Sales Prospecting

A consistent conundrum amongst sales teams is how to sales prospect effectively. There are three books that I will write on as it relates to sales prospecting and they are as follows: “High Profit Prospecting” by Mark Hunter, “Fanatical Prospecting” by Jeb Blount, and “Take the Cold out of Cold Calling” by Sam Richter.

Jeb Blount shared that sales representatives are fearful of interrupting people. He goes even further to suggest that you can give sales a list of current customers or leads and they will sit on the list. He speaks to leads going days without a call back even though statistics say that if you call a person back within minutes that your ability to close a sale is 5 times greater. Jeb has repeatedly stated that the telephone is still the best tool to use when prospecting.

A tip that Jeb Blount suggests is to start with a strong list. I can’t tell you how many sales reps that I come in front of Fanatical Prospectingwho don’t have a list of their top 200, a number I like to use. No problem, let’s look at your CRM tool next and see if we can identify them. These tools are amazing if used appropriately. I will ask to see next steps or alerts or anything that helps determine the top 200 which will have prospects outside the 90-120 day pipeline, which need to be nurtured. I am trying to learn if the rep has a sales process or if it is helter-skelter each day, which tends to be the norm.   I have learned that the most successful sales people are self-disciplined, organized and persistent. Chet Holmes, author of “The Ultimate Sales Machine”, would refer to this as pigheaded stubbornness and determination.

Jeb Blount says you should have phone blocks and you should eliminate all distractions. Print your list and turn off you mobile phone and computer. This is contrary to how most sales reps think; sales people want to use their CRM to find a person to call and then add notes after each call. I agree with Jeb that this creates inefficiencies and can kill momentum. Print your list, write notes on it and at the end of the session type the notes into your CRM system. You should be able to make 50 calls a day within an hour that should yield 2-5 good appointments with a well-managed list. Jeb uses a term he has coined as the “Prospecting Pyramid” turning a sales funnel upside down and prioritizing calls by having a higher probability of doing business with you and by being highly qualified. First 10-15 calls start at the top of the pyramid with the goal of moving them to a next step in the sales cycle. You work your way down with goals of setting an appointment or just gathering information. He suggests that this creates momentum by calling on the prospects most likely to answer your call. Although, he mentions the pothole of sales folks stopping once they get a couple appointments in the first few calls. Remember, prospecting is easier with top prospects and will result in appointments but also is necessary to help grow suspects into prospects by gathering information to qualify them. Stay disciplined and make all 50 calls!

Read Jeb’s book, “Fanatical Prospecting”, as there is more tips that can help and he provides a 1-year subscription in each book to some online resources.

I would now like to write about a part of Mark Hunter’s book, “High-Profit Prospecting”, and give you his 10 tips for Prospecting with the telephone. He has top tips for getting a phone number, for leaving a voicemail, when sending anHigh-Profit Prospecting email, and more. I try to give a tidbit each book I read, but not give the whole book away for free. Hopefully, it keeps me out of trouble with the authors.

His ten tips for telephone prospecting include:

  1. Make the call about the prospect and not you – you can get an appointment if you understand their business versus talking about your business and why they should give you an appointment
  2. Speak with energy – it is important to have confidence. Some tips include standing up, getting a good headset, and knowing what you want to say beforehand
  3. If door closes on you, find a different door – there is more than one number or one person you can try to call
  4. Be prepared regardless of how the call is answered – don’t expect every call to go as planned be prepared, flexible, and have the ability to tailor each call
  5. Use a quality headset to make your calls – it helps to create clear communication and reduce noise if you are in a bullpen and goes back to #2
  6. Keep records – log whomever you called, what you said and any next steps. Logs can help you understand the best method and time to reach the prospect. Remember each prospect is different.
  7. Never think one call is all it will take – this reminds me of the statistics behind following up
  8. Never leave the same voicemail twice with the same person – more importantly never send the same communication twice to the same person. If they didn’t respond the first time, then they will just be irritated the second time.
  9. Call right before the top of the hour to reach busy people – love this one as he speaks to most meetings starting at the top of the hour. They may be at their desk preparing for the meeting causing them to pick up the phone as they await
  10. Never give up – if you recognize the potential and that they are a qualified prospect then be persistent. All good things come in due time.

Both Mark Hunter and Jeb Blount speak to a multi-faceted approach when prospecting. You can’t use the same channel, on the same day, at the same time and expect your results to grow. It is important to vary your methods of prospecting until you discover the preferred method of communication. You must provide different value and benefit each and every time you prospect a dream client.

This brings me to Sam Richter’s book on “Taking the Cold Out of Cold Calling”. See my presentation on SlideShare, but Sam provides tips on how to find information on a dream client as well as how to find insights worth sharing with the client about their industry, challenges they may be facing, changes they may be experiencing, etc.

Good prospecting and thank you for reading my article.

Responsible, Accountable and Ownership

This article will speak to being responsible and accountable, taking ownership, being empowered and not assigning blame.


In one of my happiness reads, the author writes to journaling as being a source of happiness.  You can either unload a negative thought or log a positive one.  This article will hopefully do both.

I have a story that may be similar to others.  I started in humble beginnings as a middle child of three with parents that divorced before I entered elementary school.  I learned the necessity of work early in life with a paper route if I was ever to wear jeans without holes or sneakers that weren’t call bobos(negative word tied to low-cost sneaks).  I left home when I was 16 years of age.  I am grateful for the mentors and role models I had throughout the early stages in my life and give them credit for never giving up on me.

However, I do not mean to say that at times in my life I blamed those beginnings on not being where I should be developmentally in life.  Truth be told, I was RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE.  I labeled myself a late-bloomer, but I am more accurately an individual with a lower emotional intelligence then my peers.

AccoutableMy first lesson came in the Marine Corps.  I remember one of my Staff Sergeants pulling this Lance Corporal aside and telling me that if I just admitted to making a mistake versus providing an accuse that life would be so much easier.  I did follow this advice but not in its entirety.  If I make a mistake, I will apologize immediately but that doesn’t mean that didn’t mean I stop blaming others for situations.

My career started off great with a Fortune 500 company and I married a girl where it was love at first sight.  We had a beautiful daughter who makes everyday a blessing for me.

Flash forward 15 years, my career is stagnant.  I was started to play the blame game all over again.  My leadership was holding me back not giving me the opportunities I deserved.  I BLAMED my wife for not relocating to a new area for my career.  I allowed my circumstances!

I woke up about 3 years ago to the fact that I was RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE for everything.  I committed to changing once and for all.  After all, I turned 50 this year.  I guess some lessons can take a life to learn.

I enrolled into an Accelerated MBA program.  I believe knowledge is power and so I would learn more then my peers and this would open doors.  I applied to a Leadership Class.  The obstacles started to pop up with family and work.  I was the only person in my Leadership Class to pay for its tuition.  My company stated they would not pay and even further asked me if I was willing to use my vacation days for the one Friday a month.  The answer was a resounding, “YES!”  I was EMPOWERED and strived to grow into my potential.  I completed both of these programs.  One of my proudest accomplishments was that I was given the opportunity to chair our Leadership Class project which raised $56,000 for the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in El Paso.  It was an incredible team of people who accomplished what was unthinkable.  There is a lesson on goal setting, barriers in our mind, stretching, and commitment that I will share in other writings in the future.

The career took another dip and the writing was on the wall.  I did not hesitate to recognize and put a plan of action into place to make sure that I could provide for my family.  I have always felt my purpose in life was to be a provider and a role model.  My goal was to leave my daughter in a better place then where I started in my life.

I found 4 opportunities.  Two inside Xerox and two outside.  I have always been accused of being too loyal.  It was Xerox that told me because of the previous years performance that I wasn’t eligible to apply.  Family told me that the one position I thought was the right decision is the one I shouldn’t take.  This was the most difficult decision in my life and it has both a positive and a negative outcome, but I took the position that was outside Xerox which I was told NO by my wife.  I knew that passing on this opportunity could be the worse decision in my career and I prayed that my family would back my decision because we had big obligations around the corner with a kid about to go to college.  I was right about the first and wrong about the second.  I am finally working for a great company where I feel appreciated and I have the opportunity to make the money to be the provider I always wanted to be.

I am officially divorced as of last week.  This situation wasn’t the only thing that caused this outcome, but it may have been the last straw that broke.  I am not RESPONSIBLE for her shortcomings and she is not RESPONSIBLE for mine.  There are certain regrets that I have, but I am not sure the outcome would not have been the same except that I would have been out of a job and not been able to be the provider that I wanted to be for my daughter.  I think we both BLAMED each other for things that the other person may not have been RESPONSIBLE or ACCOUNTABLE to as we came to an end.  We are both equally RESPONSIBLE and ACCOUNTABLE.  I wish her all the best in this world.  Also, I would say that I am RESPONSIBLE for my health and fitness goals to include my diet and food intake.  Sorry if I BLAMED anyone as I am RESPONSIBLE for caring for myself.  However, it couldn’t hurt if Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, Oreos and Reese Pieces didn’t exist.




Acts of Kindness

Anyone that knows me knows that I have been doing an extensive amount of reading on why and how some people are happier than others. This area of psychology has been termed positive psychology. Sonja Lyubomirsky is just one of the many authors I have read. She authored “The How of Happiness” and “The Myths of Happiness”.

Sonja has shared that we have the ability to control 40% of our happiness through certain activities. One of these activities is performing acts of kindness. In one of her studies, she created three groups of students: a placebo group that didn’t perform any acts of kindness, a group that performed 5 acts of kindness on Fridays and a group that performed 5 act of kindness during the week. The results were that performing acts of kindness raised the happiness level of the two groups that performed them, but that spreading them out over the course of the week had a greater effect. She did share that you can diminish the effect if it is planned too much or if you are looking for some reward for performing the act of kindness. i.e. if you are waiting for the thank you or acknowledgement

I recently performed an act of kindness that raised my happiness level. I am currently going through a divorce and I knew that I didn’t want to celebrate the New Year. It was that time of the year that we all renew our gym membership and I was having a dialogue with a young lady and the conversation on plans for the New Year popped up. She shared that her friends were trying to schedule an elaborate dinner, but that she was struggling for groceries and that the $100 a plate dinner they planned was excessive and that she was probably going to stay home. I worked out, but thought to myself that I was not going to do anything and maybe it would be a nice gesture to leave her some of the money I would normally spend. I placed $40 on her chair without her knowledge and left a note to have a Happy New Year.

I did workout the next day and she put two and two together and thanked me. I just told her she was welcome and to be safe. She is probably 3-5 years older than my daughter and I didn’t want to contribute to the delinquency of someone younger.

I share this story, because I was recently told that what I did was wrong. It was shared that others were laughing about my gesture and that they decided that I had ulterior motives. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am not sure why people would make you feel bad about performing an act of kindness. I can only assume it has to do with their own inadequacies.

I share this story to bring about a couple lessons as it relates to acts of kindness. First, if you perform acts of kindness it will raise your happiness level. Second, don’t expect a thank you, an award, or any acknowledgement. Third, don’t allow others that criticize your gesture to affect you; only you know your intentions. Finally, the world would be a better place if we all looked for ways to perform an act of kindness daily.

The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.

Happiness.  People that know me understand that I like reading on a subject that is backed by research.   As the author of this book, Sonja Lyubomirsky, wrote, “An avalanche of studies has shown that happy moods, no matter the source, lead people to be more productive, more likable, more active, more healthy, more friendly, more helpful, more resilient, and more creative”.   Also, this topic is important to me for personal reasons.

Sonja starts by sharing 40% of our happiness level is within our power to control.  50% is determined by our own set point, 10% is determined by circumstance and the remaining 40% can be altered through intentThe How of Happinessional deliberate activity.  Sonja writes about twelve happiness activities that have been researched and determined to raise an individual’s happiness level.  As she discusses each activity, she provides examples of research that supports how or why this particular activity raises your happiness level.  She shares that not all the twelve activities are suited for every person.  She even has a test in her book that may help you determine which activities are best suited for you.

The twelve activities are as follows: 1. Expressing gratitude, 2. Cultivating optimism, 3. Avoiding overthinking and social comparison, 4. Practicing acts of kindness, 5. Nurturing relationships, 6. Developing strategies for coping, 7. Learning to forgive, 8. Increasing flow experiences, 9. Savoring life, 10. Committing to your goals, 11. Practicing religion and spirituality, and 12. Taking care of your body.

In the course of my life, I have come across happy and sad people or what can sometimes be referred to as positive and negative people respectively.  Is there a formula for happiness?  Outside of a medical condition, are there certain traits a person possesses that make them happier?  BTW, there is a study in this book conducted around people with and without depression on the effects of medication and exercise.  I won’t give away the results, but I think you will find them interesting.

This book helped me understand that while my life isn’t in my ideal place that I can still be happy because I am truly grateful for my family, friends, job, and life.  I am spiritual.  I do practice acts of kindness and I take care of my body.  I am committed to my goals.  It also helped me understand some opportunities that I have around improving my happiness level through cultivating optimism, not overthinking or social comparing, learning to forgive, and savoring life.

During this holiday season, take the time to be grateful by finding someone less fortunate then you and performing an act of kindness, attending church(personal choice), savor opening a gift, seeing christmas lights, smiling and laughing, eating a good meal, and being around friends and family.  Practice forgiveness and don’t overthink or ruminate on anything negative.  As you approach the new year, commit yourself to a goal not because someone else has something you want but because it is something you truly desire with passion.  Hit the gym or just go for a walk or hike and work off that holiday feast.  Take time to nurture your relationships.

God bless you all and Happy Holidays!


Cost Analysis versus ROI (Return on Investment)

A return on investment study is more important to a business than a cost analysis.  On the first day of class pursuing my MBA, the instructor spoke to the primary goal of all businesses:  maximizing profit and revenues.  In may have been the second day, as the first day they hand out the syllabus and do class introductions. 😉

Product Life Cycle Profit Curves

I am writing this post for sales professionals, but certainly some of the lessons shouldn’t be lost on some business owners.  I come in front of both and sales representatives use cost analysis to demonstrate current versus proposed costs that provide a savings.  Business owners speak to me about how happy they are with their current business and that there is no need to grow or change.  In each instance, they neglect the primary goal although savings could be interpreted as profit while ignoring the declining revenues, which affect profit.  I call both of these “A Going OUT of Business” strategy.

The featured image was something shared in a marketing course and/or a product development course.  It demonstrates the product life cycle and where profit resides.  In the instance of the happy owner that doesn’t need to grow or change, this should be alarming as they should recognize that over time when products mature they are either supplanted by something new or they are commoditized causing the profits to decrease.  In my industry, copier industry, this couldn’t be truer.

A cost analysis speaks to a current state while a ROI speaks to both the current state and to possibilities.  An ROI should allow you to speak to GROWTH, new applications, costs, new revenues, and profits.

The word, INVESTMENT, is so under-utilized.  Sales professionals, you have a responsibility to use this word more often and when pushed on costs you should challenge your customer as to what their business goals are!  You don’t buy a stock or real estate (investments), to hope that you get back what you paid for it.  The same can be said for equipment.  A cost analysis demonstrates savings that usually has a large payback period while an ROI can have very short payback periods depending on the scenario.

Why do Proctor and Gamble and Johnson & Johnson own so many products?  Why is Elon Musk going into Solar Panels or Google developing a driverless vehicle?  If you ever apply for a business loan, a common question that you will encounter is “Who is your biggest customer?” and “What percentage of your business do they represent?”  This is also important when it comes to business valuation.  If you lose that customer, it some instances, it could put you OUT of business.  Diversification is not only important in stock portfolios but it is also important in business.  I suggest to business owners that they should segment areas of their business or products that their business produces and evaluate them in silos for revenues and profits.  I also share that they should think about how a new product can affect their business growth.  This can provide excellent business intelligence when making business decisions.  A cost analysis speaks to one scenario while an ROI allows you to walk through several different scenarios.

How do you maximize revenues and profits?  You can either enter a new market with your current product that leads to more customers thus increasing revenues and profits.  You can improve people, process or technology thus lowering costs of production to increase profits and hopefully new technology provides the ability for new products that can increase both revenues and profits.  You can introduce new products to existing customers to increase wallet share and loyalty thus increasing revenues and profits.  Be careful of the last one, as customers may feel more empowered to request price breaks given the size of the business they are giving you which lowers revenues and profits.  A cost analysis can demonstrate process improvement in one scenario, however I only see this 20% of the time if that.  An ROI will allow you to show all of the above scenarios.

I owned a business and I have spoken to a lot of business owners through out my travels.  A business owner should understand that revenues and profits only increase with new customers.  I would tell my team that if we maintained a 100% of our existing customers without gaining any new customers that our revenues and profits would decrease year over year.  A customer will usually ask for a lower price that lowers revenues and profits.  Best-case scenario, we were able to lower our costs of production thus flat lining the revenues and profits.  This is not the way to conduct business and is highly stressful.  Your employees will feel energized and engaged about your business if they see INVESTMENT because they recognize the new opportunity that comes with new products and GROWTH.  A cost analysis speaks to an existing base of customers.  An ROI speaks to the potential of new customers.

Why do second and third generation businesses have such a high failure rate?  I cringe when I hear a business owner talk to how they will be handing their business over to their son or daughter.  The reason is that in that same conversation we may be talking about how a new product or technology can impact their business and they will say that they are going to retire and that there in no need.  I will visit that same person year after year as they continue to work and as their business revenues and profits continue to decline.  This sets the son or daughter up for failure.  A business requires INVESTMENT.  It also requires VISION.

If you do what you did, then you get what you got.  In the instance of business, you get a little less every year of what you got because maintaining 100% retention and the same cost model over time is unrealistic.  If you are interested in how I can help your business with GROWTH, then please don’t hesitate to contact me.  If I missed any lessons that you know, then please share them with me by commenting.

Your Territory is Your Business – Start with a Goal

I started in sales 20 years ago at the beginning of 1996.  I am blessed and grateful for a career I wasn’t even sure about when I started.  I would recommend it to everyone, but the truth is that only a few will be successful just like the success rate among small businesses.  One of the main reasons is that the sales representative doesn’t understand the power behind setting a goal.

The Small Business Administration, in its informative frequently asked questions on small businesses, provides this answer on the survival rate of new businesses:

“About half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. As one would expect, the probability of survival increases with a firm’s age. Survival rates have changed little over time.”

I might argue that survival rates can change with successful sales people as the nature of sales has changed from managing current customers to new sales development.  I have always thought that selling doesn’t start until your prospect says “No.”  Be careful hiring someone with multiple P-clubs in the past as they may have been handed a goldmine customer base and just had to manage the incoming sales.  Mike Weinberg, in his book New Sales Simplified, suggests you change the title of those individuals from sales representative to customer service representative.  I am not saying that a portion of success comes from maintaining your territory, but like any business, the growth comes from obtaining new customers.  I evaluate a sales person by the percentage of new business they have obtained each year.  A “Going Out of Business Sales Strategy” is when you only manage your current customers while the margins decline each year because they demand a better price and you oblige.  A suggestion I have shared with struggling businesses is to change the sales compensation plan to reward new business at a higher rate than existing business.

I have worked with several sales organizations and I currently work with several sales organizations.  I thought I should share some of the wisdom, insight, and best practices I have obtained over time.  I will start by sharing with sales representatives that

“Their territory is their business and they should run it that way.”

Score provides a small business plan template.  I will make reference to this from time to time in this post series.

What is one of the first things a business should establish?  They should definitely decide on their product.  As a sales representative, you don’t have to do this.  A business should establish their mission and vision and this article in Inc Magazine provides a nice description that translates a vision and mission to goals and strategy.  As a sales representative, I would suggest you start with a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based) goal.

“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

There is a quick series of three five-minutes videos of Zig Ziglar speaking to an audience about goal setting.  He is funny and a great story teller.

Start today by setting a goal for your year.  Put it in the comments section and I will advise you on whether it is a SMART goal.  In an article in Forbes Magazine, it speaks to only 8% of people achieving their New Year’s resolutions.  I will next write about creating a plan to achieve your goal.

“A goal without a plan, is just a wish”



Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. is a New York Times Best Seller by a professor that taught what became the most popular class on positive psychology, at Harvard University.

I have shared that I will be writing about several books that I have read on this topic and pull the


ideas or thoughts that are unique to the specific book.  Tal Ben-Sharar, Ph.D. references several of the other books, but what I like about his book first and foremost is that he provides exercises at the end of each chapter that you can try to experience what he is writing on.

He starts by defining happiness as “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning.”  It is easy to experience pleasure, but to experience a sense of purpose we must set goals for ourselves that are intrinsically motivated.  Tal Ben-Sharar, Ph.D. writes, “The goals need to meaningful and the journey they take us on needs to be pleasurable for them to bring about a significant increase in our happiness.”

Without fail, one of my friends will ask me if I am happy as if happiness is a binary term.  For those of you that are not familiar with this computer term it just means that happiness is either on or off.  First, if I were or knew how to be perfectly happy then I wouldn’t be reading all this material and studies.  I have good days and bad days without going into too much detail.  Life can be hard!  The question that Tal asks is “How can I become happier?”  He follows this up by writing that the question acknowledges the nature of happiness and the fact that its pursuit is an ongoing process best represented by an infinite continuum, not a finite point.  We should strive to be happier with each passing day, month, or year.

The final thing I will share with you is the four archetypes that Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. describes in his happiness model.  He positions the archetypes in their quadrant based on the present and future benefit or detriment that is their outcome.  The first is the hedonist archetype that focus on enjoying in the present but don’t care about the consequences of their actions in the future.  The second is the rat racer which is me, I work hard in the present for some anticipated gain in the future.  The third is the nihilist and describes someone that doesn’t care about life and neither enjoys the moment or has a sense of future purpose.  Finally the happiness archetype, they believe that the enjoyment in the present will also lead to a fulfilling future.

I suggest you look into the MPS (Meaning, Pleasure, Strengths) model to find your calling.  This is meant to be a teaser as it is described in the book.

I will leave you with one final thought that Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. shared and the poets he quoted.  We can be our worst enemy and create the world with which we blame.  Our attitude toward the events in our lives will decide if we want to be sad or happy.  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”  Hamlet’s claim that “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking it makes it so” can be accurate.  What will you choose to focus on?

Happy Trails

Happy Trails Page1Happy Trails Page 2











I came across this article in the Southwest Airlines Magazine February Issue during my travels about a path to being happy.  I haven’t written recently as I have been concentrating on learning my new position with EFI as a Sales Development Manager.  However, I continue to read for personal development and one of my major topics is around happiness.  This topic is both personal and professional.  Harvard Business Review has reported that happy people are 31% more productive,  have 37% higher sales, and are three times more creative than their counterparts.  There is a wave of research around what is being referred to in some circles as positive psychology.

The article creates a path to happiness.  I have found that there are reoccurring themes in each of my reads.  I will only speak to what this article suggests today and allow you to determine which steps are similar.  I have written about The Happiness Advantage, but still have to write about Happier, Flow, and The Happiness Equation.

The first step in the path is to drink a couple of glasses of water in the morning.  They mention an article that links bad moods to dehydration.  The next step in the path speaks to creating experiences versus buying something material.  Book a trip and the anticipation of the upcoming event alone will lift your mood.  Another step is to just go outside and it will energize you; if you can’t it mentions changing your wallpaper can create some energy, however I don’t think it will be equal.  One more step is to think of something that can make you smile.  In the face of stress, it mentions that the thought of a memory that can create a smile will lift your mood.  Do nothing is yet another step.  In The Happiness Equation, this is referred to as creating space and the article mentions The Happiness Track.  Moments of idleness or space can generate breakthroughs.  The Happiness Track is also mentioned in the next step of the path as it relates to creating real relationships versus virtual networking.  Relationships with others end of making us more successful and can be our greatest source of happiness.  Hit the gym is one of the more obvious steps in the path.  A Live Strong article writes about how exercise generates endorphins and seratonin that can relieve stress and make you happier.  Do something selfless is a step that is mentioned in several of my reads.  Pick something that you genuinely want to give back to and it can lead to enjoyment, satisfaction and translate to a happier, longer life.  Finally, it talks to creating an upbeat playlist.  This can go hand-in-hand with the exercise step.  I have incorporated this and use my list while at the gym, on an airplane, driving long destinations, or at home with a bluetooth speaker.  This works!

I would suggest you taking on one new step a week and evaluating the impact it may have on your happiness.  Personally, I have experienced that several of these effect my levels of happiness.

DRiVE – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive -The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

This book is specific to motivation, what motivates us, and how to motivate others.  I often troll the Barnes and Nobles or look at the suggestions on Amazon for my next read and this one was a great suggestion by one of the resources.

I have already discovered my next two reads which will be: Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph D. as the author’s study at Harvard was referenced in the Happiness Advantage, and Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was referenced in Happiness Advantage and DRiVE.

This topic of motivation intrigues me as an individual, a manager, and a parent.  I have learned that we are all motivated differently.  I was brought up on the carrots and sticks mentality and since I have worked in sales for the last 20 years this is how we are most often being driven.  However, this isn’t how I am motivated and I have learned that my daughter isn’t motivated in this manner either.  This book sheds light on 7 reasons this method often doesn’t work.  I think I have finally come to the realization that this is correct.  But, if I can’t drive a person with a “BIG” bonus, then how can I drive them?

Daniel H. Pink classifies the old ideas of what motivates us as Motivation 2.0 and the new ideas as Motivation 3.0.  Motivation 2.0 depended on Type X behavior which motivates us by extrinsic desires or external rewards while Motivation 3.0 concentrates on Type I behavior or intrinsic desires like the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.  What he discovered in his research is that Type Is always outperform Type Xs over time.

He breaks motivation into 3 main elements: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.   Autonomy is about creating an environment for your people to their best work and creating a culture that is results oriented.  This gives people the ability to complete their duties as they like and manages to the results.  The four essentials are what people do, when they do it, how they do it, and who they do it with or the four Ts which is their task, their time, their technique, and their team.  Mastery speaks to our innate need to evolve.  Daniel mentions the difference between compliance and engagement meaning if we are motivated we will not need to be told to learn we will seek it out.  He speaks to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of flow which I have always referred to as being in the zone.  There are 3 laws of Mastery and the first is that Mastery is a Mindset.  I believe in the incremental theory that although we may start with a certain amount of intelligence with effort we can increase.  Mastery is a Pain.  This takes it a step further and explains that nothing is easy but with grit and determination mastery can be achieved.  I enjoyed the Dr. J quote he used.  “Being a professional is doing the things we love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.”  In the end, Mastery can be attained through deliberate practice.  The third and final is that Mastery is an Asymptote and you have to love math to know this idea.  It is that you can approach mastery, you can home in on it, you can get really, really close to it but you can never touch it.  This can be a source of frustration and as Daniel H. Pink writes the joy is in the pursuit more than the realization.  The most important is my opinion is Purpose.  In an organization, you may refer to this as a shared vision.  You can achieve good things through Autonomy and Mastery, but it is Purpose that cause people to hitch their desires to a cause greater than themselves.  Daniel writes about the purpose motive and the first three realms of organizational life that are submerging which are goals, words, and policies.  Daniel has a toolkit at the end of the book and the exercise I like the most is around purpose and he asks you to answer to questions on the back of an index card.  The first is “What gets you out of bed in the morning?” and the second is “What keeps you up at night?”

In summary, science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive, but our third drive-our deep seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.


The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage is an excellent read with useful stories and case studies that demonstrate “Happiness fuels success” and not the other way around. Shawn Achor started researching and teaching sections at Harvard on this topic and has been able to isolate seven actionable, specific, and proven patterns that predict success and achievement.

You don’t have to be a Harvard graduate or instructor to recognize his first principle which is that we function better when we are happy over the neutral or negative mindset which is Principle #1. Shawn writes about priming. I think of the glass half-full versus the glass half-empty mindset. Start your day with a smile. Shawn mentions meditation, finding something to look forward to, committing an act of kindness, placing positivity in your surroundings, exercise, spend money, and finally exercise a signature strength. It is clear to me that each of these actions cause me to smile. It’s Mother’s Day and several of you may go out and buy flowers for your Mom, a card, or make a call. Think of the feeling you will have when completing this task as fuel or the “Happiness Advantage.”

Principle #2 is about the Archimedean Formula and the idea of the fulcrum and the lever. In summary, it speaks to moving our mindset which represents the fulcrum toward positive versus negative the two ends of the lever and our power is magnified. He explains that our reality is merely our relative understanding of the world based on where and how we are observing it.

Principle #3 speaks to the Tetris Effect or a pattern of thinking. Some people are so good at scanning for the negative they miss out on the positive; Shawn writes about a great study conducted that demonstrates the Tetris Effect. You can profit from three of the most important tools to develop a Positive Tetris Effect: happiness, gratitude and optimism. Its not about locking out the bad but concentrating on the good.

Principle #4 is referred to as Falling Up. This is a lesson I share with the sales representatives I have coached in the past. The first lesson is that you learn more from losing then you do from winning. The second is relative to tele-prospecting and is referred to the “No Quota” which is about the number of “No”s you will go through to get to the “Yes”. Each “No” is a step closer to “Yes”. It is about training your brain to move past failure and to see the opportunity in it.

Principle #5, Shawn refers as the Zorro Circle and yes it is based on the TV series. This is a lesson in goal setting and around limiting you focus. I was training some new sales representative last week and we spoke on the SMART goal methodology. You set goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. To often we set goals that are out of reach and then lament over not reaching it. I like milestones which are steps in toward the goal because they provide more opportunities for achievement and they motivate you as you clear each step. Personally, I am trying to lose 40 pounds, but in the past I couldn’t get it done until recently as I have focused on 10 pounds at a time. I am closing in on 20 pounds over a 3 month span. The other idea that is expressed in a business principle called the internal locus of control. This is a belief that our actions have a direct effect on our outcomes versus thinking that daily events are dictated by external forces. The best sales people I have worked with always had a strong internal locus of control.

Principle #6 is around Shawn’s “20 Second Rule” which is about the power of habit. It starts with a story about him speaking to a group of executives and one of them referring to positive psychology as common sense. He learned afterward that the same executive was thought of as the most negative person in the office. The quote that I enjoy is, “Common Sense is not Common Action”. This chapter speaks to will power and creating a habit. The “20 Second Rule” has to do with activation energy. The part of this story I like is preparing to go work out in the morning. I have experienced this story in that my alarm will go off and I have to get up, put clothes on, sneakers and drive to the gym. To develop a habit easier it is best to lower the activation energy and in this instance you could do it by going to bed with your workout clothes on.

Principle #7 is about being socially invested. Shawn Anchor writes about how we are happier when we have the proper support in place. I will be writing a post on this as well, but it is about enabling people to work together which establishes bonds and support that can fuel their success. We are stronger as a group then we will ever be as an individual.

This is a book for every library. The research behind it is solid but more importantly it MAKES SENSE, so take action on how you can use positive psychology to fuel your success. Even more importantly, you will be happier!