As a business transformation keynote speaker, I often speak to organizations on how to achieve peak performance. Last week I was delivering a presentation to a sales division of a very successful multinational conglomerate when someone asked, “How do we really become a great sales team?”
My daughter is two years old now and weighs about 25 pounds. Picking her up after her nap when she is still a little drowsy and relaxed is very easy — she lifts her arms up, gives me a sleepy smile, and into my arms she comes. Trying to pick her up when she is a screaming, squirming two-year-old-tyrant throwing a temper tantrum is next to impossible. So why is it so difficult, if not impossible, to pick up my daughter when she is throwing a temper tantrum? She still only weighs 25 pounds. I can easily pick up 25 pounds with one arm.
A few years back when I was managing a high-performing sales team, I had one particular fellow who was wildly talented, yet was underperforming. Our compensation plan was amazing — our sales team could literally make as much money as they wanted depending on how hard they worked. After two months of poor results, I finally called this “weak link” into my office to talk. Although my other sales folks where killing it, without all of my team hitting their numbers, we were still going to fall short of achieving our team goal.
How come no one ever told me NOT to travel across the country with my wife and nine-month old baby for Thanksgiving — along with the millions of other people doing the same thing? We had to get from our house to the airport over an hour away with car-seat, stroller, luggage, an assortment of carry-ons, and, oh yeah, the baby. Two flights and a lot of frazzled nerves later, we were in frigid northwestern PA for Thanksgiving.
I lived in Japan for 10 years and worked as a management consultant setting up the branch offices of Fortune 500 companies in Tokyo, Osaka, and other parts of Asia. This allowed me to make a great living and to spend a great deal of my hard-earned Yen training with many of the premier martial arts masters of the day. In addition to the tough physical training of the martial arts, I also regularly practiced Zen meditation.