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Build a Power Grid of Influence 0

Judy Robinett takes the word “Networking” not only to a new level but re-defining it into a dynamic “power grid” of influence and connections. How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits is an excellent book and one of my best summer Judy Robinettreads, so far.

Judy is a business thought leader who is known as “the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex.” She has been profiled in Fast Company, Forbes, Venture Beat, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg Businessweek as a sterling example of the new breed of “super connectors” who use their experience and networks to accelerate growth and enhance profitability.

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Interaction Design with Dave Malouf 0

Dave Malouf, @daveixd, is currently the Manager of Product Design at Rackspace, the open hosting company (RAX). They are responsible for all the administrative control panels for our Infrastructure as a Service, Management as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Networks as a Service system. Dave has been working primarily in Internet front-end design for the past 20 years.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Malouf On Interaction Design


An Excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe:        How did storytelling relate to that, because that’s how I ran across you is in the storytelling book? How do you use user stories and maybe expand into how storytelling relates to the two?

Dave:      User stories are very functionally focused. They are very Hemingway-like in a way. They don’t add a lot to the perspective, to the emotion around the impact of the things that we do. And so when I think of narratives and storytelling, it’s really about communicating impact or expected impact. And that’s not just on the RLI level, it’s also on the level of the true emotional connections and emotional pieces that come together because of what we design.

Joe:        When you are looking at storytelling you’re looking to put, as you said, more of a narrative than just kind of this explanation of data?

Dave:      If we look at what we’re trying to achieve through building systems – I’m trying to use as generic terms as possible – we’re trying to create a story. We are assuming that people or types of people, personas if you will, are passing through a chapter by chapter story. As they go through that they’re experiencing something at a visceral, cognitive, perceptive level, but also at an emotional level, an aesthetic level of understanding and they have purpose and goals that are driving them through the system.

Sometimes those purpose and goals are in reaction or in dialogue with that system and thus they come through it and sometimes never leave it, because they’re embedded in it. Like do you ever really leave Facebook if you’re truly engaged in it? It’s something that as a touch point you go to and then leave. But it’s always kind of omnipresent for those people who are engaged in it. There are similar tools like that whether that’s social tools or email, but also the tools like my timesheet. It’s like I make decisions about what I do based on how I’m going to need to log it. It’s easier for me for example, to make sure that my activities are in longer chunks of time as opposed to shorter chunks of time which then impact how I decide “what am I going to do?” because of my timesheet software.

It’s like this system that’s created just by a single touch point that I don’t even use most of the time. But there’s a story around how that touch point impacts my total life around that system. And a user story won’t think about that. A user story will come in and say “User will add project. User will then declare time for project.” That’s not really what the user thinks about. That is how the system needs to be written from a functional perspective. But that’s not what the user is thinking. That’s not their context. That’s not their world. It’s very much from the developer or from the architect’s perspective.


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The Strategy Guide for Who You Know 0

When I was given this book, How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits, to consider it for the Business901 Podcast, my first thoughts was one of distaste for the awful word of networking. However, once I opened the book, I read it cover to cover in one seating. It’s been a while since I have done that. Judy Robinett’s book is kind of about networking but more importantly about how to effectively manage connections. If you are looking for a way to jump start your career and even somewhat an organization, this book should be on your reading list. 5-50-100

An Excerpt from Next Week’s Business901 Podcast:

Joe: When I look at 5 + 50 + 100 – I’m a marketing guy, I segment everything. I have separate connections for everything. Should my connections be sorted by work and social or should they all be together?

Judy: Well, I recommend that people use the VIPorbit. Mike Muhney, who invented the CRM industry. He is the cofounder of ACT software. It’s a free app. Its rated number one for your iPhone or iPad, and you can rank people in different orbits. But they could belong to different orbits. Sometimes, I know someone who is a VC, who also is an author, who also is a friend. You literally could have them in different groups.

I met a gentleman who had forty thousand names in the database. He had them all segmented. This person is in real estate, this person is a banker, but at the end of the day forty thousand people – I would prefer that people have quality relationships that they can pick up the phone. Now if you invest in a relationship and develop that relationship you can go months without contacting that person. It really isn’t as difficult as a lot of people think to build and to manage.

What I recommend is the three metrics that I want people to have, which is; robust, deep and wide. Robust means that people will return your phone call or they will offer an introduction or they will bring you an opportunity. Deep is people that have influence, have power, have gravitas so they can make things happen for you. Then wide is across different industry segments, so that regardless of what you need, you’ve got some body in that group of fifty that can help you. I learned this accidentally Joe when I lived in a small thirty thousand town in Idaho and I was put on the hospital board of directors. I was writing a business weekly column for the newspaper on business ethics and leadership. My neighbor was the Senate Majority Leader and I work for a fortune 300 company. Well even though it was a small community, I could get anything done I needed because I had powerful people across different segments.

I replicated that model. First, regionally, then across the United States and now globally. So literally, Lesley Seymour, the editor of More Magazine, reached out to me and said Judy, “Were going to be doing an article on Wantrepreneurs to Entrepreneurs, could you share some ideas or some contacts?” I very quickly introduced her to Katty Kay who is the author of a wonderful book on self confidence in women, “The Self-Confidence Code. I introduced her to Jon Medved, who arguably is the number one VC guy in Israel. Just two or three connections, she called me and went “I’m just amazed!” It’s because I have these strategic relationships across some different sectors that can be very valuable. Regardless of the problem, I can connect people.

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Presenting in a Digital World 0

A passionate teacher, Dr. Nick Morgan is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache.  Nick wrote this little treasure, How to Tell Great Business Stories, which is how I happened upon him. Since then he has published a new book, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact.

Related Podcast and Transcription:  Maximize Your Story Telling 

An Excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe Dager:  Well, we live in this digital world. Can you present yourself better being virtual? Are there any real tips in that area that helps you besides putting the mirror in front of you and those types of things? You have to elaborate more or it’s all voice inflection, isn’t it?

Dr. Nick Morgan:  Yes. For instance, on this podcast now, your voice becomes very important. My voice becomes very important.

Here’s the way I think about it. If you think about face-to-face communication, that’s the richest form and the most natural form for humans of communicating. As soon as you get virtual, you go on the phone or you send e-mail, then what you’re doing is you’re sending less information back and forth. It’s information poor. It’s like the difference, in the old days, between dial-up and broadband. Face-to-face is broadband and talking on the phone or email is dial-up.

As a result, we get less information about things that matter to us like intent, emotion and attitude. Does the person mean what they’re saying or not? If they say something mean to us, it’s much harder to tell. Are they saying it with a smile on their face? Are they trying to soften the blow or do they mean it? Are they saying it with a scowl? Those kinds of things get lost. That makes information coming through much less and it makes it much less interesting for us.

In the digital world, you have to do your best to replace those things that are lost. You need to replace the information. When I coach people, for example, when they’re on a teleconference and they’re talking to their team, they need to say things like “I’m excited about this!” or “This is great news!” or “it’s terrible that this happened.” You put the emotions in the words because they’re not going to show up in the face or gestures as they normally would in a face-to-face conversation.

Joe Dager:  You’re saying, you practically have to prepare more for virtual presentations?

Dr. Nick Morgan:  I think you do if you want to do a good job. I mean, we all know the jokes and the anecdotal evidence about people putting their teleconference on mute and then doing something else far more interesting while they’re supposed to be listening to a teleconference. The hero of the hour says, “Are there any questions?” Then there’s a long pause while everybody scrambles to take the phone off mute and to remember what was said. Yes, I think you do have to work harder.

Another thing you have to do is an audience in a room when we’re talking to somebody, we can see them. We can tell when they start to get bored. Or when they don’t make eye contact anymore, they start to fidget or something. Or when they disagree with us, they scowl or fold their arms. We can’t tell that virtually so you need to stop. Give people a break. Ask for feedback and say, “Let’s go around all the teams here and find out what they’re thinking in Dubai and what they’re thinking in Detroit…” and so on. Give people artificial chances to provide feedback because they don’t get the natural ones.

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A Scrum Drawing for Lean Marketing 0

Before the podcast, Design Think Your Way to Sales with Régis Lemmens,at Sales Cubes, we had a discussion about applying Service Design Thinking, Scrum and Agile to sales and marketing. The conversation turned into a discussion about this drawing on my website.

Value Stream Marketing

It is reflective of a Scrum sprint. Scrum is an iterative, incremental framework for project management and agile software development. The sprint is typical a two to four week process with the large loop representing the overall process and the smaller (top) loop representing a twenty-four period and the daily scrum meeting. In the Value Stream Marketing Process, I use the loops to demonstrate a higher level of intimacy with a prospect. The top loop is for existing customers to nurture an even stronger relationship. Time is not part of the process loops.

The three separate areas of the diagram will have their own Kanban board, if there are separate teams working on them, or you could visualize each as a separate swim lane. Separating these three processes apart allow you to better identify the process steps and the tools needed to facilitate the value stream flow. And, of course, using a Kanban board for this process will help you identify where the process is not working or where the bottleneck is occurring. Below is how the conversation went.

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Design Think Your Way to Sales 0

Could this approach actually make Sales a Noble Profession? Regis Lemmens

I had the pleasure of discussing with Régis Lemmens his new book, From Selling to Co-Creating. He is a partner at Sales Cubes, a sales management consulting firm located in Belgium, specializing in sales and key accounts management. He is a firm advocate of design thinking in business and helps organizations to apply this approach to innovate and redesign their sales processes finding new ways to add value to their customers.

Regis is a member of the team of experts at Impulse Brussels (the Bussels Enterprise Agency for starting and experienced entrepreneurs) where he serves as coach for startups to help them to develop and implement their commercial strategies. He also volunteers as a coach at the ‘Startup Weekend’ events in Belgium where he helps future entrepreneurs with the development of their business ideas.

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Is the Sales of Tomorrow based on Lean Startup Thinking? 0

From Selling to Co-Creating is not just an academic conversation. It is happening and this ground breaking book is discussed in tomorrow’s Business901 podcast. I had the pleasure of discussing this topic with Régis Lemmens, a consultant, author and teacher on the topic of sales and sales management. He is a partner at Sales Cubes, a sales management consulting firm located in Belgium, specializing in sales and key accounts management.

The podcast and the book delves into this more but I think it is important to understand the interpretation of co-creation. Borrowing from the book:

Value for the customer is co-created by the interaction between the customer and the sales person concerning the job the customer wants done. This means that the customer is always involved at in the process, learns something out of the process and has the feeling or emotion about the whole process, thus both tangible and intangible outcomes may be created, both tangible and intangible forms of value.

The book also goes into describing the Sales person’s interaction which I think is imperative. When I think of co-creation, I simply state that there must be a vested interest in a common outcome (job to be done) by both the seller and the customer.

What is your definition of co-creation?

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe Dager: We’re talking about this co-creation, co-innovation, adaptability and agility. How does the sales person fit into this? How do they go out and sell? Can he drive someone’s interest there? Or, is this a re-definition of sales happening?

Régis Lemmens: We call it a re-definition of sales, absolutely. We actually see sales becoming more a strategic function in an organization; where marketing used to define the strategy, sales executes it and was more operational. We’re actually seeing more and more organizations today, where sales is way too expensive to keep a dozen operational tools. They’re using sales people now to, basically, develop relationships with key accounts and using those relationships to innovate and to develop new products with those key accounts.

This is kind of interesting because where marketing used to be the ones with focus groups or developing new products with customers, it’s actually the key account managers who are doing that. Now, you see marketing actually drawn more and more into the operational side saying, “Whatever we’ve developed with those key accounts, have a look at it and see if you can market it to a larger market using call centers, the internet and any other form.”

We actually see change. Sales is becoming way more strategic; marketing is becoming way more operational; in terms of how organizations look at them.

Joe: You discuss Lean Start-Up principles when talking with key customers. I think it is very intriguing. I use maybe what you might call a modified type Lean Start-Up approach. Is that something that sales people bring to the table now? Doesn’t marketing try to discover product customer fit or service customer fit?

Régis: I think even sales does it. I think even sales is involved in that. The sales of tomorrow, as we see it, is more an entrepreneur and he will do the lean start-up. He will be involved in the customer validation and product validation. That’s pretty much the role of sales.

To tell you an anecdote in the Netherlands, a big technology research organization and consultancy, I was given a workshop on my book. I addressed a hundred and fifty sales people and I called them sales people. Believe me, they were heavily offended. By the second time I did that that day, they made it very clear that they did not want to be called sales people. Yet, officially they were but they were business developers.

That was really because they see the task really, really differently. They see it as really being an entrepreneur. They go in, find new opportunities, develop them with the customer, validate it with the client; and that’s how they see themselves. They don’t like to be even seen as a sales person because that’s too linked to the old ways of selling products door to door.

What is your definition of co-creation?

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