There were always in me two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.
– Anaïs Nin –
It was December 4th and the third day on the job for the new VP of sales. Entering the room of 35 people including sales people, inside sales people, sales support, and 2 sales managers, he started by sharing some very interesting and important facts about the past few years of this team. Sales shrunk by 35% in 3 years, there were no goals for the team or the individuals, compensation plans were vague and the finger pointing was rampant. After sharing these facts with the team, it was clear that several things were going to change in relation to these concerns before the end of the year. First, each sales person would have a quota, a target territory and a new compensation plan. Second, the roles of inside sales and the support people would be clarified and plans written to specify how each person would contribute to the company revenue and profit goals. Finally, with a company target established, the new leader stated the theme for the year, “We WILL reach our goal!”
After 3 long years of failure, 4 fired sales managers, and the loss of jobs by many others in the company it was time to change the mindset. WE WILL HIT OUR NUMBER! WITH ENTHUSIASM!!
What do you think? Do you think this shift to having accountable goals, creating a set of expectations for sales activities and holding regular reviews was embraced with open arms and enthusiasm by the team? NOT A CHANCE!!
Often, infusing the organization with energy comes from inside the leader…that would be you. As the leader, you influence the mood of the team by what you say, how you say it, and by role modeling that all important positive attitude. Creating a theme can make this simple and create focus. At the same time, where does enthusiasm come from when you know you have to maintain this energy level for weeks and months? Again, it comes from the inside. To consistently demonstrate such energy you must take care of yourself. Your level of energy and enthusiasm will be determined by your ability to eat right, sleep well, exercise regularly, take time for yourself so you can reflect, and just to take a deep breath once in a while.
I believe this reflects the way you need to role model for your team, no matter what else is going on – Who do you choose to be? When all else fails, be enthusiastic. If you cannot, I might suggest you find another job. Leaders must carry the banner of enthusiasm. There is no better word to describe the emotion and mood of a leader. The expression of enthusiasm is contagious and will create energy with your team. I do remember from freshman physics that energy cannot be created or destroyed but fortunately for us, the human experience is not bound by physics! You can chose how to react, possibly defying your emotions, and multiply and infuse energy into the team so each individual can come to work looking forward to the vitality boost without drinking a caffeine supplement. Enthusiasm is the catalyst to create human energy. And to paraphrase Anaïs Nin, sometimes you must conceal your true emotions and present the world with an ENTHUSIASTIC smile!
Who do you know that is always enthusiastic? When you aren’t feeling your best, how do you transfer that enthusiasm to your team?
I look forward to hearing your comments on this blog because as leaders, sharing ideas about how to maintain enthusiasm is vital to our journey!
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill