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Identify your employees by the Theory of 21


July 15, 2014
By Chuck Reaves

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July 15, 2014 – There are two types of people in your business: The “20s” are those
people who consistently declare that anything new cannot, should not or will
not be done, while the 21s are those people who seek to make things happen. Learn how
to recognize and re-educate 20s and how
to attract more 21s.

July 15, 2014 – There are two types of people in your business: The “20s” are those
people who consistently declare that anything new cannot, should not or will
not be done, while the 21s are those people who seek to make things happen. Learn how
to recognize and re-educate 20s and how
to attract more 21s.

“For every person who will say yes,
there are twenty who will say no. For a positive response you must find the
twenty-first person.” – The Theory of 21

The CEO of an electronics company had an idea. He was a solid business
person but was not as well versed in electronics as some of his engineers. He
came up with an idea and did not know if it was feasible. He asked two
engineers to explore how it could be done so he could test the feasibility of
the idea becoming a new product line.

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One engineer made an appointment and delivered a formal presentation
to the CEO explaining why the idea would not work. He had colour charts and
graphs and even some data that suggested no one would want the product even if
it were to make it to market.

When he finished, the CEO told him that the other engineer was in the
process of implementing the idea. Instead of developing a knock-your-socks-off presentation
explaining why the idea was a bad one, the other engineer had waded through the
obstacles to find a way to make it happen.

The idea, by the way, was caller ID – that now-ubiquitous service on
most phones.

There are two types of people in the world: the “20s” and the “21s”.
The 20s are those people who consistently declare that anything new cannot,
should not or will not be done. The 21s are those people who look for ways of
making things happen – even those things considered to be impossible by others.

There are two types of 20s: Negative 20s and Positive 20s.

Negative 20s are easy to spot and you already know who most of them
are in your organization and in your life. You know that if you bring a new
idea to them they will shoot it down. Immediately and out of habit, they will
let you know in no uncertain terms that it cannot be done, should not be done
or will not be done. If you press them, they will give you valid-sounding
reasons why their position is justified. They give away their position with
statements like:

·      
We
have never done it that way before.

·      
It
has never been done.

·      
We
are already doing that.

·      
Nobody
will like it.

·      
The
boss will never approve it.

By now you have learned who these people are and what a waste of time
it can be to engage them. In fact, when you want to get something done quickly
and done well, you tend to give it to someone who is already busy – a 21.

Described above are the Negative 20s, the people who come right out
and tell you it cannot be done. More difficult to recognize are the Positive 20s
because they can sound like a 21s.

These slippery critters can delay a project until it is no longer
viable. They can dilute an idea until it has little resemblance to the original
concept. They are dangerous.

The Positive 20 may say something like, “That’s a great idea and
something we need to do someday,” or “We could do that if …..” “It will be
easier for us to do that when…”

The 21s are the people you know who somehow always seem to find a way
to make things happen. Rather than offer excuses, they may offer alternatives. Instead
of saying they do not have time to do whatever you are asking them to do, they
will ask, “What is your time frame?”

To differentiate between the Positive 20s and the 21s, listen for delays,
“buts” and “ifs.”

How do 20s find their way into otherwise successful organizations?
First of all, there are more of them than are 21s. In fact, there are not
enough 21s in the world so, eventually, despite your best efforts, you will
find a 20, probably a Positive 20, somewhere in the organization. If they are
in a position to influence a hiring decision, they will attract other 20s.
After all, 20s don’t like having 21s around. 

So, what do you do with the 20s in your organization?

Teach – The single, most important function of leadership is to teach.
You have achieved your level of success because someone took the time to teach
you. As you teach, you will ascertain whether you have a student or not.

Exemplify – Praise the 21s in public. When your employees know that
you appreciate, admire and respect the efforts of the 21s, more of them will
aspire to be 21s.

Remind – There are no extraordinary people. There are only ordinary
people who are doing things that other people consider to be extraordinary.
Everyone on your team was brought on board because they have a skill set, an ability
or something else that could make them extraordinary.

Henry Ford offers was an exemplar of the 21. As one illuminating story
goes, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were friends and mentors. Ford was in
Edison’s facility when one of his engineers reported that one of Edison’s ideas
could not be done. Edison listened patiently and then said, “Build it anyway.”

Later, one of Ford’s engineers would come into his office and explain
why a “shiftless” (automatic) transmission was impossible to manufacture. How
did Ford respond? “Build it anyway.”

Two lines from the movie, “Apollo 13” are applicable for every
business.

“Houston, we have a problem.” Sooner or later every organization faces
a seemingly insurmountable problem. How do you address it?

“Failure is not an option.” For 21s, this is a lifestyle.

Chuck Reaves, CSP, CPAE, CSO, helps companies raise their prices and
volumes simultaneously through innovative processes, tools and training. With
his innovative presentations on sales and motivation he has inspired hundreds
of people to pursue and achieve their impossible dreams. Along with pioneering
many advanced sales tools and processes, Reaves’ achievements include Vistage’s
“Impact Speaker of the Year” honours and being named the top salesperson for
AT&T. For more information, visit www.chuckreaves.com .