I’ll get to Johnny Depp in just a moment. First, a story:
I could not figure out why my sales rep wasn’t reaching her goal. We’d spent her first week training and going over the behaviors she needed to make her goal – and she would get so close – but for four days she had barely missed hitting her daily goals.
I brought her into my office, where I had my singing bass on my desk. Perhaps you’d like an explanation: my singing bass was one of those mechanical fishes that was positioned on a plaque, but when you hit a switch he turned towards you and sang “Take me to the River.” Whenever one of my salespeople would make a sale they would come into my office, we’d shut the door and the blinds, and we’d dance to that song. It was a blast.
Anyway, I finally brought my new sales rep in and said “Janie, you’re already doing an amazing job, and you’re coming so close to your goal but you’re not quite getting there. How can I help you?” She looked baffled and responded, “I have a goal?”
Yep, I definitely did not deserve the fish dance. As leaders we attend training to help improve our managerial skills, while most of our issues are created by the fact that we are missing the tiny daily truths. We’re focused on anything but the present moment, frantically clicking BlackBerry™ keys and talking to our team members while answering phones from a Bluetooth® in our ear.
If you’re like me and need help staying in the present moment so you don’t miss the details, I thought you’d appreciate the following exercise called “Tiny Truths,” developed by Minor White who taught photography at MIT. Here’s the process:
1. Select a photo that gives you pleasure (don’t worry – we don’t have to know what it is), the more detailed the better.
2. Get comfortable and relax. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
3. Stay focused on the image and don’t allow your mind to wander or free-associate; pay attention to the image in front of you at all times.
4. After the timer goes off, turn away from the image and recall your experience. Review the experience visually rather than with words. Don’t edit your experience, just remember the picture the way you remember it, including as many details as possible.
5. During the day, go about your everyday work, trying to recall the experience whenever you can.
What will happen? You’ll start to experience tiny truths and details that can only be found by living in the moment. When an employee comes to talk to you, you’ll listen carefully to every word. You’ll study their expressions and voice inflection. If you’re in sales, you’ll start to do the same with your clients. You’ll walk in their office and take a mental picture, studying every detail, then try to relive that experience during the day. You’ll find tiny truths that will tell every client you cared enough to pay attention to them.
Try this one time – the results are pretty amazing. I have my picture in front of me. It’s Johnny Depp from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Hey, there are lots of tiny details, and I’m having a really good experience. What picture would you use?
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