Recently I reminded you that have a daughter who studies philosophy and literature in college. She and I frequently discuss the ways in which the worlds of business and the world of art and literature coincide. Not too long ago, we related this back to Shakespeare’s Hamlet and how lessons learned from that could apply in both worlds. Today we’re taking some more advice from the greatest playwright of our time and applying it to the business world, because what Shakespeare taught us about love and war, he can also teach us about business. Today’s topic: Romeo and Juliet.

If you are unfamiliar with the plot of the play, here is a very brief summary: It is set in the city of Verona, a violent and feuding place with two noble families locked in an ongoing war. Romeo and Juliet, the children of two of these families, become involved in a passionate love affair and are forced to keep that love hidden from their respective families. This leads to the deaths of both the children and in the end their families, all too late, put their feud behind them.


  1.       Communication is one of the most important things when it comes to relations with other people. While it will not be as extreme in a business situation as it was for Romeo and Juliet, miscommunication can cause a lot of problems. Romeo and Juliet met their demise because of bad timing and poor communication – because they did not go to the source or speak directly to one another, and instead used other modes and assumed that they would work. Always double check the memos you sent out, always call back a day or two later to make sure that the messages you left were received. It is always better to be sure that contact was made than to wait until it is too late to recover if they were lost.
  2.       Honesty is always the best policy. The progeny of the two families in the play were led to deceit because they felt that if they told the truth, everything would fall apart and be thrown into chaos. The fact of the matter, though, is that they had no definite, sure idea what would happen, but chose to act on the assumption that something bad would. Their avoidance of the truth led to their demise – if they had been honest, there is no denying that things could have ended up much better for them. This concept applies to practicing of business as well. Our fears are always worse than any repercussion from telling the truth – if something goes wrong, admit to it and work through it instead of hiding it away. If it is hidden, things only get worse and you end up having to lie more to cover up the original one and eventually it will be out of your control. Romeo and Juliet learned the hard way, not everyone has to.

The point of these blogs is to remind you that the best ways to handle your business and lessons to learn these things by can be found just about anywhere and the sooner you start looking, the more you will find in places you would never expect. Whether it is the back of cereal boxes or conversation with your children as opposed to business journals and social media, there is always something to be learned. To stay at the edge of issues on HR and staffing, be sure to subscribe to the Human Capital Supply Chain Blog.

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Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 4, 2011 at 7:48pm
The only other problem with Romeo and Juliet is that Romeo might have been charged with statutory and Juliet packed off to a convent but in any event communication would have solved the problem one way or the other.


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