• Dynamic...
  • Inspiring...
  • Entertaining...
  • Principle-Based...
  • Immediately, Effective...
  • Bob Burg

“Bob Burg opens the floodgates to Fort Knox.”

~ Dottie Walters, Author, Speak & Grow Rich

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

Understanding The Antagonist

Monday, August 8th, 2016

See the worldThe following profound quote caught my attention on Twitter:

“You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.”

~ John Rogers, screenwriter, film and television producer, director, comedian, comic book writer

Since the author of the quote is a professional storyteller perhaps he’s teaching a lesson on the importance of an aspiring writer understanding this dynamic.

And, I believe that what he said is brilliant.

It also pertains to everyday life. Our everyday lives.

This blog has often featured lessons regarding belief systems and understanding that we all see the world from our own personal viewpoints based on a number of factors. This is below the surface of conscious thought and I often refer to it as our “unconscious operating system.” Not only do we operate solely based on the premises of our belief systems, others operate solely out of theirs. And, neither are aware of such.

So, it’s often suggested not only to become aware that we are operating this way but that the other person is, as well. This leads to a deeper understanding and makes effective communication more likely. This concept applies to interpersonal transactions and relationships, as well as to observing life, people, and different views in general.

However…Mr. Rogers’ statement brings it to an even higher level.

The current political scene is a fascinating example.

Members of the two major parties seem to operate out of two completely different ways of seeing the world, human nature, causes, and effects. (Please note that I’m not referring to the specific candidates, national, state or local, but rather the general voter committed to their party’s philosophy.)

Not only does each person believe they are correct in their understanding; as we often see, read, and hear, each sees those of the other party as being so wrong that they often subscribe their motives as “evil.”

So, on one level we could say that simply by understanding the other side’s viewpoint it could help us close the gap when discussing issues with them.

But, That’s Not Enough

Let’s move to an entirely deeper level by taking Mr. Rogers’ advice and actually try and understand why he or she (individual members) sees themselves as a protagonist (in this context, the hero, or “good guy/gal”) in their own version of the world.

There are numerous articles and books you can read on the individual thought processes of a person who identifies as a Democrat or a Republican. But, another excellent method is to simply ask them; of course, in a way that does not elicit their defensiveness but rather provides you with an understanding of how they think, and why? I’ve done that a lot with friends in both major parties since, being libertarian, I don’t fully identify with either.

Here’s a thought though. If the very idea of asking a D (if you’re an R) or an R (if you’re a D) causes you defensiveness or even a feeling of anger, please understand that this will not be productive in terms of gaining insight. And, if your goal is to influence that person to consider your viewpoint, then you must be able to first understand it (remember, understanding is not the same as agreeing) from their side.

In other words, you must be able to understand why they see themselves as the protagonist, not the antagonist you believe they are.

Interesting is that the way you see them is most likely the way they see you. And, once you understand them better, perhaps they’ll understand you better.

Next step: Once you’ve completed this “political” exercise, begin to do this with others you find difficult to understand and relate to.

Can understanding why your antagonist sees themselves as the protagonist in their own story make you a much more effective communicator, friend, family member, coworker, supervisor, salesperson, customer, leader, etc?

What do you think? Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, and examples with us.

Build, Encourage, And Recognize Your People!

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

David-Novak-O-Great-OneWhen John David Mann and I talk about “Building Your People” (Key #2 from The Go-Giver Leader) we mean that in a couple of ways: one is to teach, mentor, and coach them to becoming more effective, both in their defined role within the organization as well as in their own ability to lead others.

Second is to make them feel good about themselves: protected, loved, and valued member of the business family. And, a person whose abilities we believe in.

The first part makes intuitive sense to many who look at leadership in the traditional way. The second part, not always so much.

There’s a tendency for one to feel, “Well, that’s all very nice — warm and fuzzy and all — but maybe we should wait until we’re making some serious money before we go that route.” Not to mention, after they’ve already proven themselves to be worthy of our caring.

Of course, there’s a very powerful and counterproductive false premise at work within that last thought process: namely, that building your people is a luxury that can wait until “after they’ve already…” And, that your company will thrive if you wait.

Building your people, before they’ve proven themselves, while they’re doing so, and on an continual basis is vitally important to the success of your organization. We see it time and again in the hugely successful companies. We see the opposite in the less successful companies. And — something I hear from employees constantly — we see this in once great companies that are now struggling.

Did they forget that it’s their people who made them great? Apparently, yes.

I had the opportunity to read a copy of the just-released business parable by David Novak, Former Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut, KFC, Taco Bell).

The book is entitled, O GREAT ONE!: A Little Story About The Awesome Power of Recognition.

David’s list of business and leadership awards — including one of the “100 Best Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review is long and well-deserved.

I mention this because a huge part of his leadership success was the ability to build his people in both of the above-mentioned ways. He did this through recognition; one of the most powerful forms of building a human being.

As the protagonist in this book, Jeff, pointed out:

“First we’ve got to fire up our people, who will then help to get our customers excited about doing business with us, and from there the money will follow. Too many business leaders focus on making money first without considering the fact that it’s people who will make it happen.”

A couple of pages later, when responding to one of the skeptical members of his leadership team, he explained:

“What I don’t think you realize, Anna, is that this isn’t fluffy stuff. It’s very much about results, about recognizing and rewarding the kind of real results that make a difference to this company’s bottom line. And it’s about driving future results by sending a clear message about what behaviors lead to results.”

Anna still didn’t quite get it at that point, but eventually she would.

What today’s top leaders hope is that more and more leaders come to fully understand it. Company slogan’s such as, “Our people are our greatest asset”, “we care about our people” and others are just that; slogans. And, meaningless ones at that…until a culture of this type is created, consistently communicated, and endlessly cultivated.

And that will only happen when today’s leaders understand that there is nothing soft about it whatsoever.

Super Leadership…and A Super Bowl

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Demarcus WareGo-Giver Leaders tend to be less interested in taking the stage than they are in giving the stage. They are less concerned about themselves than they are about their team and the individuals who comprise that team.

Rather than, “look how great I am!” they authentically communicate how fantastic those on their team are!

And, they communicate this, not just to those outside of their organization (though they certainly do that), but to the team-members themselves. Not only in what they say, and not just in what they do, but also in who they are.

I love this quote by current Denver Broncos All-Pro outside linebacker (and future Hall of Famer) DeMarcus Ware, as shared on Twitter by future Hall of Famer and past All-Pro wide receiver (now coffee entrepreneur), Rod Smith:

You don’t inspire your teammates by showing them how amazing you are,
but by showing them how amazing they are!

And, that, to me, says it all!

Of course, lest we think that this attitude is in any way self-sacrificial, we should note that these types of leaders in the corporate environment tend to have happy and productive teams, and very profitable businesses.

And, I heard somewhere that DeMarcus’ team did pretty well this year, as well! 😉

 

Strong Cultures Welcome Dissent

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

In Adam Grant’s fantastic (like, “beyond-words fantastic”) new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World, Chapter 7 includes the story of Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of the venerable investment firm, Bridgewater Associates.

Ray DalioI was excited to see that. In one of my books I quoted Mr. Dalio, as much a philosopher as a successful business person, as saying, “I believe that the biggest problem that humanity faces is an ego sensitivity to finding out whether one is right or wrong, and identifying what one’s strengths and weakness are.”

Love that saying because ego, a main driver of our emotions, can cause significant damage when it controls its human host.

And, it so often does. No, it’s not just about hurt feelings and bad business decisions. Out of control egos have resulted in catastrophies such as wars, evil dictators, and masses of people unnecessarily struggling for survival; events taking place even today.

On the other hand, when controlled and properly directed the results can be, well, a company like his.

Dr. Grant describes Bridgwater as “a highly cohesive, close-knit community, to the point that its staff frequently call it a family, and it’s common for employees to stay for decades.”

They also promote dissent. Respectful dissent, of course. But, dissent. Groupthink is discouraged in every way. If someone is off course with their actions, people are expected to communicate that to the person directly…including calling out Ray Dalio himself!

The author shared an email that Mr. Dalio received that at practically any other company would most likely have resulted in a firing. He welcomed it. The sender of the email was correct. And the founder, the company, and its investors benefitted.

Of course, there is much more to the art of positive dissent than just this (and, a lot more to Mr. Dalio’s leadership philosophy, outlined in over 200 principles he personally wrote — a highly-recommended read!). Dr. Grant’s thorough research and entertaining way of presenting the information leaves the reader with an understanding that when done correctly, dissent leads to constant innovation and growth based on superb original ideas.

What made this even more enlightening, though, was the comparison the author made with another company; one that had been amongst the most respected and highly-profitable (and innovative) companies in the world…before groupthink and discouraging dissent became it’s cultural nature. (Prepare to shake your head in disgust when reading that part.)

So, is Ray Dalio’s methodology, including putting his ego aside and — not just allowing, but — insisting on honest feedback just feel-goody fluff? Or, does it have an outcome on their bottom line? In other words, does it translate into business success?

Well, in what is a very volatile industry, the company’s two major funds have performed amazingly well, and consistently for over 30 years.

As Dr. Grant writes, “They’ve been recognized for making more money for clients than any hedge fund in the history of the industry. In 2010, {their} returns exceeded the combined profits of Google, eBay, Yahoo, and Amazon.

Yes, I’d say it’s a positive thing. And, very original.

———-

To order Dr. Adam Grant’s book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World, click here.

John David Mann’s and my new book, The Go-Giver Leader will be released on March 29th. Click here to read an excerpt or sample chapter, or click here to pre-order. If you enjoyed The Go-Giver I think you’re really going to like this one. For bulk orders for your company or organization click here.

Kingmakers Instead of Kings

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

King Chess Piece“Great leaders and top-producing salespeople develop tremendous influence because they focus their actions on looking out for the other person’s interests and serving their needs.

They prefer to give the credit away rather than take it for themselves.

Rather than aspire to be kings, they seek to be kingmakers.

They are constantly on the lookout for ways they can add value to other people’s lives—and in the process they become enormously successful leaders, influencers, and salespeople (not to mention friends, parents, and community members).

Think about the men and women you know who most embody the above. Feel free to share with us any personal stories and examples that come to mind.