A Short Story of Personal & Organizational emPOWERMENT: Creating Company
Environments that ROCK

by Michael R. Shenker

Universal Truths

Creativity vs Competition

The Quest for a Worthy Ideal


Expectation & Non Resistance

Personal Freedom

Passionate Leadership

Measuring Up

“Good morning Myron, how’s it going today?” I said as I approached his front porch. Myron sat on an antique rocker, smiling back at me.

“Robert, it’s always going the same. In fact, that reminds me of a story my grandfather used to tell me when I was a young boy. Several thousand years ago in Lebanon, there lived a wise man by the name of Useff who, throughout his life was always happy. It didn’t matter if he had enough to eat, sufficient clothes to keep him warm or even a place to sleep, he was happy. People in the town would always ask him why he was always so happy but he would never tell them. On the last day of his life with just minutes to live, one of his oldest and dearest friends knelt down beside his bed and whispered in his ear, ‘Useff, before  you leave this earth you must share with me your secret of how you have remained so happy all these years.’ With a smile, Useff looked up at his friend and told him that each day when he would awaken, God would ask him, ‘Useff, today you can be happy or you can be sad, which will it be?’  And very calmly, Useff told his friend that he always chose to be happy.”

 “That’s a great story. I guess, all in all it’s really as simple as that,” I admitted.

Myron looked inquisitively at me and asked, “So Robert, how are you doing today?”

“Myron, I’m here with you on this nice sunny Saturday, how else could I possibly be but excellent?”

“On that note,” and a slight chuckle Myron replied, “Then let’s go to work.”

He then rose smoothly from the chair and ushered me into the house. “As a follow-on to last week’s meeting, I think we should get a reading as to how your company rates on the Passionate Leader Scale.”
I took my traditional place on the sofa as Myron poured us both a cup of tea. He then walked to his desk and began to look for something. As Myron rummaged through his desk, I was overcome by a feeling of gratefulness for having the opportunity to study with such a learned man. Myron, with all of his foibles truly sets a great example of how to live a quality life.

Finding what he was looking for, he turned from the desk and I could see he had a sheet of paper in his hand. He looked at it briefly and said, “Alright Robert, irrespective of which side of the ledger they’re on, circle the following items that most accurately fit your company. This will help to serve as a baseline measurement of where you are today. In addition, I would recommend that you retain an objective third party or consultant to come in and conduct internal and external audits of your employees and your customers. The information that you will glean from this process is invaluable in identifying the status quo and will help you identify your mastermind teams, which we will discuss later,” as he sat back down in his chair, he handed me the paper.
“But why do I need to hire a consultant for this. Why can’t I just do it myself?”

He shook his head in disagreement, “A consultant can say to the interviewees that they have a great opportunity to make changes in the company without being concerned about their name being associated with their comments as all interviews are conducted on an anonymous basis. You or one of your employees would not be able to pull this off effectively.”

 “I guess I never thought about it that way.”

“OK, now take your time and start circling.”

I read over the paper and began to think about what to circle.

Results of Passionate Leadership

Results of Highly Challenged Leadership

• Enthusiasm
• Encouragement
• Fairness
• Excitement
• Strong Vision
• Worthy Purpose
• Clarity of Leadership vision
• Commitment
• Consistency
• Congruent Behaviors
• Loyalty
• Fulfillment
• Low employee turnover
• Low absenteeism
• Low union & employee disputes
• High Performance behavior
• High engagement scores
• Encourage creativity
• Values People

• Ambivalence
• Organizational Ambiguity
• Frustration
• Lack of Clarity
• Inconsistency
• Confusion
• Moody
• Incongruent behaviors
• Lack of loyalty
• Lack of fairness
• Lack of fulfillment
• Just a job mentality
• Higher absenteeism
• Higher than average employee churn
• Mediocre or poor performance
• Low engagement scores
• Management does not get employee input or feedback
• Head count (not people)

= Sustainable  Profitability
& increasing Returns

= Short Term Profitability
& decreasing returns

“OK, let’s take a look,” I hesitantly said as I looked it over. If I’m going to be honest, and I am, I think I failed this part of Myron’s lesson.

As Myron reviewed what I circled, my worst fears were realized as I could see by the frown on his face.
“What do you think?” I reluctantly asked.

He slowly looked up from the paper with a look of regard, “I think we’ve got some work to do.”

“You know Myron, before I met you I thought I had a successful company,” I commented in an attempt to lighten the mood of the moment.

“And in relation to most you do. But now I think you’re starting to see the vast untapped resources you have hiding in plain sight. I’m reminded of a story of a beggar in ancient China who sat on a great chest outside the gates of his village. Anyone who entered or left the village was approached by the beggar for food, clothing or some form of sustenance. One day a very wise man came to his village and was approached by the beggar for something to eat. The wise man asked him how long he had been begging. The beggar replied that both his father and his grandfather before him had sat on this very same chest. The wise man then asked if he’d ever opened the chest that he, his father and his grandfather had been sitting on for all these generations and the beggar said ‘of course not, it was just a place for them to rest.’ The wise man then said that nothing should ever be taken for granted and bid the beggar good bye without offering him a single crust of bread. Although the beggar was disgruntled at his lack of compassion, he became unsettled with the wise man’s comments. All these years he had never considered looking inside the chest, so he opened it up and low and behold he found that it was full of gold.” A smile warmed his features as he put down his teacup and continued.

“This story is similar to many of your contemporaries. Some will continue to run their companies with the idea that profits can only be made from external means and never consider the vast treasure they have in their employees and some, like you, will have the presence of mind to open the chest and find the gold.
Myron rose from his chair and said, “In the meantime Robert, let’s call it a day and go out and enjoy the sunshine.”

As I was heading for my car I realized that it wasn’t going to be easy but I knew I was about to open the chest and find the gold.

... to be continued

The MasterMind


The Author

Michael Shenker, Human Performance Technologies’ founder and President, has been involved with the human potential movement for over twenty five years. He has been a business management consultant, an entrepreneur and has been involved in all phases of personal and organizational development. Michael's clientele ranges from individuals interested in personal growth to Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Bell Labs, Intel, Planning Research Corp., Pitney Bowes and Coldwell Banker. In his career, Michael has consulted to over 150 companies on organizational development, marketing, sales and creating profitable work place environments. Michael, his wife Susan, of thirty years, son Troy and daughter Samantha reside in Portland, Oregon.

The concepts and ideas in emPOWERMENT, Creating Company Environments That ROCK, exemplify the services provided by Michael Shenker and his organization. He specializes in working with business leaders in developing company environments that dramatically increase the ROI of human capital - their employees. For a free consultation, Michael Shenker can be reached by e-mail at mshenker@a-teams.us .

Michael Shenker's Creating Company Environments That Rock! in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2008 by Michael Shenker. All rights reserved.

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