National Leader of the Month for February 2007:
LeaderNetwork.org has provided two mediums for you to experience the leadership insights of David Dean: read them below and listen to excerpts from a leadership conversation between Brian McCormick and David Dean. In order to begin playing the audio from this website in a Flash-based internet player, click here . To download LeaderNetwork.org's leadership podcasts (including the conversation with David Dean), copy and paste the following RSS link into your preferred podcast software: http://www.leadernetwork.org/leadership_podcast.rss.
David Dean's Story
Whole-hearted commitment. A can-do attitude. Persistence. Endurance. These are the four characteristics that David Dean has used to become a proven leader. David believes if you are 100% committed to a job, career, or a cause that over time you can become highly successful. He also believes that a 95% commitment or even a 99% commitment is really no commitment at all. David says, "Anything short of being 100% committed is setting yourself up for failure. At times when the discouragements and disappointments are great and the present challenges seem insurmountable, those individuals that are not totally committed to succeeding and to winning will quit and 'throw in the towel.' It’s being 100% committed, where quitting is not an option, that allows an individual to work through the hard times, persist, and endure until the level of success strived for becomes a reality." David has succeeded by applying and teaching these winning character traits.
David is a 40-year veteran of sales and sales management. During his summers at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, he sold books door to door on straight commission, 80 hours per week, for the Southwestern Company of Nashville, Tennessee (the oldest direct-sales company in America). His last summer selling--the summer after his graduation from college--David finished as the number one salesperson in the company out of the more than 3,000 students and was hired as a District Sales Manager for Southwestern Company. Over the next 10 years, David worked his way to the position of Vice-President of Sales for Southwestern, with responsibility for 12 sales managers and 1300 salespeople. As a salesman, David has made over 17,000 sales calls and has been in more than 10,000-plus closing situations. As a leader of salespeople, David has personally held over 3,000 interviews for direct-sales candidates and participated in the training of over 50,000 salespeople. In addition, David has spent more than 25,000 hours one-on-one coaching and directing salespeople, utilizing the 7 principles shared in his book, Now Is Your Time to Win, helping individuals to analyze their performance, maximize their production, and strive for excellence.
David has followed the same principles to build a successful direct-sales marketing company in the insurance industry.
David believes that there are two kinds of people in the world: one looks for a way and the other looks for an excuse. He says that it doesn’t take any guts or gumption to find excuses--anyone can do that--but that it takes a quality person with a “can-do” attitude to find a way to go over, around or right straight through any obstacle that might stand in your way. When it comes to persistence, David continues to be inspired by successful persons he has had the privilege of interviewing over the years. One story that stands out is that of Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, who was turned down by 215 potential investors while he was trying to get his coffee company off the ground. Schultz persisted. He ultimately got it done, and the success of Starbucks has gone on to become one of the great American business success stories.
Regarding endurance, David talked about the late Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys whom he had the opportunity to visit. Coach Landry shared with David that his first 5 years as head coach resulted in losing seasons. Coach Landry persevered and continued to believe that given enough time, he could build a highly successful team. Coach Landry went on to become a Hall of Fame NFL football coach, with the third highest number of total wins by an NFL coach.
In what he calls an avocation, David has hosted two successful radio talk shows during his life: “The Winner’s Circle” and “Profiles and Perspectives on Success.” These shows have afforded him the opportunity of interviewing some of the most successful people in the country. Excerpts from many of his interviews are included in his bestseller, Now Is Your Time to Win. The book has 138,000 copies in print and is used widely by numerous sales organizations. Through the process of meeting so many who have excelled, David has identified a few characteristics that he believes all successful people have in common.
In the feature below, David elaborates on those themes, and shares some of what he has learned over the years about what he believes it takes to be an effective leader.
For his years of success as a leader and builder of people and the wisdom and positive example he offers to fellow leaders, David Dean has been selected as the Leader of the Month for February 2007.
About David Dean
President of David Dean & Associates, Inc., Accomplished Sales Leader, Motivational Speaker & Author of Now Is Your Time to Win
Family: Dr. Barbara Dean, wife; Matt, Bart, and Jake, sons
Home: Las Cruces, New Mexico
THE CREDIT: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great
enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at
the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the
worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall
never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory or defeat.”
PERSISTENCE: “Nothing in the world can take the place of PERSISTENCE. TALENT will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. GENIUS will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. EDUCATION will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. PERSISTENCE and DETERMINATION alone are omnipotent. The slogan “PRESS ON” has solved, and always will solve the problems of the human race.” -Calvin Coolidge
ATTITUDE: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures or successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearances, giftedness, or skill. It can make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one strength we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.” -Charles Swindoll
Favorite book: The Bible: it is in a class all by itself because of the truth of the teachings of Jesus and the example he set in living them.
Most admired leaders: Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln
Favorite motivational book: The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino. It lists 10 principles (by way of scrolls) that are easy to understand, very practical, and if followed will help anyone achieve more of their God-given potential.
Current personal passion: to have a positive impact on all those with whom I am given the opportunity to be involved
Dream: to become all God intended me to be so that I might influence many for good
Place in the world you would most like to visit: Vienna, Austria
Experiences vital to your development as a leader: 1. Becoming a Christian. 2. Selling books door-to-door for the Southwestern Company during my college summers. 3. Hosting two talk shows where I had the opportunity of interviewing many of our country's outstanding business successes, coaches, and winners in general. 4. Authoring Now is Your Time to Win. 5. Serving as Vice-President of Sales for the Southwestern Company in Nashville, Tennessee. 6. Building a sales company in the insurance industry.
Ricardo DeSoto, senior vice president with UBS Financial Services, is in the top 1% of UBS in the country, handling over $600 million for individual clients. Ricardo shares the following about David Dean: “David Dean is a truly remarkable individual. He is one of the guys who trained me, and he knows sales inside out: from prospecting, to closing, to establishing rapport. I look up to David. He motivates me, and I enjoy reading his book. In fact, I re-read David’s book (Now Is Your Time to Win) every couple years because it is such a great book. I’ve been in sales my whole life, and I’ve been to many sales training courses. But over all these years, David Dean ranks at the very top of any sales trainer or any sales course.”
David Dean and Leadership
Advice to aspiring leaders:
Determine how you want to be remembered by the people you lead when you leave (or in many cases, when they leave) because you are building your legacy with every action and decision you make.
Believe in the adage that every organization is a direct reflection of the top. The characteristics you want to see exemplified in those that you lead need to be lived by you.
Determine your personal values...and keep them closely in mind in every decision you make.
Set achievable goals and review them regularly.
Be very results oriented. Don't confuse activity with results.
Keep in mind that few things are more motivational to people then seeing their leader committed to excellence.
Concentrate on building people, and people will build the business.
Seek out at least one leader you admire and respect who can be a mentor to you.
Continue to read biographies and autobiographies of leaders you admire and respect.
Be 100% committed to being the best you can be in every area of your life.
Always tell the truth. There is no such thing as a half-truth.
When you are wrong be willing to admit it.
Don’t be afraid to confront people when the need to do so is apparent. You never "run off" a good person telling them what they need to hear, especially when they believe you have their best interest at heart.
Take a genuine interest in the people you lead. There is a lot of truth to the statement, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Don’t be afraid to get close to your people, but don’t try to be buddy-buddy with those under your leadership.
Don’t be afraid to make the tough decisions when they need to be made. When needed, get as much input and advice as you can before making the decision.
Strive to recruit the caliber of people you would like to associate with even if they were not working with you.
Never forget group meetings don’t take the place of personal conferences with people under your leadership. Both are important.
Strive to work with your people as individuals, not as groups.
As my friend, Jim McEachern, former president of Tom James Company said, "Spend time with people--not paper."
Always remember, people never forget what they told when they are being brought into an organization.
Always take full responsibility for the decisions you make. For example, one of my mentors years ago told me, "I am going to try to sell you on doing something a certain way…if you take the advice and it works, it is totally to your credit. If you take the advice, and it doesn’t work, it is totally your fault because you didn’t have to take the advice." The point he always made was that ultimately you are totally responsible for your decisions and the results.
Lead by example. One of my favorite quotes is as follows: "You can't teach what you don't know, and you can't lead where you won't go." Persons who have impacted my career and life have been those who had successfully done what they were encouraging me to do.
Strive to keep things in perspective.
Remember, "If it wasn't this challenge, it would be another." Life is not without challenges; therefore, embrace the challenges, deal with them one at a time, and maintain a positive and winning attitude in the process. Your people are watching how you handle each challenge.
Remember to be thankful for what is going right and not dwell too much on what isn't. I have found it helpful to repeat often the words of the Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things that I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference."
Be Enthusiastic--Be Enthusiastic--Be Enthusiastic!
Strive for consistent improvement--not perfection.
Take what you do seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously.
Don't make excuses.
Strive to hit a balance. You can spend the time you have determined is necessary with your family and every relationship that is important to you, and still have time to be highly successful. If you find you can't, don't brag about how disorganized you are, others already know it.
At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, do you like the person in the mirror? If you do, you are successful, or well on your way to being so. If you don't, make the changes necessary so that you will.
Traits most important in a leader:
Being goal oriented
Being results oriented
Being committed to the people you are leading
Ability to keep commitments you make
Being focused and 100% committed to the work with which you are involved
The willingness to lead by example
The ability to attract strong people with good values
The ability to paint the big picture of where you see the organization going and how each individual fits into that picture
The ability to pace yourself and those under your leadership for steady performance over the long haul
The ability to think of the long-term impact of present decisions
The ability to maintain a positive, winning attitude at all times
Books recommended for aspiring leaders: The Bible; Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips from Warner Books; Wooden on Leadership by Steve Jamison from McGraw Hill; Servant Leadership by Darryl DelHousaye from SBC Press; Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be by Leroy Eims from Victor Books; Dedication and Leadership by Douglas Hyde from the University of Notre Dame Press; Life is Tremendous by Charlie Jones.
For More About David Dean
See David Dean as one of the featured experts in direct sales in the upcoming movie on success, Pass It On. Learn about it at www.passitontoday.com.
David's book, Now Is Your Time to Win, can be ordered at ExecutiveBooks.com.