In 1970, Lenette and I operated the Youth Hotel in Las Vegas. As an executive, I was required to attend meetings. The president of the Hotel, Alex S., ran rigorous meetings with the executives of each department. His style was such that communication was usually one way. He was a powerful leader and almost always received accommodating support from his executives, except for one, the Director of Entertainment.
At these meetings I was required to attend, I was essentially an observer and noted that the Director of Entertainment expressed his opinion more freely and directly than the others. This got my attention.
One afternoon, I finished working out in the fitness complex in the Resort and, as usual, headed for the steam room. I sat alone on the top step until Bill, the entertainment director, walked in and sat near me so we could do some talking. He admired the Youth Hotel and often commented that it was the best contributor to family gaming he knew of anywhere.
I liked Bill for several reasons, but his forthright way with Alex was the best. He spoke directly and to the point consistently about any issue. And Alex welcomed this.
So I asked Bill, “Why are you the only one who speaks to Alex as an equal whenever he asks for your opinion on any subject?”
“Sy, I’ve got F.Y. money,” he replied.
Being a children’s guy, I asked, “What’s F.Y. Money?”
“Fuck You Money,” He answered. “I own one of the biggest Entertainment Companies in the country. Alex and I are old friends, and he wanted my help with the International Hotel. I also love Las Vegas, so I came to help him get the resort off and running. I love it, and I love Alex.”
F.Y. Money? What a great story! I shared it with Daniel, who was concerned about getting additional funding for his successful girl’s education program in Nigeria. I suggested that the F.Y. attitude would make a difference in his funding efforts.
I said, “Your program is already hugely successful, so in essence, you have an F.Y. program. Approach your donors as an equal, not as a supplicant. Tell them that your currently successful undertaking can be an even bigger success with their help.”
An attitude based on equality, not indifference (or fear), is what F.Y. money represents. When we confidently approach what we want, others sense this, which is more likely to produce a positive response/outcome.