Stand-up hell

Morning and end of day stand-ups (what even is a stand-up, I’ve never heard of one go fast like initially intended?)

Key stroke detectors (no they aren’t illegal).

Impromptu, “what’s going on calls”, when they rarely ever happened before.

Sending messages earlier or later than ever to check when folks respond.

The insistence of video calls exclusively, “because we miss seeing everyone so badly and it’s more human”.

The last two weeks have been a Micro-managers worst nightmare. These ‘new habits’ (naturally) kill morale, trust, and reveal how some people simply aren’t cut out for leadership.

There are amazing companies that have existed for 25+ years that don’t do this. They hire amazing people. They agree on what the job entails – mutually. That’s the deal…and people rarely leave. It’s not difficult.

War time vs. Peace time leaders

Anyone can borrow money, start a company, and be CEO. Not everyone can lead.

There are war time leaders and there are peace time ones.

One of my favorite movies of all time is the Godfather. When Don Corleone is shot, this concept comes to light quickly when his oldest son, Sonny takes over. He eventually loses his life forcing the cool, calm, and calculated son, Michael to take over the family business.

Great leaders inspire during times of great change when everyone else is panicking.

The poor ones become more controlling, less trusting, and will make you feel like a pawn.

Great leaders say over and over again: “How can I help. What can I take off your plate. Is there anything that is hampering you at work, if so, let’s work on eliminating it”.

Poor ones pile more work on, are nebulous with what they expect, and then blame for their own unclear expectations.

If you work for a great leader, thank them. Often. It’s rare. But they’re human…and everyone could use some praise.

It’s all His

It’s difficult to fathom the number of people that are financially blessed solely for the purpose of say, a front line employee giving diligently to a place God has directed them.

A middle manager who inspires two people on his/her team that no one believed in, ever…and they go on to…

On my worst days, I delude myself into thinking I did something. On my best, I know it’s all His.

Measuring what matters

We rarely measure happiness.

We rarely ask 0-10 how much stress a person is carrying.

We rarely measure how close people are to giving out and breaking down from constantly being under pressure

We measure customer happiness with dashboards and fancy names that people have to look up, like NPS. We do wellness checks at 30 and 90 and 180 days after a prospect purchases.

Imagine the untapped talent, health, and pure humanness we could put into our work-life, if we (really) asked the hard, uncomfortable questions by paying attention to the people that are the ‘how and why’ we get to eat and put a roof over our heads?

Churning your own butter

(Still) using your salespeople as Lead Generation, is like churning your own butter.

Think about how many times you personally buy from another companies similar ‘Marketing’ efforts? And do you even take their calls?

Companies with micro-growth, wearing their Salespeople out as a substitute for what Marketing was designed to do (lead generation) on average spend 90% of their ‘growth’ budget on Sales, 10% on Marketing.

Good: 30/70 Marketing/Sales
Better: 50/50
Best: 80/20

How successful would Apple be if they cut their Marketing budget by 80% and put kids outside the Apple store, like sea salt skin lotion rubbers?

This is how prospects view your company when Salespeople are used for ‘Marketing’.

“What are you reading”?

If I could write a book about work, an entire chapter would be devoted to my Division Manager at The Euclid Chemical Company, Dave Nicholson.

Dave was a voracious reader. He ALWAYS had a book in tow and would frequently ask about new books, old books, anything to make our jobs and us as humans more effective. He could write a book report on the spot, based on what he was reading. Stephen Covey espoused the principle of reading to teach, not just reading to read. I wish I could ask Dave now if that’s where he learned this habit?

When I directly reported to Dave, before he became Vice President of Sales, we used to talk about once a week. After his promotion, we probably talked about every 60 days or so. He always asked about my wife and children. Every single time. He knew them by name. My best friend’s Phil Gray and Kirby…he did the same with them.

My daughter talked to me last night about the people we have lost that had the most impact on our lives. It was poignant in that she is seeing at 19, life doesn’t get easier, it actually gets a bit more difficult year over year, but our capacity to deal with difficult grows.

Fake everything

Dear Micromanagers,

The more aggressively you try and rake your folks over the CRM coals, the more fake notes, fake calls, and in general, fake activity you will produce.

You’ve either got people that are motivated and engaged outside of your constant watchful and questioning eye or you don’t.

Important should win

Remember Stephen Covey’s quadrants for organizing time: Urgent, not urgent, important, not important (from First Things First)?

Once your company loosens the shackles and goes #workanywhere, the first thing you’ll notice is the Urgent is curtailed in favor of the Important. Naturally this makes sense, because in a traditional office it’s considered rude to ignore someone that walks in your doorway or stands in front of your cubicle. No matter what you are doing, you pretty much have to drop everything…that moment. Is that the most important thing you could or should be doing? Could it have just as easily been pre-empted by a message to ask the person when they are free and let them decide? Remote work teaches prioritization with no training needed.

5-7 interruptions per day + wasted time driving to a place that could literally be anywhere with power and internet = 2 hours a day of time that will never come back. This may be the way things are for some, but times are changing fast. Companies that don’t acclimate will lose workers to those that do.

25% of work-life balance and sanity is instantly gained with a #workanywhere policy as people can return messages when they are free and not working on other priorities.