sales vs. dogs rolling in feces


I live in the township of Flat Rock in the county of Powhatan Virginia. If you don’t know where Flat Rock is, you are probably in the majority with the rest of the readership.  Just to contextualize and keep you from having to bother with your search engine,  Flat Rock is a one stop light town directly west of Richmond, Virginia, somewhat of a bedroom community for the Richmond metro area.   Now that I’ve established the pictorial setting of blossoming dogwood trees, rolling hills, acreage sized home sites and gravel driveways everyone will want to live here.

The rural nature of this bedroom community allows us to the opportunity to walk our dog on a leash or off a leash.  I prefer to walk my dog at night with a blaze orange vest and a glowing light.  The night walks are extremely appealing as the cool air and the clear skies allow you an uninhibited view of the constellations of Orion, Gemini, Cassiopeia and so many more.   No leash, glowing dog, great view — pretty cool way of life if you ask me.

Dogs are composting machines.  Continue reading

Sales & Prisms


Prisms are interesting objects. On their own, a prism is a simple object. The faces add character to the object but do little to reveal the true identity of what a prism can do. A prism alters light as the light passes through its core. The alteration is radical. The transforms occurring moves light from what we see into color. This transformation reveals a spectrum hidden to the naked eye. Even more interesting is how the colors blend. As you follow the prismatic induced color spectrum from the blue into the green into the yellow, the surgical lines of color demarcation, as revealed by Crayola’s spectrum in the 64 pack of crayons, is not as apparent. A closer look at the spectrum reveals how blurred the transition from one color to the next really is. As you follow the transition from blue to green, the two colors seem to be almost indistinguishable, then yellow appears playing the same game as green transitions to yellow. Is there really a green? Or is the green merely a transition from blue to yellow? Interesting for sure.

A prism. We all have something to learn from a prism. How so? Those endowed with the prismatic color yellow will find it difficult understand the depth of those who are gifted with the prismatic color blue. The prismatic color range is far from their own. The closer blue is to yellow the more commonalities will be shared. The challenge is in the recognition of a mutual need. Neither can fully understand how much one needs the other, nor how inseparably interrelated they are until they see the unity of light before the prism divides to reveal the differences. The light needs each color of the prism, undivided — to be light. Anything less is a distortion.

People are similar to the colors of the prism. Each sales person is endowed with a personality that sets them apart and helps them achieve their personalized success. The gabber and the life-of-the-party may share the same cubicle when in the office, but will seldom connect to the same people even when surpassing sales quota. The sales engineer and the sales artist both command respect, though not from each other. Being able to understand the personalities and harness their power leads to a team’s success. If the sales people are not working in unison, the company may see sales increase, but will certainly pay for the lack of unity in lost productivity. The equation of an adversarial relationship is, 1+1= 1.5. Trouble? Maybe. No need to go start a camp fire and bring your guitar in for some Cum-ba- ya, but a healthy dose of intentional unity will change the equation significantly.

How? They key is to find an area within, going back to the prism, their prismatic colors where they are the closest and building a mosaic from the similarities. Easy? Nope. If it were, there would be less antagonism in the work place.

Thoughts on Perseverance


I just finished the dishes and am very hot. Dripping hot. This is the 3rd dishwasher that has broken on us. I simply have never experienced a more fatally flawed appliance in the history of man kind. There is no possible way for the machines to rise if they are relying on the technology of a dishwasher. My guess is technology will have to improve vastly for the machines to ever have a chance at taking over.
I’ve come to a conclusion on Perseverance. My conclusion is I do not like perseverance. I takes a whole lot of you to persevere. Kind of like washing dishes. Once one starts, it is easier to finish them that to let them sit and come back to them. You walk away, all you really accomplish is passing the chore forward. Sort of shirking responsibility. What if the task really isn’t that important? Is it still shirking if you pass a seemingly meaningless chore forward?
My take on perseverance is perseverance makes a great story. Think for a minute about all your favorite movies. Where does the common thread come from in most of those movies? Probably perseverance. Think of movies like Batman, Ip Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings, Bourne — all seem to have the common thread of perseverance. Some for a noble cause, others, Capt’n Jack, not so noble. I think Sam Wise, in Lord of the Rings, put it best when he observed that the true heroes are not those who didn’t fear, but were those who had many chances to turn back, but never did.
Persistence. Because of persistence, we name our children after people of noble character who fought hard to persevere, somehow hoping the name will allow some transfer of greatness to our offspring. We all wan the fame of brave heart, though none of us want all the battles. We want the just-add-water version of greatness that can be had without perseverance. This desire is completely conflicting and the notion at the core is quite impossible. Fame speaks of persistence. For the persistent, honor continues to speak from the grave — even without a tombstone to fully identify. Honor becomes of a dedicated and persistent life. Those persistent souls become catalysts for our convenience and eventual apathy. The persistent may never take the sword, podium or spotlight, but the persistent still live as icons long after their flesh has turned to dust in an unmarked grave.
Conclusion: I will never be put to song for installing 2 dishwashers in the same home in the same day.
Algorythmic Analysis: if you want to make a difference, if you want to change the world, if you want to be more than the dash between two dates on a tombstone, be persistent in something that really matters. A prosperous business is merely a platform for real success born out of perseverance.

Go make a difference.

Goodbye Whitney


It is terribly sad to hear that Whitney Houston has passed away at the age of 48. Words find it difficult to express the sadness of this news. Talent and fame do not replace and cannot replace purpose in life. Rising to the top of your trade does not equal purpose either. So what does equal purpose? Life does have purpose. I firmly believe each of us has been placed specifically and by design in this very moment of history. We have been placed here to fulfill a purpose. The significance we find in life comes when we find that purpose and work with all our heart to fill it.

The sadness of her passing grows with the understanding of her struggle with addiction. Having struggled with addiction myself, I can say addiction is tough to overcome. The only way I overcame my addiction was through a total surrender to a Higher Power. Once I overcame addiction, I realized that one of my purposes in life was to share with others how to find purpose in life.

Life is never beyond hope.

purpose


Purpose. Elusive purpose. Is purpose measured in dollars and cents? One moment we are squeezing purpose from a transaction, exalting a business success, enjoying a puff of smoke, all action. Only to wake the next moment laying defeated, lonely and purposeless – driving ourselves again to find purpose in events, transactions or sedatives. Our challenge is supreme — for in our quest for purpose we can get too late to the point where we realize we have lived a life existence when purpose was within our reach. We settle. We settle for being daily cowards, and momentary heroes when we could be heroes we were meant to be.

Work is only a small part of life. Find real purpose and embrace the leader you were mean to be.

Best Practices have a Shelf Life


In every industry there is always a list of best practices. These best practices have been compiled over the years by the studious who have erected practical fortifications to guard these practices. These guards are those whose above all focus is in doing things right. Thoughts proceed into actions, actions turn into curriculum, which mature in seminars and over-ripen in academia. If there is anything we have learned in this last recession is that even best practices have a life cycle. Take for example the news media. The medium of news is changing faster than anyone can predict. Newspapers and local television news shows are waning away in popularity while internet is gaining in popularity. The problem with the internet is who do you trust? So much information, so much print, so many experts…where are best practices now? The internet news feels more like the wild wild west of cyberspace than it does a soft safe industry that is well defined. Why watch the evening news or read the paper? By the time the news arrives, it has already been broadcast all over the internet and is stale with age. How did we get so informed so quickly? How does one harness the internet?

We got to where we are today by doing things right and by doing thing right. First let us explore doing things right. There are many who can manage and do things right. These managers are the ones who refine processes, determine budgets, allocate resources, set quotas and meet goals. In the course of managing, the manager unknowingly erects walls built on the foundation of procedure and sets guards in place to control insurrection and change. Best Practices. A manager does things right. There is a place for a manager in business. The place for a manager is in taking an undefined process and improving.

The challenge the manager has, is she cannot foresee the danger the walls pose to the longevity needed in best practices. The procedural walls become rigid as sacred territory is captivated within the walls. The challenge becomes more apparent as growth involves new lands, bigger conquests, more territories – the internet. Conflict is inevitable. These are uncharted waters. What was once an iron clad fortress with a well-defined and protective moat is now a threat to growth and change. New technology makes the old defenses obsolete. Conflict with management is inevitable as a manager is wired to control and make predictable the unpredictable. The problem with best practices is practices change. So, what doesn’t change?

Principles. Principles don’t change. The principle of truth in business should not change. The principle of how value is exchanged should not change. So, what needs to change?

In the latter part of the 90’s and the early part of this decade business needed managers to control processes, establish guidelines, increase profitability and define the business model. The best managers were rewarded as it was imperative that the company work smoothly. That paradigm has shifted. What is now in demand is not management, but leadership. What’s the difference? You ask. The difference is while the manager does things right, the leader will do the right things. No amount of contract refinement or process refinement will increase sales. Managers may help with profitability through refinement, but may not be best suited to lead. What is needed now, more than doing things right, is someone who knows which things to do and does the right things. Therein lies the difference between leaders and managers. Leaders chart direction in periods of uncertainty, while managers refine the direction after the uncertainty is removed.

Now is the time for leaders to emerge.

More is Not Better


The thrust of the last few years was more is better.   More work, more transactions, more money were benchmark of success.  The signs of more looked something like a phone pasted to the ear, a constantly moving suburban filled with people to be taxied around, an unhealty work obcession, no time for family, no time for spirituality no time for me. 

The result: Broken lives, distant relationships, bankrupt spiritually, lonely, excessive phone bills, high milage vehicles.  

Solution:  Better is better.

What does Better look like?  Balance

  • Healty relationship
  • Enough business to live fully beyond business
  • Time for Healthy life
  • Time for me

If you are feeling left out, you are out of balance and need to restructure your life.

From A Friend


The Cab Ride 

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. 
after waiting a few minutes I walked to the 
door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a 
frail, elderly voice. I could hear something 
being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in 
her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a 
print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned 
on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon 
suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had 
lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no 
clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils 
on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard 
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag 
out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase 
to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I 
told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers 
the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good 
boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave 
me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive 
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she 
said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view 
mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have 
any family left,’ she continued in a soft 
voice.. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very 
long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me 
to take?’ I asked.

For the next two 
hours, we drove through the city. She showed me 
the building where she had once worked as an 
elevator operator.

We drove through the 
neighborhood where she and her husband had lived 
when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in 
front of a furniture warehouse that had once 
been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow 
in front of a particular building or corner and 
would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was 
creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m 
tired. Let’s go now’.

We drove in 
silence to the address she had given me. It was 
a low building, like a small convalescent home, 
with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to 
the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were 
solicitous and intent, watching her every move. 
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to 
the door The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her 
purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She 
held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an 
old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said.
‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her 
hand, and then walked into the dim morning 
light.. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound 
of the closing of a life..

I didn’t 
pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove 
aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that 
day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had 
gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient 
to end his shift?
What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked 
once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything 
more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve 
around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully 
wrapped in what others may consider a small 
one.

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY 
WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL 
ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.

Sales Tip: Life is more than just about the sale.