Business

The 4-types of people you’ll work with

The 4-types of people you'll work with

George Lois sums it up nicely here in his book “Damn Good Advice (For people with talent)” – God knows I’ve come across all four of these and the only one that scares me is the fourth. We’ve all worked with plenty of people who don’t much and don’t want to do much – easy enough, they’ll just sit there. No worries. But the ignorant and industrious? God help us all.
If you can’t educate the #4, then attempt to re-purpose them. If that doesn’t work, get rid of them. If you work for them, and none of those have worked, find a new gig!

Always Be Closing – How?

If you’ve ever had anything to do with sales, then you’re likely familiar with Alec Baldwin’s famous scene from the film, “Glen Gary, Glen Ross.” If you’re not familiar, and you haven’t seen it, just stop right now and watch it. Easily one of the best uses of seven minutes you’ll ever have in your life. Just click here. You’re welcome. 

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In the scene, our dapper and dashing hero (who’s with us from Mitch & Murray) excoriates the all-star cast, extolling the virtues of ABC and AIDA. ABC, of course, is short hand for “Always Be Closing.” Closing, also being a salesman’s ultimate goal.

Because only one thing counts in this life: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted

Always be closing means: Everything you do, every handshake, door opening, please & thank you, sales pitch, head nod of understanding, all of it, is done for one purpose: TO CLOSE THEM. Get them to sign. Car salesmen understand this better than most and they have a secret expression they teach to new recruits: “The feel of the wheel, will seal the deal.” Part of the reason they’re always trying to start out with a test drive as quickly as possible is because they know emotion will take over. “I look so good behind the wheel, oh wow, feel how she handles? This is WAY better than my car.” 

A lot of lip service is paid to closing. Every single manager I’ve come across in the past 15 years has used the word and the majority have done so incorrectly – or at least incompletely. Everyone knows it’s important and thus can’t be avoided – but few spend their time or resources teaching how to do it better or studying their technique. And for one important reason…

Because Closing is where winning and losing happen. Closing is the final arbitrator: you either got the sale or you didn’t. You’ve gone all-in and the cards are turned up – did you make your flush? 

Most people avoid losing. Certainly more than they pursue winning. Given the choice, better to not really push it to a decision, right? I mean, if it’s going to happen, it’ll happen on its own, right? That’s garbage thinking.

Everything we do speaks, as my illustrious co-worker told me recently. Everything we do should be in the service of doing our jobs, whatever they be, as well as we can. My job is chiefly focused on sales (55%) and more importantly, the success of the 15 sales people that report up to me. How do I help them execute like a black-hooded-hatchet-man? 

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Closing means asking questions. It means caring enough about the client to want to solve their problem, even if the solution isn’t your product or service. It means valuing your clients’ time, attention, and trust. Closing is vowing to maximize each interaction, using every word and gesture to build a rapport so you can solve the mystery of what they need and how you can help them find it. If it happens to be your product/service, great! If not, that’s fine too! They’ve ostensibly come to you because you’re an expert and they’re in need of your knowledge – that’s a sacred trust and should be respected. 

These are the things we need to breakdown for our teams. We need to get to the “WHY” of what we do. We need to make plain and clear that we’re here to solve problems, to solve mysteries, and to create relationships. Any person or team who can deliver those three things will find no shortage of success. 

Get in where you fit in!

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Don’t fight to be where you don’t fit in. You can force the peg into the hole (hammer and all) but that’s a truly poor place to find oneself. 

Do you know who you are and what you like? What you’re good at? Passionate about? Where are you of most value to those around you? Do you know where you’d be the most comfortable? The most effective? Then why not try to go there and forget about all the holes you shouldn’t be trying to squeeze into. 

It’s not “keeping your options open.” It’s being scared of knowing yourself and your worth enough to actively partake in the crafting of your future. If you don’t do it – don’t actually make decisions about what you will and won’t do, others will and I can’t guarantee you’re going to like the outcome. 

Get in where you fit in. Don’t take an ill-fitting job just to have a job. Don’t wait around forever for the perfect one to come around either – get up and search for the environment you’d thrive in and do everything you can to steer your ship in that direction. 

 

 

It’s where the future is going with Social Media

It’s where the future is going with Social Media

Mastercard HQ social media conversation monitors - very cool.

Mastercard HQ social media conversation monitors – very cool.

You can’t influence the conversation if you didn’t attend the party. Social media is ONLY a conversation among a ton of people and anyone is free to join. A brand can’t shout from the corner of the room, or outside the house where the conversation is taking place, about how great they are. Imagine if a person did that. They have to discuss and engage and be witty and charming and admit mistakes and you know, be a decent human being. That’s what a brand is these days, a person – but the question is, are they a person we like? Do we trust them? Do we believe them?

I defend Verizon like my best friend. I’ve been with them for 16 years (since PrimeCo!) and no matter what wrong someone (rarely) may claim they did to them, I don’t care in the least. I’ve had too many great (not just good, but GREAT) experiences with them that, short of slapping me in the face during their be-speckled mascot’s, in-progress robbery of my home, I’m going to have their back.  Can you hear me now?

Drain. The. Swamp.

They can be a little distracting...

They can be a little distracting…

This has been a reoccurring theme for me lately. Why are you there? What is your mission? The sum total purpose for your existence in this place, at this time, is to do… what exactly? Some helpful questions to ask yourself periodically to help avoid alligators: 

  1. What am I doing here? Why am I in this position? To accomplish what?
  2. What am I uniquely positioned to do here that no one else can do?
  3. What efforts can I undertake to make the most progress towards my stated goal?

Anything else is lateral drift, mission-creep. Don’t get bogged down in the reptile wrestling of minor things: Office gossip, admin squabbles, paper cuts, petty territorial disputes, the opinions of people that don’t know any better and don’t ultimately matter.

Remember what your purpose is. Drain the damn swamp. Alligators attack? Try to use one hand to fight them off and keep one hand on draining that swamp – it’s why you’re there in the first place.

Like the “Tipping Point” but, you know, with Science.

Did you like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” or Dan & Chip Heath’s “Made to Stick?” You did? Both, are totally great works that opened our eyes to how ideas get spread. Of the two, “Made to Stick” was the better manual for attributing what is “sticky” vs. what is passably interesting.

Now, Professor Jonah Berger has codified why certain things go viral in a way that does much more to explain the phenomenon than these earlier works. I really can’t wait to try out this process and see how we can best apply it to our product.

I’ll be presenting this video and materials tomorrow in our Leadership Series (held bi-weekly) with all of our Managers and we’re going to try the workbook on making things contagious. It’s available when you subscribe to the Prof’s blog at http://www.JonahBerger.com – which is totally worth it.

If we’re successful applying the principles to our business, I’ll be sure to share the results and give you some step-by-step insight into what worked and how we got there. I think this is going to be one of the easiest to implement processes we’ve encountered yet.

If you don’t execute, you don’t eat.

If you don't execute, you don't eat.

This sums it up perfectly. EXECUTION is ALL that matters. Apologies to the delicate sensibilities out there, but all the warm fuzzies of best intentions won’t sell SQUAT. Positive thoughts and “hard work” alone won’t move product or make a difference if nothing actually, HAPPENS.

If you make a difference, a REAL difference, then something should be DIFFERENT because you were there. Sounds simple, right? Are the material conditions on the ground different because of something you DID? If so, you made a difference. If not, hate to break it to you, but we’re still waiting.

I’m flummoxed and fired up when a solid sounding strategy never makes waves. It stays perfectly conceptualized inside the minds of the creators and on the tongues of the braggarts and blowhards – but never encounters the harsh light of actually being birthed into the world.

I get it. The world is messy and there are question boxes to outnumber those in the Mushroom Kingdom. There are as many threats, too. If you’re scared, if you can’t get over those fears to bring something to life, please do the rest of us a favor and politely move out of the way. There are things to make and worlds to conquer and markets to impact.

Repeat after me: “If you don’t execute, you don’t eat.”

You can’t sit around talking about how cool it would be to kill a wholly mammoth, and survive. At some point, one of you is going down. Stop talking and pick up a spear. Stop telling me about your responsibilities and tell me about what you changed – what DIFFERENCE you actually made.

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation TED talk

This is an absolute classic and one that has helped me decide what kind of work I most enjoy doing. The three keys towards fulfilling, cognitive work, are (summarized briefly):
*Autonomy – Do you control a majority of your time at work and what you’re working on?
*Mastery – Are you doing something you can get better at?
*Purpose – Do you feel like you’re a part of something larger than yourself?

These have been guide posts for me for the last three years since I first saw Mr. Pink spell out what I’d long suspected. My quarterly bonus of thousands of dollars as a Regional Manager wasn’t nearly as motivating to me as was the joy of helping one of my Managers succeed, or creating some new metric/model/marketing platform that would help propel our success. Sure, I love money, but I love my team and the thrill of winning a lot more. Especially when I get to create and collaborate in order to get there.

Give this a view and really check your current motivations for why you do what you do. Are you propelled by your bonus potential, or possessed by your passion?

Busy doesn’t equal Effective…

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It’s a learned behavior. Odds are you had mentors or bosses who were forever putting out metaphorical fires. You learned something implicitly: Busy = productive. Scratch that. Busy = valued.

It’s not true and odds are when you started out in your career you sensed it in your heart, if not your head. But the allure! Running around all crazy you couldn’t help but feel… important! Needed! This whole thing relied on you to keep those balls in the air or else they would fall and everyone would be let down.

Stop that.

Busy is often times, bullshit. Sure, you’ve got deadlines and reports, and big things in the works. Who doesn’t. If you’re running a restaurant, the kitchen had better be busy or you’re not making jack. But you’re not the sous chef for Chez Awesome, now are you? Didn’t think so.

To be effective you need to delegate your time and spend some much valued time planning so others can faithfully execute. Like a good point guard, yours isn’t to score all the points – it’s to distribute. And to do so in a way that allows your team an easy dunk.

If you sense yourself saying any of these things as a leader – check yourself, lest you wreck  yourself:

  • OMG! I’ve got so much to do!
  • WTF! I’ve got 156 emails since lunch! 
  • IDK! Maybe I have 10 minutes next week, maybe!
  • AGGGHHHHHH!!!!
  • If I don’t send this TPS report by 3pm, I’m burning this whole thing down. 

Also, it’s a good tip that if you find yourself speaking in “text talk” then you’ve likely got some big issues.

Busy isn’t beautiful – and it sure isn’t effective. Yes, at times, you’ve got to put the head down and scramble, but that’s not the ideal situation. The glory goes to being prepared. Toward having effective systems. Toward making the most of opportunities and marshaling resources into a mighty force for good.

So next time you have the inkling to put off your work till 5pm so you can stay until midnight and claim your gallantly selfless act, don’t do it. Leaders don’t engage in such sophistry. You’re better than that. I know you are. 

Insert a bunch of quotes here on: not waiting till the last minute, being awesome, and having great commitment to rad internal systems in your winning organization.

You Can Never Go Home Again…

There’s something great about that. You lived it once and that’s all you’re going to get it. God! You wish maybe you could go back and do that one thing differently and yet…

Don’t do that.

It happened. And it’s great. Or not. Doesn’t really matter at this point. It happened and that’s that.

So what’s the take away? What now?

You know that this isn’t how it ends. You know you’ve likely got (god willing) another 40-50-80 years to finish this run. How does your earlier experience influence your future behavior?

I miss old friends with the gravity of a dwarf star. Hell, I miss current friends the same. I don’t want to go through that again. I know what I want my future to look like: I want to look back and see myself reading to my kids after a LONG day. So, I read to them after a LONG day. I want to look back and see that I took the chances I needed to in order to start my own thing – because that’s what was needed to be happy. I didn’t “wait” because something was going to “happen” – whenever that is.

2002 was awesome. I’d love to spend a week there. So was 93′ and 05′ but that doesn’t mean we can live in space we already did. We have a new one of those every moment – RIGHT NOW. So what do you want your future self to say about this moment.

Would you want to go back to “right now?”