Where the Hammer Will Fall the Hardest

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

The courage to make the decision to act in the first place is the thing that is lacking the most.

The courage to raise our hands, take responsibility, and to engage with accountability (rather than assigning blame or taking credit) is the work that your children will eventually be paid for.

But not handsomely.

It’s also the work that you’re not getting paid for now, but that your boss, team leader, supervisor, or coach really wants you to lean into.

The people who understand these two principles, that are now coming online as fundamentals of development, engagement, and interaction between people, will “win” the future.

In case you’re thinking “Well what if I don’t want to be responsible beyond my own desire to be? What’s the future look like for me and my children?”

The top three areas of growth, innovation, and development (which will translate to wealth making and value creation in the future) will be in the following areas if the current trajectory of education, work, organizations, and society, doesn’t change significantly:

Making something so “new,” no one has ever thought of it.

Working for the person who made the “new” thing.

Selling the “new” thing.

But since “new” things only come along once in a great while (i.e. the car, the I-phone, the Internet, etc.) the chances of being able to survive as a visionary as the first one are slim.

Which means that in the next two areas, working for someone who’s innovating, or selling the innovation, education, work, organizations, and society need more individual people to behave courageously, engage where it’s uncomfortable, and do the things that are hard now in the present-day, which will resemble a game of patty cake later.

Courage (the lack of it, the abundance of it, or just enough of it) is where the hammer of the unknown in the future will fall the hardest.

Are your children ready?

Are you?

Human to Business Sales

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts, Selling for Peace Builders

Selling to people in businesses is hard for three important reasons:

  1. There are very few (or no) champions of your product or service offering because no one knows how good your product or service offering is inside the organization you’re selling to.
  2. There are no direct ways to influence the people who can make the decision to buy from you—today.
  3. There has been a massive shift in consumer behavior, but not a massive shift how businesses purchase from you based in the reality of shifting consumer behavior.

These are big problems and they’re getting bigger because the practice of creating buyer personas still dominates in a big way in almost every piece of advice available around advising organizations on how to sell to organizations.

While buyer personas are a fine shorthand for figuring out the profile in your head as a seller to businesses, the downfall of them is that they neglect each of the three areas above. In addition, they depersonalize the act of buying (or purchasing or procurement) and attempt to reduce it to a series of formulaic and discreet steps.

Which, of course, makes the three reasons above more problematic, not less.

Here are three ideas that may help when you’re selling (peace, consulting, freelance solutions, or even you’re next “gee-whiz” product to a skeptical procurement buyer):

Champions are easy to get (and even easier to lose), but require engaging with personality, care, and empathy.

Most of the people who are going to become your champions are the ones who have the power to say “no” but no power to say “yes.”

There are still gatekeepers in many organizations, and going where they are (in-person, online, emotionally, rationally, etc.) will go a long way toward engaging with them.

You must determine if buying today is all that matters, or if arbitraging the time to build a relationship today against the dollars that you are going to get tomorrow, matters more in the long run.

The short run will take care of itself.

Does your selling strategy include a 1,000-year long plan?

The reality of consumer behavior means that buyer personas are dead as predictors of selling success in the B2B space.

It also means that running after every social platform for sales is also dead.

This is a good thing.

In principle, this means that consumer behavior in business to business sales is the same behavior in business to consumer sales, but the volume of the connection is lower.

In practice, this means that targeted videos on a YouTube channel, embedded in an email campaign, direct to a buyer, matter more than the number of Facebook likes you happen to be cultivating that aren’t converting to sales.

In practice, this also means that providing value to the small number of businesses you work with as a selling organization, trumps the number of actual businesses that you work with.

Or that you think you should work with.

Champions, behavior, targeted engagement, and long-term strategy matter more for business success than just closing the sale and moving on to the next client.

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #3 – Katie Vaz

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Old Posts

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #2 – Katie Vaz, Illustrator, Graphic Designer, and Author of “Don’t Worry, Eat Cake”

[Podcast] Earbud_U, Season Five, Episode #3 - Katie Vaz

Love is a many splendor thing.

…maybe that’s splendid…

Or so it is said.

When you get to do what you love every day, it doesn’t seem like work. But the thing is, many people don’t do what they love every day.

Many people, for a variety of reasons, do what they have to do, what they are required to do, or what they are told to do.

Our guest today, Katie Vaz, a graphic designer and illustrator, and author of Don’t Worry, Eat Cake, is living the life that she wants to live, doing what she wants to do, and creating a voice and an oeuvre of work that shows what can happen when you march to the beat of your own drummer.

And now, a word about coloring books:

There’s a growing movement of providing coloring books for adults, and Katie’s book is about tapping into this phenomenon.

I personally have never colored (with the exception of finger painting and whatever I did in college art classes for my major), but I understand the sentiment behind the idea in a world where love is the hardest thing to attain.

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.

That, and coloring books.

And cake.

Definitely cake….

Connect with Katie in all the ways that you can below:

Etsy Store (Use code EARBUD20 for 20% off orders for Valentine’s Day): https://www.etsy.com/shop/katievaz

Website: http://katievaz.com/

Blog: http://katievaz.com/blog/

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Worry-Eat-Cake-Everything/dp/1449478123

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katievaz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katievaz

Katie Vaz Design on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatieVazDesign

HIT Piece 2.7.2017

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

On any curve of distribution, at the beginning of the curve and at the end of the curve are outliers.

At the beginning, these outliers are known as “pioneers.”

At the end, these outliers are known as “laggards.”

And in the middle of the curve (where the bulge is) this space is a cluster known as “the masses,” or the “average” or the “median.”

HIT Piece 2.7.2017This truth of distribution stands for anything that can be mathematically measured, from the number of tall people in a room all the way to the number of CDs that people own who you may stop on the street.

This truth of distribution applies to my words (and the words of any other blog writer) as well.

On one end (at the beginning of the distribution curve) I’ve written blog posts with 50 to 100 words.

On the other end (at the end of the distribution curve), I’ve written blog posts with 1000 to 2500 words.

And in the middle, on average, I’ve written posts with 300 to 500 words.

Some math before I make my larger point: In the last four years, I’ve published 848 blog posts. If on average I’ve written 500 words per post, which comes to 424,000 words I’ve published in total since starting in 2013. And it might even be a little higher than that, due to posts not published.

424,000 words.

In all that time, I haven’t collected as many email subscribers as I would like.

I also haven’t collected as many engaged readers as I would like.

And this is the trouble with the Internet in general and blog writing in particular.

It begs the questions:

  • Why write on a blog you own, everyday if no one (or very few) are reading and engaging with you on your own platform and instead are continuing to read and respond on other platforms (i.e. Facebook or Medium)?
  • Why continue to build on land that you own when you’re the only one in the house?

I’ve been thinking about these two corollary questions a lot lately, because people often get excited when I talk about the blog, but then, when I point out that it requires you to be engaged with me, in order for it to work at the emotional and psychological level, I get…

…well, I get the responses that you would think I would get.

I’ve been thinking about these questions as I’ve been watching shared, walled, social media gardens devolve into spaces of short-form thinking, and long-form hubris.

I’ve been thinking about these questions as I build a platform that may not be for everyone–but that just might be for YOU.

424,000 words.

Responses, engagement, critical thinking, emotional intelligence: These are the things that matter, and whether writing, teaching, video making, or podcast recording, I hope that you will stay in the meaty part of the distributions curve of listening, engaging and responding.

Can We Have Civility

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Philosophy, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Can we have civility when we don’t agree on what’s true and what’s not?

When we hold on to our worldviews, and when they become more than merely window dressing, and they become integrated into our overall identities, we can find it incredibly difficult to engage with others civilly.

So, we resort to not talking, talking about mere banalities, or talking about distractions that mean nothing at all.

When we are unwilling to hear different perspectives on the facts that we hold dear, we lose the ability to be flexible when the fundamentals that underlie those facts change.

As fundamentals always do.

When we are unwilling to acknowledge that there might be different outcomes to difficulties, conflicts, and competitions that might just be as good for just as many people as the outcomes that we favor, then we become concretely encased in the pursuit of outcomes.

And everything else be damned.

Can we have civility if we are unable, unwilling, and incapable, of going outside of our worldviews, perspectives, and preferred outcomes toward what another person may value?

When we are wedded tighter to the secure arrogance that theater, spectacle, and display inevitably provide, rather than being wedded inexorably to humility, grace, and forgiveness, we will be constantly surprised by what outcome “wins” and what outcome “loses.”

And we will allow our capacity to engage in civility to erode.

When we are more concerned with the freedom to be expressive, rather than the responsibility of soberly and judiciously informing another party of the truth, then we will allow ourselves to fall into incivility.

And our communication culture will erode into communication anarchy.

Can we have civility in the process of moving toward communication anarchy?

Conflicts—based in values, identities, worldviews, and emotions—are sure to become more damaging and deleterious when we cannot separate far enough from people whose values, identities, worldviews, and emotions, (and maybe even existence) we find to be odious above all else.

Network Leap 3

By | Jesan Sorrells Blog, Leadership Theology, New Posts

Most people don’t see it.

Confusing the primacy of what we can see, touch, taste, and feel, closes our human perceptions to the potential financial and monetary value of what we cannot measure and codify with our five senses.

This is evident in the primacy of the use of relationship networks in every aspect of our lives.

We cannot touch connection, though we can experience a story with other people.

We cannot see engagement, though we can engage in active listening and experience the positive effects of someone listening to us intently, and the negative effects of someone ignoring us.

We cannot see the value in a relationship, but we can feel with our hands and our emotions the ways in which people grow in relationship transactionally with us.

We cannot see the cruft, bad feelings, negative emotions, and life experiences where the relationship didn’t “work out” as transactionally as we would like, which often creates in us a sense of caution at getting back into relationships and connections.

We have all observed the causal outcomes of the impact of things we can’t see (relationships) and have experienced the power in maintaining and growing connections (networks) to people who may—or may not—be able to “help” us advance in the world.

We all know someone who has gotten a cake job, attained a plum position, or moved up the ladder of an organization, not through technical skills, but through the value of human connection.

Most people don’t see it.

We cannot directly observe the functions of the Internet.

We cannot directly observe how information spreads through bits and bytes and is translated into images, text, and videos.

We cannot directly observe how those videos, texts, and images impact the mind and change the perceptions of the receiver of those messages, but we all accept the reality of these changes happening.

We cannot see how searching for information on the Internet, using a tool such as Google, unites us as disparate people in a communal desire to connect, engage, and to grow our interests, our curiosities, our agreements, and our arguments.

Most people don’t see it.

But Google does.

Think about it: Google as a search engine tool proves—in a form monetized at enormous scale—that the networks of connections matter more for making money, making more connections, making products, making ideas, and making services than anything else tried in human history up to this point.

But there’s an upper limit to that knowledge.

Trapped by the confines of the box in your pocket (i.e. your mobile phone) or the box in your house (i.e. your TV or desktop computer) or the box in your briefcase (i.e. your tablet), there’s a hardware limit to a software solution.

There might not be a software solution to the problems that people have, but in the 21st century, Google (now Alphabet) is going to do its level best to break out of the boxes it is currently trapped in, and prove that networks between people in the physical world, can be scaled and monetized just as easily as they were through a search function.

Google sees it.

Do you?