A short while ago, before I left for 1 week’s vacation we tried an experiment. I decided not to run my business from afar and trust my very capable team to keep the balls bouncing and the wheels rolling. We drew days from a hat and 5 members from our team got to be “Boss for the day”. No great amount of thought went into it other than determining a fair way of selecting those who would be in charge. It could have been a lame and chaotic exercise…not so.
First of all, each “Boss” took the task seriously. And maybe because the gavel would soon be passed to the next team member, the remaining members of the team were co-operative with their new leader for the day. How do I know this? I did a debriefing as soon as I got back. I sat with each “Boss” and employee and had a 5 question recap of how everyone felt the individual “Bosses” did and also had the “Bosses” do a self assessment of their performance. There was a clear and unanimous winner.
The next day we ordered pizza and announced the winner and runner up. The winners both got a small cash prize. Everyone enjoyed the experience and I believe it was an effective team building exercise. It was an opportunity to change things up and break the routine. They had a good time and I actually took a real vacation…maybe the first time ever.
My observation with this and other experiences is that it’s hard to share a spotlight. Some very capable people stay in the shadows either by choice, lack of opportunity or by surrounding themselves with more outwardly confident people that “seek the light” and enjoy it. Our winner was one of those “shadow people” and everyone that picked him as the winner said it with a bit of surprise in their voice. Coincidently, the winner was also the only one who confessed they had a headache at the end of their “Boss for the Day” event.
I would encourage others to try this exercise. It worked rather well and was a great learning experience for all involved.
Lee’s Quote For The Day
“Although the right person doesn’t always end up in charge, for business to flourish it is a necessary requirement. Oddly enough, sometimes the best candidate can come from the shadows, not the spotlight.”
In one of my blogs not too far back, I suggested that if you have a diversified service mix you need to maintain the quality of each product to a similar high standard…maybe not. Last night some musician friends of mine were backing up a Japanese blues guy and invited me to come by. After viewing the performance it made me rethink my previous stance.
So here is a young blues man who has studied the traditional greats like Little Walter, Muddy Walters, Big Joe Williams and so on. His main thing is playing harp (harmonica) and he is extremely good at it, way above average and most definitely at a professional level. Born in Japan, he hasn’t quite mastered the English language and you can clearly hear a thick accent in his voice. If he had started off singing, you might have dismissed him totally as a bad karaoke performer, for at first it’s almost comical to hear his rendition of the traditional blues classics that make up his repertoire. But…
..but he started off with his strongest talent first. He was very credible as a blues harp player so you gave him a little more rope before judging his vocal abilities. And guess what? Although an acquired taste, he was very sincere in his performance and within a few songs you couldn’t help but accept him. And after a set of his brand of blues, with an awesome back up band (another immediate source of credibility) and confident performance…he was an undeniable hit.
It was a bit of an epiphany for me and maybe a lesson for us all. If we lead with our strength, are prepared and confident… maybe clients will let us sing the occasional number that is a little out of tune, providing we continue to impress them with our core service talents.
Lee’s quote for the day
“It’s probably true that you never get a second chance at a first impression… so let’s hone our talent and lead with our strength so that by association, the odd sour notes that come later aren’t quite as noticeable!”
As I get to know my customers better, I’m surprised to find so many boomers in charge of transportation sales and marketing who share my interest in riding motorcycles and playing guitar. Many of us have rekindled these passions later in life, but is it a mid-wife crisis, a way to keep our Mo-jo workin’ or just good old fashion fun?
Regardless of the reason we enjoy the 3M’s, here are a few things to keep straight as we continue these activities into our senior years.
• Music. If your plucking your G string make sure it’s attached to your guitar.
• Motorcycles. Although wearing leather chaps promotes safe cruising on the highway, prepare for different reactions if you mistakenly wear them to the boardroom or the bedroom.
• Marketing. If you don’t understand how you are different from your competition, neither will your customers.
Lee’s Quote for the day. “You need to blend out, not in, to get noticed. This applies equally to your marketing, your music and your motorcycles.”