The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Archive for May, 2012

Management Lessons…

I recently came upon this clipping from my favorite, Unknown Sage.  Enjoy.

Lesson #1

A crow was sitting on a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”  The crow answered: “Sure, why not.”  So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested.  All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped the rabbit and ate it.

Management Learning: 

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson #2

A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy.”  “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull.  “They’re packed with nutrients.”  The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.  The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.  Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.  Soon, a farmer promptly spotted him and shot the turkey out of the tree.

Management Learning: 

Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

Lesson #3

A little bird was flying south for the winter.  It was so cold; the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field.  While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it.  As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was.  The dung was actually thawing him out!  He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.  A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.  Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him!

Management Learning:

1) Not everyone who drops crap on you is your enemy.

2) Not everyone who gets you out of crap is your friend.

3) And when you’re in deep do-do, keep your mouth shut!

Lesson #4

The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.  As they went long, they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.  The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.  Later, they passed some people that remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.”  They decided they both would walk.  Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride, so the both rode the donkey.  Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey.  The boy and man said they were probably right so they decided to carry the donkey.  As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

Management Learning: 

If you try to please everyone, you will eventually lose your ass.

How many people do you know who aspire to become “the manager”?  How many of us have already done so?  Careful what we wish for, true?


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I want…

Recently I commented about sales reps using the “if” word as an excuse when they failed to meet or exceed their quota – see:

That little ditty was inspired by conversations I had with three of my clients on the last day of the first quarter – they were rationalizing why things were not going well. 

I often hear a companion to “if” these days – “I want”.  You see, I typically interact with 4 or 5 sales reps per day (sometimes more).  And competing for business has been challenging in recent times, true?  So, as I work with sales reps on tactics and techniques to “hunt” for business, I’ve picked up on this companion theme of, “I want“. 

It’s not actually new, I suppose; probably has existed since the beginning of sales quotas.  It goes like this:  “Gary, I want more leads.”  You want more leads?  Really?  What a concept!  Reminds me of the 1950’s TV show: 

All I’ve ever wanted was an honest, week’s pay for an honest day’s work.

Sergeant Bilko 

Oh, and it’s not limited to leads:  “I want a lower quota; I want a bigger territory; I want better Sales Engineers; I want more competitive pricing…”  There seems to be no end to what we sales reps “want”, yes? 

But wait – it’s not just sales reps.  I was speaking with an executive of one of my clients who is in the process of recruiting a sales rep.  “Gary, I want a hard worker; I want someone bright.  I want to pay them an entry-level comp plan; but I want them to produce quickly.  I want them to have industry experience and I want them to be able to prospect…”  Really?  Anything else?  Are wants like that reality? 


Having the world’s best idea will do you no good unless you act on it.  People who want milk shouldn’t sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them.

                                 Curtis Grant 

And then there are our prospects.  We’ve heard it a million times:  “I want a low price, but I also want advanced functionality.  I want to delay placing my order, but I want to be up and running quickly…”  H.L. Hunt offers this sage advice to our prospects: 

Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it.  Establish your priorities and go for it.                                 

Unfortunately, the idea of “exchanging” more money for what they “want” doesn’t seem to be what they want, true? 

You see, it’s nice to want things.  And then reality sets in.  Often, “want” is a mental exercise we go through combining all of the best attributes related to a topic and excluding any of the bad attributes.  It’s one thing to daydream; but when we expect these fantasies to appear in our real world, that’s something different.  Thankfully, our Unknown Sage comes to our rescue: 

If you haven’t got all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have that you didn’t want.                                 

Yes, it’s nice to want things – I want a house on the beach!  That might make me feel successful.  Careful what you ask for though – a beach house in Denver?  Here’s you know who: 

Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get. 

I guess I should simply be happy with what I have and heed these words from my favorite Unknown Sage. 


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Can’t; won’t; or don’t know how…

I’ve been working a lot recently with my clients and my company on cold-calling tactics and techniques.  Cold-calling; sales-prospecting; lead-generation; hunting; business-development… it goes by many names. 

No matter what name it goes by, many companies feel their company’s business prospects would be much better off if their sales team had more business prospects.  (Or, we could sit back and blame the lack of leads on Marketing.) 

My recent conversations fall into three categories; (1) How to cold-call; (2) How to get someone else to cold-call for you; (3) How to recruit able, experienced hunters who will cold-call.  

Permit me to start with the second topic, first.  Delegating or outsourcing B2B, lead-gen to “someone else” is probably a fantasy.  Oh on surface, I know it sounds fantastic:  You find me a “qualified prospect” and I’ll pay you handsomely.  But, how many companies do you know that have successfully built a sustainable business growth model on this approach?   Fantastic or fantasy?  Actually, David Paktor might interject reality: 

Reality is that stuff which, no matter what you believe, just won’t go away.                                 

OK. What about “how” to sales-prospect; a favorite topic of mine.  Not because I relish cold-calling; but because I remember how to do it.  Back in the late-1990s and then again the mid-2000s, the market was in such a growth mode, it was very hard for sales reps not to succeed.  Remember?  All too often, it seemed as though sales-prospecting was simply a matter of answering our phone.  Many of those same sales reps are struggling in today’s tighter, tougher, economic times. 

Knowing how to cold-call has great value.  Not only in today’s market, but any time and every time our company is faced with significant competitive pressure to find new business.  Our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this example of the great value of knowledge: 

Charles Steinmetz (1865-1923) was a pioneering genius in harvesting electricity.  After he retired, Steinmetz’s former employers at General Electric occasionally relied on his brilliance.

Such was the case when an intricate set of machines broke down.  In-house experts could not find the cause of this malfunction so GE leaders called Steinmetz.

After testing various parts, Steinmetz finally pinpointed the problem and marked the defective part with a piece of chalk.  Steinmetz then submitted a bill for $10,000.

Surprised at this unexpected high price, GE honchos asked Steinmetz to resubmit an itemized statement.  He complied with a new invoice that listed only two items: 


Making one chalk mark:        $      1.00

Knowing where to place it:   $ 9,999.00                                 

Yes, Steinmetz’s chalk and cold-calling have great value. 

Which brings us to the third topic – how do you find “able, experienced hunters”?  Caution – could be another fantasy.  If they’re “able and experienced” you probably can’t recruit them away from their current hunting grounds.  If they’re true “hunters”, they probably work for themselves and don’t want to report to someone else. 

During the recruiting process, you may not even be able to tell – if they can hunt; if they will hunt; or if they know how to hunt.  But does your application and interview process simulate hunting?  I mean, who is pursuing who?  If you don’t structure your recruiting process to let candidates hunt you for the job, then you might not find out of they can; will; or know how

That is of course, until after you hire them.  Then Paktor’s reality emerges.  (Hey Marketing – Heads-Up!) 


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Moms are special…

My Mom was – I bet your Mom is, too.  This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day.  In mind; in memory; or in person; be sure to make it a special day for Mom, OK?

My wife is a Mom.  She maintains a close and active relationship with our children.  And she continues to lovingly mother our grown boys even while their father asks, “Will I ever get these guys off the payroll?”  But I digress.

Moms have special skills.  Ashley is the mother of my grandson.  She’s currently an unemployed waitress with a college degree – making her one of many college graduates who can’t find suitable employment in today’s tough economy, yes?  However, she is the love of my older son; and a loving, patient, and skilled mother of my grandson. 

Ashley’s efforts remind me of the skill (and success) the parents who raised me and my generation had.  Those Moms had special skills to care for and raise their families.  Their skills were valued just as much as earning a paycheck.  Because of Ashley’s work – my grandson will benefit tremendously.

 Our Moms have a sense of humor – just ask our Unknown Sage:  

A wife invited some people to dinner.  At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?”  I wouldn’t know what to say”, the girl replied.  “Just say what you hear Mommy say”, the wife answered.  The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?”

Our Moms are teachers.  My daughter-in-law, Sierra, is a great teacher (among her many other motherly skills).  With my younger son’s support, Sierra does an excellent job of teaching her teenage children by example; perhaps the highest degree of difficulty when teaching teenagers – do as I say and as I do!

Yes, Moms are teachers.  I bet you remember many of the life-lessons you learned from your Mom.  And our Mother’s lessons last a lifetime, yes?  Back to our Unknown Sage: 

            What my Mother taught me: 

My Mother taught me logic; “Because I said so, that’s why.”

My Mother taught me irony; “Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

My Mother taught me about the science of osmosis:  “Shut your mouth and eat your supper!” 

And our Moms have an immeasurable reservoir of power.  I bet your Mom has power; my Mom did: 

I watched my Mom’s great power, which she needed in order to deal with a new cancer treatment in the late 1960’s that was so unimaginably harsh – that the administration of this treatment was solely based on the primitive science of trial and error – where the doctors’ routine consisted of observing how much of a dose could she tolerate without dying from the treatment.  It was an experimental treatment back then; offered only as a last resort for terminally ill cancer patients. This wasn’t a cancer cure; just a radical option to extend one’s life another year or two.  It was due to her staying power (and that of many other patients like her) before she finally succumbed in 1974, that has helped pave the way to the development of the commonly used, life-saving cancer treatment we all know today as chemotherapy. 

Sunday is Mother’s Day – make it special for your Mom if she’s living; make it special for you through your memories of your Mom if she’s not. 


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