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Archive for May, 2016

Our Loans to Repay…

Happy Memorial Day in advance everyone!

Next Monday is an occasion to celebrate America – our America – our nation of great opportunity and great diversity, yes?  Even though our country and our cultures are addressing many difficulties, Monday is a day to celebrate our blessings and our future possibilities.

On any other day, it’s easy to get mired in everything that seems to be wrong with America.  What concerns you the most? Politics?  The economy?  Health care?  World peace?   Airport security lines?  Lots of opportunities for worry, fear, frustration, and anger, I suppose.

Conservation of our Earth for future generations is another difficulty – and periodic hotbed of debate.  Nothing new about this however; it is a topic dating back to our country’s original landlords:

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children. 

Native American proverb

Do you believe we’re experiencing (and contributing to) global warming?  If we are, what can each of us individually do about it?  Will our children feel the same way about lending us their Earth as we do about inheriting our Social Security trust fund?  (Not much “trust” in the use of that trust fund is there?)

But Monday is a holiday and a time for celebration not worries; for national pride not fear; for appreciation not anger.  Monday, we Americans can celebrate the interesting, diverse, and humorous lifestyle others have enriched us with as noted by our favorite, Unknown Sage:

Only in America…

can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in America…

are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.

Only in America…

do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America…

do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America…

do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to  the counters.

Only in America…

do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.                

Only in America…

do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America…

do we use the word “politics” to describe the process so well: “Poli” in Latin meaning “many” and “tics” meaning  “bloodsucking creatures.”

Only in America…

do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Yes, only in America.  And in America, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate our country and the men and women of our armed forces who have preserved a country where cultures of diversity come together unlike any other place on Earth.  It’s a time to salute our service men and women; present and past; who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our optimism and way of life.

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities;

an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties. 

Reginald B. Mansell

We all benefit today from those who overcame difficulties before us.  But what are we making of our opportunities?  And what opportunities (and difficulties) will we leave for our future generations?

Monday, let’s be optimistic and enjoy the holiday.  Then we’ll go back to work Tuesday – working to overcome our difficulties; working to leverage our opportunities; working to preserve our way of life for future generations; working to pay back the loan on our planet Earth to our children.

GAP

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Doing alright…

“How are you doing?”  A common greeting these days, yes?  Our response often depends on our mood, true?  For many, we have a choice over our moods; a degree of control; at least a consciousness of why we are in the mood we are in.  But not all of us…

Dedicated to those amazing people who unlike me, face each day “doing alright”; which means so much more:

Like Eric.  I have known Eric for 40 years today – his birthday.  Over that period Eric’s Mom and Dad have shared some of his most joyous occasions; and some of his most upsetting events; and in between these highs and lows Eric would tell you that he has been doing alright.  And for Eric, doing alright shows how amazing he truly is.

You see, Eric is the strongest person I know.  I’ll give you an example.  Close your eyes and return to the happiest day of your life – feel how you felt during your most exhilarating moments.  OK, now think back to how you felt on your saddest, darkest, most depressed day ever.  Just set those mental bookmarks in your mind’s eye.  There is an unbelievably wide and powerful range of human emotion, yes?

For most of us, we migrate from our highest highs and our lowest lows slowly; with long, “recovery” spans of simply feeling average in between.  Unfortunately, Eric is different; his mood swings back and forth, between euphoric highs and debilitating lows in a matter of minutes – multiple times – every hour!  Now picture your life with his type of mood swings – as if our other challenges aren’t enough to deal with.

Rapid Cycling – that’s the technical term for Eric and others who suffer from Bi-Polar Disorder.  And Eric lives every day with this unwelcome guest.  Medical science is not much help.  Bi-Polar Disorder is an affliction of the brain; and very difficult to properly diagnose and treat.  Trial and error, mostly.  That means people with Bi-Polar Disorder typically wind up dealing with this on their own.

Most can’t hold down a steady job.  Eric can – and he has consistently been a “go to” person for his company.  He is a skilled tradesman; good with customers; dependable; hard working; shows up no matter what; a positive attitude that no job is too tough; that’s Eric.  Most people with Bi-Polar Disorder can’t live independently.  Eric does – and if you met him, you would never know the internal turmoil he is living with.  He has a pleasant personality; a great smile; a nice sense of humor; knowledgeable of current events; just like the rest of us.

But Eric isn’t really like the rest of us.  Just getting up and facing the day; every day; takes enormous strength.  And he offers no excuses – never has.  Eric has earned success and experienced failure.  No matter; Eric treats each day anew, the best he possibly can. And when you greet him saying, “Hi. How you doing?”  you will almost always hear him say, “I’m doing alright”.

If Eric does alright each and every day even though feeling these uncontrollable mood swings – should we do any less?

No, I don’t have Bi-Polar Disorder, but it lives next door. And though I don’t have it, I can see first-hand the strength Eric has as he lives with it.  I’m very proud to say that Eric is my son.  And one day I hope to learn the source of his amazing strength so I too can be, “doing alright”.

GAP

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Dinosaurs…

I was driving through eastern Utah earlier this month.  The enormity of the landscape is breath-taking!

Eastern_Utah

The drive was made even more impactful realizing that this is where dinosaurs walked millions of years ago.  I could close my eyes and “see” them roaming the plains with the mountains as their backdrop.  Then I realized I was driving and opened my eyes; relying on my driver’s training to avoid joining the dinosaurs!

At that moment, two Air Force jets roared by.  Hill Air Force Base is a major military installation in Utah.  Seems that our most modern military warfare technology trains over the same space previous dominated by ancient dinosaurs.  A striking contrast.

There I was in dinosaur country, with modern jets roaring by – what better place than to contemplate the nature of my profession and the views I have about what it takes to succeed in sales in the 21st century?  Weird you say?  Welcome to my Jurassic Park LoL!

In the sales profession, we can learn a lot from our military.  No – I’m not saying our customer is the enemy.  Nor am I suggesting we adopt a competitive attitude often voiced by Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation:

It’s not enough that we win; our enemies must lose.

That quote has been attributed to Gore Vidal; Genghis Khan; and even Sun Tzu’s book The Art of War©

You see, during our road trip we were listening to an audio book, Ghost Image: A Sophie Medina Mystery© And at the moment I was reflecting on the dinosaurs while the jets were roaring overhead, I heard this line from the book:

In the military you don’t learn you are trained.  In combat you rely on your training to get you through.

Then it hit me – when I offer “sales enablement” to my clients they aren’t actually learning how to sell.  I’m not trying to “teach” them; I’m trying to “train” them.  Actually, it’s worse than that – I’m trying to “re-train” them.  I believe, without such re-training they will continue to use sales tools, tactics and techniques that have gone the way of the dinosaurs.

And as stated above, in a sales cycle we rely on our training to get us through.  I know it’s not a life-or-death challenge.  But it is job and/or career threatening, yes?

Back to another one of my favorite book titles: Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life© by Alan Deutschman:

Deutschman concludes that although we all have the ability to change our behavior, we rarely ever do.

I often profess, “The market has shifted…”  My clients assume the context of my statement is technology; technology in the market has shifted (from traditional, client-server oriented software to Cloud Computing).  And just like our military, we must equip ourselves with new technology or risk being surpassed by our competition (in the military context, our enemies!).

But in the context of selling to a modern buyer, that element of the market has shifted too.  If we don’t re-train ourselves to sell the way the modern buyer buys, we risk becoming obsolete; replaced by eCommerce, an iPhone App, or some other “serve-yourself” option buyers have available to them to bypass we sales dinosaurs altogether.

Rare maybe, but I know my clients have the ability to change their behavior.   Yet, I left the eastern plains of Utah wondering, who is the dinosaur?  Them – resistant to re-training?  Or me – thinking I actually can enable them to change their behavior?

GAP

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God’s profession…

Posted May 4 2016 by in True North with 4 Comments

Whenever I observe my wife mother our children I am awed.  Whether watching nature documentaries, or simply seeing Moms nurturing their children, we are witnessing God’s profession, true?

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you professionals – and I’m not referring to “working mothers”.  Yours is the profession of love, compassion, protection, guidance, pride, and so much more than a W-2.

Not that the working side of Motherhood is not important – it is:

Woman’s Equation

Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult. 

Unknown Sage

This equation certainly applies to our household.  My wife runs circles around me with her love and support of our children and grandchildren.  All while maintaining our little ranch and running her company.  She is awesome!

Me?  Well you might say I remind you of the phenomena in nature where male lions eat their young.  Not that there haven’t been times where my young didn’t deserve it – yours too?  Thank God for their Mother.

Oh they are getting better; learning; maturing; feeding off the encouragement their Mother provides them as her life-long commitment.  Perhaps there’s hope for we male types yet.

Yes, our mothers offer us a wealth of lifetime lessons; worthy of passing down from generation to generation.  Our favorite Unknown Sage reminds us of a few of the many things we learn from our mother:

My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.

“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

My mother taught me RELIGION.

“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.

“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

My mother taught me FORESIGHT.

“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

“Just you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

My mother taught me about STAMINA.

“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

My mother taught me about WEATHER.

“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.

“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, don’t exaggerate!”

My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.

“Stop acting like your father!”

My mother taught me about ENVY.

“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.

“Just wait until we get home.”

My mother taught me about RECEIVING.

“You are going to get it from your father when you get home!”

My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

My mother taught me ESP.

“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.

“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

My mother taught me GENETICS.

“You’re just like your father.”

My mother taught me about my ROOTS.

“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me WISDOM.

“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.

See what I mean?  God’s profession!  What did Mom teach you?

GAP

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