A Coach for the People

This month I read “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.” This book is a look at the principles and practices and leadership of Bill Campbell who started by being a sports coach and moved to become one of the greatest business coaches, working with Apple, Google and other big businesses. The book shared about a man who had a really big heart, lots of smarts and great people skills. Everyone who knew him had great things to say about him, and even after his death his practices and teachings live on in the companies he worked with.

The core of the book and what Bill was all about, is people. Bill was all about teamwork, communication, openness, honesty and trust. He recognized that it all comes back to people: that people are what make or break a company, sell a product/service, help a customer, or buy a product/service; that to care about people you have to care about people; and that it’s not always about the problem but about having the right people on the team to get things done.

Much of what was shared through this book emphasized that it’s not just about having people to fill spaces or do a job, but about having healthy teams, healthy relationships, healthy lives and healthy communications. It’s not about perfection or getting it right all the time or not having disagreements or not having weaknesses, but about doing what’s good for the community; creating a culture of safety, clarity, meaning, and impact so teams can thrive; having dependable people on your team; keeping everyone on the same page across departments; and creating victories for today and tomorrow.

When it all comes down to it, what Bill knew and taught throughout his life was that while teams are essential and invaluable, everyone is their own person, responsible for how they live their life, how they give back, how they love, how successful they are, how they communicate, what kind of leader they are and what difference they make in the world. Each person Bill came into contact with was challenged to be their best, give their best and love the best they could.

As we head into the last months of this year, I would challenge you to not (just) focus on getting products and services out the door to as many people as possible, but to be a people person, to genuinely care about the people you connect with and to make each person’s day that you connect with a little better.

How Do You See Success?

Today I want to talk about an avenue to success that not everyone considers: doing the right thing. I know sometimes it seems like going the easy way, buying your way in or cutting corners is the way to go, and it will work for some people, but not in the long run and not always well. In fact, you can make more enemies and have more issues doing it that way than going about it the right way. I’m not saying that the right way has to be the hard way, but rather that doing the right thing, respecting other people, knowing when to stop and working towards wins for everyone will get you a bigger and better win every time.

There have been many stories in the news over the past 6 months, and even for many years past, of not-so-stellar examples of society both in individual people and in companies. I doubt that’s going to change any time soon, there will always be people who think that it’s fine to cheat, lie or steal. But lately the tide has been turning and the people who have been hurt are speaking up, and it’s great to see them coming forward. The one thing that’s not in the news as much as it should be are the people and companies who are going above and beyond, or just even doing the right thing, probably because it’s not really “interesting.”

So while doing the right thing and treating others with respect and dignity, giving them the opportunity to say yes or no, partnering with them, listening and talking, and working towards solutions together may not be glamorous or particularly news worthy, you’ll be able to create success that you feel good about, with the side benefit being that often they’ll be successful too. So how do you look at the steps to success? Do you see the sales you make in your business or at your job as an opportunity to work together with a customer? Do you see the challenges and issues that come up with your family and in your relationship as an opportunity to work together with your family to a solution that works for both or all of you? Do you see the choices you have to make as opportunities to become better and stronger, learning even if you fail? How do you see success?

Thank You Team

Today around America people are recognizing the people who make their lives easier: the administrative professionals, or secretaries.  So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk a bit about these amazing people and how we all work together.  In many cases they don’t get the recognition they deserve for all the overtime they put in and tough stuff they deal with.  Many of these people are truly responsible for our success.  Unfortunately there are some who don’t really do the job well and it’s tough to work with them.  So where does that bring us, especially since they are a valuable part of our lives?

1-they need to know we value them.  The people who make up your team need to know from day 1 how and why they’re important to you and your business.  By communicating their value to them on a regular basis, not just when they first start, you’re showing them you recognize the important role that they play in your life. Actions are important to, so make sure they know that they’re really valued and that you’re not just giving them lip service.

2-we need to support and listen to them.  They have important roles to play for us at work and as such communication between everyone has to be regular and clear.  Don’t give partial instructions, don’t micro manage, and don’t ignore them.  They can’t do the job as well as we need them to if we’re not all on the same page, if the standards required aren’t clear, and unless we all listen as much as we talk.

3-everyone needs to grow and improve.  We all have room to improve, each of us from the biggest CEO to lowest box packer.  Each of us has important roles to play, but within those roles there is always room for improvement.  Do yourself and your business a favor and read books, take classes, attend seminars and stay up to date on things.  This will help your business grow and will encourage your employees to do the same.  Including training or education as part of the employee’s job is one way to help everyone feel their best about who they are and what they do.

Together we are stronger than we are apart.  Do something nice for your team this week to show them how much you appreciate them.