As we drool over this weeks' new smartphones with app after bloody app that promise to make our lives easier, more fulfilling. . . have we completely lost all common sense?
Having worked in Corporate America for 37 of my 59 years, I have been incredibly blessed to have what I consider a very rewarding sales career. Aside from making a good living, I have meet some of the best business leaders on the planet, attended a dinner party with a US President, I've met authors, technology leaders, and communicated with hundreds of "C" level business executives across multiple industries. Lately, however I’m seeing a huge lack of good old fashion common sense which is becoming more the norm than the exception. Rather than bore you with examples of miserable failures of common sense, I’ll focus on just one very good example of using common sense & motivation that I hope you can appreciate as much as I do.
True big-picture, long-term motivation is rarely understood by business leaders. In my opinion, maybe 1 in 10 get it. In fact those of you self-proclaimed alpha-leaders possessing all answers just quit reading now and simply follow George Costanza's advice . . . “do the complete opposite of what you are doing today” and you’ll probably increase your bottom line.
For those of you eager to read-on, here is the absolute favorite good news HOW TO business story of my entire 37 year career. And since this is a good news story, I’ll call this person out by name as he is a master of motivation and business acumen. His name is Jule Limoli and he was our VP of Sales back in the mid-1990s in Phoenix, AZ where I was a product manager supporting a very savvy team of technical sales professionals. One of our largest customers ordered seven mainframe production printers totaling $3.5M. My before tax commission on the sale was $70K . . . more than I had earned the entire previous year. HQ called Jule and said something like “we can’t pay such a large commission on this transaction and we must invoke the large order rule”. For those of you not in sales, the so-called “large-order rule” is a policy that some companies have in place to help manage unusual performance spikes. Certainly a company wouldn’t want a sales rep making more money than their senior VPs now would they? Well, to make a long story short Jule gave this person in the commissions group a piece of his mind and said something like “Don’t you dare or Murphy will be done for the year and probably quit.” Truer words were never spoken and thankfully Jule pushed-back hard and my commission arrived, paid in full. What happened next was something only a true business leader & master motivator could ever understand. Remember I sold seven printers worth $3.5M to earn that $70,000 commission check? I was so motivated by Jule and his support of me that I went on to sell double that number and earned one of our top sales awards we call President’s Club. It didn't stop there, I continued on to earn President's Club six out of the next seven years and booked almost thirty million dollars of revenue . . . all because I had a VP with good common sense who understood the BIG PICTURE and exactly how to motivate his sales organization.
People, we need to reinstate common sense back into our business lives and FAST. We can follow the corporate structure rules to a tee but end-up having to close the doors if we continue missing the point of everything due to a serious lack of common sense. Business leaders, look long-term, always do the right thing and use your God Given common sense . . . it will make your job much easier and along the way you might just earn the respect of your employees . . . who by the way will have your back and never consider another job. I’m in my 32nd year with the same company and a large part of why I am still here was and is Jule Limoli.