There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Leader Can Make All the Difference

"I rode him like he was a good horse." Calvin Borel

In the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Mine That Bird, a horse that had lost 31 of his last 32 races and left the gate as a 50 to 1 bet, won one of the longest shot, most dramatic races in Derby history. Mine That Bird was a distant last on the back stretch and not even in contact with the pack. And he wins by 5+ lengths . . . going away. In short, there was no expert who expected this performance and most had not even studied the horse due to his track record. When jockey Calvin Borel was asked about his ride that day he said, "I rode him like he was a good horse."

I've had the privilege to come into two different organizations to organize, reorganize or run their marketing / business development groups. Each time I've been given a warning that some of the individuals on the team would probably need to be let go. And each time, I've seen people, who were formerly unappreciated and whose capabilities were questioned, raise their game to a new level and become highly valued players.

For myself, earlier in my career, I can remember my performance and development being dramatically impacted by leaders and managers who believed in me and just as importantly, provided me with a role that, with their guidance, I could win in.

Just as in the Derby example above, one needs a leader who knows how to win, who has an approach that has been tested and who understands how to handle the various talents provided to him or her.

I've seen leaders who's teams were about the leader's success. Those team's success is dependant on the brilliance of the leaders. Not being brilliant myself, I've always thought success was dependant on the cumulative talents of the team, aligned and directed in a manner that played to their strengths and protected individuals from their weaknesses. That seems to work rather well.

So I'm curious:
What are your expectations for your team?
What are your expectations for each individual?
How do you train them to win?
Does each individual understand what is critical for them to do in order to win?

Cause the math of this is simple: Followers are only as good as their leaders allow/train them to be.

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