Motivation Or Millstone… You Choose!

In 1991, I applied to the University of Virginia Darden School of Business to get my MBA.

While visiting the campus, I met with professors and the Dean of Admissions. After a passionate why I should be accepted pitch, the Dean pulled his chair knee to knee with mine, locked eyes with me, and while pointing his finger directly at me said: “Art you do not have what it takes to be a student at this university.”

While those words hurt deeply and ended my MBA dream, I used them to fuel my vocational aspirations. The template letter above reiterated the ache, shame, and unworthiness I felt. The day I got it, I had it professionally mounted, and it has always hung in my office.

Through the years I have looked at it and realize that there are always going to be people smarter, faster and stronger than me. It keeps me humble. But it also fuels a fire in me that burns to this day. Whenever I feel like I do not have what it takes, I remember I have some that I need to prove wrong.

I have led employees all over the globe. Occasionally I interview an MBA grad, and I look at the letter on the wall and say thanks, Jon. While your words hurt then, they have motivated me for nearly 30 years.

When someone says “you can’t,” smile and calmly say, “get the hell out of my way and watch.”

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During the past twenty-five years, Art has worked in leadership positions with a number of global firms and their call/BPO centers worldwide. Currently president and CEO of KomBea Corporation, Art has served for more than a dozen years developing and marketing tools that blend human intelligence and automation to improve call center phone interactions.
Art has also served as executive vice president of business development and strategic initiatives for First-Source; CEO and founder of Echopass Corporation (the world’s premier contact center hosting environment, which was acquired by Genesys for about $110 million); CEO of Sento Corporation; and managing director and VP of European business development for Sykes Enterprises.
Art is a widely-published author of methodologies for BPO/contact centers, outsourcing, customer service, and technical support, and has served in leadership positions at Hewlett-Packard, VLSI Research, and RasterOps.

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