Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

Millennial Mania and the Next Big Productive Wave

Monday, February 4th, 2019

We’ve been hearing, talking and learning about this numerical force of nature for more than a decade.

Now parents themselves, they also hold important positions at companies, in politics and in every other aspect of our lives. They touch our daily existence and we’re better for it.

I gave a keynote to 2000 people recently and mentioned that “some of you are worn out, checked out and even grossed out by the fact that you’re getting older. Right? Yet, your ideas carry weight and your experience is essential, however there IS a new sheriff in town. Personally, I’m often the oldest dude in any room now. And my generation actually began using ‘dude’ way before recent generations.”

Are we finished talking about this group? Have we seen the last of this coddled, tenacious, and social group of 80 million? I don’t believe so. But some people are writing that 2019 is the end of the Millennial discussion. I call these folks delusional! Wishful thinkers that want things THE WAY THEY USED TO BE.

Umm, when is the last time anything stayed the same?

All generations are asking for a healthier workplace with incentives for staying fit, healthier working conditions and open communications from C-Suite to new staff.
 
And, management wants increased productivity from all generations!
 
I offer up solutions in my presentations and training. Among them is the massively important and not so new-idea of having a workplace culture that is built around communicating openly and freely at work. Ideas flow, positive cultural changes are made and workers are essentially happier, plus more productive!
 
The truth can sting. Honesty grows relationships. Open and honest communications that are respectful often lead to greater workplace productivity and staff retention.

I understand that isn’t easy for everyone. However, leaders that want to grow need to do this. Employers that want to spend less money onboarding new staff must do this. And, Boomers, Gen X and Millennials best understand the specific needs of each generation. An hour or two meeting discussing the similarities and differences can yield big dividends for everyone. It can be fun, enlightening and empowering as we begin to prepare for the next big wave-Generation Z.

As we prepare for a generation of approximately 61 million strong, it good to remember that their group size is larger than Gen X but smaller than Millennials.
They are unique (as is every generation) and some have already graduated high school and even college.  However, their way of working and living is more aligned with a “Millennials meet the Silent Generation aka WWII AKA Greatest Gen” hybrid. This means quick to learn, eager to work yet stay in one place and are more conservative with their spending.
 
Marketing professionals have been reaching out to this group for years. And, they have not forgotten Millennials in their advertising either. Over 135 million strong, these two generation offer gigantic numbers of workers, consumers and voters.
 
And, all generations want support with topics ranging mental health issues to free fruit and water; from biking to work incentives and more. Business leaders have begun to recognize the fact that happy, healthy employees mean more productive employees, regardless of generation. Having a wellness plan can also help to attract and retain the best talent.
 
The days of lumping everyone into a specific age group are fleeting but not gone. Recognizing individual talent, providing a healthy work environment and connecting them to your company’s goals through open communications are the new normal.


A workplace that has an open and positive workplace culture grows, matures and retains employees better than ones who do not. And, recognizing the similarities we have and connecting us to one another is essential in maintaining a positive and productive workplace.

What are you doing to connect generations at work? If asked, would your staff agree that your organization has an open workplace environment that creates a culture of ideas, health and is both client and employee-focused?
 
To learn more or to set up time to chat with Scott visit http://www.scottlesnick.com/

Limited Resources or Unlimited Resourcefulness: Getting More Done

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

How can we increase our productivity when confronted with limited resources? This talk proposes that we start from the understanding that resourcefulness requires consideration of multiple perspectives of the same resources. Resourcefulness follows from having the context to see something well enough to understand how we can take advantage of what otherwise might appear to be an obstacle.

Scott Lesnick exemplifies the attributes of the Never Give Up guy in many areas of his life.

Scott Lesnick at TEDx Oshkosh

Having experienced an unimaginable horror in his personal life, Scott was able to focus on his resourcefulness, despite limited resources, to bring about a positive resolution. His tenacity and persistence has shown in his personal triumphs, business successes, and having run more than 50,000 miles over 30 years.

An author and speaker known around the world, he earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. In addition, Scott has 28 award-winning sales and management years at a Fortune 500 company. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Leadership: 9 Ways to Successfully Navigate Changes, Tragedy and Triumph – Implementing the Never Give Up Perspective

Friday, March 23rd, 2018
My entry into the world of professional speaking came about when I wrote my first book Kidjacked: A Father’s Story. It told the true events that rocked my world to its foundation. You see, when my kids Jonathan and Alexandra were 4 and 2 years old they were kidnapped and taken to the Middle East by the person I trusted most- their mother, my wife Liza! Leadership was not foremost on my mind, But as it turns out, it needed to be.

Yeah, I was devastated, lost and emotionally trashed. And yet, I accomplished what few people said that could ever be done. I located them, came up with a less than fool proof plan and eventually was successful in getting them home to America! And, I had the honor and pleasure of raising them…except for a few moments in the teenage years!

Today, my kids are grown, I’ve remarried and with the extraordinary help of my fantastic wife Meg, we raised two wonderful adults.

Today’s world is filled with horrific stories.
It’s difficult to pick up a paper, read an article online or talk to a coworker without discussing a school shooting, another woman being harassed or worse at work or cyber or personal bullying.

Okay, the bury our head in the sand approach is not working. And, we complain, almost in unison that this and that must end. Today! Yet, it all continues, we feel helpless and there often appears to be no end in sight. It requires individual leadership.

Feeling like crap, are you? Well, happily there IS something you and I can do. I learned it many years ago and I call it The Never Give Up Perspective.

Here’s how it works.
Are you old enough to remember when seat belts were often not worn in cars? No laws required it. How about drinking and driving? Smoking on airplanes? Same sex marriage? Legalized Marijuana? Laws, laws and more laws! So, how does change professionally and personally take root and grow into a movement and more? Here’s how change works and keeps going:

  1. Communication
  2. Sharing information
  3. Getting mad
  4. Losing someone/something you loved
  5. Doing something. Speaking up/speaking out
  6. Be brave
  7. Realizing that whatever you’re aiming for takes time
  8. Building a base of support
  9. Never ever under any circumstances giving up!

You have something(s) you’re passionate about at work. Something that MUST change.

We all do. Be that voice. Be brave. Know that others feel the same way and are looking for a leader to support.
You’ve seen the ugly in life. You’ve seen the inappropriate in the workplace. The leader is you. The first move is yours.

Moms got MAD and driving while drunk laws changed.

People did not want others smoking on the plane and in restaurants/bars. Laws were enacted.

People wanted people to marry whomever they choose. Laws were changed.

Seatbelts-new laws

Inappropriate behavior in the workplace- laws, regulations and PEOPLE being brave and speaking up!

Kids kidnapped– Moved forward, fell down many times and never gave up. So, did all of the women and men who made the changes above.

Safer gun laws that protect our children and citizens… Perhaps closer then we think!

As humans we’re often quick to complain, quick to judge and slow to react.
History shows us that it is often the act of 1 person that begins to move a cause or action at work or in society forward. A brave woman in Selma. A brave man in San Francisco, a group of mothers and more!

Please, don’t wait for that women to come forward. Don’t watch to see which man will speak up. Instead, be that person that so many are waiting for. It always begins with a single voice. Perhaps yours.

#METOO, gun violence, workplace harassment, bullying, cyber shaming. How do you deal with these things? Do you speak out against this and more?
Are you willing to be THAT voice of change professionally and personally? We’re counting on you! We counting on your leadership, communications and guidance.

Interested in having me speak at an upcoming event? Let’s chat.

Want more productivity tips?

Read my monthly blogs to get tips and tricks on increasing productivity, improving communication, and living your best life  – http://scottlesnick.com/blog/

Scott Lesnick is a popular keynote speaker, author and trainer.
Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com

Leading & Communicating With Generation Z- pt.2

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Generation Z, The igen, Globals etc. – pt.2

Today’s workplace is a collective of 4 or 5 generations working side by side. Communication isn’t always easy, Millennial’s are all grown up and a new generation is poised to enter the workplace. This group, roughly defined as anyone born between 1995 and 2010, already make up a staggering 25 percent of the U.S. population. I call them Gen. Z.

I recently had a phone conversation about this newer generation and more and wanted to share the highlights with you for your consideration.

I could feel Carmen clutching her phone on the other end of the line. Her voice was curt, the anger palatable and her confusion very real. She read my Linked In article on generations and reached out with an email that at first glance appeared to be a short novel. As a manager, her staff and other leaders were having trouble successfully navigating the 5 generations at her company.

I knew how to help her connect Millennials and Gen Z. I had the ability and knowledge to assist is creating a company culture of generational understanding, mentorship and better communications.

After readying her email, I replied- “Not a problem, I can help you. Let’s chat.”  I sent her a few ideas/documents that would help her think differently and take action even if she didn’t want to talk.

The tone of her email suggested that she was reaching a “desperate measures faze” where employees could get written up, lectured or even fired! It was serious.

We spoke the next day.

Carmen- Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Scott. I need help. We have poor communications between generations and it is causing friction, anger and lowering our productivity. What’ve you got?

Me- My pleasure, Carmen. Your email pointed to the communications and I agree. And understanding, information and clear perspectives from each generation and you’ll gown connections and relationships between employees. I’m very confident that these steps will address your main pain points and improve productivity too.

Carmen- Perfect! When can you come out to see us? The sooner the better.

Me- There’s more.

Carmen- You’ve sold me. I’m in, Scott.

Me- Thanks, but I have a few more tips that I want to send you via email. They will help you put a bandage on things. This will benefit many and is easy to implement. I’ll add some mentoring ideas too.

Carmen- That’s great. Why are you doing this? I already said I want to bring you in

Me- Generation Z is young and open to your guidance. The will stay at a job longer and want to be mentored and guided. Millennial’s are a little older, better established and have the ‘different work perspective’ as you mentioned in your email. I want you to consider connecting these two generations now, today because they’re huge in numbers and speak a similar language.

Our conversation changed to gen X and Boomers. Of course, I had solutions and happily offered a few.

We spoke availability, presentation type and fees.

All good.

Carmen- By the way Scott, I’m a Millennial. I’m 33. I believe in what you said, but I can’t seem to get upper management and staff to come together. We’re stuck!

Me- Well, as you know, I’m a professional speaker and author. It’s my job to come and offer a fresh outsiders perspective, answer your pain points and offer up actionable solutions. Plus make sure we have fun along the way.

This is not difficult. And, once we begin to understand what’s getting in the way of our communication between generations or departments the sharing of information and productivity begin to grow. It’s a really cool thing to watch.

Carmen- You’ve given me a lot to work with already for free. Maybe I don’t need to bring you in after all (said laughing.)

Me- Half of what I do with clients is prepare them for the deliverables I’m going to bring. It makes my job easier because sometimes some work is done before I arrive. Folks are more open. Signs of improvement are visible. That’s a good thing.

But, you should still bring me in. You know why?

Carmen- Yes, I do. Because we’re not going to accomplish this without help.

Me- Yep. And, it’ll be fun too!

 

Carmen booked me for a full day for 2018.

Carmen recognized her strong company had generational issues that were getting in the way of workplace productivity. She reached out and I am grateful.

What issues do you need to address at work? Are your teams generationally challenged? Who are you going to reach out to for assistance? Is you leadership ready to embrace this new and powerful generation?

Scott Lesnick is a highly requested keynote and interactive trainer.

Learn more about Scott at http://www.scottlesniclk.com/

 

 

Igniting Your Productivity with Great Leadership

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
Productivity is essential to maintaining growth.

2018 is going to be filled with buzz words like:
Artificial Intelligence (I know a few folks who seem to have this!)
Dark Data– Collected information that organizations have yet seldom use
Millennials– Their power (75 + million) is increasing and they will have a voice and say in everything from politics to business!

The list is vast. The U.S. is changing as it always does and regardless of your politics, productivity demands remain constant.

 

Professionally and personally we are tasked with a difficult chore. One that never goes away. Our jobs desire/demand higher productivity. Our management, nicely or not, are always looking at us to grow our productivity. And, our lives outside of work don’t necessarily stand for a decrease in productivity either. Hell, it’s a miracle that we keep it together so well MOST of the time!

 

Each of us desires higher productivity especially when face with limited resources or significant change. Isn’t this something that we face every day in business?

 

So, what’s getting in our way? What are these barriers that attempt to thwart high productivity?

 

To begin with, it could be that eternal quest to increase sales, grow profits &/or have better communications between departments. It could be limited budgets, understaffed companies or even slackers!

 

It can be a lack of resources, limited budgets or navigating significant change.

 

And, I see businesses and speak to C-level executives that are still managing their staff like it is the 1940’s-50’s! Of course, this is going to change but it’s taking too long. They’re killing retention, reducing employee morale and cutting into their profits.

In my new keynote, I address this and much more with an idea:
In order to truly resolve this problem, achieve our goals and increase our productivity, we must understand that resourcefulness/ingenuity requires considering multiple angles/perspectives of the same resources.

Resourcefulness comes from having the context/ability to see things well enough to understand how you can use what otherwise appeared to be a constraint.

All these ways we’re trying to grow our productivity aren’t necessarily solving the actual problem.

Your sharing of information and open communications increases productivity. Yet, some of us want to hoard it like it’s the winning Powerball ticket!

Dark Data– please consider the steps that you can take a work to increase the open sharing of information, context and perspectives.

AI– Company information and communications will once again be shared via messenger apps. The new generation messages will provide a more cohesive platform for staff, management and C-level to share, compare and report. And, companies in the AI marketplace will now offer systems to do mundane work, freeing up employees to focus on the more critical projects that use their talent and grow productivity.

Millennials – Look, I’ve been preaching for years now. I hope that my words have reached you. The future of our jobs, your success and productivity depends, in great part, to this generation. 75 million plus, passionate, progressive and poised women and men positioned to lead this country in business, politics, science and much more for the next 50+ years.

What are you doing to increase your workplace productivity? Are you working in an environment that shares information, has open doors and encourages employees to share even between departments? Are leaders helping or getting in your way?

Will you assist in the transformation from sharing information when necessary to sharing information at all times in an effort to grow workplace productivity, increase employee satisfaction and grow staff retention?
Scott Lesnick is a keynote speaker, trainer and author.
Learn more at: www.scottlesnick.com

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Job Satisfaction and Retention

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Com-mu-ni-ca-tion:

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Com-mu-ni-ca-tion: The KEY to Productivity, Satisfaction and Retention

Why is this not task completed?

How come you aren’t you getting MORE done?

Why am I a crappy manager? Oops, scratch that one!

The many benefits of my decades in corporate America and now as a professional speaker are the lessons I learn from leaders. This includes what TO do and what NOT to do with regards to great communications with your staff.

Surprisingly and appreciated by yours truly were men and women at several recent conferences I presented at who had admitted to me that they strive to communicate better but either don’t know how or don’t have the time.

Here are Scott’s 7 tips to better communications with everyone. Please remember that when used properly, great stuff happens. The stuff I’m referring to includes, but is not limited to the title above.

  • Listen- Your staff has things to share. Things you need to know. But if you’re TOO busy then…
  • Access- What do they need, how can you assist? What else can I do to move them forward?
  • Open that door- I am honored that folks share so many professional and personal stories with me because I learn and grow. I have learned that some staff/employees feel that you’re difficult to approach or that you will yell at them. So, they don’t bother and productivity suffers.
  • Two Minute Drill- Listen and help your staff understand how and why what they’re doing matters, who it affects and the outcomes it will produce. Or, as one C-level put it-“I need to shut the hell up and let them talk. Then, my words are more helpful; I can assist in some way and reassure them that they are heading in the right direction.”
  • Big Pic- Employees (especially Millennials) want to understand the big picture, how they are involved and what the desired outcomes are. The days of holding back information have passed. It’s sharing time!
  • Dampening ones enthusiasm- Or DOE lowers productivity, lowers retention and more. Today’s workplace currency is great communications! Spread it and watch the positive growth in your department, your workplace and your world.
  • Want to make a bet? If you think the six tips above are lame, don’t work or are “above” you, then please ask yourself this one question.

How do I want those in my professional and personal life to communicate with me?

 

Yeah, I thought so. You get it!

 

Scott Lesnick is a Professional speaker and author

Learn more at www.scott lesnick.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Saying Yes All the Time. Workplace Strife!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

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Thank so much for asking me to do more at work. I appreciate you’re trust in me, but my plate is 12” in diameter and you’re giving me three plates filled with crap!”

 

Okay, last week’s conference keynote ended with applause, mostly smiles and brisk book sales. It’s an honor to get paid to speak, but the real honor for me is the people I get to connect with. The workplace staff who do the heavy lifting.

They share some pretty deep things with me in confidence which we speakers are used to. We share on stage and some feel compelled to share with use in the back of the ballroom, hallway or in this case on my way to the restroom.

My bladder was full of water and I was ready let nature take its course.

Not so fast!

Rounding the corner I spotted the “Men” sign and quietly smiled as relief was literally in sight.

But, between me and the sign was the women’s bathroom. Out came three attendees who quickly stopped me, formed a half circle and began to tell me how much they enjoyed my presentation and actionable takeaways.

I was once again honored. And, I continued to give proper eye contact to each as my bladder reached Defcon 3!

Kasha was the ‘leader’ of this passionate threesome.

Them- Why doesn’t management understand how busy we are? Why do they continue to shove more work in our face as if we are multiple people?

Me- Well…

Them- And, How in the world are we suppose to say NO! It’s not permitted. It’s a sign of laziness.

Me- I see… (trying to respond and bursting from within)

Them- We love our jobs, but our managers are all over us all the time and we’ve about had it!

Me- Wow! I can see that you’re upset and I have a couple of thoughts. May I share them with you?

Them- Share away-‘cause we need to say NO sometimes and are frightened of losing our jobs. We can’t afford that, Scott!

Me (smiling and reaching Defcon 4!) Managers often don’t realize how busy you are. They shove more work your way and have a few plates of their own they are sifting through.

Have you tried sitting down in your 1-1 meeting and showing-not telling them what you’re up against? This can work really well!

Them- Yeah, they will tell us that everyone is busy and we all have to “pitch in.”

How much “pitching in can we do before we crack or look for another job? ( All three nodding in unison.)

Me- My guess is not much longer. So, how about trying this once.

Ask your manager for 20 minutes. You’ll only need 10. SHOW them what you have going on for the next 30-60 days and the amount of hours it will take per week to complete. If it’s too much they’ll know right away.

You’re not saying no, you’re saying I need your help. I need your guidance and support. My experience is that they will assist in prioritizing, give you breathing room and even take away some less important projects.

Them- Hmm. Never tried that approach. That could work. Seems possible.

Me- Let’s chat about this some more. I just have to run to the men’s room and I meet you at the reception to continue our conversation.

Disaster averted by 1 Defcon!

The cocktail reception was great and our conversations turned to family, vacations and food!

The workplace is like many other places. It is delicate, filled with talent and emotion and in need of constant communication to grow knowledge, empower employees and increase retention.

 

To learn more visit- www.scottlesnick.com

 

Leadership, Staff and Workplace Excellence

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

The pendulum has swung back in favor of workers. Businesses are hiring, unemployment is hovering around 5.5%  or less and workers understand that there are many more work options available. Retention is always an issue and now you have to fight hard to keep your best from jumping ship – a right they have and will exercise when appropriate.

Our competition is stronger than ever. Our business goals increase yearly but the leaders with unhappy staff will lose them in the blink of an eye.

New hires understand that the options are out there and will make up their mind within 30 days of starting a job how long they plan on staying.

You ain’t got much time to make them satisfied, comfortable and committed. Great leadership is essential!

Excellence comes from more employee training, a watchful eye on their wants, needs and desires and an overall feeling that they matter and that you care.

When I conduct breakout sessions, I often include an activity that allows us to “deep dive” into issue. Sure I can present but a room full of talent can always come up with more ideas, thoughts and recommendations than one person can offer.

Here is what I learned at three different conferences I presented at last summer about what employees want. I’ve shortened the list down to seven. They are:

  • Training, training and more training. The reason- more knowledge, better opportunity for advancement & improved skills.
  • Cross Training– They want to better understand what others at the same company do and how it affects their role. Plus, they may find an area of the company that they are better suited for.
  • Employee recognition- Sure, you remember when we did more of that! Well, they want it to come back. Gas cards, bonus, lunch. Employees need to hear that they matter, make a difference and are an integral part of your team.
  • Ask them. Asking for feedback and input grows trust and builds relationships. Plus, great ideas can come from anyone at work but you have to ask.
  • Cross mentoring. Attendees have convinced me that mentoring not only works, it moves projects and employees along faster. Because we are now seeing Boomers & Xers specifically working with Millennials and the results are mostly very positive. Millennials can offer fresh perspectives, are a whiz with technology and are fast learners. Older generations have plenty of experience and are often in a higher profile position. Legacies are left by those in their forties and up, mentees advance faster than those who are not mentored and succession planning is stronger as a result.
  • Humor me. Lighten up, lose the “boss” attitude and come down to our level. Today’s best leaders understand that relationships increase productivity, grow business and make for a ‘lower stress’ work environment. No laughter, no fun, no appreciation. Where would you rather work?
  • Social gatherings. We understand that outside of work people let their hair down and tend to relax. Some more than others! New bonds are formed, relationships grow and leaders show their ‘off site’ personality. When offered and organized, the results can be tremendous and the cost to benefit ratio low!

Excellence in anything requires dedication, assistance and time. Today’s leaders lead from the sideline, in the trenches and wherever they can to be effective.

How do you lead?download (1)

Red Licorice and Work

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

downloadIn an effort to stay in shape I run, lift weights and practice yoga. Yes, I watch what I eat too and it’s FAR from easy. The temptations are everywhere and my “say no” toughness to unhealthy foods is average at best. But, I try.

That’s all I want you to do-try.  We’re so quick to brag about being the best, being your best and besting the rest. It’s simply too much. Hay, I’m not advocating a transformation from human to 3-toed Sloth. I am suggesting that we often don’t try at all and in doing so we often miss the target. The good news- there are plenty of targets to aim for in life and many are closer than we realize!

Losing weight, getting a promotion at work or starting a walking regimen that you stick for 12 months a year takes just plain hard. But, trying gets results and we all like results.

What to do?

As a self diagnosed candy junkie in his 50’s, I had to make a concerted effort to stop eating the stuff. Okay, in all honesty it took every ounce of strength I had to kick the sweet habit. If you’re one of  my 77 approved candies or sweets I’m gunna eat you.

So, I switched to red and black licorice! They’re low fat sure, but sadly plenty of carbohydrates, sugar and other crap. I had to find a way to eliminate this delicious, I could eat a bag of Twizzlers, snack.

All this and work too?!

From time to time works has forced me to take action as well. We’re all faced with decisions from “bossholes” to a crummy coworker and more. Working for a company that often times makes good decisions is wonderful. Working for a company that doesn’t get IT can be frustrating at best. Thankfully, my company was pretty darn good, my team rocked and I always emphasized the power of trying. They got it. They understood how this one word could affect their lives both professionally and personally.

I’m no Einstein, I’m just me.  However, I remember learning the lesson myself from someone and passed it on when I could.

The simple act of walking away from a good paying corporate job to peruse speaking professionally took guts. The looks sometimes we get when we confide in others our dreams, goals and aspirations is somewhat similar to glares we might get if we told someone we used crystal meth 3-5 times a week.

Life is demanding. Working is demanding. People are demanding. I’d like you to consider trying. Whatever it is you’re holding on to inside that few if any know is important to you.

Try. Go for it. And, please don’t be afraid.

I’ve seen so many times how this small act can change a dream to a wonderful reality. The glass suddenly overflows with possibilities and you may have to make some difficult, yet awesome decisions .You deserve this and it contagious. Others will take notice. You’ll sometimes fall, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll bounce back like never before because you understand that it’s all about trying.

Lastly, would you be so kind as to please pass me one-no two pieces of licorice. Hey, trying doesn’t mean perfection!

 

BREAKING SAD! Leadership done right.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

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Those of us in the speaking business are fortunate. We get to travel, stay in hotels and present to people from many walks of life. Oh yeah, we get paid too. The hours, weeks and months of creating and preparation plus rehearsal and fresh topics are expected by those who hire us.

My peers understand “the biz” and the difficulty in obtaining gigs. The not so secret- secret that motivates the crap out of us comes from a source we rarely discuss outside of our industry.

YOU!

That right. We do what we do because you like what we have to offer. The programs, keynotes, breakout sessions, books, consulting and more are what connect us at first. However, as presenters we understand that the real payoff is the connections we make.

One on one or in small groups we learn from you. You teach us. We listen (which isn’t always easy for a speaker) and we grow as people, you and I. That’s the pay off!

Leaders make or break a company and its staff as I found out again at a recent conference.

Jean came up to me after a presentation in tears. Her friend was consoling her. She’s a strong leader and I hit a nerve, her friend explained. I suggested that the three of us meet later in the lobby to chat.

Me- “So Jean, you’re looking better. I mean…,”she stopped me.

Jean- “I’m so sorry, but my boss at work is driving me crazy. I’m sad, so sad because I love what I do. I’m been there 12 years and am thinking about leaving.”

Me- “Can you elaborate? What’s he/she doing that sucks so much? Let’s break you of this SAD.”

Jean- “IT DOES SUCK!!! She’s not responsive to emails, slow as molasses to move on anything and takes FOREVER to make a decision. I have a staff of 25 that this directly affects.”

Me- “You’ve talked to her about this-yes?”

Jean- “Ad nauseam, Scott. Look, I understand you can’t fix this. I was hoping that you had another perspective like you mentioned in our general session.”

Me- “Thank you for stating the obvious (we all gave a much needed chuckle) I’m no expert, but I’ve seen and heard of difficult situations like the one you’re in.  Who can you confide in that you wouldn’t think to approach? They don’t have to be in the same department as you. Someone who does not pop into your mind right away may be the key.”

Jean- “Dan in Accounting is sharp, has a dry sense of humor and at my same management level. Plus he’s heard about some of the difficulties my department has been facing from others. I suppose we could have lunch off site.”

Me- “Low key and hush-hush.”

Jean- “Yep.”

Two months later I received an email from Jean which said:

Scott, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Dan and I did have lunch and he suggested that I involve the senior VP before things got worse. Reluctantly, I did. Remembering what you said about facing fear head on helped. My manager had some upper level discussions and things are better. Not perfect, but I’m not thinking about leaving!

I was honored to assist her in my small way. Jean did all of the heavy lifting.

Leadership form and style is a personal thing. Keeping good employees is critical for company and staff. Losing them costs money and time. Plus, if one person leaves it can cause others to do the same.

Active dialogue between employees is important. Management should strive to keep communication open, honest and productive. Motivating and encouraging retains good employees!

Breaking sad is a must!