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What’s the answer…

I have a training class next month.  Classes afford me the enjoyment of a little intellectual sport.

When conducting class for our resellers I insert a variety of exercises designed to strengthen our problem-solving “muscles”.  A lot is being studied and a lot is being published about how technology is actually reducing our ability to think.  I mean, is artificial intelligence making mankind’s intelligence artificial?

I have contributed to the conversation myself (see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/02/self-obliteration/).  Instant messaging; email; social sites; et al, are contributing to the weakening of our intellectual capabilities; dulling our minds; making us stupid!

Sorry, I inserted that last phrase of hyperbole to catch your attention – odds are you’re reading my little ditty from a cell phone or a tablet while having additional devices and screens open; multi-tasking.  If you are driving – please close my post and keep your eyes on the road!  Please drive defensively against those around you – who are ignoring my plea and reading my post!

But I digress…

As I work with my partners on problem-solving exercises; constantly competing for their intellectual attention in the face of continuous multi-tasking; I get their frustration and their preference – “Gary, just give us the answer!”  In my last class, one participant Googled for the answer to the opening exercise (which was a 3rd grade math problem from the year 2000).  He didn’t even try to think.

I understand.  We’re all busy; we’re all stressed; we’re all distracted; we’re all connected every waking minute of every waking hour.  If you believe that such behavior has very negative impact on our intellect, it begs the question, “So what?”

To me, our value in the workplace of today and that of the future is based on our thinking abilities.  Simple jobs are being automated; employers are hiring robots; employees who can’t think will be left with the leftovers of the jobs machines won’t do, true?

So how do we gain or maintain our intellectual strength while avoiding Donsen?

Donsen’s Law

The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.

We are on top of the animal kingdom because of our minds aren’t we?  We can trace this fact all the way back to the invention of the wheel.  But what if they we’re distracted back then?  What if the invention of the wheel was overlooked due to the dulling that comes with technology?                           What are we not inventing today because we’re overly dependent on machines that may decide to overlook solutions to problems that impact mankind, but not machines?

I remain hopeful that we can snap out of our social media induced; cellular technology driven; Siri mind numbing; drone sleep-walking environment.  I believe we can reverse the trend and regain our intellectual strength:

Imagination is stronger than knowledge.

Dreams are more powerful than facts.

Hope always triumphs over experience.

Robert Fulghum

I enjoy Robert’s expressions of hope.  Here are a few more; https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/robert_fulghum

I understand.  Problems are hard; answers are easy; can’t we just get to the easy without going through the hard?  I don’t think so.

In class I try to offer a little fun in the pursuit of the “answers” because getting to the “answer” is grounded on the strength of our “thinking”.  The mathematical solution comes from the accuracy of the formula.  From the caveman days forward, it always has – don’t you think?

GAP

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In the trenches…

As a career sales professional I write a bit about sales – but you already know that.  No “commercial insight” in that statement as described in the book The Challenger Sale © by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

The Foreword to their book was written by none other than Neil Rackham, author of the best-selling business book SPIN Selling ©.  It struck me as a most-interesting (dare I say “insightful”) contrast:  A book written about modern day selling prefaced by the author of another book about selling, written literally last century (copyrighted in 1988).

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve learned and still apply teachings from Neil Rackham.  I try to keep learning, too:

Success is a lousy teacher.  It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. 

Bill Gates

So I read (and share) recent research in an effort to avoid losing – out there – in the trenches.

Permit me to get to today’s essence:  How do you sell?  Ready – Go!

Need more context?

…we live in an era when product innovation alone cannot be the basis for corporate success.  How you sell has become more important than what you sell. 

Neil Rackham

How we sell and why the customer buys from us vs. anyone and everyone else we compete against are flip-sides of the same coin, true?  Differentiation is the key.  But what do we differentiate on?

In absence of differentiation, the only thing left for the customer to base her decision on is price.  And if price is the deciding factor, we don’t need a sales force – we can put our products up on a web site and sell online.  How frequently do you find yourself spending the majority of your time defending your price with a prospect?

I ask again:  How do you sell?

Neil Rackham poses the question:  Would your customer pay you just for the experience of your selling process?  Is “how you sell” valuable in and of itself?  Heavy stuff!

Why does the research behind The Challenger Sale ® point to a handful of specific attributes that over 50% of all customers included in their study cite as the attributes of differentiation behind why they bought from a particular sales rep?  What are your attributes?  Want to compare?

The authors (Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson) list these 7 attributes as the key differentiators between those reps that win and all of the rest that lose – out there – in the trenches:

  • Offers unique, valuable perspectives on the market
  • Helps me navigate alternatives
  • Provides ongoing advice or consultation
  • Helps me avoid potential land mines
  • Educates me on new issues and outcomes
  • Supplier is easy to buy from
  • Supplier has widespread support across my organization

How do you compare?

It’s no secret that prospects value sales professionalism:

Prospects don’t get out much. 

Jill Konrath

Jill goes on to say that prospects are so busy running their business that they don’t get a chance to sit back and reflect on leading industry practices to be leveraged.  They rely on a sales professional to “offer unique and valuable perspectives on the market”.

Lest you believe that your company is “unique”; your products are “world class”; you “sell solutions”; and you seek to be a “trusted adviser”… beware.  These statements unto themselves are already commoditized.  To the customer, these claims are categorized as “Yea, you and everyone else on the planet”.

When we’re in the trenches of hand-to-hand, competitive conflict, what will our difference-maker be?  Here’s a hint: It’s how we sell.

Game on!

GAP

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Triangle – the conclusion…

This is the last little ditty devoted to the term “engagement” that is prominently used in Corporate America today.  I believe the term engagement has us surrounded.

Much has been said and much has been written about Leadership Engagement – that was my first post in this triangle series http://thequoteguys.com/2016/03/triangle-the-series/ .  Employee Engagement has also received lots of attention – that was the second corner of the triangle http://thequoteguys.com/2016/03/triangle-the-series-continues/ .  Today, let’s turn our attention to Customer Engagement.

I believe we can “feel” customer engagement when they are collaborating with us; i.e. actively participating with us in the pursuit of their solution (or problem resolution).

Alternatively, we’ve all experienced “that client” whose opinion of our company’s product or service wasn’t so hot:

After exhausting every possible way to assist an irate client for the past 45 minutes, and then concluding her phone conversation in the professional manner she had been trained for, the client service representative was heard to let out a pent-up, rhetorical question of frustration, “What does this customer want me to do about their problem, perform magic”?

Is magic (aka venting) the same as collaboration?  I don’t think so.

I’m referring to those customer interactions we have experienced where they help us help them.  I’m remembering situations where the customer wanted us to get it right.  And on those occasions when we strayed from what’s important – they offered us course-correction:

As a young, inexperienced salesman he was simply following the 1st call script he had been trained on.  Sitting in front of the Director of MIS of his largest prospect the salesman repeatedly emphasized his company’s outstanding customer service which he had rehearsed over and over again with his sales manager.  The sales rep ground on “service” and “servicing” to the point that the MIS Director finally interjected; 

“Gary, my family owns a dairy farm.  And periodically we take our cows down to a neighbor who has a bull so we can have our cows serviced.  You might consider not telling me how your company is going to service me.”

The young, inexperienced salesman course-corrected at his client’s suggestion and succeeded in securing a new account.

I suppose it can be hard to follow our customers’ direction at times.  I mean, we have invested all of that energy and effort becoming experts with our products and services – we’d like the customer to patiently sit there and listen to us spew all of our expertise, true?

Perhaps we can heed the advice Tom Sant wrote about way back in the 1990’s in his book Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win Customers, Clients, and Contracts ©

“GYST”:  Don’t write anything until you “Get Your Stuff Together.”  Lots of gas-filled balloons are launched from word processors by people who began to write before they really knew what they were talking about, why they were talking about it, or to whom they were talking.

If we can get past the spewing; if we can get to the GYST; if we can listen to our customer’s input; more times than not they will tell us exactly how to sell them; exactly how to get it right.  Besides, though we may think of ourselves as experts, our clients usually know the truth:

Make three correct guesses consecutively, and you will establish a reputation as an expert. 

Lawrence Peter

So let’s stop guessing; invite customer engagement; stop talking at them; start collaborating with them; accept their course-corrections; and gain their business.  After all, the commissions pay the same, true?

GAP

 

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Triangle – the series continues…

This is the second corner of a triangle I’m devoting to the term “engagement” that is prominently used in Corporate America today.  (Missed the first one? http://thequoteguys.com/2016/03/triangle-the-series/ )

Much has been said and much has been written about the term engagement in our modern marketplace.  Employee engagement as spoken by human resource professionals; customer engagement as spoken by marketing professionals; leadership engagement as spoken by management consulting professionals.  Engagement seems to have us surrounded.

Last week we examined leadership engagement.  In this week’s segment of the series let’s explore employee engagement.  Employees serve a key bridge between our companies’ leadership vision and the actual experiences felt by our clients:

If you want happy clients, first make sure that your client services employees are happy.  Everyone has run into that disgruntled client service representative who hates his job.

I recently read a report about millennials in our workforce and their lack of overall engagement.  Troubling – isn’t this the generation that will lead us into the future?  If they’re not engaged, how will we compete?

The report cites five reasons blocking millennial employee engagement https://hbr.org/2016/02/motivating-millennials-takes-more-than-flexible-work-policies . When we look at these reasons each one seems easily addressed, true?  What are we all waiting for?  (Is it the leadership engagement I wrote of in the first part of the series?)

If employee engagement is critical to business success in today’s global, competitive marketplace we have to get fired up!  For example, one of the oldest American industries is littered with failed businesses – big failures too; wiped out by competition.  Yet one company has arisen from the ashes as analyzed by a leading management consultant:

“We have the hardest working steel workers in the world”, said one Nucor executive.  “We hire five, work them like ten, and pay them like eight.” 

Jim Collins

We all get it – engage us; motivate us; lead us; pay us and we will forge steel with a level of effort on behalf of our company never before witnessed.  We can do it; so what’s stopping us?  Is it all of those silly, little, internal administrative processes that disillusion and ultimately diminish employees’ enthusiasm?

An angry worker goes into her company’s payroll office to complain that her paycheck is $50 short. 

The payroll supervisor checks the books and says, “I see here that last week you were overpaid by $50.  I can’t recall your complaining about that.”

“Well, I’m willing to overlook an occasional error, but this is two in a row.” 

Paul Dickson

OK, it could be that our company “bigness” has begot internal inefficiencies that irritate our employees from time to time.  It could be these minor mistakes are milking our pride; making us think our company is being run by a bunch of monkeys.  Could be, but…

There are many companies that still remain a beacon of pride, whose brand beams quality – dare I say “ENGAGEMENT”?

Welcome to Nordstrom… Here, almost in its entirety, is Nordstrom’s employee handbook:

We’re glad to have you with our Company.

Our number-one goal is to provide outstanding customer service.

Set both your personal and professional goals high.

We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. 

Bob Nelson

Hang tough millennials (and all generations in today’s diverse workforce), we too have great confidence in your ability to achieve your goals.

If we are a team of five, let’s produce like ten.  Let’s engage to make our company a beacon of pride.  Our customers will help us; as I will discuss next week.

GAP

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Remarkable…

Like many of you, I occasionally indulge myself with self-reflective thoughts about my life; my career; my accomplishments; my legacy.  Like many of you, I have accomplished some remarkable things.  And like many of you, I have much more to do while I am still able to do it.

Yes, there are those among us that will go to any means to achieve greatness.  And yes, we live among boasters; pretenders; cheaters; and shady characters – all sharing an obsession of individual achievement.  Even when it means stepping on those below to raise themselves up.  Unfortunately, this is so commonplace today; it is no longer very remarkable.

And yet, there have been many, many remarkable people that have left a much more positive legacy.     Recently, one such remarkable person passed away.  An examination of the accomplishments he achieved in his profession would stimulate envy in any of us.

Yet, the most remarkable thing this great person accomplished has nothing to do with his job.  In fact, when we think about it the source of his most long-lasting fame it has quite an unremarkable origin.  He definitely accomplished what B.C. Forbes said:

Use life to provide something that outlasts it.

Permit me to offer this remarkable summary courtesy of Wikipedia.

He lived 90 years.  He quit school after the eighth grade. He was a baseball player – but not just any baseball player.  He made it all the way to the Major Leagues; but he didn’t just “make it there”.  He was an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion as a player.  He is one of only five players to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award three times.  Widely regarded as one of the greatest players at his position in baseball history, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.

But he accomplished even more.  He was one of seven managers to lead both American and National League teams to the World Series. As a player, coach, or manager, he appeared in 21 World Series and won 13 of them.  In 1972, his team retired his uniform number 8.  He is honored with a plaque in Monument Park and was named to the MLB All-Century Team in a vote by fans in 1999.

Remarkably, he had a cartoon character named after him (and a string of camp grounds across the country to boot).  Yet, we know him more for a totally different aspect of life and his legacy.  And that part of his legacy continues to inspire – including our favorite, Unknown Sage:

No sense in being pessimistic.  It wouldn’t work anyway.

You hear his words and phrases often – you might even use some of them yourself:

You can observe a lot just by watching.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. 

And,

If you don’t know where you’re going, when you get there, you’ll be lost.

Yes, during his career he was widely regarded as the greatest catcher of all time.  But his time was before my time so I really didn’t see his greatness as a player.  Yet his legacy rises above his career accomplishments and really has nothing to do with baseball.

No, it was his humility; his sense of humor (intended or unintended); his image of a common man (physically he stood 5’7”) that we will remember as long as we can remember.  Lawrence Peter Berra, aka Yogi Berra, led a remarkable life and left a remarkable legacy indeed.

May we all be so lucky.

GAP

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Hyped Performance…

I recently wrote a little ditty about high performance, see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/04/high-performance/  Excellence in performance is a wonderful thing to behold in the workplace; in the classroom; on the field of competition, isn’t it?  And when we get to see the best of the best during our lifetime, it’s awesome!

However… in these modern times sometimes performance gets a bit hyped.  “Best in our lifetime” is different than “Greatest of all time”, true?  I’m OK with such a designation as long as there is evidence.  But what “evidence”?

In business, we often work for companies that claim being “the biggest”; “the best”; “the first”; “the leader”.  But based on what evidence?

How about the sales profession?  I have a personal list of my sales “Hall of Famers”, but I must admit my evidence is subjective.  Plus, I’m only familiar with a sliver of successful sales professionals.  Again, what is the evidence used for comparison?

Of course, the sporting world is renowned for hyperbole around the “Greatest of all time”.  Take the NBA; is LeBron James the greatest player of all time?  Michael Jordan?  Well, let’s look at the evidence.  If we use NBA Championships, LeBron’s next ring will give him a total of 3; not even making the list of the Top 27.  Michael Jordan’s 6 rings are 2 behind Tom Heinsohn and 5 behind Bill Russell, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NBA_players_with_most_championships#List

Well, maybe individual scoring should be the evidence.  Sorry LeBron fans; he doesn’t crack the Top 25.  And Michael Jordan?  He has 2 seasons in the Top 10 of all time.  But Wilt Chamberlin has 5 seasons in the Top 10, including 1 – 3, and in Wilt’s 1961-1962, all-time scoring season he averaged 50 points per game – averaged!

Triple-doubles is better evidence you say?  OK, LeBron has passed Michael in that category, with 36 games vs. 28 games of triple-double performance.  And we can pretend that makes LeBron the “Greatest of all time”.  Except for Oscar Robertson’s 181 games with a triple-double performance.  In fact, according to Sports City:

1961-62, Oscar Robertson, while playing for the Cincinnati Royals averaged a triple-double over the entire season. He averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists. Robertson is the only player to ever accomplish this.

No worries – when there is an absence of evidence, we can still be entertained by simply pretending hyped performance is synonymous with greatness:

Former NBA center and coach Johnny Kerr said his biggest test as a coach came when he coached the then-expansion team the Chicago Bulls and his biggest player was 6’8″ Erwin Mueller.

We had lost seven in a row and I decided to give a psychological pep talk before a game with the Celtics, Kerr said.  I told Bob Boozer to go out and pretend he was the best scorer in basketball.  I told Jerry Sloan to pretend he was the best defensive guard.  I told Guy Rodgers to pretend he could run an offense better than any other guard, and I told Erwin Mueller to pretend he was the best rebounding, shot-blocking, scoring center in the game.  We lost the game by 17. 

I was pacing around the locker room afterward trying to figure out what to say when Mueller walked up, put his arm around me, and said, “Don’t worry about it Coach.  Just pretend we won.” 

James S. Hewett

I don’t know who the “Greatest of all time” is in any field.  But I do enjoy the entertainment associated with hyped-performance arguments, LOL!

GAP

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Committed?

I’m a Denver Broncos football fanatic.  This of course means, I’m in morning over the way our season abruptly ended in defeat.  Beat handily by the Indianapolis Colts, who were subsequently pummeled by the New England Patriots – we were clearly not the elite team that we thought we were.

It reminded me of a key leadership message delivered at our 2015 sales kick-off meeting:

Complacency kills opportunities for success.

Were the Denver Broncos complacent?  Maybe not exactly.  I think their demise can be attributed to something else – something worse.  The same something worse that can happen at a company.

As it turns out… the leaders of the Denver Broncos were engaged in the pursuit of next year’s opportunities vs. remaining focused on this year.  It was reported that the EVP of Football Operations (John Elway) and the Head Coach (John Fox) were “not in sync”; “mutually agreed to separate”.  Actually, it was worse than that.  They were not committed!

Leadership commitment rolls downhill, don’t you think?  Elway was not committed to Fox; therefore, Fox’s Offensive Coordinator (Adam Gase) and Defensive Coordinator (Jack Del Rio) lacked commitment – which they reciprocated by poorly preparing their players for the Divisional Playoff – and the players portrayed what non-committed playing looks like.

Leadership commitment – we can all feel the presence; or absence; of leadership commitment, can’t we?  I suppose it originates from the old adage:

In a ham and egg breakfast, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed. 

Unknown Sage

The Denver Broncos leaders were “involved” in their Divisional Playoff game, as were their players.  But they were not committed.  And the lack of commitment, closely related to complacency, infected the entire organization.  That day – they were beaten.

At the start of our 2015 sales year, my company’s leadership warned of “complacency”; closely related to “commitment”.  Not just whether our leaders are committed.  In business like football, a company’s success is attributed to everyone’s commitment, true?

Contrast the Denver Broncos debacle with miraculous come-from-way-behind-victory the Seattle Seahawks accomplished in their Divisional Championship game.  Although their quarterback (aka, “field general”) Russell Wilson threw four interceptions, his teammates refused to lose.  I say again – his teammates refused to lose!

It’s one of the reasons I coach sales professionals to “hunt as a pack”.  The Steve Jobs’, miraculous Apple rescue aside, trying to win in business today from the efforts of a singular, super star, hero comes with a corresponding “Hail Mary” chance of success.

Back to football; according to Wikipedia:

A Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass in American football, made in desperation with only a small chance of success,… 

The term became widespread after a December 28, 1975 NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (a Roman Catholic) said about his game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

Yes, business requires risk-taking.  And it’s true that not every business risk can have a successful outcome.  But dealing with business risk should be at a far distance from relying on a Hail Mary.

I prefer to rely on a group of people (aka “the pack”); united in a common cause (aka 2015 goals); helping each other recover from interceptions (aka “occasional mistakes”); all the while portraying a zeal for success (aka commitment!).  I believe my teammates (and our leaders) refuse to lose in 2015.  Because of this commitment it will be a very good year.  Yours?

GAP

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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 

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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.

Worth it?

I love sports, how about you?  I think I watch a pro, college, or high school game every evening.  I watch more than I participate these days.  You know the old adage:  “I used to be an athlete but now I’m just an athletic supporter.”  And this week is Masters Week in golf – yeah! 

But there is also a dark side to sports; not what the Greeks had in mind when the Olympics were established. 

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 

Unfortunately, this type of bad reputation seems to be increasingly more common in sports these days.  So bad that it is starting to beg the question, “Is it worth it?” 

From www.definitions.net: 

Worth (prep.)

1. good or important enough to justify (what is specified):

advice worth taking; a place worth visiting.

2. having a value of, or equal in value to, as in money:

This vase is worth 20 dollars.

3. having property to the value or amount of:

They are worth millions.

4. (n.)excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:

people of worth.

5. usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose:

Your worth to the team is unquestionable.

6. value, as in money. 

“Important enough to justify; excellence in character; usefulness as to the world.”  Do these attributes come to mind when you think of sports?  Or does, “value, as in money” dominate sports today? 

Think back on our sporting headlines: Rutgers University’s abusive basketball coaching videos; accusations of payola and grade fixing in Auburn University’s football program; the National Baseball League’s 50 game suspensions for performance enhancing drug abuse; Lance Armstrong; Tiger Woods.  There seems to be no end to lightning rod images in college and professional sports. 

Even at the parental level, sports can morph into bad situations.  It used to be that kids played sports for the fun of it.  Is back-to-back, competitive baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, 365 days a year, year-in and year-out worth it?  It’s not unusual to hear the story of teenagers dropping out of their sport because they’re “burned out”; as a teenager!  Really – was it worth it? 

Thankfully for many of us, there still is a positive place for sports.  And thankfully, there are still sports men and women who believe in the precepts of teamwork, fair play, and character building through competitive lessons, true?  It’s still worth it. 

And for those of us whose playing days are over, there remains great entertainment value in watching, reading and debating the highlights of the day’s teams (whether today, yesterday, or yester-year is our paradigm).  Here’s an example – Who is the greatest basketball player of all time?  LeBron James (today’s paradigm)?  Michael Jordon (yesterday’s paradigm)?  Wilt Chamberlain (yester-year’s paradigm)?

Recently, one of my college basketball teammates shared this 2 minute and 42 second YouTube video.  It’s a clip from a high school basketball game and reinforces the positive power of sports:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTaB-hPg0P4

In our world of me-first; trash-talking; win-at-any-cost; if-you-ain’t-cheating-you-ain’t-trying; athletics – the perspective of these high school kids in this game is what I would call worth it! 

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.