Making the Choice to be Different

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For two days the Chairman and his 14 Presidents were challenged to think about the difference between the Industrial Age business model and the new Energy Age business model — or whatever they wanted to call it. After two days of examining the structural differences and the potential for their own companies, they were absolutely certain that they did not want to return to the Industrial Age business model of plan, organize and control.

We had talked extensively about the muscle memory of their ‘old game’ and how they would continue to hear legitimate arguments for running a business, organization … Read the rest

Challenging People To Think

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This is the conclusion to the article that began in the August issue of Agency Sales.

The chairman was now a little impatient. He said with some conviction, “We’re running out of time. We’ve beaten the elephant issue to death. We are going to track numbers for the rest of our business careers — that is inherent to being a president. If numbers have no meaning — yet it is important that our people find meaning in the numbers; how do we make that happen?”

“Sir, that is a great question — and I totally agree with the reality … Read the rest

Getting People To Perform Differently

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Lunch was far more than a relaxing break. The conversations were all about Joe’s inner voice e-mail and their own elephant training experiences.

Some began to realize that their inner voice was in fact their own stake in the ground that was holding them back from being the leaders they wanted to be. It was also dawning on them how difficult it would be to do business with a company of trained elephants chained to the stakes of more efficiency — more profit, more market share, more, more, more and “er.” The world is changing at an incredible pace and … Read the rest

Paradox of the New Business Environment

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eagleAt the end of the session the previous day, I left the group with the following paradoxical proposition to ponder: “It is wrong to teach how to soar to an elephant — yet the mother eagle never needs to teach the baby eagles how to soar — and she is very smart.”

A paradox is a statement or proposition that is absurd or contrary to conventional wisdom, but when resolved or understood, reveals a significant truth. It is absurd to think that anyone would try to teach an elephant how to soar and it is true that the Mother Eagle … Read the rest

Determining the One Thing

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The chairman joined the group after lunch. While everyone was surprised to see him, they all seemed comfortable with him in the meeting.

I invited him to tell everyone why he was present. His comments were brief but very specific about taking their businesses to the “next level.”

After several questions from the group to the chairman, I said, “Before we move on with visualize, enroll and align, are there any concerns that were developed over lunch or from our morning session?”

Russ had been quiet all morning and I could tell that there was something very significant emerging … Read the rest

Finding a Different Way to Lead

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The chairman warned me that the presidents would be a tough crowd. I suggested that he not attend the meeting so they could speak their minds. He would meet us for golf the second day.

As we convened the meeting, the central expectation of all 14 presidents was how to be an “A” company. They had all read about the business of the business and were very clear that their companies had pockets of “A” behavior but none were so bold as to declare that they had arrived at different.

I’ve been in a lot of executive-level meetings where the … Read the rest

Awareness Precedes Intelligence

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It was two weeks since my meeting with the four sales managers when I received an e-mail from the chairman. He simply said, “I have a serious problem. Give me a call.”

In our last article the four sales managers stayed up ‘til midnight curious about the difference between the “B’s” and the “A’s.” Mark’s career as a sales manager seemed to be on the line. Phil and Steve were very sure that understanding this difference was serious.

The chairman started our meeting with a chuckle. “I’m glad my e-mail got your attention. All the sales managers went home from … Read the rest

The Real Difference Between “A’s” and “B’s”

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The keynote topic was Solutions for the New Economy. The speech ran a little longer than anticipated so it was nearly 9 p.m. before we reconvened.

How was the keynote speech?”

Phil volunteered, “It was a good presentation about how to do things ‘better’ and ‘more’ and ‘improve.’ The speaker was rather dogmatic. It is amazing how sensitive I am now to the word ‘solutions.’ I was asking myself the whole time, do I sound that dogmatic when I talk to my salespeople? Why do people think that the new economy can be solved into existence? It’s their muscle Read the rest

The Emergence of “A”

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Before the chairman left on an international trip, he sent an e-mail asking me to meet with four sales managers from four of his companies. They were going to be at a sales conference in Chicago. His final comment in the e-mail was, “They’ll test you; they take ‘gimme’s.’”

Steve was from Michigan and seemed to be the coordinator for the group. He confirmed that they had a two-hour break in the afternoon of the second day and because it was a command performance by the chairman, they agreed to meet with me for an hour.

The tension at the … Read the rest

Listening to the Inner Voice

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“Amazing! I tried it all week last week. At first I thought I had lost my mind. With the radio and cell phone off there was an eerie silence. Initially, I was beating on myself to go faster. There were two people pushing the accelerator pedal. One said go faster — the other said steady at ‘3.’ It wasn’t until the third day that I really knew who would be driving. I called them “ME” and “me.” There was this voice in “ME” that said I would be punished if I was late. But “me” said it will be okay

Read the rest

Success Can Be Found in Waging Peace

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Before my next meeting with the chairman, I asked and received permission to speak with some of his company presidents and top sales managers.  It was important for me to hear what they thought was the gap between the customer satisfaction rating of “7”and “10.”

The phone calls were lengthy—some lasted two hours.  I spoke with five top-performing presidents and three sales managers where the customer satisfaction scores were at least a “7.”  All interviews revealed the same answer.  Everyone believed that it was unrealistic to ever close the gap between “7” and “10.”  In their minds there would always … Read the rest

There Are No Short Cuts When It Comes to Changing the Sales Organization

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I had met the chairman 10 years ago. As a part of our simulation process, he was confronted with a four-inch putt, and he nonchalantly knocked it off the green declaring it a “gimme.” If you’ve played golf, you’ve taken a “gimme.” As life in golf goes on, the “gimmes” get longer and longer and sooner or later your opponent doesn’t “gimme” you that two-footer and the club championship is lost. It’s like selling. Sooner or later that long-standing customer doesn’t “gimme” you the business, and the account is lost.

The amazing reality of the “gimme” putting phenomenon is that … Read the rest

Creating Organizational Alignment

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We ended the article in the April issue of Agency Sales magazine with the question, “How do we activate the energy field and create the alignment within any company or organization that will serve customers in a very different way?”

Let’s start with the answer so that as you read, the explanation will not be perceived as judgmental, incriminating or confrontational to the typical Industrial Age mindset.

The answer: “Stop the war and wage peace.”

The shift from the mechanistic Industrial Age business model to the biological Human Potential business model requires a bifurcated change in focus within the organization.… Read the rest

Different Has Arrived “Visioning”

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We ended the article in the March issue of Agency Sales magazine with the question, “What does different look like?” and I suggested that this is a very important question for every manufacturer, rep firm, agent, community, state and our nation. It is the single most important question for every young person today.

Have you ever asked your young son or daughter, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” How many answered, “A manufacturers’ rep?” What an amazing phenomenon that there are thousands of reps/agents like us and no child has ever answered the “Want to Be?” … Read the rest

The Leadership Challenge Is To Create

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For 28 years I have been an agent for an international firm whose products and services are legendary. The mantra or motto of this firm is “Challenging people to think.” I have conducted sales and leadership workshops for almost every type of business in almost every industry represented by MANA’s membership. We have now arrived at a time that is unprecedented in our business history. The Industrial Age Business Model that has served as the basis of all thinking is burned out.

Think of a star in the heavens that is 50 light years away. If that star burns out, … Read the rest