Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Gets Measured Gets Done

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a guest at the last seminar of Rick Grandinetti’s Succeed Inside the Box five-week series. I learned a great deal about perception, goal-mastering and customers, and I also met some great business leaders at the event.

If you crossed a preacher with a business coach, you’d get Rick Grandinetti. Sharp, dynamic, always moving and always entertaining, Grandinetti, the founder and CEO of Morrisville-based VisionPlanning, Inc. uses the Socratic Method of rhetorical questioning to hone his points and persuade his audience to make changes in their life and in their business.

For 2009, Grandinetti is on a new mission to make individuals and, therefore, their businesses succeed even in this weak economy. For fifteen years, this former broker, sales expert, speaker and trainer, has focused on changing corporate paradigms and culture. His talent has solved problems for GlaxoSmithKline, Roche Laboratories, Qwest Communications, Andersen Windows, Public Broadcasting Service, and Ericsson, just to name a few. Besides corporate consulting, he’s presented thousands of keynote speeches and seminars. Now he’s using his expertise to fashion a series of public workshops called Succeed Inside the Box and will have a book by this same name out shortly.

Cary, North Carolina, was the first market for his Succeed Inside the Box seminar, which could be described as the most productive fifteen hours of MBA school squeezed into five weeks. The intensive series ran once a week for five weeks at three hours a piece. Twenty-three business owners and sales executives gathered at round tables to share information, success stories, and challenges. In order to meet and discuss with new people each time, participants rotated tables at the beginning of each session.

Grandinetti often reminded his participants to not blame the weak economy, to set oneself apart from the competition, dream big and to measure everything. Grandinetti stated, “I have the antidote for companies in either a good or a bad economy…because of this economy we’re forced to be business people. You need to distinguish yourself from the competition and do the opposite of what people don’t like about your competition.”

He continued, “I believe in making vision statements a reality. What gets measured gets done. Most people aim too low and hit it. If you don’t have a vision you’re going nowhere. Our vision statement is to make your vision statement a reality.” He then asked the participants what their BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) was to drive his point home about measuring everything. He emphasized, “This slow economy simply exposes a company’s many weaknesses that they should have corrected years ago.”

He also wanted the participants to recapture that “First Day Feeling.” He stated that many times entrepreneurs forget that first day feeling after they start their new venture since they get so bogged down in the daily minutiae of running a company. Sometimes they forget their passion and why they got into business for themselves in the first place. He challenged business owners to recall that initial motivation “and remember how good it felt” and carry it through to their next challenge. Morrisville Mayor Jan Faulkner remembered that first day of being mayor. She said, “When I won the election, I was thrilled, excited, and vowed to increase regional partnerships…I need to go back to Day One…that’s where I need to focus.”

Of course the conversation drifted back to the economy. Rick Grandinetti doesn’t blame the weak economy; rather he blames lame excuses from companies who aren’t examining their sales strategies. The same can be said for business owners who aren’t focused.

He shouted at the group, “It’s not like the Great Depression. We’re not even close. As soon as we seen negativity, we let go. Don’t subscribe to the recession; you’re just hurting your family. You’d protect your family at all costs, right?”

Then he focused on what companies can do to retain and gain customers with three points: solving their problems, retooling the selling process, and feedback. “You need to make your customers’ business better and ask yourself if you have the capabilities to solve customers’ problems. Don’t sell the way you like to sell. Sell to people the way they want to buy. Usually they don’t see how what you offer will make their life better. In addition, you have to get feedback from your customers. Really listen to your customers to find out what they want.”

Judging from the excitement and talkativeness of Rick Grandinetti’s Cary participants, his message of accountability and intention was a breakthrough for many. Grandinetii often stated, “I consult with companies who want to go from ordinary to extraordinary.” The same could be said of how his students, or followers, felt after capping their pens and pushing back their chairs. As they exchanged business cards, the I saw the particpants jump up to form their own Rick Grandinetti-inspired groups to get their weekly or monthly dose of motivation and focus. And even though I just attended one class, I already made three strong connections with my fellow participants.

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