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Coaching…

March reminds me of basketball; and basketball, reminds me of coaching.  Coaching – personally and professionally – makes a difference.

March is full of basketball news and events.  The NCAA even copyrighted the title of their men’s Division I tournament, “March Madness” ©!  Fans apply that slogan to other NCAA divisions; women’s teams; and even associate March to the NBA regular season wind-down to their playoffs (a marathon that actually begins in April and ends sometime during the next NFL season) because:

Overkill is underrated. 

Col. John “Hannibal” Smith

The A-Team

This (if you’ve seen the movie) was spoken by a leader, and a coach, who believed in the power of a plan.  By I digress.

I’ve been blessed in my life from the guidance and grit I’ve received from coaches.  In basketball, Harley Knosher; Bud Johnston; Larry Wiley; and others too numerous to name coached me and helped me get better.  Bearing in mind, I was already pretty good – they still helped me get better.  I adopted this experience in my “elevator pitch” today; I help others get better at what they already do best.

Not that all sports analogies work out well:

Golfer Tommy Bolt is known for his sweet swing and foul temper.  While giving a clinic to a group of amateurs, Bolt tried to show his softer side by involving his 14-year old son in the lesson.  “Show the nice folks what I taught you”, said Bolt.  His son obediently took a 9-iron, cursed, and hurled it into the sky. 

Thomas Roswell

Nevertheless, I have benefited greatly from coaching in my personal and professional life.  Unlike basketball, when I started out in the sales profession, I didn’t know anything about anything.  Sales is what we do when we can’t do anything else.  No one has the aspiration, “Damn the rejection – I’m cold calling!”

So when I couldn’t do anything else, yet at a young age needed to provide for my wife (married at 20) and family (fatherhood at 23), I turned to sales, “Damn the rejection – give me a phone!”

Frank Justo coached me in my early days, “You better speak up or your prospect will throw you out …” Rob Denkewalter too, “Stop frowning when you present or your prospect will throw you out…”  Their coaching helped “me” get ready to face “them” – the prospects.

I’ve had coaches my entire career.  Nick Ryder; Tony Marabotti; Jim Anderson; Teah Bennett; and many others too numerous to name.  To this day they help me think about me.

I say all that to offer context on this; Integrity Solutions Research Brief.  The bad news?  Their research suggests when it comes to coaching in the sales profession – we suck.

The good news?  They offer us a starting place to improve:

The aspect that is rarely discussed is not a sales rep’s skillset but their mindset. Do your salespeople have limited, negative thinking that’s getting in their way? People need to change their thinking first in order to change their behavior. Almost every training program misses this critical point and therefore fails to help coaches develop this important aspect of performance. Helping to improve the conversations that they have with prospects and clients is important. However, the conversations that they have with themselves are just as important and too frequently overlooked when it comes to coaching.

Regardless of your athletic, academic, personal or professional situation; what conversations are you having with you?  Who’s helping you get better at what you already do best?

GAP

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40 years from now…

Posted Mar 6 2019 by in True North with 0 Comments

I recently read a newspaper article about a trend with millennials who are borrowing from their 401(k) accounts to buy a house.  The article didn’t say whether it was their parents’ house (where they’ve already taken over the basement LoL!)  OK; OK; that’s a bad joke we Boomers tell too often.

The article suggested millennials’ retirement needs that will arise some 40 years in the future are not a priority.  I get it – 40 years seems a long way off.  Truth be told, 40 years ago I would have been holding an actual paper, newspaper.  Do you think we’ll even be reading newspapers (digital or otherwise) 40 years from now?

When I was reading the newspaper I was actually reading the “paper” on my smart phone.  I don’t know why we call it a “phone” anymore – we seem to use it for everything but making phone calls.  Do you think we’ll even have cell phones 40 years from now?

According to Fox News Tech, cellular technology was quite the novelty, “40 years ago…”  http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/04/03/first-mobile-phone-call-was-placed-40-years-ago-today.html  That article was published in 2013 referring to a 1973 event – actually 46 years ago.  I bet millennials think of 1973 as the Dark Ages.

A lot has been said and even more has been written about the millennial generation which is poised to dominate the workplace – and the world!

At my company not a day goes by without some announcement and/or recognition about our college recruits.  I understand our enthusiasm.  These young professionals are bright, articulate, abundant, and affordable; all-in-all, awesome!

Yet, I find the absence of discussion about my generation – Baby Boomers – a bit concerning.  Do others think we should be retired (or dead) by now?  Now Walmart is eliminating greeters.  Believe it or not – we’re awesome too!

It’s easier to have the vigor of youth when you’re old than the wisdom of age when you’re young. 

Richard J. Needham

Too old; too expensive; too inflexible; too technically illiterate; there are many pop culture; bad jokes affixed to us Boomers.  Our knowledge, skills, and experience seem no longer to be celebrated.  But really – we are not “too old”:

Leonardo DaVinci was fifty six years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo lived into the 16th century.  Not exactly the Dark Ages; and no – I didn’t know him personally!

I wonder what the millennials think they will be doing 40 years from now.  If they’re already spending monies ear-marked for retirement, will they not need savings in 2059?

Maybe they think the high paying technology jobs companies are hiring them for (in some cases instead of more experienced aka “older” workers) will last for the next 40 years.  Maybe they think they will earn so much money, so quickly, that they can retire early; open a boutique; and enjoy a self-employed lifestyle that will carry them through to their sunset.  The optimism and the possibilities seem limitless.

But wait a minute… unless I’ve succumbed to Alzheimer’s or Dementia this week, it seems to me that 40 years ago those were the aspirations of my generation!  Then life happened:

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

Susan Jeffers

Well, maybe today’s youth have everything figured out.  But just in case, they might consider upping their contributions to some kind of account they will rely on when their children’s generation are ready to take over the world (and their jobs).  That day may arrive sooner for them than 40 years from now.

GAP

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Who’s tougher than you?

Spoken as a verbal tag line by “Lou from Littleton”, former radio sports talk show personality on the airwaves of Denver and beyond (“FIFTY THOUSAND WATTS OF POWER – 850 KOA – THE BLOW TORCH!”).

Lou’s real name is Tom Manoogian.  He was one of my favorite radio personalities – his distinctive verbal style originating from Detroit; catchy clichés; a Broncos homer; soft on his callers (referred to everyone as “cous” as in cousin); tough on company B.S.  How tough?  He left the broadcasting booth at KOA to buy a competing radio station so he could call the shots; do things his way.

Imagine if our remedy for office B.S. was to simply buy another company.  We can all agree that office B.S. is tough. But any job; families; friendships; relationships; politics; life in general are tough too.  Just about everything is competitive these days.  That’s OK – we’re tough enough:

I’ve been up against tough competition all my life.  I wouldn’t know how to get along without it. 

Walt Disney

Everyone dreams; for a few, dreams come true – if we’re tough enough.

While Lou was on the air, he made his callers feel so comfortable that they often related personal tales about overcoming adversity.  Sports challenges, for sure; but also stories of life’s trials and tribulations we all face sooner or later; less or more.  And if the caller was “J.K.” and J.K. had a story to share about overcoming adversity, at the end Lou would always add, “Who’s tougher than J.K.?” as testimony to J.K.’s triumph!

Lou applied his, “Who’s tougher than…” to sports stories of the day.  Comeback victories; beating the odds; under dogs slaying prohibitive favorites; any and all tales of victory; punctuated by Lou’s, “Who’s tougher than x, y, or z?”  Verbalized with gusto; articulated slowly; every syllable over emphasized. “WHO’S…TOUGH…ER…THAN!”

I thought of Lou from Littleton the other day on my drive home from the airport.  Actually it wasn’t “day”, it was night; actually, it wasn’t “night”, it was one o’clock in the morning.  Up for 19 hours, I wasn’t even home yet.  And of course, I was scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. meeting.  That’s what Road Warriors do.  I’m out of practice.

I used to be a Road Warrior back in the day.  Thirty years ago, these marathon work days occurred every week.  I never gave it much thought, other than “hang tough”; “just making a living”; “all-in for the big bucks”; “makin’ the donuts”; “who’s TOUGH…ER…THAN”.  Others may have lighter work schedules; but just about everyone has tough times of one kind or another, true?

Tough times don’t last; tough people do. 

Mike Shanahan

You’re right; many of us endure hardships at work and at home without ever taking off on a plane.  Many of us have to be tough just to make it to the end of a day; just to make it home; just to make ends meet.  So how do we get through?  Where does toughness originate?

Well, recognizing life’s struggles for what they are is a good place to start.  Having the right attitude goes a long way to getting us to the end of each day.  Associating with the right associates helps too:

Stick with the optimists.  It’s going to be tough enough even if they’re right.

James Reston

So, here’s to you and to your tough mindedness.  Here’s to your shear will power to overcome adversity.  Whether you call into the radio station or not; WHO’S TOUGHER THAN YOU!

GAP

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Cynical…

It’s been on my mind lately.  I’m worried about my attitude.  I have so many blessings in my life – but happiness doesn’t feel the way I thought it would.  Maybe you can relate?

Maybe life in the 21st century is wrought with constant stress; continuous motion; always under-the-gun?  Maybe it’s my job?  My department operates by opposite patterns – we are continuously up against project deadlines; yet almost every meeting I attend starts late.  Maybe modern reality has replaced more traditional views on punctuality:

Punctuality is the politeness of kings. 

Louis XVIII

Maybe it’s me?  I know no one is perfect and everyone is busy.  Yet, I seem to be the only one bothered:

I have CDO; it’s like OCD but all the letters are in alphabetical order – AS THEY SHOULD BE! 

Unknown Sage

Maybe I‘m becoming cynical.  That’s not good.  According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary©:

1: having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: such as

a: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives… based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest…

What do you think?  Are people today “motivated primarily by self-interest”?  Are you becoming cynical, too?

I try to believe people are fundamentally good.  I think I’m generally trusting; and trustworthy.  But with today’s incessant barrage of spam; self-serving leadership spin; common people constantly being conned by crooks and congressman alike; is it now natural to become “contemptuously distrustful of human nature”?  Maybe Elmer E. Wyland, Founder of the Westernaires (www.westernaires.org ), was a closet cynic:

The more I know adults; the better I like children.  The more I know children; the better I like horses.

Today, will I feel you are motivated primarily by self-interest?  Will you be contemptuously distrustful of mine?

I don’t know – I actually smiled when I read this passage in the book Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea ©:

If you asked anybody in the worldwide offshore community… who was the best ROV operator in the business?  they would say, John Moore.  If you asked them, Who is the most temperamental, cantankerous sonofabitch they’ve ever been around? They would say, John Moore…  I have a foul temper, Moore says of himself, always have and probably always will.  I am firmly convinced that the world is mostly populated with idiots…I didn’t like taking orders from people that are stupid…

Gary Kinder

“The most temperamental, cantankerous sonofabitch around”.  Has a nice ring to it, LoL!  Maybe the world is “mostly populated with idiots”.   I hope not – that would be worse than cynical; that would be downright pessimistic:

Pessimist

A person who not only expects the worst, but makes the most of it when it happens…

In 2019 I need to re-find that trusting, good-natured person I know I can be.  I need to be less cynical; more optimistic:

Optimist

The person who makes it possible for the pessimist to know how happy he or she isn’t. 

Unknown Sage

Not to continue harping on cynical, but … Maybe it’s not being “happy” at all that should be important.  Maybe it’s something else:

I’m not happy, I’m cheerful.  There’s a difference.  A happy woman has no cares at all.  A cheerful woman has cares but has learned how to deal with them. 

Beverly Sills

That’s it Beverly!  Thank you!  We all have “cares” – it’s how we chose to deal with them that matters.

OK then everyone, let’s look past our cares – and our cynicism – let’s be cheerful in 2019!

GAP

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Luv rules…

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – everyone, it’s not too late.  There’s still time to do something special for that special person.

OK, OK – so I can’t take credit for creating this awesome display of love for my love.  That was someone else’s awesome display of their love for their love.  But I can take “observation credit” for stopping along the roadside while driving through this western Illinois farming community to take the picture, can’t I?  I think my wife will give me credit for a little kind-hearted, photo-plagiarism because I know she knows tomorrow:

Love rules without rules. 

Italian Proverb

Who says men are oblivious and have no powers of observation?  OK – so a billboard is hard to miss; not very subtle.  But observing that man’s demonstration of love reminds us all that tomorrow, no assumptions; no taking her for granted; no obliviousness; no subtleties are allowed.  On Valentine’s Day, we must shout our love for our love from the top of the mountains!  Of course, we hope our women do the same for the men in their lives:

You know “That Look” women get when they want sex?  Me neither. 

Steve Martin

Tomorrow may be a special day in my marriage, but our relationship over the years has taken constant care (and patience).  Thankfully, my wife has patience:

Patience strengthens the spirit,

sweetens the temper,

stifles anger,

extinguishes envy,

subdues pride,

bridles the tongue,

restrains the hand,

and tramples upon temptation. 

George Horne

It’s easier to be patient with the little things I suppose.   But when times get tough, the most convenient person to argue with, vent to, and take our frustrations out on is often our partner, true?  Life seems to move so fast; people seem to be so stressed; the media inundates us with so many sensationalized issues.

I don’t know; are meaningful, loving partnerships easier or harder to find these days?  With everything racing at a break-neck pace, who’s responsible for maintaining a healthy, loving, long-lasting relationship?  Well, here’s a view from Wyatt Webb:

You are 100 percent responsible for 50 percent of any relationship.

Carrying more than ½ the load you say?  Yep – you and my wife, too.

Thankfully, my wife and I are still in love after all of these years.  We will do something quiet this Valentine’s Day; we enjoy our quiet time together – always have.  We’re blessed with sharing many common interests, so spending time together and “decompressing” from our fast-paced life is a nice retreat.

Like you, our conversations will span a variety of topics; children; friends; happy memories; love.  Of course, when we’re together we will also synchronize our calendars; debate upcoming projects; disagree on priorities; discuss business; and almost always review our finances.  Yuck!  Necessary I suppose, but certainly not very romantic.

Yet this Valentine’s Day I will be reminded:

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 

Mignon McLaughlin

So here’s to February 14th – Valentine’s Day.  May you enjoy it with someone special in your life.  If you’re lucky enough to be in love, may you cherish your quiet time together; sharing common interests; being patient with life’s challenges; relishing the restorative results of romance.

And if you’re with someone but you’re not yet sure if he or she is “the one”, don’t worry – trust your gut feeling:

Love is not finding someone you can live with; it’s finding someone you cannot live without. 

Rafael Ortiz

Love rules without rules on Valentine’s Day – and every day.

GAP

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Impossible …

What do you believe is impossible?  Developing a cure for cancer at one end; or the common cold at the other?  Space travel?  At an individual level – losing weight; quit smoking; getting out of debt; finding happiness?

In the book, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea©, the main character said this about the “impossible”:

Working on the bottom of the deep ocean wasn’t impossible, it was only considered impossible… Other people labeled things impossible not because they couldn’t be done, but because no one was doing them… Realizing that impossibility dwelt only in the imagination was the gateway to a new world of thinking… 

Gary Kinder

OK, he suggests the difference between impossible and possible starts with our belief.   Then a “new world of thinking” can emerge that will lead us to overcome the impossible.  Thinking – systematically; specifically; in ways others have not thought – yet.  Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute said this:

A good way to tell how the work is going is to listen in the corridors.  If you hear the word “Impossible!” spoken as an expletive, followed by laughter, you will know that someone’s orderly research plan is coming along nicely.

It seems that the path beyond impossible requires dedication and great optimism.  Not some pie-eyed, there’s no place like home, close your eyes and click your heels type of optimism.  But a mindset grounded on a pragmatic process of thinking things through while avoiding the pitfalls of theoretical debates:

Green’s Law of Debate

Anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Unknown Sage

In The Path Between the Seas © David McCullough details at great length how prior generations thought of building impossible, man-made monuments, of momentous proportions.   He writes about their new world of thinking; of overcoming obstacles, known and unknown, not the least of which was discovering the cause of and then the treatment for malaria.  Many thought building the Panama Canal was impossible.  Until someone figured out how to build it.

What about today?  Are we enamored with geo-mechanical monuments?  Do our beliefs center around advanced technology; the Internet-of-Things; driverless cars; and drone-delivered pizzas?  What about the Dark Web; spyware; invasive-ware; and other malware – are those “advanced”?

Will we ever center our beliefs (and our resources) on people vs. things?  Mental illness; poverty; homelessness; addictions… can enough money, energy, and commitment ever be harnessed to address these humankind challenges?  Or do we believe finding those solutions is impossible?

No matter which impossible endeavor we chose to address it’s always better when we have support from our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, fellow Americans, or just our boss, true?  But if we are going to overcome the impossible, we need that support early; at the darkest most difficult point in our journey:

Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas

Every revolutionary idea — in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever — evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:

It is completely impossible — don’t waste my time.

It is possible, but it is not worth doing.

I said it was a good idea all along.

Unknown Sage

In 2019, what do you believe is worth doing?  Can it be done?  Or is it impossible because no one is doing it – yet?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller

Indeed.  What impossible feat would we all do for those we know; for those we don’t; for those in need?

GAP

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Smells like money…

Denver’s National Western Stock Show & Rodeo closed out its 113th consecutive year last weekend.  If you’ve never been, it’s definitely a must see.  I love being around western folk; American pride; tradition; and the values derived from hard work.  I love the smell of the barn.  For me, it’s motivational when dealing with the stress of today’s “modern” society.

I have written before about my favorite ritual when immersed in the tensions of life’s highs and lows; successes and failures – shoveling horse manure.  Yep, shoveling horse manure (in the pasture, not at the office) really has a calming effect on me.  I know most folks have a different ritual or approach when dealing with their ups and downs.

Nonetheless, business professionals can gain great benefit from ranchers, farmers, cowboys, English riders, and livestock.  For instance, if you own or even lease a horse, you know how motivational it can be.  Thinking about the price of hay alone gets me up and at ‘em in the morning!  Serves me right, I suppose, for ignoring the advice of our favorite, Unknown Sage who tells us:

Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never invest in anything that eats.

And my corollary:

GAP‘s Reaction to Seymore’s Investment Principle:

Never buy anything that eats while you sleep.

Horses – smells like money alright.  Better get up and go sell somebody something today!

Speaking of sales, understanding a horse’s behavior is also beneficial to our profession because our prospects act a lot like horses.  For instance, if we’re not careful, we can spook our prospects.  And when we do, they cut and run and we never seem to catch them again, do we.  Spooking, aka “No decision”, is our biggest competitor.

I believe prospects act a lot like herd animals.  They shy from sales people and fear being “cut-out from the herd”, yes?  You probably have faced every excuse in the book when a prospect does not want to meet with you 1-on-1, even for a straight-forward; 30-minute; business conversation.

I was working with a team of sales professionals recently and suggested that even a prospect’s objections can have herd characteristics.  First, the prospect objects to our proposed price; then they don’t like our contract language; then it’s our payment terms; and then they want to delay order placement.  Before you know it we get stampeded by a whole herd of objections!

We can learn a lot from English style, hunter-jumper riders, too.  If you’ve ever watched those riders you know that as they approach each jump, they reach a critical, “Go” or “No Go” point, before the horse must leap.

Indecision on the part of the rider or the horse (or a prospect) can lead to a “train wreck”.  It’s another cross-over example of the great benefit sales professionals and business leaders can gain from horses:

Half the failures of this world in life arise from pulling in one’s horse as he is leaping.

Julius and Augustus Hare

Of course, western pleasure style riders don’t usually mix well with English style riders.  Come from different herds I suppose.  But whether western or English, it’s the horses, not the riding style; we learn important business lessons from.  If you are a sales leader and hear one of your sales reps complain about the difficulties of making his/her quota; their problems with a prospect; or pain they feel from losing a deal; you might offer this equestrian-oriented advice:

Cowboy-Up!

Or if you prefer:

English-Up!

Perseverance – like manure – smells like money.

GAP

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Highs and lows …

Welcome to the New Year!  Does this “new year” feel a lot like “last year”?  And if last year wasn’t a “great year”, what will that do to our outlook?  It can be easy to find oneself in a rut, true?  Ruts present us with the proverbial crossroad:

The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.

Unknown Sage

One option is to work our way out of said rut.  Yes, yes, often easier said than done.

On the other hand, was last year your best year ever?  Did you experience an unbelievably successful event?  The highest of highs?  Getting too jacked up on something can also have detrimental impacts.  I mean, not every year can top the previous year forever, can it?  Besides, we may have been more lucky than good:

Successful people are incredibly delusional about their achievements.  Over 95 percent of the members in most successful groups believe that they perform in the top half of their group.  While this is statistically ridiculous, it is psychologically real. 

Marshall Goldsmith

Even when we truly are that good, if we’re not careful past success can put us on a road towards failure:

I once heard someone joke that the road to success is marked with many tempting parking places. 

Harvey Mackay

Finding that channel between being too low and too high seems to be the key to continued success don’t you think?  Steady improvement; balance; long-term growth; patience and persistence in the face of occasional set-backs; that’s what many strive to maintain.

Sometimes we find this channel only after navigating through a few detours:

Principles of success

  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  • Whatever you have done is never a complete failure. It can always serve as a bad example.
  • When the going gets tough, everyone leaves.
  • In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  • It’s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make them simple.
  • If you try to please everybody, nobody will like it. 

Unknown Sage

Yes, life has many ups and downs.  And if you believe as I do that both success and failure are indeed unavoidable in our life’s journey, then that begs the question, “What do we do about it?”

Perhaps a few thoughts about ritual and/or alternative action would be worthwhile.  Permit me to offer examples.

When I find myself too wound up or too wound down my favorite, alternative action is to head to the corral.  There is something about being around horses that calms me.  Others may put on their running shoes and head out for a long run.  Going to the range and hitting a few hundred golf balls might be your preferred action.  Maybe praying in church or meditating restores calm and confidence.  Whatever your preference, what’s most important I think is to have a strategy for addressing life’s twists and turns.

My college basketball coach and life mentor offers this example about one of his rituals:

My frustrations or overwhelming joy were taken out scrubbing the kitchen floor.

Harley Knosher

And yes, there were times during our basketball season that Harley’s kitchen floor was spotless!  I won’t say whether that was due to our victories or our defeats.  Such is the nature of competition – in sports; in business; in life; agreed?  But he had this and other alternative actions to help him deal with life’s highway.

What are yours?

GAP

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Bulldozers…

I was speaking with a manager recently; small talk mostly; family; friends; current events.  With the age of his children, he is more tuned into today’s primary and secondary education systems than I am.  (My wife and I have to rely on the Google Machine whenever we help our second grade grandson with his math homework.  How did we ever make it to this century!!!?)

Anyway, the manager was describing today’s trend of parental “participation” in their children’s schools.  It used to be referred to as “helicopter moms” or “helicopter dads”.  You know, hovering over their children and their children’s teachers and their children’s coaches; “helping” their sons and daughters succeed; risk of failure was not an option.

And just when we thought things could not get worse… he tells me today’s trend is “bulldozing parents”; not simply hovering, guiding, influencing.  No – today, many parents actually do the school work for their sons and daughters.  Today, they’re trying to bulldoze the risk of failure out of the equation altogether.

But will it work?  Will today’s grade schoolers and high schoolers become successful adults if their parents are “bulldozers”?  I guess we will find out in the future when they encounter their first hardship solo.  In the 21st century, do you think we can still learn from Attila the Hun?

Huns learn much faster when faced with adversity.

Wess Roberts

In the meantime, when these young ones enter today’s workforce, what will happen to them sans bulldozer parents?  As sales managers, what lessons cross over into the business world from our modern education (and parental) systems?

I was speaking with a sales director friend of mine recently – he likes to check in from time to time; he thinks “the old guy can still hunt”.  We were discussing front line sales management and the “principles of gravitational pull.”

He said he sees many sales managers working extra hard trying to help their under-performing sales reps.  A common phenomenon, true?  When I asked what extra hard work he sees sales managers performing with (or for) their under-performers… his testimony was predictable; “Well, they help their under-performers on sales calls…”  And there it stands – hidden in plain view – the gravitational pull of sales managers “jumping in” to rescue a deal they fear their under-performers would otherwise lose – “Bulldozing”.

The stark reality about under-performers – which research after research continues to confirm is – they aren’t going to make it.  The sales manager’s time is best invested with their top performers.  When the under-performers don’t make it, the sales managers’ “bulldozing” yields a handful of deals and lots of open positions (temporarily occupied or not):

Among the chief worries of today’s business executives is the large number of unemployed still on the payrolls. 

Unknown Sage

Easy for me to blog about – extremely hard to do in the “real world”… but IMHO rather than “bulldozing”, when a sales manager is in the field with an under-performing sales rep, the manager has to allow the rep to fail; even if it means losing the deal.  It’s what happens after the sales rep fails that counts:

It seems to me that the largest impediment to a healthy attitude toward failure is our inability to distinguish between just plain being stupid and failing on the way to great success. 

Unknown Sage

Bulldozers are commonly used to start construction projects.  But they are long gone before that project is successfully completed.  Failing to move the bulldozers out of the way would be plain stupid.

GAP

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2019 – A year of Fulfillment?

Welcome to the New Year!  Will it be our best year yet?  …

When preparing for an excellent year, I always recommend starting at the beginning; in this case writing our 2019 Annual Achievement Plan.  Planning our year is more than simply thinking about a few goals.  Unwritten goals without corresponding milestones are just “hope”, and as the business book title suggests, Hope is not a Strategy©.

Nonetheless, our 2019 Achievement Plan should start with a point of reference:

The first and most important thing about goals is having one. 

Geoffrey Albery

Then, to advance our Plan we should write down our goals.  And when writing our goals, I believe it’s wise to incorporate the “Principle of Balance”:

At work, many of us write business plans thinking only in terms of the Financial Success quadrant, true?  Yes, financial success is important.

I remember while leading top sales teams, I would occasionally hear one of my Producers say that being family-oriented was more important than sales success.  I agree.  However, I believe one of the best ways to care for my family is to be successful in sales or whatever endeavor one pursues.  Money may not buy happiness, but I believe it’s harder to be happy if you’re broke.

The Financial Success and Family quadrants are connected and I believe in establishing personal goals for my family role, too.  Writing down goals for our family is quite personal – but just as important as any other quadrant in our Annual Achievement Plan.  It could be taking a family vacation; committing to time each day with the kids; “unplugging” while at dinner with our spouse; calling Mom and Dad each week.  It’s all of those “little things” that make a big difference to our family.

Go on – take a moment to write down your 2019 goals for the role you will play with your family; we’ll wait.

The importance of the Personal Development quadrant in our plan is another key to success – as the business book title suggests, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There©.  Personal Development is, well, personal.  Yet writing goals in our Personal Development quadrant reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Leading us to the Fulfillment quadrant.  Our favorite, Unknown Sage puts it this way:

Life is measured by the number of moments that take our breath away.

Although I advocate writing an Annual Achievement Plan; with measurable goals; corresponding milestones; striving to make each year my best year yet…  I also believe in the power of imagination; the presence of magic; and the purpose of fulfillment.

The idea came from a former colleague of mine, Peter Goodwin.  He believed in the annual planning process too, but added a unique twist to his that I have since incorporated into mine.  Each year I write down lifetime fantasies that if I could be so blessed, I will achieve.

And when I do realize the fulfillment of one of those fantasies, I don’t check it off the list.  No, it remains on my Annual Achievement Plan with the date of the fulfillment; serving as a milestone, a constant reminder of the power of fantasy; the presence of magic.  And it reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Go ahead – update your list of fantasies in the Fulfillment quadrant of your 2019 Plan.  And please “DREAM BIG!” James Collins in his book, Built to Last©, called them:

Big, Hairy Audacious Goals!

So here’s to 2019– may it be our best year yet!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my past posts too: www.TheQuoteGuys.com