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SYNOPSIS: Excerpts from "You Thought Managing Was A Promotion?" by Steve Stewart.

You Thought Managing Was A Promotion
From Chapter 1, Policies and Standards:
The president of a highly successful U.S. company recently gave an agent his license back because while he managed to consistently close a sale a month, the agent never met the company standard on dress. The agent-always neat and clean-refused to wear a tie-which fell into the company's dress code for men. The agent reasoned that NOT wearing a tie had never kept him from selling a house every month.
The president, however, was adamant. "We've really enjoyed having you here, and we like you. But we have decided to give you your license back because even though you and I have talked about it many times, you won't wear a tie and that's against the company policy." [How about you? Ever have an agent who tested your rules?]
The agent never expected that the company would stick to its own rule. "Do you mean you'd give up a closing a month just because I won't wear a tie?"
"Yes," said the president, "I can't afford you if you won't wear a tie. Every time you close a sale without a tie, you teach another 150 men in this company that to sell houses, you should violate company policy. Even though this works for you, I have a larger obligation to the other 150 men than I do to you. And every time you violate the rule even on something as simple as a necktie, you teach the other 150 men that our rules don't matter. If that's true, why have ANY rules or policies on ANYTHING?
"Besides, you dress like a golf pro" [He was, in fact, a retired golf pro: pink shirt, bright green pants, white belt and shoes; he looked like an Easter egg!]. "Every time you look at yourself, you think you're a golf pro. Everyone else who sees you thinks you're a golf pro. If people looked at you and thought you were a real estate salesman, you'd be selling FOUR houses a month instead of one. So you're not closing ONE a month; you're costing us THREE! All that over the issue of one neck tie! You could bankrupt this company over that one little issue if I had 150 other men who lost out from four to one.
"So please understand that we like you, and if you ever decide to dress for work like you sell real estate, I hope you bring your license back here. Because other than this one thing, we have really enjoyed working with you."
It's your call: Was the president right or wrong?
From Chapter 5, Office Meetings People Want to Attend:
In "On Promises Kept and Deadlines Met," Michael and Timothy Mescon recounted the example of a business school management professor who-in explaining his expectations of the students and the course-indicated that the class would begin at 7:00am sharp each day, and that no one would be allowed to enter the classroom late. His rationale was that the class would be studying management, and the manager shouldn't expect anyone to do whatever he himself was unwilling to do; good managers lead by example.
Of course, the students complained extensively! Some said that would be a problem because they had to drive long distances to get to the campus. The professor suggested that they leave home earlier. Some of the younger students had their parents call to ask why, if they were paying tuition, their children couldn't get into the class when they arrived. The professor indicated that one of his goals was to help the student develop winning and responsible habits. Not one parent complained after that.
Once the course got going and everyone understood the rule. Virtually all the students showed up and succeeded-further demonstrating that most of us do exactly what we want to do, have time for those things we want to have time for; we remember what we truly consider to be important.
There's no reason we can't do the same thing with our own meetings and in the process, present our people with a living example of how we do things in this company. This is a standard you set and demonstrate every week.

- END -
Steve Stewart is a popular writer/speaker based in Claremont CA. Available from his office at (909) 626-0454 or

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