Nobody cares . . .

In an earlier posting I spoke briefly about my mentor, Thomas D. Willhite. Tom was one of the most insightful people I have ever met and much of his wisdom came as a result of being a professional salesman.  All his life he was a salesman. In the beginning he sold life insurance, then automotive additives and beauty products. At the height of his career he sold the “promise of world peace, one mind at a time”.  Tom knew human behavior, how people think, how people feel, what people dream about. And he used that knowledge, first to make money, and later in life to teach people the tools of right living and personal success.

Tom was also a voracious reader but when he read he didn’t just follow the words or the story, he was always looking for the meaning.  What profound principle of human behavior or what success secret was the author really trying to convey?

And one of his favorite principles was:  Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care!

Want to really have a meaningful conversation with someone?  Want to build and strengthen your relationships?  Want to enjoy social events more?  Want to be more effective at work?  The answer lies in that simple little phrase:  Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.

 Let me share with you an example.  The other evening while on a business trip I was alone at a sushi bar (my favorite food) and sitting a few seats down were three businessmen, out for an evening meal.  I have a bad habit of ease dropping but since they each had a beer or two the conversation was not hard to overhear.  Anyway, here’s how it went.

At first they were behaving like schoolboys, laughing about people they knew in common and commenting on the boring meeting they had just come from.  Very surface stuff without real meaning for any of them.  A few bites of tuna sushi later and they started talking about their business.  I gathered they were engineers at some auto company.  But again the conversation was very surface level and each in his own turn would mentally disengage and start glancing around at the other people in the restaurant.

Then one of them said something that riveted the attention of the other two.  He spoke about one of their mutual colleagues whose young daughter was in a coma and how he was trying to be with her at the hospital and also carry on at work.  The guy was barely holding it together at work.

All of a sudden, the tone of their conversation shifted from surface to genuine as they started to come up with ideas of how they could better support their unfortunate colleague.  The conversation speed shifted from surface and disinterested to heartfelt and riveting. They were emotionally engaged!

Show people you care and the quality of the conversation can be rich and rewarding. I left about the same time they did and all through the rest of the evening they were deeply engaged in meaningful dialogue with one another.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

 Tight Lines . . .  

John R Childress

E |      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to Nobody cares . . .

  1. MamaMoo says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I am going to share this post with my husband tonight.


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