Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2017

Management Keys and Recommended Reading

There’s something in the water because I’ve run into several instances in the last week where people have become new managers. I’ve managed folks in many different capacities over the years including soccer teams/ organizations to consulting project teams and to direct management like today.
There’s an art and science to management of people, and as I think back to those who have managed me (or do still), the key ingredients include authenticity, trust, and goals/ challenges.
Here are some thoughts on management and accompanying books I recommend: Maximize total motivation (TOMO) by implementing the Play, Purpose, and Potential motives while mitigating Emotional, Economic, and Inertia motives. (Check out Primed to Perform.)Understand the role of culture as the “invisible hand”. Build a culture that enables emergent opportunities while mitigating “slippery slopes”. (Check out How Will You Measure Your Life.)Managing a team requires a leader to effectively communicate, trust, and deleg…

Taking a Look at Bezos’ Letter to Shareholders

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon, recently published his letter to Amazon shareholders. It’s a good, inspiring read into Bezos’ vision for Amazon, and how he pushes the company to constantly stay ahead of its competitors. Here are a few key tenets: “Day 1”. Bezos opens the letter describing why he constantly focuses on Day 1 – customer obsession, eager adoption of external trends, etc. Beyond Day 1 is Day 2, “stasis” which leads to irrelevance and then decline and death. He focuses every day on Day 1.“True Customer Obsession” is at the heart of Day 1. Bezos claims every customer, no matter how much s/he says is happy, is dissatisfied. Customers always want more, better – even if s/he doesn’t know it. For Bezos, he pushes Amazon to always innovate on behalf of the customer.As part of true customer obsession is the notion of getting to the true crux of how customers feel about a product or service – “resist ‘proxies’” like surveys.“Embrace External Trends”. In this case, Bezos is referring to rea…

Book Review: Primed to Perform

In late October at the Sales Force Productivity Conference, I kept hearing whispers about a great speaker that I didn’t get a chance to hear – Lindsay McGregor. She talked about culture and what motivated employees. She also co-authored a book about high performing teams. This has always been interesting to me, so I sought out Lindsay to talk to her about her talk. I ended up running into her several times. When I told her all her books at the conference were sold out, she happily told me to send her an email, and she’d send a signed copy.
Well, I got the book in November – Primed to Perform – that she cowrote with Neel Doshi. After reading the book, it’s one of my favorites! I finished it a while ago, but I wanted the material to sit a little while longer before writing a review of it. Yes, it was that good.
McGregor and Doshi studied hundreds of companies and other studies about high-performing companies to find the key factors of what drove their successes – developing the Total …

Menu Options for Sales

In sales, you don’t always get the inbound lead who tells you exactly what their problem is. Even more uncommon is when your prospect just tells you how your solution can solve for said problem. Especially when prospecting, it matters to help a lead think about a problem you solve. In this way, menu options are a great way to do this.
Menu options are the value levers or benefits your product/ service can enable for prospects. A menu can uncover what a prospect truly cares about while tying directly to your product or service. Think, first, of three menu options. Tie each with a story/ path so you can demonstrate how your product or service meets each option.
The menu options for a prospect considering Airbnb may include: Experience an authentic experience in thousands of cities. (Experience value.)Explore a new destination by living with locals. (Experience and social values.)Save on lodging with hundreds of unique options. (Economic value.) For early-stage companies with few cust…

The “New Normal”

Atlanta is notorious for stress-inducing traffic, and it’s going to be even worse since one of the busiest roads collapsed on March 30th due to a fire.
Collapses (read: “failures”) have their way of teaching us. So, I want to take a moment to share a few reactions from this debacle. Enabling New Day-to-Day Experiences Atlanta’s traffic is well known, but to be honest, traffic is on par with other major cities. The difference is perhaps volume due to our limited public transportation options. (And poor take-rate for the options that do exist.)
This new challenge will motivate many daily commuters to try travel alternatives. The key here is how this will affect the day-to-day. By integrating public transportation into the daily lives of so many for an extended period, commuters can more accurately reflect on how public transportation can affect their lives.
Too often, in the past, public transportation services like MARTA have discounted transportation for special events. Commuters f…

Questions to Ask (and Answer) for Customer Case Studies

Continuing from last week’s 7 Tips for Customer Case Studies, here are some questions to think about asking (and answering). What does [Customer Name] do?What is your role?What was the challenge(s) you were trying to solve with [Product/ Service]?Why didn't existing solutions work for you?When you first used [Product/ Service], what was that initial impression?What are the results [Product/ Service] has been able to deliver for you? Your team?Was there another benefit [Product/ Service] enabled that you weren't expecting?Why would you recommend us to someone else? The goal of the case study is to, obviously, highlight your product or service. You also want to highlight the success and significance of the customer. This adds credibility to the customer, which gives you credibility.

7 Tips for Making Customer Case Studies and Testimonials Awesome

Sell, sell, sell. That’s what you’re going to do, and that’s what you’ll aim to do. But, your prospect will need more assurances. They need to know they’re not the only buyer. They need proof. Enter testimonials and case studies. “Nobody gets fired for choosing IBM.” Ever heard that before? The notion speaks to risk mitigation for the buyer. The subtle message: IBM is a reputable company with thousands of customers. As a buyer of IBM’s products or services, if it doesn’t work, surely it wasn’t because you chose a bad partner. (Versus choosing a riskier partner.)
Testimonials mitigate risk with social and professional proof – who they are, why they chose you, and what were benefits have they achieved.
Here are 7 keys to be mindful of when creating case studies and testimonials: Who is the case study coming from? Who is the buyer (person) and company? You want this person to be reflective of your target persona(s).90% about the customer’s experience and how you enabled them.Pain-Solutio…

Lessons from Soccer and Recent Mistakes

I recently recalled one of my most vulnerable experiences. (You can find a cut at the story here, too.) In this case, it was how I was cut from the varsity soccer team both my junior and senior years. I shared the story to illustrate the lessons I’ve learned through soccer.
As I reflected on this experience again and while meeting with a young entrepreneur recently, I recalled the following lessons from soccer: You’re only as good as your last game. This is actually not true, but it sets up for some great motivation for your next game.You will make mistakes during games. However, the game keeps going. You need to, too.You and everyone else will be caught up in the game. Realize that what happens on the field can affect what happens off it. Realize when mistakes and emotions occur. Realize there’s a season full of games. Realize there are years of seasons. I’ve thought about these a lot recently and the need for authenticity and vulnerability. In this way, a couple mistakes that have …