Week of 10/24/22

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Morning Minute 10.24.22 The Leader's Behavior

(10/24/22) Morning Minute:

“The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior that the leader is willing to tolerate!”

That quote brought back a painful memory.

In the 1990’s, I joined a dealership in another state. During my dysfunctional 3-month tenure, I witnessed unlawful F&I practices, no inventory control, little sales process, nor training of any kind. Plus, the dealer was constantly obsessed with getting media attention.

This dealer blamed the poor results he was getting on his subordinates. In his view, the sales people were lazy and selfish, his sales and finance managers were dishonest, and his assistant was incompetent. None of these views were shared with me until I arrived on a Monday in April. It was then I was told that my primary objective would be to change the culture in the dealership and install processes to make people accountable.

In the beginning, it required 2 days just to locate all the vehicles shown on the books. It was necessary to replace the sales and finance managers. For control purposes we consolidated the sales teams into one showroom at the primary location, installing new processes at the budget lot. Plus, we hired additional staff and opened a new showroom across town.

Three months later, in June, a delegation of factory executives flew in to inspect the operation.  After a 6 hour tour the dealer invited this group to dinner at an exclusive downtown restaurant. After dinner, the dealer asked me, “To cover the tab because his assistant had not paid his credit card bill. I agreed, if he would reimburse me the next morning. I paid the $2400 bill. The next morning, when I applied for reimbursement, the dealer actually asked me why he owed me $2400. After cashing my reimbursement check, I resigned and worked a 2-week notice. I assisted him by finding my replacement and left with a clear conscience. He never paid me for the last two weeks.

My friend and mentor, Dave Anderson, shares that “A fish doesn’t rot from the tail up. It rots from the head down!” In addition to not tolerating bad behavior, a leader cannot expect any better behavior than that leader displays in his own personal and professional life.

And that is today’s Morning Minute.

Morning Minute 10.26.22, Just Do It!

“Just Do It!”

That Nike commercial reminded me of a situation that our old neighborhood community faced many years ago. An 18-year-old boy was out of control. He would roam the neighborhood all hours of the day and night showing up unexpectedly in neighbor’s yards. He would hide weird things around for younger kids to find. When he started stalking the younger kids, he could no longer be ignored. He was way out of control.

The neighbors met to discuss options. They suggested a neighborhood watch group, or restricted hours for children to play, and only with parents supervising. Several parents had called the police but with no help because he had broken no laws. One parent suggested that some fathers should have a “chat” with the boy. That “chat” most likely would not affect the boy’s behavior without putting these fathers in legal or physical jeopardy.  

One man stepped forward. He stated that, “We will not change our lives to accommodate this boy.” He shared that he would confront the boy’s mother to get this solved, thereby, hopefully avoiding an altercation or the involvement of the police. He said he would, “Just Do It!”

He met the mother to discuss these issues. At first, she was defiant, claiming that none of this was happening. He shared that a father of 4 kids had taken the boy’s picture as he was stalking them at a birthday party. A worried look came over her face. The man continued. “This situation would only end in one of a couple of ways. The boy would do something bad, or a child would get hurt, and he would be arrested. Or, one of the parents will sense that a child was in danger and the boy would get hurt. Or, you, his mother, will take control of your son, get him some help, and prevent any of those bad things from happening.”

She stated that she would handle it. Two days later, the boy disappeared from the neighborhood.

Think about a bad situation that required you to take direct immediate action. Did you convene a committee? Did you change everyone else to accommodate the person who was wrong? Or, did you attack the problem and solve it.  Did you, “Just Do It?”

And that is today’s Morning Minute.

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Morning Minute 10/28/22 The True Meaning of Leadership

(10/28/22) Morning Minute:

Three timeless quotes…

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”  Harvey Firestone

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”  Steve Jobs

“Leadership is not about being the best. It is about making everyone else better.”  Unknown

Notice the common threads with each of these quotes.

·       In exactly none of these statements is the leader the primary subject. The leader is portrayed as the coach or teacher. Too many “leaders” feel that they have achieved their position as a reward for excellent performance prior to their promotion. Leadership responsibilities are much different than those of the people they lead.

·        In all these statements the key message reveals an undeniable truth. The leader’s primary responsibility is to help his or her team members to achieve the greatest success that they are capable of.  

What facts do these statements reveal about the true nature of leadership?

The activities required to excel as a team member differ from the requirements of an excellent leader. A great player seldom makes a great coach. Conversely, great coaches are usually not the greatest players. Simply put, the success of the team as a unit and the success of individual team members is the most effective way to measure the value of a leader.

Think of it this way. In sports, how many MVP’S or Heisman trophy winners go on to be great coaches? How many super salespeople go on to become great General Managers? How many great doctors go on to become fantastic hospital administrators? Being the best that you can be is quite different from inspiring others to be the best they can be. While excellent individual performance can lead to individual greatness, the leader or coach will only be considered great by creating superior teams with great team members.

Here is a final thought...

If you desire to be a great leader or coach, learn how to attract, recruit, train, motivate and retain high quality people. Then organize these folks utilizing their strengths and abilities to achieve and to surpass the goals of the organization. Accept the blame for team failures and give the credit for the team’s success to the team members. Then you will be a great leader.

And that is today’s Morning Minute.