Momentum Thoughts #342 – This week: Money mo, Bench strength, Soakers

Sales and marketing Newsletter

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

In this issue:

– Thinking about Momentum
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Thinking about Momentum

  • Time, they say, as opposed to money, is a non-renewable resource. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t focus on money. Money, as they also say, makes the world go ’round.
  • When tough decisions are to be made it helps to have had a good nights sleep and something healthy to eat. It also helps to have money in the bank in case things go off course.
  • Financial advisors suggest having an emergency fund of six months living expenses on hand. Business advisors suggest the same thing for companies. It is good advice because it allows you to be patient with your process.
  • A potter talking about the quality of a handmade pot says, don’t buy pottery from someone desperate to pay rent. This seems like good advice for a lot of things.

Being Human – Bench strength, dollar version

“Desperation can make a man do surprising things.”


When I work with managers, especially sales managers, we focus on the idea of bench strength to get the most from their team. The basic concept is it is easier to demand behavior if there is a replacement on the bench ready to step in if things don’t get done. Bench strength makes it easier to build and maintain momentum.

Although I’m usually referring to recruiting and training new sales reps, this concept applies to momentum too.

When you have resources in reserve, or on-the-bench as I say, ready to deploy when needed, your risk profile changes. Everyone has their own risk tolerance level, and in sales, when you have assets in the bank, it’s easier to build momentum.

Let me give you an example. I have two sales reps, one with an emergency fund equivalent to 6 months personal expenses in her checking account, and the other with barely one month in her account. They are sitting in front of a demanding prospect in a heated sales negotiation when the buyer does something inappropriate. They ask for a kickback on the commission the sales rep gets for winning the business. In this example, kickbacks are not only inappropriate, they’re illegal.

Both reps need the sale to hit goal and keep their jobs. This buyer throws both of them for a loop, causing a mini crisis in their brains as they consider the consequences. What happens next? If they say no, can they live with the consequences? If they say yes . . ?

It’s a hypothetical, but I have observed the power of  financial bench strength in these situations. The more desperate we feel, the more likely we are to compromise and justify risky decisions. Risky actions can be a momentum killer.

This is why we tell our reps it’s to your advantage to build a strong bench, have a full tank of gas, keep your powder dry, and a bunch of other related sayings. We want to keep feelings of desperation away. When we feel like we’re out of options, we are.

As a manager it’s almost impossible, and probably not appropriate to know your people’s exact financial situation. However, you can talk about the benefits of money in the bank. Especially when coupling it with easier subjects like the benefits of a good nights sleep, eating well, and exercise. Financial bench strength keeps momentum going. It helps your people make the right decisions and gives them the patience to stick to process, regardless of short term pressures.

Promote dollar bench strength. It helps.


“I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them.” – therapist Virginia Satir


I’m reading a study suggesting talking to strangers makes us happier. So why don’t we talk to strangers? The number of reasons probably matches the number of people times the number of hours in the day.

How about this, instead of talking to strangers, we work on just acknowledging them. The flip side of talking to strangers is no one wants to be invisible. Hundreds of novels are written about it. We are happier when we are recognized as being present in the world. Eye contact and a smile.

I can see you thinking, everyone? Even an aggressive panhandler? What about them?

I bring this up with someone whose job it is to try and love all people, no matter what. I tell him it bothers me to see people in need, but the problem seems to big for me to fix. This holy man suggests I may be looking at it wrong. Instead of fixing it, what if all I am required to do is acknowledge another human in my presence? It’s a good point.

I try. I’m not the best at it. And so far, pulling up to an intersection and acknowledging someone in need, but giving them nothing makes me feel worse about as many times as it makes me happier. I say “hey” or nod their way, and look them in the eye.

The truth is panhandlers are a fraction of the strangers I come into contact with. Being in line, walking through an open house, talking to a store clerk, walking in the neighborhood. Add up all these instances and I rarely find myself in uncomfortable situations. It’s easy to acknowledge others.

That should be the goal. We don’t need to go as far as talking to every stranger, but we do need to acknowledge our fellow humans. A positive life is made up of millions of positive interactions. Acknowledging another person is an easy way to ring the bell.

It may make you happier and just may bring you luck.

Random stuff


“The grass is greener where you water it.” 

soaker hose instructions

Is it hot where you are? It’s hot here. We have a garden this year, and it’s getting close to harvest time for a lot of the plants. As happens every year about this time we are taking a trip to one of the big lakes in the upper Midwest where we hope the weather will be cooler. This means the garden will be neglected at a critical junction in its journey. The momentum of the garden will be impacted, one might say.

In the past we’ve asked the neighbor kids to throw some water on the plants if they think about it, but it’s never been a big deal. This is changing. Since early 2020 I’ve watched a lot of hours of gardening shows and hey, I’m not going to let this year’s production be impacted by a few weeks of neglect. The night before we leave I decide to install a soaking system. I get to the hardware store and buy a garden hose faucet timer, a bunch of soaker hose, some more regular hoses, and a bag of connectors. If all goes well, I tell myself, this little robot will water the plants twice a day while I’m out. Production will not be interrupted!

Needless to say this project requires a little more effort and planning than I put into it. I walk out the front door and one of the soaker hoses in a front planter is spraying the door, not soaking the roots. Well, the roots are getting a little water. It doesn’t matter because we have to get on the road.

As I pack up the truck I see a gas/water utilities district truck roll by and the driver gives me a head nod. I know what he’s thinking. Customer of the month. Again.

I think about the little tree rat because I’m reading a story about backyard bird feeders changing the migratory habits of bird species. Small changes in one’s environment can bring about long term consequences.

When I worked in an office I went in early and left late. I could have used a coach to help with life balance, but instead focused on brute effort to get things done. On more than one occasion my work life required trips to off-site locations where we’d strategize over malted beverages. Some of these after work gatherings turned lengthy, and I would stumble home later than usual. The house might be quiet with my lovely bride and our offspring tucked away, and I’d see a note on the table, “Dinner is in the fridge.”

Yep, the note was written with a heavy hand and when I got the fidge I could see the effort that went into making the culinary delight. These were the days when every cell phone call cost money, so communication wasn’t just a text away. I’m not making excuses, just putting you in the proper era.

These days our migration patterns have changed. I’m working from home, and it’s my lovely bride who ventures out in the real world. After a long day teaching future leaders of the world and sitting in meetings she is not in the mood for making culinary delights. This usually means going out for a bite, but tonight I am in a creative mood. We have some tomatoes, some fire roasted veggies, etc. I run to the bakery, then get to work and make dinner. Not anything fancy, but I use most of the kitchenware, and make lots of great smells. I plate things up and admire my work.

Then I wait. And wait.

“When are you coming home?” I text. Nothing. The food cools down, and I eat all tomorrow morning’s scones while watching the local news. Then it hits me.

“Is this the night you’re going to dinner?” I text. 20 minutes later she replies, “Yes.”

I look down and Wilson the ABC is looking up. His dark eyes are larger than the Boston squirrel’s, but they want the same thing.

As luck would have it, this time I got something.


If you need to set up a time to visit, follow this link: