The ENCORE blog!
As of June 2, 2022 the employment of Mitch Little as Sr. Vice President -WW Client Engagement at Microchip Technology Inc is DONE! The typical term for this change would be “retirement”. The better term for where we go next is into my “encore” career (thanks Hendre). Starting at Microchip in Nov 1989, the past 32+ years have flown by, the last 10 at warp speed. It was an amazing journey from a company bleeding what little cash it had, through a turn around and on to thriving, led by our CEO, Steve Sanghi, and his team. It was an extremely fortunate turn of events to be one of the few that reported to Steve directly and take this entire journey together.
Intentional change happened each and every day in our battle to first survive, then thrive. We became virtual masters at the change game. We titled it “continuous improvement”. It was CHANGE! Change of business processes, change of technologies, change of manufacturing methods, and massive change in outcomes.
We changed our thinking about most everything. It changed our beliefs. That changed our actions. We changed our world, and all of the people in it! Early on we understood that consciously created corporate culture that was REAL would be the guiding light to carry us forward over every obstacle that we would face. How right we were, and how true it became.
In these change years we made a bold step in the world of “selling” (later more properly defined by us as “client engagement), that made our lives better in every respect and changed the way those we serve view us.
We eliminated “sales” COMMISSIONS! This quickly became a huge advantage that we had in our external efforts, and has continued to be a major advantage and a shifting point in how we viewed “what we did” and “what we offered” with our clients in the co creation of value.
Lots more to come in the near future on the Poison Called Commission, and how to counter it.
This journey of mine as allowed me to celebrate a variety of personal milestones. Turning “40” at MCHP was followed by turning “50”, turning “60” and now turning “70”. 4 such celebrations are notable and NOW it is time to turn the reins over to an extraordinary Client Engagement team led by Joe Krawczyk. More on making these kind of evolution moves to come in the blogs in the near future.
That leads us to today. The Microchip history gives an amazing base of understanding, learning, creating, changing, execution, changing, coaching, changing, communication, and yep more changing (a theme arises).
Process is everything, and outcomes matter! The outcomes that have been created by the team at Microchip are unmatched in many ways. Having just completed 126 consecutive quarters of profitability, a record continues that at least in the Semiconductor space has no equal. From a start of $17M a quarter 3 decades ago, MCHP just closed a quarter at $1.84B!
Record revenue, record earnings, records upon records. With more to come. The little broke company from Chandler of 1989 has turned into a leader in the industry in helping clients create success for their clients. And has reached market capitalization of ~40B$ based on the daily whims of the stock market.
And that was then, and this is now. So we go on from here. Microchip in its leadership position in a complex and rapidly changing industry, and myself into my encore.
From this blog starting in just a couple of weeks I will take time to write about my views on a variety of subjects. This time as an individual thinker about all things focused on serving those that we chose to serve. CUSP will continue to be my “stump” from which I will engage the world. I will have started the CUSP Advisory Group from which an offer to help the world make a difference in “selling, leading, change, communication” will be available for all. My doors will be open to serving those that choose to learn and make a difference with others.
As my dad said many weekends before another family camping trip; and I now echo….
OK, LET’S ROLL!
We have said many times that “words are everything”! A single word misused, misspoken, or misinterpreted, can do more harm than almost anything else. Often that failure goes totally unnoticed by the person that used the word. In terms of effective communication, it is the responsibility of the “transmitter” to ensure complete and full understanding by the “receiver”. That can be tough to accept by some. Seems that for some folks it is about the opposite, whatever is said, regardless of how poor it is transmitted, the understanding and reception of what is said is up to the “receiver”. Sadly it just does not work well in that construct. You say it, you must make sure that it gets UNDERSTOOD, not just heard. You say it, you write it, you email it along…YOU own it, and the outcome of what is said and all of its consequences.
So be careful what you say. Say it well. Make sure that it gets UNDERSTOOD. Then in all likelihood, to be effective, you will need to say it 8 more times (per the “rule of 9 times”, which says it takes that many repetitions for something new to be comprehended).
With this premise at work, we will focus on ONE word as we close out on the CUSP concepts and implementation. With about 60% of our audience having English as a second language I believe that this one word is key to everyone’s effective human engagement and we can’t afford to lose anything in the translation.
This word is EMPATHY!
There is a wonderful lady by the name of Brene Brown. She is brilliant in what she writes and says and the world would be a better place if we all spent some time with her studying the “human experience”. Her podcast “DARE to LEAD” is amazing.
My youngest daughter sent me a link to a YouTube video of Brene’s a while ago after one of my blogs dug into empathy a bit (I would never have guessed that my “kids” were paying attention to what their “ole man” was saying, but it seems so 😊 a bit). In this piece, Brene talks about the difference between sympathy and empathy and the value of the latter. It is worth listening to all 9 times needed to help it sink in… AND sharing it around the house and working with family and friends to have the conversation about how you can serve others well with a full understanding of EMPATHY.
Words ARE everything, and in my journey as an MCHP employee, my time to share my words is quickly drawing to a close. In 2 weeks' time I will author my last blog as SVP WW Client Engagement – Microchip Technology Inc. This is NOT the end of the journey, just a shifting of gears……
Cue the video…..
OK, LET’S ROLL!… onward and upward! One GREAT word at a time!
p.s. thank you so very much, Jamie… I love you!
Is it really all that simple?…..YES! That does not mean it’s easy!!
Caring is simple…it’s just not always easy to do.
Understanding is simple…it’s just not always easy to do.
Serving is simple…it’s just not easy to do, and doing it with
Purpose is tough…plain and simple.
If we are to succeed at serving others to help them achieve their objectives then we need a unique blend of empathy, curiosity, and tenacity. We must be able to walk in their shoes and in their tracks and feel what they feel. We must have a driving desire to know more, continuously. We must be relentless in our pursuit of serving others to their ends.
We must dig in and have insightful exploratory dialog that is complex in its nature. We must confirm that we understand and are making a difference, that those we serve acknowledge. Our inquiry must, in its own, create new thoughts.
We don’t simply ask, “am I making a difference in serving you”. Instead we have dialog around the thought of “tell me HOW I can serve you to make a unique difference for your team”…and more, “tell me what I can do to serve you in completely UNIQUE way that you will value”. Simple questions that are handled by a “yes” or a “no” don’t bring value to the engagement.
This ALL comes down to the incredibly simple, and not easy to execute, Steven Covey principle….”Seek to understand before being understood”!
I really hope those words translate to all of the local languages that we are working today. It is a very vital concept of excellence in human interaction and most people fail so badly at it. I watch conversations all day long in various formats and medium. It is the rare case that I see participants in a conversation all battle to become the Chief Problem Solver. The best in class of those that lead and those that serve are those that “seek to understand”.
Yes, it really is that simple… and tough to do well!
OK, LET’S ROLL!...
Onward to doing the things that matter, even if they aren’t easy.
Over the last many weeks we have covered the detailed perspectives of CUSP. I have been writing about it and talking about it for the last several years. It is a hope for you that this has all made good common sense and you are willing to dive in and “give it a try”. A reasonable outcome it seems. So just HOW do you start all this, and how do you turn on the “Care Greatly” switch? And where the heck is the big button that is pushed to launch my “Understand Deeply” mode?
Well… there are not either one of those magic answers for your disposal. Sorry!
This takes work, just like anything else worth your focus and time.
And interestingly all of this “stuff” is not what you DO… it is what you ARE, what you BECOME!
This comes down to the conversations that you have with yourself, and others, about how you are serving those that you choose to serve. How do you know you care? What shows that to yourself and those around you? Have you asked those around you how you come across when you are communicating with them? Do you feel empathic? How does that show? Do you REALLY listen? Or just prepping a response. You will know that you are really listening because you will find yourself no longer interrupting others as they are speaking, to get your point in. You are really good at listening when your find there is a bit of silence after the other person speaks before you step in. Try counting to 3 before you spit it out…that’s a tough one for us ALL!
How do you know you truly CARE? You can answer that one if you will spend some time whiteboarding…. Put it on the wall and look at it. Share it.
There is an old saying that includes the phrase “fake it till you make it”. You can’t fake caring. The world will know the truth. Got to mean this one, from the heart and soul. The reality is that you must “practice it…till you become it”. Given enough cycles of learning, it will become who you ARE!
So…don’t fake it, but do practice it…you WILL become what you practice!
And after a few thousand practices, you will MASTER it and make it part of yourself.
OK, LET’S ROLL!
10,000 practices and you will become the MASTER…or so they say.
Below you will find an email that I sent out to our Microchip WW Client Engagement team this weekend. I typically send an email to the global team each week. Most times I am referencing something with respect to the CSUP thread that has been covered here. The message below talks about a concept that our industry and the “sales teams” within the industry have battled, the concept has normally been called “attach”. Within Microchip we have expanded the idea and focused on a broader perspective that we have called Total System Solution. The message addresses a couple of the challenges that exist within this effort. Hopefully you can connect with the specifics of our little semiconductor world below.
OK, LET’S ROLL! Its movie time!
TSS… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly… (from movie history, well without the TSS part of the title that is).
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo, literally "The good, the ugly, the bad") is a 1966 Italian epic spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as "the Good", Lee Van Cleef as "the Bad", and Eli Wallach as "the Ugly". This movie is credited with launching Clint Eastwood into stardom. Now if you don’t know who that is, I suggest a trip down Dirty Harry lane via the web..
But for the sake of this “movie” we will tackle the TSS subject in reverse order…
TSS…The Ugly, the Bad, and the Good!
Any well written story has a structure. In terms of a 3 act play they would be..
So let’s tackle Total System Solution in that construct.
What is the TSS Setup? And why is it Ugly?
That is a trip down memory lane and a journey that started decades ago. It is a daily quest by many individuals in the “selling” process of semiconductors. In its early years it was simply called “attach”. You know, that infamous battle to get a client to buy more/different part types from us. For a couple of decades the “attach” battles and wars raged. Everyone selling, expected everyone buying, to buy MORE, MORE, MORE! Sounds reasonable. Makes good sense it seems. What the heck, why not? Why the heck would someone that we have been calling on for years not just simply by MORE of our stuff? That is what it is. Now why is it Ugly?
Well, the harsh reality is that for the last 30-40 years in our world, every electronic system manufacturer in every corner of the world has spent gazillions (that’s a lot) of dollars and applied a nearly infinite amount of human energy and time towards one key task. And that task is making decisions about every component level technology they would ever need and CHOOSING the vendor (folks like us) for that specific product or class of products. They built huge teams around technology analysis, manufacturability, quality, pricing, and dozens of other “score card” elements by which to guide their decision outcomes. And they did, they decided…recall the hundreds of pages of AVL (approved vendor list) that you have had thrown at you.
They made a huge investment in that decision making process and it sticks today as solidly as ever. In most cases these companies and their pool of product engineers, quality engineers, manufacturing engineers and all of their peers did a solid job and that process has stood up to the test of time. Sadly, those decisions are typically used looking forward at next generation of end client products as well as current manufacturing. They are hugely invested in the decisions that they reached and the choices that they made. Moving them from those decisions is damn tough (but it can be done ☺, more under the category of Good).
In the next act of our story we see the Confrontation. The Bad.
Here comes the challenge to all this. Our clients have spent a TON of money and energy that has enabled them to make sourcing decisions for EVERYTHING that they need, to build what they build today. Decided. Done. Documented.
This is where we have to have a solid grasp on the absolute fact that it is what we DO, not what we “sell”, that makes the difference in this entire discussion. AND, it is ONLY what we DO, that is acknowledged by the client as being UNIQUE, that matters at all. Everything else is immaterial, does not count, won’t make a difference. The Confrontation comes now in the form of caring greatly about the client, so much so, that we dig in deep and take the time to UNDERSTAND them better and differently than anyone else. It is that UNDERSTANDING that will allow us to paint a possible picture that reflects an outcome that matters to them that is different and better and enables THEM to CHANGE their thinking. We cannot change their mind, they can, with us as guides in that journey. We have to confront that challenge to change their thinking so that they change their beliefs so that they change their actions…. In our favor of course!!!
Now, to the Good and the Resolution!
The challenge is substantial. Changing the way that people think is not for the feint of heart. You must have conviction that you are serving for the betterment of all. And you are!
There is ONE key to making this all happen. And it works well, because we see it all around us.
The one factor that drives the success of a client engagement at this level and under these circumstance greater than ANYTHING else is….
Subject Matter Expert Engagement!
We know this to be true as we have studied the data. You know it to be true because you have experienced the reality directly or indirectly.
Your maximized, structured, planned, use of SME’s makes ALL the difference. 3,4,5 times greater outcome happens in our client engagement metrics when we put the planned SME maximization process into gear.
This one “in process” variable MUST be in every discussion that happens about every client project that we manage. Amongst teams members, when in project reviews, at the over view level, directly with the client, in EVERY discussion, this one point must be critically focused on. Where are we today with SME’s, what is planned next, where are we also looking at going. All questions that need to be DRIVEN.
THIS IS HOW WE DRIVE GROWTH!
So… our closing act, the final part of the story…
Our clients have fully made their component decisions. We don’t go tell them they were wrong. We do engage with them and jointly make a unique difference that they acknowledge. We open up the door to change and help them take the steps through it to their benefit.
We do this through the EXTENSIVE use of SME’s (internal and external).
There is nothing more powerful than someone that has “seen the light” and found a new belief. You are that resource that can accomplish that and more.