Role Players


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Role Players

The New England Patriots are going about it differently this year.  The players have only received Playbooks; they are not practicing.  Sure, they’ve had lots of meetings at camp discussing and talking about the plays, why they are constructed as they are and why the plays will work.  But not a single player has practiced the routes, the blocking schemes, the throws or the running plays.

Why would they bother?  It’s not real.  Heck most of the time in camp they are playing against each other on the same team!  How silly is that? Nothing counts and someone could get hurt and what’s the point of that?  Besides, they’ve studied the plays; they get it.


Of course the Patriots are practicing this year.  Of course the Patriots are learning their roles by practicing these routes, those blocking schemes, the throws and the running plays.

But we either hate doing that stuff or just don’t care about doing it.

The day I walk through a sales site and see a coach and a sales rep leaning up against some old file cabinets on a sidewall spontaneously practicing a customer scenario about objection handling; I’ll just about have my coronary and end it right there.  I have never ever seen that in real life.

The day I can go to 3 training sessions in a row (live or virtual) where the role play portion wasn’t cut off, or skipped due to time or just wasn’t part of the session – I’ll have that second coronary (well hopefully not with the medication I’m on now and the life changing behaviors I’d have adopted) but—you get the idea.

The day that sales manager from half way across the country Skypes his sales executive and forces her to go through the competitive differentiation portion of the conversation that’s going to soon happen in the C-Suite with a real customer, I’ll have that 3rd myocardial infarction (metaphorically of course).

Maybe I need to get out more often and this stuff happens all the time now.  But maybe it doesn’t.

The sad part is I have a lot of memories when people do some intense role play and apply that Playbook in sessions with their coaches or in war rooms or in “bull in the ring” sessions.   I have lots of memories where those people said, out loud, that that was the best part of working their boss or in the team meetings or in the training classes.

The Patriots aren’t fools.  They know they have roles to play.  And they know they need to play these roles and practice even when stuff ain’t real.   They know because when the time comes; they need to be ready.

And so do we.  Hut! Hut!.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.


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4 New Words for 2011


I heard yesterday that the word “App” was voted as the “Word of the Year” in 2010.  Makes sense.  It’s a nice word.  Not a new word (it’s short for “application”), but it gets the job done. 

Ho Hum.

If you’re going to have a Word of the Year you’d think it should be at least new.  What’s going to win next year, “ping?” or “tablet?” Please.  And I’m thinking we could really use some new words round here.  New words are important when the world just keeps on changing. 

Here are 4.  We need these.  They are in alphabetical order (for my friends at the Oxford English Dictionary), have phonetic spellings (for my linguistic phonology friends) and have a bit about what they mean for the rest of us. 

Authorical ( aw-thor-i-cal):  This is what you want to be.  Way better for sales people and marketers than just being an expert or an “authority” yet has the cool factor of being “historical” too.  When you are so credible for so long as a person (or a business) that people lean forward pen in hand, ready to write down your every wisdom or advice; you are Authorical.   Given the wild untrusting marketplace today that’s a great way to be.

Cryoritize (cry-or-ri-tize):  “Prioritize” the word, has become weak.  Today “Prioritize” unfortunately has come to mean more about “What you should do first” rather than what you should do instead of something else.  Lists get reshuffled but rarely get shorter.  What we need is to cryoritize.   It takes courage to cryoritize; people can get upset and people might even cry as their project, their idea, or their need gets cut.  But business is tough.  And it’s tougher when you only prioritize.

ICrutch: (eye-cruch) It is a terrible affliction.  It’s when one uses the Smartphone, the blackberry or the IPad to keep those eyes low and thus avoid talking to someone and stay tuned out.   It’s when one posts a blog instead of having a needed meeting. It’s weak and it’s selfish.  It’s when someone Texts when they should have picked up the phone or looked you in the eye.  Sufferers of ICrutch here see technology as a way to collapse their scary world instead of confidently expanding it.  

Intervaluepropositionalistically ( in-ter-val-you-propp-pohs-zish-shon-nal-liss-tick-al-lee )  Ah yes, finally a word that reflects when you are speaking about a product or service’s complete set of value propositions!  You can use the word in just about any ol’ meeting using phrases like “Intervaluepropositionalistically speaking, I’d say we have a real advantage here!” or “What a game changer, intervaluepropositionalistically speaking that is!”  AND the best part is, it gives the current longest word in common use (i.e. non-medical) “interdenominationalistically” (meaning across all faiths) a beat down as our new word is 32 letters long versus a measly 28! 

Here’s to hoping these words help you in a changing world and here’s to rooting for one of these guys to win Word of the Year in 2011.  Love it when a Rookie wins.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.