Archive for September, 2014


that’s gonna leave a mark

RobertLouisStevensonThe natural growth of a leader is from doer to developer. But it is so rarely put in these terms. Those that are good as individual contributors are promoted to positions of leadership, but the skill set required is quite different.

In my younger years I made my professional mark as someone who got the job done. I was an executor of various tasks. But when I moved up the ranks I found that my job revolved around developing those underneath me. Some in positions of leadership lament that the majority of their time is spent “baby sitting” adult behavior.

But if we find ourselves in this funk, we need to re-evaluate the criticality of our roles. In, Leaders Without Borders, author Doug Dickerson points out teamwork should be a blessing, not a burden.

Leading a team takes a blend of coaching, disciplining, and motivating. In essence, we are the sower of the seeds into the fields of those whose development we are entrusted with. If we resort back to the role of reaper, as is often the case, we leave the role of leader vacant and future fields barren, incapable of bearing any fruit.

At the dedication ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Mrs. Disney was asked to give the comments as her husband had already passed. The emcee commented he wished Walt could have been there to see this development. Her response, “He did”. Leaders see the possibilities of future developments long ahead of everyone else. It’s called discernment and is the rarest of leadership traits.

Do we see the potential in those we are leading and sow the seeds accordingly? We are responsible for the eternal harvest that they will eventually reap. Making sure your team continues bearing fruit long after your departure is the surest mark of a true leader. Your legacy is your eternal harvest as a leader. Make sure it’s a bountiful one.


full of knowledge or just full of it?

10347643_10154390695845296_5449585575170190089_nAs a publisher and personal-development enthusiast, I hear varied opinions about the influence of reading such material. Much to my surprise, I had two highly-successful individuals tell me on two separate occasions that they don’t read it. Their reasoning? They already know it.

While I agree there is nothing new under the sun, it’s also true that the facts don’t change; we change. When we deafen our ears and hearts at one time, at another we have the capacity to see through the glass darkly and be transformed.

Clifton Fadiman said, “When you re-read a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself than there was before.” But if you already think you know it all, this continuous self-awareness is not an option.

If you have any issue going on in your life right now I implore you to open a book on the subject matter. Pain, like pleasure, has the capacity to get us to listen and to seek out the truth, to find a way to either eliminate the negative or accentuate the positive.

We are not programmed robots who perform based on a singular input. We are not “one and done.” It takes some of us a lifetime of hearing and re-hearing, reading and re-reading the same basic principles before they finally take hold. And even then it’s a constant discipline to make sure the transformation sticks.

Those who are genuinely high achievers know all too well how much they still have to learn. Muhammad Ali said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life”, and the legendary cellist Pablo Casals, when asked why he continued to practice at ninety years of age, replied, “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.” Don’t turn a blind eye to self-improvement. Chances are the more you think you know the more you have to learn.


It Doesn’t Have to Be Hell to Sell

Making the leap from service to sales doesn't have to be terrifying.

Making the leap from service to sales doesn’t have to be terrifying.

The management classic Who Moved My Cheese makes it clear: change is going to happen regardless of how you feel about it. In fact, you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s happening right now in your organization in ways you’ve never even imagined. Change doesn’t need us to acknowledge it; it does what it does because that’s the nature of change. And as the moral of the story goes, the sooner we accept and embrace it, the better off we’ll be.

Many will waste time bemoaning the pointless question, “Is this change necessary?”  The answer is yes; now don’t ever ask that stupid question again. Variety is the spice of life and a rolling stone gathers no moss. You’ve got to itch your niche. What’s in style one season is out the next. What once used to pinch now fits like a glove. Things change, markets change, people change. Continuous reinvention is what makes us successful. It’s the nature of evolution and survival of the fittest. This is not just a physical or genetic phenomenon. The same holds true for businesses. Change also keeps us relevant. The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice when he was ninety years old. His reply? “Because I think I’m making progress.”

So now that it’s come to your attention that you must “do” sales, let’s talk about what sales really is and isn’t. The basis of living life is to be of service to others. It’s at the core of the Golden Rule, the very fiber that ties us all together to live in a civilized and peaceful manner. Sales isn’t a spiel or a canned talk. As they say, “If you’re telling, you ain’t selling.” Sales is about meeting a need. Sales happen because someone offers a solution to a problem.

Make no mistake about it, sales does take work. The 20% who go back after five rejections gain 80% of the sales. And it’s tough to take that much rejection. But as I learned from selling books door to door during my college years, A Rejection = A Dead End, but An Objection = An Opportunity.

Last, and perhaps most important, you need to believe in what you’re offering. A customer can smell inauthenticity a mile away but it’s impossible to say no to someone who is passionate about what they offer.  If you don’t like your company, your boss, your product, your customer, or yourself, it’s going to bleed out into the conversation and kill any chance of building a relationship. People do business with those who solve problems. If you don’t believe in it, how can they? I have been faced with this dilemma several times. But it all boils down to this: if you can’t get excited about what it is you’re selling, it’s time to move on to something you can get excited about selling. Sales is all about making relationships and that requires passion. Make yourself irresistible to your potential clients and enjoy your new role!

The bottom line is unless the cash register rings the factory whistle won’t blow. The leap from service to sales is not as scary and vast as we have imagined. Sales are our lifeline and we are all salespeople at the cores of our being: people helping others to have a better life. So embrace your new role, it has the potential to be much more exciting and satisfying than you probably imagined.


Tremendous Tracey

CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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September 2014

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