Thought Leadership

Split Second Selling with SAP Jam – 7 Use Cases!

Background: This blog is the second in a series which began with the acclaimed post, “The Customer Go-to-Market Imperative: Transforming Silos to Social Business and Community Building.

Recently, I came across an impressive McLaren race car which triggered thoughts about the similarities between sales teams and race car drivers. The “SAP Speeds Up – McLaren Formula One” video provides insights on the importance of “split second and informed decisions” to impact short-term results and future outcomes.

Since that unexpected sighting of a very cool car, I began to ponder how this performance model might be applied to cross-teams and collaboration to help impact revenues and bottom-line business results.

This question came to mind…
How can organizations apply tools such as SAP Jam to win their respective races?
For the full post visit the SAP Community Network. More >>

View from the Top: Leadership Secrets

The blog below and video was originally posted on the SAP Community Network after a November 2012 Fireside Chat with Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP and President John Fry at Drexel.

View from the Top: Bill McDermott shares his success secrets at a #fireside chat!

“In the end, it’s the customer and the customer alone that determines if we have a job

“You need to constantly be innovating for the future, while you’re executing for the present
…the best leaders understand that!”

“You all can make a difference, the young generation coming out of the universities and coming into the workforce. You see things we don’t see, your ideas are unique, you understand where the world is going, you understand social. You get all that, and I think that’s such an unbelievable opportunity to help the economy, create innovation, create jobs, and push things forward.”
—Quotes from Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP AG

Learning from Top Leaders

The “View from the Top” Fireside Chat with Bill McDermott, co-CEO of SAP and Drexel University’s President John Fry on November 1 was an amazing opportunity to learn from two top leaders who have a lot in common with each other. Both are visionaries who provide transformational leadership to large organizations and most importantly they both value helping the community.

The topics included themes such as jobs, trends, and leadership which are of interest to students, alumni, professors, and professionals both in the audience and around the globe far beyond the “375” who attended in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Sacramento, California (USA) (via a live video feed) along with 30-40 who were turned away due to the auditorium’s capacity!

A Students Reflection – Now and Years Later

Everyone who attended benefited including:

  • Students who are looking for their job upon graduation
  • Alumni who are successful and want to take their career to the next level
  • Professors and lecturers who teach SAP-related courses and/or want to position their students for a competitive marketplace
  • Recent graduates who have their first job and want to navigate to achieve success within their organization and with customers
  • Employees and professionals who want to learn about the recipes for success!

The bottom-line is that in my case, I can remember… a time when I was a student (back in the day!)… when I was (& still am) hungry to receive wisdom, knowledge and lessons learned from top executives, leaders, and experts. Often it can be hard to come by. The opportunity to learn from these leaders was an amazing opportunity!

So What are the Takeaways?

All of us are on a journey! From our early school days to now we are all the product of our decisions. Learning from top leaders can provide us insights on how to be successful. We can learn… What worked for them? How can we apply it to our own situations? What big or small idea can help us to save time and accelerate our careers and ultimately win!?

The topics shared included:

  • Jobs – Competing to jumpstart your career
  • Trends – Identifying global opportunities in the marketplace including China and beyond
  • Leadership – Sharing lessons learned and best practices

But there’s an even a greater reason why this event was memorable and worth watching on the video… and that’s the stories…

Bill McDermott provided masterful insights by telling us everyday stories that he experienced from his first business owning a deli (and a few video games!) at age 17 to his first job upon graduation at Xerox and how he conducted his business as a Xerox “Marketing Representative” on the streets of New York City selling door-to-door. While he did share insights on SAP including the value of the SAP University Alliances Program which were phenominal, a lot of his discussion was down-to-earth vignettes which we can all relate to in our everyday work, lives, and plans for the future.

President John Fry did a wonderful job of providing his insights including a very strategic Innovation Neighborhood planned as the gateway from 30th Street (a top East Coast transportation hub in the United States) to Drexel’s campus in West Philadelphia (& University City).

In addition, he ensured that the flow of the Fireside Chat provided the maximum value for the audience..


The knowledge shared will help and inspire students, alumni, professors/lecturers, and professionals from around the globe who are the “current” and “future” business and IT leaders!

The opportunity to have a front row seat, to hear the video, and review the recap on the Business Innovation site will provide inspiration to all who take the time to learn more!

In my case, having watched this event live from the front row; I can truly say that listening to the video the second time around is even more inspirational: I’m looking forward to sharing it with my team as well as hearing it a few more times!



Preparation & Readiness: The Path to Success!

“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
~ Arthur Ashe

As leaders, business professionals, influencers, educators, or students, most of us know when the race begins it is important to be ready to win.

If we were to equate a race to a current or new initiative or project what knowledge would you need to prepare and increase your chances for success? In this age of “instant information” many find it hard to find the “right information” at the right time. Why is that?

A few questions…

  • What happens when you only have a small fragment of the whole story? How do you get it?
  • When an organizations cuts back on training how do you learn the essentials of performing your job?
  • What happens when the people around you are too busy, and/or don’t know the answer and then ask you to understand the “big” picture and prioritize next steps?

While business intelligence tools are “the” essential enablers, in parallel to investing in technology, we must first have a business understanding of the requirements. It’s important to have a methodology to architect the understanding of the “whole” issue at hand and as a result, feel confident to operate knowledgably in a complex environment which we call: the marketplace.

Leadership, influence, and excellence requires that we have a vision or roadmap. You may be familiar with the expression, “In the land of the blind the one eyed squirrel is king or queen!” In other words, “Ignorance is bliss, knowledge is power!

As result, let’s walk through 3 simple models to paint the picture:

  1. The Mosaic – Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
  2. Epcot Center – Walt Disney’s Vision included a Geodesic Dome
  3. The Tao of Knowledge – What Every Leader Should Know!

The Mosaic – Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together
A senior executive friend once shared with me, the “difference between ‘experience’ and lack of experience is how many puzzle pieces a person needs to see, to find the answer to a solution and operate at a peak performance level.”

While we all want as many pieces of the puzzle as possible visible to us and in their place, sometimes we are presented with just a few pieces spread out in different parts of the mosaic.

The experienced person can take a very little bit of information and turn it into a clearer picture. Sometimes all of the pieces may not present themselves but with a few filled in and the skill to fill in a few more — enough information can be derived to make informed decisions and take action around the top priorities.

In the military the ability to gather information can result in “life and death” outcomes. In business “success or failure” and in sports “winning and losing!”

But how do go about getting this information when by all accounts it’s nowhere to be found?  Interesting question to ask, “If knowledge is like a bow — and you can only view one part of the bow at a time, but not the whole bow — then how do you find the knowledge (or data points) you need which are around the curve (of the bow) and beyond your view?

Epcot Center – Walt Disney’s Vision included a Geodesic Dome
How many of us have visited Disney World or scene a picture of the geodesic dome known as “Spaceship Earth” which is a spherical structure based on a network of triangles which when completed forms a circle or sphere?

Many of these same properties can be found in nature, such as the bees nest (or comb) as well as in structures originally designed by the famous inventor, engineer, architect, designer, and futurist: Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (1895 – 1983) who had an office at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia near where I lived while at Drexel in University City (yes, as I was aware of him…I wish I had looked him up!:-).

Given that a triangle is the strongest shape in the universe and that the forming of triangles makes a sphere or circle, it stands to reason that if you can find information (or a data point) on one part of the sphere than you can begin to map out the whole picture by connecting one data point or part of the triangle to another. The fun part is when you work on more then one sphere at a time but for now let’s just work on one at time!

So realizing that information is multiply dimensional with many properties that can include people, cultures, geographies, technology, business, trends, and processes all combining to provide the data points which will help provide you or your audience a more whole view of the knowledge at hand.

In many cultural teachings there is the concept of the “third eye” which at it’s root suggests that we are not fully equipped to see and understand all that is around us.  We must use our “third eye” to recognize that there is more around us then what meets the eye and we must have the tools to truly see.

So the next time you are researching a business initiative or classroom project consider the geodesic dome as a tool to make connections which may seem disparate at first but with some patience and effort can inter-connect and become one —part of the whole.

The Tao of Knowledge – What Every Leader Should Know!
Every now and again I’ll ask a friend or colleague if they know what “Tao” represents?  A few know it very well but most have no idea or maybe heard about it or remember something about it from their school days.

It all goes back to one of the world’s most translated books after the bible, “Tao Te Ching” (Tao = Evolving Force; Te = Being in Step with Tao; Ching = Classic).

Legend has it that Lao Tzu, who was responsible (a.k.a. the “Custodian”) for the information (a.k.a. Imperial Archives)  of the Chou Dynasty rulers, who lived about 26 centuries ago, decided to retire.

He got on his ox and road across the emperors land to leave and go on his way. At the gates of the capital that lead to the mountains and beyond a gatekeeper, Yin Hsi, insisted that Lao write everything down that he knew after his many decades of work as the information custodian.

Lao got off his horse and agreed to write down what turned out to be precisely “81” principles. He handed the notebook to Yin and passed through the gates to the mountains was never scene or heard from again.

What remains is a resources that has been used by royalty, leaders, educators, employers, and generals throughout every generation.

The principles which are studied over a lifetime provide insights into nature, power, influence and encourage us to guide people (and ourselves) rather then force them (or us) to act. Learn to achieve goals. Develop a strong vision. Practice simplicity. Foster growth.

These classic materials are well documented (for you to explore further on your own) and provide several straight forward insights.  In particular 2 key teachings revolve around:

  • Cycles – Going with the flow (i.e. think of the seasons like Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall / The current of a river)
  • Polarity – Opposites such as hot and cold / night and day

So as a knowledge worker (or seeker) you should consider these basic points such as the seasons,  temperature, etc. as part of nature. They do not require any leap of faith as we live with these truths each and every day. In the trigram drawing (above right) you can connect to information in “cycles” such as clockwise or counterclockwise or by going to the polar opposite sides.

Summary and Take Aways
In the beloved movie “The Wizard of Oz” the Wizard gives the Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man certificates and awards for the skills and capabilities that they already had in the first place.

Maybe it’s time that we gave ourselves our own realization that we know more then we think. We have the tools and methodology to learn more. When our teacher, manager, organization, or circumstances does not fully give us the information we need as students or as professionals to do our job (or pass the test) than we can indeed “master” the knowledge required on our own to become an expert, provide value, and have the confidence to create many successes and win-wins for ourselves and others.

9 considerations for knowledge workers to obtain key information?

  1. Relationships – Cultivate relationships with experts and leaders.
  2. Pay Attention – Listen to highly effective individuals (i.e. leaders, influencers, senior executives) many of whom you’ll never meet.
  3. Record – Write down your findings on paper on your laptop or iPad. Remember – A plan (or research) that is not written down is  just a dream.
  4. Source – Go to the originator, expert, or practitioner of the information when possible. If you want to learn about “bricks” go to a brick layer; if you want to learn about “jewels” to a jeweler.
  5. Consistency – Do it the same way every time. Prepare for every initiative, project, meeting using a common methodology. Focus on the topic in hand.
  6. Timeliness – Use time wisely. Whether you have a month, week, day, or hour to prepare. Do it. Don’t go in cold to a situation that with a little preparation you can increase your chances for success.
  7. Collaborate – Leverage group intelligence. Individual intelligence is very important. Group intelligence is more powerful. Collaborate to gain knowledge. You can remain an individual while drawing off what the group knows.
  8. Hierarchical Knowledge – Look for expert information which provides the full landscape of information which may come from books, articles, thought leadership papers, top presentations, design diagrams, surveys, or top expert videos. Start by looking at the forest and then the trees!
  9. Leverage Technology – Develop your own business intelligence whether it’s for you, an organization (“the enterprise”) or a community. Apply analytics, dashboards, as well as business social media including Google Alerts, RSS Feeds, Twitter/Tweet Deck (or HootSuite), Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Make learning, research, and preparation fun. Find friends and colleagues who value these approaches. The rewards are great if you apply these principles!  Start the race (a.k.a. initiative, program, project, classwork) with a plan and the required knowledge which will help you, your team, and organization win!

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>


Business Development: How a speed boat can help the big ship!

So what is business development?

If you were to equate it to a “big ship” or a “speed boat” which would it be?

While most organizations agree they want revenues, profits, growth, and value they have many views on how to achieve it.

Business development works hand-in-hand with top leaders to deliver results which address:

    • Compelling “business issues and market trends”
    • Strengthening relationships with “existing and new customers”
    • Gaining traction to ensure “short-term results”
    • Positioning towards “longer-term value” creation

By definition business development represents the ability to find strategic opportunities and deliver a path (or process) which takes ideas from incubation to delivery with clear accountability.

Successful business development requires “combined expertise” (and data points) in multiple disciplines including strategy, sales & marketing, communications, go-to-market, finance, legal, partnerships, entrepreneurship, social media, operations, technology, and client delivery.

Large and medium sized business often display the momentum of the “big ship” and need the help of business development to act in the role of a “speed boat” to help achieve top-line growth and bottom-line results.

Compelling “business issues and market trends”

When the leaders of an organization recognize new opportunities that are impacted from emerging trends, new products/solutions/services, technology innovations, regulations/compliance, and/or mergers & acquisitions there are frequently important challenges which need to be addressed.

When there are constraints around time, expertise, and/or capacity opportunities can be lost.

Business development can play the role of the “speed boat” to provide additional agility which enables powering ahead to provide the necessary focus to drive (and accelerate) important deliverables.

Strengthening relationships with “existing and new customers”

During challenging economic times the need to listen to customers and share insights is greater then ever. Building customer communities which foster an exchange of ideas is not just nice but a necessity. Using social business platforms (i.e. Jive Software, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) and onsite activities (i.e. events, forums, roundtables, workshops, conferences, etc.) leaders, experts, and their teams must build relationships based on building trust and two-way dialogue.

Business development can play the role of the speed boat to work outside the box to work with cross-teams to bring a unified, dedicated approach in working with customers, partners, and prospects.

Gaining traction to ensure “short-term results”

Every program benefits from proof points to gain acceptance. It’s critical to show early wins which address the goals, objectives, and priorities that can lead to additional investments.

Business development can work with internal teams to support strategy and help execute important board of directors and senior executive management priorities which are tied to emerging market opportunities.

While the big ship may want to make the move, the speed boat maybe in a better position to make the adjustments that can be incorporated at a later time by the big ship.

Positioning towards “longer-term value” creation

Often members of the big ship are working so hard on day-to-day activities and current or new organizational structures that it becomes difficult to identify and/or achieve new or rapidly changing longer term objectives.

Many distractions can take place including reorganizations, meetings, and multiple, well intentioned agendas, and as a result it becomes important to have business development initiative(s) to stay the course.

When short-term wins combines with longer-term value creation then an organization can achieve great things to support sales, management priorities, and most importantly requirements coming “from the outside in” centered around the customer.

Business development working as the speed boat can play an important role to help the big ship stay on course. Participants can move on or off each other’s vessel to gain perspective, but without the two entities working together huge opportunities can be lost.


When a board of directors or senior management sets their vision and roadmap they need help. Often the tools, resources, and procedures required to achieve success do not exist or are being used in other ways.

Collaborating in an integrated fashion with multiple groups helps an organization further it’s most essential requirement, “how we make money.” While the short-term approach represents part of the answer there must be a view on building longer-term, sustainable value.

On a given initiative a business development team or professional may need to make rapid switches between the following:

    • Strategic market development and sales
    • Partner development and channel sales
    • Marketing and communications strategy and execution including writing and editing copy
    • New product, solution, service offerings and go-to-market
    • Community building to bring buyers, sellers, and experts together
    • Technology including engineering and IT
    • Client delivery to assess streamling and bottlenecks which hold back further replication
    • Program and project manager to ensure that all of the above happens on time and within a budget

In the end is business development about revenues, profit, growth, and value? The answer is “yes!”

And like the smaller speed boat, it must operate with the flexibility to make quick turns —propel forward and backward— and as a result, help itself and the big ship take full advantage of the market trends, competitive threats, and support winning new deals based upon new opportunities.

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>


Community Service: Providing Business Leadership in One Hour

The blog below is inspired by a recent “Business Community Leadership Forum “How to make a difference in one hour or less!” with Manna on Main Street, a food pantry, soup kitchen, and emergency financial aid provider, which took place on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 in Lansdale, PA as well as many years of working with inspired community leaders and volunteers.
– – –

Leadership Role Models

Entertainment, celebrity and business stars like Bono, Oprah, Jon Bon Jovi, Nelson Mandela, Bill & Melinda Gates, and Lady Gaga give generously to important causes.  Each of them inspire change by empowering individuals and communities to help others and give back.

When you assess each of their attributes as well as the characteristics of other business and community leaders one core tenant that often stands out is that they associate themselves with non-profit organizations, charities (including their own foundations), and social issues by contributing their time, money, resources, and energy to help make a difference.

At a recent Global Youth Leadership Summit, Tony Robbins, entrepreneur, author and peak performance strategist, shared the following wisdom,

“Leaders inspire themselves and others to do, be, give, and become more than they ever thought possible, thereby creating more leaders in the process. When faced with challenges, leaders defy the odds, set a new standard, and step up and create the future as they see it.”

While there are many individuals in our communities who give generously there are many who, rightfully so, express that they are “too busy” with work, families, and existing obligations to support that one extra cause.

How can being too busy obscure change around social issues? What happens if those who are capable, interested, and talented are too busy to help worthy causes?

As business leaders we are familiar with the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few) named after the economist Vilfredo Pareto which states that, for many activities, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

So it’s true, we need to encourage the 20% who can contribute in order to effect the 80% of change we would like to see happen.

When business leaders, volunteers, and community members, who represent a vital part of the 20%, are too busy then the changes we seek will slow down or not happen at all. As a result, we want to support enough individuals and organizations to contribute to the change so that worthwhile causes will take place — and those who need help will get more of it.

Perhaps we should accept the status quo? Or perhaps there’s a way to enable small amounts of time so that more colleagues can extend themselves just a little bit more and feel good about it.

The One Hour Difference

For those of us looking for a solution of creating change let us suggest the “one hour” principal which states that if you can find a way to give just one hour in a week or month of your time that good things will come of it.

Or in others words, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” And for that to happen we must find the time to do it.

So whether you are a current or emerging business leader or an every day worker or community member what is the benefit of giving an extra hour or your time?  A few considerations include:

  1. Building your network
  2. Cultivating skills and empowerment beyond one’s current job or role
  3. Increasing visibility and influence in society as an individual and as part of an organization
  4. Helping to support a community cause one small step at a time
  5. Passing a small amount of your time forward without asking for anything in return

Now keep in mind, there’s more to this principal then one hour. If you attend a meeting, event, or activity it will likely take more then one hour but the idea is as follows: what can you do in “one hour” to effect change and contribute?

Somehow we want to go beyond “zero time” to “one hour” and then we can build upon it as it makes sense. We can also combine one hour contributions and realize that the sum is greater then the parts!

So what are the next steps in supporting an important non-profit, charity, or social cause? A few ideas include:

  • Contact an organization and take an onsite tour, arrange a brief call, and/or research it on the internet. Find out more!
  • Connect with the executive director, business development, volunteer manager, and/or staff and ask what type of help they need based on your skills and interests
  • Organize participation at a fund raiser that is already set-up (i.e., golf outings, 5Ks / walks, bike rides, sponsorship, car donations, annual dinners, matching funds, and other creative ideas!)
  • Suggest that proceeds from a company meeting or annual event go in part to a worthy non-profit, charity or social cause
  • Assess what you can do in your off hours by way of e-mails, social media, and commutes to and from the office (using a hands free cell phone!) to make directed calls to connect with other volunteers, donors, or contributors
  • Extend communications by offering to pass on news or announcements to your organization and co-workers from an organization who’s social cause you support
  • Identify a busy non-profit or charity leader or chair of a group (or committee) and ask them what you can do to help with “one hour” a week or month of your time

Business leaders and community volunteers must be willing to set priorities and make small sacrifices. Great leaders serve first and act to help others which is positive for themselves and the organizations they represent.

If we give “one hour” we can extend ourselves and help build tangible value and results for those who need it.

And who knows, one hour can lead to “two” and pretty soon you may find you have more time then expected and the social issue that you support will benefit in both big and small ways!

Richard D. Blumberg, President, World Sales Solutions, writes this series of blogs to help senior executives and their teams, leaders, influencers, educators, and students develop effective strategies and tactical execution which results in more revenues, profits, growth, jobs, and value. More >>



Renault Twizy – Transforming transportation!?

As an entrepreneur and business person you always wonder what’s the next big thing? On a recent trip to Paris I spotted a 2-seater car from Renault called the Twizy!

The first impression is that the car is very cool, trendy, and fun! When we went into the Champs-Élysées showroom the presentation was impressive with many colorful Twizy’s throughout the floor as well as a full screen video (see below), computer displays to make custom orders, and alot of buzz to compliment this new offering.

At a closer look I found out that the car, which is built in Spain, is being released in April 2012 with three models starting at €6,990 up to €8,490 (in the UK: £6,690 to £7,400) or about $10,000 USD.

The rear-engine car is part of Renault’s plans with Nissan to rollout a broad range of electric cars which will include other models called Fluence, Kangoo and Zoe which are expected in Europe in 2012 and beyond.

The Twizy, Zoe, and this line of cars, is of particular importance because it will have a “swappable battery pack” (a.k.a. QUICKDROP charging) so that the cars’ owners will be able to take advantage of battery-exchange stations such as the ones battery-infrastructure developer Better Place is building for locations such as Israel, China, Japan, Denmark, Australia, North America, European Union, and around the globe.

The initial Twizy’s will have standard electric recharging of a leased battery but overtime will take advantage of the QUICKDROP system.

So the Twizy looks great… It supports a niche in the marketpace when you consider the multitude of bikes, scooters, cycles, and small vehicles (i.e. SMART) being used in cities and with short-range commuters…  So who will use it?  A few insights include:

    • City workers looking for a ride across town
    • Hertz’s announced they’ll include it in their Green Collection, whose vehicles on average deliver fuel economy of about 55 miles per gallon
    • Young (and old) trendsetters who either want a first vehicle to get around town or a second one for fun and to take advantage of an electric vehicle

So while the Twizy is certainly not for everyone, it does capture the imagination on an emerging way to travel. There’s a huge number of people who commute or do short trips to the grocery store and only need to spend an hour or two in their car.

In the future, with the battery swap packs, owners will be able to swap out new batteries by going to a QUICKDROP stations, plug in at home, or at electric docking stations which are emerging in the United States (i.e. Malls) and which are much more visible on the streets of London and Paris as exclusive parking spots for electric only vehicles.

So while the Twizy will not be in the US in 2012, if it takes off in European cities such as Paris, Madrid, London, etc. then you can expect to see it or models like it over the next few years. The Twizy is the “fun car” in a line of new models which have a very good chance to make an impact both now and over the next few years.

Check out the official YouTube video (below) that Renault presented on a full screen in the showroom which is known as a “pop of serenity!”

Are you ready for the Twizy and the rechargeable technology amidst rising gas and oil prices!? Or do you simply like the idea of having some fun with this new, trendy, transformational car?



Eiffel Tower: Would you take the stairs or elevator?

My family and I just finished a wonderful vacation in London and France. One of the many highlights was arriving in Paris and visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Sharon and I had weighed going to the top of the tower versus just stopping by and walking around it. Both of us had visited Paris in years past and felt we would be happy either way. However, once my teenagers saw this amazing global icon there was no doubt (or uncertainty) when they “insisted” we go up it and see it for ourselves. In fact, it became a mission long before we even got to the base of this impressive structure!

Prior to going on our family holiday we had heard a few points of view including: the need to get tickets in advance; long waits to go up the elevator; and the hotel said it was booked ’til June. Because we were on the fence about going up it until we got there we did not have advanced tickets. Perhaps we would be out of luck and miss a chance for a lot of fun?

Suddenly it occurred to me that if you were willing to walk the 1710 steps then there might be a way to have a little adventure. In fact, I was thinking there had to be a way to go straight up without a wait.

As we assessed this possibility I was reminded of Zig Ziglar, the renown salesman, motivator, and author, who told the famous story of the Washington Monument and that “you can take the stairs to get to the top.” He reminded us that there are long lines to achieve success and dreams but if you’re willing to put in the work and climb the steps one at a time you can achieve your goals. Now we were watching this story unfold in front of our eyes.

Without hesitation we found the ticket office for the stairs only. A few Euros later we were on our way. As I looked down I saw the long line to the elevator. I was happy to have the opportunity to view Paris from 320 metres (1,050 ft) or about the same height as an 81-story building. Most importantly we were on our way without any roadblocks to see what it looked like from the top.

As I experienced the tower and learned about Gustave Eiffel, the visionary designer whose company built the tower, I realized that there were many hidden gems to learn about by way of invention, innovation, and engineering accomplishments that have inspired visitors from around the world including:

    • The tower was a marketing tool to attract interest and draw in the crowds for the 1889 World’s Fair
    • It had been the largest structure of it’s time until the Chrysler skyscraper surpassed it in 1930 and is now copied in many great cities (i.e. Vegas, Tokyo, etc.)
    • Gustave Eiffel, a great entrepreneur, had previously been contracted by Auguste Bartholdi who needed an engineer to build the structure for the Statue of Liberty
    • Thomas Edison visited the Gustave in his office on top of the tower and was very impressed
    • The radio antennas at the top of the tower provided economic value and helped avert it from being torn down

As I climbed down the steps and finished this amazing adventure I wondered how many times we realize that opportunity exists if we are willing to apply ourselves one step at a time?

If we wait for the long line…we might find we’re still waiting long after the opportunity has passed us by!  With success and confidence comes the opportunity to climb to new heights on our vacations and in our daily lives!



Prioritizing Priorities!

A well know CEO recently said, “I make tens of thousands of decisions each year but only 2 or 3 truly made a significant difference to my organization’s short and longer-term bottom-line.”

When I heard this statement I wondered what did this mean? How can 2 or 3 decisions amongst so many important ones be viewed as the ones that stood out and really made the difference?

While the ultimate answer is complex there are certain best practices and lessons learned that can help us understand which decisions lead to the best results.

Many senior executives and leaders consider the following attributes when assessing top priorities:

  • Compelling Business Issues – Understanding changes, actions, and incidents which dramatically impact an organization such as mergers and acquisitions, regulatory and compliance issues, and other major events
  • Market Trends – Tracking primary and secondary financial conditions that can go up or down based on a myriad of factors ranging from supply and demand, access to resources, and conditions that impact people at a global, regional, country, and community level
  • Customer Requirements – Listening to and anticipating the requirements of the ultimate audience making the decisions related to success or failure while hearing them from the an “outside in” view (vs. inside out)
  • Executive / Leadership Priorities – Monitoring the vision, roadmap, and direction of the very important top officers who are responsible for the economic direction of an organization or group

When viewed alone anyone of these items above can fall short. But when combined a smart and experienced person can understand what decisions are most important on an hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly basis to help create value which can lead to more revenues, growth, value, profitability and success.

Career-wise I came to realize that these factors we’re critical both in business development (i.e. sales, marketing, communications, etc.) as well as jobs and professional opportunities.

Those who live by and understand how to prioritize can find greater success and longevity in their work with a better chance to achieve their goals and objectives.

Those who do not take the time to understand what is happening around them are often cast aside and destined to pursue new activities that meet these criteria.

While we all have our own way to prioritize and make better decisions I wonder what factors impact your job, career, organization, and industry which can lead to greater success …or unfortunately failure?

Some say that time is often the greatest teacher but in today’s fast moving marketplace we often don’t have the luxury of time (or experience or knowledge) to figure out all of these points, so I challenge you to make it a regular part of your regiment to look at the factors around you…step back…and consider…

…what are the priorities worth prioritizing?