Leave The Past In The Past: The Turner/Murdoch Rivalry Story

11/26/12 8:00AM EST

Leaving the past in the past is hard to do in any area of life, but it’s one of the most important strengths of a successful entrepreneur. When you have had issues with a company or individual, it’s mutually beneficial for you and for them to work out the differences and move forward. It’s ok to dislike someone and it’s even ok to disapprove of another’s practices, but don’t let the past get in the way of making money, attracting customers or expanding your own business. Regardless of problems in the past, take a deep breath and move forward.

One of the most famous businessmen in the world is Ted Turner, the founder of American cable television channels TBS, TNT and CNN, former Vice Chairman of Time Warner and former owner of the Atlanta Braves and World Championship Wrestling sports organizations. For decades, Turner also held a grudge against rival media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose businesses include cable network FOX News.

turner murdoch Leave The Past In The Past: The Turner/Murdoch Rivalry Story

In 2003, after Turner called Murdoch a “warmonger” and criticized FOX News during a speech, British newspaper The Guardian recounted that their decades-long rivalry had begun during a 1983 yacht race, when a boat sponsored by Murdoch crashed into and sank Turner’s boat. Turner was so enraged that he had challenged Murdoch to a fight, even offering to televise it. “When Mr. Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996 as a direct competitor to CNN, Mr. Turner said he was ‘looking forward to squishing Rupert like a bug’,” The Guardian continues. “He also compared his rival to Adolf Hitler. ‘How do you make peace with a mega-maniac?’ Mr. Turner once said of Mr. Murdoch.”

Like many of us, as years go by, Turner has softened. Known as a staunch supporter of environmental causes, as a land preservationist, and as a philanthropist – he once gave $1 billion to help the U.N. create the United Nations Foundation charity – Turner said on his 70th birthday in 2008 that he had made peace with Murdoch. Turner had read that Murdoch’s company NewsCorp “was going green” and had sent Murdoch an encouraging and congratulatory letter. Murdoch wrote back and the two eventually had lunch together at one of Ted’s Montana Grill restaurants.

In any business, not just at the heights of international corporations, learning to leave the past behind us and move forward is a sign of true professionalism. It doesn’t matter if you’re running your own small business, managing a franchise for a national company, or just trying to get along with customer service representatives over the phone…you will face conflict. It’s how you deal with conflict that matters, though. Most importantly, you must strive to leave the past in the past. Do what is needed for your business today and let the rest be.

[Images via Albert H. Teich/Shutterstock, stocklight/Shutterstock]

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