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Jerk…

Now there’s a word used often in our society these days, yes?

During my performance appraisals my manager has given me superior ratings in all but one area.  In my company’s rating scale, the highest level of performance is labeled “Outstandingly Awesome”.  I like that label.

To be sure, I’m as motivated as anyone to have my performance rated outstandingly awesome.  I’m as competitive as anyone to “win”.  I have strived from childhood to adulthood; work and play; continuously reading training and motivational materials to help me earn outstandingly awesome recognition.

I often envision myself on the podium; waving a bouquet of flowers; kissing the pretty hostess; preparing for the glorious interview where the interviewer asks, “Gary, how did you do it?”  And on occasion, I’ve actually been on that podium (albeit sans flowers, pretty hostess or the interviewer).

Does this envisioning make me a jerk?  Am I arrogant and obnoxious?  Well, from time-to-time I would acknowledge – guilty.  My manager has so-noted in that one area on said performance reviews, too.  In my defense – is such an attitude and approach an outcome from how I was coached?

Al McGuire, former head basketball coach of Marquette University, once said, “A team should be an extension of the coach’s personality.  My teams were arrogant and obnoxious.”

Al McGuire

At this stage of my career I have finally accepted the fact that sometimes, I don’t play well with others (aka am a jerk).  Even though I have succeeded in my career by “playing angry” (which I recently wrote about http://thequoteguys.com/2017/07/playing-angry/ ), I’m finally at a point where I agree I could lighten up a bit.

Winning in business and in life is so much more than the podium, don’t you agree?

The most valuable thing you can ever own is your image of yourself as a winner in the great game of life, as a contributor to the betterment of humankind, as an achiever of worthy goals. 

Tom Hopkins

So, to get me headed in the right direction my boss’ boss jumped in and asked me to read Emotional Intelligence 2.0 © by Dr. Travis Bradberry.  You might have noticed I quote him often.  His book starts with a self-diagnostic.  I actually rated much better than I had expected; 74 – which means “With a little improvement, this could be a strength.”  Today, I keep the book on my desk with the pages dog-eared to the sections on addressing conflict with emotional intelligence.

Liking this new path I am exploring at this stage of my career, I next read What Got You Here Won’t Get You There © by Marshall Goldsmith.  I enjoyed one of his foundational points, articulated by the famous management consultant, Peter Drucker:

We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do.  We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop.

After all of these years, I finally have a manager who is helping to teach me what to stop.  Oh he still wants and expects my outstandingly awesome, competitive fire.  He’d just like me to play nicer with others.

So I returned to my recent readings seeking advice for improvement – and found it:

There’s a simpler way to achieve being nicer.  All you have to do is stop being a jerk. 

Marshall Goldsmith

Well, my manager; his manager; Dr. Brad; and Marshall Goldsmith are all pointing me to the solution.

Many receive advice.  Only the wise profit from it. 

Publilius Syms

And only a jerk would ignore Publilius Syms, true?

GAP

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Learning…

2017 has started off with a bang!  My department is “doubling down” on the enablement programs, training classes, and learning content we provide to our re-sellers.

For instance, instead of leading an in-person sales enablement class every other month (as I did in prior years); in 2017 the class cadence is monthly.  Couple that with conducting on-site enablement meetings for our larger partners, along with re-casting (aka “re-writing”; “improving”; “finishing”; “fixing”) existing enablement content for my external audience and there you have it – bang!  OK, OK – perhaps a bit unfair on felling I must fix our existing content.  Still learning…

Thankfully, I have the perfect job:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. 

Confucius

My Boss also seems happy that I am happy staying so busy:

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

Unknown Sage

There are many reasons why I love doing what I do in the sales enablement field.  First and foremost, the term “enablement” is conveniently vague.  Combine such vagueness with a manager who is very empowering means I get to do what I think I should do; the way I think I should do it; leveraging the knowledge, skills and experiences I have learned over the past 40 years; and enabling others the way I was enabled by those who took me under their wing – and still do!

Another reason why I love what I do is I get a front row seat in the fascinating arena of adult learning;

To teach is to learn. 

Japanese Proverb

I get a kick out of working with seasoned, senior, experienced, successful sales, marketing and business professionals.  I get to observe those that invest effort and energy to learn; as well as those that invest effort and energy to remind me what they have already learned (aka “Gary, I know; I KNOW!”).  It makes me reflect on, “…the chief worries among business executives…”

I think I get it (e.g. I’m learning).  My successful audience doesn’t want me to try to teach them things they have already learned.  Fair enough – sounds like my kids when they were growing up and complaining about my repetition.  “Yes Dad, I know. Dad – I KNOW!” So I’m (still) learning what my clients “KNOW!”  I do my best to add new learning value in the time they invest with me.

And then I reflect – wait a minute – I’m seasoned; I’m senior…experienced…successful… We’re in agreement.  “Don’t repeat what I’ve already learned in the past – help me learn what I need to know for the future.”  And that’s the key to adult learning IMHO for the sales profession of today.  Sales professionals realize:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.  It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.  Every morning a lion wakes up.  It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle.  When the sun comes up, you better start running. 

African Proverb

Past success does not guarantee future nourishment.  Those darn, up-and-comers (aka Millennials) I have written about frequently are hungry.  They know they don’t necessarily have to out run the fastest lion to capture the slowest gazelle; they just have to out run we seasoned, senior, experienced, successful sales people.

Rise and shine everyone – time to start running – and learning!

GAP

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Authenticity…

A lot has been said and even more has been written about being authentic.  I attended a social media marketing for business MeetUp where the topic was Google’s plan to rank authenticity highest in their search; threatening that posers risk being bypassed in searches altogether.  Not sure how that applied to our recent Presidential elections; but I digress…

Dr. Travis Bradberry is one of my favorite and authentic bloggers.  His recent post, “10 Unmistakable Habits of Utterly Authentic People” caught my eye.  I particularly liked his Oscar Wilde reference:

Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Wilde made it sound so simple, but living with authenticity is a real challenge.

To live authentically, you must own your actions and ensure that they align with your beliefs and needs. This can be a difficult thing to maintain when external forces pressure you to do something you’re not comfortable with or to be someone you’re not.

External forces… Beliefs and needs… be someone you’re not…  hmmm.  Check it out: http://www.talent-smart.net/10-Unmistakable-Habits-of-Utterly-Authentic-People.php

Dr. Travis’ reference coupled with my recent trip to Toronto reminded me of an authentic experience of my own.  In 2008, I interviewed for a Sales Rep role in Denver.  One of my interviewers was the local Sales Manager, Chris (affectionately referred to as “The Bear”) followed by his boss.  Chris now works in our Toronto office.

After the customary resume review and phone screening, I was invited for an in-person interview.  Sitting in a conference room Chris rumbled in; dramatically plopping my file down on the table.  He started the conversation about my application this way:

“Pokorn, what are you doing here?  You’ve done my job; Hell, you’ve done Danny’s job.”

In a moment of authenticity I reacted, “It’s because I have done your job and I have done Danny’s job.  At this stage of my career, taking care of just me seems like a pretty good option.”

That was good enough for Chris and his boss Danny – I got the job; turned out pretty well, too.  Over my career, I was an excellent sales manager; but I was an even better sales rep – one of the rare breeds – a “Hunter”.

Like many sales reps, I had spent a significant part of my career trying to play that Corporate Ladder Game.  Stephen R. Covey wrote about it:

Avoid the ladder against the wrong wall syndrome:

Meaning, we climb the proverbial ladder of success only to find that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

So, in 2008 I (finally) had the opportunity to be authentic and returned to my roots of “Hunting”.  Not that such a role is a panacea.  One of the best Sales Hunters I know recently lamented:

Gary, I am done with hunting the proverbial whale only to have the villagers at my company drag off the carcass for a feast leaving me no other choice but to go back out on the hunt. 

John Kleinhenz

It’s OK – Such a moment of complaint wasn’t authentic for the John I know.  Everyone is entitled to vent now and then.  John is as authentic as they come; and Dr. Travis addresses that, too:

They don’t complain about their problems.

Complaining is what you do when you think that the situation you’re in is someone else’s fault or that it’s someone else’s job to fix it. Authentic people, on the other hand, are accountable.

Ah yes – “accountability”.  Lots has been said and lots has been written about that too… but I digress.

GAP

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Philosophy or fact?

When I Googled for the definition of “philosophy” I found:

The study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience.

The theoretical basis of knowledge, hmmm.  Sounds… well… philosophical.  But I digress:

Digress: Leave the main subject temporarily in speech or writing.

I’ve been attending a new MeetUp for B2B sales reps and the last session, facilitated by Chad Burmeister, author of Sales Hack © and Director of Sales Development at Ring Central, was stellar (http://www.meetup.com/denversales/events/230718803/ ).  Chad facilitated an examination of cold-calling; starting with the rhetorical question, “Is cold-calling dead?”

Rhetorical: (of a question) asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.

And continuing on with Chad’s leading practices for cold-calling tools, tactics and techniques.  His presentation and discussion was stellar.

Of course, during the MeetUp many attending sales professionals offered differing opinions about their preferred cold-calling tools, tactics and techniques.  And as anyone even slightly involved in the business development field (e.g. sales, marketing, branding, etc.) would know – much is being said and more is being written on the topics of cold-calling, social media selling, and the like.

Chad’s presentation offered facts and statistics supporting his beliefs.  When others chimed in they too offered facts in support of their beliefs.  I’ve noticed when I am exposed to other authors, presenters and pontificators and their cold-calling beliefs each offers a persuasive set of facts as evidence proving the truth behind their pontification:

Fact:  A thing that is indisputably the case.

But if everyone has their own set of supporting facts, even if their beliefs around the singular topic of cold-calling are different, what is the truth?

Truth:  The quality or state of being true.

Wait – what?  Truth is the state of being true?  What the hell does that mean?  Ah…but I digress…

All-in-all, my pursuit of the “truth” seems to keep me in a constant state of self-reflection:  How do my beliefs (and corresponding facts) compare to the beliefs (and facts) of others?

I believe I am a die-hard, self-reflective sort.  As a life-long-learner, I find myself constantly asking “Why?” when presented with beliefs and facts that have serious impact on my professional success.

I am told in the book, The Absurdity of Human Life © by Tom Nagle – he writes of the collision between what in life we take seriously while simultaneously doubting the “why” behind these serious things.  I am also told (having never taken the pursuit of philosophical investigation seriously) that the 16th century French philosopher Rene Descartes (considered a “modern skeptic” of his time) suggested we should subject everything to doubt and see what is left.

As a self-confessed skeptic, my continuous search for answer to “why”?” seems to fall into Descartes’ philosophy of subjecting everything to doubt.  After doubting some of the beliefs that were debated during this MeetUp, what was left for me was an epiphany!

Epiphany: a moment when you suddenly feel that you understand something that is very important to you.

When it comes to cold-calling, social media selling, and any other form of sales-prospecting there is no “truth” regardless of what facts someone offers in support of their beliefs.  There are simply our beliefs and the corresponding results – nothing else matters.

In the sales profession if our beliefs are generating successful results, we should continue; if they aren’t, we should change.  “Change to what?” you might ask.  Well, simply change to beliefs that work.   Ut oh – does that sound too philosophical?

GAP

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Simply complicated…

Doing business in today’s modern, wired, fast-paced, multiple time zone world can be complicated, true?  It seems the more “Dos” we do on our “To Do List”, the more “Dos” show up.  In mathematical terms:

Greater Effort = Longer To Do List

Ever get caught up in this break-neck pace of activity at work?  Or even after work?  Ever find yourself booking back-to-back meetings for the day?  Extending throughout the week?  Ever find yourself in a situation where the first meeting starts late; then runs over; pushing the pebble of catchup that results in an avalanche of missed deadlines?  Does Deadline-Dan work at your company?

Deadline-Dan’s Demo Demonstration

The higher the “higher-ups” are who’ve come to see your demo, the lower your chances are of giving a successful one.

Is preparation the answer to complication?  Repetition?  Experience?  Education?  Ahhh, education – lots of buzz about education.

Ever notice the preponderance of peddlers peddling online universities offering an MBA in 20 quick weeks?  Do you find it strange that these learning pieces tend to be promoted by members of my generation appealing to (aka “preying on”) members of the younger generation – bright, albeit less worldly, more impatient folks who believe they can actually earn a Masters Degree in 20 weeks?

Ever notice those cyber, higher educational oriented Masters programs (aka “magic pills”) tend to be run by people appealing to (aka “preying on”) the younger generation – resulting in the increase of student loan debt if not true knowledge?

How did we get to this point of whirring; multi-tasking; stressed-out; magic pill seeking; catchup?  And regardless of how we got here, “What do we do about it?”

I read and hear a lot these days about multi-tasking; causing limited attention spans; blamed on childhood “A.D.D.”; and associated with the plethora of millennials invading our workforce. To be fair, we can add in memory loss (and technological cluelessness) associated with those of my generation – the Baby Boomers!

Is this simply the result of today’s complexities?  Our favorite, Unknown Sage offers a simple observation:

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.

Perhaps the simple answer is that today’s business is in fact complex.  It’s true that I find the endeavors of sales & marketing to be both fascinating as well as intellectually challenging.  And being in the sales enablement profession, I often wonder how to enable sales professionals on mastering these complexities.  Back to our Unknown Sage:

Anderson’s Law

Any system or problem, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.

There is no lack of enablement resources being peddled in the marketplace these days.  Just-in-time learning management systems; mobile phone training apps; bite-size pieces of “coaching consumables”; knowledge centers.  I wonder – do these simplify the problem, or make it, “become even more complicated?”

Indeed, there are lots of folks on the “sell-side” of this conundrum wanting those on the “buy side” to believe they have mastered the art of simplification by automating the learning of complexity in a series of simple, just in time, complexity-defeating consumables delivered via machine learning (and occasionally cyber universities).

Sounds simple.

GAP

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Style and Subtlety – Boom!

Yep – did it again.  Yesterday I fell into that all-to-common digital trap of our modern century – I blasted a colleague (and friend) on IM.  Ate those digital words this morning:

Pratter’s Prayer

Lord, make my words as sweet as honey, for tomorrow I may have to eat them. 

Unknown Sage

It was the usual setting:  I was digitally multi-tasking; fast and furious.  It’s quarter-end; a stressful time that comes around… oh… just every 90 days (funny how that works).  The combination meant I could, “double my pleasure – double my fun”:

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. 

Ashleigh Brilliant

I texted him a question; he texted back an answer; I didn’t like his answer; he didn’t like my question; I asked for an alternative; he said not a chance…  A frequent, digital argument expressed with directness and written in digital shorthand; punctuated with emoticons; all behind the shield of our monitors.

Collegial banter?  Depends on who’s the banterer and who’s the banteree.  That type of typing can quickly cut to raw emotions lurking nearer the surface during stressful times such as quarter-end.

We were briefly embattled with a “my way or the highway”; “I’m right – you’re wrong”; “compromise is for sissies”; “I eat Marines for breakfast” blast-fest.  Totally devoid of style or subtlety.  U2?  Been there done that I bet.  Not one of my proudest moments, digital or otherwise.

Style and subtlety; certainly diminishing dimensions in today’s digital era.  It’s actually worse than that.

Seemingly gone are the days of subtlety, statesmanship, irony, even sarcasm.  Texts and emails are written in black and white; read as black OR white.  Intentions behind the expressions are easily misinterpreted; feelings easily hurt; and everyone seems to have barbed retorts at the ready.

Even our political process has degenerated into a continuous barrage of confrontational accusations and insults vs. the skilled and stylish statesmanship of centuries past.  Oh they were direct back in the day, but within the context of a statesmanship image coupled with face-to-face bravery vs. digital cowardliness:

A story is told of a Woman Member of Parliament who, after an extensive tirade at a social function, scornfully told the Prime Minister, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk”, to which Churchill replied, “And you Madam, are ugly.  But I shall be sober tomorrow.”

Today, we don’t know if the statesman’s statement was sarcasm or irony having not been there to witness the state of his drunkenness nor the appearance of his accuser.  Because the event was face-to-face vs. digital, there could easily have been expressions of irony or sarcasm that dulled the barbs of the barbs.  Stylish statesmen of centuries past were able communicators and skilled in the art of avoiding black OR white confrontations.

Statesmanship, style and subtlety of the 20th century?  Boom!  Sacrificed for the sake of today’s digital age.  Replaced by the barrage of black OR white hyperbole perfect for IMs, emails, emoticons, and the evening news.

In business, should we even care?  Can we stop hiding behind our monitors?  Is subtlety mightier than the digital sword?  I think our favorite, Unknown Sage still believes so:

Subtlety is saying what you think, but then leaving before anyone really understands what you meant.

Digital communications technology can be wonderful – when used properly.  It can also be barbed weapons; hurting feelings; killing relationships when not.  Too easy and too often taken as black OR white.  Agreed?  Well, if not… I’m right and you’re wrong!

GAP

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Giving our best…

Football is my favorite sport.  A bit ironic I suppose, because football is the epitome of a time in my life that I did not give my best.  Actually, it was worse than that.  It was the one time in my competitive pursuits (in athletics or in business) that I quit.  I’ve lost many times; won my share too; quit once.

I quit my high school football team two weeks into the start of my junior year season.  It was the only time in my life that my Mom told me I disappointed her.  I can remember going into the head coach’s office to quit as if it was yesterday.  A bit ironic I suppose, because after being a starter and co-captain my freshman and sophomore years, I was not even planning to play my junior year.  I planned to focus on basketball.

The coach called and asked me to reconsider.  I agreed, but when I showed up I wasn’t prepared to give my best.  He and his coaches weren’t prepared to coach me up either.  At the age of sixteen, I decided that quitting was the only escape.  I’ve regretted it to this day.  A bit ironic I suppose – it’s not the not-playing that I regret; it’s the not giving my best.

I bet there have been special coaches and mentors who have had a positive impact on your life.  Coaches come in all shapes and sizes and use a wide variety of styles and techniques.  I bit ironic I suppose – some coaches resonate with us; some don’t.

Here’s a 6 minute movie clip about a high school, an underdog team, and their coach’s expectation about giving our best:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4

Probably not a technique that transfers into the business world today – but his message does, true?  Yes, the sporting world is different than the business world.  Nonetheless, we don’t have to go it alone.  Even the best-of-the-best have coaches.

In business, our favorite, Unknown Sage offers this:

Common misconceptions about coaching in the marketplace: 

“Coaching is primarily for correcting behavior” – If we only coach people when they do something wrong, we have missed the point. It’s about building not fixing.

“Coaching requires giving up power and control” – The manager relies more on influence. The person is still accountable.

“Coaching takes too much time” – Coaching takes too much time if you don’t do enough of it and you don’t do it correctly.

“Coaching is soft stuff” – The manager who avoids soft stuff usually does so because it is so hard. The work is easy; people are difficult.

“Coaching is laissez-faire management” – Freedom in the workplace, actually just about anywhere, is rooted in strict discipline.

“Coaching is simply being a good cheerleader” – A good manager has the courage and inner strength when needed to tell people the truth.

“Coaching is like therapy” – To be a good manager and coach one does need a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation, but therapy has no place in your relationship with the people you are leading.

Coaches enjoy occasional accolades, too.  The best I ever heard was a tribute to Bum Phillips, head coach of the then, Houston Oilers.  It was once said of Bum:

He could take his and beat yours – and then he could take yours and beat his. 

A bit ironic I suppose, but his players had no quit.  They gave him their best.  Imagine – what could we accomplish today if we just committed to giving our best?

GAP

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What’s different?

I flew to Boston yesterday to work with one of my clients in person (a novelty in itself in our web-meeting world of 2015).  Since the client was paying the travel expense, I simply let them book my flights.  JetBlue offered the best rate and schedule – so I flew JetBlue for the very first time.  What’s different?

We departed Denver 2 hours late.  “Weather in New England” was the culprit they offered.  Of course, the initial update was posted on the screens at the gate as a 55 minute delay.  They boarded us according to that posting.  I was seated in the last row; aisle seat; where coincidentally I could overhear the flight attendants chatter.

Well beyond the 55 minute posted delay, the pilot came on the intercom and offered, “We’re all set to go; just waiting on final route information from ATC.”  I overheard the flight attendants fill in the blanks.  “They’re routing us over Canada to avoid the weather.  We don’t have enough fuel.  When we take on more fuel, we’ll be overweight, so we’re going to have to take some passengers and their baggage off.”  Unbeknownst to those passengers of course.  What’s different?

An hour and thirty minutes past scheduled departure, the pilot updated everyone else on the fuel situation that I already overheard.  He left it up to the gate agents to deal with selecting eight passengers to de-plane.  “Looks like you’re going to miss your connections”, I overheard one gate agent say to a family of three.  “We’re going to take you off this plane and try to reschedule you on another.”

The problem was, I overheard a second gate agent say to a different passenger the next available flight was tomorrow; nothing else going from Denver to Boston tonight.  Same situation, different stories.  What’s different?

I know, we all have had our bad travel experiences.  And try as they might with their marketing slogans and in-flight announcements, aren’t all airlines about the same today?  What’s different?

Yet, this experience caused me to think about my in-person client work starting today.  What makes working with me different than every other sales professional they have ever worked with?  Before turning further attention to my reflections, permit me to expand the focus and ask, “What makes you and your company different?”

So whether important to my clients or not, here are the “Top 10 things that make Gary different”:

  • I’m a pretty good talker, but I’m an even better listener.
  • I’m pretty good at listening, but I’m even better at remembering.
  • I’m pretty good strategically with the “big picture”, but I’m even better tactically with identifying the myriad of details.
  • I’m a pretty good presenter, but I’m an even better problem solver.
  • I’m pretty good at committing to being prompt, but I’m even better at arriving prepared.
  • I’m a pretty good leader, but I’m an even better follower.
  • I’m pretty good at positioning my company competitively, but I’m even better at acknowledging the “reality of multiple solutions” each client has.
  • I’m pretty good at orchestrating a sales-cycle, but I’m even better helping my clients’ coordinate their evaluation process.
  • I’m pretty good at overcoming objections, but I’m even better at identifying client fantasies that no vendor and no product can address.
  • I’m pretty good at negotiating price, but I’m even better at helping my clients clarify the value.

In a nutshell – that’s what I believe makes me different.  OK now – your turn.

GAP

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Giving Advice…

Giving advice, now there’s a lightning rod topic.  It is a terrific compliment when someone solicits us for advice, yes?  However, when we give unasked for advice it can be received very differently.

It seems to me that advice-oriented conversations either progress (or digress) based on a variety of variables.  When should we speak?  When should we listen?  Whose advice should we follow?  How do we avoid that lightning rod?  Reminds me of a party:

Nothing makes me more tolerant of a neighbor’s noisy party than being there. 

Franklin P. Adams

But I digress.  I was approached by a young colleague seeking career advice last year.  He had two, internal opportunities; wanted my opinion on which one might be better.

His request was a compliment and a surprise.  I barely knew him; our jobs are unrelated; we didn’t even work on the same floor.  Nonetheless, he had been told I was some sort of seer or soothsayer or something so he sought me out for advice.  Of course, you already know how I feel about seers and soothsayers:

It seems to me that no soothsayer should be able to look at another soothsayer without laughing.

Cicero

I agreed to meet; discussed his career options; answered his questions the best I could; offered him a little seeing and soothsaying.  With a “let me know how things turn out”, I wished him well.

That was last year.  I see him in the office from time to time; say “hello” at the coffee machine.  I’m thinking the fact that he’s still with the company is a positive indication.  If I were clairvoyant, I would know for sure if my advice benefited him.  Of course, you already know how I feel about clairvoyants:

At a recent annual meeting of the International Association of Clairvoyants, the meeting began by reading the minutes of next year’s meeting. 

Unknown Sage

I was reminded of this collegial career advice encounter recently as I was finishing up a weekly, 1-to-1 conference call with one of my clients.  These 1-to-1 meetings have been both a compliment and a surprise.  I do my best to encourage my client to set the agenda; drive the conversation; focus his priorities.  And he does get each meeting started down a certain path.

But then, after asking for my advice he sits back… and … proceeds to multitask.   I can literally hear him keyboarding in the background and I notice as he occasionally puts me on mute for a moment or two.  Upon my inquiry, he apologizes offering that a “client issue” just hit his in box and he’ll “only need a second to respond”.  This of course, makes me wonder what kind of client issue only needs a second to respond?  But I digress.

In reality he is my client and I strive to comply with my clients’ requests – even for 1-to-1 meetings listening to their multi-tasking.  This particular client is very tenured and very experienced so when he sends me Meeting Requests I take them as both a compliment and a surprise.  Perhaps I’m simply confirming what he already knows: 

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t. 

Emily Jong

Sometimes we just need someone to help us sound out what’s on our mind, true? Sometimes it’s the listening not the advising that matters.  If I were a better soothsayer or clairvoyant, I’d know when to speak and when to listen.  I’d be better at avoiding that lightning rod!

GAP

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C = E³ + Rᵑ

Yes, yes, you’re right – I wrote a little ditty recently poking fun at the mathematicians in our B2B sales profession (see http://thequoteguys.com/2015/02/self-obliteration/ ).  So, what’s with today’s formula?

Well, I was asked recently by a colleague why I was willing to meet with him monthly and offer coaching as he pursues a career change from high school teacher to financial planner.  It was one of those questions that caused me to pause and ask myself, “Why am I willing to coach him?”

Which relates to related questions such as:

  • “What does the coach get from coaching?”
  • “How does a good coach get better at coaching?”
  • “If you had the choice between playing or coaching, which would you choose?”
  • And, “What’s the difference among coaching, managing, and leading in today’s business world?”

Stimulated by my colleague, I reflected on these questions.  (Truth be told – I think he thinks there’s a catch to my coaching.)

Believe it or not, as it turns out the easiest way for me to wrap my mind around the discussion is with a formula.  (Mea culpa, mathematicians!)

Coaching = (Empathy x Emulation x Echo) + Repetitionᵑ         

(Lots of Repetition)

So here I am coaching my colleague and since our business relationship is in its infancy, he runs my coaching points past his Manager in order to triangulate what I think with what he thinks with what his Manager thinks as he endeavors to build his portfolio of clients.  (Truthfully, I think his Manager thinks there’s a catch to my coaching offer, too.)

Perhaps one reason why he’s open to meeting with me is the first “E” of my formula: Empathy.

When I entered the sales profession back in the day, I was totally uncomfortable with cold-calling; totally clueless about presenting; I didn’t know how to overcome objections.  I wasn’t alone.  I too had to learn how to master all of these skills in order to succeed.  So I can certainly empathize with his career change challenges.

Emulation?  That’s a “gift”.  You see, I have made a career of analyzing how buyers buy.  As Rick Page said in his best-selling book, Hope is Not a Strategy©:

Sell the way the customer buys and allocate your resources accordingly.

Echo?  Thank you Dr. Rick Jensen.  I met Dr. Rick in circa 1998 when he was a practicing sports psychology coach on the PGA tour.  One of his “patients” was none other than Tiger Woods.  Although Tiger was a better golfer than Dr. Rick (dah!) – he still gained great value (and significantly improved his competitive results) by having a psychology coach on his team.

You see, Dr. Rick provided a perfect mirror for Tiger to “see” his mental approach to his game.  And with this “reflection” Tiger could gain confidence that what he was doing was in fact what he wanted to do.

Like Dr. Rick; I try to be the mirror of today’s “Modern Buyer”.

Rah yes, Rᵑ.  Repetition – lots of repetition – never ending, professional repetition (aka “practice”).  And the best way to practice?  With a coach.

Of course, it wasn’t always that way.  Back in the Middle Ages, Attila the Hun was not exactly renowned as a great coach, leading great practice sessions.  His hordes had to learn from trial and error:

Huns learn less from success than they do from failure. 

Wess Roberts

The problem with that approach in the 21st century is we don’t have many hordes of Huns who can afford to learn from error, true?

GAP

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