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Leader: Coffee is for . . . the afternoon

Coffee is for Closers

Fellow leader – you may remember the 25-year-old classic sales movie, “Glengarry Glenn Ross” (if not, google “Alec Baldwin selling” for a sample – but be prepared for your ears to burn!)  If you saw the movie, you may remember that Alec Baldwin played an archetypical hard-driving sales manager, pushing his under-performing sales team to close more sales.

Glengary Glen Ross

During his monologue early in the movie, one of his salespeople gets up to go refill a cup of coffee.  At that point Alec Baldwin stops and yells to sit back down – “Coffee is for Closers” is the phrase he uses, belittling the salesperson who dared to stand up during his monologue.  Alec’s line has gone on to infamy, and today not only can you watch the Youtube video of this monologue, you can buy t-shirts, mugs, paperweights and a host of other items that all have printed across them: “Coffee is for Closers!”

I’ve led sales teams, and I cringe to think of the various ways we’ve all used to motivate our troops.  While I don’t think I ever stooped to the levels demonstrated in Alec’s monologue, I’ve been guilty more than once of trite and obnoxious motivational tactics.  Hopefully I’ve learned better.

Here’s something I know I’ve learned better: the impact of a leader has less to do with the amount of time he or she spends leading, and more to do with the quality and focus of his or her leadership time.

Leader: Coffee is for . . . the afternoon

Which brings me back to coffee.  Most of us are morning people.  I know any number of significant leaders who are 100% present and on their “A” game by 7am.  Already up for a couple of hours, they’ve worked out, spent time on their own spiritual disciplines, reviewed their day and prepared to make an impact.

By 1:30 or 2:00 pm, they’ve been hard at it for perhaps seven hours or more. If you are like them, your energy is starting to wane.  Your brain has done it’s best work.  You know not to make any major decisions or head into any hard conversations.  You may also share a “life hack” with other leaders I think highly of: you have a cup of coffee.

A single cup of coffee may be all you need, shortly after lunch, to drive your productivity through the rest of the workday.