Archive for April, 2013

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Coach Mike Ditka’s talk at the marketing and sales boot camp that I attended. My preconceived thoughts on the Coach were that he was gruff and loved football. What I learned from seeing and hearing him up close was that he comes across gruff (or grumpy, especially when he was doing photo opps as seen in this photo and that’s ok because he had had a long day). But, he came across as a great coach and business leader.
You have to have the right people and the right purpose.”
  • “Faith, Family and Football” – Coach Ditka was very adamant about this philosophy. He learned this from Coach Lombardi and Coach Landry. His admiration and appreciation of Coach Tom Landry (Dallas Cowboys in case you weren’t sure) impacted his life and the way he played and coached.
  • “You can’t motivate people; they have to motivate themselves.”  There are so many motivational speakers and books from which to choose. Coach Ditka reinforced that it always has to come from within.
  • “You have to create the goals and you have to create the methods to make the goals.”
  • ACE stands for Attitude, Character, Enthusiasm –
    Attitude: the attitude you have in life and toward others
    Character: character is what you are, the fabric of your being, who you are
    Enthusiasm: if you’re doing something, be enthusiastic; get pumped up. Get excited about it, whatever it is.

Something else that Coach Ditka conveyed to all in attendance was that you have to have more than one leader on your team (company, organization). You need people on the team to step up and be leaders along with you. That’s what Walter Peyton did for the Bears and Coach Ditka couldn’t have spoken with more admiration and respect for Peyton as I heard him speak.

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   It’s a classic he-said, she-said case that ends up in court on a daily basis…

Widget buyer Ms. Robinson testified that Mr. Smith, the Widgets Corp. sales manager, told her that if she put her order in immediately, the price would be discounted by 20 percent. Mr. Smith argued that that was not what he said. According to his testimony, he agreed to give a 20 percent discount only if Ms. Robinson ordered at least one million widgets, which she did not. The widgets were manufactured and delivered, and the client was billed for the full amount. The client is refusing to pay the full amount and the manufacturing company is throwing it to a collection agency. If brought into a court of law, who would be right?

Provided that neither party can produce a signed contract to back up their case, there is no way of knowing who is right.

However, let’s suppose Ms. Robinson produces an e-mail she sent to her boss copying Mr. Smith that says, “I made a deal with Mr. Smith, the sales manager at Widgets Corp.,  to get a 10 percent discount for 500,000 widgets ordered.” Let’s also suppose Mr. Smith cannot produce any e-mails, contracts, or memos to the contrary. Now the chances of Ms. Robinson winning her case go up exponentially. When faced with two credible witnesses whose recollection of an event or agreement are in dispute, the court is most likely to favor the person who has corroborating documentation to support their side of the story.

E-mail has Become the Primary Means of
Communication and Negotiation

   In the not too distant past, business people would communicate primarily through face-to-face meetings, telephone conversations, faxes, and the occasional paper document. When a “my word against your word” dispute arose, a court case could be awarded to the person who seemed more confident or credible.

Nowadays, e-mail has become the default mode of communication. It’s very common for a buyer to communicate to a seller entirely by e-mail. Transactions are done without the two ever meeting and in some cases, never speaking. As a result, the “my word against your word” conundrum becomes more of a contest between e-mails, as opposed to a competition between the memories of the people involved.

The upside of this situation is that if you can produce an e-mail that supports your version of the facts, you have a leg up if it goes to court. The downside is that most people are careless about what they say in an e-mail. They don’t think about it ending up as an exhibit in a courtroom under close scrutiny leaving them with the only explanation, “I know that’s what I said, but that’s not what I meant.”

Food Service Company Awarded $2.5 Million
Thanks To A Few “Innocent” E-mails

    *Example: A food service company was contracted to provide all meals at 48 nursing homes. Ultimately, the food service company claimed that it was underpaid over $2 million and sued in federal court. The president of the nursing home company claimed that the food service company had made certain oral cost guarantees that were not honored, thereby justifying the underpayments. However, a detailed review of the nursing home company’s internal e-mails revealed that its executives had “privately” expressed substantial doubt about the supposed oral guarantees. The e-mails were given to the jury, which awarded the food service company $2.5 million.

What Should You Do To Protect Yourself?

   The most important thing you can do is think twice before hitting “send.” If you are a manager or employer, train your employees to be careful about what they communicate via e-mail and constantly remind them of the dangers. Once an e-mail is sent, you cannot get it back. Another good practice is having a system for archiving and managing e-mail communications. This goes double for certain companies because of regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

We highly recommend our CMIT Guardian array of solutions that will help at several levels of e-mail archiving and management.

*Story reprinted from How E-Mail Is Revolutionizing Litigation — and What You Should Be Doing About It by Michael G. Trachtman, The Corporate Counselor, http://www.law.com

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One Day More

Do you know any visionaries-in-training or what I refer to as “visionary wanna-be’s?”  Do they tell you things like “I know that we need to  get a company to handle our IT instead of the (one man) guy, BUT we hate the idea of getting used to a new person and the learning curve that they will have and xyz IT guy has worked with us for years?”  This response gives me a chill down my spine because the decision maker/owner knows intellectually that their company is lagging behind or even in potential danger with their current IT environment. Nevertheless, they are making an emotional or uninformed decision. It’s a well-known fact in the business world that people think intellectually and make decisions emotionally. That’s okay and expected for I want the final decision for a business to engage us to be an emotional one in that they admit the impact of not making a change in the current state of IT support could damage their business and even affect them

Since I have been inspired by  the film, Les Misérables, the song titles provide me headlines for my articles and messages. This month, it’s One Day More. The wanna-be visionaries have a mantra of “just one more day or in a few months when things slow down and then I’ll think about making a change with my IT support.” What is the peril to your business if you procrastinate in making a decision? Has your current IT person (internal or outsourced) had this discussion with you about the danger of waiting to sign off on a business critical decision? Have you been told that your backup solution needs to be upgraded from tapes to a virtualized or BDR (backup disaster recovery solution) that will minimize downtime and monetary loss?

CMIT Denver is the vCIO (virtual CIO) for our clients who are working toward visionary status as well as for our clients who have reached that visionary status. Our goal is to be more than an advisor for our clients; we are their technology partner and vCIO. We are part of the team and intend to make a financial and emotional difference for our clients.

So, let’s talk about those visionary clients. They are in a great place with how their IT supports their business and continued growth and profitability. These visionary clients are  thinking about what they need to do for the future to raise the bar. As Phil mentioned, their systems are running smoothly and their IT staff is strategic, but the untapped potential for what IT can do to help raise their bar is just driving them crazy. At CMIT, we’re not sure if we will be the one to untap that potential, but exploring the possibility is usually pretty interesting and big things tend to happen.

Just imagine how nice it would be to know that your business can raise the bar regularly and you can tell yourself each and every day that you have One Day More of Productivity, Profitability and Peace of mindthe 3 P’s. How would you benefit personally which includes some intangibles like spending more time with you family or giving more time to your community or just taking an extended vacation? Think about it and think about it often.

Use your systems and processes that have brought your company to its current level of success. Review them annually and debrief with your leadership team as to their efficacy. Then, set a One Day More goal for raising the bar to the next rung and keep pushing ahead and stay focused.


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Before doing any communication, determine what it should accomplish. That will help you build the right content and strategy into it — increasing the chances you’ll get what you want.

All communications are meant to persuade. The proposal to get management to accept a new idea, or to choose to work with your company. The invitation to a brainstorming session you wish people to attend. The news release on a new product or service. You want people to do something.

Here’s the irony. The most common failure in communication is that people forget the call to action.

Here are three ways to build a strong case and make it easier for people to take action.

Trick #1: Know What You Want. How often have you fired off an email or returned a call without thinking about what you hope will happen? Spend an extra few seconds answering “What do I want people do after this?” If you believe in visualization, picture them taking the action you’d like. Then ask four simple questions:

1. What problems will my approach solve for them?

2. What will they need to know so they can agree with me?

3. What barriers would prevent them from taking the actions I want?

4. How can I include information — in this communication or elsewhere — that will overcome these?

Knowing what you want — and how you can make others want the same thing — automatically increases the chances of persuading your reader.

Trick #2: Write with “Yes” in Mind. Have you ever had to write a memo and thought, “They’ll never sign off on this!” And, of course, you were right. When you’re sure your ideas will be rejected, that negativity will leak out in a million ways: the words you choose, the way you organize the information, and how much time you spend answering possible objections in advance.

If you can’t write with the belief that your ideas will be accepted, do something else until you can. Also know when is a good time to write it. If you’re a morning person, don’t start at 3:00 in the afternoon when you’re at low energy.

Trick #3: Include the Call to ActionTell your readers what you want them to do — and make it easy for them to do it.

If it’s a proposal, media “pitch” letter, or formal communication, the call to action falls at the end. You used the rest of the piece to present your case so they will agree with you. Now you tell them how this should look.

If you’re writing an email, put the call to action at the top — perhaps in the subject line. This is a short communication, so let your reader know right away what you want and then provide the (brief) details. Most people scan their emails. If your request falls at the bottom, they may miss it.

By the way, don’t do a “call me when it’s convenient to discuss this.” It may never be convenient. You have no idea how important this is to them, or how many other things are hanging fire on their desks. Let them know when you will follow up to discuss the ideas — and then do it.

You deserve to get what you want. Help others give it to you.

Lynne Franklin, Wordsmith

We help business leaders solve their problems and get what they want by creating meaningful corporate and marketing communications and training.

Glenview, IL – 847-729-5716

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It has been that kind of a month so far where I have been inspired and forced by several individuals to think about what I think and how I think. Some of these individuals are best-selling business authors as well as a retired football coach. Others are individuals who are mentors, peers and friends in the IT industry space in which I’m a proud member. I thought that I would share some of what I heard with you with the hope that their daily philosophies for life and work provide them with what Brendan Burchard calls a “Charged Life.”

Mark Sanborn, best-selling author of The Fred Factor and Fred 2.0 and a Denver metro resident:

  • “A cynic is an idealist who doesn’t want to be disappointed again.”
  • What’s true at work is true at home. We are so worried about kids being good that we fail to invite them to be great.”
  • “Fear nothing but to waste the present moment.”
  • Taking notes is capturing; Making Notes leads to implementation.
  •  In Sanborn’s recently releases Fred 2.0 book, he is asking “What kind of difference did you make today?”
  •  Here’s one I like a lot – “Build Better Relationships” for “all business is personal.”

Former Wash Park residents Debi Bush and Mark Sanborn

Brendan Burchard, best-selling author of The Charge and High Performance Coach:

  • “Don’t let your small business make you small-minded.”
  • “Did I show up?”
  • “We all have a second chance every day, every moment.”
  • “What’s going to keep you charged, fully engaged?”
  • “How consistently do you show up with excellence?”

Coach Ditka and Debi Bush

Mike Ditka, Coach of the 1985 Chicago Bears Superbowl team, Sports Analyst and Motivational Speaker:

  • “You have to have the right people and the right purpose.”
  • “Faith, Family and Football”
  • “You can’t motivate people; they have to motivate themselves.”
  • “You have to create the goals and you have to create the methods to make the goals.”
  • ACE stands for  Attitude, Character, Enthusiasm

Robin Robins, Technology Marketing Toolkit and Bootcamp host – an IT Marketing and Sales guru:

  • “The faster you can implement good ideas, the faster you will see results.”
  • “Awareness doesn’t take you to the bank.”
  • “If they don’t trust you, they won’t buy.”
  • Ask yourself “How can I apply this in my business?”

Robin Robins congratulating her new Better Your Best Spokesperson, Jennifer Holmes

Jennifer Holmes – President of MIS Solutions, peer, cheerleader, dear friend and 2013 Winner of the Better Your Best contest:

  • “When the student is ready, an amazing transformation becomes possible.”
  • Tell yourself “I am a Winner, I am Successful.”
  • “We had to make weekly and monthly commitments and goals.”
  • “..we committed to an activity or campaign, implemented, documented, debriefed, noted the lessons and tried again.”
  • “A true marketing system is like a chocolate cake recipe – it delivers a consistent and reliable outcome, repeatedly.”
  • “Believe and you will achieve.”

Debi Bush and Jennifer Holmes
Mutual Admirers

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