Lead the Way

So i’ll confess something to you: i like to read airline magazines. 🙂

I really do; i feel like they give me some insight into what people are interested in; what they like to eat, where they like to go, what they like to do with there free time. All useful information to the social networking marketer. 🙂

So i took a flight on Southwest yesterday and read their in-flight magazine, “Spirit.” It’s one of the better ones i think. Anyway, this one (Feb 2011) had an article “Lead the Way: Earn the admiration and respect of your employees with these simple workplace strategies.”

What are the strategies, you ask?

#1: Protect your people.
#2: Throw out bad apples
#3: Mind the spotlight
#4: Get out of the way
#5: Fight fair

All in all, i thought these were pretty good. I take it as a good sign, in general, that many business people seem to have come around to the idea that to be ethical leads to success. Many of these suggestions in the article are sound, from a seed perspective. Take care of your employees by shielding them things that could hurt them or make them feel bad.

The example they gave was of a manager who noticed a customer abusing his gate agents. He went and bought the customer a ticket on a rival airline to get rid of them. I think that’s great; the customer still got what he wanted and the gate agents were taken care of too. It served both karmic business partners, which is excellent karmic business management.

“Get out of the way” was nice; it’s essentially a tip not to micro-manage. But the cool part is they used a seed analogy:

William Coyne, a former vice president at 3M, once put it this way: “After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it’s doing.”

Nice. 🙂

But into every life a little rain must fall… the only one i didn’t like was “Throw out bad apples.” This is a typical robo-claw solution. The facts: “teams containing just one of these types [“jerks,” “deadbeats,” and/or “downers”] suffered a performance loss of 30 to 40 percent compared to offices with no ‘bad apples.’”

The solution? “”Throw them out.” Actually, if they had said “get rid of them,” i would have been okay. Because karmic management says to get rid of them too. But the important question is, how do you get rid of them? “Throw them out” implies to fire them. Is that a solution?

No, there’s a really companies don’t fire people easily: it’s expensive. But it’s also expensive to keep them. So what should you do? Get rid of them. But get rid of them by planting the seed.

I just got asked again on the tour to Latin America (in Mexico, to be exact) what to do with a “deadbeat” employee. “Fix them,” i say. “But they’re always late!” he says. “Fix them,” i say, “by changing the seeds in your mind.” And then i asked him, “have you ever been late to anything?”

He got this sheepish look on his face, then admitted that just recently he had been late for an appointment, and was often late, for example, to doctor or dentist appointments.

Change the seed, fix the problem, no bad apples to throw out. 🙂

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4 Responses to Lead the Way

  1. Starr Bielas says:

    I always look forward to your insight, Eric.

  2. Andrea Lemon says:

    FYI, Mexico is in North America. I think the accurate term here would be “Latin America”.

    Good to have you back 🙂

    • ericbrinkman says:

      Good call. 🙂 We called it the “South America” tour but you’re right; Latin America would have been more appropriate.

      Actually, Geshe Michael made a big deal about how culturally Arizona is more similar to Mexico than Mexico is to Argentina. He talked several times about how Mexico city is closer to Phoenix that New York and about how some day there would be a huge cultural identity that included the American southwest and Mexico.

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