It always amazes me when I see people treating others less than human in business whether that be the way they treat their staff to the way the treat people they encounter. When the human element is missing from business and it’s just pure numbers or it’s all about what they can get from you. It doesn’t make senses.

In a space of a couple of months I had two contrasting situations with two very different entrepreneurs. Both are well known in the business world with well known company brands and they often show up in the media and have won varies business awards. Many aspire to achieve what they have achieved.

The female entrepreneur’s business revenue is estimated over $50 million (a private company) and the male entrepreneur’s business (a public company) revenue is over $1 billion.

I was really excited about meeting the female entrepreneur as I had read some of her articles and heard her speak on video interviews and loved her business. I delight in meeting strong females running successful companies. They’re usually fascinating and think differently to the norm.

I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I found her attitude to be disingenuous, self-centered and she was most unpleasant person to deal with. It appeared that if you weren’t operating at her level of business (whatever that might be in her head) than you were a nobody to her and not worth her time. Shame really. Her public image was counter to my personal experience. She must have a fabulous marketing team that hide her true nature.

Contrast that with the male entrepreneur I meet who’s business is a hell of lot bigger and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. His industry is known to inhabit vast amounts of arrogance amongst its people. I did not find any of that in him. In fact, he told me that he believed there was no room for arrogance in business and has stood by that principle the thirty plus years he has been in business.

The disparity between the two was astonishing and a brilliant lesson for me.

In the end, I couldn’t stand any form of communication with her, be that phone or email and I absolutely adore him. About 6 months after I meet him, I was heading to Melbourne and he agreed to catch up with me. He bought ten copies of my books and asked me to autograph the ones he bought. This guy’s a big wig yet asks for my autograph? Wow. I felt incredibly special. It was a kind touch on his part and absolutely nothing for him to gain from it. A kind gift to a fellow human.

The thing is, when you meet someone, you don’t know who they know today or tomorrow that might be able to help you on your business journey. Nor do you know where they will be or where they are now.

When I think of the two of them I think of a saying I heard long ago. It goes something like this:

Be careful how you treat others on your way to the top, because you will never know who your are going to meet again on your way back down and you may need their help.