7 Simple steps to take your team from "having to" to "wanting to" work with you.

Being the head of an organization or a team can turn out to be a very lonely position and the higher the title the bigger the isolation at times.

Nevertheless, whenever I think about this, I convince myself even more, that this situation is provoked by the holder of the title himself and that, for this very reason, one can completely transform the situation, as long as we are authentically willing to do some adjustments on the way we conduct ourselves every day, so we can stop being managers to become leaders:
  1. Understand that we do not work to be on our boss's good grace and that in the same way, our team does not work to please us. We all work for the same organization and, before seeking to do what will be popular with our boss and colleagues, we must seek to do what we know is right for the company we work for, for the industry we are in and for the society we live in.
  2. Stop imposing our point of view on others by force of our title's formal authority, and start respecting and valuing the perspectives of all the people we work with; and stop undermining those who don't share our vision, in any case, we should ask ourselves if we are doing a good enough job sharing our vision or even if it is the right one.
  3. Loose our arrogance and our poses and start treating every body with respect and humbleness. Being the head of a team does not makes you better than the rest. It also doesn't mean that you know more than the rest or that they are below you. On the contrary, a true leader knows it is him who needs to surround himself with talented and experienced people who, together can help the organization achieve the goals it has set.
  4. Stop controlling the flow of information according to your own interests and start respecting and honoring the organization's vision and commitments to each of it's members, even if you weren't there when these were made.
  5. Quit imposing your way of doing things, break down your paradigms and make room for the proposals from your team. Learning to recognize the strengths of each member and understand how you can best leverage them in favor of the team and the organization is a skill every leader must develop.
  6. Stop invading people's personal space and time with messages, calls and meetings during weekends, vacations, sick leaves or personal days. Very few things scream "I don't care what you are doing" like an email on a Sunday night asking for something or scheduling a meeting at 8 am on Monday.
  7. Stop managing your staff from the bubble in your office and start getting truly involved with your team. You don't need to do their job for them, but you need to know what you can do to help them do it better.

Put these simple adjustments into practice and you will see how people stop working with you because your are the boss they have, to start collaborating with you because you are the leader the chose to follow and support.


The good, the not so good about the 2009 Mexico Effie Awards and what I expect for 2010.

Last week I had the chance to go to the 2009 Mexico Effie Awards celebrated by the Mexican Association of Advertising Agencies, which for the last 10 years has rewarded the best , but specially most effective advertising campaigns in our country.

This year the jury was presided by Carlos Fernández, President and General Manager of Grupo Modelo, and was formed by 150 marketing, advertising and communication professionals who, based on their ample experience selected the winners of the awards.

And this is precisely the first item on what I thing was really good in the event:
  • First of all such great attendance. It was great to see all the main players in the advertising industry in Mexico, creative directors, brand managers, client service VPs and CMOs, etc. all gathered around in one place at the same time to learn what the best campaigns were in the last year.
  • Of course the opportunity to meet with so many old and new friends, and to know that they were all there because their campaigns had been nominated.

  • The announcement of the upcoming publication of a commemorative book containing all the gold winners campaigns in the last 10 years.

  • See how the production of the event gets better every year.

What was not so good (and with this I don’t mean to say that it was wrong either) were just two things:

  • The competition spirit seemed to have over thrown the spirit of collaboration and integration of just one industry. To be perfectly honest, it was kind of weird to see how all the audience formed themselves into small groups by agency, and it was plain sad to see how they only applauded to the nomination or award to a campaign of their own, but never to some else's. Weren’t we all supposed to be there to celebrate the best of the industry even if the best did not necessarily come from us?

  • Out of 31 awards, only two campaigns showed a clear strong component of interactive marketing, and only one of these won a silver Effie. Which sadly speaks to the still existing lack of adoption within the industry of this discipline, not as an emergent one or a as trend, but as a clear, unstoppable evolution on the way we generate communication.

What I expect from next year?

  • Quite frankly, I would hate to see a special award for digital campaigns. This would be a huge mistake we’ve already done in the past. I'd much rather love to see a testimony of the real integration of marketing communication campaigns, not only with the use of traditional on-line display ads or search or social media; but with the integration of off-line metrics tied to web analytics tools.
  • And definitely a more integrated industry with less interest in winning and a lot more interest in contributing.
What do you expecto for next year?


Dare to be.

But what if it doesn’t work? And if I run out of money? What will others think of me? Am I too old / too young for this? What if this is not the right place or I am not well prepared?

All these questions plus some fears, critics, past experiences and stories from other people came to my mind as an old friend sat in front of me sharing his frustrations and worries about where is career is taking him.

And while I tried to think of ways to help him, I could not help but think about the way we always focus our attention on the reason why we should not take that important step for our lives.
It doesn’t matter if it’s over our professional life, the beginning of a new relationship, a change of residence or a health project; we typically center our focus on why we should not make that move, and no surprisingly, we never get to where we want to get.

Even during times when we have everything ready and all odds prove to be on our side, in the weirdest way we let that absurd question “What if I’m wrong?” convince us that it is not the right moment to seek our professional independence, form a family, take that long awaited trip or taken on that hobby.

Reasons not to try something are always present. Staying on our safe side of the ocean will always be uncomfortably comfortable and that old saying that goes “Don’t fix it if it’s not broken” will remain a great excuse not to dare to grow.

But what if we do make a mistake? What if circumstances are not ideal? Truth is they never will. The ideal time to change jobs, to open our own business, to move to a new city, etc. can only be provided by us.
The only people capable of creating the best circumstances possible to take that step, is us.

So hurry up and make a mistake

You are afraid of not being ready? Prepare yourself.

Be clear on what you want from life, keep a clear vision of where you want to get, draw your path and imagine every step of the way, think of each step you must take and the challenges you might have to prevent.

If it’s a career change what you seek, study and develop the set of abilities and knowledge you need; if it’s your professional independence you are talking about, generate and save enough financial resources to do so. If it’s a new sport get in good shape, or if it’s a about a trip, learn the basics of your destination.

Prepare yourself and be flexible, understand that there will always be challenges to overcome.
Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if I make a mistake? I`m sure you`ll see that the answer is not as bad as you think.

Prepare yourself, be flexible and dare!

Because the worst mistake we can ever make is not doing anything and not daring to be.

An important note.

The comments, opinions and recommendations posted in this personal blog are my personal thoughts, and doesn't necesarily reflect those of my employer.