"Dining" alone at Applebee's last night I saw the future of a college age waiter...one he has no idea of yet. (Applebee's because if you sit at the correct table you can watch at least three screens at once--each tuned to a major sporting event). A family of four was at the next table and young CEO-to-be came to take their orders. His waiters' garb was fresh and clean, as was his entire appearance. He squatted so that he was of the height of the youngest child and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Albert, I'll be your waiter tonight, how are you all?"
The Mom, answered, "We're all fine and how are you this evening," to which Albert replied, "I'm well and thank you very much for asking."
I rest my case. Albert is not only a listener, rather than an Applebee's trained automaton, he is also sincere and feeds back to his constituencies that what they say he hears, and it is important to him. I know, not guess, that Albert will spend his entire adult life listening and feeding back what he hears and its importance to him. He will earn the trust of those he calls upon because he makes it clear that they are important to him and that he will focus on their best interests and how he call help them exceed their goals.
As he begins his career calling on customers (and immediately begins outperforming his peer group and competitors) his interactions with bosses and colleagues will be consistent with his customer interactions. He will look to serve them as well and that will be noted by the executives that will inevitably promote him to management. And on and on.
Albert is a winner. A nice, well bred, well-intentioned, clean cut young man conscious of his ability to enhance the experiences of those he deals with if he shows interest by listening to them and acknowledging the importance of what they say.
One day, years from now, in the business section of the Times, you'll read about CEO Albert__________ and his most recent merger or sale.
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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