Rick Baker Thought Posts
Left Menu Space Holder

About the author

Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

E-mail me Send mail
Follow me LinkedIn Twitter



<<  February 2023  >>

View posts in large calendar

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

Sales Tweets #303

by Rick Baker
On Sep 14, 2011
Sales Tweet #303 Self-starters embrace ownership of task.
The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet
Self-starters embrace delegation and accountability. Self-starters go the extra mile, providing unexpected work for the employer. Self-starters micro-manage themselves.


Delegation & Decisions | Thought Tweets

When you struggle to collect accounts receivable

by Rick Baker
On Jul 13, 2011
When an employee feels unprepared to collect money owed to your company something important has been missed.
The key is: seek out and find what has been missed.
Here are some things that are often missed:
  • No written process for collection. Collection should not be viewed as a single-employee function or even a department function. It is an 'enterprise' function. The exercise of thinking collection through and writing process out is important. Collection is not a problem when clear actions are taken at all the steps that 'precede the due date'…good credit process, good contracting process, good invoicing processes, etc.
  • Failure to set goals and metrics for measurement of collection success. Goals and metrics should span the hierarchy, from C-level through to the employee with the keyboard and the phone. Without collection goals and action metrics, often, collection becomes a fire-fighting exercise. Under the firefighting mode the task importance is escalated and that places [undue and often extreme] stress on the employee. Situations of escalated stress reduce employee performance and results.
  • Failure to make collection a shared priority…i.e., providing training and training-by-example. Collection is one of those tasks that are viewed as unpleasant. Often it is not delegated properly. For example, it is generally a mistake to delegate a task when the 'donor' of the task [the boss] can not or has not performed the task with success. Often, collection is simply handed over to the employee. That places the entire burden on the shoulders of the 'recipient' of the task [the employee]. Some/most people learn from watching others. Most people appreciate knowledgeable support…to backstop their efforts, to bounce ideas off, etc.
  • Employee not suited to the collection task. People have areas of personal Strength, i.e., Strength = Talent + Knowledge + Skills. Sometimes the collection person's Strengths are not tapped properly. If that's the case then the collection person needs to change the way collection work is done. That may mean the company's collection process needs to change to suit the incumbent employee. Sometimes the collection person's Strengths do not align with collection work. That means the person should not be performing collection work.
  • Failure to place a high-enough priority on collection. For example, many businesses rely on 3rd parties to handle cash-flow problems. Many businesses go about it this way: "If Clients don't pay then we don't pay our suppliers". This approach provides a series of band-aids, which cover up collection problems and reduce the likelihood collection problems will be handled. So, when the collection must be done it is always a piece of firefighting work.
  • Issues around Corporate Culture: Paying debts when debts are due is an admirable way of going about business. For any business this is a double-edged sword. And, both edges should be sharpened at the same time. I mean, a business needs to look at how it pays its suppliers at the same time it looks at how it is paid by its Clients. This is a matter of Integrity…which for us is about consistency, not about judging what's right or wrong [i.e., we do not use the word Integrity to judge right from wrong]. If the prevailing corporate culture accepts dragging accounts payable then it will be very difficult to excel at collecting. Conversely, companies that excel at paying suppliers on time have Clients that pay on time. Both edges of the sword are sharp.
When businesses want to do better at collection, a good starting point is Values.
Values-Culture-Communication-Value. It starts with Values and it ends with Value. When we truly deliver Value to Clients, Clients are more inclined to pay on time.
Here is a link to our V-C-C-V philosophy
Here is a link to our definition of Integrity
I hope the above thoughts are helpful.
Steps to Consider When Collecting A/Rs


Delegation & Decisions | Entrepreneur Thinking | Pay! - a philosophy about money


by Rick Baker
On Jun 30, 2011
Say you are thinking about starting something…like a project at work.
Why not make it easy on yourself by stating up front, “I have 3 choices”.
I can:
  1. Start, finish & fail or
  2. Start, finish & succeed or
  3. Start & quit without finishing.”
Make an agreement with yourself…
One of those outcomes will happen. Regardless of which one, I will learn from the experience.
Certainly – your desire will be to Start, finish & succeed.
Regardless, the reality is:
Human beings fail at things regularly.
Human beings have control over their Actions.
Human beings have less or little control over the Results of their Actions.
Failing is not ‘all negative’.
Failing is a necessary source of education.
Long-term success happens when we learn from a string of failures.
When we experience situations and choose Action, regardless of our optimism, realism illustrates we will fail from time to time. And we will quit from time to time. Rigid perseverance of Action on its own does not bring Success.
The Main Point: blind faith in Success is destructive. Optimism bounded by realism is the best way to approach situations. And, Action is essential.
I spend time creating ritual thinking.
What’s that mean?
It means I spend time trying to reduce situations to 3 things/options.
Answer: I know I can manage to keep track of 3 things and I know I can choose between 3 things.
If I have a 3-piece ritual to cover the most-common situations I face then I find my confidence is as bolstered as it can be.
This is an example of what I mean when I say, Seek Simple.
When we face most situations we can make good decisions if we give ourselves 3 choices. [see Footnote 1]
Why not 1 or 2 or 4 or 5 or more choices?
  • 1 thing is the easy way out…while 1 thing is simple it isn’t prudent…it reeks of bias
  • 2 things are better…still simple, but limited options…as if things can be sorted ‘right’ & ‘wrong’
  • 3 things are best…
  • 4 things are too much…at least, for me, I have found a diminishing return in using ‘personal brainstorming’ [see Footnote 2]
  • 5 things are too too much
What’s that got to do with Start?
Well Start is essential.
Start = Action = Essential.
The Start ritualworks like this…
  1. You say to yourself, “I have 3 choices: I can start, finish & fail, I can start finish & succeed, or I can start & quit without finishing. Regardless of the outcome, I will learn something”.
  2. You decide on Action, confident you will do your best.
  3. You Start the Action.
  1. Obviously, if the situation is urgent then you will not want to overdo the up-front ritual. Similarly, if the situation is routine then you will not want to overdo the up-front ritual.
  2. Edward de Bono provides a great tool for brainstorming. The tool can be used for ‘personal brainstorming’ and group brainstorming [as brainstorming is normally defined]. The tool is Six Hats.

    You can couple a Six Hats process with the above Start ritual. That will ensure you make high-calibre decisions and implement them with an open and confident mind.


Delegation & Decisions | Entrepreneur Thinking | Seeking Simple!

DO NOT tell me what to do!

by Rick Baker
On May 24, 2011
To be clear about it up front, I am a big fan of Jeffrey Gitomer. I am able to get over the fact he favours bald people over people who are bald-challenged. And…while it is possible this is off on a little tangent…sometimes I get this strange feeling baldness is creeping up on me from behind…
Regardless, the fact is: I am a big fan of Jeffrey Gitomer. As far as I know, I own a copy of every book and every CD he has published. I think the set of ‘LITTLE BOOKS’ is a must-have for salespeople. Terrific sales advice. Terrific sense of humour. Terrific packaging. In a word: terrific.
So, I bought his new book ‘Jeffrey Gitomer’s LITTLE BOOK of LEADERSHIP’.
At page 18, I read:
When you lead people by example, there is nothing your people will not do for you and with you. Don’t tell me what to do, show me how it’s done. Then delegate. What kind of example do you set on a daily basis?”
Don’t tell me what to do, show me how it’s done.
Is that really what followers think and want?
Is that the right advice to give Leaders?
And, No!
  • Yes – Leaders need to show people how Leaders go about doing things.
  • Yes – Leaders should refrain from setting tight restrictions on followers’ actions. Each follower should be able to use his or her unique talents and personality. Followers should not feel hand-cuffed or micro-managed.
  • Yes – Leaders should delegate.
  • Yes – Leaders should set and show leading examples.
  • No – Followers must understand the desired outcome. So, Leaders must tell them that desired end-point outcome. That applies to the end-point Vision…the Leader gets to tell that to followers. And Goals…the Leader gets to pick at least some of them and tell them to followers. If followers call that ‘telling them what to do’ then…great!  That means they understand their Leader’s direction.
  • No – Leaders cannot leave all what-to-do decisions in the hands of followers. Leaders must set some structural bounds on followers’ actions. For example, the Leader must state/demand/tell things like - “You must follow our safety policies.”
The bottom line: Leaders must tell followers what to do…and limit that telling to the BIG PICTURE things.

about the way we think

by Rick Baker
On Apr 6, 2011
People underestimate the adaptability of their brains…with intent and effort we can improve the many ways our brains serve us.
People underestimate their biases… with some adjustments we can improve our relationships with other people.
Communication is trickier than we would like it to be.
People are not too busy…they just need to use their time more carefully.
Understand individual strengths – play to strengths & work to strengths.
When it feels like something is wrong, something is wrong.
Decisions are easier when we seek simple.
If we want to experience smooth change then we must continuously pave the path for it.
Change is only constructive when people are comfortable.
As a rule there is no such thing as constructive criticism… that’s an oxymoron 95% of the time.
We can nurture creativity…humour is one key, practice is another.
Technology advancement, including social media, has changed the pattern for future business success… we must tap into the ‘cognitive surplus’.
Clients’ Clients are a key to success.
Taskmulti-ing is better than multitask-ing.
It is easier to be objective when observing another business than it is when observing our own.


Delegation & Decisions | Put Your Best Brain Forward

work at Work? or work at Home?

by Rick Baker
On Mar 16, 2011
On LinkedIn, a question was asked about the pros and cons of working at home versus working at work.
Here are some of my thoughts:
Excellence happens when people have the benefit of face-to-face interactions with other people: relatively few people achieve their full potential in isolation.
So, if it is an either/or decision then the answer is ‘workplace’.
For many roles, some tasks may actually be performed better in isolation…less interruptions. As the requirement for collaboration increases face-to-face interactions become increasingly necessary. This can, in part, be mitigated by video conferencing. But, that’s not as good as face-to-face discussion.
How to change work conditions to obtain a more home-like mindset?
That’s a great question.
Recently, a friend decided to build a new plant facility for his business. He went to each employee and asked them what they would like to see in the new building. Then, he included everything his people requested. The plant was awesome: lots of light, bright colours…and a squash court.
Now, everyone can not go that far.
But, the big lesson I learned was – Ask people what they want.
Ask with sincerity.
Follow through.


Delegation & Decisions | Entrepreneur Thinking

Copyright © 2012. W.F.C (Rick) Baker. All Rights Reserved.