Archives for September 2013

Going the Distance

convincing your coworkers

Persuasive selling of your idea doesn’t always stop when you get the initial green light.

Last night I had the great pleasure of joining a group of entrepreneurs in Belgium as they rehearsed pitches for their lean start-ups.  It was fascinating to watch a group of people, passionate about their projects, pitch them for an audience.

The group was led by two terrific facilitators, both successful entrepreneurs themselves (and hopefully you’ll hear from them in a Five for Friday shortly!) who gently guided the group through the challenge of creating a sales pitch, and creating quantifiable results.  Both leaders talked about their adventures in pitching investors, partners, bosses and other stakeholders as they worked on previous projects.

All of which reminded me that we are ALWAYS pitching when you are trying to create change in an organization, even after you’ve gotten the initial go ahead to start your project.  You will be selling co-workers on giving precious resources to your project and convincing others to overrule their skepticism of change and try your new process. You may have convinced one executive sponsor to give you the initial green light but unless your project only takes a day or two, you will have to continue to sell its value as you continue, especially if resources constrict, the market or competitive landscape changes, or if there are internal changes.

What was your projects initial sales pitch? Is it still as compelling or relevant today?

And to the Lean Startups group in Brussels…amazing job! Want to learn more about the idea of Lean Startups? Read this!

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

Thinking about making a move? Size up your Corporate Landscape or any other company you may be thinking of moving to by using our free guide, Reading the Terrain. Get your copy today by putting your email address in the subscription box. And no, we won’t spam you, you’ll just get our weekly update of articles.

What are you NOT seeing? And what is it going to cost you?

 

people with blinders on

Are you stuck in your confirmation bias?

Years ago I would periodically attend senior staff level meetings for my boss when he was out of town. This would happen only a few times a year, but inevitably, my boss would be surprised at the insights I would give him from the meeting. Not the notes on what was said, but my take on the changes in the internal politics. Just by observing the meeting I could tell which departments were in favor, which were jockeying for position and which had fallen out of favor.  Often before he had even noticed.

Why?

When we’re in the middle of something on a constant basis we don’t always catch the subtle signs of impending change.  The details of our day to day existence distract us so we don’t step back and take a look at the big picture, and even when we think we do, we look at it through a filter of what we think is happening. We look for things that will reaffirm what we believe to be true and ignore those that invalidate our truths, there’s even a term for it, “confirmation bias”.

Test yourself today.  Are your assumptions about what’s working (or not working) true? Answer these questions off the top of your head… then go run some tests to verify.

Your revenue generators:

  • Who are your key clients?Are they the same people as previous years?  
  • Any changes in buying patterns? Do you know why? Would they cite the same reason?
  • What about payment patterns? Anyone now a slow payer that wasn’t?

Your Customers or End Users:

  • What questions are your customers asking?
  • Do they indicate movement towards a new product line, a new technology or a new need?  
  • Are they finding you the same way they used to? (Think of the days of yellow pages vs. internet, vs. mobile technology). Can they find you using the method they’re using?
  • If you have a physical location does it show up on Google maps?
  • Does the name of your company, department or group actually indicate what you do or sell now?

Your Team:

  • Morale up or down? Why? 
  • Are you attracting better talent to join your team than the talent you’re losing to competitors?
  • Is your team all from the same background? Schools, geography, ethnicity, gender, age, economic background? Any chance that’s hurting you?  
  • How long have they been in the same roles? Is there an incentive for them to move out if they can’t move up? What will you lose if they move out?

External factors and competition:

  • Is your competitor’s market share shrinking or growing?
  • Is the overall market for what you offer shrinking or growing?  
  • If the market is shrinking, what’s taking the place of what you are offering? Is there a new technology or is someone else promising a “magic bullet” solution to your customer’s needs? What’s attractive about that “magic bullet?”

Find any surprises?  We’re so busy trying to “make it all work” that tectonic shifts can be taking place beneath

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

our feet without our noticing. Consider today a starting point, a new commitment to seeing the whole playing field.  For even more things to take a look at, download a copy of our free field guide, Reading the Terrain, by subscribing at with your email address. It will help you look at your playing field with fresh eyes.

Have you ever missed a key change in your industry? How did you catch up? What opened your eyes? Discuss in our comments section.

 

Are you Asking the Right Questions in your Marketing Plan?

A great story from a great marketer, Lisa Zakrajsek, …plus the hidden background of just how Jeno’s pizza rolls came to be…and morphed into Totino’s pizza rolls! Who knew?

Read all about it here

P.S. I’ve had the good fortune to work with some amazing marketers in my career and I know what a difference GOOD marketing makes.

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

Thinking about making a move? Size up your Corporate Landscape or any other company you may be thinking of moving to by using our free guide, Reading the Terrain. Get your copy today by putting your email address in the subscription box at right. And no, we won’t spam you, you’ll just get our weekly update of articles.

 

 

 

What Bubble are You Living in? Billy Joel used to live in it too!

 

trapped in a bubble

Sometimes you’re living in a bubble and don’t even know it.

“All your life is Channel 13, Sesame Street, What does it mean? Pressure Pressure.”

“Pressure” by Billy Joel ©1982

What do you and I have in common with Billy Joel? (Hint:the answer is NOT Christie Brinkley. The Katie Lee Joel cookbook is a viable answer but not the one we’re looking for here!).

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we don’t know. If you’ve worked in one type of environment, industry or managerial structure you may think you “know” how things work. And you probably know quite a bit about how things work in your specific world.  You know every quirk of your department, that it’s never a good idea to bring up a new project in third quarter, that the marketing team can always be outvoted by the sales team and that every three months someone will reliably throw a fit about people not cleaning stuff out of the break room refrigerator, complete with a freshly printed sign taped to the refrigerator door and some pointed emails from the person who got stuck doing the big cleanout.

Growing up just outside of New York City, my family didn’t travel much. There wasn’t money for big vacations.  In New York, pre-digital television,  Channel  7 was ABC,  Channel 4 was NBC, and Channel 2 was CBS. Last but not least, Channel 13 was the local Public Broadcasting Affiliate (PBS). Which broadcast “Sesame Street” (for my international readers, “Sesame Street” is a children’s show which features humans and puppets teaching 3-6 year olds how to read, count and learn various life skills. You can see a clip here).

When I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to go to college, one of the first things that surprised me was that the TV channels weren’t the same.  Now, Channel 2 was ABC, Channel 11 was NBC, Channel 5 was CBS and Channel 8 was PBS.

Not exactly a mind-blowing revelation on the scale of “Who is Keyser Soze?” but a small rattling of what my 17 year old self “knew” to be true.  For 17 years the NY channel line-up was my “truth” and Channel 13 was PBS, home of “Sesame Street”. And apparently, the same was true for Billy Joel. So much so that he wrote about it in his internationally broadcast hit song.

I often wondered what the heck people outside the NY/NJ area thought Billy was singing about when he mentioned Channel 13 since it was not their reality. Did they realize it was “connected” to Sesame Street (mentioned in the next line of the song) or did they think it was an abstract reference like “Area 51” or some hip thing they didn’t “get”? “Pressure” came out “pre-internet” so I imagine some people were very confused.

It really was just Billy’s moment in the bubble. In  1982, in his world and mine, Channel 13 was PBS and we assumed everyone would know that.

When you are leading a change, or if you are working in a new environment, are you assuming that everyone else’s “rules” and “truth” are the same as yours? New leaders, new technology, geography, or a change in your customer base can all affect the environment and sometimes we don’t even notice it until it’s too late.

What’s your “Channel 13?” What do you “know” to be true in your world? Is it?

(P.S. Did you get that old lunch of yours out of the refrigerator yet? Because you just know that memo is coming! Watch Billy Joel sing about Channel 13 while you’re doing it.)

book by Jeanne Goldie

Speed Read an Organization with our Easy Guide

P.P.S: Need help testing what you “know” to be true? Download our free Field Guide for understanding the organizational landscape before you begin creating change. “Reading the Terrain” gives you easy questions to ask yourself that will help you see your world with fresh eyes and broaden your perspective.  Sign up at the right to receive our newsletter and you’ll get a free link to download our guide. And no, we won’t bombard you with junk mail. Or memos on how you need to clean out the refrigerator.

 

 

© Jeanne Goldie 2015