Nov 9, 2007

Fear or Love?

Today, I spoke with a woman who has offered collaborative leadership team building coaching since 1970. She seemed quite "grounded" and centered in her approach to business and life. She was sharing her past, then I was sharing my model, business structure ideas, and collaboration tools I'm developing. We shared together for about an hour, when all of a sudden the conversation seemed to shift.

To what, you might ask?

To LOVE. She spotted the fact that I CARE DEEPLY about seeing organizations SHIFT.

And the challenge we started talking about is the biggest concern I have with anything I do at AspireNow or here with ARRiiVE Business Solutions:

How do we get organizations to STOP RULING WITH FEAR and START RULING WITH LOVE?

Isn't this our concern when entering new environments? Are they ruling with Fear or Love?

I've been employed in organizations whose leadership team literally made jokes about firing people on a weekly basis. Can you imagine that? I've been in environments where they talked about people hitting their goals or "the bosses would shut the place down" and lock the doors. Guess what? They NEVER DID shut the place down! It was just a fear-based message to try to motivate people.

I remember saying to that manager, "Fear doesn't inspire me. Love, on the other hand, DOES inspire me." He softened a little after that. The next boss sat there, smiling at the team, saying "I am here to help you succeed, make more money, and do good things for the team." The following day he told me, in confidence, that the entire team had to go, because they weren't typical for that industry (meaning, they wanted to stand for ethical business). His new methods involved using bait-and-switch tactics, something I don't condone. He lasted five months, before they brought in the next guy (who was worse, I'll add). This continued to get worse and worse until, finally, I got the heck out of there!

What was the final straw? I came back from vacation and my new boss (called affectionately by my peers, "Hitler") actually had the gall to accuse me of "not caring" about my work or being "lazy" because I'd been on vacation, took one sick day, and subsequently had surgery on an infected toe. This, all in one month. Of course, the day he accused me of these things, I was there at work, with my toe wrapped up in a bandage, on vicadin medicine just to get through the pain, doing my job. The only reason I was wanting to leave early was because I'd been invited to a wedding and it was incredibly important to several people that I be there at that wedding. He had approved my leaving early, then changed his mind as I was walking out the door! When I pointed out that I'd taken a larger share of responsbility than any other person there (I had the numbers to prove it) he told me to "get the hell out of there" and he'd see to it that I never worked there again. Keep in mind that I was his #2 salesperson at the time of this altercation.

I'll never forget how loving they were at the wedding. I said to my partner: I've never seen a more obvious example of the difference between fear and love in all my life!

The upper management later invited me back, "Hitler" later apologized, but it was too late. I never went back -- MY choice.

The type of environment described above is very toxic. At the point when I left that organization, my nerves were shot, I would wake at 3:00 a.m. in a sweat after a nightmare, and started grinding my teeth. It got ugly. If you are in an environment like this, I will encourage you to leave. Make sure you have a strategy to make money so that you don't go broke or hit hard times. But get out of there. Jobs and vocations DO EXIST where you CAN get treated right and make great money. Either start your own company or take one of those jobs. I believe that, ultimately, we'll make more money, and live longer, if we're happier and more loving.


Why am I bringing this up? Because I believe we are spiritual beings. We are emotional beings. We are not intellectual robots who don't have feelings. Corporations must embrace this if they are to reinvent and become GREAT. It's what's required of executives to truly begin empowering their people: they must embrace both POSITIVE EMOTION and LOVING SPIRIT as part of the collective work experience.

I've been a believer for quite some time that powerful organizations have VISION. They ask better QUESTIONS. And they take ACTION. I used to describe this as VQA. But I'm going to go a step further and share that we need to add an "L" to the acronym. What does the "L" stand for? L-O-V-E. We need VQAL to have true success.

Does LOVE belong in the workplace?

Think about it. Which boss do you love the most? The boss who frequently threatened to fire you, or the boss who treated you special, listened to you, showed you respect, and led you to greatness through being a coach and a partner in your challenges? Tough question, huh!?

Which employees INSPIRE you the most?

Usually, they're the people who are most PASSIONATE or offer the most SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE. Am I right?

The people at work who've inspired me the most made me laugh. They hit numbers. They did it without lying or cheating. How? By being exceptional. My good friend, Grant Stellwagen, is the greatest salesperson I've ever met. What makes Grant such a great salesperson? First of all, he's funny. Second, he's sharp as a tack. Third, he understands the techniques of selling better than anyone else I know. He knows you have to give clients gifts to build stronger relationships. He knows you have to be creative and surprise people. He understands that you must ask intelligent questions to determine a prospect's needs. And he adds value and offers something different on every call.

Grant also knows that you can't win them all, but if you keep planting, watering, and fertilizing seeds, it is inevitable that at some point you'll grow some plants that will bear fruit. And he grew more fruit than anyone else at my company. To the tune of millions of dollars, in fact.

The last time I saw Grant, he and I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. talking in the hotel lounge and sharing ideas about what we felt was exciting about life at that time. I still remember that talk like it was yesterday. He showed me that he cared about me, my ideas, and what I was up to at that company. That's inspiring, isn't it?

Who inspires you?

I bet they are smart, fun, and loving.

If you're an executive reading this article, can I encourage you to put aside the old fear-based methods and embrace new ways to build more LOVE in your organization? It really is a better way.

In personal life, I will say that LOVE is the answer to what we're looking for.

Is it any different in business? In business, LOVE is the answer, too.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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