Pay it Forward

Pat had an uneventful week at the office. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she felt melancholy most of the time. She wasn’t sure if it was coming down from the high of so many weeks where she saw instant response to the things that Coach Smith was teaching her or if it was something else. Despite how she was feeling, her mood was lifted Friday around lunch as she thought about seeing Coach Smith that afternoon at the coffee shop.

As was becoming her custom, she arrived a little earlier than the arranged meeting time. She was surprised that Coach was not there when she walked in. He was always ahead of schedule because of the freedom he had in retirement and the enjoyment of watching people.

Pat ordered her drink then sat down to relax while she waited for Coach to arrive. She kept glancing at her watch wondering what could be keeping him. Before she knew it 15 minutes had passed. She was just about to call him when she noticed Sally, Coach Smith’s wife, walking in and looking around, as if she too was looking for Coach.

Pat had not seen Sally since her playing days. She had fond memories of Sally because she was always at the game supporting the team and Coach Smith. Suddenly their eyes locked and Sally began to make her way over to the table. Pat had a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, as if she knew something was dreadfully wrong.

Pat remembered that Sally always carried herself in a dignified way but today she looked out of sorts as she made her way across the cafe. She walked up to Pat, extended both of her hands to hold Pat’s and said, “Pat it’s so good to see you. Coach has told me all about your meetings and how much they meant to him.” Even to Sally he was Coach.

The past tense phrase Sally used caught Pat’s attention. Her voice cracked and she asked Sally, “Why did you say ‘meant’? Is there something wrong with Coach?”

Suddenly Sally’s face betrayed a sadness and she told Pat that he’d passed away the night before in his sleep. She began to share a little about his medical history and several bouts with congestive heart failure in recent years. Now Coach’s slower than normal movements and breathing struggles at their last meeting made sense to Pat. As Sally continued to talk, tears started streaming down Pat’s face.

Seeing Pat’s reaction, Sally stopped mid-sentence and hugged her. She whispered in her ear, “It’s okay, we’re all going to miss him.”

Composing herself, Pat said, “I’m so sorry. I should be comforting you Sally. With all you’re going through, why did you feel the need to come here to tell me in person?”

Sally began, “You have no idea how much coming here to see you these last several months meant to him. He talked about you constantly and how much he enjoyed getting together with you. It reminded him of his coaching days because it was a chance to impact your life. We both sensed the end might be near and that’s why we took a short vacation about a month and a half ago. We needed time together to make sure we said everything that needed to be said. Over the weekend he wrote something for you and asked that I give it to you whenever he couldn’t make it here again. I’ve not read it so I don’t know what he wanted to share with you. Despite the emotional roller coaster, and all the things that are now in motion planning his funeral, I felt I had to give you this personally because you meant so much to him. You mean just as much to me because of the joy you gave him.”

By this time tears were pouring down Pat’s face and she tried to compose herself again.

Sally told Pat about the funeral details on the upcoming Monday. As she got ready to leave Sally told Pat, “Don’t open the letter here. Take it home with you so you have time to read it and grieve in a way that’s comfortable for you. Again, thank you for the opportunity you gave him because he was so happy right up to the end.”

Pat sat in silence for quite a while after Sally left. She never touched her drink and unknowingly left it on the table when she got up to leave. When she got home she took a long walk, still in shock and trying to compose herself. It was close to six o’clock when she finally sat down to read the letter.

Dear Pat,

If you’re reading this then I’ve gone home. No need to cry for me because I’ve lived a joyful life and feel I’m going out on top, a winner in the biggest game of them all – life. I owe much of that to you. Retirement has been good but I missed coaching because it allowed me to impact lives.

Seeing you at the coffee shop months ago was not a coincidence. I saw it as a divine appointment. God put you in my life again so I could have one last chance to coach. Your enthusiasm for learning and growing invigorated me. I knew we’d make it through everything I needed to share before I was called home.

Now your charge is to take up the mantle and coach. It’s a different game than you played in college but the principles are the same. Use what I’ve taught you to build strong, productive teams the rest of your career. But more than that, be the kind of coach who impacts people’s lives. I’ve no doubt you will and that gives me great comfort. 

Please remember to always pay it forward. Trust me, as you do so you will get so much more than you give. 

With love,

Coach Smith

With tears streaming down her face, Pat folded the letter and walked over to her bookcase where there were pictures of family, friends, and significant events. 

She picked up a picture of Coach Smith and the team when they won the conference championship her senior year. She stared at it for several minutes and was flooded with memories of her playing days. She placed the letter on the bookcase then gently set the picture on top of it. There was no better place to keep such a wonderful gift. 

Suddenly the tears stopped and a feeling of peace washed over Pat. She knew she would miss Coach but thankfulness was mostly what she was feeling at that moment. That’s because of the time they’d spent together and all she’d learned. 

Standing by the window in her kitchen, looking at the people going about their normal lives, she took a deep breath, looked up at the puffy white clouds and said, “You can count on me to pay it forward Coach.”

 

Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

 

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

Self-sacrifice

Friday afternoon rolled around and Pat eagerly looked forward to another lesson from Coach Smith. This time they met at the door, each walking into the coffee shop at the same time. Pat noticed Coach was walking a little slower and breathing a little harder than normal.

“Coach, are you okay? You look like you’re laboring a little bit,” she asked.

“It comes with the territory,” he said with a chuckle. “Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart.”

As they approached the counter Pat turned to Coach and said, “This one’s on me.” In his gracious manner Coach responded with a sincere, “Thank you Pat.”

They made their way to a table and began with a little small talk about the previous week. After Pat shared about her mistake and recovery with scarcity she asked, “So what’s on the agenda this week?”

Coach started, “Do you recall me telling you and the other player, ‘You learn a lot about life playing this game?’”

“I think we all remember that phrase because we heard it so often,” Pat told him with a chuckle. She continued, “To be honest, in the middle of a hard practice or after a tough loss I don’t think we really understood it. In those moments it just seemed like something nice to say to encourage us.”

“And now what do you think about it?” Coach asked.

“Between our playing days and spending time with you these last few months, I believe I’m starting to get it,” Pat said.

That brought a smile to Coach Smith’s face. He began, “I never really expected my players to ‘get it’ in the moment. It was one of those concepts I was trying to teach that would come back in time to pay dividends because it’s true. It’s no different than raising a child. As a parent you do many things knowing they’re in the best interest of your children, even though they don’t understand it in the moment. Two clear examples of that are making sure your kids get educated and stay healthy. Those two things pay dividends over a lifetime.”

Pat interjected, “I can see that. I’m thankful for the education I received and the discipline I learned playing basketball. I certainly don’t workout like I did when I played for you, but I do make it to the gym three or four days a week and always feel better about having done so.”

Coach began, “What I want to share with you today is a concept called unity. We talked about liking and how important it was to really like your teammates. Unity goes much deeper than that. Unity is about having a shared identity. My clearest example comes from my father who served in the Marines in the Korean War. Every time dad met another Marine there was an instant bond. Dad would’ve done anything for another marine, including giving his life. And other Marines would’ve done the same for him. That’s because of a shared identity that comes through unity. You can define unity this way, ‘it’s easier to say yes to those who are of us, of our band, tribe, family.’ Do you understand what I’m talking about?”

Pat replied, “I think so. I know there are things I’ll do for my family that I wouldn’t do for my closest friends.”

“That’s exactly it.” Coach said in an affirming tone. “When we have unity, helping those that we feel that deep connection with in a very real sense helps us. It may require a great sacrifice but the feeling that we get it knowing we’re helping someone we’re bonded with, and the willingness to sacrifice for them goes beyond anything else I’ve taught you. I equate it to love. When I talk of love, I’m not talking about the intense feelings that we have for certain people or things. I’m talking about the decision to do what’s best for another, even when it may cost us. That’s what I saw with my father, knowing he would’ve sacrificed his life for a fellow Marine during that terrible war.”

Pat asked, “All of the other principles I can see how to apply but I’m not sure how I can apply unity. I don’t have a natural affinity for everyone I meet.”

“Don’t worry,” Coach said in a reassuring tone. “You won’t have unity with everyone you meet. There was only one person who did, but we can slowly tap into unity if we can find things we’re deeply bonded by. It’s much easier to do with a close knit group of people, a team. When you reflect on your playing days, don’t you think you do just about anything to help a former teammate?” 

“I never thought about it Coach, but I think I would,” Pat said.

Coach went on, “That’s because of the time you spent together and the intensity of the experiences you shared. You could look at one another and almost know what the other person was thinking and feeling in the moment. Pat, you have an opportunity to build that with your team. There may not be something like a physically hard practice to bond you but I’m certain you’ll find activities that can help your team. That, and the sheer amount of time that you’re spending can lead to unity. It starts with you as the leader.”

Thinking hard, Pat asked, “I’m not sure how I’ll put this into practice so quickly next week.”

With an encouraging tone Coach said, “I don’t expect you to come back with a report next week of having executed this principle. It will take time. But my advice to you is this Pat; put the needs of your team above yourself. That doesn’t mean always doing what they want, it means doing the kind of things I did when I was coaching all of you. Your goal is to have a high-performing team and the best way to make that happen is by becoming the kind of leader they feel deeply connected to. That comes about when they know that you’re putting their interest above your own.”

Pat sat there in silence, looking up as she contemplated Coach Smith’s wisdom. They continued your conversation for the allotted hour.

As they got up to leave Coach Smith thanked Pat. Pat responded, “No Coach, I need to thank you because you’ve shared so much wisdom with me. It’s been so helpful and will benefit my team and potentially beyond.”

Coach looked at her, with moist eyes, and said, “No Pat, it’s you I have to thank. You’ve allowed me the opportunity to share the things that are deeply important to me. Knowing you from your playing days and our time together here, I have no doubt you will pass along these concepts and will help many people as a result. My legacy will live on through you and others. The unity that I just described, love, that’s what I’m feeling now. You think I helped you but you helped me. I am thankful that you gave me this opportunity.”

Somehow Pat felt deep down that their time together was coming to an end but she brushed it off as just being a little emotional in the moment because of the talk of love. They hugged and she said, “I’ll see you next week Coach.” He didn’t reply but stood there quietly watching her as she walked away. He felt a sense of peace and contentment.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

 

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

Don’t Be a Downer

Eager to put Coach Smith’s lesson on scarcity into practice, Pat saw the perfect opportunity Monday afternoon. She’d attended a leadership meeting and the company sales results were significantly less than where they hoped to be at the 6-month mark.

Company results were the basis for the annual bonus plan. Not only did the company have to generate a profit, but they also had to reach certain sales metrics too. At the rate they were going, getting any bonus looked to be in jeopardy unless sales radically turned around in the second half of the year.

At her weekly team meeting on Tuesday Pat addressed the situation. She opened the meeting saying, “Yesterday I was at the leadership meeting and learned our sales results are not good. It looks like we won’t be getting a bonus unless there’s a big turnaround before year-end.” Immediately she saw everyone’s face fall and looks of concern came over everyone.

Trying to be a little more positive she went on, “I’m not saying we won’t get a bonus. It’s just unlikely without a sales turnaround.” Unknowingly she fell into the trap so many people stumble into when trying to use scarcity to motivate behavior. She came across as a fear monger, a real downer. She wasn’t sure what to do to rally her team and suddenly she felt like all the goodwill she’d built up over the last several months was out the window.

She tried to rally the team, reminding them the sales training they were working on could have a big impact on performance, but she didn’t get much response. They slogged through several other issues on the meeting agenda then everyone left the room silent.

She found an empty conference room and called Coach Smith. He answered the phone in his usual jovial tone, “What’s up Pat?”

 “Coach, I think I screwed up,” she said with a concerned tone.

 “What happened?” Coach asked, matching her emotional state.

Pat shared some of the high-level details of the leadership meeting and how she tried to use a scarcity approach to motivate her team to work even harder in the second half of the year, but it fell flat. “What can I do to turn this around,” she inquired.

In a reassuring tone Coach said, “It’s not the end of the world Pat. This is no different than when we had a poor first half in a game and had to dig ourselves out of a hole. I didn’t have to tell him the team we were in the hole because they could see the scoreboard. I also did my best to never make being down at the half seem insurmountable. I think you may have gone overboard with your team because it sounds like they don’t see a way to win in the second half. Is that a fair assessment of the situation?”

“When you put it that way, I think you’re 100% correct. Any ideas on what I might be able to do to rally the team?” she asked.

They spent the rest of the time on the phone strategizing. By the time they hung up Pat felt much better emotionally. It was late in the day but there was still time to gather everyone together for a quick meeting. She didn’t want people leaving the office feeling dejected.

Pat opened the meeting, “As all of you know, I’ve been mentored by my old basketball coach. He’s taught me quite a bit about how to use social psychology to build a more cohesive team. He was excellent at that during my playing days and so much of what he’s taught me I’ve put into practice over the last several months. Based on your feedback, it seems like morale and production have picked up significantly during that time. From my vantage point it looks like we’re working together as well as ever.”

Pausing to take a breath, she went on, “One of the concepts he taught me about is scarcity. It’s a psychological principle that people are more motivated by what they may lose versus what they might gain. It was my intent during our meeting earlier today to motivate you to work extra hard, so we don’t miss getting a year-end bonus. However, my approach backfired because I started off so negatively. The truth is, there’s still an opportunity for the company to turn sales around but we can’t hope the salespeople do it alone. We can help the cause by developing training that enables them to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This is an opportunity for us to show how big an impact we can have. I didn’t want to let you go home looking as dejected as you were when you left the meeting earlier today. Between now and tomorrow I’d like each of you to think of one or two ideas you can bring to the table tomorrow morning that we can kick around to help the sales team. By the end of the week, I’d like to go back to the leadership team to tell them I heard what they said, and we are ready to do our part. How does that sound?”

Suddenly the mood began to shift and, breathing the sigh of relief, some people began to share ideas on the spot. This impromptu meeting was what Pat was hoping for originally. There was a sense of working even harder because they wanted to help and didn’t want to lose an opportunity at the year-end bonus without a fight because many people around the company depended on the bonus to pay for the holidays and vacations over winter breaks.

When Pat left the office, she felt a sense of relief and had learned a valuable lesson.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

 

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

Tears of Joy

Last Friday Abigail, our only child, tied the knot with our new son-in-law Tyler. When I say they “tied the knot,” they literally did so in an Irish knot tying ceremony. It was beautiful! 

About an hour before that, when I walked into the room and saw Abigail for the first time in her wedding dress, I just cried. As I hugged her, I continued to cry and could not say a word. She was hugging me and asked, “Dad, are you trying to tell me something?” I couldn’t get the words out, so she said, “Dad, if you’re trying to tell me something squeeze my hand.” With my head on her shoulder, still crying, I kept gently squeezing her hand. I wanted to say, “You look beautiful, and I love you so much,” but the tears of joy overwhelmed me. Growing up Abigail loved Disney princesses – Belle from Beauty & the Beast was her favorite – and she looked like a princess!

If you’re a parent who’s married off a child, particularly a father handing off your little girl, then you have some sense of how I felt. As we walked down the aisle, I couldn’t look at my family, friends, and other guests because I felt like I would have broken down in a flood of tears. It was so overwhelming.

The ceremony was in the woods and was so joyous between the knot tying, personal vows, and Pastor Rick (who I affectionately call Pastor Sangria) whose heart felt words touched everyone.

 

We had several hundred guests at the reception, and it could not have been a better celebration! It was a perfect sunny day that turned into a beautiful night with a crescent moon. Drinks flowed, there was dancing, and lots of people enjoyed cigars on the patio overlooking a small lake.

It was a joyous three-day celebration. After the Thursday night rehearsal dinner Jane and I met dozens of friends and family and partied well into the night. Friday was the wedding, and the celebration went into the early hours of the morning for many of us. Saturday afternoon/evening was a cigar party for dozens more close friends.

Everything was better than I could have imagined. I’d like to share a few things I learned as I reflect on the day.

Details Matter

There are so many details that go into a wedding, and it was stressful for Jane and Abigail. Many times, I said, “Don’t worry about the color of napkins, number of hors d’oeuvres, or other details that people will never remember.” I was wrong. Those “little things” that people don’t consciously notice make a huge difference. 

I know this to be true from my own preparation when I give keynote talks. No one but me knows all of the time, attention and thought that go into the details of getting ready. The selection of images, choosing the right font and size, positioning of words and pictures on the screen, and practice matters. Most people won’t outwardly notice those details but when you deliver a great presentation it’s the accumulation of the details that makes the difference.

Stay in the Moment

I’ve often been accused of being on my phone too much. Guilty! It’s simply a fact of modern life and working for myself. However, knowing there was a photographer and a videographer at the wedding, I never pulled my phone out to take a picture. That allowed me more time to enjoy the moment, say hello to people and connect with friends and family. 

Weddings are such big events that there’s never enough time to talk with everyone or talk with any person as much as you’d like. Staying present allowed for more significant moments, emotions, and memories.

No Expectations

I honestly had no expectations for the wedding. By that I mean, I didn’t know what Abigail’s dress looked like and I didn’t try to imagine it. I didn’t see the venue until the day of the event, and I didn’t spend any time envisioning what it might look like. Credit to Jane and Abigail because they did all of the planning and work. 

What I’ve learned is this; when I have little or no expectations, there’s very little room for disappointment. No matter how the day unfolded, I knew it would be fun and magical. The older I get, the more I feel comfortable letting go of expectations and justlooking to the future with excitement and anticipation. This approach allowed me to enjoy the moment much more than I would have otherwise.

Being with Loved Ones

When Abigail and Tyler walked into the reception and saw everyone, she said it was so wonderful to see so many people they loved and are loved by, friends and family.

Afterwards she said, “That must be what it’s like to enter heaven and see all the people you love and who love you.” I’m sure as wonderful as she felt in that moment, heaven will be on a whole different level. 

Children’s Happiness

Abigail had been living with us until the wedding. It was hard because there comes a time when it’s right for your children to move out. However, in her case it didn’t make financial sense for her to do that before the wedding. I joked with people and said, “We love her to death, but we’ll like her a lot more when she moves out!” I’m certain she’ll enjoy us much more now that she’s started this new phase of life.

During the wedding I saw a younger version of Abigail, the person who was so carefree, happy, and full of joy. It was infectious! When I texted her the day after to ask her if she enjoyed a surprise that Tyler had planned, she texted back to say, “I’m living my dream.” If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can imagine the joy I felt at that moment!

Giving Thanks

A little over a year and a half ago I wrote a couple of blog posts about the passing of my father. Each of those posts drummed up a lot of tears, tears of sorrow.

As I reflected on writing this post, there were tears but this time they were tears of joy.

I don’t know where you stand on matters of faith but mine compels me to give thanks to God. Jane and I are beyond blessed!  We have wonderful families and incredible friends. More than that, we have each other. We are very conscious of the fact that if God had not been in the center of our relationship we probably would not still be married, may not have ever had Abigail, and our friendships would be much, much different than they are today. All thanks to Him!

To all of those who’ve loved us and supported us – thank you! We love you and are thankful for you in our lives. 

Brian Ahearn

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!

 

 

Wins and Losses

The rest of the week flew by and before Pat knew it, it was Friday afternoon again. As she was getting ready to meet Coach Smith at the coffee shop she reflected on the week. She felt good about having caught her mistake during the team meeting and then pivoting to talk to each person individually. The mood in the office was the best she could recall since taking over the learning department.

She arrived at the coffee shop 15 minutes early, hoping to beat Coach this time but he was already there sitting in his usual place, smiling and chatting with people around him. Pat walked up to him and said, “I got here extra early hoping I’d be the one sitting relaxing when you walked in for a change.”

Coach Smith laughed then reminded her, “When you’re retired you have lots of time on your hands. I enjoy our time together and coming here so I find myself arriving a little earlier each week.” 

“Well, I enjoy it too so it looks like we have a win-win situation,” Pat replied as she flashed a smile at Coach.

“Funny you mention wins because that’s what I want to talk about today. Wins and losses,” he said, taking advantage of the perfect opening. 

With a faint chuckle Pat replied, “I experienced plenty of both during my playing days and in my corporate role.”

Coach asked, “Pat, you remember your freshman season when we made it to the conference championship against all odds?”

With excitement she said, “Of course I do! We were at the number eight seed in the tourney so nobody expected us to win a game let alone against the #1 seed. I remember how excited we were when we beat them in the tournament.”

“Now think about losing the conference championship, Even though we never expected to be there, how did you feel about that?” Coach asked as he gazed into her eyes.

“Even though we never expected to be in the championship, and the odds were against us winning, that loss hurt a lot. I think about that game often,” Pat replied in a somber tone.

“Do you find yourself thinking about the sting of that loss more than the joy we experienced when we won that first game against the top-seeded team?” Coach inquired.

 “Absolutely!” Pat said emphatically.

Coach Smith began to share, “That’s exactly what I expected and it leads to what we’re going to talk about today, scarcity. Psychologists have statistically proven that people feel the pain of loss about two times as much as the joy of gaining the same thing. It’s exactly why, despite how monumental that first victory was in the tournament, losing the conference championship overshadowed it. If you think about times in your life where you’ve experienced great joy and great sorrow, doesn’t the sorrow feel stronger and seem to linger a little bit longer?”

Pat agreed, “I wish it didn’t but that always seems to be the case.”

Continuing to look her in the eye, Coach went on, “When you understand this you need to begin to look for opportunities to reframe what you might have talked about as a gain into loss, or positive into negative. Now let me be clear, I’m not talking about being a fear monger or using scare tactics. I’m talking about honestly reframing what someone might gain to what they might lose by not going along with whatever you’re proposing. If you take this approach, I think you’ll find more people doing the things you need to do because they don’t want to experience the loss you’ve highlighted. Make sense?”

Pat replied, “It does make sense but I think this will be a challenge for me because I’ve always tried to be optimistic and upbeat.”

Coach assured her, “It will feel awkward at first so it will take some practice and getting used to. Just remember, you don’t want to come across as a downer. For example, in the past, if you shared what a competitor was doing you might tell the team you’re implementing some changes because you want to be like that industry leader. That’s how most people would frame the change. Reframing it to incorporate scarcity might sound like this, ‘I was reading about XYZ company and what they’re doing around follow-up coaching in learning. We’re going to take a look at doing the same thing because we don’t want to fall behind.’”

“That doesn’t sound negative at all. I think I can do that,” Pat replied with a sense of relief in her voice.

Their conversation lasted another 20 minutes as Pat shared changes that were coming up. She worked with Coach on how she might reframe some of her initial messages to incorporate a scarcity approach. The changes could potentially boost the team’s output which would make her feel much better when she had her next one-on-one with her boss.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world!



Less Directive

Over the weekend Pat thought a lot about the conversation with Coach Smith. As she reflected on his advice and her leadership style, she realized she’d been very directive in her approach with her team. Although Coach Smith pointed out how he asked questions during practice, it wasn’t something Pat noticed about his approach with players until that last coaching session. 

Because she’d played basketball most of her life, Pat had many other coaches besides Coach Smith. As she thought about each coach she played for she realized all of them were very directive. It was expected that when you were told what to do you would do it, no questions asked. If you didn’t, then you didn’t play. That was the formula. Those early years under that system must have overshadowed some of Coach Smith’s approach.

Tuesday morning she had her weekly team gathering. She was about 20 minutes into the meeting when it suddenly hit her – she was telling everyone what to do rather than asking. After the meeting was over she sat alone in the conference room for a few minutes to think about what transpired. Several instances came to mind and the one that stood out most happened with Ben. She’d turned to him and told him she needed the monthly learning metrics report broken down by department no later than Thursday afternoon. She took the same approach with nearly every person, telling each what she wanted and by when. While it was a little discouraging to realize she’d failed so miserably, she quickly reoriented her thoughts to the positive. That was, she’d never even thought about this before and in real time she was seeing where she was making mistakes. That gave her an opportunity to start making course corrections sooner.

Rather than address the group she decided it would be best to talk with each person individually over the next couple of days. She approached Ben first because he was the longest tenured employee. She met with him in his office rather than inviting him to her’s because there’s always a power dynamic at play based on where people meet. She wanted Ben to be as comfortable as possible so his office was the right place to talk.

She opened by saying, “Ben, I have something I want to apologize for.”

Ben, looking slightly confused, said, “What could you possibly have to apologize for?”

Pat paused, then said, “I’ve been learning an awful lot about leadership from an old friend and I see that I’ve been making a mistake.”

Ben inquired, “What’s that? I have to say, things have actually been really good the last few months. Not that they were bad before, but I think we’ve all noticed a difference in you Pat.”

Smiling, Pat went on, “That’s because of the mentoring sessions I’ve been having with my old basketball coach, Coach Smith. He’s taught me a lot about what it means to build and lead a team. And that brings me to what I want to apologize for. I’ve been very directive in my  interactions with all of you. I know nobody likes to be told what to do but that’s most of what I learned from coaches growing up.”

Ben didn’t know why Pat wanted to meet with him and was pleasantly surprised at how the conversation was unfolding. As he thought about it he knew she was right. He said, “Pat, I really appreciate you telling me this. As I mentioned earlier, the last few months working for you’ve been the best I’ve experienced. I think changing your approach to engage us more will make things even better.”

Looking him directly in the eye, Pat replied, “Thank you Ben. That means a lot to me. I’ll be having this talk with each person over the next few days. I felt it was necessary to have one-on-one conversations rather than talking to the team all at once. This allows for more personal interaction and gives me to address any individual concerns people may have.”

When she got up to leave Ben said, “Hey Pat, one more thing.”

“What’s that Ben,” she asked.

“Please tell Coach Smith thank you from me and the rest of the team,” he said with a grin which brought a smile to Pat’s face.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world.

Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment

The following week Pat was thrilled to receive her Certified Learning Consultant designation in the mail. She took a selfie with it and sent it to Bill so he could give the okay for the communications department to send out the company wide announcement. It went out Thursday afternoon and almost immediately Pat received dozens of congratulations and well-wishes through the company Intranet.

When Friday rolled around, she was eager to see Coach Smith. She brought a printed copy of the announcement to show him. She walked into the coffee shop about five minutes early and true to form, Coach was already there with a cup of coffee chatting with some people sitting next to him.

“Coach, it’s so good to see you. You look rested and relaxed. How was your time away with Sally?” she asked with genuine interest.

Coach replied, “It was wonderful! The weather didn’t always cooperate but that was okay. Sally and I’ve been married for more than 40 years and I enjoy spending time with her just as much as I did when I first met her. We’ve both grown a lot and our interests have changed so we always have plenty to talk about. I appreciate you asking. How were the last two weeks for you?”

Immediately Pat launched into all that was going on. She told him, “I took your advice to heart about writing a bio. I talked with Bill, my boss, about using it to make the announcement about my designation. It worked like a charm! I had people reaching out to me throughout the company intranet. Even people I’d not met before were congratulating me. I think it gained the corporate university quite a bit of good PR. In addition to that, I reworked the bio so I always have something ready if I need to be formally introduced. And, I redid my LinkedIn profile using much of what I wrote.”

With a familiar wide smile coach Smith told her, “I’m so proud of you Pat. Just like in your playing days, you’re so coachable because you take everything you learn and put it into practice. Keep doing that and whatever you choose to do you’ll be a success.”

 It always made Pat happy when she  got such praise from Coach Smith.

 “Are you ready for a new lesson?” he asked.

“Absolutely!” Pat said. “What are we going to talk about today?”

“Even if we have strong relationships and people trust us as leaders, sometimes they’re still not doing what we need them to do. If I think back to my coaching days, I always felt like I had very good relationships with each player. I know they looked at me as knowledgeable about the game and none of the young ladies who played for me were unsure about what needed to be done. However, there were always some who still weren’t applying themselves as I needed them to. Early in my career this was the area I struggled with most, how to motivate some players to take action,” he confessed.

“We didn’t seem to have that problem during my four years,” Pat said, not believing that could have ever been the case for Coach.

He told Pat, “That’s because by the time you played I’d learned an awful lot about how to influence people. There are a couple of psychological principles that are very good when it comes to this. The one I want to talk about today is called commitment and consistency.”

He went on, “Let me ask you a couple of questions. Has somebody ever told you what to do and, even if you heard them, you didn’t follow through?”

 “Yes,” she replied, looking dpwn.

“And how did you feel about that?” Coach asked.

“Not good, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped. And truth be told, sometimes I didn’t really know what was expected of me,” she said candidly.

“Here’s my second question,” Coach said. “Has someone ever asked you to do something and you clearly said yes but failed to do it?”

She replied, “Not too often because I always knew my reputation was on the line if I promised someone I’d do something. Whenever that was the case I worked extra hard to make sure I kept my word.”

“That’s exactly what commitment and consistency is all about,” he said as he took a sip of this coffee. “You see, there’s something in almost all of us that wants to live up to our commitments. In many respects humans are little pleasure seekers and pain avoiders. When we live up to our word, we feel better about ourselves and we look better in the eyes of those we committed to. It’s a powerful psychological concept because it’s operating internally and externally.”

“That makes sense but I don’t fully understand the difference,” Pat said as she squinted her eyes and thought about it more.

Coach went on, “The difference is asking instead of telling. When someone tells you what to do you don’t feel nearly as bad, or perhaps not bad at all, at not doing what you were told because you didn’t commit to it. However, when someone asks and we give our word, that’s what triggers the principle. It prompts people to take action.”

Thinking for a moment Pat said, “As I reflect on your coaching it never occurred to me before but rarely did I ever feel like you told us what to do. Occasionally you might have told the team what to do, but when it came to individuals you were always asking. In fact, I remember one time when Katie was having trouble with her free throws. You didn’t tell her to practice her free throws everyday for 15 minutes before practice. If I recall correctly, I overheard you say, ‘Katie will you promise me that you’ll be here everyday 15 minutes before practice starts to shoot your free throws.’”

Coach replied, “Wow you have a great memory. You’re absolutely right, Katie was really struggling with her free throws and I knew I needed a commitment from her to make sure that she would be there early every day. I know you didn’t look at the stats as much as I did but early in her career she was barely a 50% free-throw shooter. By the end she was just over 80%. It wasn’t anything miraculous I did, it was all her doing, her hard work. All I did was make sure she was at every practice all those years 15 minutes early to work on her free throws.”

Glancing at his watch he let Pat know he had somewhere to be so he ended their time asking her, “Will you make it a point to be less directive this week by asking more questions?

Smiling Pat said, “I see what you did there. Yes, I will make it a priority to ask rather than tell.”

With that they got up, shared a quick hug and made their way to the door.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world.

Becoming a Respected Leader

Pat enjoyed the weekend with her out of town guests then took Sunday evening to reflect on what Coach Smith had shared with her regarding the principle of authority and the importance of being viewed as a trusted expert. She knew this would not be an overnight endeavor for two reasons. First, gaining trust takes time. Second, trying to establish yourself as an expert quickly, if not done correctly, could make you seem like a boastful braggart. This principle would take patience and thoughtful application.

As was her habit, Pat arrived at the office about 45 minutes ahead of everyone else on Monday morning. She especially enjoyed the first 30 minutes of the day because it was an opportunity for her to read and think without any interruptions. As she thought about Coach encouraging her to share whatever she was learning and to cite her sources, she silently committed to herself that she would look for every opportunity to do so.

Later in the week she started working on a short bio that could be used as an announcement from her boss in a few weeks once she earned her new designation. It felt awkward for her to write about her own accomplishments but she set the feelings aside and reminded herself, in nearly every case where she read a bio, it had either been written by, or highly edited by, the individual for whom it was about. This was the case with authors, professional speakers, guest lecturers, and many others.

As she thought about this further she began to see other opportunities to reshape the bio so it could be used for other purposes. For example, she occasionally spoke to employee groups and different departments with the company so it could be used as an introduction there. It would also come in handy to introduce her to people outside of the company if she happened to be a guest speaker. She even decided to use it to redo her LinkedIn profile. All of this made her realize the time she was investing on this project would serve multiple purposes which gave more weight to what she was doing.

During her Tuesday meeting with the team she shared what she’d learned from coach around the principle of authority. She did this because she saw an opportunity for her team to leverage the psychology with other departments throughout the company. She suggested that whenever they were making a recommendation around learning, that they share not only supporting information, but also the source of the information.

By the end of the week she’d finished the article for her boss. During her one-on-one meeting with him Friday afternoon she broached the idea of having him use it when she officially got her new designation in a week. She started, “Bill, I have an idea I want to run by you.”

“Shoot,” he replied.

She began, “I’ve been learning a lot about how to influence people’s thinking and behavior over the last month. A trusted mentor suggested I write a short article about myself to use as a company announcement about the Certified Learning Consultant designation I’ll get next week. It’s a big deal and I think it could help promote the corporate university.”

“You wrote the article?” he asked with a curious look on his face.

“I know it sounds weird but think about it; nobody knows me like me. It’s a chance to make sure the most important things get highlighted. I think that’s better than leaving it up to the communications department. Even if you wrote it, that would take time so I thought I’d relieve you of that,” she said with a smile.

Nodding his head, Bill replied, “I like your thought process and that you wanted to save me time, especially with my vacation coming up. Show it to me once it’s complete and, if we’re both in agreement we’ll run with it. How does that sound?”

Feeling like she’d just hit an important jump shot, she leaned over his desk to hand him a piece of paper and said, “I thought you might say that so here’s what I wrote.”

Before she left the office they had made a few revisions and Bill promised to get it to corporate communications for publication as soon as she was officially a CLC. 

That afternoon, as she drove home she felt a huge sense of accomplishment. The time with Coach Smith was transforming her and her department. When she played for him she felt like a totally different player at the end of college and she was feeling the same way about work. She was seeing a difference in how people were responding to her as a leader and it was fulfilling.



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world.



A Trusted Expert

Despite her excitement to meet with Coach, Pat was ten minutes late getting to the coffee shop. “Coach Smith, I’m so sorry for being late,” she began. “A meeting with my boss ran long.”

Coach replied, “It’s okay Pat, some things can’t be helped. One thing you have more of when  you retire is time. I’ve enjoyed the people watching. So, how did things go this week?”

Pat dove in and told him how she shared information about similar organizations with her team. She said, “I started off sharing a disconcerting trend about big corporations and learning. When I saw a concerned look on some faces I quickly pivoted and said, ‘However, the trend with mid-sized companies like us is an increasing investment in L&D.’” 

“Well done Pat!” Coach said emphatically. You may not know this but you did something key when it comes to influencing people’s thoughts. You started with a negative then transitioned to a positive using the word ‘however.’ ‘But’ is another transitional word you can use as well. People typically forget what came before ‘but’ and remember what comes after. At least that’s how it works in my house when Sally says, ‘I love you but…’” he said with a grin.

“Well, I guess I got lucky,” Pat replied.

Coach said, “Perhaps, but now you know the power so be thoughtful about how you present information.” Sipping his coffee, he went on, “What I’d like to share with you today is a principle known as authority. It basically tells us people are more likely to believe individuals they view as trustworthy experts.

“My team knows me pretty well so is there any need for this?” she inquired.

“Absolutely! You certainly don’t want to brag in front of them but your boss can say things about you that will be perfectly natural. For example, you said you were working on earning an industry specific learning designation. Whenever you get that, ask your boss to make a company-wide announcement about your accomplishment. Here is something key; you should write most of the announcement. That’s because nobody knows you as well as you do. It’s an opportunity to make sure the right information gets in front of your team and others.”

“I never thought of that but it makes total sense. It’s similar to a speaker at a conference being introduced to the audience,” Pat said, verbalizing her thoughts as they emerged.

“That’s exactly right,” Coach said. “No speaker would leave it to chance as to what someone might say, or not say, when making an introduction before a big speech.”

“What else can I do to leverage the principle?” Pat asked.

“Two things, one of which you already did. I said this principle is about being a trusted expert. You can gain trust when you admit a weakness, shortcoming, or acknowledge you don’t know something. But you don’t leave it there. Transition with ‘but’ or ‘however’ into something you do know or one of your strengths.”

Laughing Pat replied, “I have plenty of shortcomings and there’s lots I don’t know so I think this one will be easy to perfect.”

“The second thing you want to do is cite any sources you have. For example, you mentioned having read about trends in L&D. Next time make sure you share the magazine, report, or website by name with your team. That simple act adds lots of weight behind what you’re saying,” he concluded.

Squinting her eyes as she thought about it, Pat asked, “Is that why you always referenced other programs and coaches by name when you were implementing a change with the team?”

“Absolutely. You and the other players may not have realized it at the time but that simple action on my part made it easier for all of you to buy into the changes,” Coach said as if he were revealing a secret. 

Pat smiled and said, “I feel like I’m getting to know the wizard behind the curtain.”

Smiling back at her, Coach replied, “It might seem like magic but trust me, there’s no wizardry to it. It’s applied science, putting the research from social psychology into daily action. Besides, there was only one wizard, John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood.”

Looking at her watch Pat said, “Again, sorry for being late. I really need to get going because I have friends coming into town this evening. As usual, you’ve given me plenty to ponder over the weekend. Same time next week?”

“Unfortunately I can’t meet next Friday because Sally and I will be taking a long weekend. You have a good bit to work with now so how about meeting again in two weeks?” he asked.

Walking towards the door Pat said, “Yes, with all that you’ve shared so far I have a lot to keep working with. I hope you and Sally enjoy your time together.” With that they walked out of the coffee shop and waved goodbye.

 

Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 500,000 people around the world.

Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work

This is the 7th installment on our influence through a story series. See the end of the post for links to the prior installments.

—————-

When Pat woke up Saturday morning she realized she caught some kind of bug and was under the weather. She didn’t start feeling normal until Sunday evening. As a consequence, when she went into the office on Monday she didn’t have the same bounce in her step that she had in the prior weeks. Fortunately she learned through athletics how to set aside how she was feeling in order to focus on the task at hand. Back in the day it was getting through practice or up for a game. Now it was doing whatever she had to in order to engage and lead her team.

She made her way to her desk and thought about Coach’s lesson social proof to leverage. She pondered how she could use it with her team to instill confidence in whatever she might ask of them. 

It was customary for Pat to read various trade periodicals. On this particular day she noticed an alarming trend when it came to organizational learning. Many large companies were moving away from learning and development (L&D) departments within their organizations because they were outsourcing this function to various online learning platforms. 

She knew that trend was not what she wanted to highlight with her team because it might instill fear. She recalled Coach emphasizing that you want to highlight the behavior you want people to follow. Knowing this, she looked for ways to highlight trends from organizations that were most similar to her company.

She continued to look over the magazines for something that she could lay hold of that would encourage her team. Almost immediately she came across an article that highlighted learning trends with midsize companies, those with 250 to 750 people. Unlike some of the very large corporations, these midsize companies were on an opposite trajectory, emphasizing the need for in-house L&D. They saw the more personalized training as an investment in employees, one that offered a critical advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

During a team meeting Tuesday afternoon she shared the following, “As you know, I spend a good bit of time looking at what other companies are doing in the learning space. Recently I saw a disturbing trend. Lots of multibillion dollar organizations around the country are downsizing their L&D departments.” 

She paused for a moment to let that sink in. As she looked at her team she could see the concern in their eyes. It was as if they were wondering, “Why is she telling us this and where is this meeting going?” She went on, “However, the good news for us is the trend with mid-sized companies, those with fewer than 750 people. Within those organizations investment in L&D is actually on the rise because it’s viewed as an advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. The article stated many people want to work for companies where there is less of a ‘big corporation’ feel and where they have more access to people at all levels of the company. That’s us!” With that statement she could see people relax and begin to smile. 

“Rest assured, I’ll be sharing this article with everyone on the senior leadership team!” she emphasized. From there she went on to highlight what some of those mid-sized companies were doing. She pointed out how the small team was doing some of the same things, like creating learning tracks specific to the company. That made everyone feel confident that they were on the right track. That confidence also extended to Pat as a leader for having made the right choices about where to focus their efforts. 

Next she pointed out what those top companies were doing that she and the team were not doing now. She told the team she thought they had the ability to accomplish many of the other best practices, given time and possibly adding a few more people to the team. 

She concluded the meeting asking for volunteers to dig in and research ways they might start implementing the other L&D best practices. To a person everyone wanted to take some assignment.

On Friday morning, as she reflected on the last three weeks she couldn’t remember having such excitement for her job and enjoyment of her coworkers. She could hardly wait to see Coach at the coffee shop to share all that was happening. 



Installments

  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 400,000 people around the world.