Starting a two day conference is a daunting task.
A room full of smiling faces with laptops and notepads, and me scanning their faces for signs of life as begin two days of rapid fire information.
Some of those faces are happy because they come with a two-day pass off of work, some of them came for the change of pace, and some, the ones I am looking for, came to learn something new and be inspired.
I work with the willing.
Never one to shy away from the front row of life, I have learned that passion and commitment to learning is a lifelong mission that pays huge rewards. Managing staff and teams of sales reps I saw that every person comes to work (and life) with their own agenda, and that agenda doesn’t always include a willingness to learn and grow. So I made a commitment, a long time ago, to work with the willing, and that is the only hurdle of success.
The willing are those on your team who are inspired by their work. They are creative and energetic in their daily routines. They reach out and rarely pull back. They are two steps ahead, and they are the ones who are probably sitting in the front row with pens already in their hands, ready to take notes.
Focus on these few and make them the focal point of your work. Keep them in your eyesight, and always clear your calendar when they ask for a moment of your time. For the willing are the superstars who will inspire your whole team because they are getting the attention of the leader, and that my friends, would be you!
Giving the willing your time and effort will set a tone in your organization that you value what they are giving: Energy, creativity, and results. Giving your attention to the willing will signal to every member on your team that you no longer are putting time and effort into drama and unnecessary complaints. Giving your attention to those who are present, engaged, and sitting in the front row, lets everyone know that you are engaged with the same passion and purpose, and together you will inspire and lead.
And when you focus on the willing, they stay engaged and grow. Their constant enthusiasm can, and should welcome others into the circle of energy and results, and the drama queens? They move on, feeling justified in their beliefs that everyone else is the source of their misery.
Over the course of my two day presentation, I saw the back feeders move back, but the middle seaters, pulled their seats more forward to engage with those of us in the front rows having a good time, learning and exchanging ideas. It was an exhilarating couple of days that assured me that the strategy of working with the willing does and can work in any environment. Those front two rows were exploding with engaged and energized people who didn’t want to leave when the clock chimed “seminar over.”
We hung together continuing the conversation, and making plans to network and grow. We left feeling like rock stars, and didn’t worry about those few in the back rows who snuck out at 5 minutes before the clock struck 5. They are not worth your time or effort. They are not the people who will give your organization the results you are looking for. Rethink your leadership strategy. Forget the old notion that everyone on your team deserves equal time. Are they giving you equal effort?
Do you think it’s hard to do—focusing on the willing? What challenges do you face when you keep spending all your time with the drama queens? Is it worth spending less time with your superstars? What are your thoughts?