I have found that business managers are focused on day to day operational problems – no big surprise there. When I stop in I try to push them towards a vision for the future and to move their focus on to their passion. Their problems have a big pull and they quickly snap right back. It makes no difference how fancy the presentation is or how many proofs I have saying that strategic planning and leadership is the way to go.
If I want to sell the business manager on leadership principles I have to help address his or her concerns. Numbers and graphs do nothing if they do not address the day to day concerns of running the business. So step one is always – find out what the management team is worried about and then address those concerns. If the building is on fire they do not want to listen to a presentation on developing a vision statement.
Here is the bigger problem – what if there are so many concerns that you can never resolve them to a degree that would allow for that leadership presentation. Your only hope now is to convince the management team that fighting forest fires is a job for the fire fighters and their job is running a business. Now, before they soak you with the fire hose show them how some strategic planning could have avoided the whole mess to begin with.