Leadership, Government and Technology: Excerpted Interviews From Our Annual Top Distributors Piece
PM: In 2011 and 2012, government from the national level down has been vocally condemning its own promotional products as "unnecessary government waste." What do you think about this? Generic government scapegoating and placation, or something more threatening?
JM: I couldn't agree more. It is unnecessary and wasteful for government to be promoting itself ... we are in the business of promoting "brand identity." The only brand identity I care to see from the federal government flies in the front of every school, post office and stadium in America. It's the flag of the United States of America. We don't need "brand identity" for the department of Homeland Security. Our industry should be focused on how to help businesses—small and large—grow and succeed. At CMG we do not rely on the government for our sales success.
PM: What's one of the biggest leadership lessons you ever learned, and how did you learn it?
JM: One of the most important leadership lessons I have learned early on was "Where there is smoke, there is soon to be a raging fire," and a leader's job is to go get the biggest, wettest blanket they can to put out the fire. Leaders need to recognize that one of their most important roles is to understand that anytime a process involves a human being (and everything in our industry does), mistakes are inevitable. When they do happen, we need to address them quickly, openly and honestly. I tell our sales staff the last thing a client ever wants to hear after a mistake is "I'm sorry!" Our customers don't care if we're sorry ... they want to know "What happened. Why did it happen? What have you done to fix it this time? What are you doing to ensure it won't happen again?"