Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sometimes You Do Have to Put Your Foot Down? Maybe Not!

I've been re-reading Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friend's and Influence People" for the umpteenth time.  I must be a poor reader because I am guilty of doing what Carnegie says not to do:

Be an as*hole and jump on other people (who are acting like as*holes). Of course, Carnegie is a great writer so he doesn't say it as eloquently as I do.

I'd like to take this short post and use it to remind myself how criticizing people - especially in front of others - is one of the worst things you can do.

I run a talent agency. Of course there are a very many people, "Talent," who work there. "Talent" are often very insecure people. Of course they are... They are in a very insecure job in a very insecure business that could end at any time... Not only could it end at any time, but there are no guarantees; you could have a job today and be out of a job tomorrow.

It's kind of like being a professional sports athlete: You'd better have your act together or you are done real soon. Half-assed people need not apply.

I've also worked as a producer, general manager and company president and founder. I've even taken a company that lost $140 million dollars in ten years, turned it around and put it into profitability within 2 years. Of course I didn't do that alone, I had a great team and was smart enough to get great people around me.

I'm doing the same at my newest venture: I may not be an expert in the tech field or even a top quality salesman or expert in our field, but I am expert enough to get the best people around me who do know what they are doing. And I am smart enough to know how to motivate people to do and be their best.

The ideas in "How to Win Friend's and Influence People" have worked to help me over an over so many times that I can't count them all. At my new venture, I have one of the best technical engineers on my staff... Even so, I suspect that this gentleman isn't very happy with the direction things are going.

You see, as a technical engineer and creator, this gentleman is an artist. Often, in the course of business, we have to make decisions that accommodate business and profitability over creativity. This sometimes leads towards unhappiness amongst the creative staff. I have suspected that this person might be dis-satisfied and wanting to quit.

What to do?

Of course, appreciation and sincere compliments are in order. And, of course, these should be done in the presence of others. Before a meeting started this morning, I arose and said, 

"The other day, I was at Apple Japan. There, I met the director of marketing for all of Apple Asia. I showed him our new service and he was mightily impressed. He told me that our service was a winner and that we were sure to succeed... I told him that I believe that we can because we have the best staff and engineers in all of Japan."

And, this was a true story. I could have said to the Apple boss,

"Yes. Thank you." And not chosen to compliment my staff, but I saw the opportunity to be able to pass on praise where praise was past due. Relating this story in front of the engineer to the entire company staff made him blush with pride. That's what I wanted to do. It was honest and sincere praise spoken in a humble manner.

Do you think that made him proud? Do you think that motivated him to do more?

Of course it did. Praise is a powerful motivator and people - all people - desperately desire to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. Nothing beats sincere praise, especially if it is delivered in front of other people...

I also overheard a story about how an executive belittled one of his staff in front of other people the other day. The person on the receiving end of this criticism told me she was so embarrassed and ashamed. She didn't feel good at all and she told me that she wanted to quit.

Nothing will earn your scorn more than criticizing your staff in front of others. It is a self-defeating process. Do you think that girl will work harder for this boss? If she, and every one else loses their motivation, how does that help this boss?

Nothing will earn you more respect and admiration from your staff, and getting more out of them, than praising them in public as much as possible and always thanking them for your success.

I believe, as my dear old dad used to say, "You can catch as many flies with sugar as you can with sh*t! So why give people sh*t?"

He's right. You can get great results with praise. You can never make yourself look better by criticizing others.  

You can motivate ordinary people to do great things by utilizing this basic understanding of the human psychology and human mind.  

I see this psychology at work in the sports and sports marketing business. I rarely see it in action in the music business. Perhaps because, sports are almost always a team effort. Music is often a dog eat dog competition between individuals. Sports is almost always a team effort. 

In the last month have had the experience of working with people inside a huge 20,000 person concert event and a 20,000 person sports event. I was behind the scenes of both events. I saw how people were treated and how the management structures were set up.

All I can really say is that I get the distinct impression that the people working in the sports marketing field are of much higher quality and much more intelligent and competent than the people working in music. It makes sense too, when you stop to think about it:

In high school, especially in Japan, a certain group of kids leaned towards music and a different group levitated towards sports. Of course not everyone, but it seems to me that the kids who studied the hardest and got the best grades moved to sports. Since they studied hard and did sports, they got good grades and went to good universities. There, after that, the got good jobs hat paid well.

Musicians and music people? Hmmm? Am I confused when I say that not too many musicians even go to college?

Anyway, I digress... The point is not a comparison of the quality of the average worker in the sports market versus the average worker in the music business. The point is that, after witnessing two very different world's: One through a sports event and one through a music event, I can say that motivating your people as a team - like a sports organization - is a much better way to increase your chances of success, whether your business is music, sports, fashion, whatever...

Winning teams are built on respect and pride... You won't get it criticizing people. Criticism is no way to motivate people. It your own worst enemy. Don't do it. Praise people and make them feel good. 

Praising your staff is just smart business!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What? You mean bosses and supervisors aren't supposed to make their employees cry in front of everyone?

I know several women who need to quit their jobs right now.

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