An Elevator Speech for Bosses

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Bud leaned toward me. We were sitting in his kitchen at one of those porcelain-topped tables with chrome legs that you hardly see anymore. I had just asked him how he went about his work as one of the best supervisors in his company.

It wasn’t an idle question. Over the years, I’ve worked to identify those leaders who get star ratings from their bosses, their subordinates and their peers. Bud was one of them.

“Everybody who works for me knows I have three rules.” He put his hand up between us, with the back toward me. Then he ticked off his three points rocking his hand gently toward me with each point.

He stuck up his thumb. “Show up on time and ready to work.”

Index finger. “Pitch in to help us get the job done.”

Middle finger. “Ask for help you if need it.”

It was my turn, “That’s it?”

“That’s all I need.”

Bud’s three rules didn’t hang on a wall anyplace, like his company’s statement of visions and values. But his people knew his rules.

And they really weren’t all there was. Bud did the things that the great supervisors do and that we talk about in the Working Supervisor’s Support Kit. He showed up a lot. He talked to people a lot. He made lots of small corrections.

Marketing consultants talk about their “elevator speech,” a brief statement of their key marketing points. Bud’s three rules were his elevator speech.

Almost all the great supervisors I studied had something similar. Many had a list of points, like Bud. Three was the most popular number, but one supervisor had five.

Others had a sentence or two. All those statements packed a lot of expectation in a short, understandable package.

Boss’s Bottom Line

Boil your expectations down to a short, supervisory elevator speech. Then use it to tell some people and remind others what you think is most important.

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