Do you remember the 1993 classic named „Three tickets for Holywood“ and what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of this movie?
I imagine that for most of you, the first thing to remember is a hilarious role of Branislav Lečić as a local policeman, enthusiastically trying to organize the reception of a president, while his “strictly controlled“ fellow citizens make him serious problems during his endeavor. Those problems escalate to such extent where he is “forced“ to arrest almost all of his fellow citizens including his immediate family. At some point, enraged, he said he would arrest all his fellow citizens if need be, and bring completely new ones, since the existing were rotten and disobeying.
His role was so brilliant, that completely overshadowed the main plot – the desire of three boys, enchanted by the magic of the “7th Art“, to go directly to Holywood from their backwater town, just as the title suggested.
Now, you probably ask yourself how is this related to leadership and topics on my blog?
It is related with my blog in two aspects: The first one is that every time I visit our shops I remember this movie and Branislav Lečić.
“ The director is in our shop!“ – is the predefined message, the “depeche“ almost by rule sent via Whatsapp group. This authomatically means alert in 200 km radius from the visited shop.😁
“They were not lucky at all, he first showed up in their shop“, and thus, hasty and thorough shop ovarhauling and preparations for my reception begin. “Oops, why did he chose to come to this shift whith all juniors, he will ask them something and they would not know the answer“. This is the second thing that reminds me on the above-mentioned movie and removal of unfit and disobeying citizens.
When you face such a challenge, it is quite logical to ask yourself what did you do wrong to cause such a reaction? People say that “the picture is always in the eyes of the observer“, but this time I will start from the one who originally painted it – i.e. myself. So, the motive or the purpose of my visit to the shops is always the same – and can be expressed in one word – education.
When I say education, I mean education of myself, as someone who is not privileged to be with the customers and colleagues from the front lines every day, education about the challenges they face on daily basis. Besides education, the purpose is also exchange of thoughts and ideas with those who can best experience and feel the changes imposed by the management. So, I do not pay those visits just to fulfill a protocole, but they always result in better mutual understanding and undertaking the actions to improve things we identified. It became almost a rule, that such actions improve customer experience every time, or ease the frontliners performance in one way or another, while at the same time – certain individuals use the opportunity to put themselves on a map and become noticed, by expressing their thoughts and ideas. As seen from the above, the painter painted the paint in order to fascinate the audience, induce positive emotion and motivate them to enjoy in it.
So the question is why the painting is different in the eyes of others, why the colours are not so vivid, and who changed it? Why does it not induce positive emotion, but uneasiness, and does it produce the same feelings with all the audience and are there observers who feel the same emotion as the painter?
The encouraging fact is that there is more and more people who see those visits as opportunity, and use this privilege without any problems to share their thoughts and ideas, hurry to be the first to give feedback and without any problems to accept one in return. I assume they realised that it does not hurt at all and it can be helpful at the same time. So, do they have full support of their superiors? Yes, some of them do.😁
If you are one of the leaders, then by now you probably learned about the famous story by Simon Sinek: “Not a single leader in this world is responsible for the results, but for the people responsible for those results“. I also believe you still remember the message from the end of the first post: “Nobody wakes up in the morning and goes to work hoping he will be governed. We wake up in the morning and go to work hoping we will be led“. I would revise it a little bit and the part “to be led “ changed into “ to be served“.
You are not ready to serve the people you lead? Then you are not a true leader, and what is even worse from this attitude of mine is the fact that you will not be recognised as a leader by your colleagues too. Do not forget that your whole mission as a leaders can fit into one sentence: Here to help. Every time when in dilemma whether you fulfill your mission or not, put yourself in the position of the people you lead and think whether this sentece is the first that comes to their mind when they describe you?
If this is not the case, my advice to you is to change yourself as soon as possible, or you will be replaced by your own people without even noticing, and you superior will have to tell you this some day to your astonishment.
Ok, now it is clear that we, as leaders, are not responsible for the results, but for people we are to serve. It is true, but there is something else – the quality of a leader is in direct proportion with the number of people he influenced, promoted and made future leaders – in one word, it is in direct proportion with his successors. If you are a leader and you do not have your successor who is recognized and accepted as such, and who can take over your role tomorrow – you have to improve your skills or to find a new successor.
In order to make his successor recognizable, a true leader will put him in the first row, encourage him to raise his voice when necessary and schedule him regular meetings with his direct superior. One of great opportunities are the above mentioned visits of your management. If a leader has been regularly consulting and updating his successor, he will help his leader by supporting his atitudes and by adding aditional gravity to the issues the leader himself has already addressed to his superior, but the superior did not accept them due to the lack of focus and understanding.
The greatest strength of a true leader are his successors!
In order to bring this closer to you, I will share an anecdote that happened between me and my previous leader. Every Thursday, I had a regular one on one meeting with him. I would use the opportunity to present him with certain analysis, challenges and planned actions I previously agreed with the members of my team. He pointed out several times that he appreciated my proactivity, because it enabled him better insight in the functioning of retail, as well as the competences of my team members. Every time I would go for a vacation, I would conceal this information from his assistant, and I never cancelled the meetings with him. To be more specific, I concealed the information about my vacation so that the assistant would not cancel the meeting with my leader, because for someone being a CMO – an extra haf an hour he had not hoped for – is a gift from God. So, what did I do with this term? Without previous announcement and forwarding of meeting invitation, I would usually send my successor or other colleagues who had a challenge to present or needed his assistance, or would simply present themselves and their work. Once, when I had a big challenge he did not take seriously, I sent him three of my colleagues with the same issue, to express their frustration too.
Now it comes the anecdote: After a while, on one of the meetings, my leader addressed me with the following sentence: “Are you aware how big the challenge we have in retai is? I spoke with your colleagues and we have to do something about it! You know, I meet with your colleagues from time to time“. I smiled and told him I knew, and reminded him we had spoken about that a month ago and he told me I made too much a drama about it. “Just for the record, I know you meet my colleagues from time to time – I send them to you“ .😁
To summarize in the end, if you are a leader or wish to become so, do not let an unknown visitor get off the train you have been waiting for, or even worse, do not let that train go through your station leaving you without a word, as in the above-mentioned movie „Three tickets for Holywood“. Use every opportunity you have, to earn people’s attention, to express your attitudes and deserve your place in the sun. If you are already a leader, do not forget that your people can tell about you much more then you do. If you are, however, afraid of what your people might tell about you, remember – it is not up to them, but up to you.
See you in some new movie and some new visit…