Reagan Lancaster – Chapter 3 Excerpt – The Gorilla Dance

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I was aggressive. As a district manager and regional VP I ran half the Americas and worldwide jobs, letting nothing stand in my way. I wanted to achieve more, day in and day out and no one was going to stand in my way. As a young guy, I worked harder than anyone else. I got up early and I stayed late. I made work the cornerstone of my life. I was primarily able to lead my people by example. I had to show them my work ethic. I would fly around the world in 7 days working all day in all time zones. My only sleep was on planes. I would fly breakneck schedules. I had airline miles on every airline, some over 5 million miles flown.

Most people didn’t want my job because I worked so hard. No one traveled more than I did or worked harder than I did. This job was my whole life. It engulfed me.

I showed my people how to be aggressive. I could show my team step by step what to say by written process and practice internally.

They knew that I would speak with secretaries of potential customers I wanted to get on board to find out their executives next business trip details. I would book a seat in first class right next to the customer and have the ear of the executive for the flight. There were several instances where I got off the plane with a signed contract.   These stories were famous at the end of the quarter.

I had a lot of self-confidence and I was able to use that to set the example in conjunction with my humility.

I had to ask myself how I even got started, how I knew who to call, and that led me to create a training methodology and curriculum I could use with my staff. Hiring people to grow at this pace was critical. Hiring awesome badass people better than me was a must. A hiring manager was upset with me once when she asked me to explain what kind of person I wanted to hire. I did. Her response?

“The person you are looking for is like looking for a needle in a haystack.” I smiled and said ”yes, with a red dot on it”.

I loved hiring great people and none of my success would have been without great players helping me. I loved to interview top people around the industry and convince them they could make a whole lot of money working for me.

Once they bought in, I would give them a classic roleplay scenario of a situation whereby we were going after the same account and the interviewer was mono e mono with me. I would ask if they would beat me. The right answer was: “I would kick your tail”. I never hired a single person who said otherwise. In one year we hired 2,000 people. Try that out. Make your revenue number and find and hire and train all those people at the same time.

I put together a “King of the Desert Sun” themed event where I trained staff on how to survive in the desert. Finding food and water to survive was made analogous to how you find the right customers to use our products, and who in the company to call on who could use our products. It all related back to my personal experiences. If you have to make money, survive to feed your family, how will you make your numbers? For that lesson, I rode in on a camel and explained how to survive in the desert. I religiously explained every day how people could crush their goals. I had every person in the company on a leveraged comp plan (i.e. objective based). Even the mail clerks and the admins had leveraged comp plans. Every year, people would get a little scared about growing at 100 percent growth, so I did fearless things to prove to people that nothing is impossible.

I rode a motorcycle through a brick wall (on fire) for one lesson. Once, I even jumped from a large building to another one. I even hired a Walker Texas Ranger Stunt man and did a staged fight with dressed up actors looking like the CEO’s of our competitors. I actually walked over and held a rocket launcher and “blew up” the stage I was presenting at. The lessons here were namely that “there was no wall I wouldn’t try to break down” and “anything is possible”.  I even named some of the retreats “Mission Impossible”. I hired production companies to build skits and commercials with Mission Impossible stunts. I added humor and entertainment at night. I played the church lady in my Saturday Night Live events and hired the Doobie Brothers, Don Henley, and other famous acts to applaud the people and customers.

Oh, and the incentives. I gave away $200,000 sports cars, rolex watches, diamond rings,  weeks on yachts, trips to Hawaii, Bahamas, and other places. We once took 1,000 people to the Atlantis in the Bahamas. I also loved taking people to Las Vegas so people would have a great time and blow all their money so they would have to get back to work.

With my people… you work hard, you play hard.

You need a work ethic that people can aspire to.

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