Set a Gauge to Screen Your Business and Personal Relationships


/ Photo by Paul Keleher /

What do Robert Kiyosaki, the New York Times bestselling author of
the Rich Dad investment books, and George Clooney, acclaimed actor and director, have in common?

They both use an intuitive gauge to determine whether a business partnership will be beneficial, or not.

When Robert Kiyosaki and his wife Kim visited a couple’s home to check into a real estate business deal, they noticed that their dogs were pleasant and cute at the onset, but as they got closer, their dogs snapped at them in a fierce tone. They signed a real estate contract with this couple only to discover that they overlooked a detail in the fine print that cost them.

From now on, they use an intuitive gauge that will guide them on whether to proceed with the deal.

“Kim and I have developed this new policy: If we are having doubts about whom we are doing business with and they have pets, find a way to check their pets. Humans are able to put forth a pleasant front and say things they really don’t mean with a smile, but their pets don’t lie. Over the years, we have found this simple guideline to be fairly accurate.”
~Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter, authors Rich Dad’s Guide To Investing

I listened to George Clooney describe how he chooses a producer for an upcoming film project in an interview on the TV show Movies 101. He takes the producer to lunch and watches how he or she treats the waiter. If the producer is nice to the waiter, Clooney knows that person will be easy to work with and have respect for the whole crew. If this person is rude to the waiter, then that serves as a warning — he’ll be antagonistic and unpleasant towards others on the project — and that could jeopardize the project.

When you are setting your own intuitive gauge, keep in the mind the following:

Don’t throw yourself to the lions

Don’t jump into a situation without having some intuitive gear to check the turf for holes. Make sure you are in friendly territory before proceeding. Take your time.

Choose a specific gauge and assign it a value

You need a controlled experiment to determine what is effective. Choose one specific thing to observe that will be a key indicator in business situations. For Kiyosaki, the behavior of his client’s pet is the checkpoint for how to proceed; the pet’s behavior will signal him for potential problems that are hidden.

For Clooney, he observes how the producer interacts with the waiter for clues on how he would interact with everyone from the cinematographer to the film extras, to Clooney himself. He values a producer with good social skills who has the ability to bring all the elements together on a film project to success.

An intuitive gauge studies relationships and their connections with a mirror. A pet mirrors the behavior of its owner, and how a producer acts towards one person will mirror how he will interact with others.

Check the flow in each situation

If you are not sure where to start in choosing your own intuitive gauge, then check the flow. How smoothly did your meeting go with this new manager for hire? Any apparent glitches show up?

Also, what are the weather patterns that would indicate the atmosphere of the situation? When I drove across the country in the ‘80s with my first longtime boyfriend to go live with him in his hometown, we encountered blizzard conditions on the whole drive. That relationship was like a blizzard – cold and stuck.

A client told me when she ate dinner with her new boyfriend and his son, he’d talk in a condescending manner to his own son. She later noticed that he talked to her like that too.

I have another client and student who has successfully used an aquarium as a family observation tank. She assigns each fish a name and that fish represents a family member. When the daughter fish is sick, she knows to check on her daughter. When the partner fish isn’t doing well, she asks how he is doing. She observes how each fish is interacting to gain insight into family dynamics.

Intuitive gauges help us preview a situation before we decide to jump in. We are able to see opportunities and challenges in advance of the situation maturing.

What intuitive gauges do you use to screen your business and personal relationships? What has worked well for you?

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