One Of My Bigger Regrets

 I really do not have many regrets in life.  Partially because I make reasonably intelligent choices most of time, and partially because I am too arrogant to admit I made a mistake in the first place.  That being said, one of my greatest regrets in life has been my complete lack of effort in attempting to maintain relationships.  I am great at building relationships with the people I work with, but when we no longer work together for whatever reason those relationships quickly fade away.  I don’t make a strong enough effort to keep in touch with people.

 I have been making much more of an effort to reconnect with some of the people from my past.  I have harnessed the power of LinkedIn and used it to reach out to many people that I have not spoken to in years.  I have picked up the phone and called a few people as well. 

I would love to tell you that the result has been a magical rekindling of old friendships and I was able to pick back up right where I left off with all of my old contacts.   I would love to tell you that, but that would not exactly be the truth.  In some cases, I have absolutely reconnected and I think I actually brought some joy to the people I was reaching out to.  My call was unexpected and I was reaching out for no other purpose than I wanted to talk to them.  I think it made them feel very appreciated and special.  In other cases the calls were very awkward and I think they were waiting for me to ask for something or trying to figure out what my angle was.  Every call may not have had a fairy tale ending, but a few of them really made some old friends smile so I would consider the effort a success.

Here is my advice to you, reach out to an old contact today.  Call them, don’t email your communication.  I had a much higher success rate with the phone calls I made as opposed to the emails I sent.  If one of your old contacts is still local to you, then arrange to have coffee or meet for breakfast one morning. My career path would have been far better if I had taken the time to maintain relationships throughout my career.  It took me a very long time to realize the value of maintaining relationships.  Fortunately, I like to believe that I am still evolving so I am taking the necessary actions to correct my behaviors.  Learn from my mistakes and regrets and reach out to someone today that you have not spoken to in a long time.  Step away from Twitter and Facebook and actually connect with someone today.   

It turns out your Iphone can actually be used for more than updating your Facebook page. It can actually make phone calls as well.

Who Has The Most Influence Over Your Career?

I was in a meeting yesterday and an interesting thing happened.  The CEO of our company walked in and everyone instantly perked up.  Those that were multi-tasking and not really paying attention suddenly stopped and gave their full attention.  Everyone was charming and smiling and actively engaged in a pleasant exchange of ideas.  Then the CEO walked back out and the mood changed instantly.That started me thinking, why do we treat the CEO so much better than we treat our peers or our employees?  Being the inquisitive person I am, I asked a few people.  Most of the answers I got started with “I don’t treat the CEO any differently but I think other people do because….”  Apparently this is a behavior we are incapable of recognizing in ourselves.  Come to think of it, I don’t think I treat the CEO any differently, but maybe I am fooling myself.  At any rate, they went on to theorize that people treat the CEO better than their peers because they believe that he holds more influence over the future of their careers.  That he can influence whether they keep their jobs, get promoted, or get a raise.

There may be some truth to that, but not a whole lot in my opinion.  I would like to believe that I have a great deal of influence over the future of my career.  I know my job well.  I have spent a great deal of time educating myself on my industry and as a result I sincerely think that I am one of the world’s foremost experts on what I do.  Whether that belief is true or not is almost irrelevant as I do not think that is what keeps me employed or keeps my future bright.  I think the main thing that keeps me employed is that I have a long track record of success.  I have a long track record of success because I treat my employees better than I would treat the CEO.

No matter how smart, ambitious, or creative I am, my future depends on my employees.  They can make or break me.  They are the most valuable people to my long-term success.  I honestly believe that and I treat them accordingly.  If they need to talk, then I make time to talk to them.  If there are issues that keep them from being as productive as they can be, then I deal with the issues swiftly.  I try to praise them often and ensure that they know just how much I do appreciate them.  They know that they are important to me because I remind them every chance I get.

My advice is to treat each of your employees as if they were the CEO of your company.  Scratch that, my advice is to treat each of your employees better than you treat the CEO.  It is the best way to ensure your long-term success as a manager.

Thank You Ken And All The Great Managers

Today, I am honored to bring you another guest post from Greg Blencoe:

Society is powered by an economic engine that produces products and services that enhance the human experience.  The mind, labor, and components of the Earth comprise the intellectual, physical, and natural resources that serve as the ingredients for these creations.

 

A great paradox of business is that one person can do very little and one person can do so much.

 

One finger on one hand can only lift so much weight and can do very little.  But the ten fingers on two hands working together can lift vastly more weight and have far greater usefulness.

 

In a business context, one person can’t build and sell lots of cars.  One person can’t operate an airline.  And one person can’t run a typical fast-food restaurant.

 

Business is about teamwork.  Business is about teams.  And those teams are led by managers.

 

In most circumstances, one person working alone can only do very little.  But one person who is a manager can do so much.  The power of the team is unleashed by the power of the manager.

 

Great products and services come from great teams which come from great managers.

 

In early 1990 just a few weeks after my 16th birthday, I started working at the Little Caesars Pizza fast-food restaurant located at the intersection of Main Street and the Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  One of the employees that I got to work with a lot was an assistant manager named Ken.  Within a few weeks, I started to develop a strong bond with Ken.  I loved working for him.

 

In life, major differences in outcomes are often the result of a consistent implementation of simple actions over a long period of time.  Momentum in the direction of a specific outcome builds very slowly but very surely with each simple action that is taken.  The little things are the big things.

 

I could spend a very long time explaining why Ken was such a great manager.  But instead I will just focus on six words.

 

A simple and common task that Ken would often ask me to complete was to get him a container of sauce when he was making pizzas.  The conversation would usually go something like this:

 

“Hey Greg, could you get me a container of pizza sauce?”

 

And then after I would get the container of pizza sauce for him, he would say:

 

“Thanks, I appreciate it.”

 

This brief interaction would have had a much different meaning if the words could, you, thanks, I, appreciate, and it were omitted.  These six words were the difference between respect and disrespect, high and low morale, and pride and resentment.

 

Those six words that Ken said were the little things that were the big things.

 

The financial and human resources under the guidance of great managers appreciate in value.  This can lead to the creation of more wealth, more jobs, and more happiness and fulfillment.

 

On the other hand, unpleasant situations at work can infect the sanctity of our homes with negative energy.  A virus that starts at work can spread to our families and beyond.  Most of us know what this feels like.

 

Managers influence our lives tremendously in a variety of ways.  I’m so deeply grateful that Ken has had such a positive influence on mine.  And like all of the other great managers out there, his presence uplifts the world.

 

Thank you, Ken.

 

Thanks for those six words.  Thanks for uncovering and igniting my passion for management techniques that maximize employee morale, motivation, and productivity.  Thanks for continuing to uplift the world today as an electrical engineer who is the head of your department.

 

Thank you, Ken.  And thanks to all of the other great managers out there.

 

Do you have a story about a great manager in your life?

 

Greg Blencoe is the author of “The Supermanager: A Short Story About the Secrets of an Extremely Successful Manager” which is available on Amazon.com.