My Dad was a chemist working on, among other things, the Proctor and Gamble team that brought Cascade to the market. It was a fun childhood for me because my dad was always tinkering or experimenting with something. I remember one experiment in particular that was assigned to me on a hot summer morning. It was one of those bright, already hot at 9:30 am days. My dad sent me out of the house with directions, a magnifying glass, some old newspapers and a stopwatch.
I was to put the paper on the ground in the middle of the yard, hold the magnifying glass over the paper, and continually move the magnifying glass to ensuring that the light traveling through it was never still in one spot. I was to do this for five minutes and make note of the result.
Next, I was to do the same while holding the magnifying glass steady – ensuring that the light was always focused on the same spot on the paper for 5 minutes. Again, I was to make note of the result. Upon conclusion, I was to present my findings to my dad.
I discovered that when I constantly moved the focus of the lens, I could never start a fire. And, when I held the magnifying glass still, the glass harnessed the power of sunlight, focused rays in one place, and, had greater power. With the moving magnifying glass I could not start a fire, and when steady in one place I could start a fire in less than one minute.
When I presented the findings to my dad, he made the point that everyone had sunlight available – yet, I was one of the few that (on that day) focused the sunlight in one place to do something magnificent. He continued to share how people and teams all have energy, but the successful ones could focus. He revealed to me that IF I would focus the power of my own energy and effort, even my own thoughts, in the same way on a single target, then I too, could have magnificent results.
In a way, Rhythm and the Rhythm methodology is a magnifying glass for you and the power of your team. Every team has people, energy, and resources just like many experience sunlight. But the teams that are magnificent (event significant) are the ones that aim right, hold steady, and ignite the flames of 13-week success.
While attempting to expand on this idea, I ran into this quote:
“The places where we put our attention and focus are the things that expand. If we focus on fear and doubt, we will find evidence to support that that is true and real. This thinking is detrimental to your ability to seal the deal. Even if you spend time resisting fear, you are still focusing on it, and that which we resist persists. Stop. Take a moment each day to focus on what you are grateful for and what makes you feel resilient.” – Suzi Pomerantz
I searched out Suzi to gain her thoughts on how we might focus our efforts on the right targets. Here’s what she shared:
Q: How are some of the concepts from your book, Seal the Deal, applicable to the current economy?
A: The core concepts of the "critical trinity" of Networking, Marketing and Sales have not changed at all. Think of it as a 3-legged stool. You need all three legs to balance the stool. Given the explosion of social media and other web advancements combined with the economic challenges we face today, the professional services provider can do much more networking and marketing with farther reach for less cost than ever before.
Q: What is the biggest priority shift that people should make, in order to become better at closing deals and completing projects?
A: It's really all about numbers. The biggest shift to make is a return to basics. Focus on your core business, your core competencies, the best use of your expertise and skill set and team, and increase your outreach significantly. It's a numbers game and will help protect you emotionally as well. Look at it this way: with 3 leads, when you lose one it hurts. With 150 leads, when you lose one it's no big deal – you're already onto the next ones.
Q: You use "Lessons Learned" meetings for projects - tell us more.
A: Now more than ever, customer service is paramount. The Lessons Learned meetings allow you to check in with your client at various stages of an engagement or project to learn how well served they feel. It also allows you to course-correct if there is any lack in products or services. It's as simple as asking about what's next for them and how you might be able to support their next steps.
I appreciate Suzi’s insight at this time of year. If your business is cyclical you may be in a period of rest, a time of renewing. If you have children in school you may be in a family cycle of renewal. While taking stock of resources, opportunities, and where to expend effort, don’t forget my assignment, the lesson of the magnifying glass, and the wisdom of my father - focus. Focus on your next quarter. Stop moving your lens (or the target) and keep the energy and attention on the few important things. This will allow you to ignite your team and burn through the competition - just like sunlight through a magnifying glass on newspaper.
Editor's note: This blog was originally published on June 28, 2015, and has been updated.