“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.
My friend, branding authority, and Certified Go-Giver Speaker, Bill Ellis emailed me a great poster that showed a photo of some dogs — apparently at a museum for those of the canine persuasion — staring intently at a painting of a tennis ball.
Now, personally, I can’t imagine the fascination held by a tennis ball. Though, obviously the dogs feel differently. I’m sure tennis players do, as well.
I’m also thinking right now of many other things that hold absolutely no value for me personally but that my customers might find to be of exceptional value.
All this to say, if we want to help our prospective customer become our actual customer we must discover, not what works for us but what works for them. One of the biggest challenges in this regard is our natural human tendency to believe that what we hold to be of value, everyone else does as well.
Long before the rise of email and social media I was extolling the virtues and value of saying “thank you” with handwritten notes. While certainly not an original idea (whose Mom didn’t make them write thank you notes for gifts?) they remain — in my opinion — one of the best ways to express gratitude and make another person feel genuinely good about themselves and the value they provide.
I’m often asked, “But with email so accessible and so much easier to write than a handwritten, hand-addressed, hand-stamped envelope, isn’t it so much easier to just send emails?”
Absolutely! That’s even one more reason why handwritten, personalized notes are so much more effective. Talk about distinguishing yourself — and your message — from others!
Whether sending a thank you note to a service person, their employer, a customer, your salesperson, a team member, and especially to those people who typically don’t receive acknowledgement, not only do they feel great about themselves, they feel great about you, too! No, that isn’t why you do it — it’s simply the natural result.
When speaking about this during sales and leadership conferences I’ll often hear from successful audience members who do this regularly. One of the most common stories is their discovering that many of those to whom they’ve sent these notes…have kept them!
Yes, people often keep them! Why?
they’ve been acknowledged;
they’ve been acknowledged in a powerful and personal way;
they received something from you they most likely have never received before.
In his excellent book, Creating Magic (highly recommended!!) former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort, Lee Cockerell — an avid note writer — shared a very touching story of a team member who had his note framed…and hung in his home!
While I have a specific format for my personalized notecards, there’s no one correct way.
What’s key is forming the habit of sending them, and sending them often.
Have you experienced something similar either by being on the giving or receiving end of a personalized, handwritten thank you note?
“We really care about our people.” “Our people are what matter most.” “We believe in building our people.”
However, if you were to ask most of those employees if that’s how they felt you’d most likely receive a “no” and a strong one at that.
Please don’t get me wrong. Indeed, there are a number of good companies out there. Their leaders truly do care, their people do matter, and they build their people. These companies also tend to also be very highly profitable. And, they are to be congratulated for both sides of that equation…the immense value they provide to all their stakeholders (including customers, service-providers and shareholders) as well as their profitability. Both matter.
However, here we have a “Go-Giver Company” on steroids!
As you might know, I love reading books on leadership. I learn from all of them.
This one not only touched me on a very, very deep level; it caused me to feel that business — even big business — could actually be this way.*
The person you are going to meet in this discussion, Bob Chapman, has the key to unlock this door in a huge, huge way. He and his company, Barry-Wehmiller have been doing it for nearly 20 years. And, they just keep continuing to prove its validity. This company is ALL about their people…and their financial success happens to be immensely healthy, too!
A Leader’s Leader
Chairman & CEO, Mr. Chapman believes that, “We have a crisis of leadership.” He says, “we have over 130 million people in our workforce who go home every day feeling they work for a company that doesn’t care about them. That is 7 out of 8 people in the workplace.”
To hear Mr. Chapman, talk about it, you can sense his anguish at this problem and his passion about spearheading the solution. And, spearhead it he has. The Guiding Principles of Leadership his company has implemented has resulted in a workplace consisting of people who feel good about themselves, about their jobs, and about the contributions they are making to its success. And they take that good feeling back to their families and communities.
He imagines a world full of caring work environments in which people can realize their gifts, apply and develop their talents, and feel a genuine sense of fulfillment for their contributions. The heart he has for people, making the world a better place to work and, as a result, live, is inspiring beyond measure.
And, it might be the type of business you’d least expect it to be. A manufacturing company; a privately held manufacturer of technology consulting and packaging machinery with more than 8000 employees worldwide.
In his foreword, Simon Sinek writes, “A lot of leaders talk about this. See what happens when you actually do it.”
Some of the topics in this fascinating discussion with Mr. Chapman include…
Defining the leadership crisis
A most unlikely place for an epiphany
What happens at Barry-Wehmiller University…doesn’t stay there.
The premise of Barry-Wehmiller’s Guiding Principles of Leadership
What happens when a leader DOES take a hit, along with his team members?
Can you see why I’m a raving fan of Bob Chapman and the company he leads?
Barry-Wehmiller’s tagline is, “Building a better world through business.” That’s their tag line. And, that’s exactly what they’re doing. In other words, “Everybody Matters” isn’t just a cliche on a mission statement; it’s the bedrock of the company’s success!
*Take a look at this quick video with bestselling author, Simon Sinek and Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Cuddy. It says it all.
Quotes from Everybody MATTERS
Below are just a relatively few of the many quotes within the book I felt the need to include here. Please know they merely scratch the surface:
“We first have to radically change the way we think about business, about people and about leadership. If we do so, we can build thriving organizations that bring joy and fulfillment to all who serve them and depend on them.”
“I had grown to understand that my responsibility as a CEO transcends business performance and begins with a deep commitment to the lives of those in our care–the very people who time and talent make the business possible.
“The key pillars are establish a shared long-term vision, fostering a people-centric culture, developing leaders form within, and sending people home fulfilled.”
“In the end, it is about truly caring for every precious human being whose life we touch. It is about including everybody, not just the fortunate few or exceptionally talented. It is about living with an abundance mindset: an abundance of patience, love, hope and opportunity.”
“Everyone wants to contribute. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. Some people are on a mission. Celebrate them. Others wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them. We don’t just need a new guide to leading in times of change or adversity. We need a complete rethink, a revolution.
“One great truth we’ve learned is this: The people are just fine it’s our leadership that’s lacking.”
“But deeper insights had come from a simple question we had started asking people: ‘How did it make you feel?'”
“We have 7000 people, and each and every one of them is somebody’s precious child.”
“Our responsibility as leaders, be it in the military or in business or in government or in education, is to create an environment where people can discover their gifts, develop their gifts, share their gifts, and be recognized and appreciated for doing so–which creates an opportunity for them to have a meaningful life, a life of purpose in which they feel valued and get a chance to be what they were brought onto this earth to be.”
“If leadership isn’t about fighting fires, what is it about? We believe it is about lighting fires.”
“If more than half of your communication with any individual is negative, it’s an oppressive relationship.”
“Business growth and people growth aren’t separate ideas; they are complementary pieces in creating value.”
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