“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Helen Keller, Advocate for the blind and deaf
Les was a master of defining what is, and what is not, a worthy purpose. When he called the first-ever professional sales training program for representatives accountable to no one, the whining was deafening. On the first day of mandatory attendance one could feel the tension in the room as the new vice president of sales stood before his class. “Welcome,” Les began. “I know that many in this room would rather be working back home. I understand that.” And then he made this promise. “By this time tomorrow I’m confident that all of us will be on the same page.”
The next day a strange metamorphosis took place as every person in the room was engaged in the day’s discussions. It was later that I learned that Les had sent flowers to the wives of every representative attending the program. With each bouquet he attached the following note: “I want to personally thank you for allowing me the privilege to both train and inspire your husband. Your sacrifice will be rewarded in the near future. Best wishes, Les.”
It wasn’t long before my mentor earned the confidence of everyone on the sales team as we all signed on for a worthy purpose.
Helen was another leader that had a gift for motivating her team. As the new vice president for nursing, she was responsible for over 700 clinical professionals. However, her initial challenge was to address a serious morale problem among the nursing ranks.
The first day she started Helen asked her executive assistant to schedule one-on-one 30 minute sessions with every nursing supervisor, manager, and director in the organization. Around-the-clock meetings were held with over eighty staff. No conversation was off limits as some nurses shared their anger, others cried, and almost everyone opened up with what he or she felt was both right and wrong with the organization.
Within two weeks this remarkable woman had won the respect of the entire nursing force. There were three reasons why Helen won their support. Helen listened. Helen was professional. And Helen had a great sense of humor. All three of these traits help to build a foundation of trust. And “trust” is fidelity’s cornerstone.
Marketing & Public Relations Officer
Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan