Posts Tagged ‘lessons learned’

The power of acknowledgement in creating wealth cannot be over-emphasized. A simple story from a mentoring client will help illuminate. Bob (not his real name) is a commercial banker. He wants to both grow business and advance his career. One on-going thread running through our discussions is differentiating the creation of wealth vs. accumulating money, more on that later. Bob has a new associate, Carl (again, not his real name) who essentially is in training and comes from a sales background. Carl is very aggressive about closing the deal and has a strong focus on winning.

Buried Treasure

Bob decided to do some prospecting and ended up calling on someone with whom Carl had already spoken. In fact, Carl had met or called this person 5 times and felt there was no chance of getting a sale from this prospect. Bob met with the prospect, a CPA with 5 employees, and simply asked if she would be willing to share how day-to-day life is going in her firm. They ended up talking for 1.5 hours! As Bob listened she went from day-to-day issues to talking about where she’d like to see her firm be in the long run. Bob now has a meeting planned where she will discuss the SWOT (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) analysis of her situation and he will help her refine it. He has yet to mention one product the bank offers! There is little need. She’s engaged in commerce. The reality of her financial needs will surface as the conversation progresses and Bob’s bank simply becomes a tool for helping this client grow her business and add to community.

Carl has been humbled and is walking around quietly confused with his tail between his legs. Bob’s strategy is to keep Carl apprised of the conversation with the CPA but hold him at bay by insisting he just observe and write lessons-learned in terms of how acknowledgement supports growth and how its absence can be damaging.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons to be learned from this situation. Here are a few:

  • A sales transaction is simply an exchange of a good or service for money. The relationship ends once the exchange is over.  The relationship has to be re-established for the next sale. Also, commercial banking products are a lot like project management tools and bottles of cooking oil. Everyone has them. In a sales-driven environment people will switch for a penny-a-bottle difference.  Acknowledgement creates value which differentiates you from the competition.
  • Acknowledgement creates interdependence which leads to:
    • A feed forward relationship (trust-based) that is free of skepticism and runs much faster than a feedback relationship.
    • Success feeding on itself, leading to growth.
    • Health. A great deal of stress is removed since a safety net of relationships can be built. This, in turn, lowers suspicion and skepticism. The fight-or-flight reflex is calmed. When only sales-driven the stress returns immediately.
    • A dynamic relationship where spontaneity increases leading to more options for the future.
    • An increased probability of reading the all-important weak signals so essential to adapting and making necessary changes along the way.

One CAN be sales driven and accumulate money. There is a catch, and it is a big one. To succeed it is essential to be the 800-pound gorilla, e.g., Wal-Mart, since loyalty is absent. For the rest of us to sustain it is better to focus on helping others to get what they want, embed our rewards in the transaction, and nurture the relationship. Acknowledgement is a key tool in that process.

This blog closes with the challenge from the previous blog. How much time are you willing to spend acknowledging others? Who would you pick? Why?  And I’d like to add one more question, “Why would they want to work with you?”