On Dec 23, 2015
Father-to-Son Business Lesson #19
Below is a note sent by me to my son, over 5 years ago.
This note was #19 in a long series of father-to-son Business Lessons.
In this note, I was trying to present my thoughts about ‘knowing people’, as it relates to business and particularly to sales.
“We must work continuously to understand ourselves and to understand others. This is important for business success in any role. This is important for business success in a Sales role.
Responding in the same order you have written...
Centaurs: just like "perfect salesmen", they do not exist
Motivational Momentum: my philosophy is: "Only you can motivate you. Only me can motivate me. So, seek the motivation from within. If you wait for others to motivate you then you will be either disappointed or their slave."
Sales: for sales this is the most-important lesson I can offer…
Sales is not about products and product knowledge.
Sales is not about services.
The essence of sales is: the customer.
The essence of the customer is: people.
The essence of people: maybe it is 'emotions'? I think there is a good argument to support: the essence of people is emotions. Even if it is not the essence it is wrapped up in the same package as the essence....emotions, conscience, thought, wonder, etc.
Sales is about understanding people. What they fear and what they desire....
What makes them happy? They want that.
What do they fear? They want to avoid that.
What do they need? They want that.
The training for Sales is about knowing what makes people tick.
The training for Business is about knowing what makes people tick.
To learn sales - learn people.
To learn people - start with yourself.
What inspires you?
What do you fear?
What do you desire?
What do you need?
Those sorts of questions....
As you start to learn about yourself, and it will be a lifetime task, try to expand your knowledge of people by adding others....those you feel you can trust.
Study famous people who clearly understood people: Gandhi, for example.
Listen to motivational tapes: Covey's 7 Habits, etc
Business = Sales = People.
Get my point?”
First posted July 5th, 2011
On Jul 14, 2011
Father-to-Son Business Lesson #28
From the 2005/2006 series of Father-to-Son Business Lessons…
A little advice on people, failing, succeeding…and not giving up.
As you ‘get it’...I hope you enjoy ‘getting it’.
These things I am suggesting may not work for you. On the other hand, these ways have worked for me.
Certainly, I’ve had my share of failures. Actually, I’ve had way more than my share. But, that’s not a problem. Business life is about a long string of successes and failures. Probably, for everyone - many more failures than successes. That isn’t important enough to waste more time on.
What is important is: and important in this sequence, as Business Lesson #28: what do you think is going to happen next?...and, what are you doing to make it happen?
When I look to the future, I think of the amazing things that can happen. Sure there’s a maze ahead. What do I do about it: well, in my own way, I try to make things happen.
Sometimes easy things.
Sometimes tough things.
Whatever seems the best approach at the time.
I do think it is important to be positive.
But to me, of more importance, we must be realistic.
If it ain’t broken...win with it. If it is broken...then at least recognize that and learn from that as you lose the game (but not the series).
Make changes in an effort to learn: about yourself, about other people, and about business.
As Einstein more-or-less said: “If you keep doing the same things and you expect different results then you are a fool.”
As you father says, “Many times you better change direction when you hit the wall of the business maze....on other occasions you must keep the course and gnaw your way through the underbrush.”
And, “There are reasons why, of all the animals, they put rats in mazes. Rats are smart, they are curious, and they have sharp teeth capable of gnawing through almost anything. Rats see no faze in the maze.”
On Sep 8, 2010
‘Obvious Adams’ is a curious little book, roughly 6,000 words placed on 50 pages. The book, first published by Robert R. Updegraff in 1916, can be read in a lunch hour…or quick readers can finish it in a coffee break.
It is the story of a successful business fellow – Obvious Adams – who is able to see through the fog of the details around problems and find excellent solutions in the obvious. Obvious Adams sees the obvious while others do not.
The little book is a great introduction to marketing and problem solving.
I will write more about Obvious Adams, Seeking Simple, and Making It Stick in the near future.
Today, I am introducing more of Updegraff’s thinking…
In 1953, almost 40 years after he first published ‘Obvious Adams’, Updegraff added a section describing the “Five Tests of Obviousness”.
Updegraff’s Five Tests of Obviousness
Test One: The problem when solved will be simple. The obvious is nearly always simple--so simple that sometimes a whole generation of men and women have looked at it without even seeing it.
Test Two: Does it check with human nature? If you feel comfortable in explaining your idea or plan to your mother, wife, relative, neighbours, your barber and anyone else you know, it's obvious. If you don't feel comfortable, it probably is not obvious.
Test Three: Put it on paper. Write out your idea, plan or project in words of one or two syllables, as though you were explaining it to a child. If you can't do this in two or three short paragraphs and the explanation becomes long, involved or ingenious--then very likely it is not obvious.
Test Four: Does it explode in people's minds? If, when you have presented your plan, project or program, do people say, "Now why didn't we think of that before?" You can feel encouraged. Obvious ideas are very apt to produce this "explosive" mental reaction.
Test Five: Is the time ripe? Many ideas and plans are obvious in themselves, but just as obviously "out of time." Checking time lines is often just as important as checking the idea or plan itself.
PS: I am fortunate to own an original printing of Obvious Adams, complete with a touching hand-written father-to-son note that reads”
A tip here, boy, towards Success.
On Aug 25, 2010
Another father-to-son note…
“There are carts and horses and chariot drivers and chariot warriors.
I figure the Greeks, about 3000 years ago, looked at it this way:
- Horses were horses and they were worked so hard they knew enough to drink when they were taken to water. If they didn't, then they died. Then the soldiers ate them. Horses also became eaten if the soldiers ran short of other meat.
- War carts were chariots. Horses pulled these carts, these carts didn't get to go before the horses. If the carts broke then they were either fixed or taken apart and the pieces were used for other things. If fuel was in tight supply then carts could be burned to create warmth and to cook food.
- Chariot drivers: chariots contained two men. One drove. He was either junior, less skilled at fighting or both. His key roles were to protect the other more-valued man, the warrior, to protect the horses and the carts because they were expensive, and to place the warrior in a position where the warrior could have a good shot (spear shot, bow shot) at the enemy.
- The warrior. He was the leader. He got all the gold - the spoils of war. He also, as a general rule, took the largest risk and got to die first. He only drove the chariot when the driver was thrown, was too injured to drive or was killed. If a driver was injured or killed then, after the skirmish, the warrior would replace the lost driver. I mean: the warrior wouldn’t want to be the driver because warriors fought, while drivers drove.
Drivers and warriors didn't pull the chariots. If the horses were injured or killed and the chariot was immobilized during the battle then the driver and warrior either ran, or tried to hitch a ride on another ‘single-manned’ chariot...or they stood their ground and fought.
Carts were deaf. The chariots simply could not hear or think or do anything on their own. So, they required hands-on supervision and controls. Without horses the chariots were only as valuable as the adornments they displayed, the cargo they held, and the protection and the maneuverability they provided to the men. Without horses, the chariots just stood around and did nothing. With horses but no men, the chariots looked good but for the business at hand (warring or terrorizing or perhaps parading) they were absolutely useless. At best when men weren’t around the horse and cart ran around in circles or took off and got lost.
When a driver was added, the cart and horse did a lot better. As a unified group they really got places. And, as long as the path was simple, without obstacles and without treachery the horse and cart and driver got along just fine. When minor issues arose, including attack by lesser-skilled fighters, the horse, cart, and driver prevailed. They did some off-road stuff and they killed some guys, got some loot, returned to camp, and bragged to their buddies over some wine and roasted meat.
But, when the combo of horse-cart-driver met an unfriendly horse-cart-driver with a warrior the following happened: the driver without the warrior died and was stripped naked and left for the kites to pick away at, the horse and cart and the driver's armour and weapons all got a new owner. That new owner was the opposing warrior…he took their lives then their stuff. However, when there was a shortage of manpower or a real dirty job needed doing, sometimes the driver didn't die. The opposing warrior just stripped him down and took him into slavery.
Warriors had a wonderful, absolutely terrible life.
The horses had it pretty good. At least, they had it good as long as they could perform. Horses really didn't plan for the future. They didn't have to worry about planning their day, or next week, or next year. They just plodded along until they got whipped - then they ran. When their usefulness was over, and that is something they didn't worry about because they were pretty much thinking about a bag of oats, their life ended quickly. The only pain they had was the pain of the whip and the pain of injury sustained in battle. But, when the pain was extreme it was quickly ended when they were killed and eaten.
Carts: again, they were senseless. Just tools for the men and work for the horses.
Drivers: these guys were doers. They got to manage carts and horses and from time to time they got to fight. Of most importance, they had the vital job of protecting the most-valuable asset: the warrior. They succeeded when they managed the horses and chariots in a manner that allowed the warrior to do his job. Killing. They got to fight after the warrior had taken his best shots or when the warrior was injured. If they fought well then they received rewards (a bit of loot, plunder, and maybe even slaves). If they had sufficient skill then they might be able to become warriors.
What's the point?
There are several:
- horses are horses
- carts are carts
- drivers are drivers
- warriors are warriors
Don't get them confused.”