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Learning 4 Performance

August 25, 2010

Volume III, Issue XVI

Better Problem Solving:
Another Key

Approximate reading time: 2 minutes

In This issue:

  1. Better Problem Solving
  2. Lessons from Sales, VI
  3. More FSTD Content: Blog Posts
  4. Upcoming Public Workshops

Want to be a better problem solver? Here’s another tip that can give you “the edge”.

Last time we concluded by saying, whenever you are faced with a problem (Deviation), make searching for a Comparator part of your standard approach. If you do, you will immediately become a better problem solver.

This time we’ll go one step farther. This happened a few years ago at one of our client’s production facilities. They had a pump that pumped chemicals into a tank. This pump had worked “perfectly” for more than 20 years. This pump underwent a major rebuild along with the rest of the system in which it worked. This pump had a
3 HP electric motor.

About a month after start-up, the motor burned out (remember this pump had worked “perfectly” for over 20 years). So someone figured it was a “bad motor”, and they replaced it. It ran for about a month, then it burned out too. Well, someone reasoned, we need a bigger motor. Let’s install a 5 HP motor (remember this pump had worked “perfectly” for over 20 years with a 3 HP motor), so they did. They fired up the system. It ran for about 6 weeks and burned up the 5 HP motor.

Now, some near genius said, “We need a bigger motor. Let’s install an 8 HP motor" (remember this pump had worked “perfectly” for over 20 years with a 3 HP motor). So they did. They fired up the system. It ran less than one hour, and the pump blew up. It literally blew up. There were parts of that pump everywhere.

So, here’s the next problem solving tip. We know that the pump worked perfectly for over 20 years with a 3 HP motor. Rebuild the system and, bam, 3 burned out motors, two 3 HP motors and one 5 HP motor. Whenever something happens unexpectedly, ask, “What has Changed?” In this case, we compare the current state to the pre-rebuild state and ask, “What has Changed?”

A look at the before and after shows:

Had they done this after the first 3 HP motor burned out, they would have saved a ton of money and a ton more in production that was not lost.

Today’s quite obvious tip: When something that worked well for a long, long time suddenly breaks, ask “what changed” as an almost knee-jerk reaction.

Lead On!

George Loyer George

George posts regularly to the blog at


Lessons in Sales, VI:
To Generate Solid Leads, You Need a MAP


If you’ve been tracking with me these last few weeks, you’ve determined/decided that

  1. You need a structured sales process;
  2. You need to get everyone appropriately involved;
  3. It’s important enough that you will lead by example.

Last week, we shared the overview of the CODE (Communicate, Organize, Document, Evaluate) process with you. CODE has four phases, beginning with Lead Generation. CODE has one goal: to keep the pipeline filled and moving.

It all begins with Lead Generation. Your MAP, or Marketing Action Plan, defines where you will go and what you will do to generate those leads. It also dictates how your marketing efforts will dovetail with your sales efforts. There are four parts to the MAP:

  1. Who You Know
  2. Who You Don’t (But Would Like To)
  3. Marketing Events
  4. Top Three Marketing Priorities

CODE keeps it simple, so your MAP begins with Who You Know. Why? These individuals don’t require the initial “sell” on you or your company; they know your capability, they like you, you already have an “in” with them. Since it is far easier to get additional work from current or recent clients than it is to develop a new business relationship, CODE has us focus 70% of our sales time reaching out and growing current customers.

Start the Who You Know list with all of your current or recent clients. Include your vendors in the list: while they may not become your client, they have market knowledge, and they can be a source of referrals.

Get on the phone and reach out to these folk. In the depths of the recent (still present?) recession, Elizabeth Allen coached George and I to start right there – call up former clients, reestablish contact, see what opportunities might be available. We followed that advice … and landed our largest single account in 2009. (DO THIS. DO IT TODAY. IT’S EASY, AND THERE ARE PROBABLY SOME LOW HANGING FRUIT OUT THERE. You can thank me later.)

Not everyone has work for you, but through the simple rule of degrees of separation, they either “know someone,” “know someone who knows someone,” or “knows something” pertinent about your market. Train your people to begin asking those they know for referrals or information into your target markets.

More on the MAP in our blog series on CODE. If you’d like a full picture of what CODE can do for your sales efforts, contact us.

All the Best,

RobRob Benson

PS. LAST CALL: I will be presenting two workshops on the CODE sales process at the upcoming National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Conference in Louisville, KY on September 2, 2010. If you are in the area, please consider joining us at that event. Email me if you'd like further details.

Our Current Blog Posts

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Register for an Upcoming Public Workshop

  • Trouble Shooting Logic
    • September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
    • October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
  • The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) -  Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
  • Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS


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