“Coffee is for Closers!”

Single greatest role of Alec Baldwin’s career came in one of his most limited roles. When I saw Glengarry Glen Ross for the first time, I was actually in an outside sales role; Baldwin’s performance scared me straight, I knew my future did not reside in cold-calling.

Admittedly, the art of selling to a “cold” prospect is one in which very few people can succeed. It’s a gift, not a learned skill. The basic component of success can be displayed in a simple formula; “Guts + Short Memory = Sales.” To hire a successful salesperson is to substantially and exponentially increase the production and profit of any company; consequently, to hire a poor salesperson can create a vacuum of unproductive results that extends long after their respective employment. There may be no more critical (and highly subjective) hire.

So, it is with great confidence that I share with you my secret feeder system for future sales All-Stars.

“Will that be cash or check?”


Relentless. Omnipresent. Shameless. Driven. Passionate. Marginally cute.

For the next month, every visit to the Tom Thumb will be accompanied by at least 2 direct sales pitches from Barracudas disguised as Brownies and Girl Scouts. I’m prone to hiding behind my couch as a response to the doorbell.

These little imps have it figured out ~ like a deer hunter with a baited field, they know we have to eat at some point. They wait for us…patiently, strategically, determined, and fearless. I’ve been asked to buy cookies 5 times by the same 12-year old within a 10 minute time frame. “Always Be Closing” does not begin to describe this level of dedication.

So, it is with great deference and respect that I wave the white flag of surrender. Just please give me my 20 boxes of Thin Mints and leave me in peace, may God have mercy on your souls.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement.

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Fear the Hidden Message

I received this message from the President of the ICF (International Coaching Federation) as part of a monthly ICF update. There’s a huge nugget of wisdom in these words, can you find it?

President’s Message
The sustainability of coaching  
When I left my country or origin, Argentina, and moved to the United States, I was 23 years old, did not speak much English, and brought all my savings, $500 dollars. I left everything I knew to grow and have a better life. I had many fears but I did it anyway.

This transformational process helped me to understand that having clear goals, taking risks, working hard, and collaborating with others were key to my success. I applied these principles in my life and was able to get two masters and a doctorate working full time as a therapist with families and children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Working with life and death situations taught me what is really important in life: our relationships and our health. I never forgot these lessons. After graduated as an Organizational Psychologist, I got a job as an international leadership development consultant and traveled to more than 40 countries all over the world providing leadership training, assessment and coaching. I worked with powerful executives from Fortune 100 companies, and developed programs for very poor immigrants at community-based organizations. I have also had the privilege to work as a coach with United Nation agencies.

All of these experiences helped to prepare me to be your ICF President this year. It is truly an honor and very humbling experience to serve you and our profession as your President for 2013. I care deeply for our profession and believe the only way that coaching can keep growing and becoming an even more integral part of society is with the commitment from every one of us. If every coach becomes a leader and inspires the people around them, this world, will become a more peaceful and loving place for everyone.

I believe we all have a job to do to assure the continued growth and development of professional coaching. If you want to help, you can get involved in your local chapter as a volunteer, participate in regional conferences, or just educate every prospect client about the benefits of coaching and the importance of hiring coaches that are well trained, certified and work under the ICF code of ethics.

This year, you can count on my passion, my love for our profession, my hard work, and collaboration to support the accomplishment of the ICF strategic objectives.

I am committed to work with everyone of you to grow our profession, to give it more visibility, to have a stronger credentialing program, to provide professional development opportunities, and to conduct meaningful coaching research.

In closing, I want to thank all the people who encouraged and supported me on my journey. It is so true that we don´t do anything amazing on our own. So let´s support each other in making 2013 a memorable year!

Kind regards,
Dr. Damian Goldvarg, MCC
2013 ICF President

Okay, maybe it’s just my interpretation, but Mr. Goldvarg had a distinct advantage on most people ~ he was scared.  Fear and desperation are unbelievable motivators; how many times do you “settle” because of comfort? You’ve heard people (you may be this person) say they would like to do something different/quit their job/go back to school, etc., but they are too “scared” to make the change. I respectfully reply “horse hockey”. fear-scared-motivation

It’s not “fear” that keeps you in check, it’s comfort.  Success stories almost always begin the way Dr. Goldvarg initiated his own experience – no comfort, and no option but to make something happen for themselves. Be good to yourself – learn how to embrace fear rather than settle for comfort.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement.

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Unrequited Love

My Dad was fond of colloquialisms. Some maintained their “stickiness” more than others ~ one in particular was this; “No matter how much you love your company, don’t ever believe it loves you back.”

At the time, I was waiting tables to pay for weekend college excursions with a few of my heathen fraternity brothers, so “love” and “company” was not a combination of terms I could fathom.

But then, of course, it happened. I found an employer for whom I grew quite fond. And, (as engaged employees will often do) it became second-nature for me to work harder and smarter than I may have believed possible when I worked for other companies. Just as the Old Man had foretold, I found myself in love with my company.

What a fool.

It would take years before it would become apparent to me, but my beloved company was decidedly one-sided in its capacity for emotional involvement. Like most corporations, the need for employee engagement was trumpeted as a critical part of the ongoing culture. And yet…….when the going gets really tough, the “engaged” nature of the relationship disappears for the company.

Communication stops. Privileges are reduced. Vacant offices and cubicles appear. An informal grapevine becomes the source of information sharing. In layman’s terms, the leadership team becomes habitually “puckered.”

And, like the cowardly boyfriend who continues to disrespect and mistreat his former beloved Belle, employees are in effect “dared” to quit rather than be treated with an honest approach.

So, what does this teach us?

1. Companies are not built to love (sounds like something from IRobot).

2. If you want loyalty, buy a dog.

“…we need to talk.”

We need to go into the arrangement with an honest and educated perspective; love your work, but don’t be clouded in your overall judgment. Change WILL happen. You WILL be impacted. Knowing this, allow yourself to be in a state (unlike the aforementioned young Lass) of self-dependency, ready and able to roll with the punches.

Be brave, be bold, be confident, and be a model for your colleagues – only then will you do your best work. Waiting for roses and Whitman’s will only lead to heartbreak.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement. 

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