Mike Pierce's blog

Building Trust and Keeping Clients

“You start losing a client the moment you get it.” ~ Jay Chiat

Regular readers of my blog know that I like to post some quotes at the end that are relevant, sometimes amusingly so, to the topic. In researching appropriate quotes for this post, I came across this one by Jay Chiat, Advertising Executive and co-founder of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Integrated Project Teams: 5 Steps to Improve Project Performance

A recent study by KPMG, reported in Building Design & Construction, indicated that more than half of the Owners who contracted for projects last year suffered underperforming projects – defined as being more than 10% over budget or 10% over schedule. Many attributed this more to a shortage of talent, rather than poor planning.

KPMG International offered five steps for owners to improve the performance of their projects:

Leading with Industry Loyalty

Recently, while at a conference in an industry we serve, I was asked by a prospective client why they should choose The Austin Company over a competitor for their next project. It is an awkward question since first, you are being put in a position where anything you say can be interpreted as bashing the competition and that can always backfire on you. And second, in our industry, we do not know our competition as well as say, Coke knows Pepsi.

Emotional Intelligence on an Aircraft Carrier

I attended two industry conferences last week and was struck by the similarities of the underlying theme of two of the keynote address speakers.

The first speaker was Brent Darnell, a noted author and trainer on developing Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. The second speaker was John Bourneman, F/A-18 Fighter pilot, Top Gun graduate, and CEO of the Corps Group, a consulting firm made up largely of former military officers with a focus on building high performance teams.

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.

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