Virtual Leadership Is Binary: Become Essential Or Become Extinct
Hi, this is Mike Lipkin and I’m privileged to talk with you. In this moment, I’m essential to you or you wouldn’t be watching. I may lose you in the next few seconds but right now, my content is absolutely necessary to your success. It’s extremely important. In fact, it’s unavoidable. Stay with me and you’ll find out why you must have it. I promise you I have good news for you.
There is nothing subtle about this message. And it’s not for the fainthearted. Either you’re indispensable or you’re invalidated. There is no in-between. The post-covid reality has eliminated ambivalence as an option. No matter who you are, you’re confronting an existential threat. You’re forming strong opinions about your future. You’re making life-changing decisions.
Unlike past crises, people are not confused about what they need to do. Their conviction is formed by the preconditions they brought into this reality. If they were afraid, they’ve become more afraid. If they were conservative, they’ve become more conservative. If they were courageous, they’ve become more courageous. If they were caring, they’ve become more caring. Feelings are deep and they’re running deeper. Covid is the great magnifier.
I’m not here to judge anyone or the actions they’re taking. I’m too busy shapeshifting ahead of the virus. This is a situation where health or sickness literally hang on every breath. Success or failure is happening at breakneck speed. Industries are being brought to their knees or being elevated to impossible heights. Companies are collapsing or catapulting forward. And individuals are thriving or struggling. There is no middle ground.
Some of the casualties will recover. Some of the trends will reverse themselves. The virus will slow. The vaccine will be discovered. We will venture out again. Planes will take to the sky. People will attend concerts and go to games. It’s already happening in some parts of the world. But for the time being, the age of innocence is over. The vast majority of us may never be able to stand close to a stranger with an unmasked face without worrying about what we’re inhaling.
According to the Washington Post (July 30 2020), the rise of some companies, and the fall of others, comes as the economy struggles to recover from the record 9.5 percent quarterly decline in economic activity over the spring. But rather than a temporary interruption of normal commerce, the global health scare and subsequent recession is altering spending, saving and investing patterns across the entire economy.
The obvious winners in the new realities are the digital players like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Netflix and Apple. Staple stocks like Clorox, Procter & Gamble, Walmart, Kraft Heinz, Costco and FedEx are also thriving. Believe it or not, one of the Covid winners is also Tractor Supply Co – a chain of 1881 stores that sell everything from fencing and plumbing supplies, to pet food and lawn tractors. It seems that anything to do with enhancing our home and personal living space is considered essential to our well being. That’s why Home Depot, Lowe’s and even Sherwin Williams Paints are hitting all time highs.
A luxury brand like Lulu Lemon is also thriving because it’s considered an essential accouterment to working out, even at home where no-one can even see you. I’m wearing one right now. I’ve also just invested in a Peloton for over $3000 because I need my daily dose of endorphins and I may never go back to the gym. According to the Globe and Mail, record numbers of dogs are also being adopted around the country. They’re the ultimate source of oxytocin on demand.
Think about your life. How have your habits changed? What are you investing your money in? How have you adjusted both your leisure and your work-style? Who have you selected as your running mates and who have you let go? If you look closely, you’ll see that you’re reaching for people and brands that you consider to be necessities. There is no difference between want and need. it’s all a matter of interpretation.
Here’s your mission, should you choose to prosper in a post-pandemic world: become indispensable to the people who can mobilize resources on your behalf. Like all of you, I’ve had to pivot to a virtual reality. I’ve hurled myself into the challenge. I’m reaching deep into my experience. I’m mastering the new technology. I’m now the ultimate prophet of Zoom, pun intended. I’m leveraging social media. I’m creating massive new content. I’m doing all the things that are non-negotiable in an unprecedented crisis.
But most importantly, I’m becoming indispensable to a few, fabulous folk who matter most. I’m the self-branded Covid Whisperer, guiding them on the decisions and actions that will help them get what they want. I peddle persuasion. I deal in insights and inspiration that only I can deliver because only I can communicate them in my voice. That’s my trade. Whatever your trade is, you need to become the only one that can deliver what that person needs at that moment. What would that take for you?
Beware of becoming your own best enemy. Don’t underestimate the impact you can make. In fact, all progress depends on it. Now more than ever, people buy people from people they believe in, but first, you need to believe in yourself.
Here are Mike Lipkin’s 5 Secrets To Becoming Essential To The People Who Matter Most:
- Be Your Own Champion. Back yourself against all odds. Become your fiercest supporter. Remember your biggest triumphs and know that they were fuelled by your biggest failures. Covid is your time to shine. Know what you stand for and what you won’t. Discover your courage. Speak up on your own behalf. Step into the gap. The fear never subsides but you learn to transform it into strength. Personal conviction is a magnet in a time of rampant uncertainty. Others vicariously experience your confidence and they want in. They don’t always have to believe you. But they have to believe that you believe. Self-doubt is an indulgence you cannot afford in front of people you’re trying to influence or lead. Lean into your mistakes. Learn from them like the treasures they are. Then let them go. The only game that matters is the next one. By the way, my champion is the seven-foot Mike Lipkin just behind me. He reminds me that I’m bigger than any bogeyman coming at me.
- Differentiate Yourself. Find your voice. Communicate your unique essence. This is not a time to be silent. Tell your story. Sell others on your virtues. Model what you’re selling. Get feedback. Keep finessing your narrative. Then bring the heat every time. It’s not arrogance or narcissism if your mission is to empower others. Help people articulate what they’ve just learnt. Ingrain the experience by making it more dramatic through words. Embed your value proposition in every statement. So I’m here to help you create the breakthrough you want most. Our wins are totally symbiotic. I won’t rest until I help you become the best.
- Go deep. Make your customers and your colleagues your confidantes. Uncover what they want at the deepest level. Understand what they care about most. Earn their trust by being authentic, consistent and empathetic – Be real. Be reliable. Be responsive. Look for what’s happening in their natural habitat. Get into a cadence of virtual contact. Make it easy and pleasurable for them to communicate with you. Strategically bring people together. Co-create solutions or pre-empt problems with them. Sustain your fascination with their challenges. Take one more step after you think you’ve done all you can. That’s the step that makes all the difference. First, you’ll amaze people. Then you’ll become indispensable.
- Serve with distinction. Deliver the outcome that is most important to the people that are most important to you. Say what you’ll do and then do what you say. Your value is directly correlated with the outcome they want to achieve. It could be psychological, emotional or behavioural. Design their goals together with them. Then co-own their goals with them. Show them that their goals are as important to you as they are to them. Be a conduit. When they see you, they must see their desired outcome about to happen.
- Be Prolific. Prolific means doing many things so you can produce abundant results. It means reaching out to many people, experimenting with many approaches, creating many ideas, accessing many sources. In a brave new world, there’s no sure fire way of winning anything. As Jeff Bezos says, it’s always day one. Weariness or overwhelm is not an option for those that chase essentiality. Increase your tolerance for failure because the ratio of setbacks to breakthroughs will be greater. More things can go wrong. Toughen up. Go in with another layer of armour. It’s ok to be disappointed. It’s not ok to be destroyed. All of us will struggle in some way. Struggle well. Someone, somewhere really, really needs you. Just find them.
This is Mike Lipkin and I hope I’ve given you an essential insight to becoming indispensable to the most important people in your life. Let’s talk about how I can help you coach your team members on becoming essential to their stakeholders. The time is always right to do what’s right for others.