Continuing on from the last couple of weeks, we find that our four travelers have made it to the land of OZ and come face to face with the Wizard in all of his diminutive self.  Seems that the man behind the curtain has built a pretty fierce façade.  A lot of wisdom came from the journey that the 4 friends took and the Wizard himself added to the thinking at the end.  Life is all about facing your fears!  And to the courage he simply stated the obvious…” true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid”.  And even the bravest people get scared.  As the Wizard told a story… Dorothy said “weren’t your frightened?”  (Wizard…) “Frightened? Child, you’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe… I was petrified.”

My ask of you this week is simply, tomorrow, do the one thing that you are the most afraid to do with respect to thanking someone for something that they have done for you.  Should not really be that scary… maybe! Make it a BIG thank you!  The final thought from the walk to OZ is from the King of the Winged Monkeys (yes they scared the heck out of me)…  It is the final consideration before waking up…Good always wins over evil.  The King of the Winged Monkeys: “We dare not harm this little girl,” he said to them, “for she is protected by the Power of Good, and this is greater than the Power of Evil.”

OK, Let’s Roll!


Continuing on our journey to OZ from last week we find ourselves in the company of another wonderful character… the Scarecrow.  Along the trip to see the great OZ the scarecrow and Dorothy have lots of time to sing, dance, and talk.  One of the conversations goes like this….

Scarecrow:    “I haven't got a brain... only straw.”
Dorothy:    “How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?” 
Scarecrow:    “I don't know... But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they?” 
Dorothy:    “Yes, I guess you're right.”

A lot of talking about our “stuff” with folks that we want to have as clients.  Without any realization that they ABSOLUTELY do not care about our stuff at all.   How could that possibly be?  Our stuff is so great.  Our stuff is world-class.  Our stuff….  Talking without using our brain, just spitting out all of the product features and wonderful “benefits” that we could deliver if ONLY the client had a brain and chose us to supply their stuff.

Well, lets get very real.  Today more than ever, the desire by people to change from using their known good stuff, is at its lowest ever.  Change brings fear of failure and possible personal repercussions.  Why should they shift from what they have been doing for so long that has been working to something unknown and unproven.  Not going to happen…. Unless you can prove a possible outcome that is of more value to them than their current situation and has NO risk.  That last part is really tough. 

During the journey, the travelers reach many roadblocks and it is the Scarecrow that figures out how to overcome them.  When the team reaches OZ the Wizard finally gives the Scarecrow a "brain" (which is just some pins and needles mixed with bran) the Scarecrow gains the confidence he needs to feel good about himself. But the smart thoughts? Those he's had all along. Just like with Dorothy, the Scarecrow's journey as a character is not about change or growth. As he traveled, the Scarecrow didn't gain something new. He just had the opportunity to use intelligence he already possessed—and, of course, to discover that he possessed it.

So my thought for your consideration this week is the following…. Let’s use our inquisitive BRAIN.  And…..

Go out and ASK a client… “what would it take for you to shift from what you are doing today (using XYZ product or service, or working with supplier X, or…you get creative and build the baseline inquiry about “what would it take for you to shift”…. From… not to you… from something else)  This is about understanding what they are afraid of, where is the fear, what would worry them.  Only once you understand what the challenge is, can you help them solve it.  One of their biggest fears should be stated as the challenge of creating change involving others in their own world.  Change management is the 800-pound gorilla in the room.  And your task is to scare it away.  Have fun!

OK, Let’s Roll!


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In the movie, The Wizard of OZ (and I know that I can not assume you all have seen it, but I did grow up with it and the scary flying monkeys) there is a very special Tin Man. In the journey to Oz, the Tin Man is in search of a heart that had been taken from him by the Wicked Witch of the East. In song and dance along the way, Tin Man repeats the phrase… “if I only had a heart”. Many quotes about having a heart are in this movie… here is one…

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”

This statement made to the Tin Man by the Wizard is one of the all-time best Oz quotes, simply because it's so true. As most of us can attest, the love of our friends and family is all that really matters in life.

And so what you say… well here is my ask of you for this week… In this current time, I see a lot of folks with a lot of stress and anxiety. You can see it acted out in the manner with which they interface with others around them. We are quick to move to anger and curt responses that are out of character. We are judgmental when we really have no position to judge at all, not our role in life anyhow. You know it, you see it, it’s real, and it is under our control to alter it... Each one of us can make a difference and it can snowball. One person at a time. Start now. As you read this, take a moment to look around and see someone that you can make a difference for. Have a heart. Take a heartfelt action to pay it forward, deliver a smile, embrace someone needing a hug. Step into it and open up your heart!

Here is a radical thought. Do this with your client. Virtual or in person, it can still be done. You can use your heart to connect with another person that may not be even expecting it. Care greatly, Understand deeply, Serve endlessly, with Purpose (CUSP). Its not just a four-letter word, it’s showing the world that YOU HAVE A HEART! Your personal and professional connections and relationships will be forever stronger if you let your HEART show!

Ok, Let’s Roll!

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For most of our B2B sales lives, we have been thrown new products with a list of features and benefits over the wall and the client engagement teams have had to translate all of that “stuff” into conversations that matter to our clients. Not always an easy matter when the great “new” product looks amazing like the good “old” products or services that we have been working with for years. That, however, is quite ok. This is where the client-facing teams shine and where they do their best work. This is the art of conversations, that matter to our clients. And to be quite specific this is the absolute art of 2-WAY conversations, not just show up and broadcast, but create and conduct a truly meaningful dialog with clients.

Michael Hvisdos ( has been working with our team for several years as we dig into the science and impact of curiosity. Michael and his partner Janet are absolute guru’s when it comes to this… Check them out. In my attempt to keep brief here I will just tell you that Michael ingrained in our thinking many years ago the value of absolute thinking of having great 2-WAY conversations. The big difference between thought and action. With 2-WAY conversations as a baseline, we must clearly accept the age-old adage of “seek first to understand before being understood”. The challenge is the first part. We have lots of practice in the latter part. So here is my request for you for this week.

Understand that you cannot change someone else’s mind. No argument will have you changing their mind. Only they can change their mind. It must be of their own free will. On occasion, you might verbally bludgeon them into submission (think teenage discussion here), but that will not be the same thing. To get someone to see your perspective if it is different than theirs, you must first acknowledge their perspective as being viable (and mean it). Only when you stop the wall building of having right/wrong conversations can you actually reach out and help others gain perspectives beyond their current ones. Stop trying to be right, you only end up making other wrong. Learn the power of AND, and avoid the OR.

My request for you this week is actually just for one day. If you can take if further, bless you. For just one day this week, I ask that you take the entire day and…

NOT DISAGREE WITH ANYONE ABOUT ANYTHING (both personally and professionally)

That does not mean you have to accept what they say, just understand their statements and beliefs. Acknowledge the fact that you understand. Open up the door to having really great 2-WAY conversations that matter to you both.

This is a tough action. Teams small and large have accepted this challenge and we have worked through the outcomes with greatness at the end. Enjoy!

OK, Let’s Roll!

- Mitch

“I am a human being, not a human doing.” – attributed to many in the universe.

Not a short blog this week!

There are many brilliant minds in our world addressing all of the myriads of things that that we need to DO to make a shift in our world to accommodate the changes that we perceive COVID-19 has brought to how we “sell”.

And from what can be seen, they are all doing a great job in telling that story. There is very little to add to the great ideas being spawned in getting the job done and great DOING.

In my opinion, the DOING is very tactical and pretty contextually specific to each business buyer/seller relationship. The answer to getting the most effective, efficient, and valuable outcomes from each of these “projects” is in fact front line leadership coaching. If we don’t get this right all of the foundational stuff below will not matter… Keith Rosen is the best there is for getting this front line connection to work. He is great at getting the DOING DONE.

DOING is not wrong, it’s just not enough on its own to make a unique difference with your clients. They want to see the deeper side of your team in addition to the tactical implementation perspective. It is by walking the talk of the whole story that you build client trust and maximize client outcomes. Trust comes when the client can see both sides of the curtain (OZ reference).

DOING is great. AND it is launched, nurtured, cultivated, and turned into excellence by being based deeply on a complete story of Vision Driven Execution. We build that on a foundation. A complete, sturdy, deep foundation that stands up to every challenge, including COVID-19. It does not get blown away by any category of a storm or swamped by any level of floodwaters or destroyed by any level of virus. And this foundation is our heart and soul.

The building blocks of the foundation of Vision Driven Execution are the following.

Strategic Objectives

Just a bit of explanation of each, for now, we will follow on more in-depth later.

Before we jump into all of these, it is worth noting that this entire focus can be a corporate construct, OR, it can also be how a team or business unit chooses to function, just as easily. So feel free to start small, enroll others, create success, and offer to help the folks around you accomplish the same things.

A corporate or team purpose must be aimed at things well beyond revenue, profits, shareholder return, etc. There will be a time and a place for those in the Strategic Objectives. Purpose, to be truly inspiring to all, must have a component that relates to making the world a better place. No ranking, striving to be the “best” or becoming number one. Those are all internal views. To make purpose really work it must be focused on things of humanity outside of the corporate walls. This one is a tough one to get most corporate C suite folks to buy into. But those that do create a truly compelling place to contribute to the betterment of humankind. The deeper level of purpose comes into play when you work to understand your client’s purpose and the purpose of yourself and the folks you are serving. That is another “book”.

Vision and mission are not the same things, although they often get interchanged. Vision is that “picture” of the future state of where you are or what you are building. It is something more like 5-10 years out. A good vision paints a picture of how your world will look, how it will act, how it will feel, how it will smell, sound, or maybe even taste… in the future. It is the ideal state that you are working to build. It can be SEEN by closing your eyes and letting all the words sink in. It talks to the people involved, where they are, what they do that is different, and how they do their work with their clients. A good vision can be several pages long. It is NOT meant to be memorized, but it IS meant to be felt. Think vision… think picture (with sounds and smells).

Mission is distinct in that it is built on today, not the future. It is a SIMPLE statement of the ONE thing that we MUST do each and every day to make our vision possible. This is the one thing that everyone absolutely MUST be able to recall instantly when asked what their mission is. This takes careful crafting as it must stand the test of time and abuse. This takes a lot of communication to get grounded and inherently understood. Simple is the magic here and that is what makes it hard. When you are building this, ask someone outside of your company if what you state makes sense.

Core values are the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of a company’s actions; they serve as its cultural cornerstones. Core values are seen as being inherent and too valuable and important to ever be messed with. They can never be compromised, either for convenience or short-term economic gain. This creative work needs some time and evolution or two as they must stand up to all pressures and guide the toughest of decisions and challenges. Even a small team can create its own set of values that work in unison with the corporate versions.

At their broadest, strategic objectives serve an organization’s ambition. A company or team’s ambition is found in its mission and vision statements. These statements together describe the main thrust of a company or team and its ultimate goal, a goal that can only be reached by successfully carrying out business. Strategic objectives are the steps and accomplishments that need to be completed to realize that ultimate goal.
Good strategic objectives -- that is, those that are specific, measurable and have a deadline attached -- unify the activities of everyone throughout an organization of any size. Employees and departments don’t work at cross purposes, pursuing their own agendas, but instead work with the larger picture in mind, all moving in the same direction. Because the goals are specific, employees and managers can measure progress and reform ineffective practices This focuses efforts on achievement -- not only the achievement of strategic objectives but eventually, of the vision.

Execution is everything. It works exponentially well when it clearly has direction and shared understanding.

Vision Driven Execution delivers this.

OK, Let's Roll!


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