Codicil: Anyone who knows me know I'm the second last person in the world to suck up to the boss... (I'd say last but that's too much like aspiring to a recognizable title, which I don't as a rule do.)

I would like to think I'm a good employee, showing up on time, putting in an honest day's work, playing nice with all the other kids, telling all the other kids where I got my toys (cause let's face it, no one really likes to share).

But all kidding aside, yesterday was bonus day at the company and while extra money at this time of year is always cause enough to force yourself not to trip Tiny Tim, it was the conversation with the boss and the year end reflection that induced this post. (Well, that and him poking his head in this morning and saying: You are going to post today, aren't you?)

So, I'm about to save your business brain about $35.99 and 60,000 words to make one simple point. I'm going to tell you not a secret, but the secret and it's not going to cost you a cent.

The best acquisition tool ever is: Interest.

That's it. That's all. And that's enough.

For you youngsters out there, if you're starting out in your career or transitioning into another company or role, show a little interest. Do some homework. Research. Call it what you will. But do it. Particularly if you plan on showing up day after day after day.

For you hiring/senior managers out there, show a little interest in your people. While other companies may have a probationary period to see if people fit their roles, my boss/our company doesn't necessarily have one for the simple reason that he hires what he perceives to be talent from the outset. Capable and well-rounded at the very least. What's more enlightening is that he isn't necessarily governed by the initial "job description" that created the role. People can transition easily and readily within our organizaion and it's really as simple as showing a little interest. (Interest goes both way.)

For you BusDev people, show a little interest in your prospects. I cannot tell you how many clients are won by being able to tell them how they will succeed, not necessarily how you'll succeed on their behalf. And therein lies a vast difference. It takes not generally more than 35 keystrokes to call up a prospect's web site. Do it from the outset of the call and you'll be very, very surprised at how much further your dialogue will extend. And how much faster.

For Account Managers, take an interest in your client. Sounds facile but it's not. A valued opinion is a valued opinion and will fast extend from the things they do do to the things they want to do. Moreover, it will also extend to the people they talk to.

For Account Managers, Part Deux: Take an interest in every client. Their business is always a personal investment, whether of time, money or passion. Google started in a garage. As did HP. And so many others. Small may be fraught with frustration from time to time, but it is freeing to be able to grow with them.

For clients, take an interest in your vendors. Very, very few people, organizations and companies set out to do a bad job. Open, honest communication can benefit both parties and take them to places they may not have thought possible. Walled gardens are all very nice but it makes it difficult to even see what's blossoming, let alone find time to stop and enjoy an olfactory sensation along the way.

And finally, take an interest in yourself. A little introspection can go a long way and along the way, you might just come to realize you are the person that the company has invested in, and worth every bit of that investment. (That's for DG; TT; JQ; JO; GG; DB; AN; WA; RH;DH; RK; LT; MV; CM; JB; and for me. And for anyone else who needs to hear it.)

Okay, that's it. That's the secret.

Have a good one.

~The (SEP) Guy