Relationship Architects Think Differently To Achieve Success

When I produced television shows back in the 90’s, I didn’t actually work for the TV stations that aired our shows. I was a minority partner in a TV production company while I worked full-time in radio. We produced multiple shows, and then negotiated deals with different stations to air select programs. We typically dealt with the station’s GM, and once the contract was signed, we worked with the station’s production folks to execute the delivery of the show. No matter what station we worked with, there always seemed to be tension between the station and our group. We were just outsiders, and it appeared that was just where the crews wanted us.

There appeared to be resentment on the part of the person in charge of production, which also carried over to his or her staff. Getting things done was always more difficult than it had to be. When we were producing the show, there was always crap that we had to go through to get things accomplished. No matter how hard I tried, how much I worked to make their lives easier, no matter what I said or did, we were an intrusion in their space. Then, as luck would have it, John McGuire, my GM at the radio station and one of my mentors in business, told me a story that struck a chord and directly related to my situation. It wasn’t a story that he created; it was one that he had read in a book. (I apologize to the original author because I have no idea who it is, so I can’t give credit where it’s due – but just know it’s neither John’s nor my story).

John told me this story: There was a man sitting on a porch in a rocking chair enjoying a breezy summer day. As he was gazing off into the distance, he noticed this little fly trying to exit the porch. The porch had a sliding glass door, and the fly was banging against the glass repeatedly; bang, bang, bang – trying to fly out of the porch. Obviously, the little fly saw the lake and the trees through the glass, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not escape. The man thought to himself that he had never seen anything with that much determination. That little fly was working harder than anyone the man knew, just to get out of the house. The ironic part of the story was that the sliding glass door was slightly open, and if that fly just moved an inch to the left, he would have soared to freedom.

I instantly realized I was that little fly, and I was approaching the situation with the station production crews all wrong. Working hard, being organized, and having everything prepared were not going to change how they viewed me and our shows. I had to change my approach if I was going to change how we were perceived and treated. Just as that little fly needed to move a little to the left, so did I.

Even though I had to change the way I operated, I didn’t have to change who I was; so the next week, I walked into the TV station with some trays of Italian cold cuts and all the fixings. I was definitely greeted with a more positive response. That was just the beginning. I learned aspects of the individuals, was engaging and thoughtful toward their personal situations, and instead of being this outside producer who was all business, I opened up and invested in the group. Lo and behold, things began to run extremely smooth and in a way that made for an enjoyable coexistence. I was no longer the outside guy.

John Maguire, and the story about the little fly made me realize that you have to be willing to remake the way you operate and be open to new methods to achieve your goals. There are many ways to reach your destination, you just need to select the most efficient and enjoyable one. All aspects of life, whether personal or business, are fluid; you can’t be afraid or resistant to adjust to the circumstances and evolve with the times. Always think differently and open up to new ideas. And keep in mind my little story; you don’t have to be on the outside, even if you are the outside guy.


About Lou Imbriano

Chief Executive Officer at TrinityOne ( & Professor of Sports Marketing at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Former Chief Marketing Officer of the New England Patriots & Chief Operating Officer of the New England Revolution. Click here to read Lou's full bio
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13 Responses to Relationship Architects Think Differently To Achieve Success

  1. Annie Sells says:

    Dear Lou:
    Thank you for your early morning inspiration. Working hard is smart, but sometimes work that is too hard is work that requires a different approach. Thanks for reminding us!

    • Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you for your kindness and support Annie.

      It’s great to hear that the post provides inspiration, especially to kick off your day. I hope all is well.

      My best,

  2. ooh that fly story is so apropos for the times we are living in. That is great stuff, and a great lesson. I love it!

  3. Great reminder that sometimes you need a new perspective and a change to get a different result. It’s critical that when the new perspective is offered, that we are receptive to it, and able to act on it. Thanks for continuing to share your insight Lou, I really appreciate it!

    • Lou Imbriano says:

      Thank you Amber,

      You are a great social media friend and I truly appreciate your continual kindness and support.

      No one should ever hesitate to open up to new ideas and methods of operation. After 25 years (that makes me sound old) of a career in media and sports, I know more than ever that I am still learning every single day.

      Thank you again,

  4. Jamie Skiles says:

    Lou – Just wanted to say, I continue to love your blog series – Each one is as good or better than the previous – As someone in the same field, I really respect how difficult it is to do this many in a series – The first one to five are hard enough, but you are able to consistently produce relevant and genuine material time after time – Well done Lou, and here’s to many, many more –

    All the Best, Jamie

  5. Pingback: #30Thursday number six? Already?! « Musings on Marketing and other Morsels

  6. jim rushton says:



    That story is from YOU2 (“You Squared” – I don’t know how to make the “2” go in the upper corner on my key board!!). Great story and great book that is a must read. I stilll take the book out every 6 months or so and re-read it. You’ve reminded me to read it again.



    • Lou Imbriano says:

      Hi Jimmy,

      Yes, thank you. I just did a quick Google search, but couldn’t find the authors name shoot me a note with it when you get a chance. I’d like to let everyone know it it’s a great little book to read.

      I hope Miami is treating you right and business is going up.

      Thanks for your comment and be well.

      My best,

  7. Lou Imbriano says:

    For those of you interested, The story of the “determined fly” is from: You2 by Price Pritchett. Here’s the link to the book: I would recommend it – It is a great read (I have no affiliation to the book or the Author).

    Thank you.

  8. Kat Caverly says:

    Oh Lou, I love that story about the little fly, working so hard but literally just banging its head against the wall, but even more I loved your story about how by adjusting your approach and remaining open to finding a way to work together, you found a way to stop banging your head against the wall too.

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