Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Write It Down! – Multiply the Value

The planning session was a success – plenty of energy, ideas flowed freely, all captured on the flip chart, everyone added to the conversation. At the end, the notes were reviewed, consolidated, prioritized, summarized as bullets on a new flip chart – which were typed up and distributed – a record of the session.

During implementation, the bullets are interpreted differently among the doers – people not at the planning session don't know the context and the session participants have different views of what the distilled items mean.

Like reading an email quickly written and sent – gremlins must have changed it – this isn't what I thought I said.

Business leaders need to get it out of their head and on to paper – was a point Randy Taussig, Core Leadership, made during his presentation of “Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit” at the July meeting of the YPLG. Writing it down is a beginning.

I carry a notebook (paper, not computer) and usually write extensive notes during a meeting or event – things of interest and significance at the moment. My notes serve to remind me of the discussion and aid recall of relevant information.

Often I'll write up my notes as a 'one-pager' to share with Dick and others, or to document a new concept or technology application. Writing up the notes is a learning experience in itself.

Reading and distilling the notes, I recall more detail about what was said and have a chance to think more deeply about it.

Focusing on content, instead of capturing what's said, offers an opportunity to validate and assess the information. – does it fit with current knowledge, does further research reflect, contradict, or not address the new information.

Distilling the notes eliminates distractions and improves clarity and depth by concentrating on significant elements of the presentation or event. I also find this 'head work' leads to greater scrutiny of the critical thinking behind these elements – often leading to an additional level of understanding.

My notes are not unlike the typed bullets from the meeting or the unfocused email – perhaps adequate but not illuminating. However, the process of writing up the notes helps to dig deeper and know the topic better, as well as creating a useful document to share with others. The writer learns more and a good document helps others to understand the significant elements from the meeting or event – well worth the effort.

The Sales Model – So that's how to do it!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Final Frontier

We are embarking on the greatest business revolution in 4 generations. It affects our whole economy.

The biggest change in ownership since WWII is starting now and will continue through the next 15 years. More than one half of small and medium business in the American economy are owned and managed by Boomers, and will have a forced change of ownership.

Who are they? Many current business owners have their personal fortunes, the scorecard of their careers, tied up in their businesses. They must find a way to get the money out of the business or assure its continuing viability, or have an unsuccessful retirement.

Do you know business owners in this situation – can’t figure how to get their money out? What do they need? Owners are looking for credible solutions.

We find that the keys to past success are usually the owner’s point-of-view and the culture of the company. We have found that outside solutions seldom work, they aren’t credible to the people doing the work, and they often have never worked elsewhere.

How do you begin creating a solution to a new problem? You should probably start with a common definition of what you have and what you want. Just defining those two often shows available solutions that were previously ignored.

We worked with owners of a technology distributor who wanted to sell the assets of the organization, had a figure from a recent audit, and hoped for a quick sale around that figure. We talked with them about what are the assets? In addition to office equipment and inventory – what else -  entity and name, customer records, sales process, industry knowledge? 

Asked what they wanted, the owners said quick sale at top dollar. Which is primary – speed or price?

As our conversation expanded, the owners defined what they were selling (the complete entity, but retaining another separate corporation), had identified potential buyers (their knowledge of the industry could be useful to the buyer for transition), and that a couple of years was OK to get a better price.

Just getting the conversations and revelations took 90 days.

For a nonprofit teetering on the knife-edge of solvency, the conversation lead to determining a merger was a desirable choice strengthen the organization and keep the mission programs operating, then find partners, complete the combination of the two entities. The entire process took almost 3-years.

A contractor got 100% of their revenue from government contracts when we began the conversation about getting money out for the owners. What do you have, what do you want? The results over an 8-year period was to increase government revenue threefold, reduce government contracts to less than 30% of total billing, and to sell the organization for several multiples of its initial value.

A successful future begins with a conversation.

Rules of the road? Click: Selling Out