OK! What a great group. I can see a lot of potential here.
Welcome to MTC™. Over the next few days, we hope you’re going to learn things. You’re going to learn things about yourself that even your mother doesn’t know. And, more important, you’re going to learn things about other people. You’re going to learn the 5 things that make them tick,(pause) and the 3 things that make you tick. We’re going to find the barriers that will block you from attaining your goals and, brick by brick, we’re going to dismantle them, put them in the truck, drive them to the landfill, tip the bed and slide the rubble into a pile, smooth it with a loader and cover it with topsoil. (heads in the audience are nodding in agreement). And you are going to change. You will become arrows, streaking directly to your targets! No more of this floating around like a balloon; (in a childish voice) “I don’t know…I should have done so and so…what if I screw up.” Let the other people be the balloons. We want to be the arrows. Right through them. Pop pop pop.
I can tell by looking at you people, and by the fact that you’re here, that you have a high level of talent and ability. But many of you are being held back… let’s see the hands… how many of you are being held back by things that are beyond your control? (most of the audience raises its hand). OK. Keep them up there. Now, I want you to do something. What I want you to do is keep that hand in the air. OK? Keep it up there. Don’t do it for me, don’t do it because I tell you to do it. Do it for yourself. Just keep it up there. We’ll come back to it in a minute.
Now. Let’s start with the workplace. The place where we all work. Or the place where we want to work. What is a workplace? A place where work is done? Well, yeah, but, what else? Do you think of your workplace as a prison? For some of you, maybe it’s a gold mine. (chuckles from the audience). But what else can it be? (long pause)
You know, when I was on the road a few years ago, I passed through a small town in Kansas, where they had only one gas station, one grocery store, one hardware store, and so on. As I stopped to ask directions, an old man approached me. “You wouldn’t be here to inspect the water tower, would you?” he asked me. “Well, no,” I said, “I’m here to teach a management seminar. At the I-60 Marriot.” His face clouded over. “Shucks,” he said, “Management Seminar… I can get better’n that out of the back end of a bull.” (the audience bursts into strained laughter; their arms are starting to hurt)
And that’s exactly what I want to happen to each of you, as we work through the issues that are preventing each of you from achieving the success that you deserve. Oops…get that hand back up there! I know you don’t want to let the group down. I know you don’t want to let yourself down. Do this for me: say “This hand is for me!” Say it. (audience says it) No, no, say it like you mean it! (audience says it louder) Okaaay! We’re cookin’ now. Actually, if your arm is starting to hurt, and you’re thinking you can’t hack it, and you say “golly Mr. T, this is hard! I didn’t expect it to be hard. I didn’t expect to have to work!” You people that feel this way can just put your hands down, if you want to. Go ahead. Nobody’s going to make you carry through on your commitment. It’s OK with me if you put your hand down. (very few hands go down) But the rest of you people, the people who have that something special, I know you’re going to keep those hands high, and I know nobody can tell you to take them down until you’re good and ready to take them down.
Now some of you may have already heard about the Character Triangle… people are talking about it around the coffee pot or the water cooler, or you may have read my book Keep the Lid on and Tie the Bag – Mr. Trashcan’s Management System. But how many of you know that, whether you know it or not, you have within you the three elements of the character triangle? (A giant power-point slide showing a triangular graphic, with the vertices labeled)
First element: MOTIVATION (whaps the screen with his eight foot pointer, struts across the stage, looks around the audience) We can’t do anything unless we have the MOTIVATION. That reminds me of the old joke about the priest and the worm. The worm says “please, father, if you don’t mind, you’re about to step on me.” And the priest says (fake Irish accent) “Sure an’ I never did hear the likes of a talkin’ worm.” And the worm replies, “When you’re looking up at the bottom of God’s shoe, he’ll probably say the same thing!” (long pause, sustained, uneasy laughter) So that worm had part of the picture… he had MOTIVATION!
The second element… read it out with me… ABILITY. Can’t do anything unless you have the ability. But don’t worry, because I can tell that you people, here tonight, have all the ability you need. Those other poor sods that didn’t get the word or that decided to stay home and watch TV, well, we can’t worry about them. Maybe we can use them as stepping stones or something.
And the third element, the keystone in the arch of character, the mayonnaise of the character sandwich, is SEMANTICS. If you have the motivation, and you have the ability, then the rest is just semantics. Let me give you an example. How many of you have ever shopped at one of those… oh never mind. I know a lot of you do, no need for a show of hands. At those stores where everything is one dollar? Well, I was in one of those stores the other day and I picked up a three-pack of fly swatters. When I went to check out, the girl said “that’ll be three dollars, please.” “What,” I said, “there must be something wrong. I thought everything was a dollar. “It’s a new policy,” she said. “Everything is still a dollar, it’s just that some packages contain more than one item, but each item is still one dollar.” Semantics! You see. They’re getting three times the money and all they used was good old semantics.
You can do it too. Don’t forget it.
Okaaay! I think we’ll take a short break, and then come right back for some case histories of companies that did the impossible, and I’ll show you how YOU can do the impossible, using skills and knowledge that you already have, but you just don’t know it. (the audience lowers their hands to applaud, then begins to file out, with an odd posture that favors the sore shoulder)
OK! What a great group. I can see a lot of potential here.