Business Growth Ideas #315 This week: Consumption, Control, Nerf

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • “You are what you eat,” goes the old saw. You are what you consume media wise too. Take stock of the words you read, the people you listen to, and the information you look up. Is it helping you be who you want to be, or something else?
  • Dr. Denis Waitley used to be in heavy rotation on my car cassette deck. Positive self-expectation, positive self-realization. I don’t know if I have it right, but it’s locked in. I am what I ate or something like that.
  • More important than motivation is building momentum. As a matter of fact, momentum can lead to motivation over time. We hate losing more than we like winning, and that applied to gains piled up after building momentum.
  • The best part about focusing on building momentum on purpose is what starts out as conscious effort becomes unconscious behavior. It doesn’t take long. (but it does take concentrated effort to start)

Being Human – Wanting control

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” — Steve Jobs


Early in my career I worked on a “turn-around.” Hard work. Tough decisions. The lessons learned led me to another fix it project and confirmed fixing problems could be broken down into a process. The key step in the process of turning a problem around was gathering information. Where are we today? Where did we expect to be? Then working backwards to find out when we went off-track, fixing it, and efforting to get back on-track.

All that data gathering forced us to focus on fewer and fewer parts of the business until we felt like we were in control. This process of collecting facts and narrowing focus comes to mind when I hear stories about the Great Resignation. It’s one thing to hear economist and business owner anecdotes, but another to hear from the people who are resigning. When I listen to those stories I hear people looking for control. Similar to a turn-around project, they talk about feeling out of control. Asking themselves how they got to where they are, and where they went off track.

People don’t quit companies, they quit managers, say the gurus, and normally this may be the case. This pandemic is not a normal time. Life outside of work is out of control and the work your people do may be one place they feel like they can exercise control. Get things back on track.

You can help. As a client said, right now it’s hard to think too far into the future. Day to day execution is all we can do. I get it. If this is the case I suggest not only focusing on daily execution, but in simplifying day-to-day operations. It may just help your people perceive some control in their lives and keep them around for a while.

As we know, perception is reality.

Random stuff


“You’ll shoot your eye out.” – said everyone to Ralphie

nerf dart blaster

Our children are long past the toys for Christmas stage. The time in their lives when a $20 piece of plastic made them happy for months at a time. Someday we may be graced with the presence of grandchildren but until then I have many simple toy memories to revisit and revise as I walk the dog.

I may have mentioned that I have three main tracks I use for walking Wilson the Amazing Border Collie. One is a three-mile jaunt around the big park, one is a two-mile crawl through the neighborhood, and the last is a one-miler that winds around a little speck of a park near my home, Metcalf Park. A combination of weather, attitude, and ambition determine which route we take. Now that the mercury is hovering around 30F the one-miler wins most days.

I have favorite sights on these walks, and Metcalf Park has a good one. A fifty-foot tall tree that isn’t more than 3 feet in diameter when in bloom! It’s just a big stick in the winter and right now the big stick has a birds nest at the very top like a little top hat. As we pass the tree I look down and see a little Nerf bullet on the ground, and it takes me back to a Christmas when the Nerf Blaster dart guns first came on the scene.

I procured one knowing that my lovely bride would not be happy with the purchase. The middle child had to be four or five and arming him with a tiny weapon and a magazine of Nerf darts while I went off to work all day would not be appreciated. Someone could lose an eye. But as I stood in Target it was just so cool, and we only get one trip around this rock, so a decision was made.

Once he opened the gift I could feel the icy stare from my left, but I never broke eye contact with the child. I mean, I really wanted to shoot some stuff. We tore the package open and started popping darts around the room. They stuck to framed photos, skidded off under furniture, and brought peels of laughter from, well, me. As my bride started to complain I said something like, these things are harmless, and launched one her way.

And I swear, what I’m about to tell you really happened.

I shot the dart at her and the Nerf bullet hit her square on the forehead, right between the eyes. And stuck.

Needless to say, there was a roar of laughter, and we all fell about the room. The babies spent the next few hours chasing my wife around the house trying to recreate the moment, and by morning the gun went missing. Forever.

Ah, good times.


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