Monthly Archives: February 2013

Out of your Mind

We’ve all experienced the mind that won’t let go of a problem.

It might be stress, a problem to solve, tomorrow’s presentation, or making the system show the way we want; we perseverate on these ideas well beyond their merit, and these concerns will surface at any moment.

But there’s a time and a place for everything.  Perhaps it’s time to make dinner.  To join in your life.  To go grocery shopping.

Develop the habit of putting these ideas out of your mind.

When they start opening the door, slam it  on their fingers, lock it and latch it and move on with your life.  The problems, challenges, and presentations will still be there when you get back to them.  They have to be- their fingers are stuck in the door.

That’s gotta hurt.


Failure: Risk it or Fear it

Fear of failure may drive you to work harder.  And in so doing, you may succeed.  But with success will come greater responsibilities, greater potential failure, greater drive to avoid failing.  You may go far, but when fear is the foundation of your motivation, the inevitable failure in your future will tumble the whole tower of blocks.

If, on the other hand, you risk failure by measuring it and its companion, reward, there is joy and art in your motivation.  You will work harder to push the envelope.   When failure arrives you’ll recognize it, welcome it with a hardy “I knew I’d find you eventually,” then shrug and carry on.

What’s your motivation?*

If you find yourself in the fear-of-failure camp, here’s a helpful exercise.  In Pre-Sales, as in Sales as in baseball as in life, great batting averages are barely above .300.  Face it, you’ve failed.  You’ve failed often.  So go back to a few deals you’ve lost and spend fifteen minutes looking at your presentation, your differentiators, your themes, and the way in which you demonstrated your solution.  If it’s  had time to settle, to breathe, then the reasons for the failure will jump right out at you.

“How could I have been saying this when the customer obviously needed that?”

Learn from your failures.

*Failure can be risked and feared in darker, more dangerous ways. Risk without caution, without preparation, is foolhardy and invites catastrophic failure. Worse yet, fear of failure can drive you to avoidance, procrastination, safe decisions. Then there are no rewards; success becomes a failure.

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Inner Monologue

Experience has taught me to listen to my experience.

When faced with different situations, my inner monologue* kicks in and starts feeding me nuggets of advice:

  • You’ve done this before
  • Don’t stress- you can’t know what’s going to happen in this meeting
  • Trust in your teammates in the room
  • Qualify that question, don’t answer it right away
  • Pounce! Now!  Close it!
  • Step in and save this
  • You know more about this one than they do
  • They know more about this one than you do
  • I never thought of it that way
  • It’s okay to be wrong on this one
  • You’re giving them a lot of information, building on credibility
  • It’s not about you

Listen to the advice your inner monologue feeds you.  You’ve spent years developing it.

*It’s not a dialogue- I don’t converse with it, I listen to it.

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Logic and Data; Yin and Yang

In a recent engagement, I’ve been paired with a pecuniary peer in pursuit of building a business case.

We worked together with the customer in a workshop and emerged with very different interpretations.  On its own, this is not surprising-  ask different individuals what happened in a meeting and you’ll get different answers- but we had core and complimentary purposes for the workshop.  I found obstacles and points of change.  The logical implications and resolutions flowed from that seed.  He found an accounting indicator that was far out of range (and not in a good way) for the customer’s industry. 

I focus from the qualitative perpective, taking processes, systems, information, strategies and data and craft the logical argument; he approaches from the quantitative perspective, taking processes, systems, information, strategies and data and crafts the fiancial justification.

Together we earned executive buy in.  We made a formidable team.

This post was originally titled “Logic vs. Data,” but that’s wrong.  It’s not Yin vs. Yang; it’s Yin and Yang.

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