The Coach's Corner

Archive for July, 2012

We need more Joes today

July 30th, 2012 // Tom Doescher //
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Joe, born in 1948, has operated the shoeshine stand at Flint Bishop Airport since 1980. What a breath of fresh air he is! He provides an outstanding shoeshine — one of the best I have ever had. He wears a collared shirt and a tie, is very polite, smiles a lot, and works hard. Joe, originally a migrant worker from Texas, has only a third-grade education, but you’d never guess that. Rather than dwelling on the burdens he’s carried in what certainly can’t have been an easy life, he beams with pride when he shares stories about his six children, 13 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. All six children are college-educated and have good jobs. One is a college professor, two are architects, two are self-employed in business, and one is a nurse. As I was leaving his stand recently, I asked him how much longer he was planning to work. He said, “As long as I can!” How refreshing it is to meet someone who is so enthusiastic, positive, and happy to be working. I hope his story is as encouraging and uplifting to you as it is to me.

p.s. I gave him a very large tip, and I am sure I am not the only one to do so. This is yet another example of how giving your clients great service pays off.

The “Big 4”

July 16th, 2012 // Tom Doescher // 1 Comment
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On February 21, I posted a blog entitled “The Big 3,” which listed the top three traits of great leaders. Shortly thereafter, I realized I had missed an important ingredient. In my March 29 newsletter, I referenced an article entitled “Three Profiles in Organizational Humility,” by Patrick Lencioni. This was the same newsletter in which I included comments about Brady Hoke and Tom Izzo. That got me thinking, and I am officially adding humility to the list of the top traits all great leaders possess. In fact, one of my colleagues suggested it might even be the foundation for the other three. But whether it is the underpinning of the original three traits I listed or whether it is the first of four traits is not important. What is important is that every great leader I have personally known for an extended time (i.e., decades) checks their ego at the door. Jim Collins, the business expert and author, says Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. And that most definitely requires a sense of humility.

Do Your Associates Feel That You Have Their Back?

July 2nd, 2012 // Tom Doescher //
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I believe great leaders help their key associates stretch and achieve their highest potential by “covering their backs.” In other words, they are willing to say: “No matter what happens, do your best and I will not second-guess you.” A vivid example of this occurred when I was given an assignment that I did not feel qualified to perform, but my leader said he believed I was the best person to try to achieve this business goal. Another colleague and I developed a plan, sought the appropriate wise counsel, and prepared to dive into the assignment. I was scared to death. The next day, my leader showed up in my doorway. After exchanging pleasantries, he said, “I know you are launching that new initiative next week. You have a history of success over the years, and that is why I selected you. By the way, if this project is not successful, it will not tarnish your record. I’ve got your back.” I cannot tell you how grateful and confident his words made me feel. Do your key associates feel that way about you? Are they secure enough that they are willing to take appropriate risks?

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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