A major focus of mine is attempting to notice if people walk away from interactions with me with more or less energy than before. I got the idea from this insightful article on management. The crux being that you can tell if you are a good leader based on the answer to, “after people talk to you, do they come away with more or less energy?”

Makes sense and seems easy. Turns out it’s really hard to do, at least for me. It seems to require transcending the conversation in order to both be present and engaged with the person you are talking to and being able to measure her response. These two are sort of competing. Being present means not necessary gauging reaction and energy but being part of it. But measuring energy levels requires (at least it seems to) stepping out of the minutiae of the conversation.

I don’t have a good answer for how to do this. And I’d give myself an “F” for paying attention so far. Not for not paying attention during the conversation, but for noticing if the person bounds away with more energy or not. Also, it seems that even when the conversation is meaningful and positive the change in energy isn’t always noticeable (for the few times I have been conscious to really pay attention).

It may be a society thing. We’re taught not to wear our emotions on our shoulder and this if we feel good or bad we mask it. It’s not that it’s completely hidden, but harder to see anyway. It’s intriguing to me how hard we fight to conceal what we feel or how we think in order to try to get what we want when it is exactly that behavior that limits what we get.

This all reminds me of a sales rep I worked with once told me that good sales people can be in the conversation while also watching the conversation happen which allows the sales person to see where it is going a few steps ahead. It seems like this level of awareness is what great leaders require and unfortunately where I still have work to do.

All of this can also be applied to PPC management. Paying attention to what users are doing on a site is as important as understanding if your site fulfilled their curiosity and was enjoyable. You may be hitting goals for a client but do they walk away from status calls, quarterly business reviews and strategy sessions feeling refreshed and excited or like they just went 10 rounds in the ring?

This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing. f you are interested in reading all posts in this series you can start with post 1 about what I am focusing on as president of a PPC agency