Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April's Riveting Book Report from Don

I always look forward each month to Don Kardux's book report because he always bring such great books and knows how to give us just enough about them to make us want to read them.  He's done it again for April.

It was about eleven years after I started Business Navigators that I read chapter 5 and suddenly it all made sense.

It's the third key. And that focus has more power than almost anything else.

One day Marcus Buckingham said to his boss, "I wonder if the Harvard Business School's rules for Managers still are valid?"

His boss said, "How would you find out?"

Marcus replied, "Well, I'd interview some successful Managers and they would tell me."

Marcus' boss was Donald O'Clifton, the head of the Gallop poll organization with enormous interviewing resources who said, "Good Idea, Go Ahead".

Over eighty thousand Managers in more than four hundred companies were interviewed.

What did Buckingham discover about 'The Rules for Managers'?   The title of his book says it all, "First, break all the rules".

Great managers concentrate on four keys after they understand this 'Revolutionary Insight'.

·        People don't change that much

·        Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out

·        Try to draw out what was left in

·        That is hard enough

The first key: Select for Talent

The second key: Define the Right Outcomes

The third key: Focus on Strengths

The fourth key: Find the right fit.

It's that third key that clarified my focus in consulting.  I have been behaving that way since before I started this business. But, Buckingham's chapter five and his following book, "Now, Discover Your Strengths" supported, with facts, something I really believe. Multiplying a person's strengths is more valuable than trying to reduce their weaknesses and oh yes, a lot more fun!

There is so much of value in this book.  Chapter seven: 'Turning the Keys: A Practical Guide' is a wonderful summary and call for action.   I've used the twelve questions, first mentioned in Chapter 1, with many of the companies I've served. Those questions are remarkable and the answers from those associates are extremely telling and most useful.

I've had to purchase new copies of this book over three times because they keep wearing out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I got a little uncomfortable at an event the other night.  It was an all-women's event.  I used to be biased against all-women's groups, because the ones I attended seemed to be a bit "fluffy" for me.  But my friend, Jenn Wenzke, founder of So Now, a one gender networking group, has changed my mind.  But I digress.

This group did something that I felt very uncomfortable about.  They bashed men.  I don't think bashing is appropriate no matter who it is about.  There are segments of our our world that have been verbally bashed -- blondes, through blonde jokes and polish people in the same way.  Those are two right at the top of my list and you can probably add others.  I think that when people deliver this verbal abuse, that it says a lot about them.  And it's not good.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Surface is Just the Beginning

Recently I presented a talk about developing relationships within an association.  Keep in mind that an association can be a weird animal when it comes to networking.  Because, by its definition, it is a group of people who do the same thing, then each member can look at the other as competition.  So my talk was about how the linked connections between members could strengthen all of them.  Near the end I asked the group to pick partners to perform an exercise that I provided, which would help them to initiate conversation to get to know each other.

At the end of the exercise I asked for volunteers to share what they had discovered about each other.  Immediately, two men right up front offered to share!  One was a young and fit and the other was definitely on the other side! The younger of the two was so excited about his new friend!  He found out, in just a few minutes I allowed, that the older gentleman was a retired professor and that he has two PhDs, one in Latin, no less!  The older gent, asked simply, "How do I stop talking about myself?"

Great question!  But before I could interject, the younger guy said, "There was no way I was going to let him stop talking, he was way too interesting and I wanted to find out more!"

I am sure that those two will now feel more comfortable at the monthly meetings of this organization.  Their connection could help each of them in the future in ways that they can't fathom now. 

What's the most interesting connection you have made within one of your groups?

Monday, March 09, 2015


I just have to write about this. 

My friend, Deanna Tucci Schmitt, now a yoga teacher, used to be a wonderfully successful sales person.  She had a technique that I think she called "ambushing them in the entry".  Or something similar.  It went like this:  If she was in a prospect's office and they seemed interested in buying from her, but currently were a customer of Deanna's competition, Deanna would ask the client what they thought if when they called the current vendor to cancel that the vendor tried to give a better price or better deal.  "How do you feel about that, " Deanna would innocently ask.  Of course, the prospect would be horrified that they weren't getting the best deal already.  Deanna would leave the prospect knowing that she probably had the upper hand on the old vendor.  And her prospect would become her client.

Good ambush!

So now I have to tell you about other types of ambushing.

Ambush #1

I was at a networking event this week and at the end, I was accosted by someone who came right up to me and pushed some products in my face and said that she wanted me to try these products.  I declined... nicely but firmly because I wasn't interested in the product.  This person lost an opportunity to just allow me to get to know her and maybe even suggest that we meet for coffee where of course I would try to figure out other ways I could help.  But of course I was on the defensive and didn't mention that.

Ambush # 2

This morning I was at the post office early, as I needed to mail a package.  I was using the self-mailing station, when this woman came up to me and said, "Do you have a home church?"  I told her no.  She said, "Well, would you like to come to mine?"  I told her no.  I went on with my mailing chore.  Then as a completed my task, she again said, "Well, would you like this tract, " as she offered a piece of paper to me.  I again told her no. I have to give her credit that she didn't give up, but honestly, give me a break.

In both situations, one networking and the other just going about my business, I had not entered
into these situations to buy.  And I'll bet if I approached both of those two and extended a registration form for my course and said, "Here sign along the dotted line and give me your credit card," that they night have taken a step back.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thursday, March 05, 2015

What Networking Event??

It's always interesting to me when I ask a client to tell me about a networking event that they've attended within the last couple weeks
and they tell me "zero."  That happened recently in a class I am teaching.  It was the second session and the homework from the first session asked them to experience a networking event and write about it.

One you gentleman said, "I've not attended any events!"  It had been three weeks between training sessions so I was surprised.  He did say, "Well, I'll be attending a Chamber breakfast next week."  I remembered from the first session that we had talked about his membership in Kiwanis.  So I asked if he had not attended his Kiwanis meetings.  His reply was, "Well, yeah, but that's not networking."

When the mindset, even though it's a gathering of a bunch of people, is that it's not networking; guess what?  It won't be!  Of course, Kiwanis is a service club, so the overriding reason to belong is to give back to the community, BUT, the connections can be helpful in the future.  Knowing how to use this type of group is what strategic networking is all about.  And even bigger is knowing that it is a networking opportunity.

But you see, so many people see networking as selling, instead of making a connection. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

March's Book Report

With February being a short month, it is time for another one of Don Kardux' helpful book reviews.  I love the concept of this month's book.  Please comment to let us know what you think!

The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack

The world is full of mushroom managers.  They believe you should treat company employees like mushrooms. Keep them in the dark and feed them shit!

But, Jack Stack doesn't believe that works very well.

He believes in "Open Book Management". In fact, he started the concept in February 1982 when he and twelve other managers bought, Springfield Remanufacturing Company with $100,000 in their own money and $8.9 million in loans.

In 1983 the single share stock price of SRC was $.10.

In January of 2015 the single share stock price is $199.00.

In 1983 there were 119 employees.

In 2015 there are 1,200 employees in 17 divisions.

'Mushroom Management' or 'Open Book Management'

There is no question.

I first read this book in August of 1995.  Five and a half years after I started Business Navigators.   Now, I help most of my clients share Profit and Loss statement monthly with all employees.

In only 252 pages Jack reveals the important aspects of 'Open Book'.

Let me share a couple of his thoughts.

"The whole idea of open-book management, after all, is to create an environment in which people can continuously learn and grow. If you stick to it, if you keep educating and challenging people, if you knock down the barriers and make sure they stay down, you can't help but get better and better at the Game as time goes along."

The Higher Laws of Business
  1. You get what you give.   
  2. It's easy to stop one guy, but it's pretty hard to stop 100.  
  3.  What goes around comes around.    
  4. You do what you gotta do.  
  5. You gotta wanna.  
  6. You can sometimes fool the fans, but you can never fool the players.  
  7. When you raise the bottom the top rises.  
  8. When people set their own targets, they usually hit them. 
  9. If nobody pays attention, people stop caring.  
  10. As they say in Missouri: Shit rolls downhill. By which we mean change begins at the top.
I especially like # 8.

Jack provides an effective and practical approach to success. I know it works because I've been offering to my clients for 19 and a half years and I've watched it work.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

One'th by Land,Two'th by Sea and Other LInes

Today, son, Greg and I were having a fun conversation at the end of lunch before he had to head home to Ann Arbor.  Since we both help others to network better, our communication many times revolves around our in-common work.

I don't know how we got to this topic but he
shared with me that there were actually two riders who spread the word about "The British are coming, The British of coming," and when we Googled it, we found out that there were actually three men who carried the message.  I'm sure you remember that Paul Revere is the one that sounded the alarm.  What we found out was that William Dawes and Samuel Prescott helped to warn the colonists, too.  But I'll bet you didn't know that. I didn't.

It is thought that Paul Revere is remembered because of the poem that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, about "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."  Supposedly Longfellow did not include the other two  because their names were not as good for rhyming!  You can read the whole story here.

But let's not take anything away from Revere's efforts.  He was active in Patriot circles, making connections that were valuable in getting messages out to the various colonists.  He was so good, that in fact, the British had someone tailing his efforts.  That's right they had him under surveillance!  He was a participant in the Boston Tea Party, so he was well known within the "right" circles.  Through his networking and leadership skills, he basically built a massive communications machine that made the night of April 18, 1775 a success.

So there you have it. Networking was important way back when!

How will your networking efforts be remembered over two hundred years from now?