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Former Missouri politician Jeff Smith’s business lessons speech talks about his experience in prison and what business lessons he learned while he was there.
Smith admittedly lied to the FBI and pleaded guilty on two counts of obstruction of justice in which he was imprisoned for one year. There, he met various offenders, most of whom were drug dealers and realized that their minds were just as intelligent as the CEOs and politicians he dined with prior to his conviction. Using alluring methods like promotional incentives and territorial expansion, these former dealers understood the business concepts just as clearly as any CEO.
With limited resources behind bars, inmates utilized whatever ingenuity they could muster to carry out daily tasks. Just like the real world, Smith compares, prison has risk-award trade-offs as well, exchanging favors for coveted items and vice versa. Although the inmates possess a business-like mind, more often than not, they become repeat offenders because they are not able to find work due to their criminal background. As Smith concludes his business lessons speech, he encourages employers to hire these past offenders and nurture their untapped potential so they can start with a clean slate.