Saturday, May 21, 2016

The shiny penny syndrome

Freepik image

This post is about the folly of instant gratification and business development (BD).

I coined a term (pun intended) for a BD illness I call, "Shiny Penny Syndrome."

This malady which strikes young and old with equal severity, often afflicts business professionals delivering complex services that require long sales cycles (of months or even years).  Symptoms include short attention spans, misplaced time allocation and indifference to a valuable client prospect.

To understand this illness and why it can be costly, one must first accept these premises: the time professionals have for BD is finite and good BD takes time. Seems obvious, right? What often subverts efficient use of BD time, is Shiny Penny Syndrome.

We're so eager, so driven, that all it takes is the simplest of distractions (i.e. a shiny coin) to catch our eye.  The promise of a "hot" lead at a marquee prospect derails efforts at last month's hot lead and in the process, we compromise potential at a fine prospect who already met us.

Misplaced effort to grab the new shiny coin metastasizes into gross indifference to the original shiny coin which turns potential dollars...into definite pennies.  We want the hot, easy close. Who doesn't?

I'm not advocating a slow start to a new, time sensitive, business opportunity. I'm saying that rather than following through and developing pursuits, professionals frequently skate to the next prospect, because the prior one didn't pan out as quickly as they'd like.  

Professionals can inoculate themselves from Shiny Penny Syndrome by doing all they can to earn trust at a limited number of good prospects, instead of making a flurry of superficial efforts at a high volume of shiny coins.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

"We're all on a journey in this life"

Interesting people and teachable moments are often near us and the key is to remain open to them.  I'm more open some days than others, but at conference in Chicago some three years ago, I made an unlikely acquaintance whose words resonate with me this morning.

The gentleman in mind is an industrial psychologist who practices in the financial services space.  Before his clients extend seven figure offers to hire a C-level executive, the candidate needs to pass his psychological assessment.

So I plied this man, whom I'll call Mike, with questions to learn what he looks for and also who fails to receive his endorsement and why.  Mike told me a little about his trade at a technical level, but when he got to the part about who fails his assessments and why, I was thunderstruck by his answer.  

In short, an out-sized ego is the kiss of death for candidates seeking Dr. Mike's seal of approval.  He explained that an executive that pretends to have all the answers often has a high probability of sub-par performance at his clients' businesses.  To summarize his point, he said, 

"We're all on a journey in this life and those who don't understand that..." 

Mike's following words I can't cite verbatim, but essentially, he suggested that humility and intellectual openness are key attributes of senior executives with sustainable records of success at his clients.  Maybe his principle doesn't apply to drill sergeants, but this filter works for him and makes sense to me. 
Inspired by Dr. Mike, it is with humble hat in hand I cite my incorrect 2015 Halloween projection that Sen. Rubio would become our GOP presidential nominee.  Did I know his campaign was over after he collapsed under pressure from Chris Christie?  No, but it was clearly downhill from there.  He'll try again and probably be stronger the next time he encounters smash mouth moments at a debate.


At present, I'm sticking with my dark-horse Halloween projection for the VP running mate -- Carly Fiorina -- if either Ted Cruz or John Kasich should capture the nomination.   

Either ticket would make a formidable team and one infinitely preferable to the blood-curdling prospect of a Clinton or -- good Lord -- Sanders presidency. 

By the way, I've joined the "Twitter-verse" @johnmaddente...