Defining Moments in Leadership

Defining Moments in Leadership

Last night, I came across an email that I sent to the west region sales organization in 2008 (for Microsoft, Fiscal Year 2009). The email reminded me of an important lesson about “moments of truth.” The lesson: Tough times do not make us who we are, they show us who we are. Every person and team has experiences where situations and circumstances are out of their control.  It is how we respond that makes the difference. Circumstance does not determine our response; our response determines our circumstance. Always focus on what you can control.

From: Josh Lowry
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 7:00 AM
To: West Region Extended Team
Subject: Ten Positives Resulting from the Current Economic Environment


While flying from Dallas to Seattle last Friday, I overheard two people discussing the negative impact the current economic conditions are having on their businesses. Both indicated that they were holding back deals and were writing off 2008. It was a significant contrast to the “refuse to lose” attitude and drive that we have in the west. We focus on what we can control (helping customers); they were focusing on what they cannot control (the economy). We focus on the long-term; they were focusing on the short-term. We have a winning attitude; they have a losing attitude.

While the economy is difficult in FY09, the positives outweigh the negatives. The following are ten positives:

  • Best Practices. We are making others great by sharing best practices with our direct and extended teams.
  • Business Value. We are positioning the business value of our software, not features and functionality.
  • Customers. We are focused on helping customers and not just making quota.
  • Innovation. We are being creative in structuring deals, not contractually inflexible.
  • Leadership.We are displaying leadership by “leaning in” to deliver our commitments to the business.
  • Market Share. We are increasing market share as the vendor of choice in difficult economic times.
  • Messaging. We are communicating cost reduction and invest to innovate messaging, not just licensing.
  • Relationships. We are developing deeper relationships with our customers (and partners).
  • Team. We have come together as a team and are helping each other be successful.
  • Trust. We are building trust with customers by helping them to become more effective and efficient.

Are there negatives too? Yes. The key is to focus on what you can control. Focus on what you can do, not what you cannot do. Focus on helping customers. Focus on competing to win with a “share fighter mentality” (if the market is getting smaller, the only way to grow is to take share from the competition). Because we are focused on doing things right, I continue to be very optimistic about our chances of success in the second half of the fiscal year. I have no doubt that when the economy does improve, we will emerge even stronger than before.

Thank YOU for all you do!


All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.


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