Embrace the Collective

swarmWhen I was at the EO Nerve conference in Charlotte last April, I met Captain David Marquet, who spoke to us about his perspective on Leading. He discussed his experience leading a nuclear submarine and how as a leader, he felt he was expected to have all the answers. And ultimately, he realized that was not a realistic expectation.  David learned this lesson the hard way when he was commanded to change from his original submarine he’d spent one year on, to a new vessel.

So what is most interesting about this? David is an advocate for “embracing the swarm,” which author Kevin Kelly discusses, as I will do in a future blog. “Embracing the swarm” is another way of saying that no one individual is as smart as the collective.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, relevant to the interface of bounceit!™, where the gathering of opinions creates a higher level of feedback and knowledge than just asking one person’s opinion. The importance here is gaining a large focus group. The more opinions, the more reliable the “market place” answer.

I was not quick to write on this topic because I thought it may not be easy to explain. And I knew it would be hard to compare to the message I heard David share with such passion and experience. He has now created a white board presentation, during which he discussed while someone created a visual. I see this as a fun way to get an important and relevant message across. Enjoy the video.

Inno-Versity Presents: “Greatness” by David Marquet

Do You Get Naked with Your Clients?

1481330-red-mens-neck-tie-draped-over-the-back-of-a-black-office-desk-chair-isoI spent the past week in St. Thomas for my annual timeshare week. It is always a great getaway, and this one came and went with a lot of time at great beaches, meeting new people and doing some reading. I got to spend the night at Jost Van Dyke, which is something that I’ve always wanted to do. The time around Soggy Dollar Bar goes fast and you get dragged away, if you are there on a tour boat or take a ferry, just when things seem to be the most fun. Staying the night was a great way to relax and enjoy the new friends and amazing beach, and contemplate the opportunities the new vertical has for us at Efficience.

The reading I got to do was very insightful and gave me several ideas to help me with my business. It was the book that Jack Daly recommended at the Nerve conference recently as the best sales book ever, which is called Getting Naked, by Patrick Lencioni. It wasn’t what I was expecting, when it came to a book that is supposed to help you with selling. But it all came down to what we admire in people, and that is being real and humble. The book is told in a fable and it is a good read, with the format helping to make the points very clear.

What it comes down to, is that when the business consultant went in to do the sales presentation, it was actually a bunch of questions that dug into the business and the issues they were having. He gave away his advice, and did so without any commitment from the potential client. There was no priced discussed, unless the client asked the question. This was all about adding value and showing the prospect that he was there to help, and if they found his services of value, then they would engage said services. This went down to creating a successful practice without having to actually sell, at least in the traditional sense.

What is revealed from the fable is that people have three fears when selling. They are the fear of losing the business, the fear of being embarrassed, and the fear of feeling inferior. When you are trying to sell and protect yourself from these fears, it works to prevent us from building trust and loyalty with our clients. When you provide your services in more of this naked fashion, you are sharing humility, selflessness and transparency, which when shared does create a bond with others. This bond leads to a level of trust that builds real relationships with clients that last during good and bad times, and even when you charge more than the competition.

In the next blog I will discuss the three fears in more detail. In the meantime, are you being naked when you are working with your clients?

Our Instincts Are Social

As discussed in the X-Factor Blog, I attended and spoke at the Nerve Conference in Atlanta just over a week ago and had a great time! We listened to some interesting speakers and had a fun spending time with our EO friends and meeting some young aspiring entrepreneurs. The breakout went well! The X-Factor content leads to such powerful discussions and opens us up to the possibilities of creating breakthrough opportunities for our businesses.

The conference theme “Dream, Challenge, and Lead” was inspiring. They kicked it off with video of Martin Luther King, Jr. Then a gentleman came up on stage looking like a young Dr. King and orated the “I Have a Dream” speech. What a powerful experience!

We later listened to the three young international workers that had been captured and held hostage for over a year because they had been hiking near Iran. It was seriously challenging to listen to them share their stories, let alone be in their situation for that amount of time. They spent much of the time in solitary confinement, and they spoke in depth about how incredibly difficult that was for them. Their stories on this hit me hard and reinforced how social a species we really are. When we don’t have human contact, we are driven to a psychological breaking point.

The natural instincts we have to be social would explain the success of social networking and the intrigue we have around the success of Facebook. So when we were told the Winklevoss Brothers were speaking, we packed the conference room. They came up with the idea of a social website and asked Mark Zuckerburg to try and build it, and then he went off and built one himself. The twins talked about their work habits and the challenges of being Olympic caliber rowers. They did a great job comparing Olympic sport to the business world and what they are doing today.

They didn’t really break out into the issue we all wanted to hear about and what really happened with the Facebook before Q&A. However, we jumped right in and asked when they took questions. They shared that they felt it was pure fraud, and they were very disturbed by his actions. I would say they don’t have much to complain about with Facebook stock getting ready to go public, and they also got rich while training for the Olympics. They have new ideas (shhh it’s a secret) that they are exploring with all that money they have now.

I find it very beneficial to be at these conferences (being social) and to gain exposure to the experiences of proven and successful people, whether they are the speakers or the members attending. I was excited to meet a couple of young entrepreneurs with that look in their eyes that says they’re ready to go after something big and create something from nothing. Quinn and Michelle go out and make the world a better place with your budding entrepreneurial spirit!

What are you doing to let that inner entrepreneur to come out?