Wednesday, December 19, 2012


If the purpose of business is to generate a profit, and the fact that no company makes money making stuff, only selling stuff, then the idea of value is defined in the deliverable to your customers. If thought of in this way, value is defined as:
  • Is our organization helping the client achieve something it could not achieve before, better or on its own?
  • Is the deliverable measureable?
  • Is the process for working with customers accountable?
  • Is our service or product helping the customer to outflank its competition?
  • Is our service or product a good price?
The aggregate answers to these questions is what value is.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012


I believe a sale is about value creation, how is the salesperson helping to deliver value to his/her customer. The salesperson should understand, first and foremost, the primary goals of the industry they are selling. As a general rule and common denominator, most large organizations from my experience are focused on 3 key goals: 1) growth, 2) market expansion and 3) new market creation. Is the sale contributing one or more of these goals in some way?
I would want a sales force to attack 4 critical questions in preparing for it pitches:
1. What can I help the client achieve that they could not achieve before?
2. Is the benefit of the product or service I am selling measureable and is my sales process accountable?
3. How does my product and/or service help my client outflank its competition?
4. Am I providing a good price?

Smart people, especially those with some experience under their belt, seem to gravitate to effective leaders because of the culture those leaders have and continue to build. Good cultures evolve because leadership moves an organization forward in inclusive, incentivized ways, understanding that when every team member is treated as a stakeholder in the success of the business, the organization usually thrives. Such cultures reflect a manage down atmosphere where managers have a real stake (and obligation) in nurturing and helping their reports be successful and grow into greater responsibility and authority. In such cultures, the organization is run as a true meritocracy. Hierarchy does not warrant greater respect than non-hierarchy. This all comes from effective, authentic, smart, compassionate and balanced leadership. If leadership is ineffective in its communications and relationship building, all the incentives and perks in the world will not make such a company more effective or competitive...or attractive to the best and brightest hires.

In an era where client loyalty is more difficult to sustain than ever before, new business initiatives must take priority. Service organizations especially sell their ability to craft competitive, result oriented strategies to manage clients' brands and build their businesses. Within this, such organizations sell innovation and customization. Today, the companies that continually create new specialized services for their clients will be the post recession winners of this decade.
While client retention and growth are critical, it is new business and the incremental cash streams it creates that will allow companies to continue to grow their services, gain intellectual capital in new categories and expand their engagements with a larger variety of corporate cultures. In doing so, companies will be able to expand their resource to current and future clients, as well as, build tools to outflank competition.


Should corporate management foster a sense of individual achievement?
I find that individuals (and teams) that are reflective of high achievement--productivity on a consistent basis--work in cultures that foster individual success formulas.
Managers especially who have learned from their positive experiences and, importantly, their failures, seem to understand what behaviors work most effectively for them: how best to communicate internally and externally and how to prioritize work loads in context of their organization's needs. Such managers also understand and encourage their reports to develop their own individual formulas through trial and error, learning how to best use their personalities and organizational resources to be most effective. Businesses that recognize and foster individual achievement know they are also building assets for their future. I’m not implying organizations should promote cowboy mentalities, but rather use such support and recognition as a motivating tool to promote positive behaviors, enrich the individual’s corporate experience, grow the organization’s intellectual capital and develop more effective contributors to the team and overall organization


Accountability and Perfomance Management are critical to any organization, especially those with multiple disciplines and siloed functions. These terms mean different things to different levels of management. In general, I would say accountability comes from a meritocracy based culture. Clear objectives, realistic goals and environment where all people feel like stakeholders in the business and share in some way new equities created through collaborative actions. I think accountability loses its substance when the organization's community sees a lack of accountability by its executive management who are often far removed from the day to day business.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


A collection of thoughts from interviews conducted by Adam Bryant for the New York Times’ Corner Office.

…if you’re going to lead an organization, you need to have some sense of what everyone does every day.
James E. Rogers, Duke Energy

It’s not how much they (your employees) respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG

I’m not looking for a mirror image of me. I’m just looking for somebody who gets turned on about something. If you find that kind of person, then these are the people you want to climb mountains with.
Joseph J. Plumeri, Willis Group Holdings

Fear is not a motivating factor. You might be able to get a little bit more out of someone in the short term, but you will completely erode your business and your culture in the long term. You’re going to lose all your good people. You’re not going to have people tell you the truth, and it becomes the tradition.
Mindy Grossman, HSN, Inc.

People leave companies for two reasons. One, they don’t feel appreciated. And two, they don’t get along with their boss. We try to develop coaches instead of bosses.
David C. Novak, Yum Brands

I value a true meritocracy. The only way people will have a trust to give their all to their job is if they feel like their contribution is recognized and valued. If they see somebody else higher above them just because of a good resume, or they see somebody else promoted who they don’t think deserves it, you’re done.
Mark Pincus, Zynga

It’s one thing to say you’re inclusive, but it’s a whole other thing to be inclusive.
Susan Docherty, General Motors

(I learned) how much of what comes out of corporate offices is of absolutely no purpose, and how far removed some people are from the front lines.
Andrew Cosslett, InterContinental Hotels Group

…a lot of decisions (are) made behind closed doors and dictated to the staff without any bridging of the feasibility gap…you can’t disenfranchise people from the process by just giving them orders.
Don’t hire jerks, no matter how talented.
I don’t believe that creativity is a department. It’s cost of entry.
Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship

It’s too easy to let a person with great presentation skills buffalo you into thinking they are better or more knowledgeable than someone who might not necessary have that particular set of skills…(don’t) let the veneer distract you from the substance.
Robert W. Selander, MasterCard

It takes a lot of spine to tell the truth, especially in a large organization, where obfuscation is a political skill…if something goes wrong, it’s my problem; if something goes right, it’s their success.
Pamela Fields, Stetson

Different people have their own formula for success. I look for why they are successful, not just whether they are successful.
Richard Fein, Royal Caribbean Cruises

…avoid unnecessary process and hierarchy---things that might frustrate employees.
…people don’t perceive legitimacy from rank. They perceive legitimacy from how good you are.
David Sacks, Yammer

You have to make sure you never confuse the hierarchy that you need for managing complexity with the respect that people deserve. Because that’s where a lot of organizations go off track, confusing respect and hierarch, and thinking that low on hierarchy means low respect; high on the hierarchy means high respect.
Mark B. Templeton, Citrix