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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on April 10, 2020.]
EPISODE 223: Creativity in Sales Webcast: Using GRIT to Pivot During Challenging Times with Andy Miller
Watch the webinar here. Listen to Andy Miller’s Sales Game Changers Podcast here.
MAJOR TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “GRIT is doing whatever it takes to get the job done, as long as it’s moral, ethical and legal.”
Andy Miller: Today we’re going to talk about GRIT. Part of GRIT is called growth mindset and to me, creativity is a subset of that but we are in challenging times right now. We’re seeing things that none of us have seen in our lifetime no matter what age you’re at so I want to talk about the hard part first. I want to tell a story about how they catch monkeys. The way they catch monkeys is they take a banana, they put the banana in the cage and they lock the cage so the monkey cannot get into the cage and part of this is monkeys are smart enough to know it’s a trap so they’re not going to go in. You put the banana in there, they lock it and then they leave it out in the open. What happens is the monkey comes up, reaches through the cage to grab the banana but the bars are tight enough that the monkey can’t pull the banana out. Then they go and they pick up the cage with the monkey hanging onto the banana and that’s how they catch the monkey.
All the monkey has to do is let go of the banana so the monkey can run away and be free, and the hard part about what we’re going to talk about today on GRIT and creativity is we all have a banana that we don’t want to let go of and in times of adversity, hardship and challenge we got to let go of the banana. What might the name of that banana be? The name of that banana might be we have spending habits at home that causes us to live at or above our means and we need to cut back on that. The banana might be called ‘I need to do more prospecting than I’ve been doing’ and I need to let go of whatever else I was doing and start picking up the phone or get on LinkedIn or however else you market and increase your marketing activity. That banana might be called ‘the need to be recognized’ or ‘the need to feel important’ or ‘the need to have others say that you’re the best’ but you’ve got a banana, we all have it, we all got a banana that we’re holding onto that is getting in our way and sometimes you got to let go to let other things happen.
That to me is part of what GRIT is about. Let’s talk about what GRIT is and actually, Fred, do we have any comments or questions on what I just said?
Fred Diamond: No, we’re good for right now. I’m really interested in GRIT, GRIT comes up all the time. You and I have spoken about GRIT and I look forward to your definition of it. I know that you disagree with some of the more common definitions of GRIT as well so I’m curious on your thought about that.
Andy Miller: This is my definition: doing whatever it takes to get the job done. I can expand on that a little bit as long as it’s moral, ethical and legal but let’s talk about health for a second. Why does somebody have a heart attack and one guy changes his life afterwards because the doctor says, “If you don’t change, you’re going to die” and why does another person not change their lifestyle? To me it’s doing whatever it takes to get the job done, it’s fueled by passion and perseverance and it’s doing what you need to do. I may sneeze here, allergy season, so I apologize for that.
Fred Diamond: Sneeze into your elbow, by the way (laughs).
Andy Miller: [Laughs] I will, hopefully not into the microphone. I look at it and go, one person loses a job and they quickly downsize their life to adapt and another one doesn’t and ends up putting themselves in a pickle, that’s the banana. Why does a child in Rwanda walk 10 miles with a pot on their head to go get water and bring it back? Clean drinking water. Fred, you and I were talking about sports and I do follow mixed martial arts a little bit and there’s a woman named Ronda Rousey, one of the best mixed martial artists in the world amongst men and women. She only had so much money to spend and she had to make a choice and her choice was, “Do I get an apartment and pay my rent or do I live in my car and pay for the training that I want to get from the best trainer that I can find?” and she chose to spend a year living in her car so that she could pay the trainer to get the kind of training she wanted to get so that she could become the best in the world. I think that goes to Mohammed Ali, this quote from him on the slide, “I hated every minute of training but I said, ‘Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
So it is doing whatever it takes. He didn’t say it would be easy, he didn’t say it would be without stretching, he didn’t say it would be without sacrifice but what are you willing to do to get to where you want to be? That could be health, it could be relationship, it could be in the business but that’s what you need to do and I think right now today, based upon what’s happening a lot of people are in fear mode and it’s hard to be creative and productive when you’re fearful. The faster you can get out of fear mode and get into a ‘find a way’ mode, the better off you’re going to be. That to me is a good example of that and I’ve lived it, I’ve lived it in my health, I’ve lived it in my businesses that I’ve had. Let me pause there, any questions or comments?
Fred Diamond: Just curious, we’ve been into this about four weeks now, what would you say would be a success? If I’m a sales professional right now, what would be an idea or two of something that would help me get past the fear that I could say was a success that I’ve accomplished during this particular time?
Andy Miller: In a minute I’m actually going to get to what you can do to get past the fear. I’m not sure how to define what success is, I do think and I’m coaching my clients to what you can do now to build bend strength. If you’ve got a [Inaudible 11:42] in what you’re doing, can you build bend strength? Can you differentiate yourself a little bit better? Can you change how you’re working? I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself but I think there are things you can do to put yourself in a better position and by the way, not everybody’s stuck right now. If you’re in the food industry, you’re growing. If you’re in the medical care industry, you’re growing. If you’re in the transportation business, you’re growing. If you are in the energy business with maybe the exception of oil and gas, you’re growing.
I talked to a guy last week and I’ll talk about this now since it’s come up. He just landed a call center contract to hire 600 salespeople in the next two months and part of what this pandemic is causing is a shift. What he realized was a lot of companies offshore their call centers to India and Philippines and they’ve got the pandemic, too. With their pandemic they’ve had to shut down their call centers which leaves an opportunity.
What this guy realized was call centers are shutting down, they’re not able to fulfill their obligation so he called up companies that had call centers overseas and said, “I’ve got call centers here on the mainland, let me do fulfillment. They were able to break their contracts because nobody was servicing them in India or China and now they’re hiring salespeople and doing well. There are industries that thrive during more difficult times. Any other questions?
Fred Diamond: No, let’s keep going.
Andy Miller: I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. That’s an opportunity slide, so let’s go next. What does GRIT stand for? GRIT is actually an acronym and to me, it’s growth mindset and no matter who’s model of GRIT you follow – Angela Duckworth is the one that’s most popular, University of Pennsylvania professor. Her GRIT was research done on kids in the academic world, she’s venturing out that a little bit, I follow Paul Stoltz, he studied GRIT in the business world especially for investment bankers and there’s other GRIT models out there. No matter whose GRIT model you follow, the G in GRIT, whatever acronym it may have, always stands for growth mindset. Next is resilience, how resilient are you? I’ll get into that in a little bit.
Initiative, it’s taking action. Some others will call it instinct or they’ll have others for the I but for me in the sales world, in the business world it’s taking action or initiative and then tenacity. When I think of a good example of this, if anybody watched the movie Apollo 13, here you had the accident happen in space, they’re going, “What do we do now? Because we can’t get back to earth, we’re going to die up here.” If you remember, there was a flight team that they pulled into a room and they’re all panicking and fearful going, “This is impossible, this has never happened before, nobody’s ever done this” and then walked in the head of the team and that was Ed Harris. Ed Harris walks in and he says, “Guys, we don’t have an option, we’re going to find a way” so they went from ‘is this possible’ to ‘we’re going to figure it out’ and I really think that’s part of the shift we have to go through of the mindset, shifting from ‘can I’ to ‘how do I’. It’s a very different perspective. ‘How do I’ implies it can be done and now you’re trying to find a way, ‘can I’ implies it can’t be done so you should be asking yourself in this situation ‘how do we’. Again, I don’t care whether it’s personal or in sales or in business, the question really is ‘how do I’ or ‘how do we’.
Fred Diamond: Andy, a comment that came in here through one of our mutual friends, Pramod Raheja, also a past guest.
Andy Miller: Hey, Pramod.
Fred Diamond: Pramod says, “We’re speaking to all of our important pipeline customers as it keeps us top of mind despite the fact that things keep getting pushed back. Just checking in can go a long way.” Thanks, Pramod. Again, if anybody has any other ideas, thoughts they’re doing today, feel free to submit them via the question panel and we’ll discuss them here today.
Andy Miller: I would encourage you to do that if you haven’t done it but you can only do that for so long before it becomes routine so I would encourage you to say, “What value can we be bringing to our clients right now?” I don’t know if anybody gets the Washington Business Journal but they sent out an email right before Fred and I jumped on the computer together and I didn’t get to read it but the subject line was, “What can we do for you?” and that’s exactly what it should be. Touching base is one, “What can we do for you?” is another. Again, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit but what things do you wish were available but aren’t? You’re going to see some opportunity in there. Let’s go ahead to the next slide. First thing you need to do in terms of growth mindset, in order to be creative you’ve got to put yourself in a good place and – I know they say we shouldn’t touch our face but I did wash my hands – you need to get sleep.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on health but I do need to set the foundation. When it comes to health, the biggest thing you can do for your immune system is 7 to 8 hours of sleep. You can take supplements and all those things but your body starts producing things that fight a disease at the 7 hour mark. Also, I don’t know if you’ve realized this or not but your brain actually relaxes and the little channels or canals between different part of your brains takes out the dead cells so it’s like the trash collector coming along to take out the trash. That immune fighting ability and the brain taking away the trash through the spinal fluid does not happen until the 7 hour mark so you need to get sleep. Exercise, somehow when you’re stressed there’s stress chemicals running throughout your body, exercise burns it off. I don’t care what kind of exercise you do, just do something. The body needs movement, the body needs to burn off those chemicals and exercise is the fastest way to do that.
A little bit of meditation every day, I get up, I do 30 minutes of meditation every day first thing in the morning and part of my meditation is just being thankful for what I have and where I’m at. No matter how bad things get, there’s always something to be thankful for and you’re going to find you can be more creative and you’re going to have a better day if you just spend a little bit of time going, “I’m pretty thankful because there’s people out there who got it way worse than you do” so a little thankfulness and meditation. Diet, garbage in, garbage out. If you’re putting junk in your body, think of the mind-body-spirit connection. Your spirit’s sending you a message, your mind is the receiver and the body is the wire or the airwaves that it goes across so if you’re putting junk in your body that’s like listening to AM static radio. If you’re eating reasonably clean, you’re going to get that clear FM signal. That’s the mind-body-spirit connection. Smoking, let’s be real about the Coronavirus, it attacks your lungs so if you’re worried about getting the virus and you smoke, you may want to stop to give your lungs a fighting chance. The last thing is drinking and sugar, alcohol and sugar impact your immune system so this is purely of health, it’s not a value judgement conversation but there are things that you can do to put yourself in a good place.
Now, once you’ve done that you’re going to be in a better place to do some problem solving and get creative and do some innovation. Let’s talk about growth mindset. To me, some of the things you want to think about is how do I pivot? I’m going to give you some examples here. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with ozone machines but if you’ve ever gone to a hotel and somebody smoked in the non-smoking room or you got a rental car and somebody smoked in the rental car and they shouldn’t have smoked, the companies have an ozone machine. They’ll put it in the car, they’ll put it in the hotel room and they’ll run it for a couple hours and it kills germs, bacteria, viruses, odors. I was talking to a client of mine and I said, “You’ve got a bunch of ozone machines, don’t you?” he said yes and I said, “These hospitals are having trouble, they’re using disposable protective gear that they can’t dispose of because they’re out of supply. Could you create an ozone room like the hotels do where people can go put their protective gear in there, you could run the ozone machine for a couple hours or whatever’s required to kill bacteria and viruses so that they could reuse the disposable stuff? I know it’s not ideal but it’s better than what they have to work with now” and he’s like, “That’s a really good idea.”
Now he’s able to give back to the medical community and he can use that for a little PR. That’s a way of being creative. Could he rent that stuff or sell it probably or donate it? That’s totally his call but if he wants to do something in terms of innovation, that’s innovation. Another one, fraud. This was a couple years ago before the pandemic happened but we had a client who sold business checks and they wanted to sell more of them and I said, “You realize everybody’s going electronic and we’re talking about you’re trying to become a bigger fish in a shrinking pond?” and they said, “Yes, we got a strategy but we need you to buy us a year or two for us to have the other strategy kick into place.” We did a little research and we discovered, since their target audience was small businesses, the large percentage of small businesses will experience $50 thousand dollars in fraud so we had them add fraud insurance to their checks and charge a premium. Their upsell went from 6% to 75% by educating their clients about fraud and telling them, “If you buy our premium checks, fraud insurance is already covered in that and if fraud happens, you’ll have a $50 thousand dollar check sitting in your bank account within 3 days.”
What you’re seeing now, a lot of restaurants are doing curbside delivery or other stores are doing curbside delivery. UV lighting, I don’t know if you know that a lot of heating and air conditioning companies have access to install UV lighting in your heating system and air conditioning system. Basically they put it in the blower unit and that kills germs, viruses, mold, bacteria, mildew and I’m hearing some of the smarter HVAC folks are running ads saying, “If you’re worried about germs, mold, mildew, call us up. We can easily come install UV lighting that will kill all that stuff off.”
Virtual tours, you’re seeing that in real estate but think if you were at Marriott Hotels, they have around 350 sales reps in Florida saying time shares. Nobody’s getting on airplanes, nobody’s coming to hotels, nobody’s coming to Florida, everybody’s worried about quarantine and stay home. It depends on where you are, all of us have different orders but it’s be safe. “We have 350 sales reps that can’t be productive” and I said, “Why don’t you do virtual tours?” It means changing the way that you’ve done it before. “Come on down for a free weekend, come hear our pitch for a couple hours, we’ll lock the door, do our pitch and give you a couple gifts” but now they can do virtual tours. Zoom, this has been a boom business for Zoom and anybody else, GoToMeeting and Webex because now you’re staying at home and we can still do meetings, we’re doing it now. I already talked about the call center shifting from offshore to onshore and entrepreneurs being smart enough going, “You need some help? We can handle that contract for you.” Web design, this was a client a couple years ago, it’s not right now but it’s still applicable with innovation and innovation doesn’t have to be a radical change, it could just be a slight shift. We noticed that he [the client] had done a lot of web design but there were for hospitals and we were like, “Why do hospitals use you for web design?” What he didn’t realize was he had built a website that allowed doctors to log in with different levels of security but each one was HIPAA compliant and nobody else was building HIPAA compliant websites so that was a unique differentiator.
Did he have to go out and radically change his business? No. Did he have to pivot what we has doing in his business? Not really, all he had to do was change his messaging and tweak his target a little bit, be a little bit more hospital-centric and change the message to, “We do HIPAA compliant websites.” Just trying to give you some examples. Here’s the key about innovation, this is something that you need to do with others. You can’t sit down in a room and do this by yourself. You could, but it’s more difficult and I’ll give you an example. I had a client, owns a sign business, he called me up and said, “I think I’ve got to shut down” and I said, “No you don’t, let’s talk about your target audience. You’re focused on parking lots and nobody’s driving right now so parking lots are cutting back on their hours, they don’t have attendance, the ones that are open because they don’t have attendance they’re not taking cash, they’re only taking credit cards.” I said, “Well, there’s a number of things you can do, let’s talk about the kind of equipment that you have.
First of all, you could call up all your garage operators and saying, “Do you need some signing saying ‘limited hours’? Do you need some signing saying ‘cash only’? Do you need to say ‘closed until the pandemic is over’? You can go out to your existing base and do that. Another option you have is restaurants. If they’re doing curbside, it’s really hard to know where to pull up on the curb or I see people getting out of their car, walking up to the door of the restaurant, they’re reading a little piece of paper taped to the window on what do to. You could actually do that in signage so that people didn’t even have to get out of their car, they could call their order in and wait there till somebody brings it out. You could actually go to restaurants and I know you don’t have a list of restaurants but if you get in your car and just drive down the main street, I know you got three blocks of nothing but restaurants. Is that going to set the world on fire and bring in huge cash flow? No, but it brings in some.
Next, I know you’ve got a machine that does wraps for trucks, wraps for cars, you can do magnetic signs. If you’re a real estate agent and still driving around, you could change your signage, a magnetic sign on your car that says ‘come see our virtual tour’ or your HVAC, you could do magnetic sign or change the wrapping, but magnetic would be temporary of ‘worried about germs, bacteria and viruses in your house? Call us for a UV lighting install’. There’s things you could do.” I said, “Next, you’ve got another option. Be a little patient and see what’s going to happen with congress and what stimulus they’re going to put in place and the last thing is, and I know you don’t want to hear it, you could actually shut down. When I think about your passion, your passion is fishing and mountain biking. I’ve heard friends who’ve gone bankrupt say this, when they’re going through bankruptcy it sucks but once they’re bankrupt, they’ve all said this phrase that’s stuck in my mind. Every single person I know that’s ever gone bankrupt has said ‘I feel free.'”
I said, “What would happen when you feel free? You would be free to do anything you’ve ever wanted to do, you love fishing and mountain biking, you could become a fishing guy, you could become a mountain guy, you could start an adventure travel business, but you would be free to do other things that you’ve always wanted to do.” Fred, I’m going to pause there for a second on growth mindset because I just threw out a whole lot of stuff. My point is this, if you get in a relaxed place and you’re willing to brainstorm with others, you have options.
Fred Diamond: Andy, that’s great. We have a lot of people on the webinar who are leading corporate sales teams. Again, the Institute for Excellence in Sales, our mission is to help sales leaders retain, motivate and elevate top-tier talent. A couple people had commented here, “I manage a team with a large corporation” and there’s a couple people who are bag-carrying sales professionals. You gave us some great examples for business owners, let’s shift the conversation a little bit to bag-carrying, quota-carrying sales leaders and sales professionals. On the concept of innovation, individual sales reps, the individual contributor, someone who’s an account manager or new business development person for a $5 billion software company – we have a couple of those people on the line here – what might be some of the things they could possibly be thinking about right now to be more innovating during this time?
Andy Miller: Pick up the phone and call your customers, just have a conversation with them. You would be surprised what comes out of that, they will tell you what they need. Don’t go lock yourself in a room and try to figure this out on your own, this happens by having dialogue with others. It may not be that you have to innovate, it may just mean a slight change in your messaging. You may already have what they need, they just don’t know it and you’ve never thought about it that way.
Fred Diamond: Same thing if you’re managing the team. We have two people who suggested, “I manage a team of younger sales professionals, some of them are brand new in their career.” If I’m a sales leader, let’s say I’m a first line sales manager, let’s say I just got promoted in the last year and we’ve talked about this many times, one of the hardest jobs is first time sales manager because you’re not getting trained. A lot of times you get promoted because you were very good at what you did so now you’re managing a team, you’ve probably never gone through a pandemic before as nobody on this line has. What would be some suggestions if I’m managing a 6 person team, maybe people who are spread out across the country, how can I be innovative if I’m not necessarily talking to customers but I want to keep my sales team motivated and energized?
Andy Miller: That leads to this next slide, Fred. That was a great segue, here’s things you could be asking yourself or you could be discussing with your team. When it comes to innovation, what questions should we be asking? What questions should we be asking ourselves, what questions should we be asking our customers, clients, prospects? To me it’s that Washington Business Journal email I saw of, “Where do you need help? What can we be doing for you?” Next question. What skills do we need? Do we have all the skills that we need or are we missing something? Is something an easy lift but we’re missing the skill? Maybe you’re all used to going face-to-face and now you got to go virtual and you need something like Zoom or GoToMeeing. Let me teach everybody as a leader how to use GoToMeeting.
What knowledge do we need? Are we missing any knowledge that we need right now? You could fill that in, it’s easy. You’ve got podcasts, you’ve got YouTube, you’ve got books you can buy, Amazon is still shipping. Again, the purpose of this is out of discussion will come some realizations of things that you can do. What resources do we need? That’s another question. What options do we have? I would explore the options. Some options you could do yourself, some options you need the company to change, some options are probably too much of a stretch right now but we should consider it for the near future and then other things is who else has done this? Is there somebody that I could call who’s been through this before and have them talk to the team? There are things that you can do to start thinking, “What else can we do here?” and all these are to generate what options we have because there’s always options. I don’t care how bad it gets, there’s always options.
Now, the outcomes may not be ideal but you always have options. Does that answer the question?
Fred Diamond: Yes, that’s great.
Andy Miller: Let’s go to the next, what can you do? Again, this is on generating ideas and innovation. Modify – can you modify your current offering like the UV guys did? Look for what’s missing, is there something that’s missing? Marriott Hotels was started because the original founder, Bill Marriott senior did it because he was traveling with his family and couldn’t find a place to stay. Frustration – Identify the frustration that your clients are having and then find a way to fulfill that frustration because out of frustration becomes opportunity. Use the chance to reinvent yourself like we’re seeing, you could pursue wishes, hopes and dreams, that’s a personal thing. Diversify – do you need to be in other markets? Change the game. Kia did this years ago when they offered a 10 year or 100 thousand mile warranty. If you believe in what you built, why wouldn’t you extend the warranty?
Here’s one thing I would have all of you do and that is watch the curve, they keep talking about, “Let’s flatten the curve for the pandemic”. Once the curve has flattened I’m not sure what happens next but business is going to pick up to some extent so there’s a website you can go to, the website is worldometer.com and you can watch the curve by country or by state. I would encourage you as you see the curve flatten, don’t wait until it’s flat and the news is talking about everybody’s back at work, get ahead of the curve, watch when it starts to flatten and then ramp up your efforts before anybody else is catching on, the curve is flat and it’s now safe to do business. Meditation counsel – this is a little technique that I use when I’m trying to figure out an answer, I will sit down and meditate and then I will bring in three or four, I’m going to call them council members.
I pretend that I have access to anybody in the world that I want access to throughout the ages. If I want to pull in Einstein into my council, if I want to pull in a doctor or nurse into my council, if I want to pull in the greatest salesperson that ever lived into my council I get into a meditative state because that puts your brain in a different place and then I bring in these world-class thought leaders based upon what I want and I ask them their advice. I know it may sound a little woo-woo but the fact is your brain has the answers, you just need to find a different way to access it. The last thing I would do is if you use Net Promoter Score, even if you don’t, Net Promoter Score is a three question survey, 0-10 how likely are you to recommend us, the next question is primary reason that you gave us the score. Here’s the one question that I would ask today: what’s the most important improvement that we could make that would get us to a 10? Forget about the 10 piece, I would be asking my clients what’s the most important improvement that we could make today that would help you? That I can do as a salesperson talking to my clients, talking to my customers, talking to my prospects, that I could do right now. Fred, let me pause there.
Fred Diamond: Someone asks, “Can I ask for business right now?” What are your thoughts on prospecting to people you don’t know? Let’s say you have a target list of a hundred companies or something like that and there’s 80 of them that you don’t know. Is now a worthwhile time to make outreach or is it just going to fall in deaf ears? We had some suggestions before about talking to your existing customers, people you were already in relationship with. What’s the likelihood of being successful right now of going after new business? Let’s say it’s random new business. We’re obviously not going to go after the airline industry or maybe you do, I don’t know. What do you think?
Andy Miller: Maybe you do. Do you have something to provide the airline industry that would really help bail them out right now? I don’t know what everybody sells that’s on the webinar but the question that I would ask is, “Do I have something that would help my target audience based upon what’s going on right now?” It’s a conversation of where they’re at in their industry, where they’re at in their business and what they’re trying to accomplish. Do I have something that would help? I hear this question, Fred, at least twice a week and I guess I’m surprised by it. Why wouldn’t we be reaching out to people right now? When I think of sales, I think of sales as helping others get what they want. I don’t think of sales as selling something to people that they don’t want or they don’t need, it’s helping others be successful.
Do I have something that will help them be successful right now or not? I’m still selling, I’m having last week and the week before 5 CEO conversations a week with people I don’t know. Out of that I got two sales last week, two sales pending this week so I don’t know why you wouldn’t call people. I would be sensitive and say, “Hey, I’m trying to figure out if we should be talking.” When I look at companies, some companies are saying, “Right now we’re playing defense, we’re pulling back a little bit.” Some companies are saying, “We’re playing offense and we’re gobbling up market share” or, “We see opportunity.”
Which position do you guys see yourself in? Here’s what I do for companies in your position, is that something worth exploring? I really think it’s that simple, I think we make it way more complicated than it needs to be.
Let me go to the next slide. GRIT – I knew we were going to spend most on innovation so we are on track for what we need to be doing, but GRIT is an acronym. The R in GRIT is Resilience and I think of Fred Smith as an example of this. Here’s this guy who is Chairman and CEO of Federal Express but what you don’t know is the story of how he got there. When he was 4, his father died. His father was an entrepreneur, he was raised by his mother and his uncles but as a kid he got a crippling bone disease, he was crippled and it took until he was 10 years old to regain his health. As a result of that, he started playing sports because he knew he had to build his body back up and by the time he graduated high school he was a high school football star. Then you probably heard this story if you’ve heard anything about him, he went to Yale and he wrote a paper. The paper was supposed to be about a feasible business idea and his professor gave him a C for the concept of Federal Express saying, “I’m giving you a C because I wanted a feasible business idea, not the hair brain” – I’m making up the hair brain phrase – “Not some hair brain idea of what you came up with.”
As we know, it went on to become Federal Express. Then another example of resilience is in the very early stages of the business he ran out of money, he was down to $5 thousand dollars and the jet fuel bill was $24 thousand so he took a little gamble. He went to Vegas, he played blackjack and he won $27 thousand dollars. Do I recommend that? Not necessarily, but desperate times require desperate measures and he won $27 thousand, was able to pay the fuel and to keep going. The last example of resilience was 9/11 happened, and what people didn’t know is we know them for flying packages everywhere but they had a fleet of trucks all over the country and could still deliver coast to coast via his truck fleet.
When 9/11 happened he went around all the cable shows and said, “The planes are grounded but our trucks are still shipping. Don’t let the terrorists win and keep on doing business, stick it to the terrorists.” That’s what he did. What questions can you ask yourself on resilience? Questions you’re going to ask is what’s the biggest challenge we’re going to face? Have that discussion with your salespeople. Control – what elements do we think are out of our control? Have that discussion, acknowledge that because you have a lot more control than you think you do. What things can we influence the things going on right now? Even the things we think are out of our control, how can we influence those? What’s the worst case scenario and what’s the best case scenario? Talk through that and in terms of what’s going on, how can we minimize the downside and how can we harness what’s going on and push through it quickly? The faster you push through it, the better. Then what does the final outcome or result look like? These are things you can ask yourself on resilience. Fred, I’m going to pause there before I go to the next topic of initiative.
Fred Diamond: Why don’t you go on to the next couple slides? Then we’re going to wind us down in about five minutes. Again, if anybody has any final questions for Andy, please submit them and we’ll get to them.
Andy Miller: Next is initiative, taking action. I think Oprah Winfrey is a great example of this. I don’t know if anybody read her book but I think we all know who she is. When you think about her, she was born in Mississippi in poverty, her toy was a corncob doll, she was born to a single mother and she had a lot of hardship. She was raped at 9, became pregnant at 14, the baby died in infancy but somewhere along the way she ended up moving to Tennessee to a guy she now considers her dad and in high school she decided she wanted to get a job in radio. She took the initiative and found a way to get a job in high school which then led to her being a co-anchor on the local news.
She asked for that at age 19 so there’s lots of examples of what she’s done but she didn’t have a mentor to help guide her, she just took the initiative and today she’s considered one of the wealthiest and most influential women in the world. What can you do to ask yourself about initiative? When do we get started? How do I get started? What actions do I need to take? Who has ownership? How do I take ownership of this? Because if we say who, that allows us to placate and put the blame on somebody else but I like the phrase, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” Then the last one is how do I get traction quickly?
My last example of GRIT, the T in GRIT is Tenacity. I love Richard Branson for this. Again, you may think, “Here’s this guy who’s rich and famous.” What’s cool about Branson is people don’t realize he’s dislexic and he made a lot of mistakes. In college he started a newsletter that was called Virgin. His team was working together, “What do we call this business?” and one of the guys suggested, “Let’s call it virgin because we’re all business virgins” and that’s where the name Virgin came from. His second business was Virgin Atlantic Records, Virgin Records first and he didn’t collect taxes on the records so the tax authorities came after him and his mother had to mortgage her house to pay his tax bills so that he didn’t go to jail. Interesting, right? Let’s talk about what can we do in terms of tenacity. First thing is refuse to give up. You should be asking yourself, “How long is this going to take?” It may take a long time but that’s okay, get in it for the long haul.
Next, anticipate excuses. What excuses can we anticipate? The next is how do we eliminate that excuse making? Because it’s easy to find excuses. There’s a number of guys that I coach in my business and I’m hearing a lot of excuse making and my belief is there’s still opportunity. If your belief is, “We can’t make it” then your behaviors are going to follow that. If your belief is, “We’ll find a way” your behaviors are going to follow that. Then the last is commit. How do we increase our strength and our efforts and our commitment level to make this happen? I’m going to end with this quote, and you might have heard it before. My question for you is do you believe in yourself? Because Henry Ford had this quote of, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” and I absolutely believe that
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo
Produced by Rosario Suarez