“Everyone lives by selling something.” 1. “Strategy” overrated, simply “doin’ stuff” underrated. See Kelleher and Bossidy: “We have a ‘strategic plan,’ it’s called doing things.”—Herb Kelleher. “Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.”—Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/ Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Action has its own logic—ask Genghis Khan, Rommel, COL John Boyd, U.S. Grant, Patton, W.T. Sherman.
2. What are you personally great at? (Key word: “great.”) Play to strengths! “Distinct or Extinct.” You should aim to be “outrageously good”/B.I.W. at a niche area (or more).
3. Are you a “personality,” a de facto “brand” in the industry? The Dr. Phil of ...
4. Opportunism (with a little forethought) mostly wins. (“Successful people are the ones who are good at Plan B.”)
5. Little starts can lead to big wins. Most true winners—think search & Google—start as something small. Many big deals—Disney & Pixar—could have been done as little-er deals if you’d had the nerve to step out before the value became obvious.
6. Non-obvious targets have great potential. Among many other things, everybody goes after the obvious ones. Also, the “non-obvious” are often good Partners for technology experiments.
7. The best relationships are often (usually?) not “top to top”! (Often the best: hungry divi-sion GMs eager to make a mark.)
8. IT’S RELATIONSHIPS, STUPID—DEEP AND FROM MULTIPLE FUNCTIONS.
9. In any public-sector business, you must become an avid student of “the politics,” the incentives and constraints, mostly non-economic, facing all the players. Politicians are usually incredibly logical—if you (deeply!) understand the matrix in which they exist.
10. Relationships from within our firm are as important—often more important—as those from outside—again broad is as important as deep. Allies—avid supporters!—within and from non-obvious places may be more important than relationships at the Client organization. Goal: an “insanely unfair ‘market share’” of insiders’ time devoted to your projects!
11. Interesting outsiders are essential to innovative proposal and sales teams. An “exciting” sales-proposal team is as important as a prestigious one.
12. Is the proposal-sales team weird enough—weirdos come up with the most interesting, game-changer ideas. Period.
13. Lunch with at least one weirdo per month. (Goal: always on the prowl for interesting new stuff.)
14. Gratuitous comment: Lunches with good friends are typically a waste of (professional) time.
15. Don’t short-change (time, money, depth) the proposal process. Miss one tiny nuance, one potential incentive that “makes my day” for a key Client player—and watch the whole gig be torpedoed.
16. “Sticking with it” sometimes pays, sometimes not—it takes a lot of tries to forge the best path in. Sometimes you never do, after a literal lifetime. (Ah, life.)
17. WOMEN ARE SIMPLY BETTER AT RELATIONSHIPS—don’t get hung up—particu-larly in tech firms—on what industries-countries “women can’t do.” (Or some such bullshit.)
18. Work incessantly on your “story”—most economic value springs from a good story (think Perrier)! In sensitive public or quasi-public negotiations, a compelling story is of immense value—politics is about the tension among competing stories. (If you don’t believe me, ask Karl Rove or James Carville.) (“Storytelling is the core of cul-ture.” —Branded Nation: The Marketing of Megachurch, College Inc., and Museumworld, James Twitchell)
19. Call this 18A, or 18 repeat: Become a first-rate Storyteller! (“A key—perhaps the key—to leadership is the effective communication of a story.”—Howard Gardner, Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership)
20. Risk Assessment & Risk Management is more about stories than advanced math—i.e., brilliant scenario construction.
21. Good listeners are good sales people. Period.
22. Lousy listeners are lousy sales people. Period.
23. GREAT LISTENERS ARE GREAT SALES PEOPLE. (Listening “skills” are hard to learn and subject to immense effort in pursuit of Mastery. A virtuoso “listener” is as rare as a virtuoso cello player.) (“If you don’t listen, you don’t sell anything.”—Carolyn Marland, MD/Guardian Group)
24. Things that are funny to me (American) are often-mostly not funny to those in other cultures. (Humor is as fine-edged as it gets, and rarely travels.)….
Robert Louis Stevenson