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Chris LoCurto


February 1, 2012

You Light Up My….Eyes?

February 1, 2012 | By | 18 Comments">18 Comments

Leaders always ask the question, “Am I doing my team right?” Well, good leaders ask that question. (Bad leaders don’t care.) And while this is a concern, Benjamin Zander has a fantastic measuring tool. In his Ted Talk, Benjamin Zander on music and passion, he says you can tell if you’re affecting your team by looking to see if their eyes are shining.

HAHAHA…ok, I have to stop and explain the pic…’cause Aaron West is gonna kill me! We were at an EntreLeadership One Day event in Kansas City. At lunch, one of the items was an incredible broccoli and cheddar soup. As Aaron started on his, he pulled out what looked like a head of broccoli. Apparently they grow broccoli big in KC. As you can see, there’s another clump still in the bowl the size of a Kia.

Back to shinning eyes. Aaron West is one of those guys who you absolutely cherish! He is always there for you, rain or shine, and I have no doubt that if I were ever in danger, he would race in guns a-blazin’! Or…throwing large heads of broccoli. It’s all about what’s available at the time.

I hired Aaron to be an event coordinator, specializing in audio-visual. I flew him, his beautiful wife, Becca, and their gorgeous baby, Ariana, from North Dakota out to our Total Money Makeover LIVE! event in Charleston. When I showed him our set-up, his eyes lit up! I knew then that this was the guy for the job. He had talent, passion and a love for what we do. Actually, I tell him it was Ariana that got him hired.

But just hiring Aaron was not enough. Once he was on my team, it was my job to keep his eyes shining. You see, too many leaders think leadership is all about the position. I watch this confusion all the time from people who think that all they need to do is get the title and then they’re an instant leader. Not true. Leadership is all about those who are following you. It’s kinda like Twitter. If you don’t have anyone following you, it doesn’t matter how many tweets you send out.

My job was to make sure that Aaron saw his job as being bigger than he is. That each day, what he did was going to change someone’s life. Or, better yet, 10,000 lives in one sitting. I also had to make sure he felt like part of the team. That his ideas mattered. And probably most importantly, that I believed in him. Which was not a difficult thing to do.

Do his eyes shine? I believe so. But more than that, because of Aaron West, my eyes shine! You see, leading is about making other people successful. When you do that, naturally, you are successful too. What are you doing today to make your team members’ eyes shine?

Question: What can you do to make your team’s eyes shine?

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  • Laura Johnson

    This post reminded me of my new job, that I’ve only had for two weeks!
    When I was hired, I was told the reason I stood out was because I had a passion for the work, it wasn’t just a job.
    Also, last week I went to a two day Excel class. Yeah I’m nerdy, but you have no idea how excited I was about that opportunity! I LOVE learning and being able to implement what I learn. My boss noticed that and turned around and bought me a training package that enables me to go to unlimited seminars for the entire year!! I don’t know, but I think my boss wouldn’t have to do much else the rest of the year and I’d love him :)

    • Chris LoCurto

      That’s pretty cool!!!

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    #1 – I had the pleasure of seeing Benjamin Zander in person on two occasions – his presentations are incredible!
    #2 – And you are blessed to have Aaron West on your team – “talent, passion and love for what you do…” – he has the secret recipe for success!
    #3 – I love “leading is about making other people successful”. So true – and I need to look into my team’s eyes – I pray they are shining!

    • Chris LoCurto

      Preach it!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this link again, Chris. I had forgotten Ben’s name but this time I downloaded and shared it with my husband. This is the best TED talk I have ever heard!

  • Chris Rouse

    I had the chance to meet Aaron in Atlanta after TMML. (I work for one of the companies that makes one of the programs you guys use and we’re based in town. I’m also the guy who won the FPU kit that I gave to my parents since I’ve already been through it.)

    He had nothing but positive things to say about you as a leader and as a friend to him and his family. It just further confirmed all the great things I’ve heard about you guys.

    Glad to see you calling out your team members in a positive and public way.

    • Chris LoCurto

      Chris, thanks for sharing that!! That means the world to me!!


  • Anonymous

    Acknowledge them as individuals and as a team unit. Just saying ‘Good morning, Mary!’ may be a big energy boost. People love to hear their name when said with a smile. Acknowledge both efforts and results. Learn about them. Be honest. Give them what they need to shine!

    • Chris LoCurto

      Spot on Lily! Each day team members check the temperature of their leaders. It tells them if it’s going to be a good day or not. By starting out with “good morning, Mary” you let them know you’re in a good mood and you’re happy with them.

      • Joel Fortner

        The comment on teams taking their leader’s temp is so true. So important to know that as a leader you are always being watched and measured.

        • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

          Joel – you are spot on – ALWAYS being watched and measured.

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    Agreed Chris! I found the book “Multipliers:How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by ‘Liz Wiseman’ is a great resource on this subject.

    The author puts it succinctly that there are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads, ideas flow, and problems get solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations.

  • Anonymous

    I am assuming you mean shining with happiness, not with tears. (or tears of joy?)

    • Chris LoCurto

      Hahaha…that is correct. :-)

  • Joel Fortner

    This picture rocks. Let’s have a caption contest! I’ll start.

    “This Dave Ramsey team member isn’t just changing his family tree, he’s eating the thing.”

    • Chris LoCurto

      BAH!!! Nice!!

  • Chrismapp72

    Great Reminder!! Sometimes it is easy for the shine to become a glaze.

    • Chris LoCurto

      Hahaha…yes it is!!