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Great motivational speeches: a call to arms

Let me speak to you in plain English.

Our figures show we have surrendered the high ground in our sales offensive.  Last quarter we were advancing with flying colours on a number of fronts, but we now seem to have drawn our wagons in a tight circle and adopted a laager mentality.

This may come as a bit of a bombshell but, if you managers and your troops don’t hit the target next quarter, people will be getting their marching orders.

If the rank and file don’t stop shooting themselves in the foot, there will be casualties.  Don’t think this is just a warning shot, the knives are out for anyone running for cover.

We’ve ended up sitting on a powder keg waiting to get scalped

The competition is cut throat, the market is a minefield.  But I’ve never fought shy of a battle, I’ve always been first over the top and have the scars to prove it.

You may be scanning the horizon, hoping the cavalry will come over the hill or a knight in shining armour.  Holding the fort and sticking to our guns is not enough.  We’ve ended up sitting on a powder keg waiting to get scalped.

We had a number of customers in our sights and sales were rocketing.  I know some were a long shot, a bit of a stab in the dark, but we were going great guns.

Now what do I find?  Our targets are in danger.  Our competitors have stolen a march on us.  They are calling the shots while we fight a losing battle.  We are in the firing line while our sales staff are at daggers drawn and our prospects decimated.

First of all, we are our own worst enemy.  At the first sign of a battle, a whiff of cordite, our people beat a retreat and we end up looking down the wrong end of a barrel with a knife at our throats.

Secondly, our competitors seem quicker on the draw.   All our troops must throw down the gauntlet and blow them out of the water.   We’ve got to nail our colours to the mast and go for the throat to break their stranglehold.   Sharpen your knives and let them have it with both barrels.

We will advance on all fronts – find a chink in their armour, outflank them before we are holed below the water line and meet our Waterloo.

These are my orders: In this outfit, we are all brothers in arms.  We will close ranks and hit the ground running.  We will gird our loins for the warpath.  We will take no prisoners.  The spoils of victory will be ours.

Words and phrases to enhance your leadership effectiveness

  1. Absolutely is a great motivational word. It shows complete, total and utter support for and agreement with the other person.  Best used when introducing a further challenge such as when your subordinate says:  “I am proud that my team cut costs in the building of the new store.”  You respond: “Absolutely!  And both the cost and the time have to be cut even further in the building of the next store.”  This builds on success and exhorts your staff to an even higher level performance.
  1. So far When carefully chosen, this phrase indicates, simultaneously, optimism and caution.  “Our results have been very good” is soft and fuzzy.  Contrast that with: “Our results have been very good – so far.”  First, you communicate pleasure and approval; then darkly hint at greater challenges to be overcome.  Beware, you are intimating to your underlings, vigilance and greater effort will be needed.
  1. Going forward speaks for itself. If you don’t go forward, you stand still.  And standing still means only one thing – going backwards.  It’s self-explanatory, really.  This phrase shows that you are firmly focused on the future.  It is best used, in the same way as “so far”, at the end of a sentence.  For example:  “The generation of sales leads must be made more efficient, going forward.”  People get the main idea of what you are saying and expect a full stop.  They relax.  But no!  There is a sting in the tail.  This phrase adds impetus and urgency, and looks to a bright new future.
  1. Criticism is more a concept than a word but is a vital tool in the toolkit of an efficient manager. It should not be confused with “feedback” which is indulgent and superficial.  Criticism shows others where they are wrong.  It also shows that you have high standards to which those around you should aspire.
  1. Speaks for itself is a fine phrase which avoids the irritation of explaining matters in detail, especially figures, and saves a lot of time. Your colleagues will not want to appear ignorant, so will nod vigorously in agreement with you and to each other.  This allows you then to issue orders – well, put forward your proposals – based on the figures.
  1. Counter intuitive is a phrase that makes people sit up and really take notice. What you have proposed may sound wrong, lacking reason, even stupid to your colleagues.  You may be wrong, lacking reason and stupid but others will feel you have mystical powers, in touch with an alternative reality (they might be right about that).  Another advantage of using this phrase is that you don’t have to explain your reasoning.  If others look dubious, follow up with “I know, it sounds paradoxical.”   That will really convince them.
  1. Paradigm also has mystical properties that the simple word “pattern” fails to convey. Further, if you propose something counter intuitive, you may well be launching a paradigm shift (“pattern shift” has not got the same resonance, has it?)  Use of this phrase will convert people, who may hitherto have been simple colleagues, into ardent devotees going forward.
  1. Maximise indicates a man in charge, forceful and successful. Profit: maximise.  Working capital: maximise.  Capacity: maximise.  To achieve this maximisation, the effort of staff should be maximised.

The perpetrator of maximisation is the Maximise Man.  The end result of this maximisation is maximising the return to shareholders, which is obviously good.  There may be a temporary immiseration of the workforce, indeed, possibly 95% of the world’s population.  But, once all the maximise men and shareholders have accumulated enough wealth, this will trickle down to the benefit of everyone.  Eventually.  Well, that is the theory.

Use these simple words and phrases and you’ll get ahead of the game.  Maybe, you will become a Maximise Man.

Recipe for success

Whenever I hear the phrase “recipe for success”, I remember when I worked in the food sector as a salesman.  Our sales had not increased for two years and the company brought in a new Sales Director.  Soon after he joined, he called all the sales staff together to announce his plan to reverse the negative trend.

So much is talked about motivation but this, his keynote speech, is inspirational.  It is truly stirring.

Let me speak to you in plain English.

Selling today is no picnic.  With the current economic climate, it’s the organisations that are lean and hungry that will survive.

What I am saying may be unpalatable – but our sales have been like a cold soufflé, as flat as a pancake.  What it boils down to is this:  you cannot expect to be spoon fed, you have got to fight to get your slice of the cake.

I can see you thinking: is he going to firmly grasp this chestnut?  Is he going to crack it this time?  In a nutshell, in one single word: yes, I am.  I’m not going to make a meal of it, I’m not going to mince my words because it’s not just peanuts we are looking at.

I’m cheesed off with people beefing about how the company has tried to cater for the customer.  We haven’t.   All we have done is offer half baked solutions and ended up going from the frying pan into the fire.  One crumb of comfort is that many of our competitors have been left with egg on their faces.  Declining sales is as much a hot potato for them as it is for us.OEUFS en panier

The company has chewed this over before.  But, it’s no use crying over spilt milk or for you to complain that you’ve got too much on your plates.  It’s only by putting our eggs in one basket that we’ll save our bacon.

The recipe for success is for us to work as a team and provide a soup to nuts solution.  This means that everyone must work together to regain our appetite.  It’s not a case of too many cooks spoil the broth, but all hands to the pump to spice up our figures.  So let’s suck it and see.

Let me give you some final food for thought.  Icing on the cake is not just an improbable dream.  The proof of the pudding is in creaming off the best sales, not scraping the bottom ofwooden spoon the barrel.

You are our bread winners.  If you want your share of the pie, you’ve got to be as keen as mustard.  Any salesman worth his salt should want to milk the market and watch his sales mushroom.  This may be a bitter pill to swallow but, as sure as eggs are eggs, if you don’t use your loaf we’ll end up with the wooden spoon as our staple diet.