Influencing People, Part II

As a follow-up to the piece I wrote yesterday about “taking a personal interest in your people”, interestingly enough, I just received this on Facebook today from an employee of mine from about 20 or so years ago…

(Note: I wrote this piece about 2 years ago.)

“Awww, thanks, Boss! I truly would not be where I am today without your guidance back in the day and even now your support! I’ll always be grateful to you for challenging me to do more! Thank you for the impact you made in my life, Mike! Love ya!”

I’m still beaming with pride over this!

She was a very bright & talented worker, a CitiPhone rep, with an excellent head on her shoulders, but I felt she was holding herself back by not taking enough chances & as such, not nearly approaching her potential.

BTW, “not enough confidence in oneself” & “an irrational fear of failure” are 2 of the MOST PROMINENT REASONS why so many people – – excellent employees, no less – – have not moved up the corporate ladder, or explored other business opportunities, as well as, or as quickly as, they were most certainly capable of doing!

And to all the leaders out there…it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY (your personal responsibility as a people manager & your corporate responsibility as a member of the company’s leadership team) to identify those people out there who’ve demonstrated the appropriate skills, intelligence & demeanor to take a bigger bite out of that apple.

To take that leap of faith & “put themselves out there”.

To be uncomfortable yet confident enough to take that next step or peek behind that proverbial door.

To do what you believe they can do, even if they don’t quite think the same!

There will be those times when your kids refuse to take their medicine, but you don’t accept their “excuses” & you make sure that you do what’s best for them!


I brought this young lady into my office to discuss her getting her securities licenses (Series 6, 7, etc.) by going after some new positions that recently opened up at the Citi site here in San Antonio.

She initially hemmed & hawed.

“But, Mike, I really don’t know anything about stocks & bonds, and I…”

“Stop right there!

“I know you fully realize that you’re bigger & better than your current job. Didn’t take me long to realize that.

“You’re a very bright young lady & you need to start challenging yourself more.

“This is a great field for you to really learn some valuable stuff. It’s where the future is & you need to be part of it.

“I’d REALLY like to see you apply for some of those securities-licensed positions.

“Trust me, you’ll do great!”

She apparently was also a good listener.

She submitted her application & was accepted.


Got herself licensed & quickly climbed the ladder.

She eventually was appointed a Vice President!

(Note: I was somewhat hesitant when I was writing all these stories to actually use people’s real names. No, I wasn’t afraid of being sued, especially since not even the courts can get blood from a rock.

And, at my age, I couldn’t give a damned shit about burning bridges or having people retaliate against me.

And I’m not deliberately embarrassing anyone…other than, of course, those who I consciously try to.

So, along that line, perhaps a few of you have actually heard of this wonderful “young lady” from 20+ years ago…

Sandra S. Garcia)

It’s like watching one of your own kids grow up to become a truly wonderful person, with a bright future.

Nothing beats that feeling.

BTW, she called me Mike. Has always called me Mike. Even though I was a few levels above her when we first met. And when she calls me “Boss”, I always view that as a sign of respect.

(Yes, I fully understand that in today’s “touchy-feely” corporate environment…where such a greater emphasis is placed upon one’s feelings, a positive work-life balance for everyone, the “culture”, etc…the use of the word “boss” probably brings with it connotations of dinosaurs & the Spanish Inquisition.)

I would forbid my people (and anyone with whom I came into contact, for that matter) to call me “Mr. LoRusso”.

I would let a “Sir” slide by every now & then as many of our people had military backgrounds. When I came down to San Antonio in ‘93, the city had 5 (!!!) military bases: 4 Air Force (Kelly, Lackland, Brooks & Randolph) & 1 Army (Fort Sam Houston).

Note: Today, Kelly is closed…Lackland remains 1 of 2 major AF training sites (the Air Force Academy @ Colorado Springs being the other)…Brooks closed (but Fort Sam Houston has taken over many of its world-famous medical facilities, especially for burn victims) & Randolph is still operating.

I always told them that “Mr. LoRusso” was my Dad…and it probably wasn’t coincidental that he also worked for Citi, originally FNCB/First National City Bank, for 35+ years.

And both of my sisters worked as tellers for Citi. And my nephew/Godson is a VP with Citi down in Tampa (in Finance).

Oh, well…

Always make your people feel that they ALWAYS come first. That they are ALWAYS your top priority.

It’s only through them that your organization is able to provide superior customer service.

Only through them that you’re able to produce impressive business results that please the corporate shareholders (or members if you’re a mutual company).

And make sure you’re approachable & available enough to/for them…as much as humanly possible.

And “your people” extends to every single person that reports directly to you, or directly to your direct reports, and on & on & on.

If they’re somehow under your umbrella in the ol’ organizational chart, then they’re your PERSONAL responsibility!

Believe it. Preach it. Do it.

Thank you yet again for listening!

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