“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way”. A simple but memorable quote from General George S. Patton, that gets right to the heart of what we are all doing as sales leaders – leading people. While “Old Blood and Guts” may not have fit well in your company’s organizational chart or team building exercises, I would argue that it was his no-nonsense, simplistic approach that won battles and saved lives. In short, he was his team’s glue (or as I like to say…peanut butter).
Enter: Peanut Butter & Peter Pan
I must admit I feel really lousy for those folks who suffer from food allergies, especially the nut allergies. Peanut Butter, whether you are crunchy or creamy (I like both depending on the circumstances) is some of the best food on the planet.
Mike, here we go again – and what does this have to do with my sales?!
OK, I’ll get to it. The reasons I like the peanut butter analogy (versus the glue) are two-fold: versatility and flavor. Peanut Butter is every bit as good at holding things together, especially when things are getting slippery on the periphery (i.e. adding jelly to the sandwich). As a sales leader, it’s important that you not only hold things together when things get tough for your team, it’s also critical you are able to adapt to the situation at hand, hence the importance of versatility. Life, nor business, never stays in a lane. Even when you map the route carefully, so adapting and staying the course go hand-in-hand.
As for the flavor, well, that’s where your personality comes in. A word of caution here, though. Too much of any one thing can spoil what you are trying to accomplish. So, stay true to yourself as a leader, but make sure you know your audience (your team) and their preferences. Do your best to modify based on who they are as people.
And now for Peter Pan. This fun-loving, slightly mischievous character had a trait that often gets lost in the original story or in any of the renditions that have been made into live theater or cinema. He had a very redeemable, inherent quality we all could use in our leadership styles. He knew how to inspire people. He led his cohorts from London to the magical world of Neverland and then he continued his inspiring ways by leading the lost boys. Here’s what else, he led with a spring in his step, with laughter in his belly, and with the best of intentions. That’s WHY the all followed him so willingly. He was leading with sincerity, ingenuity, and inspiration (not mandated meetings, required phone calls, and copy all emails).
Think about it – would you follow someone with these traits? And more importantly, are they traits you demonstrate so people will follow you? Hmmm…
#PutPeopleFirst #RaiseAllShips #EagleONECares
P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 Q’s – Quiet, Quickness, Quality