Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brian Millers Lessons of Wisdom

1. Don't be dismissive
2. Mergers & Acquisitions (CAN) muddy the water
3. Inspect what you expect
4. Leverage this team (HTG)

He left his last HTG 3 meeting with some strong wisdom to the group. I had to share.

I have one more

5. Don't speed with Steve in the back seat of your car, he will take the picture!

Friday, November 4, 2016

HTG Q4 2016 in the books

What an exhausting week. Arrived on Sunday night and had only a little time for dinner and to get my clothes ready for the week.

Monday and Tuesday was off to HTG 3 meetings.. It is great to catch up with this crew.

Wednesday delivered content for the Building A Sales Engine content. I really enjoy presenting with Nate Austin. Finished the day with the vendor content and heard a motivational presentation.

Thursday and Friday was facilitating HTG 20.

Don't forget the gluttony of 3 hour dinners each night!

After Friday facilitating I had a chance to take a walk around the Hotel

I gave me time to reflect on the week. I learn so much from this week. From leadership skills to business and even accounting. I have pages of documents and notes that reflect this learning.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

What I learned Golfing

I picked up golfing just under ten years ago. I gave up boating due to I no longer could just leave for the weekends with kids at home and with the price of gas it was becoming problematic filling the boat up. So I did what every good sales person does, pick up golf. Sure it would be good socializing and meeting new people (Sometimes after saying “Fore!”). I never expected to learn good business lessons.

Over the last decade I shaved some 20 strokes off my game. Not to worry, par is still not in jeopardy. In the beginning it was all about striking the ball consistently, square and with the right club. Over the last few years that became less of a worry. I had mastered the “basics” now what I was finding was that my game was inconsistent at best. I would have a round in the low 80’s then the next round on the same course was nearing 100! What was going on?

It is all mental. I would get bad shots in my head then proceed to repeating that bad shot because that is what I was thinking about when hitting the ball. I did a little reading on golf and decided what most professionals have is a process they go through.

First is consistent setup. How you approach the ball, looking to where you are going to hit the ball and what club to choose. Next and most importantly for me is visualizing the shot. How it was going to come off the club to where it was going to land and how it was going to bounce. These are the images I have before my best shots. Not to worry, I still get the bad ones in my brain and follow with another bad shot.

I think in business we do the same things. Sometimes we focus on the negatives. From the bad culture, to bad decisions and finally to not holding ourselves or people around accountable simply not being authentic with our communication. What we need to spend more time on as leaders is visualizing the future, paint a verbal picture of exactly what it looks like and giving that image to all the people involved so they know what to do on a daily basis to align with that vision.

Don’t under estimate the impact that vision can have on both your golf game or your business.

Caden is about to turn 14. While many kids that age have vision of driving real soon and so does he, he also has another vision. That is to own his own business. Really he already does. He talked about it visualized it so well it has just happened. While a 14 year old may not understand all the items needed for a successful business, he could teach us all a lesson (Which his mom is constantly trying to take back) and that is to fake it till you make it, push yourself daily and don’t be afraid to fail.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

360 Fly Camera

The boys showed me the 360 videos on YouTube and ever since I have wanted one of those camera's. The 360 Fly is a HD 360 camera that is roughly the size of a baseball. Battery life is really good and the app for iPhone/Pad is decent. I don't like that you have to connect via the WiFi direct to camera. I assume this is due to the throughput and Bluetooth could not stream enough to keep up with the feed.

Click HERE for video

I recorded the above video just quickly to see how it looked. You may notice some water drops on the lens, yep it definitely is waterproof (I dropped into the pool and had to fish it out) Remember when watching the video above to look around. If you are on iPad or iPhone you can just move the screen around, if you are on PC just use the mouse.

Battery life is good, it is simple to use and a great start for 360 video. After I have some more time to use the unit I will update everyone.

Bose Soundlink III versus Bose Soundlink Mini II a suprising victor!

Lets just get the basics out of the way. The build quality and ease of use is BOSE so it is very good if not great. Simple to use, easy to pair and I really don't know why the provide a user manual. It is that easy to set up.

The Soundlink III is large and heavy for a portable speaker and has a retail price of $300. It sounds great and battery lasts all day. (14 hours according to BOSE however I have never needed to use it that long!)

One thing that the SoundLink Mini has that the regular Soundlink does not is a microphone. I find this nice because you can use the speaker as a speaker phone when paired with your cell phone. Nice for a conference call during meetings and such. (Be darn if I could find the information on Bose site that gives you that information)

The real news is the SoundLink Mini II. The sound is incredible, in fact I might suggest it is better than the full size Soundlink. After reading several reviews I am not the only person that feels that way. A quick tip is to put the unit in a corner and it enhances the bass output. (It can get a bit boomy sometimes depending on the room) I will say that Bose says 10 hours on the battery. At a high volume I would suggest you get 6-7 hours of battery.

The one area that Soundlink II exceeds is outdoors. I am guessing it is due to larger speakers which should produce a larger sound. So if you are mainly using this outdoor at a louder volume I would go with the larger Soundlink II. However let me be clear, the Soundlink II is much heavier, and much larger so you need to evaluate if you are traveling with it. I travel a lot with the Mini and have been very happy. Another item that is handy is the Mini charges with standard mini USB which I already have when traveling where if you travel with the Soundlink II it requires a special Bose connector.

Last is the accessories. The only one I have purchased is the Bose case for the Mini and I do recommend it. It is very protective, light weight, holds the power cord and is not a waste of space.

All in All I recommend the Mini for sound, portability and function. Only caveat is if you are needing longer battery or mainly outdoor use.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I have been preaching but then found I didn't take my own advice!

I am always preaching to keep your on line profile up to day. From Linked IN to Facebook and all others. Yet I recently went and visited my Linked IN profile and realized I have so undersold myself! In a very short while I spent some time updating some of the publications I had been featured in and posting some of the events I participate in and it looks much better! If you get a chance take a look at the updated profile!

Look at profile HERE!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not going to watch commercials

I just discovered that Jenifer won't even start watching a show that is being recorded if there is a chance that we could catch up to it live and have to watch commercials. Yep, that time has come that live TV is out. (ok maybe only sports)

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Go Giver

Really is what Social Media advertising is all about. Give value and you will receive value. I guess I knew that, just didn't put that all together until I hear a presentation from Frank Kenny

He did a great job tying giving to value.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I made it back to to USA

Well after about 24 hours of travel I made it back to the US. A bit tired, since I was up at 10:30 central on Friday night and pulled into the driveway at about 12:30 central Saturday. As I reflect on this trip I think back to where it all started when Laurie ask if I would take this as a favor to HTG, really a favor? It was a huge opportunity for me to expand (Well everything). I didn't have to think much about this, it met a lot of the yep you have to do it things;
1. Scary? Yep, long plane ride, the unknown of a foreign land. Check
2. Opportunity to grow? In so many ways. If nothing else traveling with Hardin I would learn so much (And did) Check.
3. Grow my network? Met so many new characters. From Ireland, London everything in between and all the way out to Sweden. I have connected as recently as today!
4. An opportunity to give? Definitely was that. I had the opportunity to share what I enjoy.
5. Family? In a strange way yes. My boys really enjoyed seeing through my eyes the new landscape. I hope I have shown them to take opportunities and would challenge them to travel in the future.

So much fun, so much learning and what a great way to see new opportunities.

Friday, February 26, 2016

What I have learned in the UK (General things they do better!)

I have started to see some things that the UK does better than the US! I wasn't expecting to see so many things. So here is my list;
1. Master power switch in motel room. You hit one switch and all things in the room go off (Lights and outlets)
2. Elevators (Lifts) 0 is always ground floor. -1 is below that and so on. Versus in the US we have lobby, conference levels and such. The UK version is so much more consistent.
3. Meals are much more healthy and smaller portions. So much less fried food and sugary drinks.
4. Taxi's have a certification program.
5. Apprentice program - great idea
6. Government recognizes certain titles as authorized where as in the US we make up titles and you never know!
7. Public transportation is really good.
8. Chip and Pin. Their credit cards have an embedded chip and you have a pin that you have to enter to allow charges which significantly reduces fraud. Why do we not have this? (I am tired of telling people I have no pin)
9. Tipping is significantly less and they pay wait staff fair wage.
10. When you are done eating you have to request a bill. (It is considered rude to bring before the ask) then they bring a wireless device to the table and process in front of you.
11. Environmental impact. Everything it seems is built around efficiency. We definitely could do better.
12. Everyone has been very polite. No maybe due to my accent it is obvious I am not from here, however I believe that being more polite is built into the language.
13. Every space is fully utilized. Shops and such are great at maximizing space (Probably due to the cost of that space)

Just a short list. I have had an outstanding time in the UK and learned so much both in culture and in business.

Don’t talk about your pants!

Oh the lessons I have learned this week in language differences. I learned during my presentation yesterday that “Pants” in the UK are what I would refer to underwear. So if you say “I had a stain on my pants” it means something a bit difference. What is the correct language? I had a stain on my trousers. Well that entertained the entire crowd.

As for the presentation it went very well. While educating on Sales and Marketing I managed to share some of the differences from Kansas to the UK. They were definitely interested in Kansas weather. From snow to heat and especially tornado’s.

Doing a whole day of content was a new thing for me. Sure I have managed to work events that provided content all day however I was not responsible for the content all day. Here is what I learned that went well;
• Having 10 different PPT that were topic oriented with an intro deck that set the agenda and value.
• Humor was well received
• The room was very conducive for interaction back and forth.
• Content was solid.

And then the things that I would have done different;
• Too much content. Should have slowed down and cut the last two sections.
• More interaction and posing questions to the crowd.
• Better ending where you end with a bang.

Over all I believe lots of value was delivered, we all had fun and the event was successful!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Business in the UK Versus Business in US

Good news is that business is very similar in both area's. It amazes me how everyone struggles with the same things. When it comes to HTG the ability for Executives to present their QBR (Quarterly Business Review) in a concise manor and on time can be a struggle. To me this is a very important skill. If you cannot concisely communicate about your business to other executives that are in the same business line then how can you communicate to your team on vision and direction?

I have been here long enough that I don't really notice the accent any longer. In fact for whatever reason I had a dream last night that a guy with an Irish accent would not let me golf on the course? No clue on that one. I can now identify location in the UK by accent! Think about the US and the difference between someone in the South versus North and so on. The interesting thing is the fact that in the US there is thousands of miles between these accents. In the UK everything is a bit closer.

The issues that are consistent in the IT business (And probably most businesses)

1. People (Finding, training and holding accountable)
2. Process. (Keeping, updating and using)
3. Communication (Vision and direction)
4. Sales and Marketing (Which goes directly to process)

I am sure that there are so many more. This is just what came to the top this week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Books you must read!

See HERE for a great list of respected industry experts (yea, it is a bit of self promotion because I am on the list)

Day 2 in the UK!

So I definitely slept well Saturday night and forced myself to get up at 7 a.m. Had a bit of breakfast and went back to the room to do my ironing for the week, catch some TV and get ready for the week. Around 10 a.m. I was definitely a bit tired and too a quick nap.
Met up with Hardin for Lunch at a local place that was great. This is where I learned that bacon is a bit different here. I would refer to it as Canadian Bacon. However it was a good lunch and great conversation. Hardin and I have done some work together in the South before and I really respect him and gain so much wisdom.

Back to the facility where I finished up my presentations for the week (Yea I know finally) and out to dinner with a couple others at what I would call an American bistro. Good food and more great conversation.
Things I have learned so far?
Que = getting in line (I have been informed that I Que to far back (Personal space is different here)
Lift = Elevator

Sir Name = Last Name
Pub = Short for Public
Elevators have a 13th floor

Crossing the street is a challenge. I never know what direction to look!
Tea is preferred to Coffee which isn’t a huge surprise.
Euro is roughly the same value as the dollar
I now understand the difference between the North and South UK and even more clarity around the far north. And taking that a bit further I am understanding the different accent differences.
You have to ask for the check at the dinner table (It is considered rude to just bring the check) Then a machine is brought to the table to run the bill. Tipping is significantly less.
In the UK they are far ahead of the US when it comes to Credit Cards. They have the chip and a pin. I only have one card with a chip and they keep asking me for the pin. When I say I don’t have one they take that as extremely strange.
Pound is to Dollar. Quid is to Buck.
Everything is expensive but not drastically so (Definitely more in London than Manchester)
Learning things every day (Even every hour) and have decided that Cricket is my new sport to watch (Now that I understand the rules and such)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Planes, Trains and Taxi's?

February in Kansas can be a real gamble when it comes to weather. So Thursday records were broken all over the state with Hays leading with a high of 91 degrees. Pretty strange when three weeks prior we had significant snow. One thing from Kansas you just get used to change. Change is where my trip starts. On my way to Wichita KS I received the first of many text messages from the airlines. This text notified me that my flight was cancelled and rebooked to later. This would mean that I would miss my meeting in London with Hardin who would help me get from Heathrow airport to Manchester UK (About 160 miles away and more about that later!)
Working with Peggy from HTG (Which she is awesome) I changed flights to Manhattan Kansas so to hopefully keep my meeting point with Hardin. Boarded the American flight and waited. So after a bit the pilot came over and said that Chicago was shut down for the next 1 ½ hours and off the plane we go. Meanwhile it is no longer possible for me to catch the 6 o’clock flight and with this I would be on my own navigating London. (Fun!)

I sat in the Manhattan airport not hearing anything. All of a sudden we had a quick drill of loading the plane and getting in the air. By this time many of the passengers have decided to not fly this day so it was a quiet and open flight. Because of the changes in flights I had to go pick up my luggage and then recheck for the international flight. I had concerns on how long this might take (I had hours to make the flight to London) However it was quick and painless and had 40 minutes to grab some food and get prepared for the next 8 hour flight (Not my definition of fun)

Off to London I go on the largest airplane I have ever been on. It was completely full. Working to grab some sleep during this flight was a struggle. I took off from Chicago at 9 pm and would land in London at 11 AM. (There is a 6 hour time difference from CST to GMT) The flight was uneventful. For 8 hours it was pretty quick? I managed to watch one movie, listen to some music while nodding in and out of sleeping. Not sure how much sleep I really got. Getting dinner on the plane was a first for me (And probably the last, yuck) I did manage to get up a couple of times to stretch my legs. Being short is a benefit to these flights!
So off I go in London to figure out how to get to Manchester. I had to go through immigration which took an hour, then grab my luggage and find the Heathrow Express (Not the Heathrow Connect) which takes me to downtown London where I get to a Taxi. That Taxi takes me to the Euston Train station which is MASSIVE!

Here I learn a lot of lessons (I will provide all of these lessons later) I finally get some Pounds so I can pay for things! Then I get a train ticket to Manchester (80 Pounds) and they do not have a gate. So you watch the big screen and when it shows the gate all of a sudden there is a massive move towards the gate. So here I go on my second train ride of the day. This ride is much more interesting. I get to see the country side. Everything is green, lots of sheep and horses. Interesting note, very few barns and all the horses have coats (Made out of material). This is where it becomes obvious that I am not in Kansas anymore.
Last stop is Manchester train station where I find my taxi and to the motel. The motel I believe is the tallest building in town. My Taxi driver informed me that all the footballers stay at this place? He gave me the names which mean nothing to me.

So by this time it is 4 in the afternoon. I connect with Hardin via text and we are going to meet at 6 for dinner. After getting in my room a shower felt great. With all the new stuff I wasn’t tired (Yet). Went to a traditional British Pub for a beer, then on to another for Fish & Chips. Had a chance to call home and hear that Carsen had a great basketball game and was going to his second game of the day. Off to bed at 9:30 (Which is 3:30 in the afternoon at home) and slept so well! I am forcing myself to get up at 7 in the morning.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The last 2 days of AZ

As usual facilitating a group I learn so much. From the development of teams to the interactions of all these business owners. We manage to have some fun in between the hard work. Sometimes if you have some areas for performance improvement you get a bit of abuse!

The trip home was uneventful, however that 7am flight is really early. However going to be at 8:30 wasn't even a problem on Friday night! It is so convenient to land in Hays and have that 3 minute drive home.

A successful week is concluded in learning, facilitating and growing all around.

Next trip? The UK! (Yea think Kansas Idiot Abroad teaching those from the UK all about the fly over states and sales)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Day 5!

What a great day of information. I had the opportunity to introduce the sales leadership speaker and give everyone the information on the coming year! Nate Austin and I had a blast doing it!

After that HTG had a bunch of food trucks come for lunch. (I definitely tried them all!)

Then we had the HTG Olympics (And a few margaritas). Lots of fun and networking.

The day ended with a visit from one of our Larks Players in the past Blake and his girl friend Lea! Great catching up with them and hearing about their year.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Days 3&4

The "Snowball" distraction was in full effect. You can see John holding on to one giving his companies QBR.

With a room full of entrepreneurs it helped keep their hands busy and if people got off track everyone bombarded them with snowballs.

I learned a lot of things these two days. As usual facilitating is one of the most difficult things I do. From organization to keeping on schedule and making sure that we continue to get value out of the group. In addition it (As always) Service Leadership is very educational. Learned this quarter about the OML (Operational Maturity Level) of customers. It was around that you want customers to have a high OML so that they truly understand the value that high OML companies provide. Something that I will be paying way more attention to moving forward!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Another HTG Event in the books

Wow so much happened this week.

First was the almost private jet flight to Denver!

Second I had a chance to climb Piestewa Peak in Phoenix Arizona. It was 2 miles to the base from the motel, 6 miles climbing and another 2 miles back. Definitely times making that climb that I wondered if we were going to make it! After some persistence and many breaks the victory photo was taken!

Then a great dining experience with Ashley Heaton and his wife which moved to AZ around a year ago. Great to see how well they are doing and really how much he loves what he is doing.

All this in just the first two days!

Friday, January 22, 2016


A while ago there was a culture survey that went out taking the pulse of the company and the culture within. To be honest I don't remember the questions or really any details other than how the leadership is doing and how you feel about your supervisor/manager.

Never really thought much about it until this week where I was told that the team I work for communicated that they have respect for the leadership and the culture within stood out.

Definitely good news and what you always hope to hear. However it really made me ask more questions than it answered.

Why is the culture better? My thoughts? Several things however it really revolves around trust. The people who do the job every day know more about that job than the leadership. Trust them to do it.

Expectations. Give as much clarity around what you expect. Define success and timeframe. A key area around this is to then ask for people to repeat what is expected so you know you are on the same page.

Next is accountability. If people are not performing at expectations hold them accountable. Not once a year, every once in a while. All the time. Don't mix words. Take out the maybe, kinda and sort of. Give the exact words. Performance is to be at 10. You are at 9. This must be fixed immediately. Now lets work together to define a plan and execute it.

Honesty. Have authentic conversations where you discuss exactly where you stand. Sure sometimes you have to be "Political" however many times recently people have responded much better when you tell them exactly what is going on and why. From customers to team members. How can people get better if you simply push issues down the road versus helping give clarity.

Listen. I am not an expert (Well probably at anything) however listen to those around you. Many times I believe people simply act like they care and are listening, then tell you what to do. This is how you get mediocre.

Last, leaders must distribute the praise and accept the negative (Pain). Leaders may not do the job, however they take responsibility when it does not go well.

What is next? It is great to have a great culture. Now we MUST do something legendary.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A little press with CRN