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Perception: Beware of Blowing Your Own Horn

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you to differentiate and leverage the abilities in your staff.

         Browsing in a music  store, the young trumpet player couldn’t wait to wrap his fingers around the shiny brass trumpet he saw in the window case. “Could I see that trumpet, ” said the boy to the music store owner.

This Cornet looks like a Trumpet

           “Well, sure, but that’s not a trumpet,” the store owner said.
“Looks like trumpet  but very, very different.”

Trumpet plays a more penetrating sound

           The music store owner lifted the shiny brass instrument out from the window case and handed it to the boy.
          “This is a cornet,” said the music store owner.   “Looks like a trumpet but inside it’s built very differently and it sounds much different from a trumpet.”
         The store music owner explained that inside the tubing of a cornet is conical and the inside tubing of a trumpet is cylindrical.

     The young musician looked more confused than ever before. Then the music store owner clarified: “Think of the inside of your trumpet as if were shaped like a small pipe. Well, the inside of this cornet is shaped like an ice cream cone.”

         The difference inside makes all the difference to  the outside world in how it sounds if not the way it looks. The tone of the cornet is much more mellow. The trumpet is more penetrating. And the music that much more enjoyable, much more satisfying, much more revitalizing.

     Leveraging that difference is the key to success for an orchestra conductor in particular and for a leader in general.  You may have two employees on your staff who on the surface look the same.  Similar work histories, education, experience and  performance levels  in your organization.  Yet inside they may be designed very different. The most effective leaders I’ve known mine that difference and turn their organizations into a more orchestrated performance that brings out the music in all their people. They differentiate the familiar and distinguish the similar. They add value without adding resources.

       What do you do to add value without adding resources? How do you make sure that what you see is NOT what you always get.  How do you differentiate your  people so each of them as individuals is playing just the right instrument at just the right time to add value to your organization.   I look forward to your comments. Please use the Comments section below.

            Today’s ImproveMINT
Differentiate the familiar to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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