There is a sign on my desk that reads “Teamwork is what makes ordinary people achieve extraordinary results”. This week, the 5000m Olympic runners from New Zealand and the U.S. taught us all a lesson in compassion, leadership and that being team-players doesn’t always apply to just your own team. What transpired: an extraordinary result.
It is my plan to use the story of distance runners Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino from the United States as examples of exemplary leaders. They are conscious leaders who didn’t stop to think how the outcome would affect them personally, their response to help each other was inherent. As conscious leaders, compassion was their first choice, not one at which they systematically arrived. And as conscious leaders, blame didn’t even come into play.
Of late, I have been taking my multi-generational workforce presentation on the road and incorporating it into every speech, workshop and discussion. If I were asked to wrap it up in a couple of words, “be nice” comes to mind. But time and time again, I find myself listening to tenured people in the workplace who are just not nice. Not nice to other generations, not nice to their co-workers, not nice to their employers, not nice to their kids, they might even kick their dogs, not sure.
While I really like communicating with a short text, of late, I am finding that it is ruining some of the relationships I have nourished and cherished for years.
I can remember when I began using texts as a form of communication, my son was in high school. I sent him a text announcing dinner from the kitchen while he played video games in the basement. I thought it was funny, he did not. I loved the new shorter language and laughed while trying to decipher what people were texting. It was fun.
But now, texting has become a problem. In my world, people are using text rather than more traditional means of communication and messages have been skewed, missed, misinterpreted, and ignored. I am not one who carries my phone on my hip checking in by the minute to see what’s up and because of that, I miss some texts. I love technology and the ability to connect in a variety of ways. But I also see it as a way to detach and test true friendships and here is why.
I regularly work in an industry where the men outnumber the women 10 to 1, possibly more. While some think this is an advantage for women, it is not. Time and time again, we are put into situations men will never have to face.
One would think things have changed, right? Not so much. At a recent industry function, women were propositioned and groped at. An attendee who brought his wife along said she was uncomfortable with some of the men. I think she used the word “creepy” to describe them. Another woman felt she was followed to the elevator. The guy entered the elevator and didn’t push a button, he just stared at her. She felt she was in danger and even asked him what floor he needed so she could push the button. But he just stared and exited at her floor. With her hand on the pepper spray, she walked swiftly and got to her room where she entered and closed the door behind her in one swift movement. When she shared what happened, my response, “You should have just used the pepper spray.” When in doubt, don’t wait to see how it all works out, use it!
The main component to every workshop, seminar or speech I present is listening. And on this day after Christmas, I believe poor listening and the inability to connect is an epidemic and I have the gifts to prove it.
When one has the skills to listen and question, as demonstrated in my workshops, it only takes five minutes to get to know someone when we focus on the individual without distraction. And, by the way, the main distraction is usually ourselves. If we could just do that, gift giving would be easier.
Being a consultant requires me to answer countless questions about hiring and managing a sales staff. Questions such as: How do I hire a salesperson? What qualities should I look for? How do I manage the person? How do I motivate him or her?
From my experience working with family-owned businesses, I’ve found that the outgoing and personable son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandma—you get my drift—is the first to be appointed salesperson. Smaller, less sophisticated, companies like to hire from the “inner circle” for various reasons—including paranoia. They want to hire a person they can trust with their “top secret” information, so they hire someone they know or someone referred to them by a close friend. That approach may work out
When in life does one determine what career path to follow?
I once heard an author and speaker named Marcus Buckingham state, “Whatever you are at four, you are more of at forty.” Early on, I knew I could be successful in sales. I could talk my parents, teachers and friends into anything. My first official sales gig was as an Avon representative going door-to-door back in the 70s. There I was, a bright, eager young girl ringing strangers’ doorbells and asking them to let me in, to trust me. Even then, I set goals. I sold products that removed wrinkles, softened hands, and added bubbles to the baths of the young and old. I provided a service, filled a need, and offered solutions to hundreds of tireless housewives.