Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
|> Point One: Asking your marketing director to create a Social Media (SM) strategy is like asking your architect to develop a fastener strategy. No doubt the chosen building contractor will need to use nails, screws, and staples to build your house, but it's a misguided question. <|
Marketing Tactics – creating the steps/processes we need to take/create to execute these strategies. In other words: How are we going to meet our strategic marketing goals?
Marketing Tools – developing the materials and physical requirements for tactic execution. In other words: What assets do we or the business development and sales folks need?
|> The answer to the question: "Do you have a Social Media strategy?" is "That's impossible."<|
|> Point Two: Creating a Social Media (SM) budget is like asking your architect to develop a fastener budget. Again, she will need to spend a percentage of your budget on fasteners, but picking a number to spend on fasteners before you even have a blueprint is a ridiculous exercise. <|
|> The answer to the question: "How much should we budget for Social Media?" is "Nothing." <|
Sunday, December 5, 2010
So what does removing streetlights in England have to do with Marketing and Business Development?
We, as marketing strategists, tend to see two different responses to lower-than-desired marketing/bizdev performance: tighten controls (punish inaction) vs. increase empowerment (reward spirited effort).
First a caveat: I am not talking about decreasing measurement. You can (and should) continue to measure activity and not simply results, but how do you get that activity? Do you loosen controls and promote the spirit of the rule? Or do you tighten controls and ding people when they fail to hit those additional metrics?
It's pretty obvious where my head is here: hang on loosely.
People succeed in different ways. If I say everyone needs to go to two networking events every month – and we will measure attendance – we should expect to see a lot of "12" scores in six months, but should also expect to see widely varying results (sales, connections, engagement scores of the resulting contacts, etc.).
In any case, so far so good. We have everyone going to 24 networking events every year. This should end well.
But now we see that this "two per month" strategy isn't getting me as far as we expected. What happens next is the fork in the road.
1) Add additional controls, such as requiring them to collect four business cards at each event? That's 96 cards per person per year!
2) Teach them networking strategies and reward those who move their new contacts to the next level?
Why not do both? Sure, why not? Anything else you want to add to our unending pile of tasks?
Moving on... if you had to pick one, which would you pick?
My advice is to pick #2.
If you select #1... No amount of controls will get the "letter-of-the-law" people to create break-through results. But you will force the "spirit-of-the-law" people into checking off boxes they do not feel have any value and might interfere with their ability to get to that value. Worse still, in my opinion, you might find yourself dinging the "spirit" folks for only making three contacts, when they are actually getting far more value from their three contacts than your "letter" folks are providing from their four.
And then what happens next?
More controls. And more controls. And more of your "spirit" folks checking off boxes to get you off their backs. And getting punished (or having to argue for exceptions) when they are doing the right thing!
Back to the video.
Yes, of course some people will "cheat" and not take turns ... and they will be rewarded by getting to their destination a few seconds faster for doing so. And that's not fair! And that makes us angry! But it makes us angry at them, not at the people who made the rules. This is an important distinction for those of us who believe morale is critical.
Most importantly, the majority of people will do the right thing and, in the end, the overall value to everyone is extraordinary.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"Nice job David, I appreciated your insights and content this month especially."(Not edited since I had permission to post. In fact, the "David" here, David Spitulnik, Managing Director of Blackman Kallick's Strategic Services Group, specifically asked me to create this blog post.)
"Enjoyed your newsletter. Very interesting. I wasn’t aware of the _____
deal.We regularly have clients who are preparing their _____ but need to improve _____ . I will be happy to send these folks your way."
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard
I often explain that marketers are in the business of managing failure.
Marketers are more like kids at a party trying to get candy from a pinata. Sometimes our first swing hits the empty air.
When we clip the pinata, we readjust our aim, hoping this one will be more on target.
And when we hit the pinata just right ... everyone gets candy!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
"I was going 100 miles an hour that day. Of course, I'd have a small typo.""A typo? Who cares? Every e-mail has typos these days.""So I forgot to include a subject line. Stop being so picky."
- "You should receive the PDF form Nicki by 5pm today."
- "I now you like sushi, so let's meet at Yasu."
- "I never did here from Marc. Did you?"
- "Every sentence should stand up on it's own."
- "I haven't seen you're boss around lately."
Subject line: Please send me the updated Petrovich file. I also want Version 2 of the Montrose one. Thanks.Body:
- There is a preview pane now. So I can read most of your e-mail without opening it.
- The 'In' box is actually a thin column where people can see the sender's name and only a few words of your subject line. So I have to open up the e-mail anyway.
- When I open the e-mail, Outlook puts the subject line in a grey box, making your amazing creation harder to read.
Many businesses (if not all) are subject to governmental regulations and law changes.
Because of this, there are many experts who cover – either directly or tangentially – updates and pending law changes during their speeches and presentations. When they do, with a word, eye roll, or even tone of voice, they can quickly disengage half their audience.
Did you just use the term, "Obamacare?" Bad idea! Half the audience now believes you are the local leader of the Tea Party. They stopped thinking of you as an expert at anything. Now they see you in a bright red jacket with a gun in one hand and misspelled rally poster in the other.
Did you sigh when an audience member used the phrase "liberal agenda" in his question? Oops! Half the people in attendance have just decided you are anti-business. They now see you in a blue jacket (with leather elbow patches) handing all their hard-earned money to a welfare cheat.
It's a fact that Congress' decision on extending Bush's tax cuts is a critical business issue right now. But if you can't say "Bush" without verbally painting yourself red or blue, you need to call the tax cuts by another name.
|> Unsure if your words, looks or tone are betraying you and disengaging half your audience? Ask someone who sits on the far side of the aisle from you to attend your practice session. <|
You don't practice your presentations beforehand? Let me know when you are speaking next, so I can avoid it.
You don't know anyone who has stupid politics (i.e. disagrees with you politically)? You need to widen your circle and, again, let me know when you are speaking next, so I can avoid it.
In short words: If you are a true expert, you can keep your personal politics out of your presentations.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
We knew, then, that this was stupid. Not simply because the dichotomy was imaginary, but also because acting on it would limit our future success.
Fast forward to our career lives and there is an equally stupid either/or proposition: Technical ability vs. Marketing ability.
And the syllogism is just as stupid as it was when we were fifteen.
1) He gets good grades.
2) Therefore: He must be uncool.
1) She can make it rain.
2) Therefore: She must have, at best, mediocre technical ability.
Back in high school, I heard good students called 'losers' by others who didn't even know them.
Now, I hear strong networkers and marketers dinged for having 'poor technical skills' by people who have zero insights into that person's work product.
Do we think we get so many points and have to assign them to one category or the other? Of course, we don't. But we do believe that if we are technically able and cannot market, then we have made a positive choice.
Let me rip off your blinders and give you a new syllogism:
1) You are unable to be good at both marketing and service.
2) Therefore: You are jealous at others who might actually be good at both.
And, though this news will make you really unhappy, you need to hear it: There are plenty of rainmakers who have far stronger technical ability than you.
We do not get a fixed number of points and the skill sets that make people good marketers do not conflict with the ones that make people good at their craft.
Life is unfair. You are jealous. << Let's admit to both of these RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW.
Now you can stop assuming that people who can bring in business cannot also service that business or engineer innovative solutions. They can. And they do. And, very likely, they make far more money than you. And they deserve it.
So, why am I writing this? Because I am tired of companies rejecting strong marketers since they assume that these people cannot deliver on the technical side. And I am tired of the technical snobs rolling their eyes in marketing meetings, believing that marketing is for people without technical abilities.
All you are doing is limiting your own future and your company's future. Just like others tried to do to you back in high school. But now you are doing it to yourself and, worse, to others and to your organization.
It's not their fault you are bad at developing business; it's yours. And it's not because you have (or believe you have) superior technical ability. It's because you stupidly think that people only get so many points to assign.
It's time to graduate from high school. And, if you haven't noticed, the economy is weak right now. So, it's also time to improve your marketing skills.
The only thing holding you back is your belief that marketing ability and technical ability are on the same slider knob. They are on different controls and they can both go up to 10. (Or 11 for you Spinal Tap fans.)
Friday, October 8, 2010
David Spitulnik, Managing Director of Blackman Kallick's Strategic Services Group, and I wrote a synopsis of the talk, along with some tactical next steps for business owners.
You can read the article at The Strategy Insights blog.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I say this a lot and while it's a fairly large overstatement, I do learn business lessons from coaching soccer. And I often use these lessons when counseling or training (or boring) my clients and staff.
So it came as no surprise when I was sent the following:
Here is my favorite part:
Another important lesson football management has to offer business is that the manager does not sit, isolated, in a huge office, which removes him from close contact with all levels of his staff. He is literally on the sidelines.I would add that leaders should "coach from the sidelines…and only the players on the sidelines."
Sadly, most leaders don't get this. They phone down their edicts, keep performance metrics hidden, and mainly work with people on a one-to-one basis instead of building functional groups.
Winning takes a coordinated team. And a strong coach. And, apparently, lots and lots of soccer analogies.
Friday, September 24, 2010
What's the word? It's... JUST.
"Just" is a hateful word that means, in effect, "What you do is easy."
Examples: "Just set up a webinar so fifty of our prospects can ..." "Just write a white paper on this and have CFOs of ..." "Just get a speaking engagement at ..." or, using my fundraising friend's frustrated comment, "Just get ten percent of our members to make x-sized donations to the campaign."
What could be so hard about that? The idea is the hard part, right? The other person JUST needs to execute the idea.
As a marketing guy, I'm in the privileged position of hearing non-marketers talk about their marketing needs and their marketing people a lot. I hear the word "just" constantly. As in, "Why can't my marketing person just..." Often what follows is the equivalent of "...bicycle to Spain on a pogo stick." Not quite sure why you want to go there, but it's obvious that neither of the tactics you conflated will get you there.
Now, I know that people generally think what they do is hard and what other people do is easy (regardless of how much the other people are paid to do the easy work … or how much specific training they might have), but I believe that marketing people hear the word "just" more than any others. (Though now I wonder if fundraising people hear it more.)
Anyway... Here's the deal: The word "just" doesn't mean the other person's task is easy. It means that you likely do not understand what it would take to get that task done. And there is a word for people who don't understand something. That word is "ignorant."
In short: The next time you are about to use the word "just", ask, instead, "how" they would accomplish the task or realize the desired outcome. The solution might not be as straightforward as you think and, well, everyone just might learn something.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
It's amazing how many times I hear this. A quick look at that person's sales/origination figures, though, is proof enough that they are fooling themselves.
If you believe that great work sells itself, my friend, there are only two possibilities:
1) You are wrong.
2) You are not delivering great work.
Let's make one thing perfectly clear: Your clients expect great work. This is their jumping off point. And, once they get your 'great' work, they can move on the reasons they bought it from you: doing whatever they were doing before you arrived.
Your clients are not in the business of selling your services/products, nor of consuming more without being provided a business case for doing so. In fact, many clients do not realize how good they have it, since they have no perspective on what bad or mediocre work might look like.
And yet, despite all the proof to the contrary (read: consistently low rainmaking numbers), you persist in your belief that great work sells itself.
A related digression: They say if you build a better mousetrap people will beat a path to your door. This is a Field of Dreams.
1) How does anyone know you have a better mousetrap?
2) Why would anyone take the time to actively promote your better mousetrap?
The answer to these questions is the answer to the problem above.
If you do great work, let them know why you believe this is the case. ("See this mousetrap? Here is why it's better than the alternatives." Dyson understands.)
Better yet, show them by pointing out other places/ways where you can help them.
Or, at least, ask them if you are meeting/exceeding their expectations. If you receive criticism, fix it. If you receive a compliment, don't just say "Thanks" or, worse, "No problem." Use this as an opportunity to ask for more work or a referral. With luck, they will provide a compliment without such prompting. This is your opening to ask them to take the next step.
|> The bigger picture is letting them know you and they have a business relationship, not solely a customer/supplier one. <|How? Promote their services. Refer them business or make strategic introductions to help them fill gaps. Ask them how you can help their business beyond the scope of what you are doing now. Even beyond the scope of what you can provide yourself. (Here is the magic question: "Forget that I am a ______ for a second. What other business issues do you need help solving?") And then help them find someone who can fix it … unless you can yourself, of course. Since they have no idea what else you do, they might tee up some additional work. If nothing else, once they see you care about their business, they will probably return the favor.
The 'mousetrap' quotation has made me mad for some time now. Like the mousetrap the 'better' one replaces, it also needs fixing.
Here goes: "If you build a better mousetrap – and let people know about it – people will beat a path to your door."
But back to the people who believe great work sells itself. It'd be better for them to continue believing in the Tooth Fairy. At least with the Tooth Fairy real money changes hands.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
2) Call people by the names they call themselves. If they introduce themself as "Robert" then they are "Robert", not "Bob" or "Rob." There is a reason they said, "Hi, I'm Robert" and not "Hi, I'm Rob." It's what they want you to call them. If you are unsure, ask. Do not assume "Rob" is their nickname or, even if it is, that you get to use it.
3) Ask questions and then shut up and listen to the answer. It's amazing to me how many people ask questions, often good ones, and then quickly supply a possible answer. Sometimes long, involved answers that have the sole purpose of letting you know how smart they are. Really, you are just being a crashing bore. Smart people listen.
I'll leave you with a quote I saw on Quotivate (a fun LinkedIn group): "Knowledge talks, wisdom listens." -Anonymous
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This is why so many marketing advisors counsel on how to build a network. Some even teach you how to monetize it, which is the hard part (and why so many advisors focus only on the first, easier half.)
But I have yet to see anyone explain how to make sure you do NOT monetize your network. And yet so many people are accidental experts at this.
After studying some of the best (whose names will never be mentioned), I figured it'd be a good time to list out their top ten "skills."
1) Ignore other people's knowledge of the person you are meeting. Just because they know a lot about this person and why they might be valuable to you, they're not worth the 5-10 minutes to learn any of this.
2) Make sure not to thank referrers. Or even let them know you met their referral. Why should they need to know you actually met? Best to leave them guessing. And why should they care if it went well or was a near miss? So they can better tailor their next referral? Pah! Who needs that type of precision?
3) Broken funnel? Keep pouring them in! Your network is like a meat grinder. The more meat you jam into it the better. Never look at what comes out the other side. Ick. Right?
4) The latest networking tools are always the best. Networking is a technology race. Linked In? Maxed that one at 500. Twitter? That's so 2009. Foursquare? Been there, mayored that. Groupon? Time to move on. Whoever gets there first wins, right? If your network can't keep up, that's their problem.
5) Everything you do is noteworthy. Had lunch at a nice place? Tweet it! Tired of the heat? Post it on LinkedIn. Saw some funny shoes? Send out a link to the pic. They voted Jose off SYTYCD and he was your fave? Everyone needs to know. They hang on your every word.
6) LOL typos. OMG. poeple r to anal about typoos. Its 2010 and proofngg is 4 people with to much time. They kno u r busy and cant stop to proof your posts. They know if you they refer you business, youll b moar carful
7) The busier the better. Make sure you let people know how busy you are and how impossible it is to reach you. Busy = success. Simple fact.
8) Measure by number.* The more people in your network the better. The more retweets and pageviews, the higher your score. Breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings? You still have time for a couple coffees. Pipelines and relationship maps are for people with small networks, not for networking pros like you. And make sure you let everyone know, at every chance, how many others have fallen into your net.
9) Networking is a one-way street. ...and you are the princess in the castle at the end of the cul-de-sac. In fact, you take this to the next level. You make sure they know that you do not actually read anything they post. "If you want to reach me, send me an e-mail. I do not have time to read tweets." (Actual tweet.) Networking is not a conversation; it's a lecture. From you (the expert) to them (the fawning pupil who basks in the glory of being connected to you.)
10) Networking is synonymous to selling. You are the master of turning every coffee into a proposal meeting. Every breakfast into a presentation. They've finished their food and you haven't yet taken a bite. That's proof you are putting the time to better use. Now, mouth full, time to go for the close. You rock.
OK, I stopped at 10. I'm sure you can add more.
*I have to be serious for a minute. There are so many tools that measure the reach of your networking efforts, but so few that measure the impact in terms of revenue. If you provide professional services or work at a small company, you can (and should) do this by hand. If you work at a large company, take a random sampling. List out the networking platforms used by your clients (those that pay you actual money) and successful referral sources (those that connected you to people who pay you actual money). Then put a check mark if you can prove that they used this to become clients (or learn about additional product/service offerings) or successfully refer you to someone who became a client. More simply put: Make a list of networking efforts that your current targets are also using. When I did this for myself and for a couple other people, the results were decisive. In short: Keep panning where you are finding gold.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
With that in mind, I'll start this blog post by saying that you should NEVER lose a new business pitch on price. If you think you did, you are fooling yourself. If the prospect says you did, then they are lying (though maybe for good reason. Call it a white lie.)
In my role, I have access to reviewing many lost proposals and access to many others who also have access to reviewing lots of lost proposals. When we are told that "we lost on price" and contact that lost prospect, we almost always get a different reason. I have yet to hear a CMO contradict this statement.
Then why did the prospect say it was price? This is the business equivalent of "It's not you; it's me." I'm no relationship expert, but I can tell you this: When you hear this phrase, it IS you.
OK, then, how do you not lose on price?
1) Ask about price. Ask what % of the decision will be based on price. This should not be your first question, of course. But if they are creating a weighted XLS, ask what % each attribute will be weighted. If they are not creating an XLS, then ask how they will compare bids and what will be the key determining factor(s).
2) Ask about competition. Are you competing against low-cost providers? Are you competing against hungry competitors who are low-balling currently? Or are the other competitors selling on value, too?
3) Ask about the other buying factors. How important are these? "If we are, perhaps, a little higher on price, but we can show you that we knock the ball out of the park when it comes to __________, will we win this?" Watch them carefully when you ask this question.
4) Ask them why are they bidding the project out. Was (is) there an incumbent? How did they find your name? Often you can find out the price question here. If they are leaving due to lack of service, you should be good. If they are leaving since they feel they are being overcharged for "a commodity," your red flag should go up.
5) Do your research on the prospect. Do they tend to buy from low-cost providers? Contact their other suppliers and ask what they care about. Ask if they pay their bills on time or argue over every nickel and dime. What you are hunting for here is not price, it's value factors. What does this prospect value most?
6) Ask them who is making the final decision. Is this a buyer who cares only about cost? Unlikely. While a CFO (for example) might care more about cost than the end-user, if she/he bought only on price, then the company would no longer be in business. Sure, when provided with 3 like options, the CFO might gravitate to price, but if you cannot show that you are not a like option, then you deserve to lose, regardless of price.
7) Deliver the proposal in person. My #1 pet peeve. If you e-mailed the proposal, you did not lose on price. You lost on customer service. You also lost an opportunity to be there when they saw the price. If their eyes became pie plates, then you would have a chance to see why they were expecting a lower price. Perhaps you added a lot of features/services that they didn't want or need? Who knows? (Answer: not you.) Here I advise people to set the proposal delivery meeting during the scope meeting. If they refuse to set a date or say, "Just e-mail it over and we'll call you." then you know they do not value customer service ... or are looking for a stalking horse. If prospects won't set a date for discussing the proposal, then you should reconsider sending them one. See Yogi Berra quote below.
So you asked and...
They wouldn't tell you. Did they tell you about other attributes they value? Are their other suppliers delivering value vs. cost? Research around it.
Price is their #1 concern. Ask yourself: Is your company's differentiator one of price? Or do you want to have a short-term, unprofitable relationship for alternative reasons? If so, full speed ahead. You've met a good match. If not, then, run. Sure, I've gamed my NEVER here, but if you can't compete, don't. Why create a proposal when you know you will lose? As Yogi Berra said, "Swing at the strikes."
Whenever possible (and I know in many cases you cannot), take a lesson from car dealerships and tell them the price up front … before the pitch. It's the first place they'll look anyway, so why not peel off the bandaid? Then you can spend the rest of the time piling on value until the price is overcome. We're 2% higher than the other bid? Fine, I'm going to show you 5% more value. Only 2%? Usually we're higher than that. Then explain why.
I tell prospects that if they get five bids, we'll probably be the second highest. That is, at the top of the three palatable bids. Or, if I know they are top-feeding, I let them know we'll be in the middle. "You are considering some solid firms, we'll be right in the middle of that pack price-wise." And then I pause to see their reaction. At least now they know not to expect us to be the low-cost option and we can focus on value.
In short, if you are proposing and do not know how much the prospect cares about price, then you need to do a better job with your pre-proposal efforts. Or you'll deserve to lose. And, when you do, they will say it was price. And you will believe them.
Note: Only once in the past 2 years have I come to the conclusion that the buyer did, in fact, buy solely on price. I saw the buyer's weighted spreadsheet and price was 60% of the score. Fair enough... but the winning bidder was rated lowest in every other category vs. four options. In one category they were even rated "substandard." I would have loved to be in the room when this decision was being made. "They're the worst of all and in this one case, they can't provide what we need, but they are the cheapest." I pity the end-users. Actually, I pity all their employees and all their customers.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
The book is mainly about this trade off. Being great, like consistent growth, is hard to sustain. The bigger catch is that being great is hard to define, whereas being bigger is more easily measured. The author tries to bottle "greatness", though doesn't quite succeed in my opinion. Along the way, however, we learn how these owners identified and took the less traveled fork.
While, like most business books, it could do with significant editing, there are many things I liked:
1) It was not fiction. Too many "business" books lately are about fictional companies that fall neatly into re-imagined paradigms to make the author's point. Real world is messy. Real business is messier. I mistrust business strategists that have to fabricate companies to fit their strategies. These writers' other, bigger problem is they also think they can write fiction. The ideas are often weak and the stories are poorly written. The people and companies in Small Giants are real, so you get insights into real-world decision paths that you might also someday face ... and a few solid marketing tactics.
2) It clearly highlights the outside pressure business owners get to grow their business, often without considering the business owner's personal goals. Business owners are under a great deal of pressure to grow their business. The higher your "score" the better you are as a businessperson. As someone who has "settled" (someone else's word, not mine) for a small company, I was pleased to read a counterpoint to success being building what you could, not what you want. It's not easy to grow a business. People that can make their companies bigger have a real and significant talent. But building the business you want is just as tough. To be fair, I know of a lot of businesses that are neither. Having the choice is a high class problem. And good for you if you can get there.
3) It provides plenty of valuable takeaways. Most good business books have one or two ideas that are worth the entire read. Small Giants is worth it for the "starfish" parable alone, but has, by my count, five more ideas that, each, would be worth the 215 page read.
I won't spoil the starfish story, but after reading that section I knew why I was so bothered by a process one of my clients put into place. The new process was efficient, both from a standpoint of time and money. But it was not the right thing to do.
The next day I put in place an effort to fix the process, even though only a few people might benefit. Perhaps as few as one or two. And it might take a significant amount of effort for this limited success. But the few people deserve it. And shame on us for not trying when we knew, in our hearts, that the less efficient path was the better one.
In short, Small Giants is well worth reading and I thank Kenny for the loan.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Here's (part of) my strategy:
1) Get generic job descriptions for their roles. These are readily available from the trade organizations or your peers in those industries.
2) Assess each line on the job description by the following criteria:
a) Do we need this? If no, cross it off. If yes, continue.
b) Do we, as an organization, value this? And recognize and reward when this is done well? If you answer 'no' to either of these, then this is a big issue. The employee will succeed in an demotivating vacuum. You need to fix this disconnect.
c) Does the person currently do this? If yes, stop.
d) If they are not doing this, are they doing something more valuable? If yes, stop. (But who*, then, can do this?)
e) If they are not doing this and not doing anything more valuable, could they (with reasonable training OK) accomplish this? If no, then see the parens in the title.
Clearly generic job descriptions are only a starting point for these efforts. No organization is exactly like any other. I get that. But the positions within your structure should be benchmarked by some outside standard. Also, when employees compare compensation, this is where they will look. So, at least, you have some common language for your discussions.
More to the point: if the person cannot completely fulfill a generic job description and are not providing alternative value, then you are putting their personal needs above the goals of the department and the company. You should find someone else and they should find a place where their, shall we say, precision skills are more valued.
Now here's the fun and important part.
Before I bring on a new team member (or add to their roles/responsibilities), we clearly discuss the parts of their job that fail test 2b. This becomes their challenge, that is, helping to fix this part of the overall structure of the organization. They are asked to help me create - or develop on their own and then we can discuss – the path to getting the organization to recognize and reward successes here.
Others have written on why it's important to have people create their own paths for success and respect, so I'll end here.
*I have seen too many managers decide that they will add this line item to their own to do list. Wait, let me see if I understand. Your report has more important things to do than fulfill this line on their job description, but you do not? Here's what I do: Hand it down to this employee's subordinate (as a stretch goal) or go back to 2a and cross it off. Your team can't do everything.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Ignore the 'mathbooks' part. This is worth the time. And is about far more than fixing the way we learn math.
Lots of interesting ideas, including:
1) We are bombarded by data, but we often have trouble finding data-based solutions. This is clearly related.
2) Toss your staff into the deep end and see how, where and if they swim to shore.
Enjoy the video. Let me know your thoughts.
Friday, July 30, 2010
During training sessions I ask the audience to raise their hands if they're in sales. If this is the first time they've heard this, usually only the Sales or BizDev folks raise their hands. "I didn't ask if you were salespeople, I asked if you were in sales." A few more hands go up. "OK, everyone, raise your hands. And keep them up." Then I ask the question again. At this point, a few hands drop ... but then these people look around nervously and realize they are supposed to keep their hands up.
When I coach youth soccer, I have this exercise where I have my team stand in a circle around me. I drop the ball I'm holding and ask, "Who's ball is this?" Usually no one says anything, so I ask them individually.
"Who's ball is this?"
"You're almost right." To the next child: "Who's ball is this?"
"Getting colder." Next child: "Who's ball is this?" I repeat it as they guess themselves out.
Then I say, "It's my ball."
The first child looks at me like she'd been cheated. "I said that."
"You almost said it." I ask her again, "Who's ball is this?"
"But you just said..."
"It's MY ball."
By this time, one of the children understands. My favorite moment was when a 9 year old girl walked over to the ball, and dribbled it back to where she was standing. "It's MY ball," she said with a smile.
Clearly this is the message. Possession is key in soccer. We always want our team to have control of the ball (unless it's in the back of the other team's goal). This requires that each one of us, individually, think that getting possession of the ball is our, personal job.
While we must work as a team, and need to communicate clearly who is in the best position to get the ball back (we do not want to clump up like oatmeal), we cannot hope someone else makes the effort to get the ball or create a plan to get back possession. And we need to hustle to make this happen.
Before games, I'd drop the game ball onto the field and ask, "Who's ball is this?" and every child on my team would yell, "It's MY ball!"
"Yes, it is. Now let's act like it."
So... Raise your hand if you're in sales.
Now let's act like it.