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Posts Tagged ‘Tenacity’

Impossible …

What do you believe is impossible?  Developing a cure for cancer at one end; or the common cold at the other?  Space travel?  At an individual level – losing weight; quit smoking; getting out of debt; finding happiness?

In the book, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea©, the main character said this about the “impossible”:

Working on the bottom of the deep ocean wasn’t impossible, it was only considered impossible… Other people labeled things impossible not because they couldn’t be done, but because no one was doing them… Realizing that impossibility dwelt only in the imagination was the gateway to a new world of thinking… 

Gary Kinder

OK, he suggests the difference between impossible and possible starts with our belief.   Then a “new world of thinking” can emerge that will lead us to overcome the impossible.  Thinking – systematically; specifically; in ways others have not thought – yet.  Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute said this:

A good way to tell how the work is going is to listen in the corridors.  If you hear the word “Impossible!” spoken as an expletive, followed by laughter, you will know that someone’s orderly research plan is coming along nicely.

It seems that the path beyond impossible requires dedication and great optimism.  Not some pie-eyed, there’s no place like home, close your eyes and click your heels type of optimism.  But a mindset grounded on a pragmatic process of thinking things through while avoiding the pitfalls of theoretical debates:

Green’s Law of Debate

Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Unknown Sage

In The Path Between the Seas © David McCullough details at great length how prior generations thought of building impossible, man-made monuments, of momentous proportions.   He writes about their new world of thinking; of overcoming obstacles, known and unknown, not the least of which was discovering the cause of and then the treatment for malaria.  Many thought building the Panama Canal was impossible.  Until someone figured out how to build it.

What about today?  Are we enamored with geo-mechanical monuments?  Do our beliefs center around advanced technology; the Internet-of-Things; driverless cars; and drone-delivered pizzas?  What about the Dark Web; spyware; invasive-ware; and other malware – are those “advanced”?

Will we ever center our beliefs (and our resources) on people vs. things?  Mental illness; poverty; homelessness; addictions… can enough money, energy, and commitment ever be harnessed to address these humankind challenges?  Or do we believe finding those solutions is impossible?

No matter which impossible endeavor we chose to address it’s always better when we have support from our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, fellow Americans, or just our boss, true?  But if we are going to overcome the impossible, we need that support early; at the darkest most difficult point in our journey:

Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas

Every revolutionary idea — in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever — evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:

It is completely impossible — don’t waste my time.

It is possible, but it is not worth doing.

I said it was a good idea all along.

Unknown Sage

In 2019, what do you believe is worth doing?  Can it be done?  Or is it impossible because no one is doing it – yet?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller

Indeed.  What impossible feat would we all do for those we know; for those we don’t; for those in need?

GAP

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Smells like money…

Denver’s National Western Stock Show & Rodeo closed out its 113th consecutive year last weekend.  If you’ve never been, it’s definitely a must see.  I love being around western folk; American pride; tradition; and the values derived from hard work.  I love the smell of the barn.  For me, it’s motivational when dealing with the stress of today’s “modern” society.

I have written before about my favorite ritual when immersed in the tensions of life’s highs and lows; successes and failures – shoveling horse manure.  Yep, shoveling horse manure (in the pasture, not at the office) really has a calming effect on me.  I know most folks have a different ritual or approach when dealing with their ups and downs.

Nonetheless, business professionals can gain great benefit from ranchers, farmers, cowboys, English riders, and livestock.  For instance, if you own or even lease a horse, you know how motivational it can be.  Thinking about the price of hay alone gets me up and at ‘em in the morning!  Serves me right, I suppose, for ignoring the advice of our favorite, Unknown Sage who tells us:

Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never invest in anything that eats.

And my corollary:

GAP‘s Reaction to Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never buy anything that eats while you sleep.

Horses – smells like money alright.  Better get up and go sell somebody something today!

Speaking of sales, understanding a horse’s behavior is also beneficial to our profession because our prospects act a lot like horses.  For instance, if we’re not careful, we can spook our prospects.  And when we do, they cut and run and we never seem to catch them again, do we.  Spooking, aka “No decision”, is our biggest competitor.

I believe prospects act a lot like herd animals.  They shy from sales people and fear being “cut-out from the herd”, yes?  You probably have faced every excuse in the book when a prospect does not want to meet with you 1-on-1, even for a straight-forward; 30-minute; business conversation.

I was working with a team of sales professionals recently and suggested that even a prospect’s objections can have herd characteristics.  First, the prospect objects to our proposed price; then they don’t like our contract language; then it’s our payment terms; and then they want to delay order placement.  Before you know it we get stampeded by a whole herd of objections!

We can learn a lot from English style, hunter-jumper riders, too.  If you’ve ever watched those riders you know that as they approach each jump, they reach a critical, “Go” or “No Go” point, before the horse must leap.

Indecision on the part of the rider or the horse (or a prospect) can lead to a “train wreck”.  It’s another cross-over example of the great benefit sales professionals and business leaders can gain from horses:

Half the failures of this world in life arise from pulling in one’s horse as he is leaping.

Julius and Augustus Hare

Of course, western pleasure style riders don’t usually mix well with English style riders.  Come from different herds I suppose.  But whether western or English, it’s the horses, not the riding style; we learn important business lessons from.  If you are a sales leader and hear one of your sales reps complain about the difficulties of making his/her quota; their problems with a prospect; or pain they feel from losing a deal; you might offer this equestrian-oriented advice:

Cowboy-Up!

Or if you prefer:

English-Up!

Perseverance – like manure – smells like money.

GAP

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Highs and lows …

Welcome to the New Year!  Does this “new year” feel a lot like “last year”?  And if last year wasn’t a “great year”, what will that do to our outlook?  It can be easy to find oneself in a rut, true?  Ruts present us with the proverbial crossroad:

The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.

Unknown Sage

One option is to work our way out of said rut.  Yes, yes, often easier said than done.

On the other hand, was last year your best year ever?  Did you experience an unbelievably successful event?  The highest of highs?  Getting too jacked up on something can also have detrimental impacts.  I mean, not every year can top the previous year forever, can it?  Besides, we may have been more lucky than good:

Successful people are incredibly delusional about their achievements.  Over 95 percent of the members in most successful groups believe that they perform in the top half of their group.  While this is statistically ridiculous, it is psychologically real. 

Marshall Goldsmith

Even when we truly are that good, if we’re not careful past success can put us on a road towards failure:

I once heard someone joke that the road to success is marked with many tempting parking places. 

Harvey Mackay

Finding that channel between being too low and too high seems to be the key to continued success don’t you think?  Steady improvement; balance; long-term growth; patience and persistence in the face of occasional set-backs; that’s what many strive to maintain.

Sometimes we find this channel only after navigating through a few detours:

Principles of success

  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  • Whatever you have done is never a complete failure. It can always serve as a bad example.
  • When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
  • In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  • It’s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.
  • If you try to please everybody, nobody will like it. 

Unknown Sage

Yes, life has many ups and downs.  And if you believe as I do that both success and failure are indeed unavoidable in our life’s journey, then that begs the question, “What do we do about it?”

Perhaps a few thoughts about ritual and/or alternative action would be worthwhile.  Permit me to offer examples.

When I find myself too wound up or too wound down my favorite, alternative action is to head to the corral.  There is something about being around horses that calms me.  Others may put on their running shoes and head out for a long run.  Going to the range and hitting a few hundred golf balls might be your preferred action.  Maybe praying in church or meditating restores calm and confidence.  Whatever your preference, what’s most important I think is to have a strategy for addressing life’s twists and turns.

My college basketball coach and life mentor offers this example about one of his rituals:

My frustrations or overwhelming joy were taken out scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Harley Knosher

And yes, there were times during our basketball season that Harley’s kitchen floor was spotless!  I won’t say whether that was due to our victories or our defeats.  Such is the nature of competition – in sports; in business; in life; agreed?  But he had this and other alternative actions to help him deal with life’s highway.

What are yours?

GAP

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Bulldozers…

I was speaking with a manager recently; small talk mostly; family; friends; current events.  With the age of his children, he is more tuned into today’s primary and secondary education systems than I am.  (My wife and I have to rely on the Google Machine whenever we help our second grade grandson with his math homework.  How did we ever make it to this century!!!?)

Anyway, the manager was describing today’s trend of parental “participation” in their children’s schools.  It used to be referred to as “helicopter moms” or “helicopter dads”.  You know, hovering over their children and their children’s teachers and their children’s coaches; “helping” their sons and daughters succeed; risk of failure was not an option.

And just when we thought things could not get worse… he tells me today’s trend is “bulldozing parents”; not simply hovering, guiding, influencing.  No – today, many parents actually do the school work for their sons and daughters.  Today, they’re trying to bulldoze the risk of failure out of the equation altogether.

But will it work?  Will today’s grade schoolers and high schoolers become successful adults if their parents are “bulldozers”?  I guess we will find out in the future when they encounter their first hardship solo.  In the 21st century, do you think we can still learn from Attila the Hun?

Huns learn much faster when faced with adversity.

Wess Roberts

In the meantime, when these young ones enter today’s workforce, what will happen to them sans bulldozer parents?  As sales managers, what lessons cross over into the business world from our modern education (and parental) systems?

I was speaking with a sales director friend of mine recently – he likes to check in from time to time; he thinks “the old guy can still hunt”.  We were discussing front line sales management and the “principles of gravitational pull.”

He said he sees many sales managers working extra hard trying to help their under-performing sales reps.  A common phenomenon, true?  When I asked what extra hard work he sees sales managers performing with (or for) their under-performers… his testimony was predictable; “Well, they help their under-performers on sales calls…”  And there it stands – hidden in plain view – the gravitational pull of sales managers “jumping in” to rescue a deal they fear their under-performers would otherwise lose – “Bulldozing”.

The stark reality about under-performers – which research after research continues to confirm is – they aren’t going to make it.  The sales manager’s time is best invested with their top performers.  When the under-performers don’t make it, the sales managers’ “bulldozing” yields a handful of deals and lots of open positions (temporarily occupied or not):

Among the chief worries of today’s business executives is the large number of unemployed still on the payrolls. 

Unknown Sage

Easy for me to blog about – extremely hard to do in the “real world”… but IMHO rather than “bulldozing”, when a sales manager is in the field with an under-performing sales rep, the manager has to allow the rep to fail; even if it means losing the deal.  It’s what happens after the sales rep fails that counts:

It seems to me that the largest impediment to a healthy attitude toward failure is our inability to distinguish between just plain being stupid and failing on the way to great success. 

Unknown Sage

Bulldozers are commonly used to start construction projects.  But they are long gone before that project is successfully completed.  Failing to move the bulldozers out of the way would be plain stupid.

GAP

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123118…ABC

Code?  No.  123118 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.

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 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.

123118… “ABC” everyone, “ABC”.  Bon chance!

GAP

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Ouch!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Here’s a little horror story repeated often in Corporate America – courtesy of not so paranormal, always electronic, cross-departmental communications.  Trick or treat?

The story begins innocently …it was just another day … I didn’t notice when it appeared … nestled innocuously in my in box … seemingly harmless … and then I clicked on it.  Boo!  The rude email lurched out!  Ouch!

I had cc’ed managers in three other departments about one of my upcoming meetings.  My meeting constituents asked me to address a few topics that pertained to their departments vs. mine.  Thinking it a business courtesy, I emailed these department managers with the proverbial “heads up” and asked if they preferred to address the subject matter in question.

Two managers ignored my email.  OK.  That happens to all of us every day, too.  The third manager seemed possessed.  The demeaning tone of his reply was exceeded only by the length of his electronic lecture.  Proud of his supreme, worldwide program authority, he did not bother running spell check.  He even cc’ed my boss’, boss’, boss.  Ouch – again!

I knew this manager had supreme, worldwide program authority; he told me so in a phone meeting held three months ago.  He was essentially replacing me with others as I was being reassigned to a new role.  The purpose of the phone call was to insure I knew he was now in charge.  OK. That also happens to all of us – perhaps not every day, but it happens.

The reason for my cc’s in the first place was to defer to these three managers.  I knew it was better for them to answer my constituents’ questions about their departments.  Trying to avoid a zombie like appearance I even ran spell check.  No avail.

He started his electronic diatribe with “I guess I’m confused…” and then proceeded to spew reason after reason why my constituents should not even be asking me these questions.  He said they should already know he is the supreme, worldwide program authority.  As proof he pasted not one, but two of his organization charts.  He emphasized that he heads a steering committee which my VP, and theirs, are members.

Ahhh – the “committee”…

Kirby’s Comment on Committees:

A committee is the only life form with 12 stomachs and no brain. 

Unknown Sage 

Ghostly!

No supreme, worldwide program authority worth his weight in salt can be so without a committee, true?  Here’s Kelly Johnson’s opinion about committees:

We’re into the era where a committee designs airplanes.  You never do anything totally stupid, you never do anything totally bright.  You get an average, wrong answer. 

I’m thinking if he was providing answers in his steering committee meetings, my constituents would not be asking me questions.  Clairvoyant!

Committees frequently withhold answers to our questions. Mysterious!

Returning to my not-so-spooky story of the condescending email…  I have learned over the years not to execute knee-jerk responses to such in box demons.  Of course, I have learned that lesson the hard way – by executing knee-jerk responses!  I suppose we’ve all been that evil spirit.  Stephen R. Covey offers:

Quality of life depends on what happens in the space between stimulus and response. 

Thankfully, I did not have to respond at all.  My VP sent a very professionally written email to address his “I’m confused” positioning.  Poof!  The supreme, worldwide program authority disappeared from our story.

We returned to our Halloween trick or treating and all lived happily ever after.  The end.

GAP

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Happy Columbus Day!

It’s been 8 years since I ventured out into the social media world for the very first time.  I know I wasn’t the original “explorer”, but it was still a big move for me.  Permit me to share an updated, slightly wordsmithed version of my very first post from back in the day – beginning with:

People told Columbus the world was flat.  He didn’t insist it was round.  He got in a boat. 

3Com Advertisement

How cool was that!  No debate; no argument; no headlines; no hype.  They said, “Impossible!” he said, “Get me to a boat!”  Then Columbus got in that boat (funded by the original venture capitalist); and proved his point.

What a stellar example of commitment to success!  “Hey Chris, the world is flat you know.  If you go out there, you’ll sail right off the table into oblivion.”  “That’s OK”, he might have said, “I think we’ll be all right.”

What about you?  What are “they” saying you cannot do?  Do you agree with them?  Are you looking back at the land for your security?  Or are you looking out across the vast ocean and on to your future?  Are you debating – or are you doing?  Where are you turning for the fuel to maintain your positive, can-do attitude?

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. 

Babe Ruth

If you’re reading this, then you’re in my boat.  Welcome to The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©.  The next time you’re having one of “those days”, filled with too much negativity from “them”, come back aboard for a little positive reinforcement.

I’m using a social media platform as my vessel – it is the 21st century after all.  Some people today might say, “Gary; Linked In, Face Book, Twitter are fun and all; but a vehicle for ongoing business-to-business, business?  Impossible!”  Well, what do I know?

I’ve spent the last four decades of my career perfecting professional selling skills.  You know – permission-based prospecting; discovering the customer’s goals; presenting solutions; closing the deal?  Remember?  Are any of those skills relevant today?

Or have we in business actually shifted to Likes, Groups, Tweets, and other, electronically-impersonal means of getting ink and contract to meet and money to change hands?  Were professional selling skills important only when the world was flat?  Well, what do I know?

Best-selling business author Jim Collins wrote this:

The Tyranny of the OR vs the Genius of the AND.

To me, it’s not social media – or – the old way.  I think social media is important.

But, I also believe that building business relationships still plays a key role in the customers’ success; and in turn, our success.  I would like to believe that knowing what you’re doing is still critical to a sales person’s achievement.  Being a product expert + a technology expert + a competitive expert + a business person are the key characteristics our customers value.  Again, what do I know?

Similar to Christopher Columbus, no one can predict ahead of time what changes the online world will bring to the future of my profession.  I’m certainly not going to argue about it.  I’m just getting in my social media boat and setting sail – I believe I won’t fall off the face of the earth.

I hope you join me for the voyage and visit www.TheQuoteGuys.com often.  Bring a friend!  After all:

No sense in being pessimistic.  It wouldn’t work anyway. 

Unknown Sage

Here’s to the New World.  Thanks again Chris!

GAP

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Crusader …

It’s amazing that the longer I have been in the sales profession, the more, new revelations I discover – about myself!  And just when you’d think I would have everything figured out.  Four decades of experience and I’m still a newbie LoL!

Just this month I came across this quote in LinkedIn:

Don’t ever take a job — join a crusade! Find a cause that you can believe in and give yourself to it completely.

Colleen Barrett, president emerita of Southwest Airlines

Crusader – that hits home!  Now I really feel bad for all the managers in my career I have reported to.  They probably thought they just had another employee on their team.  I bet you managers who are reading this little ditty today have crusaders on your team and you don’t even know it.  It might be easier to manage them if you recognize what you’re dealing with.

Wikipedia offers us this about the Crusades:

The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period… Modern historians hold widely varying opinions of the Crusaders. To some, their conduct was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy… However, the Crusades had a profound impact on Western civilization… they constituted a wellspring for accounts of heroism, chivalry, and piety that galvanized medieval romance, philosophy, and literature.

“… heroism, chivalry, and piety … romance, philosophy, and literature.”  WOW – Way to go crusaders!

On the other hand, “incongruous conduct” explains a lot.  Conduct at a company as an employee is one thing.  Conduct at that company as a crusader can be something altogether different; something powerful.

Being a crusader is risky.  It can be abused for selfish interests.  It can be manipulative.  It can leave breakage behind.

On the other hand, it can be hard to maintain high energy over the long haul; crusaders must believe in what they’re doing and the company they’re doing it for; their managers and leaders must be worthy of the passion crusaders have for their job.

As for people that reported to me over the years – it seemed for the most part they welcomed my crusade-oriented style.  I’m not saying I expected them to become crusaders.  I’m saying they had a crusader leading their team.  And my poor wife – she is still dealing with it!

Never the less, I believe it’s how you do what you do that matters.  I believe Tom Connellan agrees:

One with passion is better than forty who are merely interested.

When we have passion for what we do, we stand out.  Standing out can be good; it can also be not so good depending on the culture within our company and relationships among our colleagues.  One with passion can sometimes be misunderstood; appear egotistical; self-promoting; disingenuous, true?

Risks aside, if we are going to work for a living I believe we should “play to win”.  I believe Jim Collins found other business leaders who believe this too:

“Look”, she said, “this program will be built on the idea that running is fun, racing is fun, improving is fun, and winning is fun.  If you’re not passionate about what we do here, then go find something else to do.”

It’s all a matter of choice.  We can take a job; be an employee; and go through the motions of doing our jobs.  Or, we can leverage our passion; run, race, improve, and win; and be a crusader at work.  Leaving incongruous conduct behind, of course.

GAP

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Motivation 1, 2, 3 …

I was cataloging quotes recently when I came across notes I made after reading Daniel H. Pink’s book Drive ©.  It has been almost 4 years since I read his book – I guess the reading is the easy part; cataloging quotes for the writing part takes a bit more motivation!

The timing of this activity could not have been better.  Almost 4 years ago, I was in the best frame of mind in memory from a career standpoint.  Energetic, enthusiastic, dare I say “motivated”?  I used to say it took me over 30 years to find the perfect job.

As you know, every company with employees in jobs – directed by managers – defined by leaders – makes changes.  I have written about change-making many times, including this from Ellen Glasgow:

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.

Now, my company is making changes.  I’m keeping an open mind.  Change can be challenging for leaders; for followers, too.  We have all faced change in our careers, true?  If you’re like me, you know that it’s really not the change that’s the challenge.  It’s envisioning ourselves succeeding in our new role that can test our level of drive.

As I was going through my notebook to update my catalog of quotes I came across Daniel H. Pink’s thoughts about “drive” (ergo the book title).  A few years ago, I would have simply typed my updates and moved on.  Today, I stopped cataloging to reflect; to write.

I particularly enjoyed his breakdown of “motivation” in the business world, which I would paraphrase this way:

Motivation 1.0 was simple – it was based on survival from our primitive ancestors.  No motivation?  No survival.  Simple.

Motivation 2.0 evolved past simple as managers seek to control workers – it was and still is – based on a carrot and stick reward system with carrots or sticks being controlled by the managers to control the workers.

Motivation 3.0 – Solving today’s complex problems requires workers with an inquiring mind and the willingness to experiment one’s way to a fresh solution.

Motivation 1.0 sought survival.  Motivation 2.0 sought compliance.  Motivation 3.0 seeks engagement.

Daniel H. Pink

Maybe Motivation 3.0 is on the horizon; maybe it is being adopted in today’s workplace – Lord knows the term “employee engagement” gets lots of play.  But is it truly replacing the carrot and stick system that ultimately maintains compliance?  I’m not sure.

Daniel H. Pink illustrates Motivation 3.0 this way:

 

Imagine a manager or a leader managing or leading workers who seek “Autonomy”.  Imagine workers pursuing “Mastery” autonomously.  Imagine leaders, managers and workers collectively aligned with a common “Purpose”.  That would make one powerful company!

Yet companies are not static entities.  Times change and during periods of change I believe Motivation 3.0 intentions can be weakened from the gravitational pull towards enforcing compliance.  Control over workers using those darn carrots and sticks keeps reappearing.  And when control becomes the preferred management method, Motivation 1.0 rears its head, too.  That’s when employees say “yes” not because they are motivated in a positive sense.  Those “yeses” are pure survival oriented.

Motivation 3.0 is hard to attain and maintain.  But the combination of Autonomy + Mastery + Purpose is powerful.

During times of change we can sometimes lose our focus; lose our drive.  However, Motivation 3.0 is the place to be for the modern workforce.  And I believe we can all get there despite the occasional sighting of those old carrots and sticks.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  For many, every day is a struggle – sometimes literally between life and death.

I believe for most of us we have a choice; we still can control our mood; we can choose how we face each day.  But not for all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 42 years.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

Happy birthday Eric.  I love you.

GAP

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