Mike Pierce's blog

Creating Expectations: Building a Foundation for Success

I recently participated in what was potentially a very challenging meeting with an excellent prospect. The design of the plant we had been schematically developing was presumably well over their budget.

Yet, the team working on this accomplished a number of important tasks in the development of this opportunity. Within these tasks lies a process that is the foundation for greater success in sales and, yes, in relationships in general.

Channeling our Inner Ernie Banks: The Power of Positivity

Permit me some self-indulgence on this one. I have joked for years that being a life-long Cubs fan provided great training for a career in sales – it has taught me how to deal with disappointment and adversity, how to maintain optimism and good will, and that attitude is the biggest factor in one’s happiness and success. No one represented those qualities more than Ernie Banks. “Mr. Cub” passed away recently at the age of 83. 

Perspectives on Leadership

I have been reading a wide range of articles and books lately on the roles and responsibilities of leaders and how that affects results, and it has me thinking.

Dan Ebener has a book called Blessings for Leaders where he takes the Beatitudes and applies them to characteristics and practices for being effective leaders. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the earth,” etc…

He equates “Poor in Spirit” with humility. Those leaders who are servant leaders will succeed. He suggests a leadership style to be adopted that has a goal to create followers. At the Marines boot camp, the last ones to eat in the mess hall are the Officers. Servant Leaders are focused on nurturing their followers so that they are able to become leaders.

Balancing New Year’s Resolutions with Continuous Improvement

Happy New Year to all my blog readers. Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Broken any yet?

Certainly an interesting tradition that goes back to ancient Babylonia, New Year’s Resolutions are essentially about Continuous Improvement metrics. We set goals to improve and in general, we set a timetable to achieve those improvements (one year?). Livescience tells us that 4000 years ago, the Babylonians used the New Year to swear allegiance to an old King, or a new one if a change had taken place.

Perceptions and Positivity: Balancing the Good with the Bad

One of the last chapters of Scaling Up Excellence is titled “Bad is Stronger than Good”. The focus of this chapter deals with people’s perceptions and how their experiences shape them. Bad events have a stronger, more lasting effect. Bad events are also more contagious. Psychologists studying this phenomenon have defined what they refer to as a “five-to-one” rule:

The Annual Marathon That We Run

In the U.S. at least, the calendar year is an interesting marathon race. It can be a long journey with many sights and people along the way. The competitors we encounter are generally empathetic with the other runners, because in the end we are running the race ourselves. We challenge each other to improve along the way.

Manufacturing in the U.S.: Taking Advantage of a Bright Future

I recently posted on LinkedIn a link to a very interesting study released by Boston Consulting on the current state of Global Manufacturing. It’s a great study, but my take away from it, aside from the obvious information it gives, is the sanity check it delivers on what would otherwise be considered conventional wisdom and how wrong it can be.

Organizational Time Management: Improving Performance with more Efficient Communications

Recently, there have been discussions within our management ranks about email preferences. The topic centers on how much information does one want to see. Some prefer to get copied on everything. Others on a need-to-know basis. But, at the end of the day, we are all trying to find a happy medium of managing time and information. A few of us remember the days of “Goldenrod” – I’ll explain that in a little bit for those not familiar with its meaning.

Built to thrive: What makes a long-surviving organization successful?

One of my favorite sources of thought and contemplation of business is the McKinsey Quarterly.  In case you are not familiar, McKinsey & Company is one of the leading management consulting firms in the world and a top source of global CEO recruits. Many top authors and analysts also have gone through McKinsey’s organization. The Quarterly is a publication of some of their most esteemed thinkers’ works.

Building and Maintaining Company Reputation: Integrity, Honor, Values

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” And reputation in business is not immune to this wisdom. What gets lost sometimes in the day-to-day, give-and-take of work is the loss of focus that the one bad deed that Mr. Franklin was referring to might have just taken place.

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