Five Partnering Success Articles

Ed Rigsbee was an early author on the topic of partnering success. His first book, “The Art of Partnering” was published in 1994. His second, “Developing Strategic Alliances” was published in 1999, and his third, “PartnerShift” in 2000. He has continued to write on the topic, deliver keynotes and workshops, and consult with corporations and non-profits.


The Art of Partnering by Edwin Richard Rigsbee, published by Kendall/Hunt 1974

The Art of Partnering by Ed Rigsbee

Article #1 of 5

Total Organizational Partnering for Your Success

Are you tired of adversary business relationships draining your energy? If so, it’s time to consider a new way of conducting business. In this, and in future articles, my goal is to share with you the Power of Partnering. Partnering, as I define it, is the process of two or more entities coming together to create synergistic solutions to their mutual challenges. To adopt Total Organizational

Partnering as your management strategy, you’ll need to understand the Partnering Pentad (group of five). To give you a visual, see in your mind a five-leg star and each of the areas below represent a leg.

  1. The Synergistic Alliance is what many consider Partnering and simply stop here. This is the leg of your business where you develop external alliances with others. These could include: purchasing, R&D, manufacturing, employee sharing, distribution, marketing, advertising and the list continues.

By sharing your core strengths with others and theirs with you, both can create an environment of synergy.

  1. Partnering with your suppliers is essential for companies wanting just-in-time manufacturing (JIT) and electronic data interchange (EDI). I frequently here suppliers making this comment about their customers, “They’re talking marriage but acting one night stand.” Whether you’re a dealer, distributor, or manufacturer, you had better start developing long-term relationships.
Developing Strategic Alliances by Ed Rigsbee, published by Crisp Publications 1999

Developing Strategic Alliances by Ed Rigsbee

  1. Partnering with your customers is the leg of outward focus. You must be customer/market driven rather than product/service driven to understand what your customers want. Your customers will spend if they feel they’re receiving good value. This is crucial if you are interested in Integrated Supply.

  2. Partnering with your employees, to many businesses is a non-issue, meaning that they don’t. If you want your employees to have Emotional Ownership in the success of your business, you must create a climate of empowerment for them. Empowerment means giving authority and encouragement.

Then, employees will accept the responsibility.

  1. You, the Owner or Executive as the Optimal Partner. This is the final and arguably, the most important leg. Not from the perspective that all revolves around you, but rather that you determine your company’s culture. The coveted center of the star you are visualizing is reserved for the relationships that bind all the legs of the Partnering Pentad.

Article #2 of 5

The Ten Critical Qualities in Selecting an Alliance Partner

PartnerShift by Ed Rigsbee, published by Wiley & Sons 2000

PartnerShift by Ed Rigsbee

If you think partnering success might be for you, selecting the right alliance partner is generally the difference between alliance failure and success. Be certain your alliance partner exhibits most of the following qualities.

Wants to win. There is no reason to partner with a looser. A weak relationship will only bring you down. You and your partner must have a desire to win, to want to do better, to be useful in creating a synergistic relationship.
Know they are ultimately responsible for their own success. Look for partners who understand the value of synergistic partnering relationships. While accountability goes both ways in partnering, in the end, we are each individually accountable for our own success.
Is an active listener. To keep an alliance healthy, active listening is important. This helps each partner to know what the other needs. Alertness from both sides equals mutual success.
Understands and cares about what drives their partner’s businesses. Each partner must do things that consistently give value to the relationship and their partner. The only way you can effectively add value to your partner’s business is to know what your partner considers valuable.
Responds well to, and acts on feedback. To move forward, leaders must be willing to accept counsel. None of us know it all. Just think how special your partnering relationship would be if your partner never acted on your ideas.
Flexible, especially when events or circumstances are not what was expected. If you, or your partner, don’t have the ability to change direction when the road ahead is washed out, failure is certain.
Trust and integrity. Once the fabric of trust is ripped apart, although it may be repaired, the blemish will always show. You will always have it in your mind that it is not if, but when, they will do it to you again.
Seeks win-win arrangements and solutions. You and your partner must believe that you are working toward a bigger pie, not just a bigger piece of the pie.
Understands that partnering is a relationship of interdependence. It’s not about dependence or independence? Visualize your partner and yourself as partially overlapping circles.
Great chemistry. If you like each other, you’ll work hard to overcome conflict and make your alliance work long-term.
Now grade your potential partner in each area on a 1 to 10 scale, add it up and now you have a baseline potential partner grade. By the way, they should do the same on you. The greater the circles of interest overlap, the greater the value each sees in the relationship.


Article #3 of 5

Partnering Pitfalls, Land Mines & Roadblocks

Alliance mortality rates hover at about half. Be realistic with your expectations of others and your total partnering success. As with a spouse, partnering alliance members don’t change with time. If you suspect core problems at the onset, you probably are accurate in your assessment. Do not try to build relationships on a foundation of quick sand. Watch out and try to avoid the downside of partnering. Let’s look at some partnering killers you’ll want to avoid:

  • Underestimating the complexity of coordinating and integrating corporate resources, and overestimating your partner’s abilities to achieve the end result.
  • Situations where a customer is the driving force behind a partnering arrangement. Be sure to examine each proposal in the context of your company’s overall partnering strategy.
  • Not having access to the employees of your alliance partners. The closer the planned relationship between the two companies, the greater the importance of the linkages between them.
  • When a large company partners with a small, the interaction between companies becomes a challenge. Representatives of the small are usually top executives, but representatives from the giant must take a proposal up the chain of command. This policy can become frustrating for the small company.
  • One partner not completely embracing the principles of partnering at the top level or even in departments, divisions or regions while the other does.
  • Partners have different core values like trust and integrity or there are corporate culture clashes, employee turf protection, and resistance of some employees to new ideas, these issues can wreak havoc.
  • Partners internal reward structure. In partnering with customers or suppliers traditional reward for buyers comes with wringing out concessions from the seller and by showing that their efforts had achieved cost reductions. On the flip side, sellers usually reward for sales performance.
  • Having a third party that is not willing to playing ball. All the members of a partnering agreement will have to “give a little” for the agreement to work.
  • If a partner receives unfavorable media coverage you are pulled into the picture. Real or perceived, image and reputation are critical to a company’s success.

When sitting down at the partnering success table a partner might find the partnering seat uncomfortable. It could be that your partner has a different level of emotional and physical comfort, or sometimes it is simply a change in corporate strategy or a restructuring which leads away from a partner’s product and/or technology causing the partners distress.

After making a partnering success commitment, a partner may have a hidden agenda or decide they don’t like or want to follow through with that which they committed, or does not have the capability to do what is necessary.
Contracts with an overseas market, for instance, often take a long time to finalize. By the time you get going, in the technology industries, your competition may have already started.

There can be difficulty in communicating across various time zones. Solving problems quickly when your partnering factory is located halfway around the world is hard enough when you speak the same language. Add the increased difficulty of language barriers, and major challenges can emanate from the alliance.
The disloyalty that can occur when you try to partner with a potential or current customer and have them renege on the promise of purchasing from you after you have delivered complementary or introductory training.
When unequal dependence in a relationship occurs, the partner with the least dependence could be less likely to compromise and expend energy into the relationship.

Complacency is an insidious partnering success relationship-killer. Continuously ask questions in a way that encourages partners to relate problems and shortcomings. Ask, “What have we not done lately?”
Meanings assigned to words by different cultures can cause serious problems. Does quick delivery mean today, this week, this month or this year?

Unrealistic expectations of any partner’s capabilities these areas include: technology, research, production skills, marketing might, and financial backing.


Article #4 of 5

Shall We Start The Partnering Process?

For partnering success, both external and internal partnering are necessary in developing a complete management strategy. I call this Total Organizational Partnering. The Partnering Pentad (alliances, suppliers, customers, employees, and management) is the conduit, and will assist you to accomplish your partnering goals. Follow these steps to partnering success.

Step 1: Monitor.

Study your business, observe, and identify areas for improvement. Also, take inventory of core strengths that might be valuable to a potential alliance partner. Specifically, define what it is that you want and help others to define what they want and help them to achieve it as quickly as possible. For partnering success, study other industries that have embraced partnering along with the individual companies that have been successful with partnering. Study what worked and what did not.

Step 2: Educate.

Learn about companies you might consider for partnering success arrangements. Look for arrangements that create a win-win result for all who participate. Ask yourself and your management team these questions: What are their strengths and weaknesses? What effect would they have on our business and vice versa? Be sure that the company cultures are complementary and that the people who will be in charge of the relationship can get along.

Step 3: Select.

This is the critical step. All your future efforts will be built on your selection. Search for the strongest alliance members for your partnering success foundation. Customer-oriented culture is critical to the success of the partnering alliance. The greater the sophistication of a company and its officers, the more likely a company will enter into partnering. Keep this in mind when making your selection. Embrace long-term thinking. Partnering is rarely a quick fix, but a sound long-term business strategy. Target companies, large or small, that can aid you in rapidly and efficiently, reaching the goals of research, technology, production and marketing.

Step 4: Organize.

Now you’re to the point of identifying, understanding, and putting together the possibilities for your alliance. Work with internal and external personnel to develop not only your partnering structure, but also your road map. Success in blending of cultures is pivotal. Take great pains to insure this achievement. Access is crucial! Create a convenient communication system for all partners, especially decision makers. Plan procedures to keep relationships between key people of partnering companies open and constantly alive.

Look into the future, plan for the long-term relationship and encourage strategies that will sustain the relationship through to its conclusion. Phasing in the partnering relationship could be a preferred strategy, as this method will allow partners to have a “get acquainted” time. This can assist in the identification of reaching milestones, successfully or identify the need to reassess before moving on to a higher level in the relationship.

Step 5: Charter.

This is the agreement, whether it is a handshake or actual contract. Even so, I strongly urge all partnering alliances to put their agreements on paper. Having each alliance member’s commitment to the other on paper will smooth a path through the potholes of partnering. Also, your charter should explain conflict resolution. Being ready for conflict will make resolution more timely and amiably.

Develop a clear agreement on what your goals are and make sure they are measurable for partnering success. Have a formal mechanism for alliance members to identify the goals, milestones, and turning points crucial to the success of the relationship. Devise some form of evaluation that will measure how well plans have been implemented. Additionally, consider having the partnering agreement include forms of dispute resolution for more formal arrangements, along with exit strategies as partnering safety valves.

Step 6: Post Agreement.

Regularly review your partnering efforts through value updates. Discuss the value you receive, the value you believe your partner receives and vice versa from the relationship. This will help in determining if relationships should be upgraded, maintained, or downgraded. Discuss opportunities for improvement and ways to enhance performance.

What you really want to build is Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) in all five Partnering Pentad areas. Again, this is Total Organizational Partnering. The benefits generally outweigh the pitfalls if you’re careful. The ability to successfully adopt the partnering paradigm philosophy is the first challenge of partnering. And, Partnering is only for the mature.


Article #5 of 5

The Necessary Core Values To Build Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs)

Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs), for partnering success in business are based on the desire to create synergy between multiple entities. Five Partnering Core Values support the foundation of such relationships. To build OSRs, integrate the following five core values into your paradigm of operation and you will experience wizardry for yourself and others!

1. Trust

This is having confidence, reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person or thing. It’s also the glue that binds a relationship. For successful business relationships, trust is necessary to move from inertia to action. Trust is that wonderful, mystical and cherished virtue hoped for and shared among practitioners of what I call the Partnering Paradigm.

In trust, you’re continually putting yourself at risk. It’s the process of taking risks necessary in building relationships. At times you are certain to be disappointed, but hopefully these disappointments will be few, compared to the availability of beneficial experiences.

2. Tolerance & Understanding

It’s unfortunate, but the words tolerance and understanding, have become a cliché that too easily rolls off the tongue in business conversations. For business OSRs to work, this core value must be cherished and practiced by all. When you can accept the value of an idea rather than be concerned by whose inspiration it was conceived, you would truly exhibit tolerance and understanding.

3. Cooperation & Growth

In my relationship seminars, I lead an exercise where several people are standing in a circle, facing center, blindfolded, and holding a rope. Then I tell them to make a square. I use this exercise to show how much more is possible when participants work together rather than separately. This is only possible when they adopt an attitude of cooperation. During the rope exercise, it is always interesting who shows up as the leader to make the square. It’s not always the person who signs the paychecks. Growth is the natural outcropping of this exercise because participants see each other in a new light.

4. Caring & Commitment

Caring about a business relationship is essential in making a commitment to its success. This is what will usually smooth out the potholes on the road to OSRs. It’s this element that allows others to voice their opinion and remain safe from criticism. Additionally, there is also the commitment that is necessary to the function of leadership, and at times, the ability to follow when another is currently leading.

Another important aspect of caring is to welcome and accept responsibility. Rather than saying, “You really should . . .” in OSR building it would be better to say, “This is what I think we need to do.” Then say, “If it is ok with you, I’ll take care of it.” In many businesses, idea people are a-dime a-dozen, but those who can implement are immeasurably valuable.

5. Synergy & Mutuality

OSR building must be an institution of trust, tolerance, understanding, cooperation, growth, caring, and commitment. This results in synergy and mutuality, similar to that of a successful marriage. Business OSRs have much in common with the institution of marriage. Both require all of the above, and both offer benefits that outdistance the possibilities available singularly. Build your OSRs and enjoy the partnering success benefits.


Get even more ideas on partnering success by watching Ed’s interview at the Cisco.

Success Strategies for Recently Merged Organizations (546 Words)

Recently Merged Organizations

In business today, it seems that recently merged organizations are as commonplace as reorders. If a merger has not affected you, I’d be surprised. With the blending of two cultures, generally come challenges and opportunities. To better focus on the opportunities, and not the challenges, follow the recommended process below.

1. Decide Synergistic Expectations. Be clear on what you are looking to have happen, resulting from the recently merged organizations. Top on many lists is economies of scale that generally result is cost savings.

2. Inventory the Expectations of Employees, Management and Executives. Job security will most likely on the minds of middle management and workers. Executive compensation parity will on the mind of many.

3. Inventory the Core Competencies from Each Company. When products and services from each differ, but serve a similar market that’s synergy. Yet, when products are similar but have different markets, which also can mean synergy. Have a strategic plan about how economies of scale will be achieved, through sales, through purchasing, or hopefully, both for recently merged organizations.

4. Inventory the Cultures and Policies of each Company. Varying levels of formality can prove to be an Achilles heel if not addressed. Also, words used by both recently merged organizations may have taken on different meanings. Each organization must give a little in the area of policy. Don’t be married to the past and, the “This is how we’ve always done it.” With DalmerChrysler, the German’s beer breaks have been interesting for the Americans to accept. While the Germans have difficulty with the casual atmosphere of the Americans. Look at where Chrysler is today…

5. Decide where Circles of Interest, Expectations and Inventories from above overlap, and where they do not. The more the circles of interest from each faction overlap, the more reason each has to make the marriage work. This was a problem with the failed merger of Price/Costco in the mid-nineties.

6. Uncover Expected Roadblocks to the Blending Process Before you merge. As with Price/Costco, today simply known as Costco, it was the ancillary issues of office buildings and mall development that they couldn’t on that kept their focus off the core competencies and developing synergistic economies of scale. As you might guess, there are several areas of potential roadblocks for recently merged organizations to deliver success. The not-invented-here mentality is common.

7. Publish the above Findings for all Employees of both Companies. Otherwise they will fill-in the blanks for themselves, usually with erroneous information. Factual merger information will go a long way to sooth fears and help all concerned understand the strategic plan and all the challenged in its implementation.

8. Help everybody, from Entry-Level employees to the Executive Suite to have an Emotional Ownership in the Success of the recently Merged Organization. Developing how-to road maps will go a long way in helping both recently merged organizations with the change. Make the first official day of the newly merged organization a celebration. DalmerChrysler did this, calling it “Day One.” They had a celebration and gave all their over 400,000 employees a merger “kit” and Swatch watch bearing the new company name.

Sure, it is much work, and it takes more than the above eight steps, opportunities abound. For those who are willing to be flexible and open to possibilities, being part of a newly merged organization can be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Culture Shift–Partnering at Mitsubishi (808 Words)

Culture Shift--Partnering at Mitsubishi

Culture Shift

Culture Shift to effectiveness. You, the retail business owner or company executive, determine the culture of your company. At Mitsubishi Motor Sales, the executive team really understands that it’s up to them to lead the charge that being the optimal partner is critical to partnering success. They know that without the executive suite beating the partnering drum, very little happens. It wasn’t always that way. Most of the executive team came from the American automotive industry and they thought they were going to build a different kind of company. Dan McNamara, senior vice president of corporate administration at Mitsubishi Motor Sales related their story to me. Seven or eight years into it, as the organization was maturing, the executives looked around and realized they hadn’t developed a partnering situation. They had built the antithesis of what they had planned–company politics and back stabbing–they had a sickness within.

Culture Shift to Fix Problems

Lucky enough, they realized they had a problem. The company was young and the culture flexible–they believed change was possible. After several flawed attempts to change, using popular management quick fixes and learning buzzwords, Richard (Dick) Recchia, executive vice president, general operations and COO, went off for an afternoon to develop a new mission statement. The statement was published, distributed, and not followed. They then realized that gimmicks were not going to work.

Later, they started to talk about values and realizing, with the assistance of outside consultants, that people’s behavior is grounded in their underlying values. This led them to a model for ranking values, both individual, and collectively. They found that the key was to identify those values and align those values with the kind of company they wanted to be. As the management team started understanding their own individual values, they were surprised at how similar their values were collectively. The executives realized that they each were not alone in putting high value on family and personal life.

Culture Shift to a Visioning Process

From this foundation, they stared a visioning process–Recchia went off to a hotel room, with a consultant, to articulate his vision for the company on paper. Next, the executive team went on a two and one-half day retreat, focusing on only three issues:

  • Breaking down the barriers that existed.
  • Recchia sharing his vision.
  • Recchia inviting the team to expand his vision, encompassing their additional values.

The result of the retreat was an expanded vision for the company–not one that Recchia had to “sell” to his executive team, but one expanded by the team, in which they had ownership. The next step was to share this vision with the next level of management, about 30 people. Again, getting this level of management’s personal ownership in the vision through their additional input. Then appointed these 30 plus managers to carry the vision throughout the company.

McNamara recalled, “We made a mistake!” As the managers were carrying the message throughout the ranks, the executive team, rather than pushing ahead and further working in the new vision, moved on to other challenges and assumed their managers could make the cultural change alone. The change they wanted wasn’t possible because the employees did not experience the executives changing their behavior and pushing for the new culture. McNamara told me they lost about a year.

Culture Shift with a Re-Start

Learning from their misfortunes, the executive team started again with the process, taking charge and showing the employees by example that they meant, and would live by what they professed.  Following this enlightened genesis, the executives set out to change departmental policies that were not in alignment with the vision. As an example, human resources had been reviewing employees, giving them a numerical grade, like in school. Eventually, the review process was changed to a “Values Initiate Performance” (VIP), where numbers were replaced by a value-based system that was “individual driven,” focusing on their growth and not holding them accountable for a corporate “guesstimate.” The value Mitsubishi has received as a result of their change:

  • Communications improvement. Reduced politics, backstabbing, and hidden agendas, along with, an increased willingness by employees to partner interdepartmentally, keeping others informed.
  • Greater productivity through increased creativity and risk taking.

The Mitsubishi executive team believed that they could build a better company, one in which partnering was part of their culture. Once they were clear on their vision and allowed it to be expanded by others, things happened. They didn’t sell the vision but allowed others to have ownership by expanding and adding to the primary vision.

After many false starts, the executives became optimal partners by not charging others with executing the company’s vision, but by leading the charge and living what they professed. The lessons Mitsubishi learned are universal truths that any retail business owner, executive, or executive team must embrace to successfully partner with their employees. If Mitsubishi can do it, so can you!

Successful Partnering Starts in the Executive Suite (1563 Words)

Successful Partnering starts in the executive suite

PartnerShift to Successful Partnering

Successful partnering starts in the executive suite. Be the kind of person that others would like to do business with. At Levi Strauss, they’re living what they say. This privately held San Francisco-based company is letting action speak louder than words. They’re reshaping their corporate culture through dismantling parts of their hierarchy and overhauling how they design, manufacturer, and market their clothing. Former Chief Executive, Robert Haas, a former Peace Corps volunteer and great-great-grandnephew of founder Levi Strauss is being an optimal partner by building ethics into the company’s bottom line through ethical practices, empowerment, and an appreciation of diversity. He embraces empowerment, the practice of putting more power into the hands of Levi’s employees at all levels and encourages them to become actively involved in corporate decision making.

Levi Strauss is embracing the belief and practice of partnering throughout their many areas of business. Haas suggests that their emphasis on values is “not just nice behavior” but that it is also smart business. He states, “Consumers are looking more and more to the company behind the product. Companies have to wake up to the fact that they are more than a product on a shelf. They’re behavior as well.” This had much to do with their decision of partial withdrawal from China, citing “pervasive violations of basic human rights” as the reason.

Haas believes that this adherence to business ethics has not hurt the company. In fact he believes the reverse, it has helped the company’s profits. Haas walks his talk in being an optimal partner by embracing ethical business practices at Levi. He empowers his employees by giving power, rather than by protecting the power with the armor of his position. Similarly, Miles Gordon, CEO at Financial Network Investment Corporation, largest independent brokers organization in the country, advocates that being the optimal partner is their only strategy. In asking Gordon if he believes the ability to adopt partnering is in-bred, he answered:

“I believe you’re not born with it, but it starts from early life. I think it’s your family values which, looking back at our company, the people that have really bought into this (which is a lot of people) and especially people that have been around a long time and have orchestrated, family values are very similar. Strong family values, a strong belief in keeping the overhead down, working and not just living off other people. In other words, you earn what you get.”

Being an optimal partner, whether your a small retailer or a major supplier, is the right thing to do, not just because its ethical, which should be reason enough, but because it pays off, as illustrated by the example of Levi Strauss & Company and for you.

THINKING your way to being an optimal partner is a start. For decades, the late, Dr. Norman Vincent Peal lectured across the country about the possibilities that are available through the power of positive thinking. In his classic The Power of Positive Thinking, Peal stated:

“A sense of inadequacy interferes with the attainment of your hopes, but self-confidence leads to self-realization and achievement.”

Create for yourself the attitude of limitless partnering possibilities. It’s no secret that attitude can and will make the difference between partnering failure and success-and success is what you ultimately want! It’s easier than you think to get into the mindset of “I don’t care” or the “I can’t do it.” It’s your self-confidence that will allow you to become the optimal partner-the pentad I detailed last month will not be complete without you!

Roger Tompkins, former vice president California of State Farm Insurance stated, “Managers see people as essentially lazy, somewhat stupid, needing constant direction and prodding to get any work done. Theory Y managers, on the other hand, see people as essentially interested in being productive, ready to work, and to cooperate, (if shown the way and given the tools) and essentially self-starting.

As I think about how I have interacted with other associates of the State Farm Insurance Companies, both employees and agents, over the years, I realize I have viewed them through the Theory Y lens. As a result, our ‘Marketing Partnership’ concept and philosophy, which is so integral to the way we approach serving our customers in the marketplace, has always squared with my personal view of people.”

When you get caught in the drift of life and/or business, and you will, it’s your partners who will be there for you with strength, energy and enthusiasm to assist you in seeing new and unique solutions to your challenges. This is something on which you could never put a monetary value or price. What you can do is be an optimal partner and reciprocate when your partners, the others in your pentad, are in need. Your partnering alliances have a vested interest in your success, as you do in theirs.

To view your daily concerns, better yet-challenges, from a new perspective, requires that you shift your paradigms (beliefs, standards, or models). For successful partnering, you must challenge your paradigms and shift away from what is not serving you.

Look at it this way: when you look at a tall tree from 50 feet away through a standard 50mm camera lens you see a particular view, not all of the tree. Now change to a macro close-up lens and you see not much of anything. Now change to a wide-angle lens and you see just about all of it. What was different each time? The lens, your filter-each of us filters how the world truly is and that’s our reality. So, change your filter, your vision, and behold all the new possibilities.

To stretch your partnering muscles, try taking on a lens that a well-focused question provides. Ask yourself daily: “Would you enter into a partnering alliance with somebody like you?” If asked habitually, this question will help you to keep activities and decisions in the perspective of being the optimal partner. Ask daily: “Who do I now trust that may serve and be served as my partner?” A sign you might consider posting where it is quite visible: “Who’s My Partner Today?”

Successful Partnering Needs You

Successful partnering is not for every business and organization, because it takes you having the capability of being an optimal partner to know if partnering is right for your business. Reasons not to partner may include: You may simply view the world from a place of loss and negativity. You have the market cornered (but for how long), and enjoy the power position of calling all the shots. You may be a loner and prefer to go it alone. Maybe you’re even satisfied to make do with less. You may not desire to build a Successful Partnering Pentad, but let me warn you-you can’t be in business today without partnering to some degree. Maybe it’s partnering with your customers, maybe another area, but you simply cannot operate in a vacuum and survive. If you find yourself having the above negative conversations, find the strength to escape your perceived dungeons.

Platinum Partnering

Maybe you’ve heard it called the Platinum Rule, or The Golden Rule Expanded? I heard about this idea from Patricia Fripp in the mid-1980s. Whatever you call it, the concept is, to do unto others the way they would have you do unto them. To be the optimal partner you must see things as your partnering alliance members do, otherwise you’ll greatly diminish your possibilities. Think back to great leaders you’ve had the opportunity with which to interact–haven’t they made you comfortable around them? Sure they may have pushed you to achieve more, but that wouldn’t have been possible, had they not initially built rapport. They somehow have had the ability to get you to want to perform to your highest level of potential, and that’s successful partnering. The same is important for you if you want people and organizations to partner with you.

For Successful partnering, learn the skills to understand people, learn how to effectively communicate on their terms rather than yours. Anthony Robbins’ book, Unlimited Power, is essentially about creating more power within–allowing one to more effectively influence others through effective communications. Robbins says: “To me, success is the ongoing process of striving to become more. It is the opportunity to continually grow emotionally, socially, spiritually, physiologically, intellectually, and financially while contributing in some positive way to others. The road to success [or partnering] is always under construction. It is a progressive course, not an end to be reached.”

Dan McNamara, former senior vice president at Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America asserts, “Be sure you’re prepared to live the values you profess–your people will ‘hear’ what they ‘see,’ not what you say.”

In the Korean business culture the principle of Nunchi, the ability to look in someone’s eyes and understand, allows for a powerful nonverbal communication. Through this process, employees make decisions that reflect how their manager would expect them to decide. Nunchi also exists as a societal binder and is the reason given by some for Koreans’ less outgoing nature as compared to Westerners. As partnering relationships blossom, this further sense of deeper understanding and communication, becomes more real and less theoretical–assisting in alliance harmony. Study nunchi, if you can develop the sense, you will become the type of person to which others will gravitate–the optimal partner.

Leveraging Your Business Relationships (543 Words)

Conducting business successfully has always been, and will always be, driven by relationships. While many claim relationships in business are dead and price is the only game, they are sadly mistaken. Today, more than ever before—leaders must fill their skills toolbox with the knowledge and ability to leverage both casual and sustained relationships into more formal strategic alliance relationships.

Reasons for Alliance Relationships

Looking at the alliance possibilities, the leader of an organization must ask, “What’s in it for my organization?” The answer to this question is that there are a number of benefits to any organization in building alliance relationships. First the leader must have a clear understanding of both the strength and weaknesses of their organization. Armed with this knowledge, the leader can look at potential alliance relationships to shore up the organizations weaknesses and share its strengths. Chapter One of my book, Developing StrategicAlliances, will give you a number of typical business alliances. This chapter is available to you at no charge, simply download the chapter at www.rigsbee.com/dsa1.htm.

Total Organizational Partnering System—The Partnering Pentad

The Total Organizational Partnering System is a strategic approach in which the leader may view their organization. Also called the Partnering Pentad, there are five strategic areas for building internal and external alliance relationships. The five areas are: the leadership alliance, the employee alliance, the customer alliance, the supplier alliance and strategic alliances (frequently with competitors). The system is the method in which all the areas interact with one another. More information at www.rigsbee.com/ps6.htm.

Alliance Implementation

In recent history, alliance relationships only enjoy success in the 50-percentile area. Much of the reasons for alliance success and failure revolve around the leader’s implementation strategy. The need to drive alliance relationships from the top of any organization is crucial to the success of any attempted alliance relationships both internal and external to the organization. Eli Lilly and Company is a forerunner in alliance implementation. For more on their strategy, visit http://alliances.lilly.com. Additionally, visit my alliance resource page atwww.rigsbee.com/allianceresources.htm. At this web page, you will be able to access a number of organizations that are actively participating in helping organizations develop alliance relationships.

Developing Outrageously Successful Alliance Relationships

In all of the previously mentioned areas for developing alliance relationships, leaders can dramatically increase the potential for success by embracing and developing an emotional ownership in four necessary relationship tools. First, leaders must focus on getting things done rather than on being right. Second, leaders must make relationship bank deposit before they attempt to make withdrawals. Third, leaders must maintain their integrity, especially in times of relationship conflict. Fourth, leaders must use the relationship value updatetool for all alliance relationships. If you would like a copy of my Relationship Value Update Form, please e-mail your request (in subject box: RVU request) to me at Ed@Rigsbee.com.

Leaders Driving the Alliance Paradigm

In any organization, the culture is driven from the top down—never the bottom up! As goes the leadership, goes the organization. In building outrageously successful alliance relationships, it is the same. The idea of leveraging relationships into formal alliances—doing so successfully, and in a sustained manner, is built on the foundation of active leadership participation. Leaders always set the bar, benchmark and tone.

Building Your Pentad for Partnering Success (974 Words)

Are you tired of adversarial business relationships draining your energy?

Is it time for you to look at a new way of conducting business–one that empowers all to be more productive and profitable?

If the pain of where you are is greater than the perceived pain of the unknown, you might be ready for partnering. Partnering is an idea that is loosely used to describe anything from teamwork to alliances to contractual partnerships. Partnering, as I define it, is the process of two or more entities coming together for the purpose of creating synergistic solutions to their mutual challenges. I recommend you adopt partnering as your overall business strategy. The benefits are numerous yet the partnering path is not without land mines.

Partnering is not meant to be a flavor-of-the-month management strategy to be hastily adopted and then as quickly abandoned, rather a long term paradigm for success. Partnering is not instant gratification! To adopt partnering as your overall management strategy, you’ll need to understand the Partnering Pentad. A pentad is simply the name given to a group of five, the Partnering Pentad represents the five key areas of every business, the areas in which to begin developing your partnering belief and activities. Once in place, you’ll have Total Organizational Partnering.

1. Synergistic Alliances

This is the area of your business where you develop alliances with outside entities for activities where you have core weaknesses you desire to shore up and to cut costs. These could include: purchasing, R&D, manufacturing, employee sharing, distribution, marketing, advertising and the list continues. By sharing your core strengths with others and theirs with you, both can create an environment of synergy yielding each more than the some total of their collective contributions. Land mines to watch out for are core values of alliance members being too different, circles of interest overlap being too little, and continual management change of one or more alliance partners.

2. Supplier Partnering

This is an area where much is being talked about.  For companies desiring just-in-time manufacturing (JIT) and electronic data interchange (EDI) ordering and inventory control, partnering is an absolute prerequisite.What I here so often from suppliers about their customers is, “They’re talking marriage but acting one night stand.” Whether you be a retailer, distributor, or manufacturer–to succeed and prosper, you had better start developing long-term relationships with those whom you do your purchasing. The biggest land mine in this area is to talk about quality, delivery, and reliability while only buying based on price. Remember, there is today’s price but there is also the overall cost–the overall cost is usually lower through long-term partnering relationships.

3. Customer Partnering

This is the area of your business where you must be outward driven. Your customers will buy from you as long as they feel they’re receiving good value for the dollars they give you. Value-added is a term which much is being written about. You must be customer/market driven rather than product driven to understand what your customers want and perceive as value being added to your products and services. It costs about 10 times as much to get a new customer as to keep a loyal customer coming back for more. The important land mine to watch out for is short-term thinking on your part when making customer satisfaction decisions.

4. Employee Partnering

To many businesses is a “non-issue,” meaning that they don’t. What motivated the WWII generation is different from what motivates baby boomers and is different from what motivates the youth of today.  Just because something motivates you, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will motivate those of a different generation than yours. If you want your employees to have anownership in your business–even though they don’t have a legal ownership and to hold sacred the business as you do–you must empower your employees.  Empowering means giving them the authority and encouraging them to accept the responsibility to do the job. Then acknowledge their successes and failures in an environment of safety–one where you encourage and reward risk taking. The major land mine to watch out for is the Ego Trap, yours of course. To give power, you must be a powerful person, one who possesses personal power rather than power simply acquired from your position.

5. Owners/Executives as Optimal Partners

This is the final and in many ways the most important part of the pentad. Not the most important from the perspective that all revolves around you, but that of having a culture of true partnering. The belief must start at the top, you must lead the charge and show by words and actions that the paradigm of partnering is truly your preferred and accepted business strategy. The critical land mine here is when top brass arrogantly believes that they are at the center of the pentad and that all should revolve around them.  The coveted center is reserved for the relationships that bind the partnering pentad and your organization as a viable entity serving society and receiving profits as the result.

For today’s cutting-edge business leaders, partnering is the prevailing answer. The Partnering Pentad will enable businesses of any size to access the benefits generated by pooling the knowledge and experience, crucial to compete in the global marketplace. Partnering is the answer if you are willing to adopt the paradigm of collaboration for mutual success! Challenge yourself to put into action the paradigm of partnering as your management and marketing strategy. Nicholas Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, in the first decade of the sixteenth century A.D. wrote a paper stating, contrary to conventional wisdom, that the earth was not the center of the universe, but rather that it rotated around the Sun. For this he was rewarded with a 500 year excommunication by the church, what price are you willing to pay for progress?

New Year Expectations (1330 Words)

How did you celebrate the beginning of the New Year? Did you simply stay home and take it easy, attend a huge celebration or travel to an exotic location? Did the celebration meet your expectations? In my opinion, how you bring in the New Year is far less important than what you plan to do in it!

As a child, I remember looking forward to Easter. This was when I got a new pair of shoes and new clothes for Easter Sunday. One year, it didn’t happen. I didn’t get my new shoes and clothes. I was completely disappointed, and to this day I carry that memory. While I do not let the memory immobilize me, it’s still there. People, organizations, places and events can easily fall short of one’s expectations. Often expectations of others are unrealistic.

Perhaps you might have similar memories in your brain’s old tape file. If you do, hopefully you don’t let them immobilize you. What about your New Year’s eve experience? Was it what you thought it would be? How did you feel when there was no bolt of lightning in the sky to usher another thousand years of Western civilization? This “feeling” of unfulfilled expectations can cause a myriad of complications in your life if you allow it to. When did you last allow unfulfilled expectations to immobilize you? How did you get out of your funk?

Expectations & Behavior

Life can be quite challenging when your expectations are not met. What are your expectations for the New Year? Expectations come in all forms, for your business, for yourself and for others, just to name a few. Since you really do not have control over others, I’d suggest that you don’t put much energy there. Where you do have control is over your own behavior decisions. Your behavior choices set both an example and expectations. What behavior decisions will you rethink?

It is the behavior decisions in our lives that determine our achievement, not the perceived limitations, like the childhood memories I mentioned earlier. Or, even worse, what some ill intentioned teacher might have told you about your “limited capabilities” back in high school or some other institution. With this said, what are the possibilities for the next thousand years? Who knows? More importantly, what are your possibilities for the next twelve months? You are accountable to fulfill your own expectations. As a business owner, manager or executive, you also are accountable to assist your employees in achieving their expectations. What will you do differently in the New Year?

At the schools my sons attend, large banners are posted by the school district with their motto, “High Expectations = High Achievement”. I suspect these are really posted for the benefit of the district’s teachers. If the teachers have high expectations of their students, then hopefully they will also have high expectations of themselves. With high expectations of themselves, the teachers will deliver the kind of quality education necessary for their students to excel. Then, and only then, can the students reach their own expectations. Think about yourself as the teacher and your employees as the students. What could you do differently that would create value for your employees?

What Do You Want?

Frequently, in my seminars, I’ll tell attendees that the definition of insanity is doing what you’ve always done but expecting different results. The dawning of every New Year is a wonderful opportunity to make new behavior decisions. The break makes change psychologically easier. The subconscious accepts the new decision easier. What new behavior decisions will you make?

High on my list of recommendations is adopting the behavior I like to call the Partnering Paradigm. This is a paradigm of synergy through cooperation. It applies to your business expectations both externally and internally. It also applies to your external and internal personal expectations. In business, seek external partners to develop strategic alliances. Select partners that have complimentary core competencies to those of your company. This will give all involved the best chance for developing synergies that will create value. Internal to your company, look for new strategies to help your employees have the Emotional Ownership necessary to act as if they were an owner, to take intelligent risks essential for business growth. See my article titled; Praise for a Job Well Done (www.rigsbee.com) for low and no cost employee recognition ideas.

To help your employees develop alignment with your vision, find your company’s stories. Look for your stories that illustrate the behaviors you wish to be repeated. Retell these stories regularly to reinforce desired behaviors. Make the stories part of your culture. Achieving a successful shift in company culture takes time, please be patient. What changes would you like to make in your company’s culture?

Control Yourself

The person you choose to be is the key to all that I’ve been saying. Your internal conversations that you have with yourself are what determine your behavior decisions. To achieve your personal expectations, you must control your behavior. When someone says, “They made me do it.” My rebuttal is usually; “I don’t think so!” Unless there is some kind of a chemical or hormonal imbalance in your physical body, YOU CONTROL YOUR BEHAVIOR. If you do have a physiological problem, seek professional help and let those around you know what’s happening. They will be more tolerant, patient and understanding.

In your personal life you also have internal (to the family) behavior issues. I find this a regular challenge in my own life. Both balance issues and how I interact with my family. I frequently catch myself allowing the communication with my teenage son to be mostly negative in dealing with my expectations of his behavior. As behavioral issues of children must be handled, also positive relationship bank deposits must be made for their emotional growth to take place. What personal behaviors must you adjust so you can meet your own expectations?

The external behaviors I mentioned in your personal life generally include extended family, friends and your community. How to you treat people? How do you give of yourself? Year-round, I donate time in my community as a youth soccer referee. How do you “show up” or personally get involved in your community? You say you’re too busy? As a colleague, Ira Blumenthal, (in reference to youth sports) says, “You can build fields or you can build prisons.” Behavior decisions in your life define who you are, a giver or a taker. We already have plenty of takers. What we really need is more givers. If you aren’t already, will you become a giver?

I’ll not ask you to make a New Year’s Resolution because most resolutions fade by Valentine’s Day, or sooner. My hope for you though, is that like the Phoenix rising anew from the ashes of devastation, you allow the New Year to be your symbol for change and rebirth. Never again in your lifetime will you have such a symbolic opportunity for renaissance. The decision of indecision is for the pathetic. William James, in The Principles of Psychology (1892) stated, “There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”

Adopt Partnering

The decision to adopt a new Partnering behavior can create enormous value in many areas of your life. In business, new synergies (the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts) will become possible. These synergies will become evident both externally and internally. In you personal life, a new Partnering (or cooperation) behavior will bring you closer to the ones you love and care about. You will also find a new feeling of balance in your life.

So, what are your expectations? Will you resolve to make the behavior decisions necessary to satisfy your expectations? What are my expectations? I’ll tell you. This year, I expect to double, from last year, the number of people I help in making new and different behavior decisions for their lives. I wish you the best of success in making notable behavior decisions.

Your Possibilities, My Possibilities, Our Possibilities (784 Words)

As you run and hurry from one activity to the other, putting out fires at every turn—have you ever stopped for a moment to consider the possibilities? What possibilities you ask? Is this the life you thought you’d be living? Is this the business you thought you’d be running? Are you working so hard that life is passing you by? Is there another, more effective work paradigm?

Have you recently asked yourself a question something like, “Why am I putting myself through this, really?” If you have, you are doubtlessly being more honest that those who say they have not. The good news is that you are not alone. At the seminars I give, scores of business leaders have privately shared their similar feelings with me.

What’s the answer? I don’t believe there is only one answer but several possibilities from which each person may select. What does this mean to you? It means that on any given day, there are forks in the road and you decide on your preferred road. Unfortunately, most people select what appears to be the easiest road. Then, hidden around the bend, is an incredible mountain to climb one that often appears overwhelming and hopeless. Too often you feel smothered from all the stuff that either you have loaded on your plate or allowed others to heap onto it. Sometimes you just want to get off the carousel of business, or life, and crawl under a rock. Don’t you?

Lonely at the Top

While the view is magnificent, it is also very lonely at the top. Success is sweeter when you have someone with which to share it. Warren Bennis, in his book, Leaders-The Strategies for Taking Charge identified through a number of interviews an important trait among most successful leaders. It was the ability to stay in their marriage-long term. This trait is so crucial because it demonstrates a leader’s ability to work with others, see and honor another person’s point of view and be flexible when things don’t turn out as intended—which is almost all the time.

In my books on partnering and strategic alliances, I continually talk about synergistic possibilities. This is the basic idea of taking one plus one and getting three or more rather than the expected two. In my own life, I catch myself at times simply doing something myself, rather than teaching another how to do the task, thinking it is easier and quicker. In the long run though, that belief eventually proves that I’m taking the wrong path. Working with, and teaching others, takes understanding and patience—unfortunately, too few leaders exhibit these virtues.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, my recommended paradigm or solution to your challenges is partnering—in one form or another. To shrink your daily load, you will want to look at both external and internal partnering alliance possibilities. First, look at the inside possibilities. Can you build stronger alliances with your employees? If you can achieve this, the result will be their accelerated sense of emotional ownership in the success of your business. What a great partnering benefit!

Alliance Possibilities

External alliance relationships include those with your competitors, suppliers, customers and other organizations that can assist in the strengthening of your core weakness areas. This will allow you the time to develop your more profitable core strength areas. Just think about the possibilities available to you if you have strong relationships with the external groups mentioned. Better buying possibilities with your suppliers, increased loyalty among your customer and collaborative possibilities with competitors for marketing, research, delivery and production.

Contrary to what you might have perceived, partnering is not for everybody. Some people just cannot let go. They have a desperate need for control. They cannot see the opportunities available to them. If you are one of those people, you are sentenced to going it alone with an overflowing plate of activities that are better suited for others. You will scrape and struggle, jumping from one crisis to the other. You’ll continually complain about the behavior of others and get more and more frustrated until you end up in the hospital with one some life threatening condition.

For you that are willing to do the front-end work and build alliance relationships, the world is your oyster. Everywhere you look, you will see partnering possibilities. Your challenge is to select your partners well and to first focus on what matters to you and your business the most. Slowly, you will find your plate less loaded with things that others could easily do. You will find time to explore business and personal opportunities rather than spending your precious time just fighting fires. Now is the time to select your path.

Public Speaking for Dollars and Sales Increases (2473 Words)

Public Speaking For Sales Increases, Speak for Dollars

Public Speaking for Dollars and Sales Increases

Public Speaking

Public speaking is a great way to connect with your current and future customers. Present your ideas at a public or a private venue. Presenting to a targeted audience is an accelerated way to stimulate business. Sure, speaking to groups of people can be a frightening prospect, but you do want to increase sales, don’t you? Why do so many people have this fright, do you suppose? Perhaps, if the audience doesn’t like what you have to say they’ll call the police in and have you taken off to jail for disturbing the peace? Just kidding, it’s not too likely that will ever happen. So, what is it? Maybe it’s an imposter syndrome fear? A fear that the audience will discover one is not as smart as one might pretend to be? No! They already know that. Then what is it?

I believe many are afraid of presenting because of low self-esteem. Let’s not confuse brash egotism with quality self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself you are willing to take a risk and be vulnerable. Yes, I said vulnerable! This is when a perceived weakness can become a real strength. Think back and visualize in your mind a presenter, one at which you attended their live presentation. Now that you have the presentation in your mind, ask yourself, “How real were they?” Your answer will most likely be: “They were very real. I felt like they were speaking directly to me.” This is because they allowed their self to be vulnerable. You thought they were there for you actually as your guide or mentor.

There are three basic ways to use public speaking to market your products and services:

  1. Speaking to community and service clubs.
  2. Holding information specific seminars.
  3. Doing demonstrations; out in public and in-home party style.

First, we’ll look at speaking to your community organizations. This idea is great when you primarily market to your local community, otherwise you’ll be doing quite a lot of traveling. Here’s an easy way to start: Prepare a 25-minute presentation about the value your industry provides for consumers. Make it non-commercial and non-specific to your product or service. Do this, and you’ll receive acceptance.

Your speech will be the most effective if you have an opening grabber to break the preoccupation barrier that most people have. Try something humorous about your business or in your industry. Another grabber can be controversy, but be cautious. Develop a transition to the body and then cover only three to four key points. Keep the presentation body fun, informative and positive. Next, summarize and have a call to action. This is the suggestion for your audience to stop by your place of business to see, hear or learn more. Conclude with a quotation or a short meaningful story. Just relax you’ll be a hit.

Book a Public Speaking Engagement

Contact your chamber of commerce for a list of community organizations. Contact all of the groups on the chamber list. Offer to speak at their meeting. You’ll be surprised at how many will accept your offer. Don’t try to sell the audience anything at their meeting except yourself. Be a giver a giver of knowledge and business will come your way. Remember to send out news releases to the local media every time you speak. While you’re out speaking, look for an organization to join and get involved. Being active in your community is an excellent way to show you’re a community partner and to get noticed.

The second way to use public speaking is to hold seminars. Check your newspaper, usually the Sunday paper is best. Look for the ads advertising free seminars—you should find one or two. The common seminars you’ll notice are for Wills, Trust & Estate Planning, Real Estate, Health and Fitness, and a variety of other offerings. The plan is to get the prospects in the door. You do this by providing them with a small amount of dynamite information (useful, of course). Then, at the end, offer your products and services for sale or lease.

Record your seminars, and when you deliver what you consider to be a great one make, it into a “for sale” product or use it as an incentive product…most likely downloadable content and products from your Website will work out best.

Elements to Successful Public Seminars

Advertise your seminar with the local media. Sell people on attending the seminar, make truthful promises of value and benefits for all who attend, let them know what’s in it for them. Remember that the attendees are giving of time and energy to get there. Be sure to have some helpers there to take your new customers’ money, credit cards, etc. If you are not great at closing the sale, consider partnering with a professional sales person to increase the volume of sales.

The seminar can be held at your place of business or a rented location such as a hotel/motel conference room, park, school, or anything you can think of—be innovative. Wherever it is, make it comfortable for about an hour stay 45 minutes for the information, 10 minutes for your sales presentation and the five minutes just because.

The third way to promote your business through public speaking is through the demonstration method. You can do this in public gathering places like fairs and carnivals, at trade shows and in a private home setting. Demonstrations in public can be as brief as five minutes or up to 15 minutes. Any longer than 15 minutes, you’ll have people stop by and move on. At these public demonstrations you’ll need to be prepared to answer questions and possibly sell your products. You can probably partner with another person or group to help you do those tasks.

In-home public speaking demonstrations can be effective. I remember growing up and going out with my mother when she gave consumer product parties at people’s homes. It seemed like every year my mother would switch to a new company. Take my advise stick to one thing and you’ll surely make lots of money it’s advice nobody gave my mother or advice she never took. Companies like Tupperware are synonymous with this method and it works!

Personal Publicity through Public Speaking

Personal publicity will help you to become more secure and confident. People that appear to be of value are the ones companies seek to become integral with their organization. Our economy is dynamic and ever changing. Companies can no longer afford to keep on the deadwood that in an era gone by was possible. Make a commitment to yourself here and now to be a person of value. This means you’ll have to bring more value to your workplace. Also, you can more easily find new employment for yourself if necessary.

Many American companies have gone through excruciating change and downsizing. They are looking to their star performers to keep the business afloat. These stars came to the attention of management by intelligently and subtly publicizing their accomplishments and heroic efforts throughout their company and industry. You too, can do this. Yes I understand that it’s not your way the problem is that “your way” may create a one-way ticket to oblivion. Many people need someone to give them permission to do something that their parents once told them was not “our way.” I hereby give you permission to promote yourself to the world!

As a colleague, Mark Victor Hanson, coauthor of the “Chicken Soup” books, has often told me, “Let your inner knower tell you what to do.” Your inner knower can help you to see your true value to the economy in which you participate. Let go of your negative “stuff” on self-promotion and move on to fulfill your potential!

Listed below are three typical reasons professionals and business leaders are hesitant to self-promote. Do these ring true for you?

  1. Feel it’s too self-important, pompous, pontifical, pretentious, stuffy, grandiose, ostentatious or stuffy.
  2. Not in keeping with the professional image they want to project.
  3. Believe promotion costs more then the value they receive.

Truly, the only restraint that keeps you from having the public image and stature that many enjoy is the conversation you have with yourself about the additional possibilities for your life. Dislodge those old tapes in your head that have been immobilizing your efforts to get ahead. Launch them right out of your consciousness.

Ways To Get People To Notice You

  • Promote free booklets/reports on ideas and information related to your business or service.
  • Author a book. You become an instant expert.
  • Do your own radio show, perhaps a Saturday or Sunday morning public information type.
  • Publish a printed or electronic newsletter.
  • Stay in touch with clients and prospects by mailing them articles you clipped.
  • Become an expert resource for local and national media reporters.
  • Welcome new people to your town.
  • News releases are an inexpensive way to get your name in print; always include a photo.
  • Write a weekly or monthly newspaper or magazine column.
  • Congratulate people on promotions you read about in the local paper and in trade pubs.
  • Give great public speaking experiences to others.
  • Public seminars sponsored by your company or another company with which you partner.
  • Word-of-mouth happy clients and happy employees talk!
  • Host power breakfasts for local business leaders.
  • Get on, or even better, host radio and/or TV talk shows.

Crashing Past Gatekeepers of the Media To Get Your Foot In The Door

The various kinds of traditional and social media exposure can make the difference in your success in gaining speaking opportunities and/or help you to fill the seats of your public events. While social media is about…showing up regularly…traditional media takes quite a bit more work.

  • Controversy sells in all forms of the media. Media is drawn to it like insects to a night light.
  • Relevance to a current event is important. Make your story connect to what is happening now.
  • Hope, it does not sell as well as controversy, but it does sell. The media is looking for ways to show that progress is being made in solving today’s social problems.
  • Simplification of life, for most, life has become too complex. Show how people can save time, improve the quality of their lives, find enjoyment and fulfillment, and generally be happier.
  • Overcoming Adversity is a regular media winner. America has always cheered for the underdog. Show how you have done it and become a media darling.

Partnering with the media can be your secret weapon if used well. Develop relationships with as many local and national reporters and editors as possible. The more you can do to make their life easier the better the chances you’ll get coverage.

To Better Connect with the Media, Make a Favorable Impression

  • Take the Eight “Cs” approach: Be Concise, Candid, Correct, Conversational, Clear, Compassionate, Controversial, and Calm!
  • Use the name of your company or product rather than saying, “The widget or The Company.”
  • Give your main point first, in a concise, positive, and complete sentence.
  • Remember that the best defense is a good offence.
  • Be honest.
  • Relax and smile.
  • Make a public interest viewpoint.
  • Become an “industry” source.
  • Be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible.
  • Watch or listen to the show or read the publication beforehand.
  • Radiate confidence and energy. Energy plus Enthusiasm equals Excitement!
  • If you really do not know, say “I don’t have the answer now” . . . and explain rather than, “I don’t know,” or “No comment.”
  • Keep your cool.
  • Believe to the core of your being, that you have something of value to offer their audience.

Things You Will Want to Avoid

  • Do not repeat negative or “Loaded” words.
  • Do not say anything “off the record” because there is no such thing in today’s media.
  • Do not make exaggerated claims or predictions.
  • Do not lie, mislead, or try to bluff because it will come back and bite you in the rear.
  • Do not discuss your personal finances.
  • Do not lose your temper. If you do, the host will make a monkey of you. I once saw Ted Turner lose his temper on Donahue and Phil made Ted look like a . . . Well, you know.
  • Do not wear checks, plaids, stripes, or large prints before a camera because you will look    terrible.
  • Do not look for the “on camera” red light. Instead, talk directly to the reporter or    interviewer.
  • Do not nod affirmatively to a question with which you disagree. Instead clearly show that you are not in agreement with the interviewer or other guest.
  • Do not be defensive.
  • Do not use jargon that few will understand. Rather than appearing bright, you will appear smug or arrogant.
  • Do not leave your humor in the waiting room. Humor is one of the best ways to win over the audience.
  • Do not try to be someone you aren’t. Your insincerity will show through like a red flag.
  • Do not forget to say “Thank you” to the show’s host.

If You Want to be Asked Back

  • If you show up in person, DRESS TO IMPRESS.
  • Be prepared.
  • Always be in time for the interview.
  • Your materials should be up-to-date.
  • Smile before, during, and after the interview, even if you are not in-studio.
  • Arrive early so you don’t appear rushed, but not so early that you’re in the way.
  • Listen intently to the host.
  • Answer question asked, even if you do move a little off their subject.
  • Answer to the point and be concise.
  • Answer with enthusiasm.
  • Do not answer a question with a question, a simple yes or no, or “yup.”
  • If you’re unfamiliar with a question, simply say so.
  • If you don’t clearly hear the question, ask them to please repeat it.
  • Call the host by name and thank them briefly on air.
  • Send a postproduction thank you note to the host and producer.

Public speaking is an awesome way to grow your business. You have just discovered the tools to get to the media. If you made the commitment I asked for earlier all that is left is to go into action. Don’t get derailed moving from the idea phase into action. Your own perception of your worthiness is what will block or empower you into action. If you didn’t make the commitment, what can I say, but good luck? It is how you say it and how you do it. Share your ideas in public and gain increased stature for yourself and your business. It is a fun way to boost your business. Learn how to sell your speak services to trade associations and professional societies

Additional Resources: Toastmasters International  —  National Speakers Association

 

The Value of Rock-Solid Business Relationships in Turbulent Times (1269 Words)

“Relationships really matter when things go wrong,” said Pat Marantette, president at E.T. Horn Company. It was on a warm and sunny Southern California day that I visited Pat at his specialty chemical distribution facility in La Mirada. The purpose for my visit was to interview him in preparation for my presentation the following winter at the 29th annual meeting of the National Association of Chemical Distributors.

Pat spent a fair amount of time stating his case about relationships mattering most when things went south. Of my several hundreds of interviews, Pat was the first to put business relationships in such a light. And, he’s absolutely correct.

I have spent much of the past decade both researching and preaching the virtues and values of partnering and developing strategic alliances. Recently, as you know, our world changed—things went south in New York and Washington, DC. As a result, many industries, the airlines as a prime example, have been or will soon be devastated. At times like this, the quality of the relationships that management has built with their suppliers, customers and employees is quite transparent.

America’s Roller Coaster Ride

While we are living in a time of high technology, in times of heavy stress, high touch is crucial. Sure, there is plenty of the impersonal e-commerce, e-auction sites and industry portal sites, yet in turbulent times we fall back to the much-needed high touch. As America moves into uncertainty, a roller coaster ride for business and industry is assured. The best antidote for the motion sickness that accompanies high-speed ups and downs is rock-solid business relationships.

Norbert Oberz, founder, of the successful Sport Chalet sporting goods chain headquartered in La Canada, California built the foundation of his business throughout the 1960s and 1970s on the relationships he built. With his employees, he took care of them. He even bought up small houses close to the original Sport Chalet in La Canada for selected employee housing. With his customers, he delivered unsurpassed service and value. People always knew they would get a square deal from Norbert. And with his suppliers, he always paid them. Granted, in drought years it might only be five dollars every other week, yet he continued to pay in good faith.

Willingness To Lend a Hand

Visiting with Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Michigan, one executive told a story of how the company helped a long-time dealer that was is big-time financial trouble—of the visit to the family home of the dealer and sharing options at the dinner table with the dealer and his sons. And how Steelcase helped that loyal dealer back into a position of strength in his market.

After writing three books and several hundred articles on partnering, alliances and business relationships, let me share 10 tips that will help you to keep your business relationships rock-solid.

1. Behave toward another the way you want them to behave toward you. Perhaps go even farther and behave toward them the way they would like you to. It is a subtle difference but makes a huge difference.

2. It’s more important to be a good partner and get things done, then to obsess on being right. Think about how many times another driver ran a light or made an illegal lane change into your lane. Sure, if they hit you it would be their fault because you were in the right, but you got out of their way. Why did you do this when you were right? Because you did not want to put yourself in danger or go through the trouble of dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. It is the same idea in the business environment. Just focus on getting things done.

3. Make relationship bank deposits before you try to make withdrawals. Can you just walk into any bank and instantly get $100,000 simply by asking? Perhaps with a ski mask and some deadly hardware you can, but realistically, you probably can’t, as they don’t know you. If you have a relationship with a specific bank, perhaps you can. The relationship most likely would consist of a loan or a credit line, one or more accounts and a history. That is your relationship bank deposit with that specific bank. It is the same thing with all relationships; you must do some giving before you can expect to do some receiving.

4. Regularly share relationship value updates with those whom you have a relationship. This consists on putting on paper the value you believe you are receiving, the value you believe they are receiving and ideas to make the relationship better. As I stated, commit these three elements to paper, ask the other party to do the same and then switch documents. This is a safe conduit for evaluating the value of your relationship and not getting personal in the process.

5. Know what others need. It is literally impossible to create value for another company, organization or person if you don’t know what they hold as valuable. It is easy to get carried away is doing stuff for another as it feels so good. But, suppose what you are doing for them is valueless to them? They why do it? Just to make you feel better? Your energies could be better spent in creating the kind of value (perhaps service) the other could use.

6. Be clear about what you want from your relationship and what you are willing to give to it. The idea of unrealistic or unstated expectations rings loudly here. How can another (organization or person) do for you if you are unwilling to be open about your needs? Also, from the start, be upfront about the level at which you are willing to participate.

7. Be committed; always show your confidence and passion toward your relationships. This applies equally toward a person or organization. Maybe they need to see your level of commitment before they are willing to state theirs? It does not work to be “in” the relationship when it is convenient and “out” when it is not. Sorry, you cannot ride the fence here.

8. I realize it is all too cliché, but do more for your others than you promised. Just like in a baker’s dozen (13), exceed their expectations. The problem with participating at the minimum level is that stuff happens and frequently things get in the way of completing things or actions in progress. Then you come up short-handed, falling short of your committed participation level. If you always do more, you will rarely deliver less than that of another’s expectations.

9. Resolve conflict immediately. Like a splinter left in your finger to fester and cause pain, personal or organizational conflict left unchecked is simply a time bomb waiting to explode. While it might seem easier to “let things be,” over the long haul, it isn’t. To effectively resolve conflict, focus on what matters and don’t worry about being right.

10. You can’t have a relationship with an organization or individual that doesn’t want one. Be honest, and ask yourself if a relationship is even possible. If you operate as if there is a relationship, partnership, alliance or anything else but there really isn’t—you are setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. As I have told thousands in my seminars, pick your partners well.

While I’ve shared my 10 tips for rock-solid business relationships with you, you have perchance guessed that they will also work for your personal relationships. Yes, you are correct. These tips will in fact make a vast difference in your personal relationships. If you need more help, visit my web site at www.Rigsbee.com. Enjoy the ride!