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We Get What We Tolerate

The things that are tolerated by winners and the things tolerated by losers are very different.  History is full of situations where what leaders tolerated made the difference.

  1. In WWII and the Battle of the Bulge, it was General Patton’s intolerance of average that moved his troops farther and faster than any other fighting force in history which saved Bastogne, and The 101st Airborne from Nazi control.
  1. It was those who signed the Declaration of Independence who tolerated nothing less than freedom that birthed the United States.
  1. It was seemingly unlimited tolerance by the leaders of the European nations in the 1930s that gave Hitler’s Nazis the power to launch WWII.

In business, most owners and CEOs don’t think about how they manage as being tolerant or intolerant, but there is little they do or don’t do that has more power to predict than what they tolerate.

Let’s look at 4 things that should never be tolerated:

A sales driven organization.

  • Google defines sales as the exchange of a commodity for money

Never tolerate a sales driven organization since exchanging a commodity for money is about winners and losers.  This is an adversarial relationship devoid of giving and getting value.  At this time in history, there will always be someone willing to provide approximately the same commodity (at least in the buyer’s mind) for less money.  So, if you are a sales driven organization don’t be surprised when the way salespeople keep score is the total dollars of exchange.  For an organization to survive and thrive in the 21st century it needs to be about short-term and long-term value to customers who are compelled to do business with you based on that value and pay you for the value you earned.

An HQ (Head Quarters) out organization

An HQ out organization gets up in the morning and asks what is it that I can do today that makes “me” the most money?  Then the HQ out organization goes to make as much money as possible from the market.  HQ out organizations that make money from the market are using a “buyer beware” approach to maximize the HQ short-term sales.  Those who buy from an HQ out organization buy for price considerations or because all the competitors to the HQ out organization are worse to do business with.  Those buyers will switch vendors in a heartbeat for the lower price or any promise of better service.  HQ out organizations receive low margins, have high costs of sales and are always at risk.

Marketing that can’t be measured.

It’s said that things can’t be measured if they can’t be specifically defined.  NEVER hire a person or an organization that can’t define what they will do.  If they can define marketing, then the parts that are working can be expanded and the parts that don’t work can be changed.  Marketing is about creating specific behavioral outcomes.  If what outcomes marketing needs to create aren’t clear just go ask marketing’s customer (the sales department) to define the clear behavioral outcomes, the quantity required and the timeframes.

Poor forecasting

The first thing to determine is if your forecast is more or less accurate then a good “horse handicapper.”  Very few people make a predictable income from horse race handicapping and seldom do businesses have a forecast as accurate as a good handicapper.  Any business can have an accurate (at least compared to what they have today) and predictable (what is going to happen over the next 12 to 24 months) forecast as soon as they stop measuring the combination of market mass times activities.  Market mass is something like there are 10,000 companies on our list.  When market mass is attacked by activities, which means we will send an email a month to all 10,000 and expect 2% or 200 to become leads after an email and one phone call.  Of the 200 we expect to close 30% or 60 new deals per month.  With an average deal size of $25,000.00, we will have monthly sales of $1,500,000.00.  Don’t tolerate the mass times activity approach.  Demand that forecasting be based on a buyer-focused process from a name in the yellow pages to contract signed and delivered.  Each required human behavioral outcome in the total process is measured for completion and the value of that activity which drives the behavior.  This creates the opportunity to improve each outcome.

There is no reason to tolerate any of these myths.  Tolerating any of these myths puts a company at risk for survival.  Take your lead from George Patton and the Founding Fathers.  By changing what you tolerate a year from now there will be greater quality and quantity of the right outcomes.


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