SEAT Global Magazine - Sports Industry Case Studies Issue 06 August/Sept 2017 - Page 22

Leadership Brief

Shared by Larry Bonfante

(SEAT Member & Strategic Partner)

What's In It For Me?

Every human being wakes up each morning thinking that they are the center of their own personal solar systems. Maybe you think that sounds cynical! Well let’s play through a scenario. You are driving to work listening to the radio and suddenly you hear about an accident on the route you are taking to get to your destination (living in the New York area this is a daily occurrence!) Is your first thought “Oh my God I hope those poor people are alright?” More likely your first reaction was “Dear God now I’m going to be thirty minutes late for my first meeting!” You see we all see life through our own unique set of lenses in which we are the star of our own show.

Last time we talked about building positive relationships. In order to accomplish this we need to turn human nature 180 degrees on its head. Instead of thinking about what’s in it for me, great relationship managers focus their thoughts and efforts thinking about what’s in it for them. It’s rare that we come across people who don’t have their own personal agendas. Truth be told, we all do. However great leaders and great relationship managers are willing and able to subjugate their own personal agendas for the good of the team. Some people refer to this as servant leadership.

great leaders and great relationship managers are willing and able to subjugate their own personal agendas for the good of the team."


I remember telling my teams early in my tenure that they didn’t work for me but rather that I worked for them. Of course I got the expected smirks and eye rolls when I uttered these words. But over time many of them came to realize that I meant it. My goal was there success. My focus was on supporting their efforts. When we collaborate with our business partners are we thinking about our objectives or theirs? How many of us have had sales call with sales executives who were clearly focused on selling their product or making their quota? How did that feel? Now how does it feel on the rare occasion when you encounter a sales executive whose focus seems to be helping you solve a business problem? How different does that feel? You see true servant leaders focus on the needs of their clients, their people, their management and their shareholders. They look at life through the prism of helping others succeed. They realize that all ships rise with the tide. They also realize that it’s very rare for a player on a last place team to win the MVP award in their sport. These awards are usually given to the players whose teams have won championships. Perhaps the greatest athlete of all time (certainly of my lifetime) is Michael Jordan. One of the most important things people say about him was that he made everyone around him better. Are we focused on making others better and helping them success? Or are we focused on hitting our bonus metrics? Remember the question we should ask in all engagements is "what’s in it for them…?"

Memory Lane