What if Your Employees were This Engaged?

I am very lucky to work at Dale Carnegie with the people that I work with.  Each and every day we try our hardest to work the way that we coach and train others to work.  The result is pretty astounding.  The best example of this I think I can give is this email sent by one of my teammates, Amy:


Mike asked us a question at the end of our meeting today, “What was our best memory of convention?”  It was humbling to hear every response. What is neat about our team was that every one of our responses involved OUR TEAM, not the speakers, recognition, winning awards, but about memories of our team.  I was especially touched and humbled by Mike and Paul’s response.  I was so humbled by it that I took the easy way out with my response.  Before I even spoke, my eyes were welling with tears.  Being the type that prides herself on maintaining emotional composure, I chose to give the easy response and cut it short. I know we train on being transparent and vulnerable as leaders and letting people see “into” us vs. just a show.  So…..you may now tell me that I need more training on being a leader because I am choosing to send my message through e-mail. 🙂

My favorite memory of convention was, indeed, walking across the stage.  However, my moment of clarity came before I was announced and I was standing backstage.  It took me a moment to wrap my head around what was happening. Once I was able to finally tune out the girl in front of me telling me how her numbers were actually SO MUCH higher than what was reported..blah blah blah, it hit me how huge that moment was.  

When I started four years ago, there are a few things I remember.  

1) Mike Day telling me and Jodi that each of us was going to walk across the stage.  Even when our numbers were not showing anything remotely close to what they needed, Mike never lowered his thought of what our goal should be.  Sure, I didn’t make it as a rookie but this was so much sweeter for me.  Mike never lowered the expectation, the fine reputation he put forward for me to live up to, or his belief in my ability to reach that level.  He also never made me feel like I had to be a certain way.  When I first started, everyone compared me to KT: young, energetic, female, etc.  Everyone told me to do the things KT did to succeed, which at the time, didn’t seem to fit me and what I wanted.  Mike always gave me the freedom to find out what I needed to do in order to succeed.

2) Paul Calkins ALWAYS encouraging me and made me feel like I was the next tornado to hit the Dale Carnegie world.  I never questioned whether I would be able to hit any level I wanted, because Paul wouldn’t have let me question it.  I remember walking into XXXXXX and a girl that was in my sales program the first time I took it was sitting there.  She looked at me and said “I can’t believe you are working for Dale Carnegie, I thought Paul was going to kill you every week because you wouldn’t shut up!!” 🙂  TRUE STORY, I NEVER SHUT UP…..STILL!! I don’t know what it was that caused Paul to want me to join this business but I can absolutely say with confidence that it has been the best experience of my life.  I am forever grateful for the cheerleading, mentoring, support, and challenging that Paul put in front of me in and out of the training room when I first started and everyday since.

3) I will never forget Pat Griffin and Michelle Gnida talking at my first September annual planning meeting in Edina.  Pat and Michelle were talking about how the year before they had made a commitment to “meet eachother backstage at convention” because they had both hit specific sales numbers.  It was at that moment that I realized that this was a culture that had been created within our franchise.  It wasn’t a question about whether you WOULD walk across the stage… it was more how long it was going to take you to get there.  I also remember the first time Pat told the story about selling with Mike Norman, when Pat was determined to go through the whole sales process even though the buyer was ready to sign on the dotted line…..taught me that even the best have those “oops” situations.  I remember Pat going out on sales calls with me in Indianola and FORCING me to do a call with a women of some random association.  I panicked and completely forgot about Rapport.  I just went straight into interest and I think within two minutes was already in solution.  IT WAS UGLY. WE walked out and Pat didn’t throw stones on me, he simply gave me one thing that could have made the call better.  It was much easier to swallow thinking I only had one thing to improve vs. THE ENTIRE SALES CALL.

I know the past four years have been challenging.  I thank Mike Day for every ounce of patience he had with me as I know there were many sleepless nights and any grey hair he may have, have been caused by me.  I thank Paul for betting on me, and continuing to believe that everything would eventually come around.  I thank Pat for not letting me off as easy as Paul and Mike.  Pat would force my nose to the grindstone and didn’t settle for the answer that “sounded good”.

Three years later:

Last year we were up against some major challenges… Jodi decided to move to Colorado.  I know that at that moment, Mike wasn’t confident in the future of our team.  I am sure there were many nights where he had made the decision to get back into TV, or marketing, or PR, or Politics, or a McDonalds ice cream cone machine worker. There were moments that I also wondered where I should be.  I even looked into other job opportunities.  I remember the moment that Mike and I were in our old conference room and he told me that he would be willing to give it 3 more years, and what did I think.  At that moment, I realized that this was, FOR SURE, where I wanted to be and made the commitment back.

We are a year and a half into that commitment:

1) We now have Ryan on the team.  I have to say that I was excited about the idea of having another team member but was also very nervous about what that would do to me.  What if this guy came in and showed me up and walked across the stage as a ROOKIE?? Then he would be better than me and he would make me feel even worse about the fact that I hadn’t. (That was my thought process at first).  I am so excited to say that Ryan WILL walk across the stage as a Rookie and I AM PUMPED FOR HIM.  Why am I no longer worried about him showing me up? Because Ryan is the type of person that cheers for everyone, he works hard for everyone, he truly wraps his arms around the idea of Team.  He is the greatest teammate and I look forward to celebrating his successes with him as they continue coming.  I now look forward to the day that we are competing each year to determine who edges the other person out at the end of a sales year. I am confident that year could end up being this year.  I am so thankful to have a teammate on our team that sincerely wants success for everyone.  I appreciate him helping me overcome my fears in the training room.  I have always been nervous about the training aspect of this job and Ryan is always there to let me know that I’m not screwing anything up 🙂  His confidence in me and himself in the training room has elevated both of us and our ability to deliver value to our customers.

2) ERIN.  I have always been excited about Erin joining our team because well, who doesn’t want to work with one of their best friends everyday.  It was a little scary to mix work and personal lives but I knew if it would ever be smooth, it would be with Erin.  One thing that I didn’t expect, was the amount of growth that Erin has shown both in her personal life and at work since she started a short 3 months ago.  She has been immensely valuable to our team to make sure that we are constantly increasing our marketplace awareness and providing BREATHTAKING QUALITY in the training room.  What I love about this selfless member of our team, is that she is ALWAYS looking for ways to make our jobs easier.  She is always looking for ways to continue to add value and increase our revenue in her position.  She has been more flexible with us than we probably deserve.  It’s no lie that when she started, we had nothing in place and we are not the best team at holding ourselves accountable to follow policies and procedures.  I am sure we are not the easiest cats to herd but she is doing awesome at holding us accountable to communicate.  The greatest moment that I have had with Erin as a coworker was today… when Paul said she would be a great Dale trainer.  Never, in a million years, would I have thought that would be something that Erin would be interested in because she typically doesn’t like to be in the front of a room with all eyes on her.  The moment Paul said that, I was almost embarrassed by my previous thoughts.  I was so pigeon-holed because of knowing her previously and am so thankful that Paul is always so aware of whats going on around us.  Erin, Paul is absolutely right!!! You would be a fabulous trainer and here is how I know; You care more about those around you than yourself.  Those participants would have the most compassionate, selfless trainer who truly cares about them and their growth.

Going into our last year and a half of Mike and my commitment, this is what I know;  we will continue to grow each team member because Mike is creating the same world for all of you, that he created for me 4 years ago.  He will continue to support each of you in the role you decide you want to play on this team, he will continue to encourage and challenge you to be better than you thought you could be, and he will do EVERYTHING in his power to make sure you get there.  So sit back, relax, buckle up, and enjoy the ride because it’s going to be CRAZY!! I am confident that a year and half from now there will be another commitment being made to continue this on well into the future.  I am thankful to spend this chapter of my life with each of you. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Love you all!

What if your team members were this excited about your business and their role in it?  What would that do to your day?  What would that do to your bottom line?

If you are interested in finding out, call me at 515.724.3163 or send me an email at Ryan dot Lynch at Dale Carnegie dot com to see what we can do for your business.