5 Reasons to Cover the Big Stuff In Person

We just finished up a big sales meeting in which we brought together our entire team from the bedding group to get ready for the ISPA Expo coming up at the end of the month. Normally when you get through one of those types of meetings, you leave with a fewbusiness communications icebreaker 3 300x220 5 Reasons to Cover the Big Stuff In Person
takeaways that can really make an impact and for me, this time, it had nothing to do with the type of information that was shared, but HOW that information was shared.

As with any group, we had a few topics to address that we knew were going to be emotionally charged. Beforehand, e-mails had been sent out on these topics, conference calls took place prior to our get-together, and nothing was resolved. You bring people together where they are sitting across the table from one another and it is amazing what you can get done. It changes everything. There is no hiding behind the phone or the glass on your computer when you hit “send.” You are in the moment and visible to your group and exposed in every way, so you just communicate differently.

We obviously can’t always be in a room with everyone we need to conduct business with, so the phone and computer are necessary tools, but consider that face-to-face time for a minute. There really is nothing like it when it comes to delivering a message. Here are five reasons why you should always cover the big stuff in person: Continue reading

The Comfort Zone is a Dangerous Place to Live!

This past weekend I spent 12 hours inside an old, broken down, smelly, middle school gymnasium watching my two kids play in a basketball tournament. My third grade, 9-year-old boy just started playing up with the fourth grade boys and my sixth grade, 11-year-oldBasketball 300x225 The Comfort Zone is a Dangerous Place to Live!
daughter ended up playing with the eighth grade girls because they were short a few players. Going into any tournament, I have my typical pep talk with my kids on our way to the event, which even includes our own playlist of hard-driving motivational songs starting out with “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. They love it. Anyway, this week was a little different.

They usually get a little nervous before games, but this time they were both playing with kids they didn’t know all that well, running plays that were new to them, taking them WAY outside their comfort zone. As a parent, you have to find that perfect mix of empathy – acknowledging that they would of course be nervous under the circumstances vs. “suck it up and lace up your shoes; you will be fine.” Continue reading


Have Fun Like 1983 North Carolina State and Never Lose

The following is a guest post by Mark Kinsley

Have you seen ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentaries? There’s a great episode about coach Jimmy Valvano and the 1983 North Carolina State national championship team.

For me, there’s one moment in the film that sums up the reason these underdog Davids took down a number of Goliaths. It’s a scene where Jimmy V is giving a post-gamemoments valvano1 300x238 Have Fun Like 1983 North Carolina State and Never Lose interview after winning the national championship. As he’s answering questions a player walks up, kisses Jimmy V on the head, and everybody starts laughing and smiling. Right in the middle of that interview, his player doesn’t hesitate to let Coach V know he loves him, and show how much fun they’re having. You can see they have a culture of fun.

Play the clip below and scrub to 45 minutes and you’ll see it (and if you have time, watch the entire documentary).

In that moment I see one of life’s greatest lessons: if you’re having fun, nobody can beat you. Nobody. And if your team’s having fun, look out world. Continue reading

“C” Players Kill “A” Players

Stand back because this could get messy. Have you ever worked for a company that employs “C” players? It is kind of a stupid question because if you have been around long enough, of course you have. CheekCopy “C” Players Kill “A” Players

When companies put people in jobs they can’t do, or when someone simply chooses not to make an effort, either way you end up with a “C” performance that has a HUGE negative impact on the people in your company, and ultimately the results you get.

Why in the world do managers do this? I really can’t figure it out. I have seen it happen so many times in my professional life and I need someone to explain to me what is going on.

So why do companies allow underperformers to stay in their jobs? Here are some possible answers and reactions to this question:

  • The manager is oblivious to the poor performance of the “C” player (which, by the way, is obvious to EVERYONE around them BUT the manager) and because of that, the person stays in the job. Solution…fire the manager.
  • There is a personal relationship between the “C” player and someone in management, so there is a nice, protective bubble insulating said “C” player. Solution…fire the manager.
  • The “C” player is so full of crap they have convinced everyone around them they are in fact an “A” player and the rubber has not yet met the road. In this scenario, 9 times out of 10, if you have a suspicion about this person being a pretender, just ask your “A” players that work with them every day because they will tell you the truth. This also means that someone is not paying attention, in which case – you guessed it – solution…fire the manager.
  • The right metrics are not in place to measure the success or failure of this “C” player, so they continue to fall through the cracks. Solution…fire the manager.

As you can see, I pretty much blame management for allowing “C” players to stay on the bus. So who cares, you ask? The rest of your team does, that’s who. What is the negative impact to the rest of your team?

  1. They will resent management for allowing this to happen and the team will ultimately lose respect for the leadership.
  2. When “A” players see management allowing “C” players to get by, it causes others to ask, “So tell me again why in the hell I am working so hard when Sally Slacker barely makes an effort?”
  3. It makes it very hard to continue to have a high expectation of performance from your team when you give certain people a pass on quality of work.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone is not doing well in a job, they should be coached up and helped to succeed in that position. But if that doesn’t work, you have to move them to a place that suits them better and watch them thrive. If someone is a “C” player because YOU don’t give him or her the necessary tools to be the “A” player, then they are also excused. But if the “C” player is that way by choice, then you have to make the tough decision to let them pursue other job interests.

cartoon business “C” Players Kill “A” PlayersDid someone come to mind after reading this post? I bet they did, so now what do you do? If you are the employee that is tired of working with “C” players, then send this to your boss and just ask them the question, “So who does this remind you of?” You never know, maybe you are thinking of the same person, unless of course it is you, in which case you are screwed.



Am I wrong? Do “C” players drive you crazy and if so what do you do about it? Tell me in the comments section, please!

5 Ways MATTRESS FIRM Ignites Its Team

Last week I traveled to Washington, D.C., to join Mattress Firm at their annual leadership conference “BEDTalks.” My first thought before committing to go was, “Great, another couple days of meetings, listening to people talk about the mission statement, how to drive sales this Presidents’ Day, and some B.S. rah-rah conversation about people being the key to our business!”

It was nothing like that – at all – except for the part about them telling us how important their people are to the growth of the company; but when they say it, you believe it because their actions back it up.

mattress firm logo 1024x204 5 Ways MATTRESS FIRM Ignites Its Team

This meeting lasted an entire week and consisted of their key operations, sales, marketing, leadership training, and finance people. On top of that, they invite their key suppliers to attend and participate fully to benefit from the week just as much as the MFRM team does. (And help support part of the costs which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a point of fact.) They have a professional company produce the event, and my man Walter Kinzie with Encore Live does a fantastic job – if you are ever in the market for someone who does that kind of thing. Continue reading