What a great year 2010 turned out to be. My wife and I were blessed throughout the year with tremendous opportunities, amazing new friends, and the opportunity to positively impact so many people’s lives. And now, with 2011 just around the corner, I’ve got a little housekeeping to do…A Powerful Message
First, I’m excited to inform you that I have a new book coming out. A few months back, I gave one of my best keynotes ever entitled: You Gotta Love This Economy
. My audience included approximately 500 auto dealers, many of whom had been dealing with difficult, costly changes over the past several years. Haven’t we all? When I finished my speech, I was thrilled with the tremendous response. People started lining up with their business cards in hand, asking me to come share the message You Gotta Love this Economy
with their teams.
The feedback I kept hearing was that my message was so strong and direct -- and inspiring. I am excited to announce I plan to share this message, which includes concrete steps anyone can follow to take action now
and achieve their goals. I promise it will change how you look at this, or any economy and how you can drive sales to your company’s bottom line. Watch for the pre-order form in the New Year! Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter will get the first editions.Please Help with Your Vote!
Next up, what could be more welcoming in the New Year than a public forum? This is one of those opportunities in life that is so huge, it’s almost impossible to wipe the smile off my face. In 2009 I was nominated as one of America’s top five speakers in Sales/Customer Service. I didn’t win in 2009, but I’ve been nominated again for the second straight year. Those of you in the public speaking business know that this is a really big deal. Just getting nominated gives me recognition among my peers. But, winning one of the top five spots would give me what I really want: nation-wide recognition which, in turn, will help me continue my journey to realize my vision of raising the self-esteem of the human race with more opportunities to meet and coach more people. Next time you see me, I might be wearing running shoes morning, noon and night just to keep up! But, to be one of the Top 5, I need a lot of votes. This is where you can help!
Each year, Speakers Platform recognizes five speakers within fifteen popular topic areas. Recognition of excellence in speaking is based on: expertise, professionalism, innovation within the topic area, presentation skills and, of course, votes. The nominees for 2011 include popular speakers like Brian Tracy, Jim Cathcart, and Harry Beckwith, which is why your vote is so important! Please click here to cast your vote for me today. It only takes a minute. Anyone can vote for their favorite speakers (including you) by visiting the official ballot here.
I’m asking you to do this big favor for me. Again, please vote for Jim Jackson in the 13th category.
Please pass this onto your friends, Facebook, Twitter or any other social venue. The winners will be announced on January 15, 2011 so please vote now.
Thank you for your vote of support and may you have a wonderful 2011. Your vote and support means the world to me as I am always seeking ways to raise the self-esteem of the human race.
If you would like to learn more about You Gotta Love This Economy
for your team, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and know that in 2011 the best is yet to come!
My sister called the other day and I could tell right away from her voice that something wasn’t right. After a few minutes of small talk, she asked: what if she’s not as smart as she thinks she is - and then she admitted to having made a couple of mistakes at work in the last week or so. I laughed and told her she’s made lots of mistakes in her life, why all the concern now! I swear to you the line went so quiet and cold, I could hear crickets in the background and my whole body chilled!
Remember the Electric Maze? (See my article about team building excercises dated August 19, 2010.) This is a simple yet valuable team-building tool I sometimes use in my seminars. This team exercise uses an 'Electric Maze' as a tool to teach employees about team dynamics -- and understand the experience and value of risk-taking. Each team member must make their way across a carpet maze of squares under which there are hidden 'beepers'. The contestants move one person at a time, one square at a time until they hit a beeping square. The challenge is to cross the maze from one square to another without setting off any beeping squares. Hit a beeping square and the contestant must start over. After a sometimes funny and sometimes frustrating hour or so, they all make it across and off the carpet. Amazing, huh? Not really.
You see, the brain is success-oriented. Take, for example, learning to walk. It doesn’t matter how many times a child falls down, he tries standing again and again until he gets it. Then he takes that first step, and falls again. It’s a wonder any of us ever learned to walk let alone run, jump, or any of the myriad amazing things we can do. Every single accomplishment we now call our own, started out with a risk of failure. Failure is only realized if you don’t get back up. We have the choice to learn and get up, or sit in failure. From the first time that baby stood on his own, his brain caught on to what works and what doesn’t. After the success of standing, his brain wanted to repeat the success, so he tried walking. Learning a skill is nothing more than repeating a successful memory.
Now, imagine an entire team of repeat winners! Every one of your team members is going to set off the beeping square at one time or another. Don’t panic, don’t throw in the towel, and don’t just sit there in your imaginary pile of failure. The beeping squares are bits of information. It’s your job to remind your employees or team members that, first and foremost, they are successful and that everything they learn from here on out is a part of that success. Information (combined with our past experience) is what allows us to move forward; success is what propels us. When you keep your eye on the prize of success (or as I like to refer to it: the donut), the learning curve doesn’t even seem that difficult.
By the way, I wouldn’t suggest laughing at your employees or team members when they have a “learning moment.” My sister and I share a unique and dear relationship that we’ve been working on since we were kids. You know those people who stand around the perimeter of the trampoline when someone is jumping or performing? Or how about the person who stands near someone on the balance beam or while lifting weights? That person is called a spotter. My sister and I spot each other and have for more than 40 years. That’s what you can do for your team members: spot for them. Let them know that even if they drop a sale or miss a deadline, it’s just information and you’ll be there as they learn their way to success. Do you see how their success makes you and your business successful? When any one member of the team wins, the entire team remembers that success – and that’s a powerful lesson!
Jim Jackson is a top Team Building speaker - learn more here!
I gave the keynote presentation last month in front of approximately 500 dealers at the AutoStar conference. Afterward, several of the dealers commented on how valuable the information was to moving them personally a nd professionally forward. With that in mind, I casually interviewed several of these dealers to learn just exactly what keeps them up at night.
The first concern most of them had was just dealing with all the CHANGE lately, both personally and professionally. I think we can all easily understand this; who hasn’t been affected by the economy lately? But, change can be really exciting. I study people and how they deal with change. In fact, I wrote a book not too long ago on this very topic, titled, Power to Change. (You can download a chapter at no cost by clicking here.)
Until recently, for most of us, the last ten years have been pretty predictable: each day was pretty much like the one before. Sure, there were changes; but, because they tended to be gradual and subtle over time, barely visible to us. For business, it was generally clear sailing on calm waters -- we knew what to expect, more or less. We counted on the sameness, the routine of things. We planned our business activities with confidence that the next year would be maybe ten percent better than the last, and then the next year ten percent better again. Occasionally we ran into a few bumps here and there, a few surprises that may have thrown us out of balance temporally, but we had no trouble getting right back on course.
I remember reading Future Shock (Alvin Toffler, Random House, 1970) in the early 1970s. Mr. Toffler, a futurist, opined that life and business in the next century would be more complex, more challenging than what we were then experiencing. He cautioned that most people simply would not be ready and would experience “future shock.” People scoffed and said it couldn’t happen to them. Want to bet?
We live and work fundamentally different today than we did in the past. We now operate in an almost permanent state of flux. Everyone knows that change is constant, but right now it feels like change is happening faster and closer to home. That’s what’s known in river-rafting terms as constant white-water. I know some of you are paddling as fast as you can, yet it feels like you’re tumbling uncontrollably over the falls, barely hanging on for dear life. We all know someone – a friend, a dealer or a local business -- who has lost their business.
Look at your business model right now. I’m willing to bet it is completely different from what it was even just six months ago. Change is real and the sooner you accept the circumstances as the current reality, the quicker you can retool your business. Retool your business and move on by asking yourself: What do I need to do differently today to get different results? Deal with what is in front of you now.
I have a fellow speaker who is a good friend of mine, that I like to brain-storm with because his background is so radically different from mine. Kevin Sweeney was an all-conference collegiate basketball player before he went into the Air Force. He flew as a combat pilot in two wars and was awarded the United State Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross. In civilian private life, he became a successful executive for a Fortune 500 company.
Kevin is the only person to have successfully landed a KC-135 tanker (the military version of the Boeing 707 four-engine jet) after the two engines on his left wing came completely off the airplane while in flight. He did it at night, at maximum weight, and on a Desert Storm combat mission.
Kevin and I have talked about this experience many times. On one of those occasions, he said something that really stuck in my mind and it applies to us right now. He said he had confidence in both his team and himself. But the key was when one of his crew asked if they should bail out, and he said no. He told the crewman: We have two engines on the right side and a great crew; we work with what we’ve got right now. Obviously, it would have been nice (ideal, actually) if the other two engines were back on the left side, but they weren’t, so their choice was to work what they had. And, that’s what I’m telling you: Work with what you’ve got right now.
Change is going happen whether you want it to or not. The only thing that separates you and the person next to you is how you respond to change. Embrace change by working with what you have in front of you right now. Then ask yourself: What do I need to do different to get different results? Change isn’t good or bad, it’s just different. That is all change is: just different.
Here are five specific actions you can (and should) take to help you not only handle change, but make change work for you. 1. Ask yourself: What do I need to do differently to get different results? 2. Work with what you have in front of you right now. 3. Teach people to embrace and succeed with change. 4. Have 30-, 60- and 90-day business plans and review often, making adjustments when necessary. 5. Own the Play-to-Win attitude.
The question I get most often is “How do I motivate my ___________?” You can fill in the blank with employees, or team, or team leaders. That got me to thinking: how much motivation does a football player need to line up on the field with his team and get the daylights knocked out of him again and again in the hopes of moving an odd-shaped ball down the field? Sure, he gets paid buckets of money, but is that enough motivation for a dislocated shoulder or a concussion just to win a game?
Maybe yes and maybe no. I decided to watch football a couple Sundays ago – purely for research and education - to study the way football coaches and/or other players motivate or get motivated. So, I got my tin of Garrett popcorn, grabbed the remote, put my feet up and settled in for a couple hours of intense scrutiny and investigation via the NFL. The fact that I had ten bucks on Seattle to win had nothing whatsoever to do with my self-imposed viewing assignment.
Before the game started, here’s what I learned from listening to the sportscasters who, apparently, are all football experts: Each team has to get out there and get the job done. The sports announcers (who are themselves retired football players and coaches) tell us that in order for each team to get the job done, they need momentum and energy. The way to win games is with momentum and energy, which comes from getting the job done. And, no matter what else happens, don’t screw up. A team just can’t win games if they’re screwing up and not getting the job done. Coaches can get fired and players can be released from their contracts for not getting the job done and winning games. Seriously? Is anyone listening to this crap? And by crap, I mean double-talk, empty platitudes, and fear.
Are you handing out crap to your employees? Do you give meaningful direction to your team members or talk in empty platitudes? Are you trying to motivate your sales staff by putting the fear of getting fired into them? Let’s face it, if what you’re doing right now was working for you, you wouldn’t be reading this article right now or looking for ways to motivate your team. And, to that I say: Congratulations. Whether you get insight from me or anyone else, the fact that you are this proactive will pay dividends. You are on your way to increasing the profitability of your company.
Ask me that question from the top again, but this time insert the word “empower” for the word “motivate.” How do I empower my team? Is there a difference between motivation and empowerment? If so, is the difference really all that important?
You’re not a babysitter to your employees or staff, you’re not their momma, and you’re not their best friend – you’re the coach and leader. And, as leader, the best you can do is to allow your team members to also be leaders. Tell your team what you’re looking for and what your expectations are and then get out of the way.
You’re the coach, so it’s up to you to decide what your company needs – give your team the plays and let them run with it. In other words, the coach designs the plays, but it’s up to the players to make each play actually happen successfully. By giving your team members individual accountability, you’re giving them ownership of their successes -- and their failures. They can truly feel proud when they succeed. And when they don't, they'll have a greater sense of responsibility to learn from their mistakes.
There may be other “steps” to motivating a team; but, I believe real, long-lasting motivation comes from empowering each individual to be accountable for his or her own success and, therefore, the success of the team. The quarterback would never get one pass thrown if he couldn’t rely on the success of his offensive line. The running back wouldn’t make it three paces if he didn’t have successful blockers. When a team (or an individual) achieves their goal, or gets a new client, or whatever, that is definitely something a team can rally around and, hopefully, repeat. And, if a team member cannot, or will not, learn from the mistakes, it might be time to let him or her go.
Now, back to my football Sunday. (Have you ever noticed how watching football is a great excuse for eating snacks?) Seattle was getting thumped by the New York Giants so, at half-time, I changed channels and watched a short interview down on the field with a rookie quarterback whose team had just won. The reporter asked him what went right that day. The quarterback had praise for the special teams, the defense, the offensive line, the receivers and running backs, the coaches, and even for the opposing team.
The reporter knew that the rookie quarterback had had an exceptional game that day, so the reporter asked him the question again. What went right that day? The young quarterback thought it over some more and finally replied that he himself had performed well that day.
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