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An Insightful Discussion with Barry Maher

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Speak Softly and Carry a Big Carrot: Besides that Unimpressive Paycheck, What’s in It for Me?

 


Barry Maher’s
 
Filling the Glass Newsletter
Speaking of Real World Tactics, Reality-Based Motivation
February, 2014    Vol. 14  Issue 2

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A study at the University of Michigan found that companies with at least partial worker ownership average 1.5 times the profits of traditional companies in their fields.

Give away a piece of the business and everybody makes more.

According to the American Compensation Association, 63 percent of U.S. companies now use incentives, bonuses and other profit sharing arrangements to tie at least part of their workers’ pay to their performance. In 1990, only 15 percent did.

One out of every three businesses offers stock options to employees below the level of executive. There’s even a term for it, growthcos, companies that use options to compensate workers as opposed to stodgecos, old line companies that don’t. Is it possible that we may be developing an entire class of “worker capitalists,” employees who share the risks and share the profits?

Karl Marx would have been delighted. Or appalled, I’m not sure which.

“People aren’t coming to work as factory workers but as business owners,” Michael Stipicevic, plant manager for Unilever’s Cartersville, Georgia plant told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re saying this is my machine, my plant.” Unilever’s “goal-sharing” pay plan has produced a torrent of cost-saving ideas. Half of the first year savings are returned to the workers.

Speak softly and carry a big carrot.

Then too, employees work best when they’re being themselves, when they’re fully committed, and yes, when they’re contributing their own ideas. The average worker supposedly makes 100 unsupervised decisions a day. If they’re looking over their shoulder on every one of them, they’re going to walk into a lot of walls.

Catalyst, a non-profit group that seeks to advance women in business, commissioned a study of business people to discover what was most important to them in a career. At the very top of the list were the emotional benefits, like supportive management, freedom to do the job on their own and control over their output.

Financial compensation is important. But you can’t buy loyalty, enthusiasm, commitment or devotion. You can however earn it.

© Copyright 2014, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

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glass_button Filling the Glass: Real World Tactics for Increasing Productivity AND Job Satisfaction
glass_button Slicing through the Noise: Powerful Communication for Leadership and Professional Success
glass_button Speaking of Motivation
glass_button Selling Yourself, Your Ideas, Your Vision, Even Your Product and Services
glass_button Shut Up and Speak: Non-Verbal Communication
glass_button De-Stress for Success: Managing Stress to Promote Work/Life Balance and Restore the Joy of Living.
glass_button Selling Value Not Price

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Denial: I’m Not A Bully. Or a Bimbo.

By Barry Maher

“What are you trying to pull here?”

“Are you an idiot?”

“Whose stupid idea was this?”

From the governor of New Jersey to the president of the United States to the shoe shine guy in the hotel lobby, in today’s world we’re all likely to face some sort of accusation sometime or other during our career. If that accusation is unjust (or even if it’s very just) our first instinct is often to try to deny it.

But according to consultant Merrie Spaeth, former director of media relations at the White House, simply denying a negative can actually make the negative more memorable.

Richard Nixon, questioned about his taxes, said, “I am not a crook.” Enron CEO Steve Kean, discussing the company’s creative bookkeeping, said, “It is not my intent to mislead.” Jessica Hahn, the woman involved with televangelist Jim Baker, said, “I am not a bimbo.”

But what stuck in everyone’s minds?

You guessed it: crook, misleading and bimbo.

All of these people would have been better off if they had taken control of the situation and framed the terms of the discussion themselves. For example, rather than denying he was a crook, Nixon could have bragged about the negative and said, “You bet your life I took that large deduction on my taxes. I only wish it were bigger. Like every good American, I take every deduction I’m legally entitled to. And not a penny more. But I’ll tell you what. If there’s anyone out there who doesn’t believe in taking all their legitimate tax deductions, I don’t think that person should ever vote me again. I’ll struggle by with the votes of those who don’t believe in overpaying their taxes.“

Fortunately for the country, Nixon wasn’t that good a salesperson. Nobody ever would have bought a used car from Richard Nixon.

“Did my people screw up closing down those lanes on the bridge and creating that traffic jam? Absolutely. And they’ve been fired because of it. As they should be. But sometimes when you’ve created a government that actually knows how to get things done and achieve results, rather than just floundering around, occasionally a few bad apples will misuse that effectiveness. Which is exactly why, though we have to create a federal government that’s as effective as the government I’ve built here in New Jersey, we also have to keep it small. And accountable. And keep an eye on it every minute. And let me assure you that if I didn’t know that before this mess with the George Washington Bridge, I certainly know it now. And that’s why I’m running for president.”

Would it work? No way to tell. But it certainly beats “I am not a bully.”

© Copyright 2014, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Want to Kill Your Chance of Getting that Great Job? Here’s How.

Barry Maher’s
Filling the Glass Newsletter
Speaking of Real World Tactics, Reality-Based Motivation
December, 2013    Vol. 13  Issue 12

 

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I’ve consulted on hundreds of hires. And here’s one sure way to cripple your chances, even if you’re a good, qualified applicant who’s just given an excellent interview.

As always, before wrapping things up, the interviewer asks if you have any questions. But unfortunately, your initial questions show far more interest in what the company can do than what you can do for the company.

I was involved in one interview recently where the first three questions from the applicant were, in order:

“How much vacation time do I get?”

“How long do I have to be here before I’m eligible for a vacation?”

“How long before I start to accrue additional weeks of vacation?”

What had looked like a great applicant, now looked like someone who couldn’t wait to get away from work.

I strongly believe in making the employer sell you the job. It’s far better to have them worrying about if they can get you than wondering if they want you. But the time for that is after you’ve got them wanting you. There’s plenty of time to ask what they can do for you after they’ve got them excited about what you can do for them.

Which means you also want to avoid giving what-can-you-do-for-me answers when it’s the interviewer asking the questions.

Some of the worst answers I’ve heard to standard interview questions? How about:

“What interests you about this company?”

“I saw your ad in the paper.”

“I’d be interested in anyone that would hire me.”

“How would your current or former colleagues describe you?”

“Oversexed.”

“Whatever you heard, it’s not true. Not really. I mean, there’re two sides to every story.”

“Are there certain types of people you find difficult to work with?”

“Well, my last boss was a real moron. I certainly didn’t like working with him.”

Of course, the worst question for you as an applicant to ask is the one you never ask: not asking any questions during an interview is a huge red flag, one that even inexperienced interviewers always pick up on. It shows a lack of interest and/or a lack of comprehension. It can also make you look desperate, someone who’ll take any job under any circumstances.

Nobody wants someone nobody wants. You need to show you’re being selective about your opportunities and if you accept this one it’s because you want this particular job and you’ll be eager to apply yourself to it.

 

© Copyright 2013, 2011 Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Los Angeles, Caifornia, Las Vegas, Nevada

If you enjoy this newsletter, please forward the URL to friends.
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Book Barry Maher to speak at your next event.

“Innovative, informative, entertaining and inspiring” says MeetingsWest magazine.
Keynote, workshop and seminar topics include:

glass_button  Filling the Glass: Real World Tactics for Increasing Productivity AND Job Satisfaction
glass_button Slicing through the Noise: Powerful Communication for Leadership and Professional Success
glass_button Speaking of Motivation
glass_button Selling Yourself, Your Ideas, Your Vision, Even Your Product and Services
glass_button Shut Up and Speak: Non-Verbal Communication
glass_button De-Stress for Success: Managing Stress to Promote Work/Life Balance and Restore the Joy of Living.
glass_button Advanced Techniques and Motivation for Sales Pros

Call 951-638-5025

For smaller meeting budgets, Steve Wilson also delivers all
the Filling the Glass presentations and trainings. Contact
Steve at 866-243-8062.

 
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Revealed: The Three (or Maybe Four) Secrets to Success

By Barry Maher

It happened again the other day. After a keynote I’d done at an association’s awards dinner, a reporter for their magazine had showed up at my hotel room door to interview me. The interview was supposed to have been done that afternoon, and it was now 11:47 PM. And he’d obviously had a few drinks at the dinner. I had a 4:00 AM wake-up call for an early cross-country flight, so I was less than thrilled to see him. Still, the interview needed to be done, and I invited him in.

Which is when it happened. He started the interview with THE question.

It’s a question that I usually get only from reporters; almost never from anyone else. But I assume they’re asking it because they think their readers will be interested in the answer. Or maybe they’re just asking it because they think that any possible answer would demonstrate a level of self-absorbed pomposity astonishing even in a self-appointed guru like myself.

The question?

“What’s the secret to success?” That’s what he asked me.

Really? I thought. And I almost said, “A good night’s sleep.” But I didn’t.

“The secret to success?” I repeated. “I have no idea. I guess it depends on your definition of success. I imagine J.P. Morgan and Mother Theresa would have defined it a little differently. Hitler probably would have had another definition altogether.”

He sighed, obviously annoyed. “Ok, so let’s talk about business. What’s the secret to success there?”

“Got it. That one I know.”

“I’m thrilled,” he said, clicking on his recorder and pointing it unnecessarily close to my face. “The world awaits.”

“The secret to success . . .” I said, “is that there’s no secret to success.”

“Helpful,” he said, clicking off his recorder scornfully. “But not really very clever. I need specific tips. You know like in that 29 Immutable Laws of Management Wonderfulness breakout that redhead did this afternoon.”

“I missed it.”

“And I missed my chance to interview her.”

“I’m sure she’s devastated. And asleep.” Still, I was about to elaborate on my point. Because of course when it comes to business, there is no secret to success. We all know what it takes to be successful. Hard work, determination, persistence, that kind of thing. But there is one other element, one we all know about but one we ignore so frequently that it might as well be a secret.

“Okay,” he said, trying another tack while I was still gathering my thoughts. “So you’ve had some success, right?”

“Some, yes.”

“So what do you attribute that success to?”

I nodded. Let’s get this over with. Four AM was not getting any farther away. “Three things,” I said

He clicked on the recorder again as if he was doing me a favor. If there’s anything magazine writers like almost as much as secrets, it’s numbered lists.

“First of all,” I began, “I’m cheap, frugal. Before I buy anything, I think of just how long and how hard I had to work to earn whatever amount it costs. Suddenly, that $75,000 car doesn’t seem nearly as necessary. So even when I first started my speaking business 20 years ago, I had more than adequate seed capital and things have gotten better since then.”

“You rich?”

“I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do simply because I need the money. To me, that’s rich.”

“How rich?”

“Less than Bill Gates, more than . . .” I trailed off, trying to think of someone famous and poor.

“Me?”

“Maybe.” Come to think of it, there aren’t a lot of famous poor people.

“Second,” I continued, glancing at the clock, “in a business where it’s easy to spend thousands and thousands of dollars a year on marketing, I spend almost nothing. I generate business the stodgy, old-fashion way: I simply do the best possible job I can for my each one of my clients. And I price my services to position myself as the most affordable speaker of my caliber and credentials available. So word of mouth generates more business than anything else I do.”

“And third?”

“That’s the element to success that’s so often ignored. Third, I’ve been very lucky. Though at one point in my 30s I was absolutely broke, my parents and the country I grew up in had provided me with the background, the education, the infrastructure and the climate which made whatever success I’ve achieved possible. No question I’ve worked very hard. But I’ve also gotten more than a few breaks along the way and a lot of help.”

“So you’re not a self-made man. You didn’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

“I’ve never met a self-made man, though I’ve met a few who thought they were. Trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps is like trying to pull yourself up by your nose. It ain’t gonna happen. Archimedes supposedly said ‘Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world.’ If nobody gives us a lever and the country we live in doesn’t give us a place to stand, none of us are likely to move much of anything.”

“Damn,” he said.

“What?”

He was looking down at his recorder. “I must have turned it off instead of on. Let’s start from scratch . . . So what’s the secret to success?”

I looked longingly over at my bed for a moment, then replied. “A hearty breakfast. Oatmeal, brown sugar, molasses if you’ve got ‘em.”

“Molasses?”

“That’s the secret. Molasses. Next question.”

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© Copyright 2013, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Motivational Speakers Falling Short? Maybe You Need More than a Motivational  Speaker.

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Is Your Credit Score a Joke?

By Barry Maher

People always focus on the accuracy of the information in someone’s credit report. And obviously if John A. Smith’s bad loan ends up on John B. Smith’s report, John. B. Smith has got a problem. And so does anyone who wants to sell him a house.

But suppose all the information in John B’s report is accurate but his actual credit score is based on simplistic, incomplete or just plain silly assumptions?

Let me note right now that my own credit score is fine so this is not about a personal beef. But I just heard from one of the subscribers to our newsletter, a woman who also has a good solid credit score. She sent me a copy of the rating.

Her score was 769.  That’s 769 out of a possible 850. According to the report’s key, she had better credit than 70% of the American public. That would be impressive if credit scores were an accurate measurement of an individual’s credit worthiness. But let’s look at the details.

To end up with a score of 769, she was docked 81 points. That probably won’t make much difference to her. Her score is still good. But to other people that kind of penalty could easily make the difference between getting a mortgage and not getting a mortgage, between paying a decent rate for a loan or getting overcharged, even between getting hired or watching their unemployment run out and their savings empty. And that can make a bad credit score a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Here were some of the so-called “key factors” that lowered this woman’s score.

First, “You have no real estate account.” Actually that meant she has no real estate loans. She owns two houses free and clear. Doesn’t owe a penny. If someone really wanted to know her credit-worthiness that might be something that would be important. It’s certainly something that’s easy to check.

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t someone with over $500,000 in real estate equity in better financial shape than someone who’s struggling to make the payments on a home loan, even if they’re successful in that struggle. Who’s more likely to be able to pay off additional debt?

Second, her score was reduced because “The available credit on your open revolving credit accounts is low.” She pays off her credit cards every month so there’s no reason for her to have a huge credit limits on cards that could easily end up lost or stolen. But in any case, according to the details of this very credit report, one of her cards has a $25,000 limit and three other have around $10,000 each. Is $55,000 in available credit low, compared to the average American?

Besides, if I’m looking for a home loan, how does the fact that if the loan were granted I could immediately put myself in an additional $100,000 worth of credit card debt make me a better credit risk?

The third reason for the reduction? “You have too many inquiries on your credit report.” And yes, there were actually 11 separate inquiries on her report in the previous year. So I asked her about that. It turns out an elderly relative gave her power of attorney over a very significant amount of money. Apparently, since banks routinely provide debit/credit cards with an account, they must routinely check credit on anyone who is given power of attorney over that account. Even though in this case, she consistently refused their credit and debit cards.

Still, the bottom line is that having access to these additional funds has apparently made her less credit worthy.

Fourth, “Your oldest revolving credit account was opened too recently.” Actually, her credit report shows that her oldest revolving credit account was opened in 1990. Is that too recently? If so, too recently for what? Does the computer that creates these credit scores even use the credit reports they’re supposedly based on. And yes, some of the woman’s other credit accounts were opened more recently. But if a human, rather than a machine, had looked at the report, they would have seen that her new accounts were issued by the same companies that held the old accounts. And everything was the same as the old account except for the account number. Why is that? Because the original account numbers had been compromised, not by the woman, but by poor security on the part of the issuing company or one of their merchants. So the companies had cancelled the old account numbers and replaced them with new ones.

Obviously someone who does business with companies that allow their data to be hacked has to be more of a credit risk. I mean, would a truly responsible person do business with a company like CitiGroup or Sony or Barnes & Noble or be lax enough to carry a credit card issued by a an organization like Bank of America or Chase?

So these are the listed reasons why she was docked. My guess is there are other reasons that are just as far off the mark. As I mentioned, none of this is a particular problem for her. But the obvious question is this:

Are the criteria on which these scores are based really the best way to evaluate a person’s credit-worthiness?

Or is this simply the easiest information to collect? And if people who really need credit are having their scores lowered because some company they patronized compromised their credit card numbers, or because the scoring system doesn’t properly recognize the amount of credit they have available or how long they’ve had their credit cards, or perhaps because they’ve opened too many bank accounts or some other equally ludicrous reason, does this make any sense?

Is it fair to people how are being evaluated?

Is it fair to the merchants and landlords and nowadays even potential employers who are relying on these credit scores?

Is it working for anyone besides the companies that are profiting from generating these evaluations?

In this country, we worry about the government having too much control over our lives. And we should. But at least we get to vote on the government. How much power do you have if some computer at Experian or TransUnion or Equifax decides to dock your credit score 81 points. Or 160 points. Or 300.  Especially when the credit bureaus won’t even tell you they’re doing it and their reasons make as much sense as these.

Sure you can contest an error on your credit report. But what can you do about the standards the reporting companies are using to rate you?

I’ve been relying on credit reports to help me select rental tenants for years, though some of the best tenants I’ve ever had I only got because I ignored the reports. Maybe in the future, I should just cast their horoscopes or flip a coin or read the entrails of a dead pigeon.

It would certainly be cheaper. It might even be fairer. (Maybe not to the pigeon.)

#                        #                    #

When Motivational Speakers don’t achieve the Results You Need, You Must Need More than a Motivational  Speaker.

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Climbing the Corporate Ladder

By Barry Maher

A few quick tips for climbing to the top of corporate ladder:

1)  Learn everything you can about every aspect of the company you can.

2)  Learn everything you can about every aspect of the industry you can.

3)  Always act and dress appropriately for the next promotion. Make sure those with the power to promote you start thinking of you as type of person who’d be appropriate for that job.

4)  Hitch your wagon to a star. Find the mentor who’s moving up and help that mentor get wherever it is he or she wants to go.

5)  Do the jobs no one else is willing to do. Demonstrate your capabilities and your capacity to grow. Never miss a chance to learn or to grow but whenever possible avoid “can’t win” situations and situations where you’re set up for failure.

6)  When going for that promotion, be ready to articulate the business case for giving you the job. How are you going to make the company more profitable, save money, increase efficiency or productivity? Okay, you may DESERVE a promotion, but what is promoting you going to do for the company.

7)  Obviously you need to know the benefit to the company in promoting you specifically. But what’s almost as important, you should able to show a benefit to the people who will be making or recommending the promotion. How is giving you that promotion going to advance their interests? In simple terms, if you want them on your side, what’s in it for them?

8)  Be ready with a list of your accomplishment. Not so much to show why you’ve earned a promotion or why you deserve it, but to showcase the abilities you’ll be bringing to the new position. If you can assign a dollar value, showing how much the accomplishments on that list have earned or saved the company, so much the better.

9)  To position yourself for future promotions, during the year send a short note to your boss at the end of each week, just keeping him or her apprised of everything you did during that week. Come evaluation time the boss may well use those notes to help write the evaluation. And at the very least you’ll have all that ammunition when it’s time to talk about that next promotion or raise.

10) Be active in the industry and if possible gain an industry-wide reputation. If it turns out your company doesn’t appreciate you, maybe another company will.

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© Copyright 2013, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada, Los Angeles, California

Much More than a Motivational Speaker.

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Educated and Unemployed

By Barry Maher

Dear Barry,

Like a lot of recent graduates, I’m having trouble finding employment. I’ve got an impressive academic background, including a Ph.D. in marketing, but that actually seems to turn off more employers than it interests.

Sincerely,

Fred

Dear Fred,

I don’t mean this personally because I don’t know you, but the first question you’ll want to answer is this:

        Is it your background that’s turning employers off or is it you?

It goes without saying that you want to impress any potential employer but you have to avoid sounding like an academic or a theoretician. You need to appear knowledgeable and intelligent yet deferential to those who already have the real world experience that you’re eager to learn.

Nothing is more flattering to a businesspeople, (and especially those who may have doubts about their own academic background) than someone with a Ph.D. who’s excited about learning from them. The Ph.D. who realizes that he or she may actually have a lot to learn from those “real world” types might well be perceived as offering the best of both worlds.

Beyond that, every graduate has some real world experience. Yes, even Ph.Ds. The more you can demonstrate that experience and/or show how whatever experience you do have (internships,  part time and summer jobs, teaching, research) has armed you with applicable skills, the more successful you’ll be.

Obviously, during the job interview you need to come across as real world and practical, not ivory tower and theoretical. So use your research skills to find out everything you can about the company and the problems it faces. And knowledge of street level problems is more crucial than high-level, big picture (more theoretical) problems.

Your appearance should, of course, be appropriate for the specific business, not the classroom. And if you can use some of the jargon of their industry that’s a plus, as long as you’re using it correctly. Using it incorrectly can be the kiss of death for anyone running the risk of being labeled “over-educated.” It can come across as condescending. And even a whiff of condescension at any time during the hiring process can be fatal.

Again, you turn a strong academic backyard into the plus it should be by linking it to real world experience and, above all, demonstrating that you’re eager to learn from your new boss. Come across as eager to teach your new boss, and you’ll probably never get the chance to do either.

Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 2012

When a Motivational Speaker or Motivational Speakers Can’t Do the Job.

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Whose Job Is It Anyway? Whose Responsibility?

By Barry Maher

A while back, I was conducting a job interview at lunch with a woman who had initially appeared to be a promising candidate. Going on at great length about the shortcomings of her current employer, she’d only eaten about half of her spaghetti. Once the food was cold, she asked the waiter for a doggy bag, and he brought a Styrofoam takeout container and a good size paper bag. While we waited for the check and continued talking, she emptied the spaghetti into the container. Then she took a half-eaten piece of bread off her bread plate and put it in on top.

She pointed to the three good-sized pieces of bread remaining in the bread basket and asked, “Are you going to eat any of that?” When I said “No,” one more piece of bread went into the container. She closed the container, slide it into the paper bag, then tossed in the other two pieces of bread.

As the check came and I gave the waiter my credit card, she was fingering one of the sealed bags of tea in the selection of little packets that had come with the tea she’d ordered. She shrugged, then picked it up and put it into the bag.

“Oh, what the heck,” she said and dumped the whole basket of teas into the bag. She grabbed a few packets of sweetener and put them in. As the conversation continued, a few more went in, then a few more, until all the sweeteners were gone.

The waiter returned with the credit card slip. I signed it and as I usually do, left the tip in cash, and the woman and I got up to leave.

After a few steps, she said, “Oh, just a minute,” and went back to the table. Her back was to me so I couldn’t see what she was doing. But when she moved back toward me I have to say, I examined the table pretty closely. I really thought she might have picked up the tip. She hadn’t but, unbelievably, both the salt and pepper shakers were gone. The only condiment left on the table was a half-filled bottle of olive oil which probably only survived because it had an open spout rather than a cap.

Needless to say, I didn’t offer her the job. I had a phone number for her husband on her resume and I considered calling him and reporting her bizarre behavior but I didn’t do that either. I rationalized that maybe he’d find it normal. Maybe they had a house full of stale bread and salt and pepper shakers. Maybe they were starving, though she had a good paying, if obviously unsatisfying job and she certainly didn’t appear underfed. So I simply considered this an amusing story and let it go.

It wasn’t nearly as amusing six days later when I read in the local paper that she’d been picked up by the police completely disoriented, disheveled and dirty, wandering down the median strip of the freeway. It was a miracle she hadn’t been killed. What was less than miraculous was how many people like me must have ignored her problems in order for her to end up on that freeway.

She could have been my sister. She could have been my mother. She could have been dead.

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Intimidation, Part Two: Deliberate Intimidation

By Barry Maher

As we discussed last month, sometimes we allow ourselves to be intimidated by others, perhaps those who just happen to be more powerful or richer or better looking or more intelligent than we are.

Then there are the Marvin Winchells of the world, those who try to intimidate deliberately.

“Marvin has to let you know that he’s really too important to be dealing with the likes of you,” one of Marvin’s vendors complained. “He’s always late for meetings. He’ll keep you cooling your heals while he chats on the phone about his golf game. He’s got that huge office. Giant desk. His chair is a leather throne. The two cloth chairs for visitors are smaller and shorter. The topper is, he’s actually whittled down their
legs. And the front legs are shorter than the back. So you can’t get comfortable, and if try to balance anything in your lap, it slides down to the floor.”

“An old trick,” I offered. “I think psychiatrists used to use it.”

“Sure. I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never known anyone else who actually went to the trouble to do it. Then he has to act distracted and disinterested in anything you have to say. And shake his head while you’re talking as if he’s much too smart to believe a word of it. And of course, nothing you do is ever right. Or ever likely to be.”

“And at the slightest excuse,” I offered, “the screaming starts. And the demands.”

He chuckled, “You know Marvin.”

“I was in sales. Every sales rep knows a Marvin.”

He nodded. “Saying Marvin is high maintenance is like saying colon cancer is annoying. With all aggravation and all the hand-holding required, I was spending more in antacid than we were making on the account. Then one day I get a call.”

“From Marvin.”

“Don’t be silly. Marvin’s much too big a deal to call me directly. I get a call from Marvin’s secretary. She says, ‘Please hold for Mr. Winchell.‘” This is typical Marvin. Then he’d leave you hanging there for 20 minutes. Only I’d had enough. So I say, ‘The only thing I’ll hold for Mr. Winchell is his trophy wife. And I can’t do that right now cause I’m busy canceling his last orderhis very last order.'”

Why should anyone feel intimidated by someone like Marvin, someone with such massive insecurities that they feel they need to go to such lengths to gain an edge? This is a person you should be feeling sorry for. What could be more pathetic than the image of this guy down on his knees in his best, overpriced, dressed-for-success suit, shaving down those chair legs?

My advice? Never be intimidated by someone who thinks his best shot is winning through intimidation.

They’re usually just telling you that they’re in competition with the world and thatwithout the intimidationthey don’t believe they can win. And they’re usually right. They try to blow themselves up like a giant balloon, hoping for larger than life. And when it doesn’t work, when the balloon pops . . . Well, you’ll never see a greater change of scalea greater loss of staturein any human being.

Any good negotiator would love to run across a Marvin Winchell. An unethical one could take him for everything, including the defective office furniture.

Follow Barry on Twitter: @barrymaher

© Copyright 2013, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

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