My Day as President of the United States

By Mike Johnson

The corporate world exposes you to some crazy experiences.

Our division of 250 7-Eleven Stores was holding a massive sales meeting in Tampa. It was a bigger deal because the CEO of the entire company would be there. The theme was “political convention.” Each of the four markets would be introduced and get to perform a convention-like demonstration as they marched in.

We’d had the most profitable year of any other market so decided to make a big splash.

We rented four motorcycle cops and a limo. We dressed some of our people as secret service agents. We stuffed a PVC pipe with fake money and connected it to a pressurized air tank hidden inside the car. Being the leader of our market, I got to be “President of the United States.”

As is so often the case with groups, the other markets reached no deeper into creativity than marching in waving signs.

We’d arranged to enter last.

When the sirens went off, the other markets’ jaws dropped. Then the motorcycle cops entered. Followed by the presidential limo (sporting our 1554 market number), surrounded by secret service agents. Me waving to the crowd of 800.

The car stopped on our mark. The cops exited. The presidential theme song played. I delivered a short speech recapping our biggest achievements. The last line ended with our year’s profit number. The hidden guy in the limo opened the pressurized tank. Money shot into the air as the climax of our demonstration.

It brought down the house. The division manager and 7-Eleven CEO were out-of-control laughing. The other market leaders could only shake their heads and mutter. They’d been upstaged. Again.

It takes 100% of your effort to meet expectations. It only takes another 10% to wildly exceed them. For me, that extra 10% was the most delightful part of my job. So every division meeting, every presentation, every contest got that 10% of extra creativity from me and my market.

This created a cascade of uncommon rewards for us all, not the least of which was the warm glow of achievement knowing our group was the best in the division.



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