Coaches Corner v.03.16.2023

Coaches Corner v.03.16.2023

Right before St. Patrick’s Day, we have guest writer John Anderson writing Coaches Corner v.03.16.2023: Put Me In, Coach!

Great players and great teams all have one thing in common: they have a coach. It doesn’t matter if it’s a team sport or an individual sport, both are comprised of people who are driven, motivated, and among the very best in their sport or field. They have an energy and skill set that enables them to rise to the top. They also have a self-awareness that leads to continuous improvement. Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, and Michael Jordan each had a coach despite being the best in their respective disciplines. Their coaches were able to see, analyze, and offer a perspective based on expertise, experience, outside knowledge, and without being influenced by being in the game.

The same thing happens in business. Having an experienced and knowledgeable coach will elevate a business to a next-level enterprise. It’s easy to look at your own company and say you’re successful, but it’s more important to look at your business and say, “How do we become the best, or remain the best?” Often judgment and decisions are clouded by ego, job security, or just lack of experience. The complexity of operations is compounded by growth and even simple family dynamics.

Thankfully, finding a good coach today is easy. Between 2010 and 2020, a significant part of the workforce retired either by choice or economics. The very best and brightest were offered packages leading to early departure. Often these high performers were also some of the highest paid executives, and cost-cutting won out over logic. So why the exodus? Most were in their 40s and 50s and looking forward to retirement. They were driven for so many years to the top of the food chain that a chance at regaining a work-life balance had real appeal over their $200K + bonus job. Suddenly we had senior executives, innovators, leaders, true entrepreneurs who were pulled from their respective games and left the field of play. We were left with a void in the one area you can’t just fix: experience.

Fast forward to a post-pandemic model where many companies are preparing for the next wave of challenges, be they economic growth or recession-related. Companies are operating without business and spiritual coaches. Teams are being reassembled under a new dynamic but without the experience factor. Middle managers are now expected to be the leaders. Without coaches, they are destined to make big mistakes, micro-manage the less dedicated workforce, stifle creativity, and curb innovation. Why not bring in the experience at a fraction of the cost, as a resource to help navigate without the commitment of a $300K hired gun.

Today you can find a coach who has walked in your shoes for 20 years. They have led multimillion or even billion-dollar businesses. They have connections and wisdom learned from mistakes that you don’t have to make. They do not want your job. They only want to help you succeed. A good coach can offer a completely different viewpoint without the fear of losing a job or political influence. A coach isn’t in the game, so don’t expect them to be calling plays or making shots. Their role is to coach people, situations, and decisions to improve your organization. Imagine having a successful entrepreneur with 30 years of experience sitting beside you during your business planning sessions or having a superstar sales exec sitting in on your weekly sales team meetings. What about navigating an acquisition or going public? These are potentially life-changing events that you would never do without counsel or coaches.

Finding a coach is easy these days. People who left the workforce early have played enough golf, traveled when they wanted, caught up on familial responsibilities, and are just waiting for the phone to ring. They relish the idea of working and contributing more than getting a big paycheck. Often times, the cost of a coach is less than an entry-level employee, but having access to that knowledge is priceless. They look forward to working a few days a week or even a few hours every day. Getting a coach is easy. Accepting coaching is harder and what will elevate you to a champion.

In conclusion, having a business coach can be a game-changer for your organization. Great players and teams all have coaches for a reason, and the same applies to businesses. Having an experienced and knowledgeable coach will elevate your business to a next-level enterprise. With the abundance of highly skilled coaches available today, finding one that fits your needs and budget is easier than ever. A coach can provide a fresh perspective, offer guidance and advice, and help navigate challenging situations. Don’t let ego, job security, or lack of experience cloud your judgement and decision-making. Embrace coaching and take your business to new heights.

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Inflation, Jobs, and Interest Rates

Inflation, Jobs, and Interest Rates

Today, guest writer Edward E. Gordon takes on a topic that has been in the news for quite some time: Inflation, Jobs, and Interest Rates.

Latest news headlines report that stocks are crashing. The markets are focused on further interest rate increases as the Federal Reserve responds to inflation. But to what extent is inflation triggered by surging jobs hiring and a falling unemployment rate?

 Overall businesses are still experiencing great difficulty in hiring skilled workers. Massive retirements and COVID-19 are being identified as the main culprits. However, reports from research groups and trade/professional associations are identifying skilled worker deficits as the chief cause of workforce shortages and wage inflation. As Harvard economist Gabriel Chodorow-Reich stated, “companies will keep bidding up pay as they compete for employees.”

The McKinsey Global Institute report, “Rekindling US Productivity for a New Era,” (2/23) centers on the urgent need for worker training and education to fill the rising tide of vacant jobs across America. McKinsey’s research lends future credence to similar statements by the American Hospital Association, the Association of General Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Business, and many other organizations.

 The skills-jobs disconnect has only grown since the 1990s. Companies generally fail to recognize that investing in their employees’ continuing knowledge growth is a core business function. In fact as they continue to focus on cost-cutting, they are further losing ground as automation requires better skilled people. Data shows that this skills-jobs disconnect will persist at least until the 2030s. 

Is this the new normal? The longer businesses only circle these issues at 30,000 feet, the bigger the risk of the economy running out of the required skilled workers to keep it expanding.

What has to happen before this requirement is acknowledged by our business culture? We hope soon rather than after a major economic crisis.


LWS addition from Ron Slee:  Mike Rowe recently said that “if you don’t work with your hands or build something, your job is at risk of being replaced by artificial intelligence. The younger generations seek purpose in their work and expect that their employers will help them with continuing education and training. Or they leave.” 

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Brand Identity = Measurable Customer Behaviors

Brand Identity = Measurable Customer Behaviors

Today’s blog post, “Brand Identity = Measurable Customer Behaviors,” is brought to you from a new contributor. Roy Lapa is an experienced marketing professional with 25+ years of experience in B2B and B2B2C heavy industries in various functions such as sales, customer service, remanufacturing, industrial automation, product support, marketing, and management (with over 10 at senior levels). Roy’s DNA is geared toward developing solutions that are data-driven, customer-focused, and innovative. Roy is the Managing Director & Co-Founder, AFP Marketing Agency LDA.

If you search online, you’ll find many different brand identity definitions that point to various components such as your values, communication style, what you want people to feel when they interact with you, how recognizable you are, promises you make, tone, voice, fonts, colours, etc. These achieve some level of awareness but lack tangibility for most industrial businesses. Let’s narrow the definition to something more tactile for industry manufacturers, dealers, distributors, and service providers: 

Your distinct brand identity must be linked to repeatable, scalable, and measurable customer behaviours.


Archetypes have proven useful as a simple framework in helping define customer behaviours since they play a role in influencing human behaviour, according to Carl G. Jung1, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. With some industry input, I have mapped out some of the top mining and construction manufacturers onto the 12 brand archetypes illustration2. Though there may be some debate about each OEM placement, this simply serves as an example to help you figure out your brand-customer relationship. 

Here are a couple of questions and an example for each to assist you in defining your brand-customer relationship. 

Why am I here as a Manufacturer, Dealer, Distributor, or After Sales Provider? 

Example: Mountain snow groomers keep failing within the warranty period leaving the customer unsuccessful in figuring out why. They follow all the OEM recommendations to no avail. 

  •  [MASTERY-HERO] If you have a reputation for saving the day, one of your service managers is likely one of the customer’s ‘pinned’ text message contacts.  

2-way relationship behaviour: Under customer pressure, you always figure out a way.

What primary market behaviour do I want to be known for? 

Example: Looking for help completing a new and unique infrastructure project, a customer is unsure how to approach the project from a technical standpoint. 

  •  [INNOVATION-CREATOR] You have a better chance of being the first contact if you have a reputation for coming up with innovative job site solutions.

2-way relationship behaviour: When the customer asks if there a better way, you consistently invent. 

This is not new, and yet in dealing with many companies, most want to leap forward to brand identity deliverables such as voice, logo, typography, colours, etc. Additionally, firms are eager to transition to using terminology that is recognized in the business world without first doing a strategic analysis of their primary purpose: a behaviour-oriented relationship. Exploring your core business archetype is an excellent way to discover your brand identity. 

Brand Audit

An audit performed by an external company that employs a mixture of data science and interpretation, along with contextual industry insight provides a clear anchor point which will help you understand where you stand today. Reducing self-serving bias, illuminating internal blind areas, and deciphering what is authentic vs. noise requires effort. Further, strong biases result from relying only on internal personal experience, especially recent experiences, in evaluating what your organization’s archetype might be. Lastly, brand identity is unique to your business and if you want your customer to notice you walking down the street and actively seek to engage, being distinct is key.  

Great job, you narrowed it down to one brand archetype. Although it may be possible to be known for more than one, be cautious you don’t mistake that as being able to provide something for everybody. In working with many organizations, I have seen less than a handful of organizations be successfully known for two archetypes and this rare phenomenon is usually only within a distinct division or subsidiary.  


Now comes the challenging part.  All facets within your company’s behaviours and communications must be in alignment if you are not already working inside your core archetype to undergo a thorough transformation. What do we mean by all? 

  • Executives, senior leaders, and managers: leading by example, living and breathing the company ‘motto’ in all internal and external interactions.
  • Marketing: Events, press releases, product launches, website, content strategy, publications, social media posts, point-of-display areas, colours etc. 
  • Product Support (Parts, Service, Customer Service): phone calls, on-hold messaging, approach to the customer, warranty support responses, in-field support, mechanics’ interactions with customers, etc. 
  • HR: the process of communicating with employees, onboarding, ongoing training, upskilling courses, instant performance-based feedback, retiree communications (alumni), and much more. 
  • Finance, IT, and all operations: the behaviours within these groups need to align as they inevitably spill over into customer interactions.  


Let’s move on to some measurable items to help direct your path for the long term. I have selected these five metrics as they provide a few customer angles to measure. Each one progressively represents a stronger indication of the health of your brand identity demonstrating a more engaging customer behaviour.

  1. Digital Reviews (Trustpilot, Google Reviews, FB)
  2. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  3. CRM rep interactions with customers (Keywords within conversations)
  4. Case studies and testimonials with customer name and endorsement
  5. Direct referrals

Are there more measurable options? Yes. Each of these five works well for most of the organizations within the equipment manufacturer, dealer, distributor, and service provider industries. From my experience, I would make a few metric adjustments, only if necessary, following your brand audit, brand identity creation, and establishment of certain fundamental joint marketing-business goals.

Real customers. Can you pick the most likely archetype that fits the quote?

  1. We’ve, [brand], stuck together through some tough times in the industry, and that’s helped us get through and into better days. 
  2. The bottom line for me is that we’re building more roads since we started using [brand], and that’s what it’s all about.
  3. What’s important to us is that [brand] has been there for us every step of the way.
  4. We agreed to buy those graders without seeing them on an actual job or talking with anybody who had used them. We made the equipment deal based solely on our trust in [brand’s] recommendation. 



References & Notes: 

  2. Illustration created from context knowledge, industry input, and online data points, March 2023. 
  3. All brands, and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) references are owned by the respective OEM entities or their affiliates. These terms are used by AFP Marketing Agency, LDA for reference purposes only and are not intended to indicate affiliation with or approval by the OEM. 
  4. Answers: 1. Mastery-Hero 2. Control-Ruler 3. Service-Caregiver 4. Knowledge-Sage
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Coaches Corner v.03.09.2023

Coaches Corner v.03.09.2023

In Coaches Corner v.03.09.2023, Coach Floyd Jerkins talks about management and leadership behaviors.

The New Everyday Coaching Behaviors

There is a lot of buzz about management and leadership styles today. While we’ve experienced changes in the workplace, people have always wanted to be treated as human beings. Respect, truly listening, and general compassion for our fellow humans win the day. 

Employees across the board are more vocal today about how they are treated, so be careful about following shiny objects. There are different leadership styles that work well. There is unmistakable evidence that when all the decisions are made by a given few or when employees are told exactly what to do all the time, it’s demotivating. When they don’t have input about the culture of their work environment, it’s demotivating. They quickly become disengaged because they have no say or are given an opportunity to contribute to their work tasks. None of us want to be told what to do, and neither do our employees. 

Coaching is a Participative and Situational Influencing Style 

The coaching profession has exploded in recent years, and it is diversified across many different fields and industries. Some old practices are now relabeled to new and what’s called exciting terms. Everyone is a coach, and coaching is the new thing to discuss. 

It is a noble profession and a management method that some of us have successfully taught and practiced for decades. To be good at it requires education, experience and some school of hard knocks. Just because you’ve attended a few classes and got the plaque on the wall, it takes more to walk the talk.  

Coaching Description

Coaching is a participative and situational management style that requires managers to help others enhance their own performance. They help the individual or team unlock their potential by supporting them to learn vs. telling them what the answers are. Fostering an environment to learn and think independently contributes to developing the individual or team to reach their fullest potential. The coach is a facilitator, helping the team members to achieve their results. 

Building Trust in Teams to Reach High Performance

Building trust in a team requires the leader to foster trust-building actions and decisions. When the leader stops thinking that people are there to be controlled or managed, this starts to open the culture to people not fearing a reprisal from the leader when they question something or take actions that turn out to be wrong. 

If you can’t trust people to do their jobs well, then one of the following situations needs to be addressed:

  • You hired the wrong person to fit your organization’s culture and style of business
  • You have the wrong person in the wrong position
  • You haven’t sufficiently trained them.
  • You have a manager who can’t let go of power and control

Progressive Coaching Focuses on Employees Strength

When you trust people to do the job, and it doesn’t come out right, that’s a coachable moment. If you have  good people in the wrong positions, you need to go back to the job description and ensure you have it correct. If your people are properly trained for the position, look closely at the manager. Maybe they just can’t let go of power and control. There are different leadership styles that work well.

When there are emotional or unhappy employees in your business, at some time they’ve tried to tell you about it. Maybe your ears turned off, or your reaction signaled them to think twice about bringing it up again. Spirited people may request more than once to change a system or process but eventually become frustrated and shut down because they don’t feel heard. Jumpstarting them again can be tough to do. 

A coach wants to know what is behind the conversation. What is behind the emotions? A coach is genuinely an interested listener. They make it easy for people to talk to them about almost anything. Effective listening is a learned skill set. Also, learning to listen isn’t always about what’s said. Watch what people do; that’s always revealing. 

When your employees are improving, and the culture of the business supports learning and teaching, their enthusiasm and abilities to be effective are greater. They become more connected to the business and its mission and purpose. 

A coach creates a focused approach to developing their people. Sure, we want to get business results, but that only happens after your people do what they do. As I’ve said before, good people can do extraordinary things when given a chance to succeed. Focus on each employee’s strengths and help them unleash their natural talents.            

Answer Man to the Rescue: Stop Giving All the Answers 

Managers are often promoted because they were problem solvers in their previous position. They had the ability to fix things when they were broken. The mindset is that it’s typically much faster to do the work themselves or faster to tell someone what to do vs. showing them how to do it. This management approach is a real challenge in an organization striving to move forward with new leadership styles. 

Nothing is worse than training a staff that you have all the answers all the time. It’s debilitating to the team and a significant factor in staff turnover. In my article, Answer Man to the Rescue I point out that you are not superman or superwoman who has all the answers all the time. 

Learning to let go of power and control requires the leader to delegate. You want team members to own the solutions. Being a good coach means helping them develop the best possible solutions that are good for the customer and good for the business.

The more you can engage your employees to contribute to the decision-making process and encourage them to speak up in a safe environment, the more they feel connected and empowered. 

I know some of you are thinking, wait a minute, it’s much easier and faster if I just give them the answer and then move on to other issues. The real challenge is that you are not creating problem solvers who then solve them without ever asking you. You are robbing your employees of the opportunity to figure it out, and that’s such a waste of human talent and energy. You, then, are the problem, not the solution. 

Psychological Management Practices That Foster Business Development 

In my article, “Improving Your Employees Psychological Income,” I address pieces to the puzzle of delegation and accountability through empowerment. This is an important step to learn how to help teams perform at a high level. The magic of dimes exercise is a useful tool to help your leaders transfer from “what’s going wrong” to what’s going right” and develop some focus on the things that matter the most. 

Intentionally becoming positive is a practice all by itself and tough to master for many. Instead of always pointing out what’s wrong, the coach accepts these instances as coachable moments and learning opportunities. The discussion centers on the mistake, how it happened, and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. We fix the source of the problem, so it doesn’t happen again and stays out of the emotional upheaval. 

Open and Direct Communications Style               

In today’s world of people management, there are new rules and new paradigms of people being sensitive to certain words and phrases. To say you should not patronize or be critical of others is an understatement. It all boils down to what Dale Carnegie wrote in his 1936 book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Treat others like you want to be treated. Empowering and coaching others is not a new concept. 

Whether you are a small business owner, a leader in a business, or possibly a company preparing to scale your model to reach larger goals, mobilizing and cultivating your human assets is key to your success. 

There are duplicatable steps to implement empowerment. You can read more about it in this article. “Conditions of Empowerment.” This provides a general guideline for the information. Make it clear what teams are responsible for by following:

  • Specify the Desired Results
  • Set Some Guidelines
  • Identify Available Resources
  • Define Accountability
  • Determine the Consequences

By using an open and direct communication style, you can make it clear what your people are responsible for. Give them the room to go about it their own way. 

Implementation isn’t always easy and there usually isn’t a clear road map. Habits can be hard to break, so recognize if you always see the negative in a situation. You’ll have to catch yourself if you start making negative remarks. You can relearn how to make a better and positive style of reply under nearly all circumstances through conditioning. Just do what an athlete does to get better, they perform the same moves every time under certain conditions, then tweak the responses to gain the maximum results they’re seeking. It is possible to phrase everything in constructive terms – even a negative sentiment. Practice makes perfect! 

In Closing…

It just makes common sense that people are better motivated when they are happy and focused. It’s also a lot more fun to work around teams of people who are excited to come to work every day and who share a common goal. 

The real success of a leader today is easily measured by the success of the people that work for them.           

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Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

Guest writer John Anderson doesn’t ask the easy questions in this week’s blog post: Is Innovation in Dealer Systems Dead?

There is an urgent need for disruption in the industry.

As a former evangelist for dealer systems, I have spent over 30 years preaching the gospel of innovation to dealerships across the country. From John Deere agricultural dealers to small Bobcat dealers to the largest multi-store Komatsu dealer, I was always on the hunt for the next important thing. But lately, as I’ve returned to the industry, I can’t help but wonder: has innovation in dealer systems died a slow and boring death?

Sure, we have data analytics and integration to other industry applications, but is that really enough to keep us ahead of the curve? As I attend conferences and seminars, I cannot help but feel that the dealer systems industry is stuck in a rut. Instead of pushing the boundaries and taking risks, we’re settling for incremental updates and rehashed ideas.

The problem is, the world is changing faster than ever before. Technology is evolving at a breakneck pace, and we need to keep up if we want to stay competitive. We need to find visionaries and free thinkers who are willing to take risks and pursue new ideas. We need to challenge our system suppliers to do better and think outside the box.

One of the most exciting areas of innovation in dealer systems is the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Imagine being able to request a detailed repair order complete with parts requirements, technician instructions, time requirements, and skills matching, all from historical data and some AI. Even less experienced mechanics could receive technical instructions and AR vision to help ensure a quality job. These are the kinds of game-changing ideas that should be driving the industry forward.

Of course, there are challenges to implementing these kinds of innovations. It takes time, money, and a willingness to take risks. But the rewards are worth it. Not only will innovative dealer systems make dealers more efficient and profitable, but they will also make customers happier and more loyal. When was the last time you were genuinely excited about the technology and systems you use every day?

So, what should you be looking for in a dealer system supplier? You should be seeking a company with a great history and knowledge, but one that isn’t constrained by its own legacy. Look for a supplier that is developing new and needed applications that you can really get behind. You should be getting monthly updates on what’s new and what it means. And, most importantly, you should be challenging your system suppliers to show you what they’re working on. Make them develop a skunk works.

Innovation in dealer systems does not have to be dead. It’s up to us to breathe new life into the industry and push it forward. The entire world is changing at an unprecedented rate. Is your dealer business system doing the same, or is it just trying to keep up? Do not settle for mediocrity. Demand more and be a part of the solution.

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The Importance of Purpose

The Importance of Purpose

Guest writer Christopher Kiely has written today’s blog post, The Importance of Purpose, as a continuation of his thoughts on meaning and purpose in the workplace.

As we discussed previously, one of the main contributors to the malaise about work and the lack of desire of a quarter of workers ages 20-34 to participate in the workforce was the lack of meaning and purpose found in the modern workforce. People were looking for “what it all means”. Members of the younger generations have seen their parents dedicate themselves to the 9-5, only to end up on the endless treadmill of unfulfilling work for narcissistic bosses assigned to them by uncaring and demanding companies. Running in place for decades for the opportunity to retire in the twilight of their life. And those are the lucky ones. Many others have seen their parents wind up laid-off, cast aside and dismissed after dedicating years and even decades to the treadmill. 

Since writing that initial blog on this subject we have seen the mass layoffs in tech with the depressingly informative website “” ¹ putting the numbers so far this year at over 100,000. That is on top of the 159,846 they tracked in 2022. These are the jobs the younger generations were told are the “jobs of the future”. Well, the future is now and apparently there is way too many of them. That is unlikely to provide anyone with much sense of purpose.

On a recent trip back from Nevada I took an Uber home from the airport. My driver was a millennial finishing up their Uber shift and we got to talking about mining (I was coming back from a mine), electric cars (we were in a Tesla), professions, and life. Turns out the Uber gig was only one of three jobs or “hustles”, as the kids say, all part of the “grind culture”. The Uber job paid for the Tesla, insurance and charging costs, plus some. The second hustle was real estate. They were going to do some “staging of a condo” for that hustle after the Uber gig, it was already 1AM. The third hustle was coaching, “legit sports coaching, not the life-coaching variety”. I have known a few of those… they often require the most life-coaching. But hey a good way to learn is to teach or coach. So, fake it until you make it, I guess. But I digress.

The millennial-hustler and I spoke about the layoffs in tech, he just chuckled unsympathetically. The notion of relying on that traditional relationship with a company seemed completely foreign and foolish to them. Keep in mind, they still depend on corporations and institutions for their hustles. There is no Uber-driver without Uber. Only the relationship has changed. My driver was the exact type of “worker” corporations used to be on the hunt for: intelligent, confident, charismatic, driven, self-motivated, multi-tasker, willing to work long hours, etc… and for years our schools cranked out willing workers conditioned to seek approval from institutions, including corporations. But the new hustler of the grind culture has no time for those systems of control and authority when there are apparent by-passes everywhere.

Along the way that whole system has worn out and broken down, call it a lack of foresight, poor planning or malicious neglect, it really doesn’t matter. I’m not here to pick sides and theories. But I will view with suspicion and/or slight pity anyone that does not recognize the current state of our institutions. From education, to healthcare, to government itself, all have been shown to be questionable in their authority of late. This does not go unnoticed by our youth. I know, I have a few in the house. They trust in very little and have “faith” in even less, including our venerated institutions. They believe more in their phone than they do in much else. The opportunity technology provides youth is underestimated and under-appreciated by older generations. They will have no time for our institutional systems of control and authority. Not the smart ones anyway. The emperor has no clothes.

But, replacing a treadmill with a grind does not sound like much of a step-up, and certainly not a step-off. I worry that in pursuit of “what it all means” in a world of deep cynicism there is a risk of repeating the same old mistakes while making all new ones. The lesson seems to have been learned that corporations, jobs, the 9-to-5, do not provide a life of purpose. That is good, because in and of themselves, they don’t. But as I said, there is still no need for an Uber-driver without Uber. Only the nature of the relationship has changed. While the young hustling-grinder sees freedom and opportunity to work as they please. The corporation has a workforce it views as contract and replaceable, the backdrop of dystopian sci-fi. Some will say it has always been that way and the notion of loyalty to employees was just a façade. I would hesitate to disagree but would argue the façade kept some people dedicated and loyal. Removing it all together is certain to affect such things negatively and the façade crumbling to the ground in their lifetimes as they are due to continue the charade, is bound to impact a generation.

We have a generation of youth that seem to be trading a treadmill for a grind combined with a new type of corporate disregard for people that provides people with little reason to want to work for many corporations, beyond hand-to-mouth necessity. All at a time when our institutions seem strained by expected everyday use. I understand the younger generations being disillusioned by it all. I was disillusioned when I was their age, I still am frankly. What disillusioned me then has not become any better. Now whether all this hustling and grinding leads anywhere different than the treadmill of old remains to be seen. My driver certainly seemed to be focused on the ever-arriving future, a state of being we continue to mistake for purpose and tends to lead us to look back with regret. I have the feeling both the corporations failing to harness passion and provide any sense of purpose and the young generation choosing to use passion to grind for purpose, are both failing one another.

Corporations that are serious about the quality of life they provide their employees (really serious, not sort-of-serious in a CSR, good-PR type of way), need to be honest with themselves about what passions and purpose employees have the opportunity to find in their companies. Are there any? Maybe there really is not. What passions and purpose are some jobs capable of providing? 

Why do employees want to come to work? If most companies are honest with themselves, they really haven’t thought about it much more than “you should be happy you have a job here” and “we pay you” levels of thought. “Good” companies add occasional pizza, barbecues and donuts, maybe a “family atmosphere” type pitch. Top tier companies provide daily fruit and granola bars, rock climbing walls, and mental health programs (hmm… sort of like they know).

If the reality is, most people work for money and little other “passion or purpose” and on the flipside most companies have no real passion or purpose to provide and will ditch you and your job ASAP in order to stay afloat or satisfy investors, then maybe it is time we are all simply honest about that? I am certainly not one to argue with the frank reality of things. 

A company that still wants the top hustling-grinders of every generation, will need to develop a new way of relating to and renumerating their employees. Hierarchies are overrated, yearly reviews are lazy, mandated hours for many jobs are unnecessary, quit wasting time training unqualified managers how to manage themselves around those they manage, (i.e., leadership training). Leadership is learned in grade school and most schools don’t teach it anymore. Besides, most workers do not need leaders, they need mentors and cooperative peers. Corporate structures need to be re-examined, or corporations will struggle to attract the brightest and best of the younger generations.

A company with passions and purpose to provide, should understand how to recognize, provide and cultivate it. Otherwise, they should encourage and allow employees the freedom to find those things elsewhere in their lives while they support the pursuit. As for the young generation hustling for the grind and grinding for the hustle, don’t mistake constant work and the endless pursuit of future things to be purpose. The treadmill itself wasn’t the trap for the older generations, it was not being happy on the treadmill while thinking it would lead somewhere better. No one can tell anyone what their life’s passions and purpose are, or even provide it to them, but I do know it is found in the now, not in the future.

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Web 3.0 Is Changing Education

Web 3.0 Is Changing Education

Guest writer Anna Horoneskul contributes to our series on Lifelong Learning with her blog post Web 3.0 Is Changing Education.

The evolution of technology has drastically changed the way we live, work, and learn. EdTech, in particular, has revolutionized the field of education, making it more accessible and convenient for learners of all ages and backgrounds. The emergence of Web 3.0, the next phase of the internet, has brought even more exciting possibilities for education!

Web 3.0 is based on blockchain technology where data is decentralized. It allows more security and transparency. Alongside, Web 3.0 enables absolutely new models of learning. 

One of the most significant advantages of Web 3.0 is the ability to create a decentralized educational system. Currently, the education system is centralized, with institutions and organizations holding the power to determine the curriculum and the delivery method. With Web 3.0, learners can access educational content directly from content creators, eliminating the need for intermediaries.

Another advantage of Web 3.0 is the ability to create secure and transparent educational records. With blockchain technology, learners can have a digital record of their educational achievements that is secure, and accessible from anywhere in the world. Thus, earners can be recognized for their skills and achievements, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status.

Web 3.0 also allows for the creation of more personalized and adaptive learning experiences. Currently, most educational content is designed for a broad audience, which can make it challenging for learners with different learning styles and abilities to engage with the material. With Web 3.0, educational content can be tailored to the learner’s individual needs and learning style. It allows a more engaging and effective learning experience.

Finally, Web 3.0 enables the creation of a more collaborative education system. Currently, learners are often isolated in their learning experiences, with limited opportunities to collaborate with peers or experts in the field. With Web 3.0, learners can connect with others who share similar interests and goals, creating a community of learners who can collaborate and learn from each other.

However, there are also challenges associated with the use of Web 3.0 in education. One of the main challenges is the need for digital literacy. Web 3.0 relies on blockchain technology, which is still relatively new and complex. Learners and educators will need to develop basic skills in blockchain technology to participate in decentralized education platforms. 

Another challenge is the potential for increased inequality. Educators and learners who do not have stable access to the internet and the necessary gadgets to participate in Web 3.0 platforms could be left behind.

Privacy is also a concern with Web 3.0. While blockchain technology is claimed to be more secure and transparent than traditional technologies, it can be put in danger too. Thus, learners’ personal information could be leaked or hacked. Recently, blockchain hacks have drastically increased as hackers have discovered that vulnerabilities do in fact exist. Since 2017, public data shows that hackers have stolen around $2 billion in blockchain cryptocurrency. However, Web 3.0 is still evolving and becoming more resistant to attacks.

To sum up, Web 3 is a wonderland where technology and education could collide and create a new way of learning and sharing information. As with any new invention, it should be learnt closely before taking a decision to use it. It also can take some time and effort to get new skills to navigate it and get adapted. But it is worth it!

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Coaches Corner v.03.02.2023

Coaches Corner v.03.02.2023

In Coaches Corner v.03.02.2023, Coach Floyd Jerkins discusses sales mix and closing ratio analysis of behavior metrics.

In my last article, Behavioral Sales Metrics for Coaching Equipment Industry Sales Teams, I laid out some framework for measuring sales activities. This article is the second in the series to analyze the behavioral metrics sales mix and closing ratios.

CRM systems are full of good information that sets in a hard drive or the cloud waiting to be accessed. The data quality is only as good as what gets input into the system. Just like a financial statement, the numbers tell a story and provide a pathway to improvement. When you follow a sales system, some patterns emerge in the sales manager’s and sales team’s behaviors. 


Let’s look at an example:

10 salespeople x 20 days x 5 customers per day = 1000 customer experiences

% Per Category # of Customers

25% New Customers 250

35% Repeat Customers 350

20% Referrals 200

20% New Business 200

If this is your operation, it shows you a view of the customers engaging with your business. The mix of customers in this example is all face-to-face. Also, measuring whether the contact was an incoming call to the dealership is equally essential. These incoming calls can be more profitable with handling the call correctly. I address part of this in another article called “9 Tips for Handling Incoming Calls“. 

Sales Mix Based on Your Products and Market

In this example, 35% of your sales opportunities come from repeat customers. Based on the business model, that could be a super great number or not. 

With the Ag market, more corporate farms aren’t a fad, and the volume of customers is declining. Competition is fierce, and the notion that customers only buy locally isn’t the same today. Buying cycles can be long and require various strategies to make a sale, so sales teams must stay close to the customer and make the proper interpretation of why the customer isn’t buying today. 

New customers and customer segments are emerging every year in the rural lifestyle market. Many customers buy on their first visit, so the sales process must support that environment. Adding F&I sales is also growing, finally, as a means of adding additional revenue. Additional sales support may be needed to handle the volume of customers. 

Construction and heavy equipment related markets are booming. Brands that once could hang their shingle out and command sales and margins are being challenged. The sales cycle for these products can be long, with customer demands unheard of in recent years.  


In all segment’s, getting inventory is a current issue and who really knows when relief will occur. And to think of the market as having preordered only products may be closer and closer to reality. That requires new thinking to manage a salesforce. Your inventory value isn’t like fine wine. The “turn and earn” practices replace the “buy it and hold it” inventory practices.

Analysis & More

The sales mix analysis shows you a path and insights that you must look at your business model and market to reveal your findings. However, there is more to the story because we must sell stuff to make money. 

Closing Ratios That Cause Pain & Pleasure

If you’re following the rationale so far, then you start to get that there must be a sales flow followed. I call them the Steps to the Sale. A sales team can call them whatever you like or whatever your CRM system supports, but the key is to have a known system that you and your team follow. 

Following a sales system lets you know where you are in helping a customer buy. When a sales team works under the same guidelines, a sales manager can more easily identify how many qualified leads are in the pipeline. But wait, it shows you so much more because it’s like music to your ears, not excessive noise in the background. 


What if the Closing Ratio of each of these were:

Sales Mix Total   Closing Ratio            Sold Unsold

25% New Customers 250         10%              25 225

35% Repeat Customers 350         15%           53 297

20% Referrals 200         18%           36 164

20% New Business 200         20%           40 160

1000 154 846


Face-to-Face Contacts

Sold Units

Closing 10% of your New Business isn’t a great number at all. To improve, you must start by addressing the interpersonal and selling skills of the sales team. The average closing ratio of 20% should be the very minimum standard of sales performance. A focused effort is required to increase this number regardless of your sales environment. At 10%, you are walking around one-hundred-dollar bills to pick up nickels. 

In a dealership where sales teams are seeing 35% Repeat Customers, a 15% closing rate is alarming. Repeat Customers close at a high ratio because they already know about your products and services. Carefully examine the sales team and sales manager’s behaviors because you are losing and churning through customers’ experiences. And don’t be naive here; to increase the repeat business ratio, a key ingredient is looking at the personality style between a salesperson and their customer. Just because a customer is in a salesperson’s territory doesn’t mean they have matching personalities. Trade territory management in many operations has too many old-school attributes.   

The 225 “New Customers” that were priced and not sold require immediate and calculated strategies to close deals and create a customer for life. Each of them should have an NDOC (next date of contact) assigned with a prescribed plan based on where they are in the steps to the sale. Often, prescribed follow up doesn’t happen because the salesperson is told to go out and get the next sale vs following the customer for life. 

For a customer to refer to the dealership is different from being referred to a particular salesperson. For a commissioned salesperson, they want that referral. They also have to “train” the customer to receive these referrals. In this example, 20% of customers were referrals. If this was your operation, then a big tip of the cap to you. That means your marketing and parts and service are doing a good job. 

Referral-based selling and servicing offer a huge upside to creating more sales and margins. They will naturally come forward because of your dealership’s presence in the market, marketing efforts, and various relationships with team members. The goal is to make asking for referrals an intentional practice vs. something that happens occasionally. 

In closing…

Ok, we’ve made it this far, and you are still reading. That’s a good sign because we’ll continue exploring these new sales metrics in more detail in the next article.

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In the Spotlight!

In the Spotlight!

A quick update from our Curriculum Designer, Caroline Slee-Poulos, about our day in the spotlight!

Today is the day that Learning Without Scars is the Spotlight Provider. IACET selects a provider of Continuing Education to be featured on their website and social media, and today is that day for our company.

You can learn more about IACET and see our moment in the spotlight by visiting the IACET website.

We are also featured on their social media today, on their Twitter page, and their Facebook page as well.

We are proud of the work we do, and so proud to be in partnership with each and every one of you!

Belonging is good for business and benefits the bottom line!

 Belonging is good for business and benefits the bottom line!

Guest writer Sonya Law brings back our human resources perspective with “Belonging is good for business and benefits the bottom line!”

According to Harvard Business Review: “If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits.”

The bottom-line benefits are:

  • High Sense of Belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance.
  • A 50% drop in turnover risk
  • A 75% reduction in sick days

Raising questions?

  • How has living through a Pandemic affected the way we connect? 
  • How do we create employee engagement in a modern workplace?
  • How important is it to create a sense of belonging in the workplace?

Creating a Sense of belonging has been given more attention, post pandemic, because People are:

  •  Wanting more from their jobs, getting paid is no longer enough. They what to align on Purpose and have meaningful impact.
  • Experiencing Burnout are also opting for the eject button, without even having a job to go to as a lag effect to working through the Pandemic that presented new stresses and strains. Relating to extra compliance and reporting and lack of staff.
  • Impacted more by Mental health and Psychosocial impacts of a disconnected workforce. Due to hybrid workplaces is having an impact on connection and healthy workplace relationships post pandemic and to collaboration and problem solving.
  • More aware, that there is another job just around the corner in this buoyant tight-talent market. 


How do you create a sense of belonging:

  1. Rituals – that it practices, traditions that define how you come together to celebrate wins and connection in the team, and this creates a sense of belonging.
  2. Authenticity – that is it needs to be genuine in its efforts to connect and demonstrate inclusivity.
  3. Culture – it needs to be regular, consistent, and embedded. 

Creating a sense of belonging helps you to hold on to your Brightest & Best TALENT!

  • It is vital to ‘attracting and retaining talent’ in a tight candidate market.
  • Gives people a sense of belonging and understands the ‘relational aspects of teams and connection’ creates opportunities to develop talent and unleash People Potential.
  • Provides insights into the ‘employee experience’ and developing our Employee Value Proposition.

Develops cultural awareness – focusing on what employees are telling you in your employee survey, will guide your next steps! 

  1. Create a dedicated group – focused on creating a sense of belonging and employee engagement.
  2.  Culture Champions – this does not always have to be HR People. Consider a cross section and those passionate about culture and creating a sense of belonging. 
  3. Review your Culture Results – this is your best tool for putting you in touch with what employees want to see more of in the workplace.
  4. Take risks – a lot of us think, that will not work, we did it before, it was a flop!
  5. BE BRAVE try something new! 
  6. Stay the course, and be positive, be enthusiastic!

A sense of belonging creates unintended benefits:

  1. Relational Benefits: Stronger relationships are benefits of creating a sense of belonging. Teamwork and high innovation and also increased discretionary effort in times of high stress. It also creates clarity in the role, clear purpose and sense of empowerment and achievement when we draw out these relational connections. Better and faster than any re-org!
  2. Accountability, responsibility, and ownership: It creates an elevated level of accountability, responsibility, ownership, and reliability which are all fundamental in building trust and present in high performing teams. A strong relational culture does not support toxicity, it supports high levels of engagement.
  3. Tolerance and people stickiness of your high potentials! Builds tolerance; in 2023 there needs to be a focus on building tolerance for organisations to thrive. High work demands and burnout, leads to feelings of overwhelm and can be a key factor for people leaving their jobs and not taking up leadership positions.

“A sense of belonging helps create resilience and ‘people stickiness’ to the organisation of your high potentials!!”

‘Take care of your people and they will take care of your business.’

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