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Mike Walsh’s Advice on Future Proofing Your Business

By cmiadmin | Mar 07, 2016 | Comments Off

Mike Walsh’s Advice on Future Proofing Your Business


Mike Walsh - Inspire

We opened the final day of Nintex InspireX, our first customer and partner conference, with food for thought from futurist Mike Walsh on future-proofing your business. He led with how technology innovation is impacting the human experience, and asked how businesses should and could be reimagining the way they work in the future.

These are big questions to try to answer in a 60-minute keynote, but at the crux of Mike’s presentation was this: Today’s business transformation – the much-discussed and perhaps not very well-defined “digital transformation” – isn’t about completely overhauling the way a business operates today; it’s about reinventing the experiences they deliver for employees, partners and customers.

For any organization preparing for the future, Mike recommends asking yourself these four key questions.


Question #1 – How will the next generation shape the future of business?

Kids are growing up in a vastly different world than many of us did. The pervasiveness of technology is changing their expectations of how the world is supposed to work. Today, technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) and contextual computing, as well as the Internet of Things, messaging ecosystems and predictive analytics, enable us to interact, make decisions and obtain information more easily than ever.

According to Mike, this all means that businesses that want to prepare themselves for the future need to look through to the end consumer – what they expect, how they interact with technology in their personal lives – and then reimagine their business operations from that lens.


Question #2 – Can you design an organization to move as fast as consumers do?

Agility becomes more and more difficult the larger a company becomes. Bureaucracy can get in the way of innovation – something many of us may have experienced in current or past roles. But Mike offered this thought: The key to building adaptive, fast-moving organizations is to focus on the networks that connect your people and teams. Create more social workspaces, adopt transparent communications tools and share data internally to uncover new ways to hack your culture.

Of course, changing how we use technology inside our organizations can sometimes be a challenge in and of itself. Mike suggests that you pick a few high-profile projects, and encourage those teams to experiment with new collaboration tools and workflows (e.g., Slack) and have them share data and insights with the rest of the organization.


Question #3 – How do you design an agile technology culture?

Agility is about more than moving fast – it’s about how quickly you can respond to changes in your environment. In order to build an organization that responds quickly to changes, follow these two pieces of advice, Mike said.

First, focus on hiring people who will be energized by the unknown. People with a problem-solving mindset are less likely to fall back on process when faced with a new challenge.

Second, organize your workforce into small teams empowered to take risks and make changes – the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” comes to mind here, with the idea that the more people you have thinking about a problem, the more difficult it can become to solve.


Question #4 – How much smarter do leaders need to be to survive smart machines?

New technologies driving machine learning and artificial intelligence mean that the solutions we use in our businesses today are only getting smarter and smarter. And these solutions in turn are making us smarter as business leaders. That said, it’s critical that we know how to leverage these technologies in the best way.

According to Mike, we need to get better at understanding the software and data components of our organizations. Find the data that matters and act on it to drive impactful business results. Get better at communicating complex info visually to get everyone on board with your ideas. Get rid of “that’s not the way we do things” mentality and use data to change anything and everything. As Mike puts it, embracing the future means challenging everything we know to be true.


The future is now.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by future-proofing your business and not know where to start. Mike’s advice: The future is an invitation for us to think in a different way. Digital transformation isn’t one big change – it’s hundreds of small changes in an organization that change the human experience.

If you’re interested in following more of Mike’s ideas and research on the future, check out his weekly podcast “Between Worlds.”

Ty Bennett - New Demo Video on The Power of Storytelling

By cmiadmin | Mar 03, 2016 | Comments Off

Ty Bennett | Learn the Mind-set, Skill-set & Tool-set for Storytelling and discover the power of a good Story in business in his new demo video.


Ty Bennett - New Demo Video on The Power of Storytelling

Learn More About Ty Bennett Here

5 Effective Strategies to Create Synergy and Build a World Class Team

By cmiadmin | Mar 03, 2016 | Comments Off

Team mates in a meeting

My teammates and I have learned about building World Class Teams the hard way. By competing in and winning the world's toughest ultra-endurance Adventure Races. From the leech-infested jungles of Borneo to the towering peaks of Tibet and Ecuador, to the frigid seas and glaciers of Patagonia and the searing desert of Namibia, we have run, paddled, mountain biked, climbed, whitewater rafted, spelunked, mountaineered, navigated and raced across the most remote places on earth for up to ten NON STOP days and nights as a team.

There is no shelter, no warm food, no escape from the harshness of the uncharted terrain, and no reprieve from the competitors relentlessly nipping at our blister-covered heels. If just one racer from our 4-person mixed-gender team quits, we are all disqualified.

So, by necessity, the journey to the unimaginably distant finish line in these 600-1000 mile "Eco-Challenges" very quickly becomes far less a matter of athletic skill than a matter of great leadership, the human spirit, and our ability to inspire our tattered teammates to continue to rise to the occasion again and again--no matter how tough the challenge, no matter how steep the climb, and in the face of a consistently changing game.

Is Adventure Racing Insanity? Granted. But there is one very useful, if unintended, real world takeaway for every finisher: An honorary PHD in Teambuilding. Or as I like to call it...creating Human Synergy. Here are a few Essential Elements of Human Synergy that I've learned from the world's greatest Extreme Teammates:

1. Be Ruled by the Hope of Success versus the Fear of Failure
Are you consistently doing what it takes to "win" versus simply "not lose"? It’s a completely different mindset, leading to vastly different outcomes. Great leaders are shattering the norm, changing the game, and doing things that have never been done in an effort to propel their team to the next level. They are courageous, not only in terms of innovation, but in terms of perseverance. We won many a race not only by "slowing down less" than the other teams, but also by coming up with some game changing solutions.

Once, during a 100-mile whitewater canoeing leg to the finish, my teammate taught me the "be ruled by the hope of success" lesson through some tough love.

We were paddling our whitewater raft near the front of the race on day 6, and every couple of minutes I looked behind us to see where our closest competitors were. That is, until the teammate sitting behind me grabbed the top of my head, spun it back around to face forward, pointed down the river and said "winning is THAT way".

We also switched out our canoe paddles for kayak paddles, which was far outside the norm for canoe travel.

"With those visionary changes, we caught the team that was an hour ahead of us and went on to win the race by 2 hours on that final leg."

2. Offer a Tow Line, but most importantly, TAKE one.
Leave your ego at the start line (but not your confidence!). It’s the heaviest thing in your pack. Over the long haul, leader or not, we are all going to be the strongest link and a weaker link on our team. All of us will happily offer our strength to our teammates when they need it, but how many of us are also offering our weaknesses to the team?

On our team, every racer has 'tow lines', made from thin bungee cords, hanging from the back of all of our packs. If we are feeling strong, we offer it to a struggling teammate. If we are having a low moment, we grab a towline from someone stronger and get lightly pulled along at the faster pace until we recover

The goal? To "suffer equally". You'll get farther, faster if you do. I believe that we have not used all of our strength as a leader until we have asked for and accepted help from our teammates. Think about accepting help is a gift to the helper. People are thrilled when they have a chance to help you. You create a connection and a bond every time you do. Asking and accepting help is one of my favorite team synergy creating tools as a leader.

3. Inspire "We" Thinking
We are all conditioned from a young age to see winning as something mutually exclusive, as in "For me to win, you must lose". What if you decided to instead see a world full of potential teammates instead of a world full of competitors when you left the house every morning?

Great leaders understand that in the quest to become the best of the best, Nobody Wins Alone. The more difficult the challenge, the more critical the team. "We Thinking" leaders capitalize on their strengths and outsource their weaknesses, consistently building and inspiring a team that is able to connect to one another for mutual gain, whether for a moment, for a project or for lifetime. And they happily share that space at the top of the podium with the people that got them there.

4. Act Like a Team Always. Its Far More Important than Feeling Like One
We're not always going to feel warm and mushy about one another. We're human! But it’s important to remember to not let emotion effect locomotion. No matter how we feel, we're never allowed a day off from being the leader or teammate that people need and expect us to be.

During the World Championships in Ecuador, my team had major disagreement about our navigation. In fact, it caused such a rift, that we didn’t speak for hours. But as we approached the media crews on our exit from that hiking leg, our team captain said something that changed the game for us. "If you want to BECOME the World Champions, you need to ACT like World Champions".

And I'm telling you, we could have won an Academy Award for that acting performance--congratulating one another on a job well done, getting food for one another, high fives and hugs all around. It was all for the cameras, of course, but guess what happened? By the time we got new gear and moved on, we were all genuinely happy together and moving forward as team. The argument never resurfaced. We were too busy with winning.

"Yes, I did just suggest you fake it until the feelings come back. It works. Same with love, too, by the way. Acting like you're in love is more important than feeling like you're in love. Try this at home. You will thank me later."

5. Put your Teammates on Your Shoulders.
When we have the label of "leader" we often assume that to mean that we need to get out in front and show people the way. And that is occasionally part of the job. But my favorite leaders to work with allow for leadership among team members based on their strengths and not their titles. They "manage" their team, but allow for different leaders to emerge. And they are always focused on helping their team inspire and amaze themselves, understanding that confidence and inspiration are an inside job.

In the 1997 Eco-Challenge, the Japanese team did something that defied all logic, reason, and the bounds of human endurance. They carried their injured female teammate for 18 hours, piggyback style inside a backpack, up and over an incredibly steep, rocky, muddy, dense-jungle-covered 9000-foot mountain in their quest to get to the finish line. When they emerged from the sugar cane fields at the base of the mountain, battered but victorious, they did something incredibly graceful. They picked up their injured teammate and put her on their shoulders. They gave her the moment to shine, and symbolically gave her the credit for allowing them to succeed against the toughest of odds. It's my favorite Adventure Racing moment of all time because their performance says it all.

We don't achieve our greatest heights as leaders by stepping on our teammates' backs to rise higher--we stand much taller as leaders when we put our teammates on our shoulders. And we don't inspire our teammates by leading the pack and showing them how wonderful WE are.

"We inspire them by putting them on our shoulders and showing them how amazing, smart, and capable THEY are."

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We're Hiring an Account Manager

By cmiadmin | Feb 29, 2016 | Comments Off

If you are...

  • Focused on delighting the customer
  • Exceptional at fostering and nurturing long term relationships
  • A self-starter who can produce results with minimal supervision
  • A genuinely happy person that puts a smile on everyone’s face
  • Committed to your own personal and professional development
  • Highly motivated to achieve

...then we want to see your resume.

Your Responsibilities Will Include:

  • Handle incoming inquiries for assigned speakers from direct prospects and
  • bureaus/agencies
  • Promote and sell assigned speakers to bureaus/agencies
  • Promote and sell assigned speakers to prospects in cities where they are booked
  • Sell entire speaker roster to customer and prospect database
  • Research conference and exposure opportunities
  • Promote and sell speakers to conference and exposure opportunities
  • Promote our speakers’ books to customers
  • Log all sales activity, customer data and communication in Salesforce
  • Report on sales progress and stats
  • Meet agreed upon sales targets
  • Assist the CEO as requested

To learn about cmi, click here.

Previous Experience:

  • Experience in hotel sales and/or experience in the meetings industry is important
  • Experience in the type of sales that requires new business development and long-
    lead sales development will be an asset
  • 5-10 year’s sales experience in a small to medium sized company
  • A graduate of a recognized business, sales and/or marketing program
  • Or you possess a combination of education, training and progressively responsible experience in a sales environment

You have these abilities:

  • A team player – collaborative – respectful - encouraging to their teammates
  • Skilled at tailoring their approach to different personalities
  • Enjoys working in a fast paced and ever-changing environment
  • High tech capability - learns new software quickly
  • Accurate and efficient with all data entry
  • High energy - maximum output is essential
  • Exceptional organizational skills - excellent time-management
  • Can determine highest priority - meets tight timelines
  • Creative problem solver - a solution-oriented individual

Essential Skills:

  • Savvy and fun communicator on the phone – must be able to think ‘on your feet’ and respond quickly/effectively
  • Clear and engaging written skills – you communicate well through email
  • Dedicated to excellent customer experiences – you make every connection feel like they’re # 1 in your world
  • Proficient with technology:
  • Internet research
  • Familiar with RSS feeds, Web 2.0 and the Cloud
  • Social media, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Experienced with a CRM software such as Salesforce, ACT or Goldmine
  • Microsoft Office suite of programs

Location: South Calgary – Midnapore area – must be able to easily get to cmi’s office

For more info about cmi, click here.

Submit Resume

NEW Video by Michelle Ray on Leadership & Change!

By cmiadmin | Jan 22, 2016 | Comments Off

Michelle Ray Email Post

NEW Video by Michelle Ray on Leadership & Change!

A former media exec, Michelle Ray brings new strategies to manage change and shake up your organization in the war for talent.

One of her clients wrote: "Not only was I personally moved to action by your presentation, I was really pleased by all the positive feedback that I received from the attendees." Prudential Sussex Realty

Bring Michelle to your next event and watch your attendees thrive!

Michelle Email book cover

Have Courage to Inspire Ourselves to Take Risks & Go Big

By cmiadmin | Jan 15, 2016 | Comments Off

By Robyn Benincasa

How many times in our lives have we put something off because we’re not ready, we need more time, we don’t feel comfortable, etc etc. I’ve completed 10 Ironman Triathlons and over 40 10 day non-stop Eco-Challenge Project Athena-102Adventure Races through the most remote places on earth, and here’s a secret: I didn’t feel ‘ready’ for any of them. There was always more I could have done to train, something I needed more time to prepare, or I wished I could delay the start until a day when I felt stronger. Truth be told, I would most likely never have approached a start line or undertaken those “risks” to journey into the unknown physically, emotionally, interpersonally if there wasn’t a specific race date on the calendar and someone with a megaphone saying “go!”. But I am ever so glad I did. I wouldn’t give back those moments, memories, and lessons for anything on earth. Because it is in those moments of risk, where we are forced to rise to a challenge, that we add another brick to the foundation of our character, confidence and strength. So how do we stop “wishing” we had the COURAGE and inspire ourselves to take risks and go big? Step 1…..Step into Character….

*Step Into Character– Here’s a very important thing to remind yourself…Nobody knows all of the insecurities and worries that going on inside of your head but you. Remember that to the outside world you appear 100% to be the successful businesswoman, world class triathlete, mom of the year, super star litigator, (enter your dream here). When you have those moments of self doubt, here’s something fun to do: Try to see yourself the way your colleagues and closest friends see you–confident, smart, beautiful, talented–and BE that person. Step into character. It doesn’t even matter if you’re faking it, because you become what you believe. For example, I’m the biggest introvert on earth, and one of my other full time/part time jobs in addition to being a firefighter is being a speaker. Sixty times a year I’m on a stage inspiring leaders for major corporations to Build World Class Teams. And every single time while I’m pacing behind the scenes, with my heart beating out of my chest, I wonder if I’m going to have the courage to walk out onto that stage . But then I tap into something that my friend and team manager told me at one of my first presentations. I was asked to speak at a conference called Real Time, organized by Fast Company Magazine, because my adventure racing team had been the focus of a feature story in their magazine called Extreme Teamwork. One of the images they used for the article was a sweaty, sandy shot of my teammate and I looking rather heroic and happy after an intense beach bootcamp class. Right before I went on stage in front of a room full of 200 business leaders, I was so nervous that I thought I was going to pass out. The room was spinning, I had forgotten everything I was going to say, and I feared that everyone in the room was going to be able to see what an amateur I was. And then my friend, sensing my panic, came over to me, put her hand on my shoulder and said “Everyone out there came to see the beautiful, badass woman in that article who is going to make them even better leaders. You don’t have to feel like her–you just have to BE her when you walk out there. Give them the Superhero they came to see.” And then it clicked. I WANTED more than anything to be the Supergirl that they were counting on the entertain and enlighten them that morning. I envisioned the smart, strong, fun world class adventure athlete who’s unique leadership wisdom would be more than worth the hour of time these important business leaders willingly gave to me. And the moment I walked on stage, I magically became her. I stepped into character. And that marked the real beginning of my life as a speaker. In my audience that day was a Zone Vice President for Starbucks, and I suddenly found myself on a 10 city tour speaking to Starbucks Store Managers. I guess my alter-ego, Supergirl, was a hit. Ten years and hundreds of keynotes later, I still get nervous, I still have doubts, I still fear that I’m going to forget my most salient and important points, and my heart rate is still 120 just standing in the wings before I go on. That’s par for the course when one seeks a moment of peak performance. Especially when hundreds, if not thousands of people are watching. But when the production crew plays the video that introduces me, I envision the smart, strong, fun Supergirl that everyone is expecting to see (vs scared little me) and the moment they say my name and invite me onto stage, I become her.

Podcast By Mike Walsh on Tim Sanders New Book

By cmiadmin | Jan 13, 2016 | Comments Off

Mike & Tim Between Worlds Transcript

Tim Sanders on Dealstorming, emotional talent, and the sales driven company of the future

Listen to the Podcast for Free Here or Read the Full Transcript below.

Tim and Mike Podcast

Between worlds the show the takes you over the horizon and beyond borders to bring you the global thinkers innovators and troublemakers his ideas challenge the world as we know.

Mike: I’m here today with Tim Sanders, we’re here in Las Verga of all places. But this is where you live right Tim?

Tim: This is where I lay

Mike: Fortunately not on the strip, You’ve carved out a quiet, tranquil spot in this crazy city.

Tim: We are the westside, we love it, its a great city, one of the best cities to live in in NA

Mike: You know Tim I’ve been a big fan of your books and your ideas for some time. What was amazing when we started talking was that you've really been on the cusp of so many of these revolutions for some time going all the way back to cell phones.

Tim: I’m like the Forest Gump of technology. You show me an inflection point of history and its like I’m there with big shoes. I’ve been fortunate to be on the ground floor of the quality moment when it came to the united states in the 1980s, the launch of cellular phone, the birth of the internet with audio and video streaming, so it’s been very exciting.

Mike: and if nothing else you were the sales guy for Mark Cuban

Tim: There you go! Exactly

Mike: So how did you make that transition from the corporate sector into becoming essentially a thought leader around sales and relationships?

Tim: I didn’t choose it, it choose me, and I tell that to people all the time. I was working at when a literary agent approached me and said that she thought I had a perspective that was worth writing a book around, and we incubated that idea for a few years. At the same time parallel to all of that Mark Cuban IPO’s this and it’s the biggest IPO in history, and then he sells the company to Yahoo for whatever amount of dollars and I transfer to California and within two years become the company’s chief solutions officer,  so this happens at the same time. So I publish a book while i’m a standing executive at Yahoo, we take some time off work to do a little national book tour and it makes the lists 11 months later and I go to work one day and they’ve run a cover story on fast company about my book and I’m holding a heart and the whole thing. I go to work, no joke, there’s 20 voice mail messages on my machine from talent agents and bureau leaders saying we’ve got this client HP and they want you to come to France and give this talk at their international customer summit and thats how it started! I went to my boss at the time and I had a list of all these speaking offers and I said, ‘What do I do?’ and they said well just take vacation days and be a brand ambassador and  I started, that’s where it all began.

Mike: I sometimes think I feel sorry for the people that weren’t around for the first internet ___, because they think Uber, and AirBnB are big but back in the late 1990’s early 2000’s it was insanity!

Tim: They were breaking new ground, it was like morse laws time a thousand. From a business development standpoint the value that was being created from 1994 to say March of 2000, we’ve never seen that again. Forget social media, bitcoin, whatever you want to speak to, we’ve never seen that much value created in such a short period of time in history.

Mike: Your new book that’s coming out, it’s going to be about re-imagining the sales process, but it’s more than that isn’t it?

Tim: It is. It’s my 5th book, it’s titled Dealstorming: the secret weapon that will solve your toughest sales challenge. The premise of the book is that in business to business sales, a quality sale is really difficult. The rise of multiple decision makers procurement groups in buying committees is astounding.

Mike: It’s like a labyrinth for anyone to navigate.

Tim: The analogy I use is that when I started out in sales in the nineteen seventies I sold radio ads in  Portales, New Mexico. I had a clip on tie and a short sleeved white shirt, I went door to door and I pitched mostly mom and pop businesses on buying radio and our little FM station.

Mike: This wasn’t a product that sold itself was it?

Tim: Direct sale, handshake deal is was the easiest sell in the world. The analogy I use is it’s like playing the video game of the time palm. Very simple hand eye coordination right? But today, with multiple decision makers layers and layers of complexity on the products and services we sell and cloud based competitors. It's like playing halo these days. The game of sales has become increasingly complex. And the premise of Dealstorming is that, A quality sale is a thousand problems solved and the only competitive advantage left is rapid problem solving. Whether it's our problems or the customers dysfunction that we have to solve to get from the contact to the contract.

Mike: And this is not just looking for the right angle to sell somebody is it you're actually constructing the value on the fly.

Tim: You know what you're doing is you're creating a team. And the analogy I use is that we need to create webs not silos. So when I think about teams I've done a lot of research on successful collaboration, creative innovation projects. You have to invite everyone who has a stake in the outcome, or expertise about the problem. You have to think beyond the borders of the normal organizational structure. So in the world of sales, I've interviewed so many leaders that say we’re very teamwork oriented, and I say help me understand the value chain of your team and they basically described this very tall line oriented team. They're not doing team work they're doing line work. This is no different from making a car in Henry Ford's factory, it’s line work a person passes it to the next person. Teamwork is when everybody's involved with a shared vision and willing to look out for the person next to them and sacrifice themselves if they have to. True teamwork we've learned, involves people from finance and operations and engineering and marketing and there's an alignment in the most successful selling organizations in the world that's cross departmental. Where this shared vision, usually beating the competition, gets everyone in the room to  share what they actually know. Because the secret to collaboration is for everyone in the room to share what they know and express what they think will work in a given situation.

Mike: You need more than executive platitudes like this happen though, I mean what is the optimal environment you need to have for this to kind of take root?

Tim: So in my mind, an opportunity for collaboration starts around the sales challenge. It could be winning a big account it could be about breaking into a new market that could change the future of the company I  write a lot about that or it could be about saving your biggest relationship. And I believe it starts with that account executive and her manager

Mike: That’s the catalyst

Tim: That’s the catalyst, that account executive has to figure out how to translate everything to get everyone in the room, those that are not in sales, to make the transition from me to we so there's a shared vision in the room. The account executive has to protect the misfits and the introverts, they have to drive people to making decisions and achieving consensus. The most important thing I learned from the research is, to quote Louis Pasteur “chance favors the prepared mind”. Brainstorming doesn't work because we throw people into a room, fully unprepared and we spend too much time briefing them and not enough time letting them express their ideas and that vetting their assumptions. The secret I learned in the research for this book, a hundred case studies, is that a deal brief that's given to everyone that's going to come to a meeting three days before, hopefully over a weekend, is the secret to success. When you put together the problem, the influence map, the history of the opportunity, and the strength weakness opportunity threat of the target, and you put that into a three to four page brief. You give it to a wide diverse group of thinkers and you bring them into the room they are bursting with vetted ideas and you can enter the debate cycle within fifteen minutes. That's where you really hatch constructive plans.

Mike: Is this something that really has to be done in a room with a white board and a pot of coffee or can you use enterprise social networks rather tools to scale this up beyond just the physical environment?

Tim: Very good question! So the answer is it depends on the organization and its culture. In certain situations the umbrella of grace that is extended that causes everyone to reveal the not so common information that really leads to creative solutions has to happen in the room. Because, what you have to do is dissolve those boundaries or as one author that I researched writes - Leigh Thompson in Creative Conspiracy - you gotta solve those fault lines. So sometimes you have to do that face to face because they're such a high telepresence of communication can happen more face to face. However, that being said I've seen a lot of shared environments that were purely digital. The analogy I would use for those organizations, say Google and advertising sales or Linkedin and HR solutions, it’s called the accordion. So think of the accordion as like the account executive and the small team of cross departmental players get together and they identify and agree on the problem and they pontificate on potential next steps and then they go out and have all their separate meetings with their tribes their stakeholders. To figure out what they can do what they can get commitment to and that's a bigger set of meetings and then they collapse back into that small Dealstorming meeting again to talk about what's happened. The executive kinda keeps that going so according goes in and out and out over time and what kind of pulls them along is the shared document features. Whether its salesforce or Google drive, whatever it is, so that shared work space is critical to that accordion keeping the group together through multiple iterations and little tribe holder meetings etcetera.

Mike: It seems that these companies that are successful that build a culture that is collaborative to solve problems really depends on the strength of the networks that they have internally.

Tim: That is absolutely true Mike, it is. There was a study in 2014 by Miller Heiman Institute that does a lot of research on sales performance. And they identified this type of company they call world class organization. World class organizations sell twenty percent more than their competitors and has better reputation for deliveries, the place you want to be in any business right? They said that they looked at everything attribute wise that they could all share in common to find the one that could be modelled and they said the only thing they could find in common with all these world class organizations is the habit of conscious collaboration across departments in pursuit of large deals. Because the large deals are the war stories around the campfire that create that corporate culture.

Mike: They become a shared experience.

Tim: They become a share experience exactly. The stories, the heroes, the multi-million dollar deal that saved the company. So what happens is that the world class organization uses a sales challenge as platform, a burning platform, if you will to create underground tunnels between silos that can't be solved. The worldclass organization would believe that you can't solve silos as long as you have budgets and limited resources. They will always be built to harden the world from the outside that that department wrote. But when you create these collaboration projects up against a sales challenge, you create these tunnels, these high level communication experiences between groups that allow them to function very well despite the fact that they live in silos. It changes the culture of the company.

Mike: It’s like a neural link almost like a kind of form of muscle memory.

Tim: It is and the reason why is because, getting back to one of my earlier points, this account executive is really good at using the right lever to create a shared vision. The shared vision is not the revenue believe it or not you know engineering and operations and everybody outside of finance and sales they don't care about the money that much right! In the world we live in the stock market you don't even know that money leads to stock performance. But I hate our rival. That organization where the pain of losing is greater than the joy of winning and that works every single time and so the act of bringing a team together to solve a sales challenge to kick a rivals ass…

Mike: It’s tribal right?!

Tim: Yes, exactly. What it does culturally, is it puts competition on the outside. So that's part of that culture building process, so what I loved about the Miller research and I write about it in the new book is, it redefines what it means to be a sales driven organization. Right we also thought a sales driven organizations was an organization where sales had to bring the business in or the lights don't stay on but that’s not it at all. Sales through its collaboration through its boundary busting problem solving mentality creates a truly innovative organization. Right because creativity, which I spent a lot of time researching, creativity is one's ability to produce surprising yet truly appropriate solutions to the situation. That comes from culture, and that culture comes from shared experiences. And besides, save the company product or marketing which is very rare, these sales challenges present the platform for organizations to reinvent themselves.

Mike: What I think is intriguing about this, is that companies often think about these things in isolation. Almost like in a vacuum, they say to themselves we want to be more innovative, we want to be more collaborative, we want to be more creative. But they kind of tell people to host spend part of their day doing that it, there is no focus around that.

Tim: Right, there’s a process. I mean there are two common ideas that came out of all my research. I interviewed two hundred different executives across all the different verticals and and not just salespeople, CEO, CMO, Chief Product Officers and there’s two ideas. Idea number one, without a process you get a mess. You don't prescribe collaboration, you adopt a structure for it, you create escalation points, and you create a process around it to structure it so that the time is spent wisely, execution is based on a test and scale basis. So when you have that process, the thing works great, you don't the process you have the “goat rodeo” I call brainstorming. Second key idea I got out of all my interviews, is that the winning culture has the following mantra. Ideas can come from anywhere. When leadership adopts this mantra, ideas can come from anywhere, you shatter one of the most important myths we need to shatter about creativity and that's the myth of the expert. You and I know there's no such thing as experts, they're just experienced people that have opinions.

Mike: But we also kind of buy into that heroic archetype of  kind of the lone genius on the mountain top.

Tim: Another myth of creativity right? Thomas Edison stood for twelve people right? There is no lone genius, Whitney didn't invent the cotton gin.

Mike: Why do we lust after that?

Tim: I interviewed a creativity expert, David Birkus, who wrote a wonderful book called the “Myths of Creativity”, and he said that it goes all the way back to mythology right? It's like, it's a romantic notion like the hero's journey. So we're very resistant when people like me or him or the other creativity experts, when they come out and say there is no lone inventor, it's all collaboration, it's all people building and other people's ideas. Or as Ed Kappel from Pixar says ‘most ideas are like really ugly babies’, you know that are brought to like and kind of made pretty you know by a town or a committee. But Birkus told me, he said we fight for this, we fight for the idea that Steve Jobs invented everything, it was Steve when you know it wasn't. It’s Jony Ive in the studio and it cascades down, you got Tony Fadell in there, I mean you know you know it's a huge team but we have that romantic notion, we fight for it, that’s the problem with myths of creativity. If we believe there's one big idea that saves the company, if we believe there's one lone genius that saves the company, we never collaborate, that's the risk. When we break these myths down we realize no, I've got to build a web around me that’s democratic. I’ve got to extend the umbrella, i’ve got implement a meritocracy for these meetings were ideas can come from anywhere. That that's the only way that any company truly solves any problem.

Mike: One of the other big problems other companies are trying to get their minds around beyond obviously creasing sales is experiences. And you know, in my work, I see this as particularly important because when thinking about digital transformation in the context of how it improves the customer experience for a new generation of customers. You’ve done a lot of thinking and work around emotional talent, how does that tap into this idea of experience.

Tim: So let's tie into why emotional talent is so important. Donald Broadbent, he was a UK professor in the fifties, he penned a theory that he spent a lot of time researching, it’s called  Broadbent's filter. Right they always name the concept after themselves. He believed that the human brain would develop these filters that would keep information from penetrating and demanding attention and that the more demands on our attention that are made, the denser the filter becomes and that there would be a point where the human being is accosted twenty times a day with a request for our attention, he predicted it’ll be somewhere in the sixties or seventies. Of course, now it's five hundred times a day and it's escalating, so the filter is so dense it’s a miracle anything gets through. But Broadbent suggested there was velvet rope and when he wrote this it inspired a young man named Daniel Goleman. Broadbent explained this emigdula, this emotional seat of the brain that was thirty-five times more powerful than the logical brain. That is the hijack, it is the velvet rope, it is the secret, like before the book the secret came out, to being successful with human beings. So to cut to the chase, when you take a look at companies that have figured out customer experience design, whether it’s virgin airlines, whether it's Ritz Carlton, whether it’s Starbucks. What they've done is they've taken a design  viewpoint about how the customers journey works from an emotional experience that went beyond that Microsoft functionality and they entered the apple surprise and delight world. So I’ve done a lot of work that basically says, leaders need to think like designers, especially when it comes to their employees emotional experience, which drives either their cortisol or DHEA production. This leads to their problem solving ability, which leads to their ability to get along with each other, which leads to engagement, and entrepreneurship, and all those things we push for. We've got to design an emotional experience that’s so positive that when the employee comes to work everyday somehow there is a song in their heart and not a pit in their stomach. In the last two years, I’ve also developed a body of research that suggests this is infinitely even more important in terms of how companies treat their supply partners and vendors. If you think like a designer and you say ‘I am the best client, I am tough but fair, but I am the best client from an emotional standpoint,’ you get the A-team, and your service levels are dramatically higher. The research I've seen says it's three hundred percent more determinative of performance of your service providers then your ability to negotiate strong contracts with them. So it’s thinking like a designer, design being defined as the constant act of problem solving.

Mike: And what kind of resolution do they have to do this? I mean, CEOs can sort of understand they can go out on a weekend retreat and come up with a bold purpose for the business. But how do you sort of go down to the to the level of day to day managing the emotional levels?

Tim: It’s a brilliant question. So getting back to customer experience I’ll use an example, so Sharp Healthcare systems in San Diego read a book, the same book I read, “Turn of the century; the experience economy” by Pine and Gilmore, talked about the idea that in the future people buy experiences, the don’t buy services. So Sharp decides they're going to do this, so the CEO comes in and decides ‘hey we want to compete on having the best experience” and he  challenges every discipline in the hospital system to segment the experience, because the patient doesn't have one experience, they have a bunch of little transactions along a designed plot-line from discovery to billing that leads to an overall impression. So whether it was the emergency room, or whether it was oncology or whether it was prenatal, they all had their little collaborative exercises to redesign their experience and the winning group which was based on the KPI have net promoter score. The winning group was pavilion where they do colonoscopy. These guys sat down as a group democratically and they asked everybody ‘what are all the experiences the patient has around a colonoscopy?” Well you can imagine it's a pretty bad experience from preparation to conclusion it sucks! They realize in this experiment/discussion the two things they couldn't change was the flee enigma or the actual invasive procedure, they can’t do anything about those. But they changed everything else.

Mike: So they give you a hug afterwards?

Tim: Get this - so the night before your colonoscopy you receive a video they produced, and it's kind of humorous, but it's kind of serious and it kind of helps. They call it an orientation video, because it helps you learn surprises, as the more you know about what's going to happen when you go in the less bad it is right? So the video kind of sets your expectations. You’re given a wake up call the next day by cheerful nice person at your home. When you show up at Sharp Healthcare they link the picture in the health insurance records to your appointment so that they recognize you before you even identify yourself just like Starbucks does. Brilliant hack by the way, Starbucks doesn’t give you a number they ask you your name, Shapr does the same, they say ‘Mike it's nice to see you’ when you walk into the pavilion. They redesigned the walkways because men don't like to see other men in their robes so there's no eye contact between patients, they also redesigned their robes around the San Diego Chargers, the local football team, as they got rid of the hole in the back of the robe it’s Velcro at the side. When you come out of the procedure your served orange juice on stemware. The doctor is trained in empathy so when he calls you with the results, if their bad he's very sensitive, if they're positive he's almost jolly, and it's almost like a Southwest Airlines flight where they kind of joke around when you land. But by taking that colonoscopy experience and breaking it down into every little transaction they did the two things that a designer always does, they get rid of the pain points and they find those signature moments that can be staged and I think that's the secret. It’s also something I'm super interested in. So great leaders today have a design viewpoint and they understand how to read the emotions of their people correctly and they know how to design for a consistently positive emotional experience, not just for the customer, but for the employees and the vendors they depend on.

Mike: Which companies have you seen that have taken that logic and applied it to the employee vendor or supplier experience?

Tim: Sas Institute, it is considered one of the best companies to work for in the world, no doubt. Fortune has a list they come out with every year and Sas Institute has been top ten for twenty years. So, they get it! They get it so much that Google went there to Cary, North Carolina in 2000 and they stayed there for a month just bugging the founder Jim Goodnight, a statistician, bugging him about how we did everything at Sas because he figured it out. He was the first corporate campus, he was the guy they got rid of cyclic time - at Sas they don't have sick days. You just come in if you feel healthy, if your kid sick don't go to work, if you can’t do your job they replace you. They bring in fresh flowers every Wednesday, there is onsite food, they've had on site health care for you and your family from the 31st day since 1989.

Mike: Do they do this globally? Because I know there's a trend with a lot of these tech companies kind of utopian campuses in the United States but if you work for them anywhere else…?

Tim: Well, Cary, North Carolina is a utopian campus, but when they have expanded out, I have had the opportunity to speak for them in other countries such as Brazil, they have replicated that campus idea. They want to create that solution, that sticky point that's family oriented and by the way, they are the first that adopted the strict 38 hour work week with no evening and weekend email, he was the first guy! The French got the idea from him. Goodnight realized that if you could tell an engineer you don't have to check your email evenings or weekends, and he realized this a decade ago, that it would create a huge advantage for the next generation that wasn’t as workaholic as their boomer parents. Sas institute has great design for employee experience.

Costco, great design for vender, or what they call partner, experience. Jim Sinegal and his team take just as much time and attention around the Kirkland brand supplier chain that allows him to produce such an outstanding quality product at a fraction of the price of most of the leading brand. He realized that their ability to produce strong store brands and have really good suppler relations came down to their ability to be their retailer of choice. He was smart because think about his competition like Walmart, who has a reputation for being the crap out of their suppliers to push the price down, he saw an opportunity to think like a designer and if you shop Costco versus a Sam's club or Walmart it's not even close.

Mike: We're at a time now where 21st organizations are going to be under attack from A I algorithms, automation, and more computers. Do you think this is going to present a challenge to the design of these kind of human experiences inside organizations?

Tim: I was thinking about that today, and I think so. I read something about Robert Scoble -  Scoble wrote a famous blog called the Scobleizer, he’s chief technology evangelist now at Rackspace. But yesterday, he was talking about how excited he was to see all these independent bookstores dying, he thinks this is a really good thing for society and the way it should be. And what he what is that if you want to be a successful technology leg company in the future as a consumer services company you have to reward the lazy and stop rewarding the innovators because that's what ruins business. He says you know the only people that ever got any value out of going to independent bookstore from like 2000 - 2015 were the innovators that figured out how to hack the store and get something out of the whole hassle of driving there and parking and buying real physical books and having to carry them around and monkey with them, when the rest of the lazy world that carries a kindle around just does it on two clicks. He says business has to change their philosophy to reward the lazy if they want to stay on the cutting edge of innovation.That really hit me today and I said, ‘yeah that's where things are going, that’s where we are now with machine learning, AI, and everything converging. We have to realize that the lazy will rule the future of consumer services.

Mike: Tim it's been a great pleasure hanging out as always.

Tim: Absolute pleasure, drive safe.

Mike: Cheers.

Who Moved My Future? | Michelle Ray

By cmiadmin | Nov 20, 2015 | Comments Off

New Video by Michelle Ray 


Watch More from Michelle Here

Touchpoint Dashboard Powered by Strativity Featured in Time Sqaure

By cmiadmin | Nov 02, 2015 | Comments Off

unnamedStrativity is pleased to announce the acquisition of Touchpoint Dashboard, the leading SaaS journey mapping platform, forming the world’s largest CX transformation organization. 

This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to execution, extending the impact of CX on organizations through a journey management tool.

“Strativity now takes its value to the next level with the addition of a journey management platform to ensure execution and sustainability,” said Strativity President Lior Arussy, adding that clients can develop and manage journeys on their own knowing that they have access to Strativity, redefining CX execution with the true fusion of technology and consulting.

Touchpoint Dashboard customers will benefit from some exciting new enhancements, such as:

Action planning and management will be provided to all Touchpoint Dashboard clients, enabling a movement from Journey Mapping to Journey Management with live, evolving journeys, beyond the static maps you may expect.

Touchpoint Dashboard customers will automatically become members of our expanded journey mapping community.

Exclusive access to 10 Members-Only Consultative Workshops with experienced journey mappers and CX professionals providing best practices and tips you can use to get the most out of Touchpoint Dashboard.


This is your opportunity to join the largest community of journey mapping professionals and leverage a tool that will allow you to accelerate success in your organization. For a 15-Day Free Trial of Touchpoint Dashboard, please visit

We hope you will join us in celebrating this new venture. If you’d like to learn more about Touchpoint Dashboard or Customer Journey Mapping, please contact


Copyright © 2015 Strativity Group, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Robin Crow Shares Success Story with Reporter Herald

By cmiadmin | Nov 02, 2015 | Comments Off

Founder of recording studio keynotes annual Business Appreciation Breakfast

By Craig YoungRobin Crow, founder of Dark Horse Recording in Franklin, Tenn., climbs up on a chair during his introductory guitar solo as part of his keynote talk at the

LOVELAND -- The keynote speaker at the city's annual breakfast for business leaders Wednesday played a little guitar, dropped a few celebrity names and imparted some pearls of wisdom to the crowd.

Robin Crow, founder of Dark Horse Recording in Franklin, Tenn., told about 350 local businesspeople at the Business Appreciation Breakfast how he went from being a guitarist and recording artist to a best-selling author, inspirational speaker and the owner of a destination recording studio that counts Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Tim McGraw and Matchbox Twenty as its clients.

But first he warmed up the crowd with an energetic guitar solo, and three times during his talk he provided instrumental guitar backdrops to videos showing mostly nature scenes and inspirational quotes from famous people.

Using the example of a 1972 airliner crash that killed 101 people, attributed to the flight crew's distraction, he said, "Too often, business leaders allow themselves to be distracted away from mission-critical functions."

Those critical pieces of success are his "magical formula":

• Adapting to change.

• Developing intense customer loyalty.

• Creating a culture of passion.

"Change is the new normal," Crow said, and yet, "we're afraid of change."

"Holding onto what's good for you now may be the reason you don't have something better," he said.

He told of practicing the guitar as a teenager for 14 hours a day until his fingers literally bled.

"Eventually when I picked up a guitar, I knew I could make it talk, I could make it sing," he said. "You've got to practice until your leadership fingers start to bleed."

Crow said he learned the importance of customer service when working with country recording artist Faith Hill. He said he would put considerable effort into making elaborate deli sandwiches for Hill's producer, and he learned that the sandwiches and his attention to his customer made an impression.

"I thought I was in the business of high-tech recording," he said, "but in reality, I'm in the business of serving people."

Exceeding people's expectations is his secret weapon, he said.

To create a culture of passion, he told his audience, they should surround themselves with brilliance — find people who are passionate, show appreciation for people and "swing for the bleachers, think big."

"There's nothing more exciting than a team that's on fire," he said.