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Leadership Matters…

Posted on: April 27th, 2020 by Monika No Comments

….Especially during a crisis. This Corona Virus Pandemic is a crisis of epic proportion and leadership matters more than ever. We are all watching leaders and how they are handling this precarious situation and the brands, companies and politicians who were not authentic and honest will have to pay a price. In some cases, very soon and other cases the historians will present the bill.

Fair-weather Leaders

We all know these “fair-weather” friends, the ones who show up when everything is honky dory. They like to drink and eat with you and they are mostly in a good mood, but once you come down with a disease or a loved-one dies, they are nowhere to be seen or heard.

And then there are the “fair-weather” leaders. The ones who take credit for everything good that happens but don’t want to take responsibility for negative developments.

Leadership is easy when everything goes well, so is parenting and being a good friend. The challenge for leaders in a crisis is to be positive, while preserving the truth. Below are 5 characteristics that make a good and effective leader.

1.   Leaders are authentic and honest

In today’s environment, where everything can be checked with a simple (or sometimes more elaborate) Google search, honesty is key. It’s really hard to trust people who are making false claims, especially during a crisis when facts matter. In sales we want to over-deliver and under-promise and the same philosophy should be used when managing expectations. People are willing to come to terms with situations that are difficult to handle when you frame the narrative in a sensible way, but it’s really hard to come to terms with promises that weren’t kept. It’s the way humans operate.

2.   Leaders are open to other opinions

Good leaders choose their advisors very carefully, based on their expertise and they rely on them during a crisis. These people should be the support team of a leader but they cannot be held responsible if things go wrong. The leader always needs to make sure that whatever he/she decides or says will be the message that the audience will perceive as the “truth”.

3.   Leaders embrace criticism

Every leader needs to be prepared to face criticism and it’s healthy to get push-back in certain areas, because good leaders learn from it.

Good leaders want to be respected not liked.


4.   Leaders are positive without making false promises

During a crisis, everybody is looking for the silver lining and while some “leaders” will make unrealistic promises, authentic leaders will give hope while making sure that the underlying facts are considered.

5.   Leaders apologize as opposed to defending

Leaders are also human, so mistakes will be made. The important thing is to apologize, explain and course correct, rather than defend. Once people start defending actions that have proven to be harmful, they are no longer leaders but people who are vested in holding on to power.

Sharing Business Practices Can Help An Entire Industry

Posted on: August 19th, 2018 by Monika No Comments
Not all industries believe in best business practice sharing. The beer brewing industry is an exception and it helps an entire community to succeed. My younger son Sebastian was fascinated by beer from a very early age on and when he graduated it didn’t come as a surprise that he wanted to go to Berlin Germany, to become an International Beer-Brew Master. After graduating from the VLB Berlin he worked for the famous (at least in New England) brewery NEBCO, home of the renowned IPA, G-Bot.
Last week, he fulfilled his lifelong dream, opening up a brewery. Sebastian, his lifelong friend Sean O’Neill and Matt Weichner, a fellow former New England Beer Brewer opened the doors to Tribus in Milford, Connecticut.

TRIBUS BEER COMPANY   

But this is not about beer or beer -brewing; it’s about observations on this industry coming from a wine drinker.

Beer is not my first choice when it comes to an adult beverage, but I have become to appreciate it more (especially with food pairings) over the years. What I have really become to appreciate is how generous and sharing beer-brewers are in just about everything they do, whether it’s sharing ingredients, sharing best practices, or just simply sharing.

SHARING IS CARING

That’s a phrase we teach our children but we hardly every apply it in the business world. In the beer brewing world there is only healthy competition. Beer brewers get excited about good beer, whether they have brewed it, or not. They visit each other’s facilities, where they get best business practices tips and observe how things could be done differently. They are fascinated by each other’s achievements and they have a unique sense of comradery. When my son and another Beer Brew Master at NEBCO broke the news to the owner about their wish to open up their own brewery, the response from Rob was pride, support and encouragement.

A couple of years ago, when Sebastian went to Chicago by car, he packed the trunk with NEBCO beer and stopped at local breweries on the way from Connecticut to Chicago to do a beer swap. That’s what beer brewers do.

NO NEED FOR SECRECY

There is none of the secrecy that you see in other industries, none of the envy or jealousy that one sees in some verticals I can think of.

There might be many reasons why there is this sense of broader community. First off, the micro beer-brewing industry is rather young and most of the people involved are Millennials. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Beer-brewing is also tough, there is a lot of hard labor involved and maybe that’s why the people involved have a greater appreciation for the efforts.

There is also a lot of passion that I can see whenever you talk to a beer-brewer, or beer enthusiasts for that matter.

Related: Why We Need a Common Sales Language

WITH CONFIDENCE COMES TRANSPARENCY

But, then there is the confidence that comes from knowing that you have a good product. Beer brewers understand that people like different things and it really comes down to a matter of taste and preference. There are some people who love their IPA’s, while others swear that a Belgium style beer is the best. And there are those who are Bud Light fans (no judgment!)

I, myself have always been very open about my process to sales training, never felt that I had the silver bullet and I am certainly excited when other people do well. A sentiment that I don’t experience often when interacting with other people in my industry.

A client once told me “ There is nothing new about your process, but the way you execute is unique and that makes it powerful”. I wholeheartedly agreed.

Sales training is sales training and beer is beer. If you are confident that your product is good and that some people (not all) will like it, why not share?

Maybe, we should all be more like beer-brewers?!