Guest Post from Vince Poscente, friend to the firm and leadership guru.
It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the BEST first steps you can take to build leadership in the field is stop following your instincts. You see, executives in the direct selling industry have multiple responsibilities on their ‘to do’ list. Yet the bottom line is consistently building field momentum. One slip up in the complex realm of legal matters, product development or cash flow and positive momentum can turn in a flash.
This can lead to fear-based leadership. This fear can unconsciously, yet viscerally cascade through your organization. Compound this with the fears on the minds of representatives in the first place, and each day can become a struggle. Let’s stop this cycle of fearful thinking at its source: the instincts that set up fear in the first place.
When fear goes up, confidence naturally goes down. The dreaded gap between fear and confidence results in poor performance. Poor performance means bad results. Panic grabs a toehold and forces change. “We won’t reach our goals if we don’t do new stuff.” Leaders scramble to change performance to get new results. “We must do this. We can’t do that. We must reevaluate.”
This sequence is perfectly instinctive for leaders. Yet, it doesn’t work long term.
You don’t change results at your direct selling company by simply changing performance and execution. Instead, first, flip the gap between fear and confidence. How?
Don’t decide to muscle through wearing your macho leadership gladiator suit through the mess. At least not yet.
Also, don’t finesse your ninja leadership skills that leave everyone wondering what Organizational Management flavor-of-the-month it is now. Put on the ninja hood later when you really need it.
Instead, try something insanely simple. So simple it will have your colleagues scratching their heads.
Make the decision to have fun at corporate.
Say – waaaaaaaahhhhht? Sure our industry is widely known for fun, but we’re supposed to have fun? At corporate?
“Fear is high because of the legal landmines,” you say, “plus the slow economy, the roll out that isn’t getting traction … And you want us to have fun?”
Yep. Si. Hi. Ney. Da. Ja. Yes!
Before you make any decisions on actions you and your team might make, raise the level of emotion to fun status.
This works for executive and reps in the field. It works in the meeting room. It works for an arena full of 18,000 of your loyal followers. You can fight your way to better results and everyone will be bloodied and bruised. Especially you when you’re looking for another job.
Or, turn the tables and institute a simple decision. A decision that MUST be part of your entire culture. Starting now! Prior to every meeting. Prior to any event. Prior to any negotiation. Prior to each and every day.
You’re the executive. You first. Pick a daunting task and decide it will be fun. Corporate leaders are in the reminding business. Remind all colleagues and representatives of this approach. Over and over again. Put it at the top of every agenda.
This is going to be fun!
“Why are you so sure Vince?” you ask. Well, when you decide to have fun, no matter how counter instinctive this may seem when you’re about to do something scary, new, difficult, challenging – you will reduce fear. You will increase confidence.
You will have flipped the gap.
Reverse the gap between fear and confidence and you directly improve the likelihood of better performance. Improve performance and you’ve led your people to momentum in the field. Simplify leadership. Don’t follow instinct. Make the decision to have fun and the fear cycle is broken.
Vince Poscente is a highly-sought keynote speaker, inductee into the Speaker Hall of Fame and Olympian athelete. Author of New York Times bestsellers The Age of Speed and The Ant and the Elephant, Vince is famous for going from recreational skier to the Olympics in just four years. Vince keynoted last year’s CxO Direct Selling Summit.