It’s not often when one finds an author he admires, is able to work closely with an effective management consultant to build a high performing business team, and then forms a friendship that lasts more than 25 years — all with the same individual.
I’m extremely fortunate to have met, worked with, and continue to see Dr. Price Cobbs, President of Pacific Management Systems, of San Francisco. On my most recent visit to San Francisco we had lunch together at Sociale, prior to my trip down to Paso Robles.
I first learned of Price in the late 1960’s when I read his ground-breaking book, Black Rage, co-authored by William Grier. This work helped me begin to examine my own views about racism and to struggle with the ways I could become more effective as a manager and colleague. In 1976 (a practicing psychiatrist at the time) he started his company to provide a range of consultative services to help a wide variety of organizations appropriately manage diversity in the workplace. In the early 1980’s he and his partner, Mike Brown, began a long and successful engagement with the manufacturing organization of a large and growing computer company of which I was a member for 22 years. In that work we got to know each other very well.
I grew a lot — personally and professionally — during those years, and I know that Price contributed greatly to that growth. He would challenge, clarify, and/or coach at various times, as needed, and it worked well for me and for our company. While that work formed the basis for our relationship, a shared passion for good food and wine (and a general take-no-bullshit attitude) certainly added to the longevity of our friendship.
For those of you who may wish to know more, I recommend his autobiography, My American Life: From Rage to Entitlement. I am looking forward to our next lunch and bottle of wine together.