You Can Lead A Horse To Water, But You Can’t…Push A Rope

Cannot Push A Rope

In this guest post by my great friend, Jeff West, he shares the wisdom of Granny West and some very powerful influence and leadership wisdom of his own. Not only was Jeff himself a very successful salesperson; for many years he led a top-producing sales team, bringing exceptional value to the lives of many. And, as you’ll see from the below, this cannot be accomplished by being “push-y”

Enjoy Jeff’s post! – Bob Burg



I believe that I could be a walking book of old sayings.

As a matter of fact, at my advanced level of chronological wisdom (55 years old), everything that comes out of my mouth could be an old saying. I remember countless conversations with my Granny West in which she would impart these nuggets of gold to me:

  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t be like the cat who wanted to fish, but didn’t want to get her paws wet.
  • We were so poor, we couldn’t even pay attention.
  • That dog won’t hunt.
  • I’m busier than a one-legged woman in a tail-kicking contest.

I did a quick internet search in an attempt to discern the author of those old sayings. Unfortunately, most are either too old or too well used to give full attribution. And I’m reasonably certain that my grandmother was not the originator.  But know that in my heart, I acknowledge and extend my gratitude to each of the keen-minded people who first uttered any of those phrases.

One of my favorite old sayings was, “You can’t push a rope!”

Think about that for a minute. That makes perfect sense! You really can’t push a rope, can you? I am sure that at some young age, I wondered “What in the world is Granny talking about?” I probably even got out in the back yard and gave it a valiant effort. But as I became a sales leader, the meaning of that particular saying became very clear to me.

You can’t push a rope.


You can’t push a sales team… well, at least not as effectively as you can lead them.

I have worked for sales managers who, based on their leadership style, would disagree with me.  But I will stand firm on this ground.

To develop an outstanding sales team, you can’t trade artificial pressure for true leadership skills.

Managers push. Leaders pull.

  • Leaders pull by working side by side with their team.
  • Leaders pull by giving ownership of the goals to their team.
  • Leaders pull by keeping their focus on helping their team members achieve their personal goals and dreams.
  • Leaders pull by taking personal responsibility when the team comes up short, and immediately giving the credit away to their team members when the team excels.

True leaders aren’t pushy. They’re “pull-y.” 

I know that no such word exists — but Granny would be so proud of me making a new word.  :-)

QUESTION: What is your favorite leadership quote?

The Palo Verde Award Winner Is… Christie Ellis!

Christie Ellis receives the Palo Verde Award

Bob and I, and everyone in The Go-Giver Family want to wish Christie Ellis huge congratulations for receiving the Palo Verde Award for Businesswoman of the Year!

Congratulations to all the fabulous women who were nominated!

The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce Women in Business created the Palo Verde Award in 2005. The award was named for the Arizona state tree because of the likeness it holds to a strong, flexible businesswoman. The award honors and celebrates an outstanding business woman in the Ahwatukee Chamber and Community.

Christie Ellis receives the Palo Verde Award for Business Woman of the YearChristie is both strong and flexible and she is the very embodiment of The Go-Giver spirit. She creates immense value for everyone whose lives she touches. As a very successful Realtor® she touches the lives of many people, putting their interests first and she is always congruent with her authentic core. She also has received abundantly as a result.

Christie is one of our Certified Go-Giver Coaches and she is an Associate Broker at United Brokers Group in Ahwatukee, Arizona.

Christie is also the author of an excellent book on real estate sales entitled, Real Estate Agent CEMETERY: How to Survive the Fears, Challenges, and Mistakes That Can Kill Your Real Estate Career.

Bob sent her a congratulatory email and what she wrote back is … well, it’s so Christie:

“It’s such an awesome feeling to be recognized for the things you love to do.”

Yes, she was recognized for what she loves to do…being of service to others and providing tremendous value.

We are very happy FOR her…and very proud OF her.

And, I suspect so is everyone else who knows her.

And THAT says a lot about her!

Finding The Way (To Create Value and Profitability)

Finding The Way Bob Burg

My friend, bestselling author and Prosperity Authority, Randy Gage has famously said: “You don’t have a money problem. You have an idea problem.” Randy’s premise is that if you can find a way to bring value to others (i.e., the marketplace) your money situation will be well taken care of. This, of course, ties into [...]

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Making Sure That You Are Always Adding Value


In this post we learn a very important and powerful lesson from Certified Go-Giver Coach and Altum V Director, Pete Evans. He shares with us a terrific example of both value and authenticity. The big takeaway? When a focus on providing value to others is a major part of your true authentic core…you will naturally [...]

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