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If your company is anything like mine, the last few years have been a challenge. Since so many of our company’s products and services have been developed for residential real estate, as your company goes, so goes ours. That allows us to be in a unique position of watching our clients as insiders, while being on the outside.

The view hasn’t been pretty. I have lived through every up and down market since 1977, and I have never seen the fear and hopelessness that is present today. The inability of our government agencies to “just quit tinkering” and let things stabilize has been remarkable to me.

At the same time, our clients seem to be tinkering, too. Many of them are either fear frozen, afraid to do anything because it could be wrong; or demon dabbling, jumping from one new “can’t miss” product to the next in the hope that they will catch the thing that is going to “save them.”

If there is a boss right now, chances are that he or she is either bringing in more products and services or improving the company’s “accountability” procedures.

May I suggest another path: The Path of the “New” CEO…Chief Encouragement Officer.

The entire idea behind the Chief Encouragement Officer today is that most of our people need our experience, strength and guidance, but they somehow have forgotten that we, as managers, exist to help them. They perceive us as a “critical parent” watching over them in the hope that we’ll catch a mistake before they make it. In many cases, we’ve become so busy with the financial and cash challenges of operating in this environment that we have neglected spending time with our most important assets…our people.

Our salespeople need our positive feedback more than ever before. In fact, unless we begin each conversation with some type of congratulations or humor, we stand virtually no chance of impacting their behavior today. That’s why the physical change in title is so important.

When we change our title, we change the “external message” we send to those who work for and with us; the message that we need to send during this challenging time is one of protecting, encouraging and believing in our people to perform above what they believe is possible.

The statement that says, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care” is truer today than ever before. Let’s make sure that we are operating from the position of daily encouragement…starting with our title.

To Put My Money Where My Mouth Is:
If you agree with me that a change in title for your job is warranted, please send me your old business card requesting the new “Chief Encouragement Officer” title, and I will provide you with 1,000 new cards at no charge. (Send your business cards to 11843 West 83rd Terrace, Lenexa, TX 66214.) In addition, I can email you my Top 12 high impact behaviors (H.I.B.) for the “New” CEO. If interested, please email me at: John.Wendorff@PersonalMarketingCo.Com.

John Wendorff is the CEO of The Personal Marketing Company. For more information, visit