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Stillwater
Minnesota
USA

612.747.3184

Karlsrud is an executive, entrepreneur leadership, coach, management and development consultancy. He provides executive and leadership coaching and is a keynote speaker, author and workshop facilitator. He is also the author of "Selling by Design," a field guide to selling in the new economy.

Blog

Rant

Mike Karlsrud

I'm going on a rant. Not because it will be popular but because frankly there are just to many truths that people step around or over that I find all to often and it just needs to be put out there in front of G-d and everybody.  In no particular order let me just put this out there:

1) There is a difference between "training" and education.  Training means you changed behavior. Education means you held an event and shared knowledge.  Don't confuse the two because you be disappointed and wonder what the hell you spent your training budget on.

2) It will do you little good to have training classes unless you have established a culture that will embrace it and the outcomes.  Training doesn't "fix" anything unless there is support throughout the entire organization.

3) Fish rot from the head down.  SOMETIMES, Mr. CEO we will be spending more time together than not because you have set the tone for your organization and now we need to fix that. It's ok, that's why people like me and companies like ours exist. 

4) Bad employees are just that.  Move them on and out. Sorry, but I have been called in to work with certain employees more than I can to admit and frankly, in the long run they just might not be a fit.  Invite them to be happy elsewhere and your entire organization will love you for it.

5) Spend money on your people and organization. Invest in them and they will return the favor. Buy cheaper paper to save money, but hire the best you can and keep them.

6) If your just starting out- like we all do- you are going to hire what you can afford until you can hire what you need.  That's Ok.  Welcome to reality.  (Unless you have a stack of cash or crowdsource, then hire who ever you want.)

7) Hard is easy and Easy is hard.  The "hard" part of business; accounting, marketing, sales, cleaning the toilet- easy.  What hardened business think as the "easy, soft, gooey" part of business is actually the hard part.  Anyone can make a product.  Not everyone can rally an entire organization around it's purpose.

8) Look around and steal the good stuff.  Just because an idea isn't born in your industry doesn't mean it's not going to run you over like a train.  Watch other industries and adopt what they do- or at least be aware of its impact.  Sooner or later someone is going to adapt that in your world and it's going to change- dramatically.

9) If you really like status quo, plan you're exit.  This business environment has one word to describe it- "change."  A great quote by an old general: "If you don't like change, you'll irrelevance less."  

10) Just because you've been in business for 20 years doesn't mean you no longer have to invest in telling your story.  It means you better get going and start reminding people why you do what you do.  Notice I used the word "why."  Not what.  I don't care what you do unless I know why you get out of bed.

11) STOP with all the talk about price, quality and service.  If you're lights are on you have price, quality, and service.  If you're lights are off you didn't.  Find a better story 'cause I heard that 16 times today alone from your competitors.

12) STOP with talking about features and benefits.  8 out of 10 sales people don't know how to talk about benefits correctly anyway (trust me, I know sales people very well.) Tell me how your product is going to change my company, my job, my profit or solve some terrible problem I have.  Then, hand me the sell sheet from your marketing team and I'll ask you some questions. 

13) Finally- at least for today- if your talking 80% of the time in a sales call you are 80% closer to losing the sale. If you are listening 80% of the time, you are that much closer to closing the deal.  Stop the routine of "showing up and throwing up."  Chances are they already got all that information off your webpage already.  See #12.

14) The least acceptable level of behavior you tolerate in your company is your new high- not the low.  If you want to raise the bar you don't make your top performers reach higher, you bring the bottom up to reach them.  If they can't make the trip, see #4.

15) If you want to change an organization's culture take out your calendar and mark off 18 months.  Yes, 18 months.  If you think you're going to do it in 6 months you plan on turning over your entire company's personnel.  Trust me, change is tough and tough takes time. 

Ok, done.  I feel better. 

MEK