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…

“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, with a very good head on her shoulders, but I felt she was holding herself back by not taking enough chances & not nearly reaching her potential.

I brought her 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.

Duh.

Got herself licensed & quickly climbed the corporate ladder.

She eventually was appointed a Vice President!

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.

That’s because 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 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 enough to, and available enough 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. Act it.

Thank you yet again for listening!

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