This post is part of the Leadership Opportunity Fest Blog Tour, hosted by Bill Treasurer. Watch the Leadership Opportunity Fest webinar here, find his book on Amazon, and then join us for the blog tour on August 13th as we celebrate leaders who open doors.
The title of the book came from a lesson Bill learned from his pre-school aged son Ian, when he proudly proclaimed he had been the leader for the day. When Bill asked what that meant, Ian proudly shared, “I got to open doors for people.”
The purpose of the Leadership Opportunity Fest Blog Tour is to celebrate leaders that opened doors for others. My story first appeared on SmartBlog for Leadership titled Diamonds in the Rough: How to recognize Star Employees…
Many years ago, a customer wrote a letter about me to my regional manager. To this day, I don’t know what prompted him to write the letter, and I don’t remember everything that it said, but I do remember that he called me “a diamond in the rough.”
While he saw potential, my focus was on all of my rough edges. I had recently transitioned from nonprofits and small businesses to my first job in corporate America. The processes, the language, the attire, the politics and the overall environment were so different so that, as thrilled as I was to be there, I was also intimidated and afraid that my knowledge and ideas were too simple and too child-like to be worthy.
What is interesting to me today is that the customer who wrote the note was an incredibly successful and busy CEO. In spite of his schedule, he intentionally chose to invest his time in both me and in the organization I worked for by writing that note.
The reason I share this story is that since then, I’ve frequently asked executives and hiring managers what their biggest challenge is. At least 90% of the time I get the same answer: “People.” That comment is quickly followed by an explanation about how hard it is to find enough qualified and caring people to do the work.
So here’s the challenge, if polished gems don’t grow on trees: How and where do you find them? Taking a lesson from Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffma’s Strengths Finder Research, and the CEO I mentioned earlier, you invest your time and mine for them.
Consider these true stories.
A vibrant, outgoing skilled woman has a position doing routine clerical work. Her people skills are not challenged; her ability to problem solve is not challenged, and her desire to have fun at work is not understood. She is undervalued and treated like an ugly duckling. When she is transferred to another department where her natural strengths are unleashed, she increases customer satisfaction and key metrics by several percentage points. She is suddenly a swan!