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Pearls of wisdom

Vaman Kamath

Couple of years early I purchased a book titled “80/20 CEO” a leadership essential series on Vaman Kamath then Chairman  of ICICI Bank and current Chairman of Infosys.

The book constituting around 80 pages have always fascinated me, with its simple prose and wisdom encapsulated in short book that could be read from a – z in  2 – 4 hours time period. Last friday once again I picked up the book and went to the last chapter titled “Take Aways”.  And am sharing few pearls of wisdom that are ever green, ever shining examples of brilliant living in the business world.  The statements have deep meaning hence read them and absorb them unravel the meaning.

  1. Develop an eye for observation.  Obsession with observation contributes to several parts of learning process and value creation.
  2. You may be a big organization but act like a garage startup.  Apply its 90-day rule and you will be able to make process more effective.
  3. Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best leading in adversity.
  4. Future belongs to learners not knower’s.
  5. Speed is the seed capital in the international and domestic digital world.
  6. Gut feeling has a strategic significance in decision making.
  7. Whenever there is an orbit change there is friction.

Enjoy and savour the “7” pearls of wisdom.

 

 

Lessons from History

Greece has the distinction to produce the best philosophers in the history of mankind whose teachings are revered.  Beginning with Socrates, his pupil Plato followed by Aristotle pupil  of Plato.   Aristotle’s teachings of Logos, Ethos and Pathos are considered a pillar of Persuasion.  Aristotle considered Logos to be the paramount ingredient but emphasized all three to be important for leaders to make an impression. What did Ethos, Pathos and Logos principle of persuasion reflect?

Ethos (Credibility): You persuade by being Fair, Knowledgeable, Trustworthy, Authority and considerate.  We tend to believe people whom we respect and consider authority such as Doctors, Judges and someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as an authority on the subject as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.

Pathos (Emotional): You persuade by appealing to the audience emotions. The persuader creates an environment wherein audience feels the same as the persuader. Language choice affects the audience’s emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument and persuade your audience.

Logos (Logical): You persuade by being thoughtful, providing good reasoning, facts and evidence.  This is an academic appeal. This was Aristotle’s favorite because he believed that giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough.

Hence, learning, practicing and mastering the three principals can increase your effectiveness.  And if Aristotle appeared in the in the 20th century how would he have categorized the 20th century leaders?  Probably his observations would reflect…

Winston Churchill to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

Nelson Mandela to be a high Ethos followed by pathos and Logos.

Mahatma Gandhi to be a high Ethos followed by Pathos and Logos.

King Martin Luther to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

President Kennedy to be a high Pathos followed by Logos and Ethos.

Aristotle’s  three  principals of persuasion are corroborated  by numerous bestselling authors, teachers and so do the 20th century research in the field of persuasion.  And every effort reflects in unison that the road map to successful persuasion is not a mystery but a History made 2600 years ago by Aristotle.

Switch for Sales…

Profession “Sales” is as tough as any other profession. You have as many challenges as you will find in being a cab driver or CEO of an organization.  Not enough sales, not enough customers, Price too high, customer has standardized, customers buy from reputed vendors, competition, customer retention are some of the challenges we come upon.

To succeed faster professionals invest USD in mentors and coaches.  The limitation; is mentors and coaches are limited by their time and accurately comprehend the human emotions.  On the flip side BOOKS are a perfect Coach, Friend and a mentor. They are besides you, when you want them and even when you don’t.

Two months ago I bought the book “Switch” authored by Dan and Chip heath. SWITCH makes a fascinating study in CHANGE.  Fascinating because it is written in Simple, Unpredictable, Credible, Concrete, Emotions and Story format; ensuring that the book sticks and it’s lessons stick too.  The author says, supported by scientific research that for a successful CHANGE to happen three things should happen; 1st change should happen in head @ practical level, 2nd change should happen at emotional level @ heart and 3rd target should clearly see the road map with measurable results. In other words SWITCH takes an analogy of a rider riding an elephant and the path.  For example HEAD/RIDER knows he has to get up early in the morning and exercise to stay healthy, but on the flip side ELEPHANT/EMOTIONS that is huge wants to sleep a little bit more in the morning and probably exercise next morning.  Now in this case the two have to be motivated and also shown the end point to make an effective change.  This is the philosophy of Book SWITCH narrated in 9 principals.

The principals outlined in the books are common across Sales, Personnel development and everything which entails bringing in CHANGE for better.  Read my translation of applying “SWITCH” philosophy for Sales…. The 9 principals of CHANGE like the 9 lives of a cat……. Read on……..

  • Philosophy # 1 (Head) : “Find out what’s working and how you can do more of it.”
  • Sales perspective: Find a bright spot and replicate it. Find what is working in selling “that’s your bright spot”, duplicate it.  When you successfully sell a solution to a company, productise it and resell the package to other business in the similar business stream.

  • Philosophy # 2 (Head): Script the critical moves.  “Don’t think big picture, think in terms of specific behaviour.”
  • Sales Perspective: Decision paralysis – Never  give multiple options to your prospects.  Give them one option and explain why this option is better than others.
  • Script the proven and successful sales process and repeat it with your prospects to create new sales.
  • Breakdown the customers buying process into baby steps and address one step at time making it easier for your prospect to move forward – small change at a time.
  • Philosophy # 3 (Head) : Point to the destination.  ““Change is easier when you know where you  are going and why its worth it.”
  • Sales Perspective: Give them business ROI, when and how the solution will pay for itself?
  • Show them how it will benefit them in 6 months – in 12 months down the time line?
  • How it will enhance their business revenue, customer relations, reputation and others?
  • Philosophy # 4 (Heart): Find the feeling.  “Knowing something is not enough to cause change.  Make people feel something.”
  • Sales Perspective: Touch their hearts: Appeal to their emotions.
  • Show them how your product will help them increase the market share and what will it mean to them and to their business reputation.
  • How your product or services will attract new customers and what will new customers mean to them i.e more revenue – more payout to employees and promotions.
  • Philosophy # 5 (Heart)  : Shrink the change: Break down the change until it no longer spooks the elephant.
  • Sales Perspective: breakdown your sales process into small steps.  Provide OPEX model, provide easy payment terms. Extend a planned purchase plan thus reducing the financial and sudden change pressure.
  • Philosophy # 6 (Heart) : Grow your people.  “Cultivate a sense of identity and instil the growth mindset.”
  • Sales Perspective :  Educate your customers and become a consultant.
  • Educate your sales team make them consultant to your customers, instill a feeling of identity in your team and in your customer being associated with your business.
  • Philosophy # 7 (Shape the path): Tweak the environment.  “Tweaking the environment is about making the right behaviours a little bit easier and the wrong behaviours a little bit harder.”
  • Sales Perspective :Operate and sell when it’s convenient to your customers.
  • Make it convenient for the customers to make financial decision – easier payment terms, Opex, Bank facilities, onsite engineer, faster delivery, convenient packagining and integration with their exiting processes.
  • Philosophy # 8(Shape the path) : Build habits.  “when the behaviour is habitual its free—it does not tax the rider.  Look for ways to encourage habits.”
  • Sales Perspective : Simply your purchase process. Make it convenient and addiction for your customer to purchase from you.
  • Retain your customers and encourage them to come back again and again until you become the defacto partner.
  • Automate the purchase process extending better options, convenience and commercials.
  • Philosophy # 9 (Shape the path) : Rally the herd.  “Behaviours is contagious.  Help it spread.”
  • Sales Perspective: Request your existing customer to talk to your prospect.
  • Arrange a customer forum and invite prospects to meet with your existing customers and sell you and your services.
  • Referral selling, build customer case studies and customer testimonials and let these tools do the selling.

 

Enjoy practicing……………

8 Weapons of Influence

This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011

“It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” Life reflects success once you bring change in others.  And the change equals Influence.  People of influence are prized and successful; the questions is “Is the influence part of the human DNA or it can be learnt?”

Robert B Cialdini in his bestselling book “Influence; Psychology of Persuasion “ identifies “6” weapons of influence and these can be learnt.  The knowledge of influence when applied would and should results in successful outcome.

The principals of Influence can be applied in selling, conducting business, delivering speeches and every scenario where a change is expected.  Hence it becomes a very powerful arsenal and the Book to be missed at your own RISK.  The six principal identified in the book are

–      Reciprocity

–      Commitment and consistency

–      Social proof

–      Authority

–      Liking and Scarcity

I have identified two more weapons to the arsenal of Influence and they are

–      Find a buddy

–      Become Story teller

Let’s take closer look at the 8 weapons of “Influence”

  • Reciprocity: This is part of the human DNA.  People tend to return a favor.  If you invite them out for meal they will return the favour by inviting you for the meal.  If you click LIKE on Facebook,  the other person is most likely to Click on Like on your post.  Hence people can use this weapons to influence change – make a sales, secure business and garner support.  The best strategy to deploy whenever you visit an audience is to ask who I can help and how can I help ?  The bigger or unexpected the favour,  the bigger is the return.    like Zig Ziggler said “ If you want to succeed in life , help enough people to succeed”
  • Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.   Hence in any transaction work towards getting a compliance to a smaller request  that is in congruence with the your larger request to follow
  • Social Proof: People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. Hence utilize the weapon when making sale – use the customers testimonials to support your case.
  • Authority: People will obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.  Because people trust authority.  Having said that to add human touch and make it more convincing it’s important that Authority figure also share the negative or the weakness and this reflects the human part wherein people perceive that authority is knowledgeable about strength and weakness and also a human thus resulting in influencing a change.
  • Liking : People  do business with people they like.  They are easily persuaded by people they like or share something in common.  Hence identify what is common between you and your target audience and share with them  to influence decision.
  • Scarcity: Scarcity creates demand and we all are aware of it. Christmas season limited toys availability creates lines outside the small.  Limited time offer, one time offer are a ploy to create demand and positively influence decisions towards purchase.  Hence during the sale process identify what is unique to your proposition that is not available with your competitor and highlight that to influence.
  • Find a buddy: identify a third party who would highlight your strength and sell your credentials. And once it’s done your job of influence becomes a cake walk.  Politicians and Hollywood/Bollywood personalities deploy this ploy to influence.
  • Be a story teller: Become a story teller. Put yourself in the story to connect with your audience. People buy from people and stories are the best medium to deliver sticky message and create influence.  Hence become an expert in telling your stories.

 

This Article appeared in  “THE KHALEEJ TIMES” – OPENSPACE on July 27, 2011

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