Friday, November 10, 2017

Sales Experts Disagree with Simon Sinek

Ken Krogue’s Forbes article, Simon Sinek Says ‘Start with Why,’ But Sales Experts Disagree, is worth a read. In it he cleverly uses Sinek’s best seller to make valuable points about starting with who; that is, the necessity of first qualifying a prospect to validate she has the “proper decision-making power in the sales process.” He writes, “If you don’t get to the person with authority…, all the Why, Who, and What won’t make enough difference to close a sale.” Ken is spot on.

This said, if we take a step back from focusing on sales process or executing effectively in a unique sales cycle, the fact is, superstar salespeople do start with why. To Ken’s point, yes, they are well-grounded in a sales process, and they know how to do their jobs, which includes qualifying prospects early.

However, these folks initiate sales cycles because first and foremost, they are on a mission to change the world in some way, large or small. This is their mindset. For them it all starts from this, and from this they identify prospects with the highest probability of following them. Therefore the products and services they sell, the organizations they represent, and for that matter even their clients are transfigured into potent symbols of their cause.

The Kilyx point of view: Internalize Start with Why. It’s a game changer.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's Good News Week

Headline: “Scientific Findings that will Obliterate Our Training Tomorrow...Unless We Change.” The article reads, “There are fundamental research and scientific findings in psychology, neuro-biology, media and arts, and information technologies that challenge the essence of the learning and training profession as they stand today. The impacts are now apparent.”

I love the National Enquirer drama, the cloud of armageddon funneling in over the hills, the yellow press “don’t-be-the-last-rat-on-the-Titanic” warning. What’s more, in large part, I think they are right.

My single point of contention is simply this. By narrowing their fear-mongering down to training alone, I think they have understated the coming cataclysm. In the 21st century every professional in every part of an organization contributes to its success - not simply by what they can do, but more importantly, by how they think and what they know. It isn’t just about skills and experience; mindset and continual improvement through learning are at least as important.

In my view the headline should read, “Scientific Findings that will Obliterate Our Jobs, Organizations and Countries Tomorrow...Unless We Change.” The article should continue, “...that challenge the essence of every organization today.”

The good news is, our organizations don’t have to become antiquated...unless we let them.

Kilyx is committed to using leading principles of instructional design and technologies along with engaging content focused on emerging research, innovative thinking and great stories to keep professionals smart, creative, engaged and thriving. We complement and extend the great training and development you are doing. Moreover, we make the learning actionable and embedded, while the participants feel accountable.

I invite you to schedule a time for us to speak...before it’s too late.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Mission Incredible: How One Manager Used Learning to Do More, Better with Less

The Mission: A technology company has a group of employees who support its global network of third-party developers - the people who create apps and businesses using  the firm’s technology. The pace at which the company releases new features is so fast that the developer relations team, who travel the world giving presentations at conferences and trade shows to evangelize these new capabilities, are challenged to keep up. To become more scalable, the team commits to also deliver presentations on new features via YouTube. The videos are good and the firm’s ability to keep up with its release schedule is significantly improved.
The culture of the organization, however, is such that although “good” is okay, the videos need to be great. In this case “great” means getting all of their videos viewed, remembered and acted on. There is more work to do to empower the team to make stickier videos, ones that third-party developers will watch through to the end so they can leverage the technology to build better apps.
To get to “great”, here’s what the manager did not say at his next team meeting. “Okay, some of our viewers seem to lose interest in your videos and are dropping off before they end. Go make better videos. I will use YouTube analytics to measure success and you will be held accountable. You have three months to improve.” 
Here’s what he did do. We met for thirty minutes over coffee to discuss how Kilyx uses learning as a catalyst for change. Ninety minutes later, we had a clear direction. After six months the manager said, “Kilyx was fantastic to work with and the program strongly exceeded my expectations. What I liked about the Kylix system overall is that everything was very actionable. They went the extra mile to adapt the materials to my team's specific needs and helped embed it into our processes.
“All the participants loved it and the results were truly amazing: we saw a 4X increase in viewer retention on our educational videos [while producing fewer total hours of video]. The best part: the learning has proliferated with all participants now speaking in a common language. Well done!” 
Do you have 30 minutes for a cup of coffee to discover how Kilyx Learning Cohorts can empower you to use learning as a catalyst for change that participants love and that produces measurable results for the sponsors? 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Boxes and Blank Slates

Life is filled with cliches. Do a Google search on “business cliches” and you’ll be told that some should be cut from your vocabulary, others will get you promoted, 13 are making you terrible at your job, and most are overused. You will also be told  that cliches “lack original thought.”
This last point is true, however, it’s a bum rap to call out cliches on this. There is no original thought.
Okay, I confess, this is not my idea. In fact, I read it somewhere. Indeed, nothing at all in this little communique is original. All I can take credit for is accumulating and chewing on several thoughts over a period of years, weighing their relative merits with as clear a mind as I can muster, and serving them up in a way that I hope you find palatable - maybe even delicious. Yes, creativity is more like cooking than sorcery.
So what’s the point? When you take the time to noodle on a cliche, despite all the bad press the abuse of cliches attract, you may discover that many hold wisdom. It may require time and thought to unpack them. It may be someone else who does it for you. Regardless, an old overused cliche may provide you with actionable insights and breakthroughs.
For instance take, “Think outside the box.” You see it in job descriptions. You hear it in meetings (I did just last week). For some it is an ability they claim to have or aspire to. For others it sounds more like a mystery skill such as mental telepathy or clairvoyance  But what does it really mean, and how can you do it?
There is a short video where Stanford professor and best-selling author Chip Heath discusses thinking outside the box. He tells about how boutique hotelier Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre Hospitality and his marketing team set out to develop a theme for a rundown property he had acquired in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. They spent a day brainstorming. It was a series of bad ideas, and at the end of the day they were no closer to a winning theme for the property than they were in the morning.
The next morning, Conley plopped a copy of Rolling Stone magazine on the table to begin the session and asked the team what a Rolling Stone hotel in this gritty part of San Francisco might look like. The great ideas flowed quickly and soon the team had an innovative concept for this dilapidated property which ultimately became a hit with musicians and Silicon Valley engineers who want to be as cool as a rockstar.
Heath’s point is simple. If you want to innovate, don’t start with a blank slate like the Joie de Vivre team did. Rather, find a box - the right one - and think inside the box.