Ronald, Bill and You
I thought Bill Clinton was a good president for the same reason I thought Ronald Reagan was good; both were excellent head cheerleaders.
Their politics, personalities and characters were different, but each had a similar ability to keep things from spinning out of control.
Every organization has a head cheerleader.
Their business card usually says “manager.”
The head cheerleader’s job is to keep talented hotheads, sycophantic suck-ups, whining excuse-makers, moon-eyed lunatics and plodding paranoids all headed in the same general direction. They have to make everyone feel like everything is going to be all right.
Are there really people who can do this job?
Thrown into the deep water at 26, I was possibly the worst manager ever to assume the position. But over the years I’ve had a chance to observe the great ones, and I’ve noticed an unusual but recurrent characteristic: Great managers are rarely excellent at any of the things they manage.
Great coaches are great, not because they were superstars, but because they know how to awaken the star that sleeps in each of the players around them.
Great managers don’t show you photos from their own vacation, they ask to see the photos from yours. And it makes them happy to see you had a wonderful time.
Great managers look for things to praise in their people, knowing that it takes 7 positive strokes to recover from each negative reprimand. Think about it. If seven out of eight encounters we receive an authentic, affirming comment, a bit of happy news or a piece of valuable insight from our boss, we love to see them coming down the hall. But if the typical encounter leaves us deflated, discouraged or scared, our hearts sink when we see the manager coming.
Do your people love to see you coming? If not, begin looking for things to praise. Keep your ratio of positive comments 7 times higher than your negative ones and they’ll soon begin to smile when they see you appear. Their newfound attitude and confidence will bring new levels of productivity. And all because you believed they could do it and made them believe it, too.
Great managers are never afraid to hire people better than themselves.
Each of the 217 times David Ogilvy opened a new office for Ogilvy & Mather, he left a set of Russian nesting dolls on the desk of the incoming manager. When the manager removed the top half from the largest of these bowling pin-shaped dolls, he or she found a slightly smaller doll inside. This continued until the manager came to the tiniest doll and retrieved from its interior what looked to be the note from a fortune cookie: “If each of us hires people smaller than ourselves, we shall become a company of midgets. But if each of us hires people bigger than ourselves, we shall become a company of giants. – David Ogilvy.”
Now walk down the hall and find a sleeping superstar disguised as a plodding paranoid. For each of the next 21 days, compliment that person every time you see them take a right action.
Then prepare to meet a whole new employee on the 22nd day. Don’t be surprised if they have the same name as the plodding paranoid that used to stink up the place.
Go. The hallway awaits you.
Roy H. Williams
1. The wedding of JP Engelbrecht
2. Let's build a garden together!
4. November 27-28: Accelerate your ability in Public Speaking 101 and get FREE room and board at Engelbrect House, the Academy's amazing student mansion.