The Wisdom of Dave Allen

When we started our first company and hired our first members of staff, we worried about whether they would like us. Eventually, we learned that earning their respect was more important.

We also learned, painfully at times, that a company that was a reflection only of our values and beliefs would be limited in what it could become.

Over time, we got better at broadening the debate while still holding on to our standards, and we moved the business in directions that we would never have found alone.

It’s not easy to be open to another perspective. Starting your own business is a daunting proposition. And the will to do it often comes from a deep seated conviction that yours is the ‘right’ way. Through experience, I’ve come to realize that I can maintain the integrity of my convictions while accepting the wisdom of another point of view.

Dave Allen was an Irish comedian who had a show on the BBC in the 70s and 80s. Sitting languidly in a single chair, he would smoke and drink his way through story after story. He was an Irish Catholic and the church provided him with a lot of his material.

Even as a teenager I found him compelling. Not just for his humor and irreverence but because he was provocative. In the best sense of the word.

His signature was his sign-off and I woke up this morning with his voice in my head. On a day when religion is to the fore, even for those of us who are not, his sign-off still provokes me to pause and remember that mine is not the only point of view.

“Goodnight. And may your God go with you.”