How often do you have a point of view, a goal, a mission, or feel passionately about a topic or a decision/change that needs to be made…but your friends, boss, staff, Guests, customers, clients, partners, students, or teams don’t necessarily agree.  You probably have two or three scenarios in mind right now, as we speak.  I do too.
I believe life is a sales call (a blog post, speech, and/or book I’ll write at a later date and time).  No matter what our occupation or role in an organization, whether we’re leaders of people, teachers of students, coaches of teams, salespeople charged with moving products, or members of teams on the front lines…a “sale” is made with every conversation, interaction, and transaction.
Something is sold…thoughts, concepts, a task that needs to be accomplished, an initiative that needs to be completed, or reasons for a desired action are laid out…whatever the case may be…more often than not, with every conversation, something is sold.  Whether others actually “buy” what is being “sold” is another story.
OneMoreStep thought for this week – When others don’t “buy-in” and agree with us, no matter what the context – at work, in a relationship, or with family and friends – meet them where they are…become a StairMaster
Here we go…here’s what I mean by StairMaster:
Think of those one or two scenarios you have in mind right now…the ones where you feel passionately about something, and others – your staff, your spouse, your boy/girlfriend, your teammates, your students, or your partners – simply do not agree with you.  Now picture a staircase…you are at the top, having bought in and believe with 100% conviction all the reasons why your way is absolutely the correct way, but they (whomever they are) are somewhere between the top of that staircase and all the way at the bottom step.  Your goal…somehow get them to the top of that staircase…become a StairMaster.
Curious, not Sold
On the Fence
I believe that in order to be a great leader, one must have a certain level of salesmanship…by the same token, in order to be a great salesperson; one must embody significant leadership traits.  In short, great leaders sell and great salespeople lead.
When faced with circumstances in which their teams or clients are not on the same page, or not on the same step in the “staircase”…mediocre and bad leaders and salespeople try to drag others up the steps.  They immediately go right to the pitch…they begin preaching rather than teaching…they push rather than pull…they don’t seek to understand before seeking to be understood.  They drag their teams, partners, clients, and/or students up the steps; not effective, nor is it productive.  More often than not, this results in pushing team members, clients, and Guests further and further away…making it virtually impossible to reach a mutually beneficial, desired outcome.
Don’t drag them…meet them where they are & walk up TOGETHER
Great leaders and salespeople do the opposite…they meet people where they are on the steps, engage, ask questions, and seek to understand more about why they feel the way they do…once they’ve met others where they are, they steer the conversation in such a way that allows the two of them to walk back up the steps, one-by-one…TOGETHER, often times finding a mutually beneficial resolution to whatever issue, problem, or task is at hand.
Partnership…this should be the goal of every relationship at work, at home, with friends, and/or with family.
Meeting people where they are builds respect, credibility, and trust in any given relationship…and leads to that desired level of true partnership for which we are all striving.  The reality is…many times in order to effectively sell teams, clients, students, or partners on certain ideas or directions “we” should go…it takes a perpetual, on going, consistent process of backing down the “steps”, meeting folks where they are, and then walking back up togetherThey may buy-in part of the way, but in order to get them to the next step, we must go back down and meet them again on another topic or issue, to then bring them back up the steps…ultimately taking them from the bottom step – Disagree to the top step – Advocate.
The great ones go OneMoreStep…and back down the staircase, find common ground, and gradually, OneMoreStep by OneMoreStep walk back up the staircase together, having arrived at a mutually beneficial outcome – they’re StairMasters.
Next time you find yourself alone on the top step of the staircase, try taking a few steps back down…meet people where they are, ask them questions with OneMoreStep language such as “say more about that”…”interesting take, what makes you feel that way?”…”how would you feel if…”…”what can I do to make you more comfortable or willing to try XYZ approach…”
Pretty soon you’ll have stronger relationships, more sales, committed staff, trusting partners, and not to mention – people lined up to work with and for you…you’ll be a StairMaster.
Examples of great StairMasters for the road:
·        Bob Iger & Steve Jobs – within months of taking over for Michael Eisner as the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger came in and through what I’m sure were several trips back down the
steps and right back up, was able to reach a mutually beneficial deal, which allowed Disney to buy Pixar for $7.4 Billion.  This was a deal that Michael Eisner and Pixar were unable to complete…I’d be willing to bet that Bob Iger was a better StairMaster and as a result, the company has Disney*Pixar films, merchandise, top line revenues, bottom line profits, new found value and synergy with attractions in theme parks, and of course millions of magical moments, smiles, and raving Disney fans.
·        Phil Jackson – As head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Phil Jackson dealt with two of the biggest superstars in the history of the NBA…and their egos. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were at odds with one another for most of their tenure together as Lakers.  Phil not only remained steadfast and focused on his strategy, he met both Kobe and Shaq where they were, and showed both of them how the Triangle Offense (made popular in earlier years with the Chicago Bulls as Michael Jordan lead them to six titles) would indeed lead to both of them sharing the glory, scoring points, making the highlight reels, and ultimately propelling the Lakers back to the top of the mountain.
Phil led that Lakers team to three consecutive NBA Championships with Kobe and Shaq hating one another, yet finally respecting each other’s talents on the court.  Phil later led the Lakers to two more NBA titles, making him one of the most successful coaches in NBA history with 11 total championships (5 with the Lakers and 6 with the Bulls).
When you think you’ve done quite enough to appease your staff, your students, your team, or your clients…go OneMoreStep…think StairMaster and meet them where they are.  Then walk back up the steps with them.  You will win…They will win…and it will be because you went One…More…Step…
When StairMasters are at play, that’s when Housekeeping finally gets along with Front Desk, Servers finally get along with Hosts & Hostesses, Purchasing finally gets along with Receiving, Principals finally gain respect of Teachers, Sales finally respects and understands Operations, and Finance finally gets along with Marketing…
Set egos aside…become a StairMASTER.
Have a great day.


  • June 28, 2011

    Who says that the Stairmaster is just a physical workout? Sometimes going down and up those stairs is more tiring then hitting the gym for an hour. Sometimes, you have to go back and back again. I deal with that every day in my job!


  • June 28, 2011

    Great post Taylor-

    Similar to the 100% solution and personal accountability – we must take responsibility for meeting others where they are to get them to where we'd like them to be…


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