I started this collection of ramblings with A Message to my 5 year-old son Brandon. Now that my kid is halfway to nine and showing more insightfulness than I exhibited at the same age (eating 80’s-era Play-Doh probably did a bit to stunt my progress…), it’s time to tighten the tone of these notes. In the past I wrote about being ridiculously happy and living fearlessly, but that’s stuff for a younger, goofier Brandon. Even though I feel more ignorant about the world than ever, I think I’ve still got a few things to tell my boy before he out-books me… also if I suddenly keel over of a heart attack, he’ll have a few words to remember me by.
We had our first parent-teacher interview when our son was around two years old. During the interview, one of the teachers said something that has stuck with me since.
“Whatever you tell your children will be the absolute truth to them.”
It’s every parent’s hope that their kid turns out to be successful. For some, successful means the kid ends up with a sparkling job title, double gold in Olympic fencing and has the name Sanjay Gupta. For others, as long as their kids grows up to be productive adults who can pay their own way, is a job well done on the parenting front.
My requirements are even simpler than that. Here are three things I want you to grow up to be.
I own a contract sales company so if there’s one thing I know, I know how to pick up the phone. Social media, predictive analytics, email lead-nurturing and spiffy cloud-based CRMs; that’s all awesome. But at the end of the day, somebody needs to pick up the phone and call a guy. All the purchased leads, list builds, trade shows and million dollar ad-spends don’t mean jack if your sales guys are only pumping through 5 calls a day.
As I’m ending my term this Friday, I’d like to leave a brief note for my team.
Put your blinders on. Continue reading →
When folks start coming to you for ‘advice for young professionals‘, it’s time to concede that 37 is in fact ancient and it’s time to give up on your dreams of becoming a break-dance contestant on America’s Got Talent.
Here’s a recent chat I had with Jacqueline Cavalheiro (Student Awards) of Humber College in Toronto. Continue reading →
First of all, I’m surprised I made it this far without getting pummeled at least once. Anybody who knew me growing up would probably say I beat the odds on that one. I guess if you make yourself useful to enough people, you create your own guardian angels.
Last year, I wrote 9 things I learned by living to 37. It received great reviews in that nobody told me to take a hike. I also received quite a few emails from you about what your realizations were when you hit that completely random milestone. My favourite was from some dude living in the Philippines:
“I realized that I didn’t like my dog very much because it occurred to me he had a better life than I did.” Continue reading →
At some point, I’ll be moving on to a new customer which means setting up a new team that I’ll eventually leave behind or refreshing the one they currently have. Being able to create and ultimately unplug from self-reliant teams is what makes my career enjoyable and keeps my phone ringing. This also means that I’ll be hiring soon – a process I love for the simple matter that I will meet new people.
If two people have the same skill-set, here’s how I select the next guy or lady. Continue reading →
Running teams is a great way to develop your leadership skills. Each person I’ve lead always had something to teach me about how to lead. More importantly, each person I’ve lead always found a way of exposing one of my weaknesses I didn’t know I had.
A business leader’s job is to convert the work of others into a desired tangible result. Any other description is corporate bullshit and window dressing. No job title will ever tell you if a guy is a strong leader. In fact, the more a dude covets a sweet sounding title, the less likely I trust him as a leader. You want to find a good leader? Find one that can effectively lead a group of unpaid volunteers. You want to find a good leader? Find a guy in your back office who quietly goes about his business and helps others without reward or fanfare. A job title doesn’t denote a leader. You can be the VP of Awesome and can’t lead a ball downhill. A leader is someone others want to follow by choice. He’s the kind of guy, that upon leaving, will have a few followers, following him for possibly less money to different pastures. A leader isn’t identified in a moment. Often loud, charismatic folks are thought of as leaders. Sometimes. But not always. Leadership is picked up by others through conduct and sincerity. Is this guy a quote-spewing dinosaur or is he someone who actually cares about my personal success?
Here are three things you need to tell the new leaders you hire or promote. Continue reading →