The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for August, 2014

Leadership inverted…

I have commented often about selling in the 21st century; aka selling to the “Modern Buyer”; aka “Selling in Reverse”.  I believe leadership works differently in this century too.  Gone are the days where “corporate oversight” increases employee productivity:

Corporate Staff: 

Known in some quarters as Sea Gulls for reasons relating to their propensity to fly round the country leaving their mark wherever they have alighted. 

Norman R. Augustine

It has been said many times before me that a person chooses to join a good company; while that same person chooses to quit a bad manager.  In today’s workplace, “we the people” are truly the ones getting the job done, don’t you think?  Often in spite of our managers and leaders.  Back to Norman:

But all things finally began to move when the threat of help from headquarters was received. 

Thankfully, I work for a stellar manager.  He sets the course; he prioritizes; he inspects what he expects; and he lets his staff get the job done.  “Doing” is what we excel at.  And he gives us the framework and then expects us to be excellent.  In turn, we each motivate our peers – and hold each other accountable for the team’s performance.

A good boss is always a blessing. 

D. Michael Abrashoff

Some might think this is “self-directed”, but that phrase implies individualism.  My manager models “leadership inverted” – the team leverages the collective strengths of our individual contributors – and he benefits from being less “tops down”; more “inverted”.

But as a manager, how will we know if our inverted leadership approach is working?  Well, here’s a memo one of my colleagues left his teammates (and manager) before being transferred:

I need your help.

Not only would I ask that you continue to be AWESOME in your day to day activities at work and at home, amongst your colleagues and your families, but I ask that as a group of people whom I greatly respect and depend on, you help me achieve my potential AWESOMENESS. 

If you ever find yourself wishing you or parts of your life were more AWESOME, stop. 

Take a time out and recognize that AWESOME isn’t a wish, a hope or a dream.

It’s not a destination or even a journey. 

It’s neither a talent, nor a skill and definitely not a matter of luck.

It’s not a plan, an interest or a strategy.

The opposite of impossible, and the antithesis of all things bad, AWESOME is an understanding.

It’s a channeling and an amalgamation of your internal energy and the external forces of the world. 

AWESOME is a choice. 

When you choose AWESOME, you become AWESOMENESS.

That AWESOMENESS powers the universe.

It inspires the masses, cures the sick, empowers the weak, protects the vulnerable, and feeds the hungry.

AWESOMENESS acts as a catalyst to impact the world in an AWESOME fashion.

It’s not a right or a privilege; it’s a commitment, a duty, a toil for which no material payment can compensate. 

Your job is to be AWESOME. 

By being AWESOME, you allow others to be AWESOME.

The repercussions of which allow the powers of AWESOMENESS to spread across the globe.

Being AWESOME + helping others be AWESOME = an AWESOME world. 

If you ever find yourself wishing you or parts of your life were more AWESOME, stop.  And just be AWESOME. 

Sincerely yours in AWESOMENESS,


I’d say that’s what leadership inverted looks like – and I’d say it’s AWESOME!


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No Excuse…

“Sorry I’m late.  My meeting ran over.”  “No, I didn’t get a chance to review your CRM notes.”  “I can’t join you on the WebEx, I’ve dialed in from my cell phone.”  “Yes, that’s me typing in the background – give me a moment, I’m just sending a quick email.”  “Please excuse me – I need to leave early for another meeting.”

Late; unprepared; multi-tasking; mobile; double-booked.  Welcome to the 21st Century.

Perhaps it should be of no surprise that according to one research report, 79% of sales reps in the Software-as-a-Service marketplace did not attain their assigned quota in 2013; 79%!  (See xactly)

Today, there is no lack of professionalism displayed by Sales Professionals.  Arriving late; leaving early; being unprepared; not returning calls or emails.  (By the way, these behaviors are not unique to sales people, true?)  And when called out on such unprofessionalism – excuses flow – see paragraph one.  What’s that?  Life is tough so everybody else does it too?

Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. 

M. Scott Peck

Make sense to you?  Ahh, trick question: if it makes sense, then you have no excuse.

I believe as a Sales Professional, it is our role to maintain professionalism in spite of any unprofessionalism by those around us.  Easy to say – hard to do.  Yet the problem with bad behavior on the part of one Sales Professional is it casts aspersions on all Sales Professionals in our profession, don’t you agree?  Yep, trick question: if you agree, then you have no excuse.

Ever notice when someone you’re interacting with makes a mistake; they often serve up an immediate excuse?  “Gary, it wasn’t my fault because (insert story de jour…).”  Rather than simply admitting the mistake; apologizing for any inconvenience; and offering to do better going forward, we hear about their medical condition, their children’s problems at school, their financial stress, their boss is a jerk, etc.

Difficulty may stimulate excuses from others; but as Sales Professionals we must follow Edward R. Murrow’s guidance:

Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.

And I know the folks I work with are telling the truth.  I know this because when I’m going through the exact same circumstances I’d like to succumb to the difficulties of the day too; become equally unprofessional; make excuses.  But what can one do about it?

Well, to stop such temptation, I find retreating to loud; head-banging; heavy metal music seems to help.   Thank God for Pandora!  Here’s one example from my favorite Friday band – Five Finger Death Punch:

Everybody hurts

     Everybody bleeds…

          Everybody pains

              Everybody grieves…

Can you relate to head bangers?  You got it, trick question: if you can, then you have no excuse.

Yes, it is the 21st Century.  And in this modern world everybody multi-tasks; works extended hours; has stress at the office; pressures at home; and clients that can be jerks (sometimes our managers too).  But we overcome these difficulties, because in the words of Abraham Lincoln:

The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.

Does Abe’s reasoning resonate with you?  Beware – trick question: if it does, then you have no excuse.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Still Stings…

Periodically, I’m reminded of past failures.  You too?  Oh, I try not to dwell on those negative experiences.

Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill

Easy to enthusiastically retreat to worldwide wisdom when thinking about a recent (or past) failure, isn’t it?  But a few of my recent (or past) failures stand above a retreat.  And when memories of those failures resurface – they still sting.

2 years ago I was asked to deliver a 3-day selling skills training class to a dozen of our newly hired college graduates.  Young; bright; articulate; enthusiastic… these young professionals have a wonderful career opportunity in front of them.

Somehow, their Sales Manager and her Sales Director seemed to think it would be a good idea for these aspiring professionals to go through my class.  It was the worst sales-training event I have ever delivered; and I’ve delivered a lot of sales training events over the past 20 years!  When I see these young colleagues and their managers in my office today – it still stings.

They don’t remember the details; they didn’t know any better; they thought it was just fine.  But I know better; and it wasn’t just fine.  Thank God for Mike Ditka:

Success isn’t permanent, and failure isn’t fatal.

True enough – I’m still kickin’.

I’ve had my share of failure over the years; professional; personal; you name it.  Makes me “normal” I’d say.

We all fail reaching our goals or managing our responsibilities from time to time, true?  And if we all waxed poetic after each and every failure, well there would be a lot of starving poets in the world, don’t you think?

They say the best result to gain from a failure is to learn from it; overcome it; and avoid repeating it in the future.

When an archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within.  Failure to hit the bull’s-eye is never the fault of the target.  To improve your aim – improve yourself.                         

Gilbert Arland 

Easy to say, but a few of those missed marks still sting.=

I flunked Thallophytes my sophomore year of college.  The only class I ever failed – still stings.  That same year I missed a winning jump shot at the buzzer against Coe College.  I remember that miss like it just happened – still stings.

I can remember to this day the very worst business meeting I was ever involved with (even worse than that 3-day training class).  It was called an “Ops Review”; it was 1994.  I presented my plan for the sales team I was leading to our National VP of Sales and his staff.  After a string of successful sales years, I thought I knew it all.

My Division VP offered to coach me in my prep – but Nooo – like I said, I already knew it all.  It was the single worst business meeting (in 39 years of business meetings) I have ever experienced.   I can remember it like it occurred yesterday – and it still stings.  Thank God for Tom Hopkins:

I never see a failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.

Today I have a healthy sense of humor.  Lots of opportunities to develop it over the years.  Been pretty successful too:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

Truman Capote

But every now and then something reminds me – and it still stings.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.