First Responders Memorial Day

May 15th, 2018 was Officers Memorial Day.  It’s a tribute to the first responders who have given their lives in protecting and serving their communities.  Our small town has been fortunate.  We have not lost an officer, firefighter, or EMS person on the job.  But our Chief of Police leads a service recognizing those who have given their lives.

It’s a simple program.  They start with raising the flag, then lowering it to half-mast.  The honor guard is very impressive, led by a marine who is now an officer in our city.  We then had a brief statement by the Chief and his counterpart from the city next to ours.  Then the Chaplin held a prayer, then a moment of silence.  Finally, a gentleman started playing the bagpipes.  He played Amazing Grace.  As he came to the end of the first verse, he started walking away, representing the loss of the first responders.  You could see how moving it was in the small gathering of first responders and civilians. 

One of the things that has burned into my brain, is the video of the officers in Dallas when an unhinged person opened fire on them during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest march.  The officers were being shot at but ran to protect the people in the march.  They ran into a place that we would have run away from.    

I respect the discipline they displayed.  The commitment to the community they work in every day.  I respect the fact that they are willing to put their lives in the line of fire to protect ours.  I don’t believe there is any higher order of sacrifice than the willingness to protect others.

The city I live in is a peaceful, quiet community, and most feel the police job here is not too dangerous.  This year we have had several incidences that would prove that incorrect.  Not from people in the community, but from people who drive through.  We are at the junction of three major highways.  We have over 50,000 cars a day pass through here, and not all of them are here for fun.

I respect our first responders.  I know most of the police force personally and they all have families that need them to come home safely every night.  I wanted to recognize their efforts and of those that work around the country.  Thanks for what you do!

Great companies push to get better

Last week I spent time with a group of “A” players in a mature industry.  While they will quickly point out that the company is not perfect, they are not perfect, and there is room for improvement, as someone who works with multiple companies, theirs is one of the best. 

When I initially worked with them I interviewed around 30 people in all disciplines of the business.  I was struck by how talented they were and how diverse the organization was.  I was also baffled by how limiting they were.  They would not risk anything, individually.  They had been beaten up for mistakes.  Mercilessly challenged for something that even looked like a mistake.  That was four years ago.  Today is a different day.

The individual that brought us into the organization came to the company in an executive role.  He had owned and led a competitor, that this company acquired.  He worked for them for a few years after the purchase, and he ended up leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.  He is a talented executive that took a president role with another company, that was run by a controlling CEO.  Decisions were made from corporate office and pushed down to the operating companies.  It was not a match for his talents.  He left the company and came back to the company I’m working with as the president.  Three years ago he was named the CEO and the change in culture is significant. 

The company has three divisions that have separate sales leaders.  All are very strong.  I began working with one division on a project around their CRM and our 12-week project turned into 8 months.  Not because they weren’t smart, but because the CRM was that challenging to work with.  After 8 months they made multiple changes to the CRM to support their sales teams, the sales leaders, and a sales process we developed together.  We were ready to present it to their sales team, and it grew to all three divisions. 

I was the initial presenter and then we turned it over to the head of sales for the initial division we worked with.  I’ve worked with several VP’s and they all have strengths and challenges, as we all do.  This sales leader was amazing.  He understood the CRM in a detail few have.  The adjustments his team had made were so well thought out that the entire team of sellers praised the benefits.  He has a young seller who helped design and build the process and he is outstanding.  He has an IT person who listens and develops.  They created this without the outsource IT consultants and saved $50k in the process.

The companies I work with all have challenges.  The way this company addressed them is remarkable.  In industrial companies there is a problem in attracting young talent, but this company recruits young talent and gives them strong roles within the company.  In this case the inside seller was testing and making recommendations on the CRM as he worked through his daily responsibilities.  The end offering was much better because of it.  The resulting changes to the CRM were not sold as final changes.  Therefore, the entire company had the opportunity to have input into the changes and make tweaks as needed.  The group had lively debates.  There was no fear of hurting someone’s feelings or fear of making a mistake.  They were focused on building the best process they could.  What could have been described as “heated” discussions were not taken personally, and better results followed. 

The company is a dominant player in their market, and they continue to work to get better.  The saying “Good is the enemy of great” kept playing in my mind.  They were/are not satisfied with good enough.  I share this with great respect for the CEO who has changed the culture, and the team who has acted on it and executed.  What we do for companies is expose them to best practices.  How they deal with it is up to them.  This company is a great company that I will now use as a measuring device for other companies we work with.

As an observer of humanity

As an observer of humanity, I’m fascinated by some things I see.  I’m not judging here.  It’s just an observation as another human being.  This week was exceptional. 

  1. I worked with 3 different types of companies.  One software company, one service company, and one manufacturer.  I was struck by how similar the people are, even though the industries were very different.  They all are open to trying new things.  They are successful but want to get better.  The ages were a wide range, but not the way you might guess.  Each company had a wide range of ages in their teams.  It was nice to see companies working to solve the Baby Boomer retirement tsunami.
  2. Back packs on airplanes are dangerous.  I like to sit in the aisle.  I’m a little claustrophobic and sitting anywhere but the aisle causes me anxiety.  However, sitting on the aisle is challenging when most travelers are wearing backpacks instead of carrying a briefcase.  Backpacks are much easier to carry on, but when you are wearing one, and you put your suitcase in the overhead, the natural thing to do is turn your body.  That makes the backpack a weapon.  I’ve learned to lean into the middle and make friends with the individual in the center seat.  I’ve always wanted to write about this but couldn’t find the business connection, until today.  It’s focus.  People are so focused on finding a seat and storing their bag in an overhead, that they lose focus that they are beating people up with their other bags.  I can’t be upset.  I like the focus.
  3. I was driving down Lakeshore Drive in Chicago today in heavy traffic.  We were stopped at a stoplight, and I heard someone near me tapping their horn.  I looked over the lady in the car next to me motioned for me to roll down my window.  When I did, she asked if her car was on fire.  I shared that I didn’t think so.  She then asked if I saw smoke.  I assured her that I did not.  I found it humorous, and terribly unusual to get that question at a stoplight.  Have you ever had a question come out of nowhere and have it stop you on the spot when you are in a business meeting?  I’m sure I have, but nothing like that one.  It made me smile.
  4. I’m having issues with my iPhone.  The battery is apparently getting old and not lasting too long.  I was driving from my meeting to a hotel in a part of the suburbs that I had never been to.  I lost over 40 percentage points of battery on the way to the hotel and was in danger of having it shut off, therefore no GPS.  After a moment of panic, I skimmed the steps of the directions on the phone, memorized them and then shut the GPS down.  I was hopeful that if I needed the GPS to get through the final steps, I could save enough battery to get there.  It struck me how dependent I’ve become on the GPS and the phone.  Before GPS, I could find my way around.  Why would I panic when I lost it?  I did find the hotel.  It helped that is was 5 stories and nothing around it was that tall.  I need to buy another phone.  Keep calm and preplan.  My new mantra.
  5. I’m Preferred with my car rental company, that I use.  When I landed in Chicago, I received three separate texts telling me what space the car was in.  When I took the elevator to the level where my car was, the big board had my name and the same space listed.  When I jumped in the car and drove to the guard to check me out she informed me that I didn’t have the right car.  I assured her I did.  She shared that in fact, I did not.  When I returned to the rental counter, nobody was there to help.  After about 5 minutes of internal cursing the rental car company, someone showed up.  In fairness, it was not her fault.  I had the right space, but the runner had put the wrong vehicle in the space.  It was corrected, and I went on my way.  I had been in meetings all day and had not eaten since late morning.  Apparently, I burn calories.  It was 10:00 pm and I just wanted to get to the hotel.  I had an early start to the next morning.  Preplanning is a great idea.  It lowers our stress level.  But plans and reality sometimes works differently than what we had planned.  I’m not suggesting we don’t plan, but I’m suggesting we be flexible.  I still made it to my hotel and had a good night’s sleep.  It just wasn’t what I had planned, but it still worked fine. 

All in all, it was a very successful week, with a few interesting glitches.  In the past the glitches might have knocked me off course for the week.  But this time it did not.  I believe stepping back from the situation and viewing it as an observer, rather than taking it personally, allowed me to lower the stress it could have caused.  Maybe I’m maturing gracefully…  I’m still learning.

Fear is a limiter

This morning as I was reading the news on a social media site, it occurred to me that fear sells.  No matter where you look, whether it’s marketing, or news in any form, it plays to our fears.  It captures our attention.

Fear is a limiter.  It keeps us from taking on new opportunities.  It holds us back from reaching out to others.  We see it everywhere.  The left can’t stand the right and vice versa.  We look for prejudice and find it.  Not because of a special bias, but out of fear.  We all try to be unique and different, yet we read the news that confirms our bias.  We hang out with people who think like we do.  We are fearful of those differences.

In our company we have worked with a multitude of people.  We work with them to find the right fit.  We work with them to understand their preferences and motivators.  When we debrief, we find a large percentage fear being exposed.  They feel they are not good enough to be doing what they are doing.  The fear limits them.  My goal is always to share with them that there is no right or wrong answers.  There is a match or a better match somewhere else.  This is not a way to get people out of the company.

I worked with a client recently that had a low opinion of their brethren in another function of the company.  The first question I asked them is “Do you feel like he is doing that on purpose?”  The answer was “No”.  The second question was “Why do you think he is doing this?”  The questions were designed for the team I was working with, to see the person they were disappointed in, as a human being.  It was designed for them to take ownership in the process and determine what they could do to help the situation.  The idea was to take the fear out and own the situation.

I believe that our personal fear gets reflected in our view of other’s actions.  We see their performance through our filters.  We see their actions, and we take it personally.  We see how it limits us.  “I can’t sell because our engineers don’t meet our requirements!”

I have my clients build plans with the caveat that they are based on this year, and what they can control.  Once the plans are built, they own it.

Just because I’m aware, doesn’t mean I don’t have fears of my own, that color my opinions.  I’m not immune to fear, but I’m working to be more aware and catch when I start to feel the fear.  I’m still learning…

Find A Need And Fill It

The first company I worked for had a motto.  They had several unofficial mottos, but one stuck with me more than any other.  It was “Find a need and fill it”.  Can you think of a more fitting saying for a sales person?  It wasn’t sell our stuff, it was find a need.  It set us up to look for needs to solve.  The only way to do that was to use our brains.  We had to know what we could sell and ask questions to determine if they had needs around those products or services. 

Of all the things that I emphasize with the clients we work with, great questions to determine needs is first.  We need to research and verify what their initiatives are.  That drives needs for the individuals.  We need to ask questions to understand the individual’s needs.  We need to ask questions to understand their buying process.  All this needs to happen before we ever start to “sell”. 

Nobody likes to be sold to.  What we want help with is making the right decision to buy.  Give us options. Show us how your product or service is different.  Show me (not tell me) why your offering is different and worth more money than competitive offerings.

In reflecting on my career, nothing has influenced me as much as those 6 simple words.  “Find a need and fill it.” 

I had beers with a friend who was an investor in private equity.  I was telling him about my business and he shared another version of the same philosophy.  I had said that we get paid for solving problems.  He shared that “The bigger the problem, the more money people pay you to solve it.”  Find big needs and fill those needs….

As you think about your business, what needs are you filling?  What differentiates you and your offering that makes you the logical choice?  Why should someone pay more for your offering than competitive offerings? 

I often tell people that in the 12 years I worked with Black & Decker they sold millions of cordless drills, but nobody ever bought one.  I get some inquisitive looks for that statement.  The point is nobody buys a drill; they buy what the drill will do for them.  They buy a way to make a hole, or run a screw, or pound in a nail.  Really.  Some people use their drill to hammer in a nail or sink a screw.  We “sold” more drills because of that.

Find a need and fill it is basis for all of business.  If you aren’t filling a need, whether is a “need” or a “want”, you won’t last long.  Most of our clients’ sense that something isn’t going as well as they would like in their business.  They may not be able to identify what it is, specifically.  That is why asking questions to scope the challenge is a must.  Do you do that in your business?  Do you understand what need you are filling?

We Are One

This past weekend we stayed at The Palmer House in downtown Chicago.  We enjoyed a weekend with our close friends, and we enjoyed some of the restaurants and bars of Chicago.  We also spent several hours in the Art Institute. 

I am not an art critic.  I just realized that I like the paintings more than the sculptures, and the furniture.  I like people more than landscapes.  I like classical period art more than contemporary and modern art.  I had never thought of it before, so it helped open me up a little. 

I also noticed the complete diversity of the patrons.  There were multiple languages being spoken, multiple sizes, and types of bodies, and multiple people enjoying art that I didn’t particularly enjoy.  They were different and so was I.  And it was just fine. 

In a time when we are so polarized, based on political beliefs, it was so refreshing to see people who think differently, in the same area and respecting each other.  It made me think that the vast majority of people, are not looking for differences.  The majority is respecting each other’s beliefs and giving them the space, they need.  That is not to say we must endorse other beliefs, but we can respect the need to feel differently.

Last evening, we were walking down Michigan Avenue, and it was getting cold.  We thought we should step inside The Drake and find a ride share.  It was nice, warm and inviting, so we went to the bar and sat down for a drink.  People all around us were dressed in suits and ties, and nice dresses.  We were in jeans.  They were older than we were, and they were there to dance.  The band was a smooth jazz band, that had the crowd up dancing with the first song. 

I found myself looking at the social gathering in a different way, based on the time we had spent viewing art earlier in the day.  I found myself observing the behavior and wondering.  The patrons were ethnically diverse.  Everyone was changing dance partners after every song.  All seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

There were two men at the bar that didn’t dance.  They just sat and watched the others dance.  They seemed to be regulars, because the wait staff knew them.  I was struck how it was similar to the dances I had gone to in my junior high and high school days.  There were always those that sat on the sidelines and didn’t dance.  They watched but didn’t participate.   Why?  Did they not know how to dance?  Were they too shy?  Were they just there to watch?

I really don’t know why I was so locked into observing behavior this weekend.  It was not judgmental, it was just observant.  It has made me think of how we can be blind to unskillful behavior.  How we can just go through the motions and not enjoy the richness of the moment.  Diversity makes us stronger and better.  Diversity of thought allows us to be more creative.  It allows us to participate in something bigger than us.  It allows us to create an energy that can carry us through difficult times and soar through great times.  We are all of one spirit.  We are not broken into separate groups.  Let’s value those who think differently than we do.  Let’s be grateful for their positive affect on us.

Becoming Self Aware

I spent some time on Saturday working on building furniture for my soon to be born granddaughter.  My daughter and son in law ordered in great furniture that needed to be assembled.  I offered or was offered by my wife, to help put it together.  This is not an easy task to take on.  It’s physically and mentally demanding.  My son in law and I managed to hold it to one beer per furniture piece.  That probably didn’t help with the mental side of it, but it did make it more fun. 

My son in law is a great athlete, and a very bright man.  He loves my daughter and he is excited about his baby girl coming soon.  He is thoughtful, planful, and energetic.  All things I admire greatly.  While I miss my son and daughter in law, who live in St. Louis, it’s nice to have Max and Jess here.  I feel the same about Max as I do about JP.  They are great young men with amazing impact on other people’s lives.

Max and Jess moved into a new home a couple of weeks ago.  It’s in a very nice area in a neighborhood that is being slightly gentrified.  They have infrastructure to support their local needs.  They are near Max’s gym, and they have easy access to freeways that can get Jess to her office quickly.  They too, are settling into their lives, just as Kelly and JP are.  Our role as parents have changed to a different mode.  We are now shifting into a phase that I really can’t describe. 

I’ve had a consulting business for 13 years now.  I find that my business relationships follow similar patterns, in a much shorter time span, than my personal life has.  I mentioned in an earlier article that I had treated my family like a business until I realized I should not.  I now treat my clients like family.  By that I mean we really work to understand them deeply and help them solve their challenges.  It usually takes us outside of the scope of our initial agreement.  Over time, by design, our business “family” doesn’t need us so much.  Our role changes.

It’s hard to pour yourself into something that you know will end at some point.  It’s difficult if you are selling solutions, not to be a part of the solution when it becomes a success.  I’m not complaining about this, just describing a situation.  I have friendships that have come from what initially was a business relationship.  I’ve been fortunate to watch companies grow through the years as I’ve come back for additional project work. 

Have you experienced the same feeling of loss and perhaps sadness as your customers need you less and less?  If you are selling in a consultative manner, it may be a byproduct.  If there isn’t a sense of loss, there isn’t anything wrong with that.  We all sell differently. 

I had a recent prospect that chose to utilize someone else’s offering.  There was a sense of loss and frustration, but I feel they will come back to us for assistance.  They wanted me to work with them in a more strategic role and they hired the other company to work with them on a more transactional role.  At least that was the way I wanted to take it.  I’m optimistic that they will come back, but I’m the reason they didn’t hire us initially.  I’m to blame for not providing a strong enough value.  I felt they would give me another opportunity, but they made the decision before I could get the second look. It’s on me.

My take away from all this is straightforward; I need to be more aware in my personal life and in my business.  I must step back from the situation and view it from a different perspective.  I need to be aware of what is important to my customers and my family and be supportive.  It’s not all about me.  I need to understand, which comes from asking the right questions.  I’m still learning.

Breaking Limitations

This morning I went through my normal routine.  Part of that routine is walking my dog.  We try to get out early in the morning before everyone else wakes up.  The intention is to avoid other dogs.  Bo doesn’t like other dogs when he is on his leash.  He feels either protective, or fearful.  I’m not sure which.

This morning we were headed down the stairs to go out when I saw a gentleman, with his grandson, and their dog, heading into the building.  I promptly turned Bo around and we headed back up the stairs so that there wouldn’t be any opportunity for him to growl.  He does that, and it sounds menacing.  Even though his is a softy, he sounds like he isn’t.

The grandfather had on jeans and a light jacket.  The grandson had on shorts and a tee shirt.  It started me thinking about limitations.  I know that makes me sound a little strange, but it really happened.  Part of my morning routine is to check the weather app on my phone when I wake up.  Because I walk my dog every morning, I check the app for the temperature, the wind direction and speed, and the “feels like” temperature.  I dress accordingly.

This morning it was a wind chill of 54 degrees, with a north wind at 15 mph.  For my friends who live in the north, that may seem balmy.  For me, it was chilly.  I had on sweat pants and a jacket.  Again, the grandson, who was about 5 years old, was in shorts and a tee shirt.  He didn’t look like he even felt the cold.

As I was walking outside it occurred to me that when I looked at the temperature on my phone, I was developing a preconceived notion of whether I was going to be cold or not.  This small boy had not had that notion.  He didn’t feel the cold like I did.  He accepted the weather, just the way he wanted to.  He wore what he wanted to, and it didn’t bother him.

Thoughts proceed words, and words proceed action.  Or maybe words generate thoughts, which leads to action.  Either way, we set our expectations based on our past experiences and then proceed to make them a reality.  I knew I’d be chilly, so I dressed accordingly.  If I felt that 54 degrees with wind wasn’t cold, I would not have dressed the same and would have been just fine.

In our businesses, we become a product of our environment.  I recently worked with a client who shared that two of her salespeople said they agreed with the strategy, and the goals, but also shared that they couldn’t possibly reach the goals this year.  I shared that they were right.  If they felt they couldn’t reach their goals, there is no way they would.  They had been in the role and territory they were in for such a long time that they felt they were unable to make any changes.

Just because we assign a number to a sales territory, or an objective to an individual or group, it doesn’t mean it will happen.  They need to believe it will happen and visualize it.  They need to understand how they will reach the goal on an emotional level.  We need to provide them the tools to allow them to reach it.  It could be new product, new information, new adjacent markets.  They must be able to see the end results and an outline of how they will get there.  We all put limitations on ourselves, based on our experiences.  By providing a vision of, and an outline of the path to reach the vision, it takes the past failures and limitations off the table.

I have another client that I’m working with that has an outstanding, tenured sales leader.  The company has been providing a service for 15 years.  They have become a mid-size company, but the sales team has developed a view that the sales cycle is 12-18 months long.  The sales leader is looking to capitalize on growth much sooner.  He has set some aggressive stretch goals.  The main difference is he has provided a path to his vision.  First, he tracked the selling cycle.  It’s 7 months.  His goal is to reach close in 6 months.  To do that, he has reconfigured the sales pipeline, and set up a rigorous sales process to move the opportunities through the pipeline.  They sellers and sales leaders can see the vision and see the path.  Not all, but most see the path. 

What limitations are you putting on yourself and your teams?  What are you doing to remove those limitations?  Can you show the path to your vision?

All this occurred to me from seeing a 5 year old wearing shorts and a tee shirt when it was 54 degrees….

Weeds To Flowers

My wife and I had dinner last evening at our good friend’s house.  They live on an airstrip tucked into a neighborhood in Lakeway, TX.  As we walked into their home, I looked over their deck and patio to see the airstrip.  It’s really an incredible view.  On the other side of the runway was a lush patch of bluebonnets.  It was a large patch and the beauty of the purple (or blue, I’m a little colorblind) flowers against the green grass of springtime, made a breathtaking picture. 

Several years ago, I hired an accountant who had an office in his home in south Austin.  He was an interesting person.  As I parked by vehicle in front of his house, I was taken aback by the weeds in his yard.  Most of his yard was made up of what I thought was weeds.  I was not alone.  Weeks after that experience, I read in the newspaper that his neighbors had complained to the city and asked that he plant grass.  What made it interesting was the fact the weeds were not weeds.  They were bluebonnets, that had not bloomed yet.  Bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas and his neighbors and I didn’t realize that until they bloom, they look like weeds.

There is a lesson here.  For 11 months a year, they look like weeds.  For one month a year they bloom, and they are glorious.  There are fields of bluebonnets in central Texas.  It’s not unusual to see cars parked along the side of the road and people taking photos of themselves and their children sitting in a patch of bluebonnets.  I would never do that.  I don’t like bugs or snakes or whatever else I can imagine that might be lurking nearby. But the photos of people sitting in bluebonnets flood social media, so it’s only an issue in my mind.

As sellers, how often are we viewed as weeds?  We are aggregated into a group of pests, knocking on the door to try to sell someone something.  Most sellers are pitching a solution that they hope the influencer will buy.  Most sellers have little empathy for the person they are selling to.  But not all sellers think that way.  The true star seller, the true professional, helps their customer buy.  Nobody wants to be sold to.  They want you to help them buy.  They want you to provide a solution to their issue.  They want you to listen to their needs and offer a suggestion on how you can solve them.  They do not want to have you list all the things that you can do, and then must choose from the entire menu.

As a professional salesperson, you may be a weed until that one moment.  That one moment when you can solve a problem for your customer.  That one moment when you bloom into a beautiful solution; a bluebonnet.  Eleven months of being a weed to have that one glorious moment when you are a star.  The difference between you and a bluebonnet though, is that you can remain a star, once you prove yourself.  In a couple of months, the bluebonnets turn back into a plant that looks like a weed.  Helping your customer make good decisions on what to buy sets you up for a strong mutually beneficial long-term relationship.

Are there other parts of your life like the bluebonnet?  If you are working to be more self-aware, you likely have spotted these opportunities.  As my kids have matured into productive, generous adults I’ve noticed my relationships with them changing.  My advice to them is not needed as much.  I’m more of a weed than a flower.  They have now become a great source of pride, as I watch them bloom in their careers and businesses.  Its okay that I’ve become less of a flower for them.  I still believe I will have that moment where I will be a flower for them.  I know they have been for me.  I’m still learning…

Hitting from the rough

Last Friday was a holiday and we closed our office.  I took advantage of the day off and called a friend to play golf.  I’ve not played much over the past year and my handicap continues to climb.  Last Friday was no exception to the trend I’m following.  This time I captured data.  I analyzed the data and came away with some obvious things to work on.  But I saw something else.  When I hit an errant shot, I compounded the damage by trying to hit another “hero” shot, well beyond my skillset.  Apparently, golf can be like business.

In 2017 I was preparing to launch a second company and I let the prospecting lapse on NineRuns.  To jumpstart 2017, I doubled and tripled my efforts.  I worked hard to develop new products, and new relationships.  While I’ve been successful in both efforts, it created unbelievable stress.  I had a friend describe my life as stacking up pancakes, and I have a tall stack right now. 

There are days, weeks, and months that everything seems to go right.  There are times when everything seems to go wrong.  What is the difference?  What drives this?  Is it the alignment of the stars and planets?  Is it just plain luck?

I was recently with a client and they shared a formula they use to determine potential of their staff.  It was an interesting mix of attitude and skills.  They spoke of one individual who had strong skills, but a bad attitude.  He was considered a cancer in the organization.  He was being asked to leave the company.

Skills can be taught.  Attitude is much more difficult.  There have been a few setbacks on a personal level recently, that several years ago, would have put me into a tailspin.  But not now.  I was trying to figure out the differences.  I believe it’s attitude.  I believe I’ve learned to see things in a less “personal” manner. 

When I’m on the golf course and I hit those poor shots, I must smile now.  I used to berate myself, but I don’t enjoy practicing, and I am just not that good.  I have learned to step back and recognize it.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to improve.  I do.  I just need to be more strategic in how I look at the game.  I can develop skills if I work at it.  But if I have a more positive attitude about the game, I certainly enjoy playing more.  If I pay attention to a doable recovery shot as opposed to trying to make a professional level hero shot, my handicap will improve.

In our business lives if we analyze our wins and our losses, and work to determine our next steps with an attitude of humility, we are much better off.  Not all sales people take the time to learn from both.  We feel like we are the victim of a loss and we are afraid to ask why we won.  What drives this behavior?  Perhaps its fear. 

If you were to self-assess what is your mix of skill and attitude?  Do you learn from your wins and your losses?  Do you get mired down in the rough?  Do you start to expect trouble?  Step back and look at yourself in the mirror and see your challenges and your successes for what they are.  I’m working to do just that.  I’m not perfect, but I’m improving.  I’m still learning.  My golf will improve.  I just need to play more. That’s what I tell my wife.