Having been actively and extensively involved in employee engagement consulting and training for the last 10 years, I’d like to share some important lessons learned!

The theory here is that if you treat employees well, they will reciprocate and treat the company well (and their customers), so to speak. Obviously, it is not quite that simple, as we know some people will take advantage of managers or companies they feel are too ‘nice’.

In my experience if you split the difference, you’re on the right track. Essentially, you want to treat your employees well, yet make sure they know that ALL employees will be held accountable and held to the same standard.


1)      Listen to your employees. That doesn’t mean you will implement all of their ideas, but hear them out, give them a seat at the table to share their ideas and thoughts, and drill down to find out more about their concerns.

2)      Thank them for what they’ve done by recognizing your employees monetarily, at meetings, or offering up things like “employee of the month” parking spots, etc.

3)      Keep the lines of communication open. Let all employees know what’s going on with the company, and what the plans are for the future. Keep them “in the loop” and make them feel like they are part of the family.

4)      Have an employee barbeque or luncheon from time to time. Let everyone know how much you appreciate them. I have personally recommended this idea to many of my clients and that special food truck has paid incredible dividends to employee engagement and company morale!

5)      Try to enlist a company “Champion” who will cheerlead and carry the banner of employee engagement for the entire team. Ask other managers and employees who that “Champion” should be, and you will eventually find that person. Consider also having a “Champion” in each department of your company.

6)      Create an internal company monthly E-newsletter sharing and celebrating all employees. Things like birthdays, anniversaries, work anniversaries, vacations, special occasions, graduations, additions to the family, you get the idea. The great news…easily and cheaply done. 

7)       Find out exactly what truly exceptional and engaged employees are doing and then share that with others. Many times people will say, “I/We can’t do that” when in fact someone IS doing that! Find out what they are doing, celebrate that, and share it with everyone!

8)      Have an anonymous suggestion box and/or have employees take anonymous on-line surveys asking employees about everything from what the company/managers can do better to offering suggestions for company improvement. THE KEY, make sure employees know the feedback is absolutely 100% anonymous-You’ll be amazed at what you find out-Your employees may be the best improvement consultants you ever hired (oh that’s right, they already work for you)!

9)      Ask employees what companies they personally admire (ex: Starbucks, Disney, Amazon) and then ask them why. Become a “Retail Anthropologist” and you’ll see that most of your employees like exactly the type of service that they may not be giving the customers that your company serves…

10)   Encourage employee feedback. Employees must feel comfortable about being able to speak freely. Obviously, raises and longer vacation time are popular subjects that cannot all be accommodated, but let employees truly know that there is an open door policy especially for good ideas that promote, engagement, positivity, and company growth and profitability!


Till Kahrs has been a Business Communication Consultant for over 25 years. He has worked with over half of the Fortune 1000 and is a frequent guest on Television appearing on networks such as Fox National News and ABC-TV. Kahrs is also the best-selling author of “Enhancing Your Presentations Skills”, an international business classic, now also available as a Kindle or Nook E-book.  




The Definition of a Successful Leader

Rocky Romanella

Rocky Romanella

I believe the definition of a successful leader can be summarized as a person who adds immediate value as a trusted advisor, mentor and visionary who uses a process approach to lead the organization and its people to new levels of success. Great organizations need to have a thoughtful vision and strategy. Great leaders need to combine that strategic vision with the ability to tactically execute the strategy.


Contributed by Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Executive Advisor.

Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations/Keynote Speaker



The Foundational Components for Success and Motivation

I have been very fortunate through my career to have had the opportunity to work with, learn from and mentor some incredible people. I often get asked in these difficult economic times and in this frustrating job market for advice, encouragement and suggestions. As I think through the many people I have encountered, and they come from all walks of life, they do have some traits and skills and beliefs that make them more similar then dissimilar. Although I do not profess to be an expert, I am a life longer learner who has been shaped and influenced by some outstanding people at all levels. 

So lets take a look at these traits, attributes and skills and together we can build a skills inventory that you may want to use as you perform your SWOT analysis on yourself. I believe it starts with Values. It is what you do when no one is watching that counts. Integrity can often be used to describe this activity but I would like to take it further, it is integrity of your word as well as your actions. I think the integrity of our actions is something we can grasp and relate to. But what do I mean by integrity of your word, simply put, you make a commitment to follow up on something, respond to a request, commit to an action and you do!      

I believe that two fundamental ingredients of a successful person are hard work and enthusiasm. There is no substitute for Hard Work and an equation that I believe successful people use is…. Time + Effort + Enthusiasm = Results. Enthusiasm is what fuels your drive and keeps the engine revving. Without Enthusiasm your equation is time and hard work, and although these are two important ingredients to success, always remember hard work without enthusiasm is just that… HARD WORK. Hard work by itself gets old without enthusiasm.  Another way to look at it is Make it Fun, Make it Happen but Make it Happen. 

Finally I believe we should all ask ourselves some key questions and answer them with a critical eye and with honesty of purpose. How can I add value in this current position and going forward? Do I have a process mind with a strategic vision and the ability to execute tactically the strategy? Can I develop a strategy, build a business plan and execute that plan. Can I provide clear communication and walk the talk. Can I teach my teams to learn to take better control of their day and balance multiple priorities, measuring and following-up for continuous improvement? Do I accept the responsibility for my P&L and my results? 

 Finally, do I have the ability to effectively assess:

    Who am I

    What do I stand for, and

    What will I never compromise


Contributed by Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Executive Advisor.

Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations/Keynote Speaker





Mumpsimus Revisited

The generally accepted story of the word's origin is found in the 1517 writing of Richard Pace, a humanist and friend of Sir Thomas More.  Pace later became the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Pace tells of a medieval monk who persisted in saying "quod in ore mumpsimus" instead of "quod in ore sumpsimus" when celebrating mass.  “Sumpsimus” is Latin for "we have taken," and the full phrase translates to "which we have taken into the mouth.”  “Mumpsimus” is just babble.

It isn't clear whether the well-seasoned monk was illiterate (though that is the general assumption) or whether the word was transcribed incorrectly in his copy of the mass.  What made this particular mistake memorable is that when a younger monk tried to correct the old guy, the older man replied that he had been saying it that way for over forty years and added, "I will not change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus."

And that is how ‘mumpsimus’ came to mean: 

A. a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice. 

B. an erroneous practice, use of language, or belief that is obstinately adhered to.

Not sure if you wanted to know, but now you do.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Showing Genuine Interest in Others

When you show genuine interest in others, it shines a big attractive spotlight on you as someone with whom to cultivate a relationship.  We have all met people who are totally focused on themselves, their interests, and their goals.

Are they fun to talk to? 

Can you rely on them?

Are they people you want to help?

It is, of course, vital to know where you want to go in life.  But if you exclude others because of your self-absorption, you are actually slowing down your own progress.  Include others in your journey.  Work hard not to be egotistical or selfish.  Work diligently to increase the number of people you actively support and who support you. 

Helping others to progress is the proverbial two-sided coin.  It helps you to progress in equal measure.

“One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” 

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson



Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Dealing With Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is rarely part of anyone’s job description, but it is unfortunately part of most jobs.  It is tough to progress when we are stressed.  In fact, we feel stress when we feel we are being hindered from progressing. 

How to deal with or relate to the stressful stimuli in this high-tech, low-touch world of speed-of-light change is a vital and important topic that desperately needs discussion. 

Check this: Stress not only limits your progress; stress can and will kill you (if you don’t take action)! 

-       The American Medical Association says that stress is now the basic cause of over 60% of all diseases and illnesses (cancer, heart problems, etc.). 

-       Stress-related problems, according to the American Institute for Stress, are responsible for 75 % to 90 % of doctor visits.

-       A study conducted by the University of London found that unmanaged reactions to stress were more likely to lead to cancer and heart disease than either smoking cigarettes or eating foods high in the bad kind of cholesterol.

Virtually no part of the body escapes the ravages of prolonged negative stress.  Unfortunately, many of us make up our minds to “get serious” about our physical and mental health only when we become ill, suffer a heart attack, or experience some other form of breakdown.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Striking Up Conversation with Strangers


Meeting people is not really that tough, but connecting with people and making a great first impression is.

Start striking up conversations with strangers in lines (grocery store checkout, movie ticket, banks, etc.).  Make networking a habit.  Practice every day, every chance you get.

Remember, every contact enlarges your net and gets you closer to the people who could enrich your life or utilize your products and services. 

“You gotta try your luck at least once a day, because you could be going around lucky all day

and not even know it.”     -- Jimmy Dean

Speak to as many people as possible, get as many business cards as you can, and exchange e-mail addresses.  Keep making contact. Keep in touch with those you wish to influence.  Communicate regularly with pivotal people in your industry and in other industries.  Many have enormous power that could help you gain access to almost anyone, many of whom you could never reach on your own. 

If you have support from these people, you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble in getting where you want to go.  Doors will seem to magically fly open for you.   


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Knowledge is Power, Ask Questions

People love to talk about themselves, so master the art of asking questions and listening to the responses so you can ask relevant questions. If you can help them with a tidbit of information or link them to a resource, you will be seen as a caring and knowledgeable person. 

You can either make a suggestion related to what their needs are, or help them in some other way. The person will remember that you were able to help them out.

Plus you will gain knowledge.  Knowledge is power, and asking questions is seeking that power.  Asking people questions about themselves makes you stand out in their mind.

Longer pauses before questions lead to longer answers.  Taking these pauses makes you look professional and like you are really thinking and engaged, rather than just filling empty airtime.

It's okey-dokey to script your questions.  Just rehearse them enough so they don't sound scripted.

Here are eight solid questions and statements for starting conversations and delivering solid first impressions:

1.  How did you get into your line of work?

2.  What interested you about the profession?

3.  What do you like most about your industry?

4.  What major changes do you foresee in your industry?

5.  What has been happening in your industry? 

6.  What are the current trends?

7.  What have you found to be the best way of getting the word out  and promoting your business?

8.  I’m meeting people all the time, so tell me: How would I know if

    somebody I meet would be a good contact for you?


Good questions are far more difficult than good answers.”     -- Persian Proverb

Also add these to your conversational Rolodex: 

Tell me more. 

Please elaborate. 

What are your ideas about…? 

There is something I would like to ask you… 

What is your opinion on…?

Do not ask questions in rapid-fire succession.  This is not a Dragnet interrogation or a time for cross-examination.  Nor is it a time to relive your glory days on the debate team.  Avoid asking questions that are manipulative, boring, embarrassing, hostile, confrontational, insulting, or too intimate. 

When you approach people, they will start talking about something, so follow that with them and go with the flow.  Abrupt changes in conversational course cause confusion and frustration. 

Every question you ask makes a statement about you.  Only ask questions that make you look good (smart, concerned, with-it, etc.).


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker





Look for Something to Acknowledge People For


Genuinely complimenting someone costs you nothing, but to the recipient, a heartfelt compliment and the feelings it generates cannot be bought at any price.  Recognition, encouraging words, and pats on the back are all excellent ways of making positive impressions, especially if done in front of others. 

Avoid general compliments as they may just seem like flattery, “sucking up.”  Much more powerful is a comment about something positive that person has done: compliment on behavior or achievements. 

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

-- Mother Teresa


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Examples of Proven Places to Network


Organizations to Which You Already Belong

The first place to start networking is in the organizations you already belong to.  Anywhere you are already connected: your homeowners’ association, office parties, Sunday school class, PTA, workout club, sports groups, political party meetings, Junior League.  Anywhere. 

Professional Trade Associations  

Your professional trade association can put you in touch with colleagues in your field.  Cultivate relationships with other members, tap into their expertise, discuss industry concerns, and swap ideas.  These are the best organizations for learning about your industry, your customers, and your competition.

Check out your membership directory to find experts in the profession.  Contact them for advice or ideas.  The sooner you get involved in your trade association, the sooner your name will get out there.  Serve on committees, contribute articles to the group’s publication, speak at conferences, run for the board.  Learn and practice new skills at educational seminars.  You can learn how to use emerging technologies and catch up on the techniques.  Read the association’s newsletter for tips on how to succeed and use the full benefits of membership.  Contact supplier members.  They can tell you about new products and services in your industry.

State and National Trade Shows, Conventions,  and Conferences

Business and industry trade shows, conventions, and conferences have great potential as really solid places to network.  However, a bewildering number of people never take advantage of these solid opportunities even when they go, because they treat the trip as a much deserved paid vacation instead of one of the best spots in the cosmos to make new contacts.  This is not the place to let your hair down and get your groove on.     

Some of the big trade shows bring in buyers and sellers from around the globe.  So much potential!  At breakfast, lunch, dinner, and networking activities, meet as many people as possible, get their cards and stay in touch.  Study the schedule and ask the organizers for a list of attendees before you go.  Formulate a plan to make it a valuable investment of time and money. 

At conventions, try contacting keynoters and concurrent-session presenters ahead of time.  Most often we speakers are from out of town and do not know anyone, so invite us to sit with you during lunch, or schedule time for a cup of coffee.  At least introduce yourself to the presenters and those sitting around you. 

Trade Organizations of Your Best Customers

If the fine people who already use your services belong to these organizations, would it not be safe to assume that other members might want to use your services as well?  See if you can present a breakout session or seminar on something related to your work.

Chamber of Commerce

They don’t call them Chambers of Commerce for nothing.  More than likely, your Chamber of Commerce is your best local networking source, but only if you’re active and informed.  Most Chambers welcome guests at functions but are usually only interested in recommending their members.  The upside is that you can join as a business or as an individual. 

Chambers sponsor networking activities like after-hours mixers, business-networking breakfasts, luncheons, and even leads groups.  Chamber events are great forums for sharpening your skills and opening face-to-face relationships. 

Organizations with the Same Philosophy as Yours 

If you care about the purpose of the organization, you will be proud to be a member and reap personal satisfaction, along with the opportunity to build relationships.  Get involved in a charity that feels right.

Small Business Development Centers - SBDC

Most metropolitan areas have a couple of SBDCs.  Whether you have your own business or are an employee, the business centers offer courses and resources to help you to grow, as well as to meet people.


Join groups that offer possibilities for making contacts and achieving personal growth: art appreciation, dancing, chess, astronomy, wine and food clubs, etc.  You will meet others with similar interests who are ready to network.  Go to meetings that feature discussions on a topic you’re interested in. 

Golf/ Sports

Golf has long been the sport for business networking.  So if you’re a somewhat decent swinger, tee up.  Jerry Lindsay (successful business owner, avid golfer, and a great dad) offers these words of caution:  “The way a person relates to golf mirrors the way they relate to business. So putt everything out, play the ball where it lies, let faster players play through, do not throw clubs, and most of all, do not cheat.”  Other sports work fine for networking, too.  The key is to find a sport you are interested in, and get involved. 

Spiritual Organizations

I am NOT suggesting that you join a church or synagogue only for the business opportunities.  But let’s face it – many solid business relationships are forged in the pews and folding chairs of spiritual organizations.  Go for the right reasons and let your light shine.  Hide it under a bushel?  No.  You’ve got to let it shine.

Workshops, Classes, and Seminars

Take every chance to learn more and make yourself better.  Other people committed to jogging the road to success will be there too.  Contribute ideas. Ask questions.  Look for a list of upcoming workshops in your local business journal’s calendar of events.  Expect a higher grade of professionals at the workshops and seminars that are sponsored by area business journals. 

College Associations

Having common backgrounds makes for easy conversations and many really get a kick out of helping an alum of their university.

Cultural Events

Meet some people with style and taste.  Theater, symphony, art exhibits, rodeos, tractor pulls


A great way to gain visibility and develop relationships is through volunteering with any of the above-listed groups.  Almost all these groups could use a hand.  Step out and step up.  Look for volunteer jobs that will provide you opportunities to show off your skills and personality, and meet and interact with new contacts.  You increase your impact as well as the potential for new contacts when you actively participate. 


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Get a Mentor

To keep yourself on track and consistently offering progress and earning trust, seek out a mentor.  Mentors help you see beyond your present vision by providing practical advice, ideas, and valuable concepts based on their unique experience and the wisdom gained from their failures, as well as their successes.  They can play a significant role in the life of a successful networker.  A person you respect can guide you and share their wisdom without reservation. 

Make a list of people you believe can impact your networking success. 

Who has earned your trust?

Find a way to connect with these people today.  Mentors should be role models of the kind of person you are working to become.  Be sure to get your advice from the veterans who have “been there, done that” and who sport the “I feel successful” T-shirt.   

A mentor can:

–  guide you in crafting networking goals.

–  make you accountable.

–  show you how to network

    (not just tell you or toss you an extremely well-put-together book on networking).

–  encourage you to network often.

–  offer you feedback and help you identify and overcome

Look for someone who:

–  listens to others and displays good communication skills.
–  demonstrates integrity and enthusiasm for their life and career. 

–  models continuous improvement and the importance of networking.

–  shares their mistakes and how they grew from these 

    learning experiences.

–  seeks opportunities for personal and professional growth.
–  stays informed by reading and attending seminars.

Use these high achievers wisely.  Do not abuse the privilege and start whining about how tough things are out there.  With this privilege comes responsibility.  You must bring value to the relationship.  If you start believing your short-term objectives are more important than your long-term relationships, you will betray the trust and do more harm than good.  Acknowledge your mentors as you progress.  Something as simple as a thank-you and a pat on the back can serve as their inspiration to continue being there for you. 

Continue to earn their trust.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Write Catchy E-mail Subject Lines

The subject line of your e-mails needs to encourage the receiver to open it.  Create a signature file that includes your full name, e-mail address, and phone number so it will be easy for them to contact you.   Include in your signature file a brief but powerful statement of how you empower progress.

And make sure all your e-mails include the address to your own or your company’s Web site. 

Don’t have one? 

Get one, a good one.  

People often will check out your Web site just because you make it easy for them by including it in your correspondence.  Most people are curious and your Web presence can serve as another positive impression that builds trust. 

Your Web site must have up-to-date info, be attractive and easy to navigate, and be chock-full of testimonials from your thrilled customers and clients.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Make Friends with the "Gatekeeper"

Hug a “gatekeeper.”

Make friends with the executive assistants of those you want to create a relationship with.  Executive assistants can become solid allies or your worst nightmare.  Do not make the mistake of taking them for granted or seeing them as obstacles to be overcome. 

Heck, they’re the ones who set up appointments for the decision maker.  And in a lot of cases…           THEY ARE THE DECISION MAKERS.

Get to know everyone in the office as individuals.  Talk with them.  Learn all the front-office folks’ names, special interests and hobbies, the names of their kids, and stuff like that.  Check for clues from what they display on their desks. 

Be dependable and genuine.  If you can build a solid bond with these key individuals, you will differentiate yourself from run-of-the-mill sales punks who ignore gatekeepers and just try to barge in to see the big chief. 

If gatekeepers know and respect you, they can recommend you when the need for your service arises.  They can keep you in the loop.  They can be your greatest champion.  Plus, executives respect you more if you have an authentic interest in their whole staff.  Most executives like and respect their assistants and value their insight, so if the assistant likes you, so will the person in charge.

To gain a possible inside track, ask assistants what groups their boss is active in.  Join those groups and get involved.  When decision makers see you engaged in activities outside of the office, they develop more confidence and respect for you.  That’s good.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Four Steps Taken by Effective Networkers


The four letters that make up the word CODE stand for the four steps consistently taken by the most effective networkers to crack the networking CODE and start building priceless business relationships.  Effective networkers:

C:  Create Personal Curb Appeal

Effective networkers feel successful and display a genuine desire to help others progress.  They look and act the part of someone you would want to have in your corner.

O:  Open Face-to-Face Relationships

Effective networkers research the various networking options and commit to a networking strategy.  They get out and about and reach out.  They open relationships.

D:  Deliver Solid First Impressions

Effective networkers know their first impression sets the foundation for all future impressions, and they make sure it’s a good one.

E:  Earn Trust

Effective networkers follow up and keep in touch.  They stay involved with the people they meet and earn their trust through a series of progress-based impressions.  They continually find ways to help. This is where most ineffective networkers drop the ball.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Power of Networking

There are many benefits to harnessing the power of networking.   

Here are the Top Ten:

1.    Friendships and support

2.    Advice and access to different points of view

3.    New career paths, employment, and business opportunities

4.    Referrals and introductions to professionals

       and quality prospects

5.    Important information

       (Market/organizational shifts, upcoming events, etc.)

6.    Promotions or lateral moves within your organization

7.    Unique sales ideas from sales professionals in other fields

8.    Introductions to quality vendors and resources

9.    Advocates within related organizations and industries

10.  More sales

 “You have to accept that no matter where you work, you are not an employee;  you are in a business with one employee  yourself."              - Andrew S. Grove


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Smart brands put All the Wood Behind the Arrow(s) by developing core competitive advantages in a few select areas to win at the point of attack and maintain their market presence against great offs and greater giants.  What key takeaways can we extract from these companies?

Culture comes from you.  Where you find your cultural heritage, your deep passion for an area of excellence, is a deeply personal choice.  You may be committed to doing the right thing for planet earth and you may simply find electromagnetic protective relays to be "beautiful, beautiful things."

The core of Method's business resides in their deeply felt belief that there should be a better way to clean.  This wasn't an idea that sprung from a research panel but from a personal conviction on the part of hits founders that the world wasn't right without a sustainable, ecologically sound detergent--and one that happened to smell nice and come in an attractive package too.

Dr. Ed Schweitzer (Schweitzer Engineering) saw beauty in electromagnetic protective relays.  His calling came to him very clearly, and after speaking with him, it seemed that it would have been impossible for him to have chosen a direction in life too far from this area.  He didn't gouge his customers.  he wanted the product to help people.  The brand's culture was firmly rooted in honesty and integrity.

This isn't a decision made from marketing research.  This comes from your sense of who you are, no matter whether you were born a Boeotian or an engineer.  Your culture is your soul.

Functional expertise is something that comes from what you do for others.  Whatever you choose to excel in, it has to matter to your customers or channel partners.  Method became the flag bearer for the "clean detergent" category by virtue of its formulation and its attention to customer experience.  Without the experience, the formulation would have been ignores as just another unknown brand--while without the formulation, the user experience would have likely missed a large part of its intended market.

Your functional expertise is your craft, your vacation.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.



From Met to Net


There is this unassuming little word you always find in the biographies of famous people.  The word is “met.” 

Then William R. Hewlett met David Packard.

Then Dean Martin met Jerry Lewis.

Then Sid met Nancy.

Then Siegfried met Roy.

We meet people all the time.  Meeting people is part of life.  Meeting people is one of the fundamental steps of networking. 

So why is meeting new people in a networking situation so intimidating?

Why is it so tough? 

How do some people make it look so easy? 

What is their secret?

We meet people all the time.  They are everywhere.  Meeting people may be necessary in successful networking, but it is not the only step.   There is a big difference between meeting someone and building a priceless business relationship with them.

How do you build a powerful personal network?

This is an important question to consider because, to a large degree, who you know and associate with determines who you become in life. 

We think of ourselves as individuals, but we are embedded in networks of relationships that define and sustain us.”      -- Michael Nichols


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Capitalize on Opportunity

It's all about finishing well.  Understand the point-to-point mechanics of how your stuff ends up in your customers' hands.  Attach yourself to an order-understand the touch points from the consumer's initial awareness of the product or category through traditional advertising, online search, or social media all the way through the in-store merchandising experience-and see what you learn about potential weak spots in your competitor's assumptions.

Capitalize on opportunity.  "Whenever there's an opportunity for foot traffic, from either a season or a competitor, you really have to capitalize on it,"  "Regardless of whether you get the ad space, you always have an opportunity in stores to promote your product and take advantage of that traffic."

Plan for trouble.  Losing a key merchandising opportunity promised by an important partner happens in life and in business, but that doesn't mean you can't make doubly sure that won't happen today or tomorrow. And never stop working just because you've been told you got the ad.

Be ready when trouble arrives.  One of the most enduring lessons that an experience teaches is that you should have the resources ready when the opportunity (for the disaster) arises.  Having the foresight to train and retain the right resources is half the battle.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.



Successful Networkers are Generous Networkers

Give before you receive. 

Successful networkers know they must contribute before they can expect a return on their investment.  Try to match and connect the knowledge and skills of the various people you meet with others you have already established relationships with.

Give a smile - Get a smile.

Give help - Get help.

Introduce people to people - People introduce people to you.

Care - Get cared for.

Listen - Get listened to.

Help others progress – Progress.

Give referrals - Get referrals.

Ask yourself:

Do people perceive me as a generous helper or more as a selfish taker? 

Careful here.  If you wear the selfish taker label, people will eventually whittle you out of their loop.  This is exactly the opposite outcome you are looking for. 

Start today.  Say it loud.   Say it proud. 

I like to help. 

Today I am going to help and give and then help and give some more.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




ROII shows your buyer the profit he or she makes on each dollar they invest in stocking your product over the course of a year.  And given a little competitive intelligence into how much your retailer is marking up your competitor's products and how fast it is selling-both bits of knowledge that a good account manger can often uncover in discussions with a buyer-it can also be your ticket to getting more peg hooks devoted to your product line on a crowded retail shelf.

Return on inventory investment - ROII, or GMROI, if you're speaking to Walmart - is calculated this way.   ROII = (Markup x inventory turnover).

* Know your enemy's turns.  If you understand how fast your inventory turns at retail versus your competitor, you can adjust your margins to deliver a superior ROII calculation.  If your competitor chooses to reduce their prices to meet you, that's a game they'll have to play over a larger base of business for a prolonged period of time.

*Know your enemy's margins. If you know the comparative margins between your brand and your competitor, you can still deliver a superior ROII by increasing your inventory turns.  Your turns will be a function of the amount of inventory your retailer carries - the number of facings they have on the shelf plus inventory - and the speed at which consumers pull them off those shelves and put them in their shopping baskets.  Ads, temporary price decreases, displays, value added promotions, and other means of driving demand - not to mention stronger brand loyalty in general - will all, in aggregate, improve your turns.

ROII tells your channel partner how much money they are making one each dollar invested in your inventory every year.  In sophisticated retail environments where you're selling an inventoried product, this is the calculation you'll use to get in and get more - at the competitor's expense.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.