Newsletter #91 – Luck, Measurements, and Americanos

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you get more done in less time. . . next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Sometimes, we’re lucky. There’s nothing wrong with admitting it. If unlucky events can bring us down, I think it’s okay to relish good fortune.
  • Be a gracious winner. Everyone appreciates it when the winning player begins the post match interview with, “Congratulations to my opponent for a great tournament.”
  • Success in multiple areas doesn’t suggest a reward for good living or #blessed existence. Keep your perspective.
  • In tough times, don’t say, “It can’t get any worse.” I consider that a challenge to the universe and I’m here to tell you, it can always get worse!

Being Human – Measurements

How Long Do We Have To Do This?

When making changes, we start by deciding where we want to go, work back to where we’re at today, and start measuring how we’re going to get there. Then this happens.

New measures are put in -> the measurement shows improvement -> progress starts -> there is much celebration -> progress stops.

Why does that happen?

When you go from not paying attention to a metric to focusing on it, improvement happens. That’s a good thing, right?

Of course. Just know from the start that it’s not going to last.

Consider my experience with sales compensation plans.

The best sales people are obsessed with maximizing their comp plans. Knowing that, we’d spend hours and hours trying to figure out what behaviors we needed to get the results we desired. More new accounts? Put a bonus in. Increased retention? Incent the renewal. Try anything.

It all works.

There may be times when sales people weren’t happy with the change, but the vast majority of them went through a cycle like this:

measurement acceptance

It’s like the stages of grief. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. . .but in this case, Acceptance is followed by Thriving. All it takes is one sales person moving from “I can’t believe they changed it” to “I can make a lot of money if I just do this. . .” Then it’s game on!

It’s no different with your goals. Want to reduce expenses in the next 3 quarters? Start by getting a handle on expenses today. Figure out where you want to be. Then push those measures out to the staff. It will take a few weeks of communication but someone will move into “Acceptance” and find a winner. A way to get the same results by spending less. Then others will follow. A year from now, you’ll be sitting on the change you want.

Then the drift will happen. Even though the metric reports are sent each week, the push will no longer be there and gains disappear.

It’s like the Hawthorne Effect. (see observation bias) Basically, just knowing that you’re being watched alters your behavior, but not forever.

I know, “Good stuff Greg, but what the hell do I do with this information?”

You set goals. You measure. You put in incentives. You look for success and right when you find it, expect reduced effectiveness.

Then plan the next measurement.

Good stuff.


Random Stuff


I know very little about coffee. As a matter of fact, I never drank it until a few years ago when my wife mentioned that it’s too bad that we won’t be able to sit on the porch and enjoy a coffee in our later years. It wasn’t like I have anything against it, it’s just that up to that moment, the prep time on coffee and tea didn’t have a payoff. I’m lazy that way.

Now I drink coffee. A lot. I bought a little Bialetti coffee maker to make espresso. Up until a month ago, I never tried an espresso, but Laura likes capuccinos and I thought I’d learn how to make them for her. In the instructions is a sheet describing how to make all those coffee drinks I hear people order at Sixbucks. Including an Americano.

This week I meet a friend at a coffee shop and decide to show off my new ordering skill, getting my first giant Americano. An hour later I meet a client and show off again. Then I have a meeting with a prospect, order my third grande Americano, and start to sweat. Uncontrollably. By lunch I can’t focus and I’m getting paranoid. Who? What? Where? By 3pm I’m passed out on the couch, twitchy as heck.

Americano, well done. You have a new fan.


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