Category Archives: people

Don’t let anyone fall through the cracks… including you!

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s all about who you know.” Or who knows you. Or who remembers you.

In business, large and small, you have to be in the top layers of the minds of the people you do business with, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

It’s about your network. But more importantly, it’s about how you take care of your network. You need to nurture it. Like plants… you need to water them, give them the right amount of light, enrich the soil, and even talk to them according to some.   🙂

People are the same. Look at the illustrations above. Imagine the names you see there are the names of people in your network. The bigger the name, the more you interact with them: meet in person, talk on the phone, exchange emails, follow each other’s social media, etc.

But what about those little names? Those you do not keep in touch with? Those who do not know about what you’re doing? Who knows what they are doing right now? Who knows what they are planning?

And that also means THEY do not know what YOU ARE DOING!!!!!

Imagine your cloud of names with no bid difference in size. Some will always be bigger, of course. These people you deal with regularly because things are good between you and them. But you have to wonder what you, or them, are missing by not being in touch.

Just a thought…


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How to Deal with STRESSED OUT Customers

Thanks Tim!   Another great perspective on understanding and dealing with people. Especially the importance of having a clear enough picture of your own needs and objectives so you know when to… get away.     🙂

Tim Ohai

Next week, I am stoked to be joining my friends Jim Keenan (@keenan) and Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) for a “jolt of Sales 411.” Our topic is going to be people who drive us nutshow to deal with a pain in the a$$ prospect/customer. Knowing these guys the way that I do, it’s going to be a GREAT conversation. One that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Since I typically obsess think about things way too deeply before doing these kinds of events, and I have been focused on the concept of stress this past year, I wanted to cover stress as ONE of the ways that a client can become an absolute terror.

High thermometerIn case you missed my last post on dealing with stress (and since it was months ago that I posted it!), let me give you a brief summary. I find that stress is generally…

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Good bye acute meetingitis! Plan your day-to-day meetings as a true KMer…

Thanks Ewen! Can’ talk enough about useless meetings, especially those which benefit only a few, if not just one of the attendees. Like the idea of Open Space Technology, and I very well may use the Meeting ticker. 🙂

Agile KM for me... and you?

On this blog I talk a lot about (large) events, how they’re designed, facilitated, useful, successful, impactful… or not. There is a related, mundane, day-to-day topic: the case of everyday meetings. We spend sometimes so much time that we might want to think about how to make them as useful.

And in this post, I just want to stop and consider how to plan your time in these day-to-day meetings in the best possible way, from a KMer perspective (also because good KMers are innovation conveners – and good practice-shapers).

So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting - time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom) So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting – time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom)

So here are some principles to get your started in planning your (attendance at) meetings:

Come prepared

Long preparation, short war so… If you’re not prepared, you’re likely going to be wasting your time and others’. And as I keep referring to meeting cost calculators (such as Meeting Ticker

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Feed your brain and your soul: get out there!

Get out there!

Getting out of your normal, daily space is very important not only to breathe fresh air and exercise your body, but also to stimulate your neurones, make new connections, discover what’s out there, outside your bubble. Going to professional gatherings such as conferences is a great way of doing just that.

I had the chance last week to do two conferences: CSTD Conference & Trade Show 2014 and Agile Montreal Tour 2014.

It was simply… exhilarating. Not only because I had not had the chance to do it for many years, but this time was the right moment: lots of talk about change, agility, creativity and innovation. Great keynotes, and a choice of great sessions, at least I was lucky in my selection.

But more importantly, it was about the experience of being with other people, other like-minded people AND other people, period.

You never know where a conversation will lead, you never know what connection you’ll make (besides the Linkedin one). For sure that it is not that easy to walk around strangers, and fight the urge to cluster with the people we know, who will make us feel “safe”. People who know me are surprised when I tell them I’m shy: it’s true, it takes me a lot of energy to make the first step, to engage a stranger in a conversation. I do it not only because I must, but because I know that it just gets easier: a stranger is also a person, with feelings and concerns and yes, fears. If it doesn’t click, it wasn’t meant to be. But if it does, watch out, you’re in for a treat. Just be yourself and you’ll learn something, even maybe about yourself.

So next time you have an opportunity to get together with other people, other than your colleagues (!), to get out of YOUR bubble, TAKE IT!

Anyway, I’ll stop here, and prepare another post on the CSTD conference.

I’ve thought about it so much… I must be right. Right?

Am i right?

How many times have you been  involved in a situation where you had to deal with someone pushing their position or ideas on you?

How many times was it YOU doing the pushing?

The way we approach things and the way we make decisions, comes from our knowledge and experience and the more we have, the more assertive we become. This can be good, especially when we’re in a lead position: someone needs to take charge, while others need to be directed. But it doesn’t mean we’re always right! We have to be careful not to become a bully!

Side note: It’s not because we’ve done it a certain way before that we shouldn’t look at finding a better way to do it. There is always room for improvement, right?

Side note #2: It’s not because we dreamed up a way to doing something (meaning we never actually tried it) that it is the right way of doing it!

When we’re looking at doing something different, whether it’s completely new, or bigger in scope, or working with people we have never worked with before, or tackling a type of activity we have never done before, we always need to step back and consider alternatives, especially when people around you are TRYING to tell you so. At the very least, we need to keep an open mind. And this means listening and understanding what others are trying to say: not just humoring them!

Side note #3: I remember something like this on Linkedin recently… “Listen to understand, not to prepare your reply.”

Makes sense?

Was the rate worth it?

Value and Expectations of a Rate?

In my previous post, What’s in a Rate?, I tried to get into the various dimensions of the value you either offer or look for in people, to do a certain job. In addition to the “traditional” dimensions of education, skills and experience, I looked at professionalism and mindset. I also made a point that the expectations need to be CLEAR!!!   …on BOTH SIDES!!!! That is, at the time the rate is “negotiated”.

After chatting about this with a very good friend of mine, Gordana Stok (check out her very interesting blog at, she looked at the other side of the coin… the result of what was done for that rate:

What about the quality of the deliverable… Was it completed on-spec, on-time and on-budget? Did it achieve the end-goal? Was more done than expected? Was it easy, agreeable to work with this person, was he/she a team-player? Was he/she difficult to deal with? Did he/she create problems? Etc.

Basically, the question is Was it worth it? Was it a good “deal”? This of course needs to be looked at from both the seller and the buyer’s sides.

Was too little paid for the services rendered?
Was too little paid for the services rendered?
Was too much paid for the services rendered?
Was too much paid for the services rendered?

Obviously, we all aim for perfect balance, like my first illustration at the top: perfect balance between services rendered and the price that was paid for it. Though nothing is perfect, you can balance it out by making sure that (1) ALL expectations are clearly defined at the START, and (2) reviewed at the END.

Sadly the reality is that ALL expectations are not clearly or completely defined, or the review is not done properly, if at all. It may likely be discussed internally in the organization of the buyer, but is it conveyed to him or her? Most often then not… no. Either nothing is said, or very little: “Good job” or “There were a few things we should discuss, but we’ll chat about them when we start the next project…”

When it’s time to review, first ask the following questions to both sides:

  • Was the job clear?
  • Were the expectations clear?
  • What was the result?
  • Was it under delivered or over delivered?

Once answers are aligned, you can ask:

  • Was the rate too low?
  • Or was it too high?

Clarity benefits everyone, and contributes to building great working relationships.

Make sense?

What’s in a Rate?

value vs rate scale

Over my professional life, I’ve been on both sides of the fence: charge a rate for my services, or pay a rate for someone else’s services.

So like everyone else, I’ve had to decide what I was worth (sometimes even on the spot, which is NOT recommended…), and also decide what someone else was worth. It ain’t easy because it is very subjective. To make it easier, some people look at industry rates, to… standardize. But that is not necessarily good: by definition “industry” refers to somewhat large scale sampling, with attributes evened out or simplified. Yes, there is a need for that. BUT, there is also a need for considering each single decision/context/contract/hire: what is the value I am offering/looking for?

Because ultimately we are talking about people who are going to get paid for specific work, and because it [too] often creates tension/noise once we get into it, I recently have been trying to think a bit more about it, to hopefully make it easier, and fairer, somehow. And I hope I will generate some discussion and… make the world a better place, one person at a time.   😉

Side note: some organization have decide to open the books, at least internally, to let everyone know how much everyone is getting… (see Happy Manifesto, p. 68 “Make salaries open”): the result?  Very positive! (…supposedly).

So… here are my thoughts, and back to my initial question: what’s in a rate?

Yes, there are the standard attributes: education, skills set and experience. But is that it? Certainly not. What about specialties? What about other skills not necessarily [directly] required, but could very much be beneficial for the job? What about professionalism? Mindset (agility, creativity…)?

Should we not consider more than standard attributes?
Should we not consider more than standard attributes?

Yes, there are plenty of things to consider, not to mention the so-called “millennials”, which, I’ve been told, are changing the world!  Don’t get me wrong: I love working with everyone, and especially those that want things to move fast, including millennials.

Side note: yes, I know. Millennials are different. I was too when I showed up on the marketplace. Every generation is different… from the previous one. The millennials are probably somewhat different than previous new generations, because of the technologies, [and how they were raised]… Here’s a good piece on the topic: why everyone is wrong about working with millennials.

Back to the rate question: Wouldn’t it be great if we had a machine, or app, that scans the service offerer’s thumb [or retina], then the service requester’s, computes a bit, and then and bang!, displays the fairest rate???

Sure. But… it ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

Let’s go back to the rate’s dimensions I mentioned before, and break them down a bit:

  • Education
  • Skills set – Specifically those requested + others that may be beneficial
  • Experience
  • Professionalism
    • Quality of output (including attention to detail!)
    • Reliability
    • Engagement
    • Honesty (say when you can’t do something… capable of asking for help)
  • Mindset
    • Agility (don’t get stuck, open to learn new things – even on their own dime…)
    • Creativity (openness, stepping back, investigate, etc.)
    • Drive (the positive one, not negative of course)
      • Team-oriented, for the benefit of all
      • Personal, to surpass one self
    • Potential?

Let’s be clear: I am NOT saying everyone should have ALL of that!  I’m just saying there is more to consider than the basics.

To illustrate the variance that exists amongst people, consider the following illustration, which shows different people, differently “equipped’ who could potentially do the same job, at the [fairly] same quality, thus the same value ($$$):

Could different people, differently "equipped", do the same job, at the same level of quality?
Could different people, differently “equipped”, do the same job, at the same level of quality?

So if the above is true, how can we fairly evaluate these people???

Could this constitute a new resource criteria grid? Is it too “soft”? Could it be graded (not to say rated)?

Finally, whatever the criteria is… an important key aspect to keep in mind: the expectations need to be CLEAR!!!   …on BOTH SIDES!!!!    🙂

More to think about…

Thoughts that crossed my mind, would like to share… and discuss. :-)

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