The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Volume 21 | # 499
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"Events will take their course, it is no good of being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account. » Euripedes

And the Winner Is...Oh...Wait

It occurred to me recently that my current favorite personality on TV or radio is Steve Harvey.  I’ve long thought he was funny, but the events of the past three months have made him darn near a hero to me.  His latest commercial poking fun at himself in a cellular network spot won me over.

It is arguable that his announcing of the wrong winner in the Miss Universe Pageant a few months ago is the most famous goof up of this young century.  The ratings for that program are actually not very high.  

But the internet soon made “Steve Harvey Memes” a worldwide thing.

In the immediate aftermath, critics were suggesting Harvey’s brand was ruined.  He would forever be known as the guy who messed up.  

He was incompetent.  He was a laughing stock.  Right?  

Well, wrong.  

What Harvey has since shown is that making mistakes (even colossal ones) are part of life.  However, how you respond to a mistake may have more impact than the mistake itself.

Acknowledging and sincerely apologizing was a good start.  However, it’s been his self-effacing humor and good nature about it all that has actually endeared him to more people than before the mistake.  

Harvey is more famous and popular now than ever… and is apparently cashing in as well.

I’ll likely use the Harvey example in a few upcoming management presentations.  I propose to managers that having a sense of humor about themselves can make them more effective leaders.

Folks inherently know that confident people are secure enough to laugh at themselves.  They take their jobs seriously, but they do not take themselves too seriously.  

Insecure people typically cannot laugh at themselves.  

I like suggesting to managers, “Learn to laugh at yourself… or others will do it for you.”

If our teams have more fear of making a mistake or being rejected than motivation to accomplish a goal, we shouldn’t be surprised by missed goals.  

Now, that is not a laughing matter.  

A leader humorously sharing his or her past mistakes, goof ups, rejections, etc. actually sends powerful and positive messages to his or her team.  It shows that mistakes are not the enemy of success or advancement.  

With the right attitude, they are simply direction signs along the roadway there.   

Help your team stay on the right road today.


Who Let the Dogs Out?

I had a thought while on a campout with my sons’ Boy Scout Troop last weekend that made me smile.  It may have been a smirk…but at 3:00 AM, that’s as close to a smile as I can muster.

Some folks camp in a minimalistic fashion.  They enjoy being as close to nature as possible.  

My camping habits, on the other hand, have been likened to “tailgating.”  I don’t seek to be part of nature so much as I try to defeat it.  

Nature usually wins in the end.  (Was that a Jurassic Park line?)

On this outing, we were camping in a state park with about 40 campsites in our area.  At least 75% of the other campers had one or more dogs with them.  

Hey, I’m a dog guy.  But I sorta kinda suspected what was ahead that evening.    

For those who have never camped in tents on a quiet East Texas evening, you can hear someone sneeze from 50 yards away.  One dog bark can travel a mile.  

Ten to twenty dogs barking at 3:00 AM can be heard from…oh…Arizona.

As I laid there thinking less than friendly thoughts about the smiling dog owners I waved at earlier, I remembered advice I’ve both given and been given a thousand times.  Is being mad over something you cannot change helping right now?

Instead of thinking of each bark as an inconsiderate owner not controlling his or her pet, I began imagining that these dogs were fending off the raccoons known to raid those campsites.

Having had to clean up after raccoons on more than one occasion, I decided the tradeoff of hearing a dog chorus was acceptable.  (It’s not as if I had a choice.)  The same commotion that was making me crazy suddenly made me smile (smirk).

Nothing about the situation had changed except my frame of mind.  But now, those dogs weren’t there to annoy me at 3:00 AM.  They were protecting us from the evil scourge of camp-raiding raccoons!  

Sure enough, I relaxed and got to sleep.

There are always going to be parts of our jobs that give us headaches.  But keeping the right mental frame about the things that wear us down helps us more appreciate and focus on the things that lift us up and keep us moving forward.

Difficult customers are a small price to pay for our great ones.  

Rejection by some folks is just part of the process of earning great new business from others.  

What will your frame of mind be this week?


"Attitudes are the forerunners of conditions. » Eric Butterworth

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any affiliated entities or sponsors.
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