Carol Blair recently spoke at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute event that I attended.
She outlined 5 FANTASTIC leadership goals:
- Pursue purpose with passion
- Practice solid values
- Lead with your heart
- Establish lasting relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline
- What do you think of this list?
- Would you add anything to it?
If you are an up and coming leader, this is a great list to focus on. If you are a well established leader, hopefully this helps take your “leading-abilities” to the next level.
You can find Carol at:
My first job out of university was with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car. It was high paced, non-stop action role that keeps me running all day. Most days I did not believe that we could take care of all the customers, but we did. Things just always worked out.
Part of our jobs was washing cars. On the surface anyone should be able to wash a car. But in that business, the key was to wash it quickly, but still make things spotless.
I worked for several Branch Managers and Assistant Managers during my 2+ years with the company, and they were each different. They got similar exceptional results, but the way they each lead and managed was unique.
But there was one commonality. They would never hesitate to jump into the car wash and clean a vehicle at a moment’s notice. I was once told that you just “tuck your tie in to your shirt so it does not get wet, or sucked up in to the vacuum“, and just GET IT DONE.
They would also do many other tasks that were not on their job description like pick up customers, and start cars when it was colder than -30 degrees celsius!
These people stood out for me as true leaders. It would have been easy for them to sit in their offices, shuffle paperwork and pretend that they were doing more important things then help customers be completely satisfied with their rental experience, but that was not in their DNA. They were there to help, no matter how crummy the tasks were, all in the name of “just being one of the team”.
Even though it was over 15 years ago that I washed my last car at Enterprise, I still think back fondly of the lessons learned – and there were many of them.
But the best lessons learned taught a shy, stuttering young kid how to be a leader. How to never put myself ahead of the team, and how to never put myself on a pedestal too high, that I could not help out people who really needed me.
- Who were the best leaders that you have worked for?
- What made them a cut above the rest?
I have heard a couple of incredible interviews recently with hockey coaches. I immediately thought of the parallels to leaders in the business world. It seemed like an opportune time to repost this article on a professional hockey coach.
I was driving home from work one day last January and heard an awesome interview with Jeremy Rutherford from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the Team 1260 Sports Radio in Edmonton. The discussion focused on the new coach of the St. Louis Blues, Ken Hitchcock, and the team’s amazing turn-around since his hiring.
Highly regarded professional hockey coach Ken Hitchcock was out of work for some time when the St. Louis Blues hired him in November, 2011. He had a reputation throughout the National Hockey League as a disciplinarian for many years, and lead with a “my way or the highway” approach. He had a history of conflict with young players who were having trouble adapting to his style of play.
By the time he took over the floundering yet talented Blues hockey club, the positive change in the team was almost instantaneous. At one point in January of 2012, they were on a 21 wins, 6 losses and 2 overtime losses run. The team’s fans and casual observers were impressed with the team’s turnaround, but not totally surprised based on Hitchcock’s history of success.
When Jeremy Rutherford was asked about Hitchcock’s most recent success, his answer was simple and to the point,
He adjusted his coaching style to cater to today’s players. There is still accountability, but the players are not afraid to make one mistake and then have their butt stapled to the bench for an extended period. Two veterans who had previously played for Hitchcock gave the players a head’s up of what to expect from their new coach.
Rutherford described a potential scenario,
“You make one mistake, no problem. You make a second mistake, no problem. You continue to make the same mistake; the coach and player are going to have to find solutions.”
The part of the radio interview that impressed me the most discussed that Coach Hitchcock had studied all 30 teams for several months while he was unemployed. He was preparing for his next opportunity, and waiting for the phone to ring.
Two things stood out for me about this message:
- He was not just sitting at home waiting for the next job to fall in to his lap
- He had the positive belief that another role would come his way, and it was only a matter of time
- Have you ever observed a sport or business team make a remarkable improvement after a coaching or management change?
- Can you pinpoint specific reasons for the improvement?
David Kanigan is one of my favourite bloggers out there. Check out these fantastic steps to leadership excellence!
- Be strategic. Be Tactical. Be a firefighter.
- Push for productivity. For excellence. Pull. Pull with PURPOSE.
- Set pace. Drive. Pause. Stop. Change. BALANCE.
- Build Relationships. CARE. Keep adequate distance.
- Learn. Coach. Nurture. Correct.
- Hire. Upgrade. Right-size. Fire. (sigh)
- Lead. Manage. Own. Delegate. Follow. Release.
- Show Strength. Be Resilient. Be Tough. Be Fair. Be compassionate. Admit weakness.
- Cheer. Rally. Celebrate. Recognize. Recover. Regroup. INSPIRE.
- Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. Be on. BE ON.
How do you spell sales team dinner? “B.O.R.I.N.G.”
Ok, it is not always boring, but over my career the team dinner concept has been uneventful most of the time. Why not mix it up and plan an event that will be memorable to the team in the future?
If you are having trouble deciding what to do, ask them! Reward the winning creative idea with a gift card.
I can honestly tell you that I barely remember anything that happened at team dinners over the years. But from my list below, I have vivid memories of laughter and fun that will last a life time. You don’t have to make a big splash with an expensive outing for this to be effective. Just try something new to show the team that you are thinking outside the box.
I could blog for a couple of weeks straight sharing stories from participating in these events:
- Weekend retreat at a Sales Manager’s cabin
- Go Cart Racing with the sales team
- Movie Night with the sales team
- Golf outings (many gatherings were at dream locations in the picturesque Rocky Mountains)
- Professional sporting events