Leadership Libations

October 26, 2009

Lesson’s from Atlanta’s Super Speedway

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 2:55 pm

I grew up in Atlanta Georgia. Granted, it was an emerging southern city, where the “perimeter” was the line between the city and the country. I grew up just north of the perimeter, in East Marietta. At that time, we were on the “end” of the civilized universe…..or maybe just out depending on who you talked too. Whether i85i285you grew up in Buckhead, Dunwoody, Smyrna, or Chamblee, there was one fixture, one part of Atlanta that we all we’re in tune with —- I-285 – The Loop.

The Loop was a 4-lane oval that went around Atlanta back in the 70’s & 80’s, but like all things in Atlanta, it has grown in epic proportions. Those humble four lanes have been expanded, now 8-12 lanes wide depending on the section of town you are in….even with that, during rush hour, the same gridlock that haunts other mega cities takes hold on I-285. So much so, that I avoid the rush hour traffic when I am in town by leaving a little early to avoid the whole mess. Last week was a repeat of that strategy and as I headed down the great big oval I was amazed and in awe of the behaviors I saw. Inspiring me to share some thoughts for the leaders amongst us…..and hopefully the drivers.

1. Pick a lane – At 6am, Atlanta’s superspeedway is starting to get crowded. Requiring drivers to actually start to recognize where they are, where they are going, and importantly where they need to be to get there. The driver who aimlessly feels the need to be in the left lane for half a mile before driving across 4 lanes of traffic to catch the next exit is one of the reasons that traffic on the superspeedway will be backed up in a few hours. In business, it’s the same, be strategic, look ahead, think about where you are and where you are going and then pick a damn lane!
ricky-bobby-if-you-aint-first2. Focus on what your doing, not on distractions – ok, everyone makes fun of the woman putting on her make-up or the man animatedly spewing on his phone. Those targets are a little too easy for this post. I-285 early in the morning is a hodge podge of breakfast eaters, primpers, texters, and I would guess tweeter’s cruising along at 80mph. Fairly scary, where were those films when these people went to drivers ed??? Don’t get me wrong, I’m passing most of them, the speed isn’t my issue….speed doesn’t kill…..idiots kill! Just like business….If you are going to drive 80+mph, focus. If you want to do all these other things….find a slow lane for your management style.
3. Warning signals are great…..if you need to warn folks – OK, I understand Atlanta has been in a drought. But seriously, it rains, and no one knows how to drive? These very people who only moments ago were driving 90mph, primping their hair, and eating an EggBoBiscuit now slow down to 40 and put their hazard lights on with a little rain? All businesses have challenges! You shouldn’t be going so fast that you blast past those challenges….but you can’t ask the world to stop so you can catch your breath. Don’t count on the world to slow down because you’ve gotten a little bit of inclement weather.

Yes, Atlanta does have a Nascar race, but the lessons learned from Atlanta’s real Super Speedway meet the need for speed!

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October 20, 2009

Cincinnati Sales Leadership SIG Summary

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 7:07 pm

This morning at the Health Foundation of Cincinnati’s Board Room, we kicked off the Sales Leadership SIG for the Cincinnati Chapter of the AMA.

Our first event, “What happened to our Marriage” – bringing that spark back to the Sales and Marketing relationship, was a round-table where the groups and sales and marketing professionals wrestled with topics and questions, sharing their feedback with other participants. Each participant provided their learning, perspectives and insights, leading to a robust discussion, unique insights from both sides of the marriage, and their views on what leads to these successful partnerships. With nearly 20 participants, we had robust learning and discussions, with each attendee playing a critical part in each others learnings.

NEXT EVENT

Our next event will be November 17th at 7:45am at the Health Foundation of Cincinnati. Mark it on your calendar today!!!!

FEEDBACK FOR UPCOMING TOPICS!

Also, we as a group operate with the motto that – FEEDBACK IS A GIFT! – as such, we would love your input into future discussion topics for the SIG. Please take a 1-2 minutes out of your time and fill out the attached survey:

Please provide us feedback on future topics

We want your feedback whether you can join us next week or not! This is your group and as such, we want to have discussions and facilitator’s that help you and your development.

GROUP’S MISSION

This shared interest group is being brought together to:

  1. Provide a forum to enhance Professional Sales Leaders, as well as marketer’s whose role requires more intimate involvement with the sales process, to grow professionally
  2. Drive a knowledge and best practices center of expertise for AMA members whose role requires a sales bias
  3. Learn from each other best practices, ideas, and generate shared learning
  4. Network with other like minded professionals

October 16, 2009

Cincinnati AMA Sales Leadership SIG – October 20th

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 7:57 am

Next Tuesday we are kicking off the Sales Leadership SIG for the Cincinnati Chapter of the AMA. This shared interest group is being brought together to:

  1. Provide a forum to enhance Professional Sales Leaders, as well as marketer’s whose role requires more intimate involvement with the sales process, to grow professionally
  2. Drive a knowledge and best practices center of expertise for AMA members whose role requires a sales bias
  3. Learn from each other best practices, ideas, and generate shared learning
  4. Network with other like minded professionals

The Cincinnati AMA has established themselves as a thought leader on the development and execution of Shared Interest Groups (SIG’s) amongst AMA chapter’s nationally. This new SIG adds to that strong portfolio of SIG’s and provides an opportunity for Sales Leaders and those who partner with Sales Leaders to learn together.

Our First Event

“What happened to my marriage?”

Bringing back the spark that creates successful Sales & Marketing relationships


Join our insightful round-table session to discuss the ingredients to a successful sales & marketing partnership. Through our traditional SIG format, blending facilitated discussions & presentations sales leaders, sales oriented marketing team and AMA members, develop, discover, learn, and build skills, networks and community that deliver new, enhanced and continued success.

Cost:
AMA Members: FREE
Non-members: $10

Where: The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati
3805 Edwards Road, 5th Floor Rookwood Tower
Cincinnati, OH

Use the link below to register for event:
http://cincinnatiama.org/2009/sales-sig-october-20-2009/

Also, we as a group operate with the motto that – FEEDBACK IS A GIFT! – as such, we would love your input into future discussion topics for the SIG. Please take a 1-2 minutes out of your time and fill out the attached survey:

Please provide us feedback on future topics

We want your feedback whether you can join us next week or not! This is your group and as such, we want to have discussions and facilitator’s that help you and your development.

See you on Tuesday!

October 12, 2009

Flying Between The Clouds

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 8:40 pm

Was on a flight returning home last week, weather a little bit shakey with rain predicted in the area. As we began the descent, we bumped through the high altitude clouds. After a few minutes of rocking and rolling through the clouds, we crossed the final line and broke through the clouds. At that moment, I glanced out of the window of the little puddle-brace_450jumper we were on to see one of my favorite sites. Above me, the clouds we had just crossed through were the towering clouds reaching in large billows to the sky. And as I looked down, I saw another wave of clouds below us. That moment of flying between the clouds is one of the few sites that will pull my nose from my Kindle or my Crossword puzzle to watch the flight and appreciate the beauty.

As I sat there reflecting on the scene, the purpose of my trip, and the work I was doing with my client, another message of these clouds and the choices true leaders need to make started running through my head. The reminders these clouds and the circumstances provided were a solid reminder to the message I was delivering to my client.

  1. A leader’s job is to navigate the organization to their new reality. While it would have been comfortable to stay between the two waves of clouds, that wasn’t getting us closer to our destination. In fact, that very comfort level would keep us on a course, actually moving further away from where we needed to be heading.
  2. A leader’s needs to help us take on the turbulence. Yes, the “change” we were embarking on, to move through those clouds and put our wheels on the ground, wasn’t going to come without some bumps. The leader needs to help us expect the turbulence, get ready for the turbulence, in fact embrace the turbulence.
  3. A leader needs to read the conditions, the conditions of their team, and the conditions surrounding us. An organization that is afraid of the turbulence will never take the course that allows them to achieve their full potential. That is also true of an organization who constantly exists in turbulence, looking for the next bump. That organization will never successfully navigate through the clouds to their new reality. Instead, they’ll exist, tumblr_kp1uh09wB11qzqx0jo1_400and in fact feel the need to always be in flux. Change for the sake of change, without a destination, will create a team every bit as dysfunctional as the one that hides in the safety between the clouds.

Beautiful site that it was, yes we finally changed course and went through the final layer of the clouds. Landing in the rain on terra firma, one step closer to a new reality and one step closer to dinner with the family! Nice reminder that Leadership requires not only that we paint the vision, but that we help the organization expect and even learn to embrace the turbulence that change brings.

October 5, 2009

The Map and The Man – How Rio Won The Olympics

Filed under: Uncategorized — robjelinek @ 12:41 pm

And the Winner is….Rio De Janeiro

A few days after the big announcement that Rio De Janeiro will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, the hand wringing and blame game has begun. The headlines of the major players in news continue to focus on what went wrong:

While Chicago was the betting line favorite, much of that can probably be linked to the Obama’s decision to attend and the profile that brought to the Windy City’s Bid. The fact was that heading into the session in Denmark, many considered this event as a non-event. While nothing is certain where voting occurs, a compelling bid by one of the developing world’s most beautiful cities had many thinking the coronation was inevitable. But then the Obama’s committed to attend and the buzz that follows the first family and the world’s most powerful leader began to make the sentiment shift. By the time the speech took place on Friday morning, many in the Windy City and across the nation were assuming that Chicago would be awarded the event….or at worse case lose in a close final run-off to the eventual winner Rio.

Now everyone is doing the post-loss routine of finding a place to lay blame. Having lost my share of sales, I am the first to believe in the power of postmortem’s as a learning event. So as I looked at the noise, I decided to do my own mini-review of what happened.

Rio had the Map

themap_935927997
Since their entry into the formal bidding process, Rio De Janeiro had been using “The Map” to build their case. Rio – really the first viable bid by a South American city – used the map to overcome the challenges and concerns of their bid. The world’s 4th largest continent with almost 400 Million people living there – no city has ever hosted the Olympics. Concerns about the challenge of this city hosting the Olympics so soon after the World Cup (they are hosting the 2014 World Cup) – their answer – The Map. What about the street crime problem – their answer – The Map. Infrastructure, air travel, timezones, proximity – their answer – The Map.

The Man & The Voting Process

Denmark Olympics 2016 Bids MadridYou might not remember the year that Atlanta was awarded the Olympics, but that was an upset. Athens was the sentimental favor to be awarded the games. Atlanta was one of two North American cities in the running, not to mention a strong bid by the Australians. Certain wisdom had the event heading to Greece. But that was where the process took over. Greece had more votes in the first two rounds, but a funny thing started happening in the 3rd round. Atlanta started to pick up votes. As the final three voting was announced and Toronto was eliminated, all was over but the shouting as Atlanta picked up 17 of Toronto’s 22 votes. Atlanta played the process and used it to win. Frankly, Chicago might have been able to do the same thing…..if they only could make it out of the first round.
The dreaded 1st round was more problematic in this narrow field than everyone realized. We’ve talked about the “Map” and South America’s very passionate point that it was time for the games to go to South America. They had a very strong core-group lined up not to mention the momentum to win past the first round (see Atlanta above). Throw in a very viable city in Tokyo, host of the 1964 Olympics and the only Asian city represented in the final four. While the Olympics were in Beijing in 2008, there is still strong regional pride and energy that would provide them “face” in the first round. The last contender and the one every one had written off was Madrid. Face it, London has the Olympics in 2012. Moscow in 2014. Everyone looked at Madrid as the sacrificial lamb of the first round. What everyone forgot was one man – Juan Antonio Samaranch – the 89 year old former head of the IOC. His simple lines:

“Dear colleagues, I know I am very near the end of my time,” he said. ” I am, as you know, 89 years old.

“May I ask you to consider granting my country the honor and also the duty to organize the Games and Paralympic Games in 2016. Thank you very much.”

The man, and his connections, played a huge role in keeping the bid for Madrid alive. Who understands the process better than one who presided over the process? Who understood the membership better than the man who was instrumental in many of these people being on the IOC? You only need to review the first round to understand what this man was able to do that ended the bid for Chicago before they even got going.

So, why did Chicago not get the Olympics:

  • Was it Obama’s failure?
  • Was it the world teaching the American’s a lesson?
  • A hangover of Iraq?

Me, I simply think it was the collision of two very big hurdles that had Chicago beaten before Air Force One was wheels up on the way to Denmark.

Need to find someone to blame….blame the Map & the Man.

Rio_gets_2012_021009

Congratulations to my friends in South America and looking forward to seeing the games in RIO!

In the spirit of full disclosure – I voted for McCain, I was born in Chicago, I grew up in Atlanta, I have been to Rio and it is one of my top 5 favorite cities I’ve visited, and my younger brother lives in South America…..not sure why any would matter in all I’ve written above…but didn’t want folks to feel deceived.

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