Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Walk a mile in my shoes… TSF

Our electricity went out yesterday afternoon for about four hours. We kept the doors and windows closed and drew the blinds to try to keep things cool but at about the three hour mark things really started heating up. With no phones, computer, television or radio - I tried to keep my mind off of things by reading. But I found myself beginning to panic as the thermostat rose. How long would this go on? What if we have to throw away all the food in the refrigerator? I'm just dying from the heat!

And then I thought about our service men and women in the Middle East and the temperatures that they endure daily - in full combat wear (not shorts and a tee shirt) - and suddenly, I was ashamed of myself. Especially when I realized that at the hottest, our family room only got to 79 degrees and, like magic, our power was restored. Yesterday's experience was a good reminder for me - not to take things so for granted. That often, we really have no idea what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.

Walking in the shoes of our customers, hostesses, and team members, keeps us humble and in touch with their issues and challenges. We are more effective, empathetic and credible. By hosting a party ourselves, we experience first hand the emotions that our hostesses have when a good friend doesn't bother to RSVP or when less than half of the guests we invite attend.
Some of you reading this may be at a point in your career where you do more team management and training then actual parties or recruiting. As a leader of a large organization, your team will know if you give advice based first hand experiences or are coaching from the `ivory tower'. Stay active - do a party here and there - hauling and setting up product, making small talk with guests, booking parties and getting recruit leads from those in attendance. Do follow up work. This helps you to remain humble, keep it real and to be a credible and effective business coach.

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