Friday, April 29, 2011

3 Lessons from Kid To Work Day

Yesterday was national 'take your kid to work day'. One of my favorite days of the year. This day is typically an opportunity for in-office staff to bring their child into their office environment to show them what Mom/Dad do for a living. A quick office tour then it's off to the copy room for arts and crafts supplies.

Like every thing else in my life, my 'kid to work day' is far from typical. This year my five year old and I traveled into San Francisco and through the Silicon Valley to visit some of Michael C Fina's customers. Up early, dressed sharp, and on the move. Not typical for a kid who is used to spending the morning with cartoons and toast before a day of well facilitated learning.

If I were to give him a performance review (which will never happen) my son would definitely have received 5's across the board. We logged several miles, dodged in and out of parking garage's, ate lunch in the car and he even sat in on a few conference calls. He didn't complain once!

On our long drive home I reflected on how proud I was of my son. A simple question came to mind:
If He Can Do It Why Can't We?

Kid to Work Day is a blast because it helps the little people understand a few elements of the Big World of Business. On this particular day it also helped me reflect on how childish we can be in our professional behavior.

I have 3 tips learned from my 'ride-along' with the Great Sam Kovacovich:
1. Keep it Simple
2. Don't Throw a Fit
3. Have Fun!

Intricacies Revealed
As Consultants,we are called upon to be 'experts' on several different product lines. We tend to forget that product knowledge is far less important than the solution we can create for a genuine need. Far too often we drone on and on about product capabilities without discerning their applicable nature to our customer's organizational culture.

People hate Salespeople because we are notoriously self-centered. Ask a simple yes/no question and get a diatribe about the product itself that provides no insight to the original inquiry.

Ask a simple question, get an insignificant answer, and spend the rest of the meeting staring out the window....not gonna work with this guy, he has no interest in our needs.

Sales Advice to Live By:
Listen More than You Talk
Speak the Customer's Language
Keep it Simple (answer yes or no)

There is a Capital I in Insecurity
I receive endless communication from people expressing their discontent for being under-valued. No one wants to spend time contributing without being recognized for their effort. But, some times you have to consider the situation.

Consider the following:
~ Sometimes people get busy and forget to say thanks
~ Our ego sometimes emphasizes detail over the ultimate goal
~ You are not 5, don't document yourself in such a light

I'm pretty hard core, I believe in winning, but my career didn't evolve until I learned to ignore certain things. Nothing within the detail of any given work day is so vitally important that you have to work yourself into a frenzy. In fact, most of our meltdowns are a result of fretting over the 'little things'.

We want to be validated and feel that we are contributing. We want to make a difference. When we bust our butt for 50 hours on a project, we don't want our work scrutinized. This is the part of the movie where we discover that life isn't fair! You are not in control of the reactions of others, you are in control of your own! You have to learn to ignore what you cannot control and set your own standards.

A bowl of ice cream for Sam and a beer for Dad was a great way to celebrate our productive day!

As we grow older we tend to complicate the process. We try harder when we should let things go. We assert ourselves when our point has already been made. We attempt to impress the unimpressible.

When I was a boy I thought my Dad walked on water for a living. I am so grateful to have an opportunity to show my son that I do not...and that is OK!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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