Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wait, What Does He Want?

A friend emailed me and asked me to meet with a young friend of hers who in his first sales job is selling knives.  She mentioned that he just needs to know how to get out with and meet with people he doesn't know.  I think that is networking, but then later in the email she mentioned that he doesn't need to sell anything to get paid, just needs to do a demonstration.

Right away it didn't feel right.  You see, she is asking for one thing, but then switching to another right at the end. 

One scenario is that he wants to learn to network.

Second scenario is that he wants to demonstrate his product.

One is all about relationship development and the other is pure sales.  Nothing is wrong with either.  It just is a mixed message about what is REALLY going to happen.

You and I probably can sense what is going to happen. As soon as I sit down with this young fellow, the knives are going to come out.  He is not interested in me, but only in making the presentation to get paid.  So in my book that is not a networking appointment.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet.  Have the appointment and stop him from demonstrating and explain the networking process?

Or just let it go? 

Sometimes I just have to let things pass. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

No Cows!

The question came from out of the blue.  It's a type that I tend to be very careful answering.  It goes like this,  "What can you tell me about (name of person)?"  

This time the query came from a trusted friend, but I still replied carefully.  I paused for what seemed like hours, but really probably was only 5 seconds, to collect my thoughts.

You see, the person, in question, we'll call her Suzy, was demonstrating that she is all "show."  She had signed up for several committees but had never gone to a meeting.  Recently literally at the last hour, she asked if there was any way she could help.  Good intention, but bad placement.

When I teach the referral-based sales course, we talk about finding out what goals and accomplishments people have.  Obviously, if we know their goals we can help them to reach them.  Even more important is to notice if their goals and accomplishments in line with each other.  If there are lots of goals and fewer accomplishments, or ones that are not in line with the goals, then that particular person (Suzy) has Big Hat Syndrome.  Oh, you haven't heard of that?  It means, big cowboy hat, but no cows!

I caution everyone to really look at their time before they sign up for anything that is related to community service. Not being active in the community can be detrimental, but being half active is even worse!

Monday, June 08, 2015

I Just Can't Figure This Out

Networking is an active sport.  You can't just sit on the sidelines and expect anything to happen.

I attended the annual speed networking event presented by the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce. Now I have to admit that this type of networking is not my favorite type, but this chamber does it well.  In one hour, we meet around 30 people.  But usually 80 are in attendance, so over half are still an opportunity waiting to happen.  Liz Manning, the Executive Director of the chamber, has it all under control, because by that afternoon, she has a complete list of attendees, with all the necessary contact information, out to all participants.  That's efficiency.  Five gold stars to Liz.

I look at that list as a challenge.  For each person that I schedule an appointment with, I use a highlighter pen on their name.  My goal is to have the page be all pretty green highlighter! 

It's always interesting to me in the way people reply.  Usually, I email from this list,  I have found that using the phone number means that I have to leave a message and more times than not it doesn't get returned.  I know, busy world.

So my message looks something like this:  "Good afternoon, Suzi, We were both at Coffee, Tea and Contacts on Thursday, and while we didn't get to meet, I wondered if you would be interested in getting together for coffee so that we could get to know each other with the idea of figuring out ways to help each other.  I will be available on June 3 or June  10 at these times. Would either day fit into your schedule?"

I use a similar message if we did meet.  

Many are glad to meet and we get something on the books.  Others get back with funny answers.  Funny as in odd.

Example:  "I'm busy both days."  That's it, the whole response.


Example 2"I don't really see the need for us to meet."


Example 3:  "I'm busy the rest of the summer."  We were just at the end of May when this happened.

And this is not just one person.  All three examples were from different people responding.  

I guess my question is, if you attend a networking event with no expectation of meeting beyond the event, why in the heck do you even bother????? OK, I'll get off my soapbox before I hurt myself.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

June Book Report

Can you believe it is time for another of Don Kardux's immensely useful book reports.  This one sounds like a required read!

Here ya' go!

As part of my Debby Peters influenced "Elevator Speech" I mention that Business Navigators does two things to help business, people and organizations.

"First, we help them to discover for themselves what they want to do- 'To Make Things Better- that's planning."

"Secondly, we stay, for at least a year, to help them - Do It- that's implementation"
Another word used in place of implementation is Execution and in my view it is the most difficult to do.

In May of 2014 in the "Connext Nation Newsletter" I reviewed a book by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charam titled "Execution" it was written twenty-one years ago.
"The 4 Disciplines of Execution" was published in 2012 at so is less than four years old and it expands on Bossidy and Charam's observations.

Like  Marcus Buckingham's book, "First Break all the Rules" (Reviewed in May of this year) this book is also the result of first, 300,000 interviews with company leaders and team members and secondly, many years of field experience working with companies to help make 4DX (an abbreviation for the 4 Disciplines of Execution) a part of their culture.

These 4 approaches to discipline in Execution are the result of real world failures, successes and finally modification of the discipline content leaving the parts that really work.
I feel that it is important to mention the 4 Disciplines as it is also important to note the only way to fully understand what they mean and how they are to be used is to "Read the darned book!!"

Discipline 1:                 Focus on the Wildly Important (WIG =Wildly Important Goal)
Discipline 2:                 Act on the Lead Measures
Discipline 3:                 Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
Discipline 4:                 Create a Cadence of Accountability

These Disciplines are covered in Section 1 of the book and in 79 pages clarify their meaning and importance.
Section 2 focuses on Installing 4DX with your team and is most helpful in a practical way.
Section 3 focuses on Installing 4DX in your organization -and is best read by those who are involved with a large organization.

This book confirms and states things I have observed and believe about implementation/ execution.
It really identifies and clarifies the issues involved and well worth the read.
Two "Aha's" for me from this book.

Monday, June 01, 2015

And Now He Wants Me!

My son, Greg Peters, who writes The Reluctant Networker blog, recently wrote a post about the challenges of "feeding the fire" of networking to keep the relationships going.  I think we all have that issue and if we could wave our magic wand to figure out a way to regularly, connect personally with all those wonderful people we've met along the way, we would certainly purchase that contraption!

That being said, I have to tell about an experience I had just recently.  There is a person who resides in my address book.  In the past he has expressed interest in what I do, not only for him, but also for his team.


Whenever I have invited him to an event or just tried to re-connect via email and phone, it's like my message has gone into the Bermuda Triangle.  For years.

I have removed him from my list of people that I notify when there is a fun event upcoming.

Just the other day, I received a request to connect with him on LinkedIn, which included a message that went something like this.  "Because you are so well networked, now that I need to recruit some people for my staff, I'd like to use you."  Well, maybe not exactly those words.

Needless, to say, I ignored the request.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Find Your Strengths

Already, May is here, so of course that means it is time for another one of Don Kardux's smart book reports.  This one is sure to interest you.  Read Don's stuff below:

"It naturally follows that because last month I focused on Marcus Buckingham's book "First, Break all the Rules" I should this month focus on Buckingham's "Now, Discover Your Strengths".

And I will.
Of all the tools I use to help those in organizations, for and not for profit, this book and the test are the most useful.

From the introduction, "Guided by the belief that good is the opposite of bad, mankind has for centuries pursued it's fixation with fault and failing. Doctors have studied disease in order to learn about health. Psychologists have investigated sadness in order to learn about joy. Therapists have looked into the causes of divorce in order to learn about happy marriage. And in schools and the workplaces around the world, each one of us has been encouraged to identify, analyze, and correct our weaknesses to become strong.
This advice is well intended but misguided. Faults and failings deserve study, but they reveal little about strengths. Strengths have their own patterns."

This focus on strengths is the result of over thirty years of study from the Gallup Organization and involved over two million interviews.

The result is this excellent tool.

In order to use this tool it is helpful to understand some of the patterns of strengths and that is what Buckingham does in this book's fine linear organization. Each chapter is a building block leading us to the test and the application of managing those with clearly defined strengths.

From looking at "The Anatomy of a Strength" to "Discovering the Source of Your Strengths" and through "Put Strengths to Work" this excellent book leads us to a revolutionary approach to helping people get better at what they do.

And it's entertaining, with wonderfully illustrative references to, Tiger Woods, Bill Gates, Cole Porter, The Investor, The Director, The Skin Doctor and The Editor to mention a few.
Gallop has identified thirty-four strengths and has provided a test where a person can identify their five top strengths.

You buy the book and in the dustcover's spine is a series of letters and numbers which are a key you can use to take the test on the internet.

Chapter four identifies each strength with a descriptive paragraph and follows with clarifying examples which show what that strength "Sounds Like".

For those of us dedicated to helping the leadership team of a company become more effective the strongest tool in the book begins on page 176 the second part of Chapter 6 "Managing Strengths" .  This powerful section is called 'One by One' and what it does is to answer the question, "How do I manage a person strong in ... (one of the 34)?"

Wow! Practical, useful and it works.

If you are or know a person who would like to improve in helping others this is a wonderful book.
In fact, if you discover your five strengths you could learn how to better manage yourself.
What a concept.
Here are my five top strengths.

  • ·         Maximizer

  • ·          Strategic

  • ·         WOO

  • ·         Self-Assurance

  • ·         Ideation

If you read this book you might learn how to better manage me. (Debby's note:  Now that would be a miracle!)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Don't Let Anyone Invade!

I have this beautiful and annoying Cardinal outside my window.  His gorgeous plumage is nice to see this time of year when everything is still brown in Ohio, but there is a downside.  He sees himself reflected in our windows and thinks that another bird is invading his territory. Hence he spends a good part of his day attacking that gosh darn bird.  A very imaginary threat.

Sometimes we humans act the same way.  We see or hear someone that resembles us in what we do and we get our feather ruffled because of this imagined threat.  We  try to scare that  person away with our antics.  But like the window, it is probably not an effective strategy!

If I could only talk to the bird, I would tell him, "Hey Red, you're going to knock yourself out hitting the glass.  Then there will be a real threat, because "Kitty" might be lurking around the corner."
  Or if Kitty is inside, the wild coyote might be sneaking around the yard.  A red bird would be a nice lunch for either.

It's the same thing with us humans.  When we pay attention to stuff that doesn't matter, we miss other opportunities that may be even bigger and more profitable.

So are you hitting the window?  If so, how is that working for you?