Playground Justice

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
The value of old-school ideals Growing up in Chicago’s inner city or any American town in the ’50s, ’60s or ‘70s, there was a natural and time-honored tradition known as “the smack upside the head.” In my childhood, the Sisters perfected this move. In our lessons, we were taught that nuns were married to God and who’s going to mess with anyone married to the Big Guy? In addition, their muscle was those Irish Christian Brothers. Society needs to have boundaries of what constitutes acceptable behavior. When I was young, the playground was the perfect venue for getting someone “in line.” Now on one hand, I abhor the absurdity of political correctness gone too far. However, at the onset of this message let me engage such political correctness to state, “I am not advocating bullyin  [Read More...]

Profit is not for the short term

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
I am a profit-driven advisor. Sales is for vanity, but profit is for sanity. I love to help drive this mentality in the clients, audiences and readers I serve. I recently made a breakthrough with a long-standing client that is on pace to achieve record net profit this fiscal year. Although I don’t think this client will fall into this trap, I am seeing indications where the quest for higher net profit percentages is moving some distributors toward short-term thinking. The intoxication with seeing that net profit bulge at the end of the month can be very addictive. I love seeing this happen with the clients I serve; but not at the detriment of long-term growth or sustainability. Growth is imperative. I recently presented a webinar where the reasoning for growth was challenged.  [Read More...]

What does 'winning the sale' really mean?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Recently, I was in the middle of a conversation with a business owner who has been achieving some admirable sales growth lately. He was bragging on his sales director, who, he said, had just “won a $250,000 order by $5,000.” When I asked him what he meant, he said that his sales director had put in a bid that was the lowest price but by “only” $5,000. I smiled and continued the conversation, but I was lost in thought. You see, l don’t consider being the lowest price as “winning” the sale. Here’s why. To me, as someone who has been involved in and passionate about the sales profession for nearly 30 years, sales is a persuasive activity. That’s what I love about it. There’s nothing better in business than facing off against another salesperson, mano a mano, with the prize bein  [Read More...]

Is It Time to Retire Your 'Homegrown' ERP System?

Monday, September 17, 2018
Here are some reasons companies should seriously consider it. Vulnerability and isolation of knowledge Using a homegrown solution can raise numerous challenges. For example, what happens if your IT director is no longer with the company? Or the programmers who developed the original application move on to other projects, other jobs, or retirement? You may be coding in yesterday’s technology, and will find it hard to replace resources who are familiar with and competent in those environments. Immediacy and breadth of data Even if you were to successfully reface your homegrown system to a modern graphical user interface and port to a relational database, you will still be technically challenged by the core foundation of a custom system’s millions of lines o  [Read More...]

Linking Metrics and Strategy

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Ideally, performance metrics should reflect a company’s strategic objectives. Yet, this may not always be the case. Executing a strategy is not as clean, neat or as easy as articulating that strategy. Another observation: almost every day managers must answer questions about performance. “We’re missing our targets for XYZ. What should we focus on to improve?” To solve performance problems, I typically suggest mapping the current processes, employing basic lean thinking principles and encouraging continuous improvement. Once a solution is implemented, we use metrics to benchmark the results and compare to prior performance (what I frequently describe as baseline measures). Metrics explain how effective our efforts are in achieving organizational goals  [Read More...]