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Archive for July, 2013

THINK…

Before we continue hyping our current generation as being the smartest, richest, and most technologically sophisticated generation of all time; before we continue the rock star, hero worship, mantel of grandeur we bestow on all those intellectually brilliant, college drop-outs that have risen like a phoenix to billionairedom…. 

Permit me to pause for just a moment and give credit to a pioneer of the technology industry who enabled these billionairedom pursuits of the current generation – Thomas J. Watson, Sr. 

Thomas J. Watson, Sr. perfected the business growth of the most powerful, technology company the planet has ever known – The Computer Tabulating Recording Company (CTR).  Ring a bell? 

Wikipedia cites this about Watson,

A leading self-made industrialist, he was one of the richest men of his time and was called the world’s greatest salesman when he died in 1956. 

Thomas J. Watson, Sr. was the “Grandfather” of today’s sales methodologies.  The Xerox sales process; SPIN Selling© by Neil Rackman; Strategic Selling© by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman; and the various permutations and customizations of related B2B sales techniques all tie back to the beginning of customer-centric thinking that was originated by Thomas J. Watson Sr.  In fact, CTR’s very first U.S. Trademark was, “THINK”! 

Watson’s sales genius was based on the principle of, “Superior Customer Access”.  In fact, his customer access was so powerful that once customers figured out how it was being used, they put up tall barriers to prevent vendors from gaining such superior access.  We in the sales profession have been struggling to “get in” ever since. 

CTR was the original company to leverage the “Principle of Good Enough”, too – selling products that sometimes lacked the “bells and whistles” of their competitors.  Undeterred, they wrapped their “good enough” products with superior salesmanship and stellar customer service to become so dominant that the federal government needed to invoke anti-trust laws to prevent them from driving all of their competitors out of business. 

Although not revered today with the same awe we may have for Apple, Google, or Face Book, the Computer Tabulating Recording Company (rebranded and renamed in 1924) remains an unrivaled, powerhouse – aka International Business Machines. 

Back to Wikipedia

In 2012, Fortune ranked IBM the No. 2 largest U.S. firm in terms of number of employees (433,362),[7] the No. 4 largest in terms of market capitalization,[8] the No. 9 most profitable,[9] and the No. 19 largest firm in terms of revenue.[10] Globally, the company was ranked the No. 31 largest in terms of revenue by Forbes for 2011.[11][12] Other rankings for 2011/2012 include No. 1 company for leaders (Fortune), No. 1 green company worldwide (Newsweek), No. 2 best global brand (Interbrand), No. 2 most respected company (Barron’s), No. 5 most admired company (Fortune), and No. 18 most innovative company (Fast Company).[13] 

IBM has 12 research laboratories worldwide and, as of 2013, has held the record for most patents generated by a company for 20 consecutive years.[14] Its employees have garnered five Nobel Prizes, six Turing Awards, ten National Medals of Technology, and five National Medals of Science.[15] Notable inventions by IBM include the automated teller machine (ATM), the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the Universal Product Code (UPC), the financial swap, SABRE airline reservation system, DRAM, and Watson artificial intelligence.

Not bad from the roots of a business leader who asked his employees first and foremost to, “THINK”, don’t you think? 

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Are we there yet?

Ah July!  Summer time!  Brings back fond memories of family vacations.  Did you ever take a family road trip riding in the back of that original SUV – the “station wagon”?  I know, I know – we now live in the era of car seats and seat belts.  Too bad.

Even in today’s safety-conscious world, family vacations are the best, don’t you think?  And during your trip, do the kids ask, “Are we there yet?”  I know, I know – we now live in the era of GPS chips in our car; our phone; the kids can track latitude and longitude as we go.  Too bad.

The phrase, “Are we there yet?” also applies to our business pursuits.  July started the 2nd half of 2013 – how’s your year?  Will you make your plan?  I wrote a little ditty in January about planning ( Welcome to 2013).  Remember writing your 2013 Annual Achievement Plan?  What; no GPS on your plan?  Too bad.

Did you do an “Operations Review” (aka Ops Review) at the end of Q1?  No?  Now is a good time to do your 1st half Ops Review, yes?

I learned the value of the Ops Review while working at the behemoth payroll company, ADP.  They weren’t always a behemoth.  Under the guidance of their legendary CEO, Josh Weston, ADP grew from $350 Million to $8 Billion before he turned over the day-to-day operations to his successors.

Josh used to lead monthly Ops Reviews. It was unpleasant for those of us being reviewed!  Too bad.  Josh used to say,

Every month, we are one month smarter in our ability to meet our annual plan.

Ops Reviews enable us to make adjustments when we’re off course – adjusting to reality.  Susan Jeffers tells us that no matter how good we are at planning,

  Life is what happens when we’ve made other plans.

For business planning to be effective we must diligently interact with it.  And, it must be in writing (as emphasized in January).  It must be grounded on reality – “Hope is not a Strategy”!

Also, everyone must believe in the plan!  Our favorite, Unknown Sage said:

In the beginning there was the Plan.

And then came the Assumptions.

And the Assumptions were without form.

And the Plan was without Substance.

And Darkness was upon the face of the Workers.

And the Workers spoke among themselves saying,

“It is a crock of sh&! and it stinks.”

And the Workers went unto their Supervisors and said,

“It is a crock of dung and we cannot live with

 the smell.”

And the Supervisors went unto their Managers saying,

“It is a container of organic waste, and it is  

 very strong, such that none may abide by it.”

And the Managers went unto their Directors, saying, 

“It is a vessel of fertilizer, and none may abide

  its strength.”

And the Directors spoke among themselves, saying to one another,

“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it

  is very strong.”

And the Directors went to the Vice Presidents, saying unto them,

“It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice Presidents went to the President, saying unto him,

“It has very powerful effects.”

And the President looked upon the Plan and saw that it was good. 

And the Plan became Policy. 

And that is how sh&! happens.

We must believe in our plan; ops review it; and adjust to reality.  Are we there yet?

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

How to have a winning day…

I’ve enjoyed surrounding myself with smart, successful, professional people.  Since I began my career in that innocent state of cluelessness, I felt the best chance I had for success was to do what they did – sort of a “paint-by-numbers” approach.  Well, three decades later I’m still “painting” – and if I can do it, just think what you can do!

I’ve known several great sales professionals:  I worked along side many; managed a few; reported to one; and learned from them all.  I still stay in touch with some of these colleagues (thank you Linked In).  I have even created my own, “Sales Hall of Fame”.  And next to the name of each of the best sales people I’ve known I have reminded myself of exactly what makes them great.  Yep; still “painting-by-numbers”.

These great sales people have many things in common.  For instance, they are all wealthy (Duh!). They have the “earned wealth” kind, not the, “inherited-from-their-families” kind.  Also, they are extremely competitive; very smart; keenly skilled; unbelievably smooth; totally articulate; and quite worldly; again, no surprises.

Some are more personable than others. (Yes, arrogance can creep into successful, self-made sales professionals.)  A few are older than me; most are younger; all of them are the best-of-the-best in their field.

And I’m still learning from them – every day.  Sometimes it’s something new; often times it’s a reminder of the basic principles from those Hall of Famers that came before me.  I mean, if there are time-tested principles why not leverage them?

One example is from Gary Givan, a great salesman I used to work with – the principle of having a good day.  He used to say;

Focus on having a good day, every day; and the year will take care of itself.

Sage advice for us all, yes?  Over the years I’ve found extensions to this principle – along the lines of the “How” vs. the “What”:

How to have a Winning Day 

      1. You have to listen more than you talk…

      3. You have to smile more than you frown…

     10. You have to be fascinated more than you’re

             frustrated…

     15. You have to believe in yourself more than

                     you doubt yourself.

     16. You have to work more than you whine.

     17. You have to do more than you don’t.

Rob Gilbert

Do more than you don’t – I especially like that one!  When you’re having a tough time one great remedy is to just go sell somebody something!  (OK; easier said than done sometimes; but a great remedy nonetheless.)

The nice thing about focusing on one day at a time is that it’s just one day.  Some days we win; some we lose; and some get rained out; but tomorrow is always another day and another opportunity to succeed.  I guess I should add resiliency; mental toughness; and the ability to try and try again to my list of attributes successful people have.  William Feather described it this way:

Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.

And while we’re hanging on; one day at a time; we can narrow our focus to simply trying to make today a good day.  Oh, and one more tip (from our favorite, unknown, pet loving Sage) regarding the “How”:

Wag more than you bark.

Today – may you the feel the peace and leverage the power of a positive perspective!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

C’est la vie! Déjà vu…

Here’s to a happy (and safe) July 4th holiday week!   And, to our forefathers who freed this country from the British Empire.  Permit me to offer three things that helped them do it:  Leadership, Free Speech, and the French. 

Two of these three remain part of our everyday lives.  (Not sure what happened to the French?)  I know a lot of families with ancestors that immigrated to America from other countries.  I don’t know very many from France though, do you?  C’est la vie! (Which of course, is French for, “Their bad!”) 

The French helped us gain our independence; gave us the Statue of Liberty; and then said, “Bon chance!”  Thankfully, we still have our leaders to poke fun at, yes?  Managers and executives at our companies are frequent targets of humor, even though they mean well: 

But even top management types are mostly harmless when you get to know them.  Given lots of love, some even make good pets.

Rick Levine 

After a while all good employees settle in and get used to our managers’ idiosyncrasies, don’t we?   When our reporting lines change we don’t have to let it bother us.  No matter who our boss may be today, it will likely change so we should just focus on getting our jobs done, don’t you agree?  Cirque du Soleil!  (Which, of course, is French for, “Same circus – different clowns.”) 

At work, our (wine) glasses remain half-full.  (Oops – my faux pas!)  In America, our companies and our managers remain among the best of the best in the world.  And with France’s help during the Revolution, we are truly blessed to live in the Land of the Free; Home of the Brave!  Vive La France!  (Which of course, is the American way to say, “Thank You” to France.) 

Of course, our political leaders are fodder for our humor – but beware: 

The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.

Will Rogers 

As we know, 2013 is a highly charged year of politics… magnifique!  (Which is French for, “What’s new?”)  If we took all of the money spent on political commercials, including those mud-slinging, character-slamming, negative-messaging, fear-uncertainty-and-doubt blasts from all our special interest groups, we could take as much vacation time as the French.  A la mode!  (Which of course, is French for, “I’ll have my vacation with ice cream, please!”) 

Where does the money come from for all these commercials about more guns; more fracking; less privacy on behalf of more security; blah, blah, blah?  Brings to mind Lawrence J. Peter’s perspective: 

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.                                 

Freedom of speech is truly one of our greatest freedoms.  The price we must pay for this great freedom is listening to someone’s outrageous commercial, yes?  Sacrebleu! 

So I suppose as American citizens we should be patient – leading this country is not for the faint of heart.  And if these daily commercials resort to the same tired talk-tracks, well:  Deja Moo!  (Which of course, is French for, “The feeling that we’ve heard this bull before!”) 

So here’s to the USA; the support we received from the French; and our great freedom of speech in the Land of Opportunity.  Certainly, without this freedom I would not have the opportunity to write my little ditties.  And without these, it would be harder for you find something to waste time on at work; true Mon ami?

GAP 

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