I have read a dozen or so biographies of some of the most historic and prolific individuals that have contributed to our society. I grew up watching Michael Jordan and I can remember the 1992 USA Olympic Team and my buddy Wes and I playing the Sega or maybe it was the Nintendo basketball game created from that team and the teams they played during those summer games. The average margin of victory for the “real” team that summer was 30 points, I think our average margin of victory on the game console was more like 60 points.
We have all heard the many stories of Michael Jordan’s competitiveness and his intense pressure that he put on himself as well as his team mates. But after reading this book, I have a new appreciation for Michael, not necessarily for what he accomplished. We know what he accomplished and has accomplished, but I just really appreciate his “pursuit of excellence”. He is truly a man who pursues excellence in everything he does.
Michael worked EXTREMELY HARD. Michael was the first person at the gym in the morning and the last one to leave. He is the best ever, but he still knew that he had to work hard to maintain being the best.
Where are you in your career? You have to show up first and leave last, if you want to be the best.
Maybe you don’t like your boss, but if you are good (great) they will leave you alone. I had heard the Michael and the General Manager Jerry Krause didn’t get a long. However, even though Jerry was the boss, he gave Michael his space to do what he needed to do.
My advice to anyone is that you don’t have to love your manager or leader (it helps, but it isn’t necessary) but if you are really great at your job they will give you space to make things happen, just like Jerry did for Michael.
When others on the team weren’t giving it there all, Michael called them out. Time after time the book tells stories of how Michael would challenge players in practice to give it their all, and if they didn’t they would get the scorn of Michael.
If you really care about the team and your company you have to not only give it your all, but it is your job and responsibility to make your other team mates give it their all.
There were no off days. I knew Michael worked hard. However, in the book there are countless stories of when the Bulls would come back from a series of games on the road, that players would be exhausted from the road trip and would attempt to not push too hard in practice, Michael refused to allow them to do this. He would work even harder in practice and make them work as well.
Have you had a great day at work or maybe even a great week, and you think you can not push it as hard? What would happen if you pushed hard all day everyday.
Don’t complain about the conditions, just play. Before the Bulls had nice practice facilities and awesome resources for the players. They shared an old gym at a community center. It was old and not much there. Michael took one look at the facility and threw his gym bag down and said lets play.
The conditions will never be perfect. However, your play can be, it’s up to you to change your attitude and just play.
Respect the chain of command. There were many things that Michael may have disagreed with over the years with coaches and with his general manager. However Michael always respected the chain of command and never said things to media or others to discount their authority.
You can respect the chain of command by talking to your manager or your leader in person, never do it behind their back or to others on the team.
You have to give it your all even when you don’t feel like it. Yes, we have all heard about the Flu game. Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals Michael was sick with the flu and ended up with the following stats. Jordan played 44 minutes, finishing the game with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block
You are a professional and what if you approached your job this way everyday? Now I know if you have the flu we don’t want you in the office getting everyone sick. However, the point here is that there are times throughout the week, the month or the year, that you are needed. Be there no matter what.
You can talk smack when you can back it up. I can’t even recall all of the stories in the book and the many players that were quoted for the book describing the language that Michael used to talk trash to them on the floor. But Michael backed it up, play after play.
If you are going to say your are the best, be able to back it up with results and evidence.
Be humble. Michael was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. However, he never put him self above the other players he held himself to the same standards as everyone else (even higher really) and never got too big for the game and fame, even though he could have.
You are never bigger than the team or the organization, remember that and always give appreciation to others for their contributions.
Be coachable. Michael was the best player of all time. He knew it and everyone else knew it. Michael was his own hardest critic. However, he would still listen to the advice of his coaches and his fellow teammates on things that he could do better.
We are never perfect and we must be willing to be coached, learn, and get better. Once you think you have it all figured out, you will never reach excellence.
Have fun even in the moment of intense practice and preparation. Michael was one of the most intense and competitive athletes of all time, but there are countless stories of Michael joking and playing around in practice and in games once the task that needed to be complete was complete.
Once your job is complete, make time for cutting up and have fun. However, only do this once the job is done.
I remember watching the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan during their run in the mid 1990’s, however, I didn’t know the man (Michael) the way I do now. I just knew how good he was on the court. Michael hated losing more than he liked winning. A loss in basketball, table tennis, golf or anything would just eat at him. He hated losing, which pushed him to make sure that he won.
I have a greater appreciation for Michael and who the man is. His daily pursuit of excellence and not settling for anything is amazing. I would compare Michael’s style to that of the late Steve Jobs. Jobs and Michael both believed in not doing anything half way, and always giving it their all. These two iconic figures both changed the world. Michael transformed the NBA and the athletic shoe and apparel industry. He helped Nike become the dominant force it is now. Jobs created an entire industry and truly change the world.
Michael was definitely provided with great gifts such as height and athleticism, however, he focused on those gifts and developed and refined, practiced, and worked at them to become what he became and is now one of the most transformative figures of all time.
Define and develop your gifts that you have with the same approach as Michael did and what can you accomplish?
To your success and your future.
Decide; Work Smarter, Reduce your Stress, and Lead by example. author: Steve McClatchy
Steve McClatchy has taken time management and priorities to a different level. He presents the material in his book in a unique way with stories and illustrations that really make the points he is conveying. This is one of the best books I have read this year so far. I highly highly recommend this book.
The book starts out with the first Chapter titled: Two forms of human motivations: Gain and Prevent pain. Either gain or prevent pain pushes you toward completing every decision and activity you pursue. And although it could be a combination of both, one is always in the majority. You have 51 percent or more of one of those motivations driving you to do that specific task. The most important difference between the two is the results they produce.
Tasks that you are driven toward by Gain produce more significant positive results in your life and your business than tasks that are driven toward by prevent pain.
- Gain tasks are focusing on something you want. You are figuring out how to produce results that you desire in your life.
- Prevent pain tasks such as paying the bills and doing laundry. Cleaning laundry isn’t something we desire out of life. We do it to prevent pain of not having any clothes to wear.
Prevent Pains Tasks are: (Have To’s; One thing they all have in common: if neglected, someone else will eventually bring it to your attention)
- Have to do’s. Sure you can choose not to do them, but you will have face the consequences of not doing them.
- Simply prompt us to do what we have to do.
- No matter where you are in life and the responsibilities you have or don’t have, you can always fill up your day with prevent pain tasks. There is always something to repair, maintain, clean, feed, keep up with, pay for, care for. The reason that prevent pain tasks go on an on is that they never actually go away; they just eventually repeat. EX: You don’t really cross off doing dishes off your to do list; you just move it to the bottom because the next night, you will have to wash them again.
- Tasks such as putting gas in your car, checking email, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, never end, they are never finished.
- Prevent Pain tasks come with varying degrees of urgency. You have to complete them, such as assignment for work, according to deadlines.
- Others such as housecleaning, have a little more flexibility in terms of timeline, its your responsibility to get them done some time or deal with the consequences of failing to complete them.
- There is nothing special about prevent pain tasks. Making good grades in school, doing the laundry, meeting the minimum expectations at work, all of these things will not differentiate you from anyone else. The only way you can differentiate yourself is doing Gain Tasks.
Gain Tasks (Are never urgent)
- Urgency is a great human motivator. But when it comes to results, urgency alone can’t deliver. It is not a great criterion for deciding what is most important or what will produce the most significant results in your life.
- Gain Tasks can always wait. There are no deadlines or reports due for it. You don’t owe it to anyone.
- Your only motivation to do a Gain Task is to improve your life in some way. It is never an urgent situation.
- You don’t have to do Gain Tasks.
- Motivation to complete a Gain task comes from the opportunity to gain improvement and results in your life, not from fear of the consequences that may arise if you don’t do it. No one will ever ask you about it or follow-up on it. Theres only one reason why you would do it: because you want to, not because you have to.
- Nothing bad will happen, but nothing good will ever happen either if you don’t complete gain tasks.
- You wont move toward that goal or enjoy improvement. Your life will stay the same for as long as you let it.
- The reason to complete a Gain Task is because you desire the results that task will bring.
- Whenever we are motivated by a Gain, we are thinking about the results our time and effort will bring us in our lives, in our relationships, and in our business.
- You cant delegate a Gain task to anyone else.
- The nature of a Gain task or goal is only you can do it. No one else can do it for you.
- You cant delegate your goals and dreams to another person.
Examples of Prevent Pain:
- Taking out the trash
- following up on voice mails
- Paying bills
- daily personal grooming
- grocery shopping
- fixing broken things
- caring for pets
Examples of Gain Tasks:
- Pursuing an advanced degree
- Getting a certificate in something
- Writing a book
- buying an income property
- closing a big deal
- Consumption goals: Short term reward for the hard work you have done. (vacation, night out, a concert, major purchase such as purse or watch)
- Creation Goals: When you reach these goals your life will be better.
- Creation goals have a lasting, longer term impact and you will remember them as being significant.
- Although fun and uplifting, consumption goals have a more fleeting impact.
Prevent pain tasks versus Gain tasks: Prevent Pain tasks are maintenance where Gain tasks are for improvement.
The best way to combat burnout and stress and achieve a feeling that your life is balance between what you ahem to do and what makes you feel alive is to continuously seek improvement in some area of your life.
The author goes on to explain that your to do list should be prioritized by A, B, C tasks.
- A tasks: Goals, Leadership, Improvement
- B tasks: Important maintenance responsibilities (a report, paying bills, taking inventory)
- C tasks: Maintenance: dishes, laundry, grooming
- Your brain is hardwired to prioritize survival over improvement. Prevent Pain over Gain. You brain is not necessarily a mechanism designed for success, fulfillment, happiness, and growth, it is a mechanism designed for survival.
- It will always at attend to what you need for protection and survival first. To take risks and make choices that lead to Gain, you have to override your brains natural instinct.
Procrastination and Motivation:
- Motivation exists when there is a distance between where you are and where you want to be.
- Two categories of motivation are fear and desire. We fear the pain of consequences of not doing something we have to. We desire the results brought out by gain and improvement in our lives.
- Energy and motivation to do prevent pain tasks come from pursing gain tasks.
- Procrastination is how we use fear to do something we don’t want to do.
- Problems with procrastination: Lower quality products are produced, we have less control and convenience over it, stress comes from it.
- Procrastination is not as much as of a time management problem as it is a decision-making problem.
Nothing about prevent pain tasks sets us apart from anyone else. The results you get everyday are not determined by the “have to” tasks.
Everything we do everyday can be broken down into three categories: Habits, To Do items, and calendar events.
Habits: Mostly influence parts of our life such as hygiene, health, eating, repeat spending, relaxing chores, emails, and rote tasks. We doth have to write them down, because we wont forget to do them.
To do Lists: maintenance tasks that you don’t want to forget. Updating a file, sending out an email, checking in with a client, going to dry cleaners, grocery shopping, paying a bill.
Calendar: For things that are time specific: events, appointments, and anything you gave to be on time for, whether its business or personal.
Use your calendar for Gain:
- Anything on your calendar you will defend and protect. You wont skip.
- Use your calendar to give your goals the attention they deserve.
Without the strong self-identity that comes from pursuing gain, your ego will try to compensate by cementing with and comparing you to people around you.
To live without goals is to love without passion for anything, and that will only lead to burn out. Working toward creation is what ends the burnout and the competition.
Your work too hard to just prevent pain everyday.
This is a little bit of a unique book summary, but I hope you see the points the author is conveying. I included the major points of emphasis that I really liked throughout the book.
Summary of the summary and notes:
- Identify where you spend most of your time. Preventing Pain or Creating Gain.
- Be sure to create Creation Goals and Tasks and be sure they are on your calendar. The important stuff goes on your calendar and that should include your Gain Tasks.
- Make better decisions and don’t procrastinate
- Your brain will go into survival mode before it goes into improvement mode. Change this natural tendency.
To your success and your future.
As a reader of lots of books, I sometimes find it difficult to remember everything that I want to remember from a book. I am like most people in that I highlight or circle certain parts of text when I am reading an actual hard copy of a book. Something I have done for years, is take those notes and put them in my journal. Well, now instead of putting them in my journal for only me to see, I have put them here so you get the benefit of them.
This book summary is not really a summary. It give you the gist of the book. But this summary is really my highlights and my notes that I pulled from the book. The information I thought was cool and important. I hope you find it to be useful as well.
Decisive (How to make better choices in life and work); by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.
This book is one that I have looked at many times over the last two years, but I always thought to myself. I make good decisions, what could I possibly learn about decision-making? So I never bought the book, until now. I have to say, this book has taught me a lot, and my hope is that you read my notes and decide to buy the book.
Four Villains of Decision Making:
- Should I do this or that? Instead ask yourself, is there a way I can do this AND that?
- Be aware of the conformation bias and do whatever you can to fight it off. Confirmation bias is when we think or know we believe a certain way, our minds immediately look for information to confirm what we already feel or believe. It happens to us all more frequently than we would like to admit.
- Short term emotion: When we make decisions based on emotions only and don’t seek out a different perspective.
- Overconfidence: People think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
- You encounter a choice. But narrow framing makes you miss options.
- You analyze your options. But the conformation Bias leads you to gather self-serving information
- You make a choice. But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.
- Then you live with it. But you’ll be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
- Then I personally would add a fifth: You become too attached to the decision from an ego perspective that you won’t change the decision. (not in the book)
Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is knowing that there’s one to be made.
In the book the authors recommend this process:
W Widen your options
R Reality Test your assumptions
A Attain distance before deciding
P Prepare to be wrong
Opportunity Cost with decisions: Everything comes down to opportunity cost. What am I giving up when I make this decision.
EX: If I chose to spend my money to go on a vacation for four days. The cost is the money for sure. So what else could I have done with that money instead of taking the vacation. You could have paid off debt, you could have saved for retirement, you could have purchased something that you really needed.
We make opportunity cost decisions all of the time. Some are not too costly, because you never actually feel them, but what if your budget truly is limited. Your time is truly limited. Then weighing in opportunity cost is critical.
A study in the book shows that when presented with the actual opportunity cost of something, people make better decisions.
Example from the book:
Imagine that you have saved your money to purchase a video. The video is $14.99. It has your favorite actresses and actors in it. You have always wanted to see the movie and you have actually been thinking of purchasing it for quite a while.
The researchers asked people to check A or B.
A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not by this video
Given the choice, 75% bought the video and only 25% passed on buying it.
Later the researchers asked a different group of people the same questions with the same scenario. Except they asked it this way.
A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not buy this video. KEEP THE $14.99 FOR OTHER PURCHASES.
Do we really need to be reminded that if we don’t purchase we can do something else with the $14.99? Apparently so, because the results were different. 45% decided not to buy the video. Simple reminder helped twice as many people not buy the video.
How would these reminders impact your decision-making?
When making a decision force yourself to find other options, because it is very clear that we can find different options when we are forced to do so, and we make better decisions.
Ask yourself this question: If all of the options I am currently looking at disappeared what would I do instead?
When pursuing a project a manager can ask for three different options. Multi-tracking as it is called in the book. This does several different things for the employee when you multitrack.
1st. If you only have one option that you have put all of your eggs in to. It makes it harder to get over your ego when you get feedback on that one option. Its harder to hear the truth.
2nd: It does a way with politics. Because if you have several people working on a project pursuing different options, it helps keep egos open-minded.
Prevention mindset versus promotion mindset. In a study of 4,700 public companies decisions during recessions in 1980, 1982, 1990, 1991, 2000 to 2002. A group of researchers studied the decisions the leaders made at these companies during these tough times. They found that the leaders who did a fair amount of prevention such as cut backs, layoffs, cutting expenses as needed coupled with investing in talent, training, new products, etc. fared better than the companies that just did one or the other.
Most companies focus on too much of either prevention or promotion. Both can be detrimental to decision-making and success. You have to combine both.
When faced with a problem another way to apply a decision-making process to making better decisions, is asking who else has faced this problem before? Ask others. Secondly, researchers and scientists looked at analogies to find the answers to a lot of issues. Analogies have a way to make the problem more clear and it proposes certain ways to address the problem or decision that needs to be made.
Ask yourself “What would have to be true” for this to work. This question framed up this way allows people to dissent without sounding disagreeable. When providing feedback just ask “What would have to be true for this option to be the very best choice?”
When we assess our choices we automatically take the inside track. We have to condition ourselves to look at it differently.
We are really bad at predicting the future. All of the so-called experts get it wrong most of the time. Stop trying to predict the future an instead use other tools where possible.
The one they recommend is ooch when possible. Meaning if you can ease into the situation without going all in, do so. For examples: all studies show that leaders are really bad at interviewing and a so-called “great interview” with a candidate usually ends up being a bad hire. A better predictor is actual work or grades from school, more so than an interview. Instead of hiring someone can you offer them a short-term contract and see how they do? This is called ooching before making the full decision, test it out.
Researchers have discovered over and over that people act as though losses are from two to four times more painful than gains are pleasurable.
In one study researchers gave half a class on a college campus a coffee mug with the university’s log on it. The students who weren’t given a mug were asked, “How much would you pay for the one of those mugs?” On average they said $2.87.
The surprise came from the students who’d received the mugs. Asked what price they’d sell the mugs for, they reported they couldn’t part with them for less than $7.12.
Five minutes earlier, all the students in the class would have presumably valued the mugs at $2.87. Yet the students who received the mugs grew attached to them in the span of a few minutes. The perceived pain of giving up their new gift made it unthinkable to sell at $2.87.
Loss Aversion is a real thing. Think about it. As the research suggests a simple coffee mug causes people to want to charge two an a half times the price of what they would have said it was worth. This makes the point that when it comes to decision-making that we all are more worried about what we lose versus what we could gain. This causes us to not make a decision usually and stick with the status quo. We have to find a way to fight this.
Researchers have confirmed over and over again that when we give advice to others that we think about the bigger picture pretty easily, but when we think of our own decisions we get stuck in the weeds. That is why it is so important to get an outsiders perspective.
The authors suggest that when you have a decision to make ask yourself this question “What would I tell a friend in this same situation to do?”
When it comes to decision-making we all must make our priorities list. By doing this it allows you to make decision better and quicker. If you don’t know what your priorities are or values then when put in a situation you wont have any guard rails that can help guide your decisions.
Our calendars are great scoreboards for our priorities. Jim Collins the author of “Good To Great” says this. When it comes to prioritization and managing your time, everyone needs a stop doing list. What do you need to stop doing.
We can’t control the future, but with some forethought, we can shape it.
Prospective Hindsight: Is a term that the authors used when thinking about a decision. Here is their example:
How likely is it that an Asian American will be elected president of the United States in November 2020? Jot dow some reasons why this might happen.
Prospective Hindsight spin on this.
It is November 2020 and something historic just happened: The United States just elected its first Asian America president. Think about some reasons why this might have happened.
The second way it is asked gets you to think differently about the scenario. It asks you in a way to make you feel different about it. The authors suggest that you approach situations like this. Work backwards from the decision, this allows you to think about it more clearly.
Use trip wires to help you make a decision. A trip wire is simple. It is built-in system that tells you when to act. Example: A lot of people have heard the story about Divas in the music industry or in certain professions. That they require certain items in their dressing rooms, certain food, etc.
One famous incident of this is Van Halen. Van Halen was one of the biggest bands of all time. When they were touring back in the early 1980’s their concerts were unbelievable. Their elaborate stage designs, pyrotechnics, and everything else that went with their performances made them legendary. Traveling around the country setting these elaborate performances up required them to contract with various companies in a local market where they were playing a show to help them achieve this. The contracts they had with all of the specifications of what was required to set these stages up, were like books. But to ensure that it was done correctly every single time. Van Halen set a trip wire into the contract. There was no way for the band to actually check to ensure everything was done like it was supposed to be done. So this trip wire helped them do this.
In all of the contracts Van Halen required a bowl of M&Ms’s on the stage with all of the browns M&M’s taken out of the bowl. This was the trip wire. Instead of checking every single thing with the stage and all of its production. They could just walk over to the bowl of M&M’s, if the company actually read the contract. No M&M’s, they really didn’t read the contract. M&M’s and brown ones included, means they didn’t read the contract either.
This trip wire that Van Halen used allowed them know when they needed to check closer or not. This is what a trip wire can do for you. It lets you know when you need to do something immediately.
Boundaries are necessary because of people’s tendency to escalate their commitment to their choices.
I highly recommend this book for people to read. All of us our making major decisions on a daily basis in our work or in our personal lives. How much thinking are we actually putting into those decisions? The chances are not enough. This book has equipped me with a few other things to do and be aware of when I am making decisions. Most importantly conformation bias.
I hope you found this book summary to be helpful. If so please share with someone you know.
The Reputation Economy; How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset. The author Michael Fertik is the CEO and founder of Reputation.com the world leader in digital reputation and privacy management.
The book highlights the benefits and the negatives in the current world we live in with social media, media, and how everything we do anymore creates a digital foot print. He makes the case that your reputation is as good as cash in your wallet and you must manage your reputation and protect it. In this summary I will highlight the main points of the book and illustrate a few stories that will make you think “WOW”!
We’re in a new world of reputation, where reputations are made and lost in an instant, where everything you do will be tracked, calculated, measured, and analyzed, and where anyone can find out nearly anything about everyone else with just a click. And while there are plenty of things you can do influence the conversation and shape public perceptions, at the end of the day the best reputation management strategy is simply to earn it by bringing more value to your employer and your customers, treating others well, and being socially and environmentally responsible. If you embrace the Reputation Economy, make sure you advertise your unique skills and talents, generate enough fodder for those reputation engines we keep talking about, and carefully curate the reputation you have.
- A human blink can take up to four hundred milliseconds, in that time, an average laptop computer can perform almost one billion calculations.
In the Reputation economy it is like cash, putting it up as collateral to secure your debts and to make transactions you could never otherwise make.
All data is stored and is permanent, cheap, and ubiquitous.
- Twitter generates over 400 million tweets of data everyday. , the US Library of Congress is permanently storing every public tweet send on Twitter, regardless of its contents.
Everything that can be collected and aggregated will and it will be scored.
- Every piece of information you provide to a computer with a click of your mouse is reduced to a number that its algorithms can manipulate. The machine means no insult, but it has no other way to represent you, its understanding is limited to math.
- Computers and scoring can come from any data that you put into Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other media or website you use. Additionally all of your loyalty programs you are apart of at your favorite retailers.
- Computers can take all of this data and create a Reputation score for you or a credibility score. In the future and in many ways already being currently used to analyze your buying habits.
- Companies will soon be issuing credibility scores, which they’ll use to determine your eligibility to participate in social sharing services like car sharing, apartment sharing, and so on.
- A high credibility score could be based on a squeaky clean credit, an accident free driving record and a history of always paying your bills on time.
- Health and Longevity scores issued from insurers to investors and employers. These scores will be determined by your television watching habits and your fast food consumption.
- A California woman was convicted of workers compensation fraud after she typed more than two hundred posts to Facebook after claiming that a wrist injury prevented her from typing at work.
- Your friends and who you associate will be scored online as well. You are usually the same or similar to your friends, so who your friends are will also dictate your reputation and credibility score.
- The next generation of reputation scoring will go further than ever before aggregating information about you, the joke is “We know what you did last summer” technology.
- The best strategy is to carefully curate your digital footprint so that positive information will eclipse and counterbalance all the negative data that you don’t have control over.
Don’t stop believing in the power of Reputation to shape your career.
- If you have searched for a job lately and have applied to a company using their automated application process, you have already been apart of algorithms determining whether or not you get the job. A lot of companies are already using basic systems to search for keywords and other attributes to determine if you would make a good employee for that company.
- Some companies have used these algorithms to prevent any kind of discrimination in their hiring process. The computer doesn’t look at black or white or any other race, it just purely looks at the data to determine if you meet the qualifications, and it is all done by a computer with no human interaction, so companies are safe from biases that could occur
- In many jobs your career growth is more important than your current position. Smart algorithms are starting to learn the difference between a candidate who has stagnated and a candidate who has worked their way up.
- No matter what profession or industry you’re in, a good reputation can open doors that you never knew existed. But your career is far from the only are of life you can stand to profit from a good reputation.
Disrupting Education as we know it.
- Your reputation score will be so disruptive to higher education because the technology is quickly developing to allow your unique reputation to become stronger signal of employability than the name on your diploma, or even whether you have a diploma at all. These signals will be less expensive than ever for employers to find.
- A new thing called microcredientials are already being tested and used in various of job fields. Microcredentials can be a course, a test, or something quick that says you “know” this. This could be the future of education.
- In a world where predictions about your future job performance are increasingly made by computers, your ability to demonstrate the value of your education in actual skills will far more valuable than the traditional signals of a GPA and a fancy degree. Racking up as many credentials as possible that can be digitized, quantified, and measured will be crucial to launching a successful career in any field.
- In the Reputation economy a poor decision to wreck a hotel room, will be felt across many areas of your life (you’ll get a score for it, which may affect your financial scores as well)
- In 1997 a study reported that half of bankruptcy filers found out that personal bankruptcy was an option from a friend or relative. A paper from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that you are more likely to file for bankruptcy if you have a friend who has declared bankruptcy. So who your friends are and your twitter followers, and who you interact with online could determine your eligibility to get a home loan.
- A company by the name of Movenbank (now Moven)works somewhat like a traditional bank. They offer checking accounts and other financial products, but unlike traditional banks they are strictly online, they are pushing to replace plastic credit cards with smartphone applications Their most controversial difference is they use a reputation score to determine who gets credit. They call it Credscore. An applicant with a top CREDscore gets more exclusive offers, lower fees, and possibly even better customer service. They build the CREDscore by looking at a customers social networking accounts Linkedin, Facebook, and so on. An algorithm analyzes the data related to your job, Are you stable? Consistent with the income you declared. They have not stated whether or not it relies on the creditworthiness of you friends for your CREDscore, but it is very easy to get that information and why wouldn’t they, they know who your friends are.
- A machine is making important financial decision based on your reputation and the reputation of your friends, without any interference from humans.
The major point of this book is that anything and everything you do online leaves a trail, it creates a digital footprint. Every Facebook post, every tweet, every purchase you make online, every time you use your loyalty card at your favorite retailer, every online dating site you sign up for, every LinkedIn connection you make, every pic you post online, etc. As illustrated in the book summary some companies are already using this data to allow or deny you to do business with them, in the future what will it look like when everyone is doing this. Is this a good thing? It can be. You have to control your own conversations and your own digital footprint. Be aware of what you are putting out there, be careful of what you share.
To your success and your future.
Book Title: How to Kill a Unicorn; How the Worlds hottest innovation factory builds bold ideas that make it to market. Mark Payne the founder of Fahrenheit 212 is the author of the book and provides his playbook on how he has helped major companies transform their businesses through innovation.
This book was a great read because it really is a playbook on how to take a problem or go through a systematic process that can lead a company to the right solution for break through innovations in their business or sector. I pulled out the major pieces that I found to be most insightful and beneficial in pursuing this transformation.
1. Assume transformation is necessary:
The only way transformation can occur is for everyone to realize that transformation is necessary. Assuming that transformation is necessary changes the conversation in the team from “should we transform something” to “what will we transform?”
2. Cultivate a healthy disrespect for present reality:
Consciously try to identify things in your category, consumer experience, products, and business that just are the way they are, without needing to really be that way. In most businesses you’ll find a long list of them, with transformational questions hidden inside. In an age of personalization, where there is such tremendous breadth in consumers financial means and trajectories, why do most fixed mortgages only come in fifteen and thirty year increments? When just a small segment of the population finds full strength spirits palatable, why is 98 percent of the category sold in a way that’s stronger than consumers can handle?
3. Temporarily forget what you know:
Knowledge is a potent form of competitive advantage. But there is often a razor-thin line between a knowledge base and the entrenched paradigms that have been attached to it over time and permeated innovation in your category. Knowledge is power in certain moments in the journey, but the kryptonite in others if not properly harnessed.
4. Ask yourself how likely it is that your competitors aren’t working on the same questions you are:
Picture yourself right now sitting in the room with your project team at your competitors office. Would they be working around similar questions? If so, you probably haven’t cracked the transformational questions you’ll need to get to for transformational answers. The point is not to second guess what your rivals are up to, but simply to gauge your own conviction that you’ve uncovered through transformational questions. Big thinkers find big questions exciting. So if you don’t viscerally feel that you’ve broken new ground, you probably haven’t.
5. Move the camera around the room:
Finding the big transformational change usually happens by distancing ourselves from the prevailing category context we live in every day and approaching it from a fresh angle. This doesn’t just work metaphorically; it works literally, too. Looking at your ice cream business not through the eyes of the consumer, but from the perspective of the ice cream behind the frosted freezer glass watching consumers go by (like an orphan hoping for adoption), may open a powerful new set of questions to ignite transformational innovation. If that doesn’t work, deconstruct the life cycle of an ice crystal born in the churn at the factory, or ask what the spoon would say as its bent in the act of scooping.
6. Learn to hear the thundering sound of the things that isn’t being said:
Paradigm-creep isn’t just a company phenomenon. It happens to consumers, too. They often become so accustomed to embedded characteristics and compromises that they don’t even think or talk about them. (When was the last time you got to work and said “Boy, how about gravity today?”) A great innovator needs to ask every touch point –what didn’t we hear that was interesting? In the pursuit of transformational change the what is not said is often the most telling.
Creating an inversion: An inversion is when you take the most glaring flaw or weakness in a company and flip it on its head creating a breakthrough new competitive advantage, business model, or innovation platform. An example of this would be Vitamin Water. Taking a bland boring product and using that as the base and then turning that into a dynamic, delightful, colorful, beverage. Or Zappos. Taking the headache of getting the wrong size shoe by shopping online and turning that into a better experience.
How to create an inversion:
- Aim beyond small improvements in your strengths.
- Be willing to have your future compete with your present.
- Hunt for late mover advantage, even if you’re the incumbent. Ask this question: “If we were starting a business today, would it look anything like the way it looks now?”
- Remember that the big flip never happens by accident, you have to actively look for it.
- With all due respect to the importance of core competencies, don’t neglect the potency of core incompetencies.
- Remember that the opportunities you’re after are probably hidden in plain sight. Many innovations are born by digging deeper beneath the surface, we often find that great inversions come about by deciding not to dig at all, just taking on things that have been right there on the surface all along.
I hope that this summary and notes gets you thinking about your business, but since I am also the self-proclaimed self-development addict. How can you apply these concepts to your own personal business, the business of you? I would love to hear how you applied these concepts to creating a breakthrough innovation for yourself.
To your success and your future.
SPIN Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff; author: Neil Rackham http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/
SPIN selling was published in 1988, and at that time it was considered to be the most heavily researched book on sales ever created. The research was compiled over 12 years and 35,000 sales calls, and 1 million dollars in research.
The study was compiled from 116 factors that might play in part in sales performance. The studied was centered around the larger sale. Up until this time a lot of sales training was centered around the smaller scale. In small sales the consumer is less conscious about value. As the size of the sale increases, successful sales people must build up the perceived value of their products and services. The building of perceived value is probably the most single important selling skill in larger sales. The SPIN model is developed around this concept. The study found that the salespeople who didn’t successfully transfer handling larger sales were those who had a difficulty building the customer’s perception of value.
Four stages of a sales call:
1. Preliminaries: These are important, but have less impact on the sale than originally though in the study.
2. Investigating: Asking better questions can increase sales by more than 20 percent the study found.
3. Demonstrating Capability: As the size of the sale increases the ability to demonstrate that your solution can solve the customers problems is a must. The bigger the problem that you can help the buyer discover, the more likely you have to sale them your solution.
4. Obtaining commitment: Finally a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer. In smaller sales it is a purchase. In larger sales it is a lot more. They are called advances. Small commitments that get you closer to the bigger sale.
Situation questions: Dont irritate your buyer with questions that are not relevant. Don’t overuse them because to many question can bore the buyer.
- Are used more in calls which fail
- Are overused by inexperienced sales people.
Needs: (In this book the author uses the term to describe the buyers wants and needs)
- First sign of a need is when the buyer shows a slight discontent or dissatisfaction.
- Starts with minor imperfections
- Evolves into clear problems, difficulties, or dissatisfaction.
- Finally becomes wants, desires, or intentions to act.
Implied Needs: Statements by the customer of problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions.
Explicit Needs: Specific customer statements of wants and desires. EX: We need a faster system.
- Less successful sales people don’t differentiate between Implied and Explicit Needs, so they treat them the same way.
- Very successful sales people, often without realizing they are doing so, treat Implied Needs in a very different way than Explicit Needs.
- In small sales the more Implied Needs you can uncover, the greater the chances of success in selling.
- Implied needs are buying signals in small sales, but not in large.
- In larger sales the ability to take the Implied needs and convert them into Explicit Needs is where success occurred in the study. The purpose of your questions should be to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.
Problem Questions: These are questions that identify problems or concerns for the buyer. Questions like: “Is this operation difficult to perform?” “Are you worried about the quality that this machine performs?” These questions explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfaction in areas where the sellers product can help.
- Problem questions are more strongly liked to sales success than situation questions are.
- In smaller sales the link is very strong the more Problem questions the seller asks, the greater the chances the sale will be successful.
- In larger sales, Problem questions are not strongly linked to sales success. Theres no evidence that by increasing your problem questions can increase your sales effectiveness.
- If you can’t solve a problem for your customer, then there’s no basis for a sales. But if you can uncover problems you can solve, then you’re potentially providing the buyer with something useful.
Implication questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good situation and problem questions. In larger sales this is not enough, successful people need to ask a third type of question. Implication questions: EX: “How will this problem affect your future profitability?” “What effect does this reject rate have on customer satisfaction?” Implication questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences.
- Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
- Build up customers perception of value
- Are harder to ask than Situation or Problem questions.
- Implication questions increase the size of the problem in the buyer’s mind.
- Decision makers respond very well to Implication questions. They are the ones whose success depends on seeing beyond the immediate problem to the underlying effects and consequences.
- Implications are the language of decision makers, and if you can talk their language, you’ll influence them better.
Need-Payoff questions: EX: “Would it be useful to speed this operation by 10 percent?” “If we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?” In the studies, they found that top performers ask more than 10 times as many Need-Payoff questions per sale than average performers.
- Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
- Increase the acceptability of your solution
- Are particularly effective with influencers who will present your case to the decision maker.
- Need-Payoff questions have succeeded in focusing customer attention on solutions rather than problems.
- Need-Payoff questions reduce objections.
These questions do two things:
- They focus the customer’s attention on the solution rather than on the problem.
- They get the customer telling you the benefits. EX: How do you think a faster machine would help you?”
How to use SPIN questions:
- Before the sale, write down three potential problems which the buyer may have and which your products or services can solve.
- Write down actual problem questions that you could ask to uncover each of the potential problems you’ve identified.
Planning Implication Questions:
- Write down a potential problem the customer is likely to have
- Then ask yourself what related difficulties this problem might lead to and write these down. Think of these difficulties as the implications of the problem.
- For each difficulty, write down questions it suggests.
- Have a positive effect on small sales.
- Are neutral or un-persuasive in larger sales.
- Users respond more positively to Features than do decision makers
- Facts or characteristics of a product or service.
- Shows how a feature can help a customer.
- A Benefit must have a cost saving for the buyer
- A Benefit is any statement that meets a need.
- A Benefit has to appeal to the personal ego needs of the buyer, not to organizational or departmental needs.
- A Benefit must be something which you can offer and which your competitors can’t.
- A benefits gives a buyers motive.
- Show how a product or service can be used or can help the customer.
- Have a positive effect on small sales but little effect on larger sales.
- Have less impact late in the selling cycle.
Focus on the problems that your product solves and on thinking up the questions that will uncover and develop these problems, is a proven successful method of selling.
- Objection handling is much less important skill than most training makes it out to be.
- Objections, contrary to common belief, are more often created by the seller than the customer.
- In the average sales team, there’s usually one salesperson who receives 10 times as many objections per selling hour than another on the same team.
- Skilled people receive fewer objections because they have learned objection prevention, not objection handling.
- Customers are most likely to raise price objections where the seller gives lots of features. It seems that the effect of Features is to increase the customers sensitivity to price.
- You will get an objection if you provide a solution before you have developed the need.
Objections too early: Customers rarely object to questions unless you have found a way to ask offensive questions. Dont do this. Most objections are to solutions that don’t fit needs. If you’re getting a lot of objections, it probably means that instead of asking questions you have been prematurely offering solutions and capabilities. Don’t talk about your solutions until you’ve asked enough questions to develop strong needs.
Objections about value: If most of the objections you receive raise doubts about the value of what you offer, then there’s a good chance that you’re not developing needs strongly enough. Typical value objections would be it’s too expensive, I don’t think its worth the trouble of changing from our existing supplier. In cases like these, customer objections tell you that you haven’t succeeded in building strong need. The solution lies in better needs development, not in objection handling. Particularly if you are getting price objections, cut down on the use of features and, instead, concentrate on asking Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.
Notes about closing:
- In low value sales, given unsophisticated customers and no need to develop a containing customer relationship, closing techniques can work very effectively. With professional buyers closing techniques make you less effective and reduce your chances of getting the business.
- In larger sales since it requires many steps in the sales process and may people. The close may be an advance. Which means the sales is advancing to the next step. All good sales people realize what they are looking for during each step of the sales process.
- If you can convince buyers that they need what you are offering, then they will often close the sale for you.
- Instead of focusing on closing the sale, look at it as, opening a relationship.
My hope is that you found a few nuggets in here that will help you be more successful in selling. This is obviously a book summary and my notes (what I highlighted in the book), so if you want more information I would encourage you to read the book. My summaries are an attempt to add value to someones life, my hope is that you did receive that value. If you did, show me, and please share with me your thoughts and takeaways.
To your success and your future.
What got you here, Wont get you there; author Marshall Goldsmith. Discover the 20 workplace habits you need to break. The amazon link to the book is below.
In this book the author identifies the 20 habits managers need to break so they can have more influence in their organization and continue to grow in their organization and their career. A lot of books teach people what to do, Mr. Goldsmith takes the approach of what leaders need to stop doing.
Although this book was written for managers and leaders, I believe that the 20 principles can also be applied in your daily life as a friend, a colleague, a relative, a parent. These habits can be displayed in all of our interactions with others, and they can diminish our influence with this individuals we wish to have influence with.
Like all of my book summaries, they are quasi book summaries where I provide you with a solid overview of the book, in addition to my key takeaways from the book. I hope you enjoy the read.
- The higher up you go in an organization the issues that arise for people are always behavioral. Everyone in leadership positions are usually equally as talented technically. They’re all smart. This is why behavioral issues become so important at the upper rungs of a corporate ladder.
- All other things being equal, your people skills (or lack of them) become more pronounced the higher up you go.
- As we advance in our careers, behavioral changes are often the only significant changes we can make.
1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations. When it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally besides the point.
2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
3. Passing judgments: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
5. Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right, You’re wrong.”
6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people were smarter than they think we are.
7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.
8. Negativity, or “let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.
9. Withholding information: the refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.
10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.
11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.
12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.
13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.
14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.
15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.
- Apologizing is one of the most powerful and resonant gestures in the human arsenal, almost as powerful as a declaration of love.
16. Not listening: The most passive aggressive for of disrespect for colleagues.
17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.
18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.
19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.
20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.
7 Ways to Change these bad behaviors:
Feedback tells us what to change, not how to do it. But when you know what to change, you’re ready to start changing yourself and how people perceive you.
Apologizing is the magic move. It shows others that you were wrong and you aren’t afraid to admit you were wrong. It opens up trust in a relationship. The best way to apologize is to do it quick and move on.
Telling the world, or Advertising:
It’s not enough to tell everyone that you want to get better, you have to declare exactly what area you plan to change. In other words, now that you’ve said you’re sorry. What are you going to do about it.
It’s a lot harder to change someones perception of your behavior than it is to change your behavior. I calculate that you have to get 100% better in order to get 10% credit for it from your coworkers.
You must constantly tell the world and your coworkers how you are getting better through your actions, your commitments, and the way you act. It takes a while for it to sink in, but if you do it consistently it eventually will. Think about the process of electing someone to office. It tasks years for a message to really resonate and then people vote. That is exactly what you have to do.
80 percent of our success in learning from other people is based on how well we listen. In other words, success or failure is determined before we do anything.
Good listeners do these three things: They think before they speak; they listen with respect; and they’re always gauging their response by asking themselves, “Is it worth it?”
Don’t say I knew it. Don’t use words no, but, or however. Eliminate any striving to impress the other person how smart or funny you are.
Thanking works because it expresses one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. It’s a genuine emotion. If you can earn a A+ in gratitude, nothing bad will ever come of it.
Once you master the subtle arts of apologizing, advertising, listening, and thanking, you must follow-up–relentlessly. Continue to ask people for feedback and ask them how you are doing on some of the changes you have made.
Follow up is how you measure progress. Follow up is how we remind people how were making an effort to change, and that they are helping us. Follow up is how we erase our coworkers skepticism that we can change.
Follow up is how we acknowledge to ourselves and others that getting better is an ongoing process, not a temporary religious conversion.
More than anything follow-up makes us do it.
4 Lessons the author learned around feedback:
1. Not everyone responds to executive development, at least not the way the organization desires or intends.
2. There is an enormous disconnect between understanding and doing.
3. People don’t get better without follow-up. Ongoing and consistent follow-up.
4. Becoming a better leader (or a better person) is a process, not an event.
You’ve identified the interpersonal habit that’s holding you back. You’ve apologized for it. You’ve continued to advertise your intention to change. You’ve started listening more and thanking people more. You are seeking feedback and follow-up on your process of getting better in the area.
You are now ready for feed forward:
Racecar drivers are taught to look at the road, not the wall. Thats what feed forward does. It allows you to start looking forward to new changes you want to make and developing a process around that so you can continue to get better.
A study on goal achievement: Most research on goals and goal setting centers around diet and fitness for a few reasons: A) there’s a huge population of people interested in such goals. B) its easy to measure. C) with record numbers of Americans either obese or out of shape, there’s a huge (and compelling) history of failure in this area. There are five reasons people do not succeed with their diet and fitness goals. the mistakenly estimate:
- Time: Its takes longer than they expected
- Effort: It’s harder than they expected. It’s not worth all of the effort.
- Distractions: They do not expect a “crisis” to emerge that will prevent them from staying with the program.
- Rewards: After they see some improvement, they don’t get the response from others that they expected. People don’t immediately love the new and improved person they’ve become.
- Maintenance: Once they hit their goal, people for get how hard it is to stay in shape. Not expecting that they’ll have to stick with the program for life, they slowly backslide or give up completely.
So any kind of goal you set out to accomplish. Health and fitness or changing a behavior, it will require lots of time, hard work, personal sacrifice, ongoing effort, and dedication to a process that is maintained over years.
- Sometimes the desire for “perfect” can drive away “better.”
Things you must stop:
- Stop trying to change people who don’t think they have a problem.
- Stop trying to change people who are pursuing the wrong strategy for the organization.
- Stop trying to change people who should not be in their job.
- Stop trying to change people who think everyone else is the problem.
The Great Western disease lies in this phrase….I will be happy when…, As in I will be happy when I have this much money, or that promotion, or that family. Be happy where you are and make sure you are following your purpose.
As I stated at the beginning of this book summary. This book is based on the author and his years of coaching executive level clients to be better in their positions. However, as I have stated before, the 20 habits, the 7 steps of change, the behaviors that prevent people from hitting their goals are applicable to all of us. My advice to you is to take inventory and see where you are and create some goals of where you would like to be. Be the best you, you can be.
To your success and your future.
Whenever I read a book that is impactful to me, I like to write down my notes and highlights that I took from the book. When I do this, it allows me to read the book again, because I have to go back to the book and basically read it again, and extract my highlights from the book. You are lucky because I share these notes with you.
I recently read What Clients Love; A field guide to growing your business. This book was written by the bestselling author of Selling the Invisible Harry Beckwith.
Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/
Below, in bullet point format, are my quick notes I took from the book. I hope you enjoy. I also encourage you to find the book and read it as well, it is really that good.
- Forget benchmarking. It only reveals what others do, which is rarely enough to satisfy, much less delight, todays clients.
- What has made companies in our industry successful? Leads you to the old answers, which ends you to copy and refine rather than INNOVATE.
- Next time you ponder strategy, ask: If I ran a competing firm, how would I beat ours?
- If you were starting business from scratch, what would you do differently? Now do that.
- Plan around what you can predict; what people love.
- Listen more rests on a flawed assumption: It assumes people say what they think. They do not. People often say whatever will make them look good to the person asking the question. Almost no one confesses to drinking too much fudging expense reports. Thousands of men who teared up watching The Remains of The Day insist it was a silly chick film. The second flaw: listen more is the assumption that people understands themselves well enough to reveal themselves accurately.
- Of all life’s mysteries, we are most mysterious to ourselves.
- Life happens at the level of events, not words, the noted psychologist Alfred Adler once said. Trust Movement. Nothing else.
- We overvalue research, particularly when its conclusions are expressed in quantified form.
- Overconfidence bias. Whenever you are certain of something, you are wrong 15 percent of the time.
- Not moving inspires more not moving. Dynamic people require a dynamic environment.
- The company that waits for guarantees is doomed.
- Do something, if only because doing produces learning, and learning is perhaps a service business most valuable asset.
- A mission statement is a PURPOSE statement. Call it that.
- A mission is your higher purpose. Visions by contrasts are selfish. Visions are your long-term aspirations for your business, not for those that you might serve. to be the best regarded, most profitable, or most reliable for example.
- JFK’s vision was a man on the moon. Peace was his mission.
- Avoid being NICE too much.
- Like concealed priests, anonymous interviewers get more truthful answers.
- We want good products, on time, from people we trust.
- The economy is new, but the people are old.
- We still love things that we can see and feel.
- AS NOBEL winning economist Herbert Simon said, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
- Speak visually, we often cannot hear words, but we notice images.
- Our expectation changes our experience. Social Scientists call this expectancy theory. People experience what they expect to experience and see what they expect to see. Our challenge in marketing especially invisibles, is to shape those expectations.
- Intrude in people’s lives and you risk losing them forever.
- Publish anything and everything because you never know what could happen.
- Only in writing do you discover what you know. Anne Beattie author.
- Nothing teaches like writing.
- Americans tend to mistrust academic credentials and scholarly writing and presentations. We disdain the person who speaks with too much authority. We cherish humility, even in people we suspect may be brilliant.
- The clearer the communication, the more expert the communicator is looked at.
- Clarity cuts through fog and conveys your value to a prospect. Clarity assures the prospect that you will not cloud the issue or confuse the sale. Clarity moves the prospect from confusion, which aggravates every persons ear of the invisible to confidence. Clarity breaks down mistrust. Clarity wins.
- Prospects often tell service providers “We will get back to you.” Sometimes this means they are not in position to decide.
- Mark Twain’s rules on adjectives. Leave them out. Replace excellent with proof.
- We always weaken whatever we exaggerate.
- Using you also compels you to think about those prospects. You start becoming more client focused because the word directs your focus toward them.
- Specific words such as crystal bowl and strawberries paint clearer pictures–a key task in selling things people cannot see.
- If you cannot describe what makes you different or excellent in 25 word or less. Fix your company.
- A theory is not complete until you can explain it to the first person you meet on the street.
- Edit your message until everyone understands it.
- Admit a weakness. People who reveal something negative about their service win more business. Psychologists insist this can be easily explained. We assume that people who reveal a weakness are inclined to tell the truth, even when the truth can hurt them. Which means we can trust.
- How the best sales people sell in order: Themselves, Their Company, Their service or product. Price.
- Stories help humans understand ideas. The oldest hardwired neural pathway in the human brain is for stories.
- Your audience includes four people: The TOP dog and three associates.
- Remember to always present your people well, before your product. Only use slides to present a point you cannot express well.
- A legendary football coach said three things can happen when you pass a football. And two are bad. The same principles applies for presentations.
- Thirty Slides don’t show that you know more. It shows that you don’t have command over the material you are trying to explain.
- Three points, three words each.
- FAMILIARITY breeds attraction. The more you hear something, the more you like it.
- Remember what your brand is: Gerber tried to do adult food. People couldn’t buy it. Because Gerber Adult food sounds awful.
- It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
- It is not what you communicate, it is what gets communicated.
- You respond more strongly to seeing an American Flag than you do reading the following two words “American Flag” The Nazi flag invokes more anger than the word Nazi.
- A first principle of business and marketing: Everyone believes that their industry is unique. You must approach every client with this in mind.
- People prefer specialists over generalists.
- To seem special sound it.
- Your company name should name you, not describe you. Example: Wells Fargo Bank. Now it is just Well Fargo. CNN removed television from its title. It is just CNN.
- Uncommon names stand out more than anything else. SPANX
- Whoosh appeals to your senses. It sounds better than wind.
- If you’re dressed for golf, be sure you are golfing.
- Casual policies attract causal employees.
- Thomas Edison wore ties even when he was cutting his grass.
- If your professional clothes feel uncomfortable, change clothes.
- Efficient means cheap, and compared to most forms of marketing, mass communicating looks cheap.
- Cheap efforts produce cheap results or worse.
- When you buy a product, you purchase something tangible. When you buy a service, however, you buy the people who perform it.
- You buy products based on your feelings about the product, you choose your services based on your feelings toward the providers.
- To connect with your clients, make connections for them.
- Two Basic principles: A service always involves more than a the exchange of something tangible for money. You must build more into a service warmth, connection, friendship, rest, status, or community. People will pay extra for a feeling of a community. Ask Starbucks.
- Sociability: is necessary for human survival. Adults who isolate themselves from the world are more likely to die at comparatively young ages. We have a central dependence on others.
- Whenever you try to satisfy a client, this feeling dominate the transaction, that persons need to feel important.
- Efficient customer service tools tell them. My time matters more than you.
- Relationships are the most powerful form of media today.
- If a prospect is most interested in cost you will never be happy and always be vulnerable.
- Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
- One does what one is, one becomes what one does. Robert Musil.
- We do what we say, and then we become what we do.
- Your words will become your behavior. Your behavior will become your habit. And your new habit will reward you. At the end of the year, everything will be different: you, those you touch and your business.
- Passion, inflamed by belief and purpose, wins.
Please share if you found this summary to be beneficial to you.
There are times when I read a book that really changes the game. Either the information in the book does it, or the excitement I get from reading the book does it. In this case, it is both.
I have now read three books by Harry Beckwith. They are all very similar. The book Selling the Invisible which is a New York Times Business bestseller and rightfully so, is by far the best. I guess that is why it is a bestseller.
Like all of my quasi book summaries and notes. Below are my highlights from the book. My takeaways so to speak.
These notes are directly pulled from the book. Read the damn book though. If you want to change the game in sales and in marketing, read the book.
Almost three in four Americans work in service companies.
America is a service economy with a product marketing model. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing.
When you buy a haircut you cannot see it before you buy it or try it out. It is a service.
Most prospects are shaking with worry. Your marketing must start; with a clear understanding of that worried soul.
Most doctors do not buy pacemakers; they buy that expert pacemaker salesperson who can go into the OR and advise on the device, procedure, and programming. Pacemaker buyers buy a service.
If you sell software, your core product is the software, but that critical part of your product is all the augmentations, the documentation, toll-free services, publications, upgrades, and support and other services. Your users are buying a service.
Faced with products just like their competitive products, today’s product marketers typically have two choices; reduce cost or add value.
This book is all for all those service marketers: the 80 percent of us who do not manufacture products and the other 20 percent who do.
In such a complex world there is nothing more powerful than simplicity.
This is a how to think book.
The core of service marketing is the service itself.
Get better reality.
Too often service, sucks.
Before you write an ad, rent a list, dash off a press release— FIX your service.
The Average American thinks he isn’t”, someone once said. Psychologists have proved it. We think we are better than we are. When researchers asked students to rate their ability to get along with others, 60 percent rated themselves in the top 10 percent. Ninety-four percent of university professors say they are doing a better job than their average colleague. Most men think they are good-looking.
Most companies think they offer great service. The chances are they are not.
Marketing is the brains of service marketing. If the brain fails, the heart soon will fail.
Stage 1 of business: meet acceptable standards
Stage 2 differentiation of your product because competitors have entered.
Stage 3 (few companies enter this stage) Go beyond what customers ever thought about. Disney. Apple. Lexus with heated seats and all of the other bells and whistles. Surprise the customer.
Create the possible service, don’t just create what the market needs and wants. Create what it could love.
People won’t tell you what you are doing wrong. Your prospects won’t tell you. Clients wont tell you, Your spouse won’t tell you. So how do you improve? ASK
Phone surveys produce more revealing information than in person surveys. On the phone people are willing to open up and give their real opinion and the information you need.
Don’t ask someone what they don’t like. People don’t want to answer because they won’t want to admit that they made a mistake.
Everyone in your company is responsible for marketing your company.
So much of what passes for brilliant insight in helping a company is reporting what everyone in that company could see, if only they could still see clearly. It’s hard to see the real scope of your business. Ask for help.
The walls in a business do more than keep the cold air out. They seem to block out clear vision of the world.
Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing person.
In planning your marketing, don’t just think of your business. Think of your skills.
People don’t buy hamburgers from McDonald’s, they are buying an experience.
Find out what clients are really buying.
Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued
In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise, because expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. And in most cases this is where you need the most work. If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship.
All people crave one thing, and this is appreciation. Before you try to satisfy the client, understand and satisfy the person.
With a few exceptions, companies are not battling to share that market. They are battling to create it: to get prospects to want to use their service instead of doing NOTHING or performing the service THEMSELVES.
If you implicitly criticize your competitors, you aggravate your worst problem: the prospects doubt that anyone in your industry can provide the service and value the prospects needs. Your real competitor is often sitting across the table.
Go where the competition ain’t. It isn’t only location it could be in a vertical.
Every service company should have a director of technology who studies and regularly tells management how new technologies can be used for competitive advantage.
Be second to none in all of your technologies.
Service businesses are about relationships. Relationships are about feelings. In good ones, the feelings are good, and in bad ones, they are bad.
Work performs a social function, most people want to be in office for the social interaction.
Even if you can identify and predict people’s attitudes, it’s not that helpful, because behaviors don’t always follow attitudes.
There are two tragedies in life: One is to not get your hearts desire. The other is to get it.
Accept the limitation of planning.
Second: don’t value planning for its result. The greatest value of the plan is the process, the thinking that went in to it.
Third: don’t plan your future. Plan your people. Develop people and skills.
Tactics drive strategy.
Todays good idea almost always beat tomorrows better one.
It appears that organizations actually are subject to the law that governs sharks: If a shark does not move, it cannot breathe. And it dies.
Too often the path to perfection leads to procrastination. Don’t let perfect ruin good.
Any ideal might fail. If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you’ll suffer a dozen failures.
Most organizations work like groups of apes which we evolved. The alphas dictate what the group does and thinks. Alphas are not better at making decisions, they are better at taking control.
Appeal only to a prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all.
People choose what seems most familiar. We tend to choose the one we hear the most about. even though the truth is that more people die from stomach cancer than car accidents.
This is because of human trait called attribute for getting. You have to make yourself familiar to your clients.
People don’t look to make the superiors choice, they want to avoid making a bad choice. Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice.
People remember the first and last impressions, but forget the middle. The rule of last impressions is reflected in dozens of ways. Consider apologies and forgiveness, for example. The last impression a person makes, by apologizing, often obscures the persons memory of the event that led to the apology.
Build quality into your service but make it less risky too.
The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or a test project.
Rather than hide your weakness, admit them. Tell the truth event if it hurts, it will help.
The more similar the services, the more important the differences.
- You must position yourself in your prospects mind.
- Your position should be singular: one simple message.
- Your position must set you apart from your competitors.
- You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people, you must focus on one thing.
Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage.
Rather than sacrificing opportunities, a narrow focus creates opportunities. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position.
In your service, whats the hardest task? Position yourself as the expert at this task; and you’ll have lesser logic in your corner.
We as people associate and judge. We assume prettier people are smarter and more put together. But it isn’t always true. That is why it is important to say one thing you are good at, because people will associate with many.
If people see differences in products such as catsups, flour, pickles, and sugar which are all identical, then people will definitely see differences in your services.
No company can position its self as anything. You can focus on one thing, but ultimately the market and the customers put you in your position. Dont fight it.
Avis knew they couldn’t be number one. So instead they said they were number 2. And said “We try Harder”. This allowed their business to grow.
- Who are you:
- What business are you in?
- Whom do you serve?
- What need? What are the special needs of the people you serve?
- Against whom: With whom are you competing?
- Whats different: What make you different from those competitors?
- SO: Whats the benefit: What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?
- Fashion focused department stores.
- trend conscious, upper middle class shoppers.
- looking for high-end products
- Unlike other department stores
- Bloomingdale’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting
- make shopping entertaining
Choose a position that will reposition your competitors, then move a step back toward the middle to clinch the sale.
You are what you are.
If no prospect can describe your position, you don’t have one.
If you think you can afford not to focus, think of Sears.
No matter how skilled you are, you must focus your skills.
Timberland was struggling in the early 1980’s. The company made a good boat type shoe and priced it below the leader, Topsiders. A great product for the price, but not a good business. Then Timberland did something fairly simple. It increased its price to be well above Topsiders. Sales boomed. Dont assume logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second-rate.
If no one complains about your price, it’s too low.
If almost everyone complains, it’s too high.
Fifteen to 20 percent of people will complain about any price. Some want a deal. Others are mistrustful and assume every price is overstated. Still others want to get the price they had in their mind when they approached you, because it’s the price they hoped for an already have budgeted in their mind. So throw out the group that will object no matter what price. Then ask: In the remaining cases how often do I encounter resistance. Resistance in 10 percent of the remaining cases for a total of 20 percent is about right. When it starts to exceed 25 percent, scale back.
Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign.
If you are the high-priced provider, most people assume you offer the best quality. If you are the low-cost provider, most people assume you deliver an acceptable product at the lowest cost, also a desirable position. But if your price in the middle, what you are saying is “We’re not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and price are pretty good.” Not a very compelling message.
Cutting costs require little imagination.
There is nothing unique about pricing. Be unique.
What is talent worth and why is some worth so much? What can you reasonable charge?
Dont charge by the hour. Charge by the years. Pablo Picasso.
If your primary selling position is good value, you have no position. Value is not a competitive position. Value is why every service company promises. In services, value is a given. And given are not viable competitive positions.
If good value is the first thing you communicate, you won’t be effective.
if good value is your best position, improve your service.
A name like Creative Design contradicts itself. The name after all, could not be less creative.
Never choose a name that describes something that everyone expects from the service. The name will be generic, forgettable, and meaningless.
If you need a name for your service, start with your own.
A brand is more than a symbol. In the publics eye, a brand is a warranty.
Customers will buy brands sight unseen, so brand names are less expensive to sell.
As time shrinks, the importance of brands increases. And time in America is shrinking; companies have down sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. This people need shortcuts every waking minute. They turn to service and brand products.
Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.
Saying many things usually communicates nothing.
Give me one good reason to buy. Not Ten. You can’t sell a confused person.
People are interested in other people, and their stories.
Stereotypes: Accountants are humorless. Lawyers are greedy. Collections agencies are bullies. Doctors keep you waiting. Attack your first weakness, the thing you are known for.
37 percent of people say doctors lack a genuine interest in their patients. But patient view the relationship side as so critical, there’s even a name for it, bedside manner, they think medicine is failing as a service.
How often are you looking for the best service? The best baby sitter, the best dry cleaners, the best tax adviser? Not often. How often do you know the best when you find it? Never. How long are you willing to look for the best? (not long) Nobody is looking for the best. You aren’t. So convey that you are good and people will buy.
People notice marketing communications that refuse to strain the truth because people notice the unusual, and understatement is unusual.
People hear what they see. Let them see greatness.
People trust their eyes before they will every trust your words.
The industry that best understands the importance of visualizing the invisible offers the least visible service of all. insurance. Prudential has its Rock Of Gibraltar. Travelers as its Umbrella. Allstates has its good hands. Transamerica has its tower. Each uses a visual metaphor. Make sure people see who you are.
Restaurants are not in the food business, they are in the entrainment business. People go there for the experience.
If you are selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor.
Of course you are committed to excellence. People don’t listen to clichés. Get rid of them.
Get to your point or you will never get to a close.
Most presenters don’t know what their point is. Tell people one thing. Why they should buy from you instead of someone else.
There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject, only an uninteresting person.
Find out what they want.
Find out what they need.
Find out who they are.
Missions statements are for you. Keep them private.
Revlon founder said this: In the factories we make perfume. In the Stores we sell hope.
People are buying happiness or the hope for it.
Dont make a client think you can do more than you can actually do.
A customers expectation is the GAP between what the customer expects and what the customer gets.
There is no such thing as too often, too grateful, too warm, or too appreciative.
Say PM and deliver AM.
To fix sales people, fix your message. If they don’t believe, it is your fault that your marketing doesn’t make them believe.
Sales is risking yourself. Nobody likes to risk themselves, but that is what sales people do daily. Rejection.
Services are human. Their successes depend on the relationships of people. People are human, frustrating, unpredictable, temperamental, often irrational, and occasionally half mad. But you can spot patterns in people. The more you can see the patterns and better understand people, the more you will succeed.
REMINDER: BUY THE BOOK.
Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson have written a sales book that really challenges the status quo and gets you thinking differently about top performing sales reps. The title of the book, The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation is a book that has a lot of research that support, the “Challenger” sales person is one that has the most success in selling.
The authors researched hundreds of frontline sales managers across ninety companies around the word, asking those managers to assess three sales reps from their teams–two average performers and one star performer–along forty-four different attributes. The initial model was built on an analysis of sales reps representing every major industry, geography, and go to market model, it has now been increased to over 6,000 sales reps all over the world. The sales reps included field reps, inside sales reps, and all gender and races. The study wasn’t an examination of sales reps personality or personal strengths.
Here are some of the areas that were looked at:
Attitudes: desire to seek issue resolution, willingness to risk disapproval, accessibility goal motivation, extent of outcome focused, curiosity, discretionary effort.
Skills/behaviors: business acumen, customer needs assessment, communication, use of internal resources, negotiation, relationship management, solution selling, teamwork.
Activities: sales process adherence, evaluation of opportunities, preparation, lead generation, administration.
Knowledge: industry knowledge, product knowledge.
So of the forty-four attributes they defined five kinds of sales reps that made up the study. (% is number of sales reps that made up that category of the reps studied)
1. The Hard worker (21%): Always willing to go the extra mile, doesn’t give up easily, self motivated, interested in feedback and development.
2. The Challenger (27%): Always has a different view of the world, understands the customers business, loves to debate, pushes the customer.
3. The Relationship builder (21%): Builds strong advocates in customer organization, generous in giving time to help others, gets along with everyone.
4. The Lone Wolf (18%): Follows own instincts, self-assured, difficult to control
5. The Reactive Problem Solver (14%): Reliably responds to internal and external stakeholders, ensures that all problems are solved, detail oriented.
After compiling the data the authors asked the sales managers to tell them which of the individuals they submitted fell into the top 20% of their sales force as measured by performance against goal. They then categorized all the reps in the sample by performance. The Challenger Sales Rep made up 40% of all high performers studied in the research.
Of the forty-four attributes: Six of them showed up statistically significant in defining a Challenger Sales Rep:
- Offers the customer unique perspectives
- Has strong two-way communication skills
- Knows the individual customers value drivers
- Can identify economic drivers of the customers business
- Is comfortable discussing money
- Can pressure the customer.
Based on the unique six attributes the authors categorize them into three areas in which Challenger Sales Reps do very well. This is a major emphasis in the book.
Teach: With their unique perspective on the customers business and their ability to engage in robust two-way dialogue, Challengers are able to teach for differentiation during the sales interactions.
Tailor: Because Challengers possess as superior sense of a customers economic and value drivers, they are able to tailor for resonance, delivering the right message to the right person within the customers organization.
Take Control: Challengers are comfortable discussing money and can, when needed, press the customer a bit. In this way, the Challenger takes control of the sale.
In the study only 7 percent of all-star performers fell in the Relationship builder profile, far fewer than any other. The authors go on to provide data on this and also mention that this is not an indication of the importance of building relationships.
Challenger Sales Reps (CS) versus Relationship Building Sales Reps (RB):
- (CS) push customers out of their comfort zone, while the (RB) want to be accepted into it.
- (RB) tends to adopt a service mentality, while (CS) will be more focused on customer value.
- (CS) creates constructive tension in the sale, while (RB) tends to try to resolve or diffuse all tension, not create it.
In complex sales, Challengers absolutely dominate with more than 50% of all-star performers falling into this category. The only group that came close was the Lone Wolves, and as all the managers stated, they are hard to find and even harder to control. The (RB) fall off the map in the complex sales.
Rather you’re asking customers to change their behavior–to stop acting in one way and starting citing in another. To make that happen, however, you have to get customers to think differently about how they operate. You need to show them a new way to think about their business.
If you seek to a provide a more value based or solutions based oriented sales approach, then your ability to challenge the customers is absolutely vital for your success going forward.
From here the book goes onto tell you how to develop Challenger Sales Reps. From here forward I have included my Highlighted notes.
- The thing that really sets Challenger Sales Reps apart is their ability to teach customers something new and valuable about hot to compete in their market.
- Challenger’s tae control over the conversation about money and instead of providing a 10 percent discount, they bring the conversation back to value.
- Just like a teacher must push its students Challenger pushes their customers.
- Challenger’s don’t believe that the customers know what they need, they realize that the customers needs are simply waiting to be unlocked, either willingly or begrudgingly, through the mastery of our interrogative approach.
How customers buy:
- 19%: Company and brand impact
- 19%: Product and Service delivery
- 9%: Value to Price ratio
- 53%: Sales Experience
- Only 9 percent of customer loyalty is attributable to a suppliers ability to outperform the competition on a price to value ratio.
- If the customer is focused solely on the cheapest option, the chances are they will be focused on the cheapest option the next time they buy as well, so there will be no loyalty.
Power of Insight:
Fifty or so attributes were tested in a loyalty survey, seventeen of them fell into the sales experience category, each reflecting at least a marginally impact on customer loyalty. When the list was ranked by “impact” on the sale, they found seven attributes that was most important in the survey.
- Rep offers unique and valuable perspectives on the market
- Reps helps me navigate alternatives
- Rep provides ongoing advice or consultation
- Rep helps me avoid potential landmines
- Rep educates me on new issues and outcomes
- Supplier is easy to buy from
- Supplier has widespread support across my organization.
Each of these attributes speak directly to an urgent need of the customer not to buy something, but to learn something.
- The best companies don’t win through the quality of the products they deliver, but through the quality of the insights they deliver during the sales process.
- The best reps don’t win the battle by providing customers information on what they know they already need, but teaching them a new way to thinking altogether.
- If your reps primary goal going into a sales call is to discover the customers needs, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve begun to fight, because frankly, your customers don’t want to have that conversation
The book gets into sales process. I highlight below a few of my notes.
- A great warmer question: We’ve worked with a number of companies similar to yours, and we’ve found that these three challenges come up again and again as by far the most troubling. Is this what you’re seeing too, or would you add something to the list?
- In its purest form, solution selling is customization in the moment. The reps primary job shifts from discovering needs to guiding the conversation.
- Challenger sales reps aren’t focused on what they are selling, but on what the person they’re speaking to is trying to accomplish.
- Challengers understand that the goal is to sell a deal, not just have a good meeting, they are focused on moving ahead.
- If the Rep is not willing to convince the customer that the problem is urgent, then they wont be able to convince the customer its worth solving.
- Relationship Builders will do things that are not in their best interest or in their company’s best interests. For instance proactively offering a discount when the customer hasn’t even asked for one.
- Coaching of sales reps is ongoing. It’s not a one-off event.
- Coaching is customized to each sales rep.
- Coaching is behavioral, its nt just obtaining the skill and knowledge it’s about demonstrated application of that skill and knowledge.
Decades of research into human behavior has uncovered a number of human biases that commonly hinder open thinking. The six most common are:
- Practicality bias: Ideas that seem unrealistic and should be discarded
- Confirmation bias: Unexplainable customer behaviors can be ignored
- Exportablity bias: If it didn’t work here, it wont work anywhere.
- Legacy bias: The way we’ve always done it must be best.
- First conclusion bias: The first explanation offered is usually the best or only choice.
- Personal bias: If I wouldn’t buy it, the customer wont either.
- If your sales reps can’t say what differentiates you, why your customers should buy from you instead of your competitor, you cant teach them to value what makes you different.
- Be memorable and not agreeable.
- Build a pitch that leads to your solution, don’t lead with it.
This book ranks in my top 10 of last years books that I read. It is a great read for sales managers as well as sales reps who are looking to get better.
To your success and your future.