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Posts Tagged ‘Motivation’

Crusty “Older workers”…

This topic (near and dear to my heart) surfaced recently while attending a webinar on how to coach high performing sales reps.  For some reason the presenter credentialed himself at the beginning as a “younger worker”.

I’m not sure how it happened, but we side-tracked away from the topic of high performing sales reps to motivating what the presenter termed “older workers”.  I think he was simply trying to cite a few examples of difficult coaching situations – but the examples he cited were those tired, old, sound tracks about we Baby Boomers.

His negative comments spurred me to the chat box.  Coincidentally there were quite of few of my Baby Boomer colleagues online.  So, when he said “older workers” are not coachable anymore; not technically savvy; not wanting to “go the extra mile”; his chat box filled up.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.

This “older workers” topic was featured in a recent article about Baby Boomers.  The main point of the article was older workers are not retiring at age 65.  Longer life spans; lower retirement savings; and higher cost of living were cited as reasons.  Our skilled productivity was barely mentioned.  The writer suggested we’re in the way; clogging up promotions and the advancement of younger workers.  I wondered if he just expected us to go away?

Look… (How’s that for a direct word we Baby Boomers are notorious for?)  When people write these articles or use such clichés to besmirch minorities; women; or other protected groups of people – FBI investigations, #movements, and woke responses are initiated.  But if the group in question is comprised of sexagenarians, people easily make wrong (and very hurtful) statements about us, seemingly without remorse.

I can’t speak for every profession in any industry but believe me; those of my generation still in technology sales are here because we want to be; not because we have to be.  We’re good at it.  If we come across to our managers as a bit “crusty”, it might just be that said manager does not know what motivates us.  A lot has been said about managing Millennials. When was the last session you attended that focused on motivating Baby Boomers?

True, we’ve already mentored, managed, led, coached, trained, hired, fired, promoted, parented, and grandparented others.  Even so, motivating us isn’t a bad thing.  A little respect for our knowledge and experience goes a long way.  Talking with us vs. avoiding us is greatly appreciated.

Permit me to offer three more tips that might help if you’re managing one of us crusty, “older workers”:

  1. False team hype doesn’t work very well – we prefer genuine comradery to contrived cheer leading and faux claims of company culture.
  2. The “if we don’t hit our number the sky will fall” hyperbole doesn’t move us.  We came up on draw vs. commission comp plans – no salary – no sales – no dinner.  If we made it this far, we’re already wired to hit our number.  If we don’t fire us; we’ll be OK.  You will be too.
  3. “Career progression” carrots are not carrots to us – at this stage we want career fulfilment not career advancement; there’s a huge difference.

Try discussing your concerns with us as if we were adults – after all, that’s how we used to do it when we were the boss.  BTW – many of us don’t want to be the boss anymore because we have learned, managing people is messy; especially those crusty older workers LoL!

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in all my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute video about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but the message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace:

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior” – If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point.  It’s about building not fixing.

“Coaching requires giving up power and control” – The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time” – Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff” – The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard.  The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management” – Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader” – A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy” – To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his.

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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Anger …

What do you think about getting angry at work?  Does the boss get mad at you?  Or you at the boss?  Ever write a nasty email?  Ever find yourself yelling at a colleague?  Or at a customer service rep?  Have they been trained to deal with you?

How to Manage an Irate Client Call:

“I’m sorry you’re so upset.  I really feel your pain.  No, I don’t think we can fix the problem.  No, you can’t get your money back.  Well, I am the supervisor.  Let me transfer you to Mr. Dial Tone…” 

Unknown Sage

I’ve tried (unsuccessfully, as my manager knows) to temper my anger over the years.  Then, I read this article published in Sales and Marketing Magazine ©  “Is There A Place For Anger In Management?”  Now I’m not so sure.

Paul Nolan offers several points backed by research that suggest anger is more good than bad in the work place.  Here’s one excerpt:

We’re more likely to perceive people who express anger as competent, powerful and the kinds of leaders who will overcome challenges.  Anger motivates us to undertake difficult tasks.

Competent and powerful… motivate to accomplish difficult tasks… I don’t know – what do you think?  Do his views resonate with you?  Here’s another conclusion from the online publication Quartz ©:

…a negative emotion doesn’t always lead to a negative outcome.

After all, Apples’ Steve Jobs was infamous (or perhaps famous) for his tirades.

Here’s another view courtesy of two, fictitious monks:

Two monks were strolling by a stream on their way home to the monastery.  They were startled by the sound of a young woman in a bridal gown, sitting by the stream, crying softly.  Tears rolled down her cheeks as she gazed across the water.  She needed to cross to get to her wedding, but she was fearful that doing so might ruin her beautiful handmade gown.

In this particular sect, monks were prohibited from touching women.  But one monk was filled with compassion for the bride.  Ignoring the sanction, he hoisted the woman on his shoulders and carried her across the stream – assisting her journey and saving her gown.  She smiled and bowed with gratitude as the monk splashed his way back across the stream to rejoin his companion.

The second monk was livid!  ‘How could you do that?’ he scolded.  ‘You know we are forbidden to touch a woman, much less pick one up and carry her around.’

The offending monk listened in silence to a stern lecture that lasted all the way back to the monastery.  His mind wandered as he felt the warm sunshine and listened to the singing birds.  After returning to the monastery, he fell asleep for a few hours.  He was jostled and awakened in the middle of the night by his fellow monk.

‘How could you carry that woman?’ his agitated friend cried out.  ‘Someone else could have helped her across the stream.  You were a bad monk.’

‘What woman?’ the sleepy monk inquired.

‘Don’t you even remember?  That woman you carried across the stream’ his colleague snapped.

‘Oh, her’ laughed the sleepy monk.  ‘I only carried her across the stream.  You carried her all the way back to the monastery.” 

Buddhist parable

I suppose anger boils down to a matter of degree and the context of the situation.

I don’t always succeed in controlling my anger at work (or outside of work, either).  However, I do try to avoid “carrying it all the way back to the monastery”.

GAP

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Research or opinion…

Information on an infographic from InsideSales.com caught my attention (InsideSales.com/BeExtraordinary).

We should treat research carefully, true?  On the one hand, I was once told that without data we’re just some guy with an opinion. On the other hand Cicero, Consul of the Roman Republic (and a man whose opinions ultimately led to his death) offered:

It seems to me that no soothsayer should be able to look at another soothsayer without laughing.

So with a disclaimer in mind that I know InsideSales.com has something to sell…  I still believe their research is worthwhile.  Here are a few highlights that are definitely not “OK”:

Only 43% of sales reps reach quota attainment

Only 28.1% of closed deals are predicted accurately 90 days out

Reps only spend 36.6% of their time on revenue-generating activities

82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared

This isn’t the only market research I’ve read that shows less than 50% sales reps are attaining quota and B2B decision makers think sales rep suck. (OK, my interpretation of their opinion.)  Who is accountable for this poor performance and negative opinions?

Let’s examine sales rep performance.  Does your company publish quota standings for all your reps?  And whether you do or don’t, is the idea of publishing sales performance a good idea or a bad idea?  I mean the peer pressure could add to sales rep accountability.  But is this approach to accountability good or bad?

Hmm, the accountability question brings this adage to my mind that I first heard from Russ DeLoach, then Senior Vice President of Sales for ADP’s Major Accounts segment:

Where you stand on an issue has a lot to do with where you sit.

When I sold for ADP’s National Accounts segment; and then led sales teams in Colorado and Utah for ADP’s Major Accounts segment, we received weekly sales performance reports – stack ranked – for every person in a sales role in the nation.  Rep; manager; executive; “no place to hide”; weekly!

Everyone, and I mean everyone, saw who was selling and who was not.  Those with a competitive mindset took the spur (or the sugar cube) to heart and strived to elevate their performance.  Others, well…

What do you think?  Is this approach to sales accountability appropriate for the 21st century?  Does your company follow this opinion?  Or are you thinking it’s too much?

Personally I believe, “winners keep score”.  But that’s just one man’s opinion.  There is research however, by Tanner Corbridge; How Positive Accountability Can Make Employees Happier at Work to suggest employees prefer accountability.

I’m aligned with Tanner’s point #1 about holding ourselves accountable vs. undo attention to others’ accountability.  He put it this way:

It’s extremely rare for an employee – or even a manager – to admit anything along the lines of “I’m a train wreck. Don’t count on me for much.”

I also believe in point #2 that “employee ownership” requires “employee responsibility”.  And point #3 is the force-multiplier; working for a meaningful cause.

I don’t mean a social impact cause that’s so popular these days.  Yes, social responsibility is a key value that I participate in too.  But what good does it do for employees to be socially engaged if their company goes poof because of poor performance.

So count me in on the personal accountability theme.  Stack rank me; push me; I’m accountable for my responsibilities.  This works for me and is best for the success of my company.  At least, that’s my opinion.  What’s yours?

GAP

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Self-Centered?

Well… I am definitely self-focused.  And I confess self-promotion is a close cousin that also contributes to my make-up.  However, I hope others don’t consider me self-centered.  I believe self-focus, self-awareness, and even a little self-promotion can actually be a good thing.

Ever since I can remember it has been important for me to do things well.  I’ve wanted to be an accomplished athlete; a successful salesman; a caring husband; a loving father; an excellent driver.

More than just striving to do well; I live in almost constant fear of failure.  I am not alone:

Only the Paranoid Survive ©

Andy Grove

I remember my first sales job in the technology industry.  They didn’t want to hire me.  I kept calling; kept interviewing; kept saying I could get the job done.  When they ultimately did hire me I remember thinking, “How the h@&! am I’m going to get this job done?”  I didn’t know anything about B2B selling.

Back in the day, I didn’t wear the right clothes; drive the right car; I wasn’t witty.  Everything about my sales role would have to be learned; scripted; rehearsed.  Trial and error was my constant companion.   I was in a perfect setting to fail.  Fear of failure was on my mind every single day back then.  Still is.

What made things worse – I was socially awkward.  One of my clients (Chip) told me a while back that he can relate.  Don’t ask me how we got on the subject; adult beverages were probably involved – liquid courage.  He described it as being a “Situational Extrovert”.

I remember the day my wife and I brought our first son Eric home from the hospital after he was born.  I looked at her and said, “Now what?”

Fear is not always good; it’s not always a driving force behind success:

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. 

German Proverb

But for me; I’m afraid I won’t be good enough today; I’ll fail; I’ll let others down; I’ll drive poorly.  And that’s driven me to become self-focused; to pay attention; to realize how hard it is to succeed.  I’m still trying.

There are so many things in life outside of my control; the best thing I can do is to stay focused on me; on my performance; on doing my best.  I try to let the rest of the world take care of itself.  I mean, life is challenging enough for us all, yes?

Law of Life’s Highway:  If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. 

Unknown Sage

Truth be told, I think our world could use more self-focus even if it is at the expense of getting more of its cousin; self-promotion.  If people worried more about our individual effort and contributions; then things at our job level; our relationship level; our friends and family level might just improve.

Self-focus can be a good thing when applied appropriately:

Marcus Aurelius had a servant follow him around and every time Aurelius received a compliment the servant had to whisper in his ear, “You’re just a man… just a man,” to keep him humble.

Unknown Sage

Agreed – we must beware of those other “self’s”; self-absorbed; self-centered; selfishness.  Those aren’t beneficial; just the opposite.  And we all know more than a few people with those characteristics.

So, even though I’m an excellent driver, when self-driving cars finally arrive on seen I won’t resist.  I will finally be able to stop fearing my driving skills aren’t good enough.

GAP

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Intentional…

Google intentional and among other definitions, you will find:

Planned, meant, studied, knowing, purposeful

Not the adjectives typically associated with millennials these days, true?

Much has been said and much has been written about the future of civilization as we know it when the day comes that millennials are running things.  We’ve seen the disastrous predictions when “they” are in charge, yes?  I’m a bit more hopeful (of course, I’m optimistic by nature).  I think we’ll be alright – after all:

We hope that when the insects take over the world they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics. 

Bill Vaughan

However, there are many harsh realities we (and “they”) must face first for things to work out.  This 15 minute clip is sobering.  Two prefaces – (1) I wonder if you will have the patience to watch it in full and deny the temptation to fast forward to my point (2) at the 14:30 mark the speaker reveals the origin of ideas and innovation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU

Speaking of observation, casual (in-person) interactions, and idea origination, I walk by the cubes of our Business Development Reps periodically.  A whole department of millennials; managed by millennials; quite the dichotomy from this gray-haired, periodic passerby.

I noticed after several fly-bys the word “Intentional” boldly written above one of the BDR’s desk.  Recently, I stopped and chatted with Megan about it – I wanted to know more about why she had posted “Intentional” above her desk.

“Gary, I’m focused on doing my job better” she offered. And then continued, “I’m trying to make each phone call I make and each voice mail I leave intentional.  I’m paying closer attention to how I’m doing what I’m doing.  I want to leave a memorable impression with the prospects I contact.”  WOW!  If that isn’t planned, studied and purposeful, aka intentional, I don’t know what is!  And all from none other than a millennial.

In the YouTube clip the speaker discusses how Corporate America today has to learn to manage, motivate, and lead millennials better.  He offers the position that they have capabilities – managers just have to tap into these capabilities differently than the way managers managed their teams of prior generations.  Naturally, this presumes managers know how to do this – which I believe they don’t – but I digress and will leave my thoughts on front line sales management to a future post.

Getting back to my casual conversation with my millennial colleague about her intentional approach, I’d like to add:

I am neither so green that I cannot teach; nor am I so gray that I cannot learn.

Since our conversation at Megan’s cube I have given the word intentional a lot of thought.  I think I am already in alignment with her on my intentional approach to the sales profession and my sales enablement responsibilities.  I think I’ve developed the requisite knowledge, skills and experience over the years the old fashion way – trial and error.

But as with others of my generation, I don’t think I have been as intentional as I should be with other sources of dopamine that the YouTube speaker cites.  So with my young colleague’s teaching I will be more intentional in 2017.

To remain in the sales profession we must either teach or we must learn, every day.  For my part, after 40 years I’m still learning.  In this case from a person who is younger than some of my horses LOL!

Yes – I have great hope for the future.

GAP

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123116 … ABC

Code?  No.  123116 is the last day of the year; aka the last day to “hit our number” for anyone not on an alternative fiscal year.  The countdown to midnight; to accelerate our accelerators (maybe, to keep our job).

ABC?

ABC: Always be closing. Telling’s not selling.

2000 Drama Boiler Room

Please “tell” us your favorite “sales-closing” story.  But you can wait until after midnight 123116 – stay focused until then, yes?

Here are two of mine.

I worked with a seasoned sales professional years ago at Integral Systems.  He needed this one last deal to exceed his number and qualify for Club.  His prospect was in New York and he started with the old “camp-out-close” – showing up at their office without an appointment; determined to see his prospect; camped out until he did; needed to close the deal.  The prospect played along.

Unfortunately after agreeing to meet, his prospect wasn’t budging any further as my colleague tried every “ABC” tactic he knew – an extra discount; lenient contract terms; even an opt-out, side letter (unacceptable by today’s revenue recognition standards, but a common “last resort” back then).  At the end of a short but spirited interaction between the sales rep and his prospect, the “because-it’s-my-day” close was born.  It likely went something like this:

Prospect:

“I’m sorry, but as I told you; our plan is to finalize our vendor selection in January.  Why should I buy from you today?”

Sales Rep:

“Well Sir; because today is my day; and you have an opportunity to make today a special day for me.  Some day it will be your day; and when that day arrives, someone will have the opportunity to make that day a special day for you.  But today is my day and that’s why you should buy today.”

And his prospect did!

And then there’s the variation of the “because-it’s-my-day” close, I call the “me-or-my-successor” close:

As a sales professional, I have carried a quota for over 40 years.  And I can remember my 2nd quota year as clearly as any.  You see, in my first year, I was more lucky than good.  That led to a promotion, and a hefty quota increase for my second year – I was in over my head.

After 26 weeks into my 2nd year, I was put on a “performance warning”.  At the 39th week, the Vice President of Sales was asking my Sales Manager to fire me.  Since my company had chosen to proactively promote me (perhaps a bit prematurely) at the start of the year, I asked my Sales Manager to give me 52 weeks to sell my annual quota.

We agreed that at the end of the 52nd week, if I was still below 100%, I would resign.  At the end of my 51st week, I was at 75% and significantly behind the required sales dollars necessary to keep my job.  However, I had been working hard on a very large account.

I called the executive at my prospect and asked, “Do you think you will accept our proposal?”  “Yes”, was his response.  “Excellent, thank you!”  I reacted.  And then I added, “Do you think you could place your order this week?”  When my prospect asked why, I said, “Because if you place your order next week, it will be with my successor.”

And at the 52nd weekly sales meeting, with the Vice President of Sales in attendance, I “roll-called” the second largest deal in the Region’s history; finished my 2nd year at exactly 100% of my quota; and kept my job.

123116… “ABC” everyone, “ABC”.  Bon chance!

GAP

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Mandatory Mondays…

Good morning everyone; it’s Monday – yeahhhh!  How do you start your week?

A good beginning is half the work. 

Irish Proverb

Is it important to you to GET MOTIVATED?  What’s your favorite routine?  For many of us Monday is still the traditional start of our work week.  Not for Moms with toddlers however; for them there is no such thing as the “start” or the “end” of a week.

Same can be said at the other end of the spectrum I suppose.  I remember my Dad during his years in assisted-living would often ask, “What day is it?” After working for over 50 years and being retired for over 20 years, I guess the day of the week was no longer something important to keep track of.

How do you start your week?  I remember Lisa Kwiecien, one of the top sales professionals on my team, who liked to schedule client visits for Monday mornings.  She would fill her morning up with appointments.  The clients were happy to see her; the meetings were easy to prepare for; and she would almost always come away with an order for additional business.  Besides, she said it got her up on Monday mornings and started her week off on the right foot.  Her positive attitude was FIRED UP by noon so she was ready to face the cold realities of cold prospects and cold calling.  Mondays – yeah!

What’s your routine?  Reading the paper?  A work-out is the favorite week-starter for many.  Hitting the gym at 6 a.m. Monday mornings keeps our engines running throughout the day.  I’m an early riser, but the thought of working out first thing Monday morning is not on the top of my list.  How about you?  Are you a Monday morning work-out fanatic?

Some of my colleagues are lucky enough to have a flexible schedule.  That lets them have breakfast with their kids and drive them to school.  I envy those with their priorities in order and control over their day, don’t you?  When my kids were young it seemed I was always running behind at work.  No time to eat – gotta go – have a nice day!  Paranoia I suppose.  But to me, the concept of eating a sit-down breakfast was foreign and a routine of driving my kids to school Monday mornings was unfathomable.  An Unknown Sage quotes Wolter:

Wolter’s Law:

If you have the time, you won’t have the money. 

If you have the money, you won’t have the time.

Starbucks is a favorite stop on the way to work Monday mornings, yes?  Fodder-4-Thought heard someone place this order:

Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup, please.

(Taking a breath now.)  Perhaps it’s bagels and cream cheese from Panera Bread.  Do you bring a box in for the office?  Maybe breakfast burritos!  Back in the day, my favorite was Dunkin Donuts.  Not quite the popular, health-conscious cuisine today, I guess.  Do you have special Monday morning menu morsels?

Yes, motivation; particularly important for “Mandatory Mondays”, agreed?  What helps me GET MOTIVATED is loud, heavy metal, hard rock music.  And if it’s Monday morning, then it’s mandatory Metallica. Fast-paced, head-banging – really revs up my engine!  The louder the better; and some of their lyrics can penetrate one’s soul:

Forever trust in who we are, and nothing else matters.

Trust me; it’s simply who I am.  What’s your favorite Monday morning musical mantra?

GAP

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Management and the NBA…

I was thinking about the start of the NBA season recently, when I received an email from my company’s CEO.  He was informing all of the employees that it was that time of year again where each employee will be receiving a survey that Top Management will use to get an indication of how things are going from the “front line”.

I appreciate the fact that our CEO is interested enough in our view points that he would take the time and invest the money to conduct an employee survey through a confidential and independent firm.  However, it did make me wonder if in today’s electronic, wired world Tom Peters’ approach of “management by walking around” is dead?

Of course, were I in our CEO’s role I might wonder about the candor and intentions behind the responses I will receive.  Hopefully, Scott Adams’ perspective won’t apply:

As far as I can tell, every layer of management exists for the sole purpose of warning us about the layer above.

Scott Adams

There tends to be a natural tension between employees and management, true?  In most cases that tension helps drive the overall company to new heights.  However, according to our favorite Unknown Sage sometimes that tension can be a distraction:

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.” 

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.” 

“You must be an engineer”, said the balloonist.  “I am”, replied the woman, “How did you know”? 

“Well”, answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.” 

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”  “I am”, replied the balloonist, “but how did you know”? 

“Well”, said the woman, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.   You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Well, at least that manager and that employee were talking.  Good things come when management and employees communicate.

During the final seconds of an especially tense game, Boston Celtics coach K.C. Jones called a time-out.  As he gathered the players together at courtside, he diagrammed a play, only to have Larry Bird say, “Get the ball out to me and get everyone out of my way.”  Jones responded, “I’m the coach, and I’ll call the plays!”  Then he said, “Get the ball to Larry and get out of his way.”  It just shows that when the real leader speaks, people listen. 

John C. Maxwell

Whether my CEO or the NBA, when we listen in the pursuit of excellence above pride – the sky (or an NBA Championship) is the limit!

GAP

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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,

AK

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

GAP

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