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Don't Rain on Other People's Parades


by Glenn Shepard
June 16, 2015
Category:  Careers & Success


Pierre, SD June 17
Wichita Falls, TX June 24
Dallas, TX June 25

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Dear Glenn,

     I occasionally get complaints from customers regarding one of my salesman. Phone calls and bids are not returned promptly. Since the majority of the inbound sales calls and emails go directly to him, how can I assess how much business we may be losing by this salesman?

- Ruth in Omaha, NE

Dear Ruth,

    Common problem, simple solution. Get CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that tracks emails, phone calls, and progress from the beginning of the sales cycle to the end, including follow-up. is the top player in the industry. We recently changed to InfusionSoft. Both get pricey and may be more than you need, but there are plenty of low cost and no cost CRM apps and software options out there.
    Thanks for your question.

- Glenn in Nashville, TN

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Successful people know how to build healthy relationships.

One key to doing this is not to rain on other people’s parades. This principle applies in both personal and professional relationships.

Imagine that you received a perfect score on your performance evaluation and earned a $1200 raise. You want to celebrate by taking your spouse out to dinner.

You get home and proudly announce your good news. Your spouse responds, “I’ve got some news that’s not so good. The transmission is about to go out on my car.”

You’re furious that your parade was rained on but aren’t sure if you have the right to feel that way. There’s no way both of you can make it to work if the transmission goes out.

You commute 25 miles to work in one direction and your spouse commutes 25 miles in the other. You’ve both used all your paid time off for the year and one of you’ll have to take unpaid time off while the transmission is replaced.

That’s assuming you can even come up with the money. Your emergency fund is already depleted because your water heater went out last week. It seems as though Murphy’s Law has become a metaphor for your life.

These are dire circumstances and the situation must be dealt with soon. It didn’t, however, have to be dealt with at the exact moment you were announcing your raise. The transmission problem would have been no worse if your spouse had held back the bad news just long enough to allow you to have your 15 minutes in the spotlight.

You then explain how you planned on going out to celebrate your accomplishment at your favorite restaurant. Your spouse says “Alright, let’s go”, but you no longer have the desire to do anything.

Your moment of glory has passed.

Your parade was been rained on and you feel cheated.

You’re off the next day and take the car to the shop. It turns out the transmission fluid was low and it cost less than $20 to solve the problem. You’ll immediately go through a litany of emotions.

First, you’ll first feel relieved because a burden has been lifted off your shoulders. Then you’ll feel elated as if you just won a prize. Then you’ll realize you lost your moment in the spotlight over $20, and you’ll feel resentment that may turn in to anger.

You worked hard all year to earn that $1200 raise only to have your accomplishment upstaged by a $20 repair. To make matters worse, the feeling of being robbed will linger long after the pleasant memory of the dinner would have faded.

Now let’s look at how different the outcome would have been if your spouse had held the bad news until a more appropriate time.

Imagine that you announced your good news and the two of you went to dinner to celebrate. You’ll eventually get tired of talking about your raise and ask how your spouse’s day was. He or she tells you it wasn’t so good but doesn’t want to rain on your parade. You insist on hearing the news and suddenly the transmission problem isn’t so bad.

In fact, it’s now good timing because it no longer diminishes the significance of your raise. Instead, it now increases it because you saved the family from a potential financial crisis.

You’ll both benefit from your spouse’s better timing because:

1. You got to have your moment in the spotlight.

2. Your raise just became a bigger event.

3. You demonstrated your unselfishness by using your raise to repair your spouse’s car.

4. Your spouse demonstrated his or her unselfishness by thinking of you before blurting out bad news.

A little self control can go a long way in any relationship, especially marriage.

To Your Success,

P.S. This passage was excerpted from "How to Be the Employee Your Company Can't Live Without: 18 Ways to become Indispensable" (John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY), Glenn's sixth book and first #1 Best Seller in the U.S. It has since been published in Korean, Spanish, Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, and has become a national standard for employee training on DVD. Click here to get the program.

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