Editorial: In life and work, relationships matter

Since Father’s Day is this Sunday, we thought it was only fitting to talk about relationships — the different kinds of relationships in our lives and why they matter.

From our front page story about restaurateur-turned-author Sam Ung, we learned that he became friends with Thomas McElroy 15 years ago when Ung introduced himself to McElroy’s dog in Chinese.

Together, over the last couple of years, the two co-wrote Ung’s memoir, which details painful memories of Ung’s experiences in the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields.

The journey culminated in an emotional, courageous book that will give voice to many others who experienced the same tragedy.

Who knew that something so important to the Asian community would result from a friendship between two people with significantly different backgrounds?

We were surprised and saddened when Rich Cho was fired from the Portland Trail Blazers just three weeks ago. This week, we were again surprised, but in a good way, when Cho was hired by the Charlotte Bobcats.

Apparently, Bobcats’ President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins called Cho only one day after his dismissal because Higgins knew that other teams would want Cho’s talents.

That phone call wasn’t their first interaction. They had actually worked together earlier this year, trading forward Gerald Wallace from Charlotte to Portland for three players and two future draft picks.

The deal was something both Higgins and Cho saw as a win-win, which is not always the case in the league.

“I try to put myself in the other team’s shoes, or if I’m negotiating with an agent, I will try to put myself in the agent’s shoes and try to come out with the right solution that fits both parties,” Cho said in a recent press conference.

Higgins appreciated Cho taking the high road and in him, found a kindred spirit, though they actually have vastly different approaches (Higgins is a former NBA player and Cho is an analytical numbers guy).

“Anytime you talk to talented people in this league, kind of like a player, you say, ‘I would love to play with that talented player,’ ” said Higgins in a recent press conference, referring to his interaction with Cho during the Wallace trade. “It is no different on an executive level.”

There’s a perception that nice guys finish last. Some people believe that to succeed in business or life, you have to be cutthroat and tear down your opponents. Some Asians, in particular, like to keep to themselves or keep a tight inner circle. Many don’t see the importance of networking or of being ‘people persons.’

However, Ung and Cho show that such sentiments can be detrimental to growth. Both are open to creating and maintaining good relationships.

Both are really nice guys who have finished ahead. ♦

One Response to “Editorial: In life and work, relationships matter”

  1. Jami says:

    Relationships are the #1 indicator of success in life. If you know how to have good relationships, you can be successful in your personal and professional lives. I agree with the Author’s point that some Asians prefer to keep a tight inner circle because that is what I have seen in working with the Southeast Asian community where I live. I provide relationship skills and found the best way to reach the Asian community hear is by working through the family clan system. It’s amazing how excited the people we teach are about learning how to improve their relationships both in our in-person workshops as well as our online classes. You can check the online classes out at http://www.thinkmarriage.org. If you want more info on the in person classes you can email me at jami@thinkmarriage.org. Thanks for bringing up the importance of relationships in the Asian community!

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