Thursday, July 26, 2007



Imagine you and your team are running from a fire.
Your leaders are ahead of you, with the rest of you
clamoring to get to where they are,
on the other side of a rushing river.

You reach a steep ravine, which is the only way across
and the only way you can get above it to the other side
is with help from those ahead.

You reach your hand up to grasp theirs.
What do you do now?
Do you hang like a wet noodle and make them
hoist up your dead weight all on their own?
Do you think they would even be able to
save you if you did that?
Of course, they would not!
In fact, it is likely you would pull them down with you!
You will do everything you can with all your might and
every ounce of energy and strength you can muster,
to scramble up and help yourself,
and help them help you, right?

Why should marketing with a team be any different?
Have you ever started with a new marketing venture,
or joined a new program and just sat there
waiting for something to happen?
OK maybe you have never done that,
but you undoubtedly know someone who has done this.
If you are their leader, how do you handle that?
Let them know you can give them some leverage,
but they are going to have to pull their own weight at the same time.
You can do this in a nice way, too.

Here is a sample opening dialogue for someone who is “noodling”:

“Mary, I am excited to have you on board.
Now that you are a part of our team,
we can help you in many ways.
Tell me your biggest obstacle right now,
and let’s work on how to get you through it.”

Maybe you have experienced the opposite effect,
through leaders who hold out their hand
but do not pull you up, making you do all the work.
Here is how I might handle that:

“I am glad to be a part of you team, Joe.
Right now I am having trouble figuring out
how to get from point a to point b.
I am not doing myself or anybody else any good
until I can work this out. Do you have any suggestions?”

Either way, remember you are part of a team.
Really, no matter what business you are in,
you are part of some kind of team,
and two people working together can
accomplish much more than two people working independently
Communicating your needs and asking for help from leaders
and team members needs to be an absolute priority
for you on a regular basis. Weekly at least,
preferably more often, you need to check in
with your team just to let them know what’s going on
and that you are still available to help.
If you need their help, do not be afraid to ask.
People like to be needed. This is a basic fact of human nature.
As human beings, we need food and shelter,
but that is not all. We need to feel a sense of belonging.
How do we do this? We offer our help, and, we ask for help.
When we accept help, we do it with resolve to help ourselves
at the same time and participate in the progress.
When we offer help, we do it with a willingness to get our sleeves dirty
and sweat a little in the interest of helping our teammates.
It really is a simple concept.

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