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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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Are Sales Conversations about Discovery? 0

I see that often, people don’t really know how to walk through discovery process. A sales guy is out there and that old A-B-C, always be closing, is in the back of his mind. He’s judged that way. It’s like, “What am I bringing to the table? Or afterwards you will be asked, did you tell him about this?” The whole sales conversation is constructed about features and benefits rather than discovery.

Régis Lemmens 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. His new book is, From Selling to Co-Creating.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Design Thinking in Sales

Excerpt from the Podcast:

Joe Dager: I see that often, people don’t really know how to walk through discovery process. A sales guy is out there and that old A-B-C, always be closing, is in the back of his mind. He’s judged that way. It’s like, “What am I bringing to the table? Or afterwards you will be asked, did you tell him about this?” The whole sales conversation is constructed about features and benefits rather than discovery.

Régis Lemmens: What we do see is that, those companies here in Europe are really struggling today. I see more and more companies calling upon us to engage with us because they realize that customers don’t accept meetings anymore.

I was doing a presentation yesterday to a big European industrial company and they were really struggling to have appointments because that’s the sort of talk that customers are not interested in. they want to have a discussion much more about innovation, about partnership, and about working together.

To give you an anecdote, I happened to have developed a very nice case. I’m not going to name them because I’m going to tell you something which is not written in the book. It’s a very nice case about a systematic logic and how they co-create real value with their clients. What was really funny to see was when I was writing up the case, in that whole process, the traditional sales people are no longer involved. Worse, they’re no longer allowed anymore in the process. The reason is they have this mentality of “always be closing”. One of the executives told me, “What happens is, whenever we involve a salesperson in this process, the clients feel that this is not about co-creating. This is about selling and they immediately stop sharing and the process stops.”

It shows how this is a change of culture.

Joe Dager: I think it very much is. Is there something about the book that you would like to mention that maybe I didn’t ask about and your services?

Régis Lemmens: There is something that I really like about the book about the research that we did. Whenever we found a beautiful example of a company that was co-creating value with the clients, it was always about one or two particular individuals who were doing that. When we ask, “What about all the other sales people?” They say, “Well, no. No, no. They don’t do that.”

What we found out when we looked through all the cases is that, to co-create with the client requires a lot of effort. It requires a specific motivation and we have a whole part in the book because we went to look into what motivates people to really do this. It’s about how you look at your job. We describe it in the book as “You can look at your work as a job; I do it because I need to earn a living; as a career because I want to move up or as a calling because I really like what I’m doing.”

What we noticed is that those sales people are going to co-create and are successful. They look at their job as a calling. This is actually a sort of wakeup call for us. We can win back our clients and say, “Well, we need to look at how we motivate sales people. What motivates them?”

We’re not working on several projects. While we’re looking several things like job crafting – which is a fantastic methodology which is developed in the U.S. in the University of Michigan – to actually help people find their calling in their work. We’re applying that more and more now within sales organizations and helping sales people to really find the calling in their work. Sometimes, they don’t find the calling and that’s also when I find myself saying, “Perhaps you should do something else.”

That’s something that we think for the future. We should think about entrepreneurs. Why do they do that? Why do they start a company? It’s not for the money. Most of them do it because that’s their calling. They really want to do that. I think that’s also what we need to look into sales people in the future.

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What do We do to Empower People 0

Kathy Cuff is a senior consulting partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies and co-author of LEGENDARY SERVICE: The Key is to Care. Kathy seems to have done just about every job at the joined the Blanchard Companies and help create many of the custom products for their clients.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Legendary Service is about ICARE

Excerpt from Podcast:

Joe: That ties into that word empowerment. But to empower people we can’t just empower them, can we? What do we do to empower people?

Kathy: You’re absolutely right. I’m glad that you’re asking that because we have some training that goes along with our new book Legendary Service. We as an organization offer and work with clients on training. And we’ve broken it into two different workshops. So we have one workshop that we say everybody in the organization should go through. Whether you’re a manager or individual contributor, it doesn’t matter because everybody has customers. However, we also setup a half day workshop just for managers because to your point, years ago when that whole buzz came up about empowering employees, I think that the downside of that was nobody knew how to do it. It sounded like a great term and everybody jumped on the bandwagon because who wants to say no. “We don’t believe in empowering people,” right?

They didn’t understand how to do it. There wasn’t training so we have a half day workshop where the focus in that is for managers – it’s a manager workshop. Their customers, their focus in that half day workshop are their direct reports, their team members. It’s not even focusing on the external customer. But we want mangers to think about what is your role and responsibility in this whole service initiative? What do you need to be doing to empower your employees? So we have one activity they do and they’re called playing field. If you think of any sport, especially with the World Cup going on right now, if you’re watching that or the Stanley Cup, the hockey that just finished, and NBA; heck we have lots of things. When you think about any sport out there, you know it’s inbounds and out of bounds. Well people need to know that at work as well.

Once we define the parameters, they also need to know “when is it okay sometimes to go out of bounds?” If something doesn’t make sense, a policy, a practice, use your head. Hopefully that’s why we hired you. So if something doesn’t make sense, bring that back to our attention, whether your manager within the organization. Question things. But also we teach leaders how can you empower people more and get the consistent behavior and performance that you’re expecting from folks so that you’re not frustrating your customers with that inconsistency.

That’s where some employees sometimes – I won’t even use the word empowered, they feel entitled. So they think they can make whatever decision they want, take whatever action. That’s not always the best thing either. You want to make sure that you’ve trained, you’ve educated your employees what they can and can’t do and then allow them to do it. And that’s where they’re going to feel valued by the organization. They’re going to be more engaged in what they do because they have ownership to what they’re doing. We’re known for leadership and all sorts of things at the Ken Blanchard Companies. We’ve worked for years with organizations knowing that as well that you’re going to get more of what we call that discretionary effort from employees when you let them own things, when they feel like they are in charge and have that responsibility. That’s where that comes with the empowerment.

Sounds a lot like standard work to me?

Holacracy, Zappos and Standard Work

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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