I love books. There are few more satisfying for me then to run my fingers across the spines of books in my library, to pull one out maybe it’s one that I’ve read before, or maybe it’s one that has been sitting there waiting for me to open its pages. Finding a new author. Losing myself for hours in a bookstore or library. The journey of discovery that I have discovered and books really begin with my grandmother reading Tolkien and CS Lewis on summer visits, and has not let up in the years since.

I’ve traveled a lot for business over the years, and one common theme for me just to pick up books in the airport. Doesn’t matter if I already brought one along to read, or if I’ve got so much work that I simply won’t have time to read, if I see a book that intrigues me, I have to pick it up.

This started with airport fiction. You know the ones. A rousing piece of barely believable fiction that can take you a couple of flights to read, captures your imagination, takes you away to someplace exotic or adventuresome.

Over the years, airports have gotten more savvy about business travelers. While they still have the fast read fiction books, but there’s also a plethora of history, biographies, business and other non-fiction books available. And their titles and artwork are just as enticing. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a better executive, have “The IT Factor”, get your boss to listen more, or learn how to manage your time or negotiate effectively?

The problem is, time being as it is, I don’t finish nearly as many as I pick up. One specific one that’s been in rotation on my nightstand for quite some time, is the HBR Press “10 Must Reads” On Managing Yourself. I just picked it up, and found that it truly is a must-read. There are gems all the way through this, here are some that I found to be very good:

From “How Will You Measure Your Life?” By Clayton M. Christiansen (Harvard Business School professor, and Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma)

Three important career questions: “First, how can I be sure I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure my relationships with my spouse in my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?” That third question is really about integrity. How can you compare myself in business, even when not everyone shares my values, so that I always live by my values? (Ray Dahlio’s book Principles is a great read on that subject.)

“People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to under invest in their families and over invest in their careers-even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.”

“If you want your kids to have strong self-esteem and confidence that they can solve hard problems, those qualities won’t magically materialize in high school. You have to design them into your family’s culture, and you have to think about this very early on. Like employees, children build self-esteem by doing things that are hard and learning what works.”

“You got to find yourself what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.”

From “Managing Oneself” by Peter F Drucker (Author of The Effective Executive):

“We have to learn to develop ourselves. We have to place ourselves or we can make the greatest contribution.”

“The only [real] way to discover your strengths is the feedback analysis. Whenever you make a decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results of your expectations.”

“First and foremost, concentrate on your strengths. Put yourself where your strengths can produce results.”

“Second, work on improving your strengths.”

“Third, discover where your intellectual arrogance is causing this a disabling ignorance and overcome it.”

“Remedy your bad habits, The things you do or fail to do that inhibit your effectiveness and performance.”

“For example, a planner me find that is beautiful plans fail because he does not follow through on them. Like so many brilliant people he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozer should go to work. This planner will have to learn that the world does not stop when the plan is completed. He must find people to carry out the plan and explain it to them. He must adapt and change it as he put it into action. And finally, he must decide when to stop pushing the plan.”

For maximum performance, “Knowledge workers in particular have to learn to ask a question that has not been asked before: ‘What should my contribution be?’ To answer they must address three distinct elements: ‘What does a situation require? , ‘Given my strengths, my way of performing, and my values, how can I make the greatest contribution to what needs to be done?’ And finally, ‘What results have to be achieved to make a difference?'”

I don’t wanna spoil the whole thing for you, but definitely worth reading. Again and again.

Have a great week. Be your best you. Do something that matters!

These aren’t platitudes. This is real. Thousands have based their entire success platform on these ideas. Internalize them. It will make you better in anything and every thing in your life. Don’t agree? Post here. Let’s argue it out.

What gets in the way of us as humans is taking our fears and translating them into action.

“Daring dreams can be great things. Daring dreams have changed the world. Galileo had daring dreams to see the planets and developed the first telescope. Lindbergh had a daring dream and flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Ford had a daring dream, so did Ray Kroc, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daring dreams change the world. But there is a difference between a daring dream and a mere daydream. One fires you up and moves you forward. The other is nothing more than wishful thinking. Daring dreams are worth dying on the hill to take them. Daydreams do little more than make you want to take a nap.”

-John Maxwell

My purpose for 2018: To finish what I start. To do things that matter. To execute. To honor my Creator. To mentor and be mentored. To coach and take coaching. To take responsibility for all my faults, all my failures and own my wins. To increase my level of efficiency with my team.

I will be grateful. I will listen. I will be on time.

In 2014 I was miserable. I weighed 313 lbs. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. Frustrated. Between health issues and not knowing what lay ahead, I was overwhelmed.

With amazing support from my mentors, family and friends, I’m happy to report I weighed in at 223 lbs on Friday, and moving that right along.

Work wise, I had my best performance year yet in 2017, and I’m just getting started.

I want to challenge all of you, every one. What are you going to do that matters? Who will you share your goals with? What will you commit to your own education?

Take whatever your handicaps are, and make them work for you. Don’t be afraid to be audacious. Set huge goals and get an accountability partner to hold you responsible for meeting your objectives.

Do something that matters. Beat you. It’s time. Don’t procrastinate, do it now.

Ok, so I liked this post enough that I’m recycling it… yes, I’m that guy. Here’s my goalsetting recycled 2017, updated slightly to 2018. The good news? It worked, so I’m going to share it with you again.

I took a break from educating myself to my detriment.  I’ll not call it a “resolution”, I came to this decision while breaking one of my more unrealistic of those “resolutions” of 2017.  I’ve resolved to do this nonetheless.  This is (in my universe) “The Year of the Dave”.  In my head every morning I see a  paper Chinese Restaurant menu, and on the colorful wheel of  years, sandwiched in between the caricatures of Monkey and Dog is a cartoon drawing of “Medium Dave” (halfway between “Fat Dave” & “Skinny Dave”). You can’t get better if you’re not getting better.  I’m trying not to waste any time – weekends, evenings, early mornings, I’m at my best when I’m constantly reading.  Podcasts in the car, articles saved on my iPhone and kindle, Fast Company or Forbes in my backpack for times when I have to wait or have a few minutes when I walk into a meeting.  You can fill your mind with some really good stuff if you’re not spending time commenting on recycled memes on the interwebs. 

But my best advice? Once you get that audience with your target? We’ve all heard the adage that “you have two ears and one mouth… listen twice as much as  you talk”?  Well, that’s true with one modification.  Listen 75%.  And the other 25%? No matter how much you think you know, make 75% of THAT 25% about asking probing or clarifying questions, and stating back a summary at the end.  Take good notes, capture the actions, confirm or clarify at the end, and follow-up.

Here are a few articles that have a couple of good concepts in them about making meetings their most valuable.

Scheduling Meetings




Preparing for a Meeting

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Read about the company online. Look them up on Yahoo Finance (thanks Greg), look at their website’s “about” and “investors” sections, look at their Wikipedia page.  Social media stalk your prospect OR existing customer.  If a customer? You should AT LEAST follow them on LinkedIn.  If they have a blog or a podcast? Read or listen.  Learn about them, don’t be a creeper, but understand what they like.  And unless you get to know them personally and your politics or religion align? Both are fairly off limits. Use good judgement here.


– Build a meeting agenda,

– Make sure you have business cards

– Send an email confirming the meeting beforehand

– Do your research about the person with whom you’re meeting

– If you’re taking lunch in, confirm whether the group has any dietary restrictions

– If possible, make reservations, or if doing lunch onsite/having a working lunch, preorder. It helps to ask the customer which they would prefer, especially if you have any technical content or project documentation you have to review.

– If you’re taking someone with you, make sure you fill out a meeting template – they need to know who they’re meeting with, if and what they need to prepare for, and your objectives for the meeting.  Having something clearly documented, and having a pre-call, helps them help you.

– Make sure you verbally, never via email, tell them about any quirks the customer might have, or any behavior they don’t like.

– Know your customer’s dress expectations. When in doubt, business professional is almost never a bad thing.  Caveat – some customers HATE ties, and if you know it’s jeans day, and you can pull it off, jeans are ok as long as they’re nice and professional. I tend to always wear a sport coat or a nice sweater. Stay away from tennis shoes… unless, of course, you’re going to play tennis.

– If requesting a demo OR a presentation, state expectations clearly in an email, and get confirmation that the responsible parties know your asks and agree to deliver them. Never wait until the day before or the day of. Give your resources plenty of time to prepare, and plenty of time to ask questions.

https://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.htmlIf publicly traded, look up this free resource for company filings.  Research is easy with these “more than 21 million [company] filings”.




Selling to Executives

On this one, you have busy executives right at your own company.  Ask THEM what THEY look for in vendors, and think about how you would sell your solution or services to them if you had to meet their objectives.  Ask your best customers about what THEY expect from vendors – ask them that early in the relationship, then KEEP asking them.  People love to provide coaching. It’s one of the very best ways of learning who they are, and what their real expectations are.  The visceral honesty that comes from opening up and being a teacher.  From talking about yourself, and hearing about themselves.

Take your best sales executive to as many meetings as they will give you time to do.  Learn from them directly as much as you can.  When they can’t go with you, or you need someone with a different skillset, use whatever Subject Matter Experts you have at your disposal. I PROMISE you that key executives that care about company sales performance shouldn’t be upset with you for asking them to go to a quality, qualified meeting (and neither will your SMEs) If they are? Sorry, friend, you’re working at the wrong company.  They can’t go to all of them, but it never hurts to ask.  Just be clear about what kind of a meeting it is, who/roles that will attend, their titles and your key objectives. Then make sure you control what you can.

Meeting checklist

– At the beginning of the meeting, right after introductions, review your meeting objectives/agenda and ask for their objectives & expectations.  Make note of them.

– During the meeting, make sure you both prioritize their asks (unless they’re totally irrelevant, then schedule something else as a follow-up to address those items), and captured (and addressed) any questions and actions that come up during the dialog).

– At the end of the meeting, clarify with the customer that you’ve hit the mark. 

– Develop hand signals, kicks under the table, or tic looking winks for those aggravating times when someone starts babbling on and on about a solution that your customer told you on your precall they think is full of holes.

– Stay off your computer or your phone.  Unless you’re taking notes with it (and they know it) or they’ve asked you to look something up, pay attention, even if you’re not the primary presenter. You might just learn something. Oh, and your customer might just know you actually DO care about solving for their challenges…

– If you didn’t get to something you had on the agenda, either in your summary wrap up, or in your follow-up email, ask them how they would like to address them, or if they have further questions.

– At the end of the meeting, review the action items and give them a realistic follow-up action time.  Pad that by at least 20% if not more.  For example, if you intend to send your follow-up email by EOB today? You should tell them, “you’ll have your follow-up email by EOB day after at the latest”. And then? Make SURE you send it today before your head hits the pillow.  In the immortal words of the elusive Steve Barone, “Promise a Neon, Deliver a Porsche” or maybe update that with “Promise a Hyundai, deliver a BMW” for those of you that don’t remember Dodge Neons.




Following up on meetings

It sounds so basic, obvious and academic, but how often are we at our best in meeting follow-up? The more I do what I say I’m going to do, the more success I’m going to have. The more I FOLLOW UP the more I’m going to SELL UP. Treat every meeting as gold. If you’re not required to be there, and if you add or receive no value from it? Remove yourself.  If you have to or need to be in the meeting? Treat it with seriousness and respect.  Maintain attention, don’t get distracted, TAKE NOTES, and if you have an action? Follow-up on it as SOON as you can prioritize it.  The longer you wait to follow-up on it, the more of the essence of what you’re supposed to do you lose.


https://hbr.org/2015/11/two-things-to-do-after-every-meeting – Great advice on follow-ups, persistence and sense of urgency!


Meeting Note TemplatesBuild a SYSTEM of follow-ups for internal and external meetings.  Here are some interesting ones from the web.  You can use an Excel sheet that you customize and print, or have printed in a binder, OR just make a process for it and follow it.


http://www.brighthubpm.com/monitoring-projects/14642-keeping-track-of-your-projects-action-items-in-excel/ – For more complex projects

http://analysistabs.com/excel-templates/mom-minute-meeting-free-download/Think of how our customers would perceive us to be if we sent out transparent and consistent follow-ups in the same format, the same process, every time?

Follow- up, be your best you.

Even the best, most seasoned reps and executives are arguably up to 10x more efficient if they follow a system.  That doesn’t make it boring, it makes you efficient.  I PROMISE you’ll get more done if you do.   

Oh, and find yourself some heroes and some mentors.  Learn from them.  People love to coach. Copy what they do with their business relationships.  Imitation is the best form of flattery. Then think about how you could adapt their success to your style.  THAT’s how you win.

 But I digress.  This was supposed to be me posting a couple of cool links I found.  I could go on about this forever, and likely did. Have a great sales week!

If you have hospitals, doctors offices, anyone that has a need to protect PHI (protected health information) or ePHI on your account list, this is a really good, concise discussion that I found valuable.  

Have a great week, happy selling!

Sales is very seldom an event, it’s a process. Build relationships. Create and deliver value.

The greatest way to become disciplined, is to get around disciplined people…

 If you’re not winning, how do you change the paradigm and win?

-Kyle Wilson

Podcast from Ziglar.com

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop.

The surgeon was there, waiting for the service manager to come and take a look at his bike.

The mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?”

The surgeon a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, “So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take valves out, fix ’em, put ’em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic…

“Try doing it with the engine running.”

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