Leaders Open Doors By Bill Treasurer
When I got my first real job in the business world—because dipping ice cream at Dipper Dan’s and writing up sales slips at Lerner’s never felt “real”, I had a leader whom Bill Treasurer would call a “filler.
I was hired to be support for the Director of Marketing at a huge resort/residential property in Florida. In that capacity, I had to create a monthly newsletter for our property owners, evaluate ad copy, create owner events, market those events, and ultimately, serve as a go-between for the owners and the development managers.
I had never done any of this to that scale. But my manager, Geoff, saw potential. He’d make suggestions over copy I had written, push me to the front as a speaker, and help me brainstorm our property events that ultimately came to include the NBC/Family Circle Magazine cup tournament.
Early on, as we were officially getting ready to launch the resort, one of my tasks was to create and send out very fancy invitations with RSVP notes to some 800 property owners. (Think IBM Selectric typewriters). I had an assistant to do that but I was responsible—among other things– for making sure our lists were complete.
One week before THE event, two of our sales team reported that none of their owners had received anything. And they were mad! Geoff came to me. I frantically searched the lists in my folder. Sure enough, some sheets of paper were stuck together and those folks were missing.
I blurted out what I had found and waited to be fired. “Sit down, Eileen. I will be right back,” said Geoff. I heard him walk across the hall and down to the sales wing. His big voice rang out, “Guys, I found what happened. We made a mistake and we’ll make it right. Don’t worry.”
When he returned, I blurted out, “Geoff, it wasn’t WE made a mistake. It was ME!”
“Yes. And I know it won’t happen again.” He smiled. ‘’Now let’s figure out how to save this.”
From sending telegrams to sitting on the conference room floor for hours, he helped me send notices and stuff envelopes. And never mentioned it again.
In Leaders Open Doors, Bill defines a filler as someone who looks for opportunities to build up people’s confidence, to help develop opportunities, and to imbue folks with a sense of excitement and confidence. That’s the opposite of a spiller who injects people with fear and threats. The spiller drains away all confidence that seems to spill right on the floor.
Yes, I have also worked for a spiller– another vice president of marketing for a California-based firm. This woman ran the department thru intimidation, verbal outbursts, and public dressing- downs. She also told me the department would be seen as weak if if I ate lunch with “the little people” (secretaries).
How I wish Leaders Open Door had been written during these times in my career!!
Treasurer has provided a very concise, simple, and profound way to not only think about leadership, but more importantly—to act. Open is a verb and Treasurer writes in a logical, action-oriented manner
The concept of “open” is to extend a way for individuals to move toward one door and into their next opportunity for growth. But that doesn’t make it easy.
His second chapter strongly states that to open doors, a leader might have to make people uncomfortable in a way they can absorb what might be hampering their progress,
He builds upon the idea of discomfort, offering the third stage as a testing ground, a way for people to take small steps, celebrate small wins, and become ready for larger challenges.
Given my career history, I particularly like the honest way he approaches the door as a “second chance”. In my field of resiliency and leadership, I believe challenges are opportunities for growth. So does Treasurer. When coupled with forgiveness, loyalty is certain. When my first boss, Geoff, not only took the responsibility for my error but never brought it up again, my loyalty rose even higher.
In Leaders Open Doors, Treasurer is quite clear that it means creating opportunities for people who are different in age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
Lastly, Treasurer makes it a point that the more we reveal who we REALLY are to each other, the more likely we can create an environment in which ALL doors.
Do yourself a favor. Buy this book. Read it as a leader. Read it as a parent. Read it as a peer. Become a filler on all levels!
PS: All royalties from this book are donated to Children’s Charities and specifically to special-needs kids. Imagine: your purchase can open a door for them!