Savage Killer Transformation #1

Love your employees. What? You gotta be kidding!!

It might surprise you to know my Dad was a Baptist missionary in Ecuador. A real Bible-thumping, foot-stomping, come-to-Jesus preacher. His father, my grandpa, was also a Baptist preacher. Grandpa was more of a scholar, a theologian and a Bible teacher. In me, you will see a little of both.

All of us are products of the way we grew up. My father's values have formed my character.

I don't agree with all of it. For example, I don't believe it is a sin to drink a glass of wine. And I don't think it's a sin to dance. And I certainly don't believe all Catholics are going to Hell.

But one thing Dad taught me has shaped my attitude profoundly. Consider what I am about to tell you, because it will help you make more sales, more often. He believed each human being was a unique creation of God, worthy of love and respect. You may be wondering, "Well, Steve, nice thought. But how is that going to help me make more sales, more often?"

Come with me to Ecuador and picture yourself in the spectacular city of Quito, at an altitude of 10,000 feet, a long valley surrounded by seven majestic snowcapped mountains. Join me at our missionary radio station. Let's go out in the streets and observe the people. You will notice about half of them are full-blooded Indians, descendents of the mighty Incas that once ruled the Andes.

Go back in time, to the fifties, and observe how the Indians are treated. You may be too young to remember, but think about what you learned in your history books about racism in America. And then observe the racism you see in Ecuador. You will grimace as you see how most people treat Indians with scorn. You will be painfully reminded of the way whites used to treat blacks in the United States.

You will find very few people in Ecuador who are truly white. Almost everyone who is not a full-blooded Indian has some Indian blood. However, the odd thing is this: A person who has 50% Indian blood considers himself white. Even if he has 75% Indian blood, he still considers himself white. And he feels he has a right to scorn the Indians.

Dad hated that attitude. He spent 28 years trying to eradicate that scorn.

Sleep in our house and wake up at 7 AM. You and I are ten years old. As we roll over and our eyes begin to open, we hear my Dad's booming voice outside, greeting the Indian gardener, José.

José had spent his life being scorned by whites. They ordered him around. "José, come here. Go there. Clean the floor. Take out the garbage."

But listen to Dad greet José. "Buenos días, Don José." The word "don" in Spanish is a symbol of respect, used to address older distinguished gentlemen. No one had ever addressed José as "Don." But listen to Dad.

"Buenos días, Don José. How are you this morning? And how is your wife, Doña Marta. And how are your children? My, what beautiful roses! Thank you for your wonderful work. Gracias."

José tittered nervously. He did not know how to take this outpouring of gusto from the strange North American missionary. But morning after morning, as he heard the greeting over and over, he stood taller, worked with enthusiasm and his roses became even more beautiful.

You are probably still wondering, "OK, Steve. Nice story. But you said this would help me make more sales, more often. What's your point?"

Think about your own company. How do you treat your fellow employees? How do you treat the janitorial staff? Do you treat everyone with respect?

In order to make more sales, more often, we need to begin by examining our company culture. Each of us is the product of various cultures. Your family has a culture. Our nation has a culture. And your business has a culture. Most cultural traits are useful, because they form our behavior and help us function naturally and efficiently. But some cultural traits are harmful. Reflect on your company culture and analyze how you all treat each other.

Consider this. Tomorrow, when you go back to your office, greet the janitorial staff with the same effusive joy with which Dad greeted José. Then greet everyone else the same way. Thank each person for his or her work. You may get a few looks of shock. They may think you are getting weird! But do it day after day. You will find it contagious. I guarantee that within 30 days you will feel vibrancy in your company that will spread through your colleagues. As the enthusiasm flows amongst each other, it will spread to your customers. There is no such thing as unhappy employees and happy customers. Make each other happy, build each other up and I promise you will have more sales, more often.

©2009, Steve Savage

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