Russ Ramsey
Investment manager

Russ Ramsey

Founder, chairman and CEO of Ramsey Asset Management; also chairman of the George Washington University board of trustees.

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Feed your family

Q: Are successful people blunt by nature? In recent weeks, retired NFL star John Riggins has been scathingly critical of his former team, the Washington Redskins. Is his take-no-prisoners rhetoric typical for achievers? Do the tactful accomplish more?

Early on in my business life I came across the statement: " Every day you will have a choice -- you can choose to feed your family or you can choose to feed your ego." This idea of a choice between tactless or truth-teller is confusing and in my opinion not an either/or.

The concept of bluntness and tactfulness really depends on the situation. I believe we have all seen people use "sugar or spice" to achieve an objective depending on the matter at hand. I generally believe egos can get in the way of many situations, and subconsciously people end up not feeding their families because of emotion and a battle of wills that can get started in analysis or disagreement.

However, in the media business and without commenting directly on the situation mentioned in the question, a spicy, take-no-prisoners style delivered with an angle and credibility can in fact "feed one's family" much better than being respectful and tactful. That is because of the viral nature of topical news, 24-7 coverage, and "personalities" associated with these situations. A provocative presentation clearly maximizes revenue and eyeballs better than just another newscast.

In most life situations though, I believe sugar is generally the way to go. And that can still be direct and to the point without raising everyone's blood pressure.

By Russ Ramsey  |  November 16, 2009; 8:22 AM ET  | Category:  tactless or truth-tellers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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