. But I did quickly form bonds with a couple of really great people, including Rob Galford and Doug Warren, both of whom were in "Section H" with me.  Blessed with extroverts’ gift of gab, I found both Rob and Doug refreshing to hang around with, and a great antidote to my own shyness.

We all graduated.  I had a 20-year career in management consulting, then left to found my own business. I co-authored The Trusted Advisor with David Maister and with the aforementioned Rob Galford.

Doug and I saw each other only at reunions, until about 6 years ago when I got a call from Doug. “I want you to meet someone,” said Doug. “His name is Stewart Hirsch, and I think you two might get along.” I talked with Stewart and we did get along. In fact, I hired Stewart to be my business coach. That led to my tapping Stewart’s skills to help serve TAA clients – and now he’s heading our coaching practice

From Both.

A few weeks ago, Peter mentioned Steve (remember Peter and Steve?) in a conversation with Stewart. Stewart realized that he’d never even talked with Steve, much less thanked him. Stewart then called Steve and shared with him his role in Stewart’s story and his appreciation of for the introduction. Now, they are considering networking opportunities for each other, and starting a new set of links.

Tragically, Doug died several years ago, another too-young victim of cancer. Charlie attended Doug’s memorial service, and another service a few years later at a reunion.  Doug’s wife and children still feel connected to 75-odd members of Section H. Those are wonderful tributes to the power of our shared experiences.

But it has recently occurred to Charlie that, for him, there could be no better memory of Doug than to daily appreciate the living reminder of his introduction of Stewart to Charlie.

If a butterfly flaps its wings in Hong Kong, will there be a monsoon in Hawaii? We don’t know. What we do know is that when you help people, opportunities can appear, and when we seize those opportunities, doors open.