Employee Of The Year

Michael and I were having some time together after what seemed like forever, and I could sense something was up.

I prodded and poked a little, and after some interrogation, he finally opened up. He had a great offer on the table but seemed to be unable to meet the conditions to embrace it. His boss had offered him a massive pay rise and promotion if he escalated the sales to $30K a week.

The proposition was exceptional and attractive. Ever since he’d received the offer, Michael had strived for it. But to no avail. He had touched the $25K mark, but couldn’t crack the threshold of $30K.

A Brief Job History

Michael was a salesperson (a glorified order taker) for an established food distribution company. His job was to take the orders for what was needed each week and do his best to increase the sales. Michael’s responsibilities included pitching restaurant owners to shop from them (the more, the merrier).

The restaurants would order, say, 50 Parmajanas, 10kg spuds, 15-litre sauce, etc., and it would be delivered the next day. Michael had always been self-motivated and dedicated to his work. It is the one thing that I admired the most (although he claims to have learned it from me, and that’s a story for another time).

I was listening to Michael with all my heart, but my mind was wandering- trying to figure out a solution. I knew that he needed my help. Being an established business coach with tons of experience in boosting many startups, I wanted more than anything to help him excel. The conversation made me realize that he hadn’t left any stone unturned and was probably planning to give up disheartened.

I pondered on it a bit, trying to weigh various strategies and revisiting my experiences. After much thought, it occurred to me, “What if we thought outside the box?” Maybe it’s time to analyze the situation from a different angle.

Instead of being REACTIVE, what if we are PROACTIVE?

I dove into my resources in the middle of the night and thought of a modified strategy. I called Michael the next day, ready to rock his world. He was in awe of the cleverness of my plan, and we decided to move further with it.

The Golden Plan

I asked Michael to make a quick appointment with a restaurant’s head chef and discuss their best recipes. We inquired about their 20 best-selling meals for summer and winter, respectively. They were curious about the questions, and we could only say, “Wait until you see what we have in mind.”

So, the big plan was not influencing the owners to buy more, but helping them attract more customers. Marketing their popular mouth-watering dishes in the local area would attract more diners. More customers would mean more meals, thereby raising demand for more stock— a win-win for all.

As you would expect, Michael came out with record-breaking sales and profit over and over again. He was on cloud nine and I was so happy because he got his promotion. Along with this great leap in his career, he was seen as the most promising & competent employee. I remember him rushing with a bottle of champagne to my office with the news. He was so happy, and I could see his excitement. A joyous moment for both of us.

Soon after, Michael’s boss chimed in. “Things have been crazy lately, but I don’t think you noticed because you’re busy crushing it!” It was indeed a dream compliment for any employee, and I was thrilled when he dedicated this win to me.

Accolades To Follow

The management team was amazed by the steep rise in Michael’s sales and finally asked him, “What’s your secret?”. Well, he smiled and didn’t let the secret out (as advised by me). But the bosses couldn’t resist the urge to dig deeper. So, they put one of the managers in the car to work with him for about a week. And soon, their curiosity was satisfied. All was revealed!

The management team loved the idea, praised its uniqueness, and admired the modified perspective it provided. Since then, the company has trained its employees this way, and Michael continues to be a superstar. Michael’s bosses were so impressed that they promoted him further and awarded him the “Achiever of The Year” title. Indeed, a tremendous achievement for any employee.

So, the morale of the story is, If something is challenging, find another way, another angle. Never Give Up! Think outside the square and see what happens.