Archive for September, 2009


Management Rewards, Management Strategies No Comments »


Dear Manager,

In recent years I have detected an increased cynical outlook towards business. The old adage about one bad apple spoiling the whole box comes to mind. More and more, it seems to creep into day-to-day business. I find this outlook very disturbing, and altogether disappointing.

Certainly aspects of business have changed over the years. Good business and the standards to retain it have not. “Big is much, much bigger today.” But this was true ten, twenty, fifty years ago as well. The stories of “when I was a kid,” and the changes that have occurred, have gone on for multiple generations. While very little actually changes, the dynamics of everything change again and again. The fundamentals of ethics, by comparison, have changed very little. I believe that today’s competitive environment demands an even stronger sense of ethics than in past generations.

The baggage of cynicism comes with a lack of ability to trust anyone, even those who maintain a very high ethical standard. A cynic has compromised their willingness and ability to discern the difference! One person’s cynical approach has the potential to carve a wide path of doubt for those who lack the disposition to define their own conclusions. One bad apple …


It is certainly easier to cast aspersions on an entire segment of civilization than it is to set an example, expect high standards in others, and resolve to improve the standards of others with the process.

Are all businesses ethical in their practices? No. In order to create a positive environment and potential for change, we must first show trust in the most positive aspects of human nature. How are we to know, with absolute certainty, the ethical standards of another? At first blush, all individuals, all business, must be assumed to be morally and ethically sound. With this foundation, all of business can be judged and held accountable.

Given time, all animals will show their spots. Only then, will those who choose less-than-ethical standards be defined. Only at this given moment will our own ethical standards be tested. Accept the spots, challenge them, or move on.

Cynics show their true colors in all areas of business. Those who do not share their attitude are often caught flat-footed by the cynic’s potential to create chaos and mayhem. We’ve all known individuals whose focus is centered around their cynical approach. I always wonder what the outcome would be if their destructive efforts were focused instead towards a more successful and constructive challenge.

Those who take themselves out due to their condemning perspective are left with few options but to align themselves with less-than-ethical working environments. I have always believed that those who look for trouble will be drawn squarely back to their self fulfilling prophecy. Birds of a feather, cynics of a feather, find their just rewards. And the beat goes on!

I’m not suggesting that we live in a Mr. Rogers world. If we don’t maintain some sense of innocence and idealism (yes, just like when we were kids), standards become blurred. Everyone has the understanding and ability to be trusted. We must collectively hold the standard, and expect others to measure up. Only then can we find the best in our work environments.

Over the years I’ve been cautioned regarding the ethics of certain individuals. In practice, I’ve very rarely found these concerns to be relevant. Perhaps in my case they’ve held a higher standard. If this is so, then all parties have benefited for the relationship. The idealist in me would like to think this standard has helped them develop a frame of reference they’ll bring to their future relationships.

Our own attitude is essential to creating a greater ethical standard in management. When the motives of highly ethical individuals I’ve known are quizzed or second guessed, they simply have no foundation from which to respond. These individuals have no place in their thought process for a rebuttal, let alone an insight into the accuser’s mind-set. When conversing with a cynic, it is a pure waste of time to lower one’s standards to acknowledge and dignify their concerns and perspective.

As managers, we have no reason to accommodate cynical and suspicious speculations. If our intentions are consistently in question, either it’s deserved, or we have surrounded ourselves with individuals undeserving of our valuable time and expertise. In either instance, change is now required! Regardless of their talent, these individuals impact management’s credibility, the morale of one’s organization, and ultimately the organization’s roots and foundation. Cynicism, let alone unethical business practices, is truly a cancer of the most malignant form.

There are unethical elements in all aspects of life. This can be defined, this can be quantified. My greater concerns are for those desperate individuals whose cynicism plays a much greater role in day-to-day business operations. Their numbers are much greater, their hazard much greater, than the issues they purport to reform.


In today’s challenging employment market, the lower spectrum of the job market takes on a greater visibility. Rocks are turned over and cynics crawl out. As managers, we must have the resolve and the patience to avoid the temptation of hiring purely on talent and less on character. As a voice with over thirty-five years of experience, I have found the price to be extraordinarily high.

The quality of our organization is always judged by the character of those with whom it is associated. Our ability to maintain these relationships is, in many cases, determined by the quality of one’s peers. The first clue in determining the ethics of an organization is to look beyond management to its roots: its staff members. All the answers are available to those who take a moment to listen.

The high road is essential to all aspects of business. Rather than subscribing to “prove to me your high ethical standards,” I would suggest “prove to me otherwise.”

Being able to manage from a perspective of face value and benefit of the doubt is essential to managing a business. Managers will make more mistakes than they choose to admit. Regardless, management deserves to be judged purely and simply on ability and performance, not on motives, personal agenda, or self serving egos.

Expecting the best in others will surround us with those who deserve to have the best expected of them.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2009. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Management Strategies, Sales Management Abundancy No Comments »


Dear Manager,

Does the eventual maturity of one’s management career also bring with it an eventual curse? We all know managers who have become stale with age. They have a tendency to hear much less, let alone see as well as they once could. These individuals have, shall we say, simply heard and seen enough!

Yes, experience is critical for all of us. It is what we learn that has the potential to protect us from making the same mistakes twice. This is a huge asset in a very competitive world. The problems begin when we rely too heavily upon the past, and take for granted the potential of a new business age. This may be the most difficult of all transitions for mature managers.

Fresh eyes can certainly be hard to maintain. Much of what we do can seem so similar to what we experienced in the past; same script … new cast of characters. While it is truly this experience that will save us, it can also sink the ship! Showing enthusiasm for the “first experience” of another will challenge our abilities to relate with others on a daily basis. Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle without training wheels? I would bet you remember how important it was to you at the time. It was a significant moment!

So, too, are the first experiences of those around us. I remember how difficult it was for me to make the transition from full time sales to management. I still miss that consistent one-on-one personal victory, and even the setbacks, that are a part of the selling process. Once you have that selling fix, it’s very hard to get the monkey off your back. The emotional rush in sales when you know you have exceeded your wildest dreams is truly irresistible.

In contrast, as managers we begin to live through the victories of those we manage. Much like parents, we must bring our own sense of excitement and awareness to a level similar to those we manage. Only then can we truly share their current frame of reference. Our child’s first solo flight on a bicycle was undoubtedly similar in exhilaration to that of our own.

Yes, this freshness must be maintained if we are to continue to maintain our effectiveness as managers! Some days will be harder than others, and some days the rewards will exceed any that could have been accomplished as an individual.


From personal experience, I have found it to be exceedingly easy to judge those around me from the foundation of my experience, as compared to another’s frame of reference and their experience factor. If you think about this, it is simply human nature. All levels of experience are different from our own, yet our tendency is to hold others accountable to our own level of experience. Don’t they get it? Can’t they see it? It’s so obvious to me, it must be obvious to others. As managers, we cannot take for granted the experiences of those around us and the foundation for the decisions that they make.

It is common to hear conversations in which details of the mistakes others are making in their lives are being discussed. Criticism can be so pompous and so easy to dole out. If you think about it, the only way we could have these opinions of others is if we have personally experienced a similar situation. If this is true, how can we possibly be critical?

A great example is in the decisions of the heart made by those we love. A common dialogue might include, “This person is simply not right for them. They have to open their eyes, I just don’t want them to get hurt. Don’t they see what they are getting into, they deserve so much more…” and on and on.

We are all experts only because we have a much clearer vision from having made the same mistakes. Yet there truly are no mistakes, only learning exercises. In all likelihood, I would not have found the love of my life had I not built a foundation of past experience to recognize it. We still try to protect others from similar pain. We never listened, why would they?

Having recognized this, its application for management is very similar.
It is time to throw away criticism, a condescending attitude, and an all-knowing approach to business. We don’t have all the answers. If we did, they would not apply in all instances and for all individuals.

Each person’s experience and personal make up allows for as many different approaches to an objective. For example, I attended a sales meeting where the individual making the presentation took a startlingly different approach to the subject at hand. I would never have considered using the manner and thought process chosen by this speaker. I decided to simply sit back and watch the presentation play itself out.

In the end, the meeting was a great success, with a conclusion far better than I anticipated. I left feeling honored to have watched it unfold. I was a member of the right team! Gee, I love it when my all-knowing approach has been shattered. If there is always another way, then there will always be a better way!

These experiences consistently remind me to take a much more objective approach to most situations. We all have confidence in doing things “our way.” We must remember to leave space for those we manage in support of “their way.” Our own management experience, and our foundation for future decisions, depend on it!


As a teenager, do you remember thinking your parents were nuts? Some of us might even have concluded that adults didn’t understand, didn’t live in the real world, and were over-protective. With the experiences that brought us to adulthood (and our own set of close calls), their decisions now seem to be miraculously on target (most of the time) and in our best interest. Have you ever uttered a dreaded phrase used in similar situations by your own parents? It’s frightening. Yes, those in an experienced position may, on occasion, have a good idea.

Obviously, our single desire is to make only good decisions. Will our life experience allow this desire to always come true? Never. Our frame of reference is developed from our personal experiences, and those we share through others. Seldom will we listen to others and fully understand, let alone be wholly guided by, their perspective. Human nature suggests we have to find our own way. With this thought in mind, we can never hold others accountable to our own current frame of reference.

I recently heard a quote that applies exceedingly well to this topic. “We did then what we knew how to do. With what we know now, we can do better.” Oprah Winfrey

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2009. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM