“I’m Too Nice” Is No Excuse For Lack of Accountability

Saying that one is “too nice” to hold someone accountable is a cop out. What we really mean is that one has not yet found an effective way to hold people accountable without acting in a dictatorial way. It sets up a false dichotomy of nice / no-accountability vs mean / accountability. This is definitely a false dilemma.

If someone has this false either-or mindset between nice vs no-accountability and they want to partner with or hire leaders, they’ll seek out those who are “tough on others.” They think they want someone who “can get people moving” even if rough or even a little brutal about it.

Unwittingly, they hire a manager with a dictatorial management style. In playground speak, they hired a bully. Bullying behavior is poison to the longterm growth and well-being of any group.

Is dictatorial behavior OK as long as things get done? No. Employee turnover will be high and you’ll never know why. People will sense the oppressive culture and word gets around so people won’t join you in the first place.

So, it’s not just about getting things done. Being a leader is about empowering others to contribute to your group’s mission. Besides making money, your mission is your group’s reason for existing.

In Agile speak, you want passionate leaders as opposed to bullying managers. Don’t compromise on this! It might be extremely hard to change the culture once it gets grown in too deep.

As revealed in “Why Do Bad Leaders Always Seem to Win?”, it’s hard to convince managers to not act in a dictatorial style since we’re so used to giving them a “free ride.” A strong vertical mindset may have set up a reward system to encourage dictatorial management styles. At the expense of a group or organization, bullying can be rewarding to the person being a bully. Someone seeking power and who gets things done by bullying puts emphasis on a vertical flow of power through strength. Such managers will set up metrics to reflect efficiency and control over all else.

Your metrics will never reveal bullying that is happening in your leadership team. It’s hard to expose bullying behavior since things seem efficient and predictable. As beautifully expressed in the Why Do Managers Hate Agile? article:

Its values are efficiency and predictability. The key to succeeding in this world is tight control.

What you really want are people that are passionate about what they do. There’s a whole other article about Debunking Myths About Worker Passion that we won’t repeat here, but I recommend you read it. Suffice it to say, you want to foster a culture of empowerment, innovation and creativity.

Taking some concepts from several sources such as the late Roger Mellott (author of Stress Management for Professionals), Stephen Covey (efficient vs effective leadership), and Agile Leadership concepts, it is possible to hold people accountable in such a way as to make a relationship stronger and less stressful as opposed to oppressive.

Since this article is long enough, we won’t go into details about how to find and be an effective leader. However, I strongly suggest reading “Why Do Managers Hate Agile?” in full, seek out leaders instead of power hungry managers, and never stop promoting a culture that values leadership skills.


Notes on “Self-Awareness is Product Management”

Although the focus of the Self-Awareness is Product Management episode starts with self-awareness, it also covers communication skills, habits, and relationships between people.

The guest is Kelley Amadei, co-author of Founder of SparkShift. The rest of this blog post contains pretty much raw notes. The notes contain a mixture of direct quotes from the podcast, my own thoughts, and sometimes ideas that came to mind while listening.

Foundation for Leadership

“Self awareness is the foundation for leadership.” By being self-aware, one can be vulnerable in a good way and recognize their impact on others. Usually self-awareness is low in a person. From a cultural standpoint, people typically learn content specific for their job and push through as they climb the corporate ladder. Thus, the concepts of empathy, trust, compassion, and deeply understanding others / ourselves is weird to many.

If people don’t understand what is in it for them, they won’t do what you need. Understanding your people requires self awareness. It’s basic and foundational. It’s not even hard. One acknowledges their new found understanding externally to just trusted people initially and then expands into the “greater organization.”

If leaders focused on self awareness, they would be more effective. To do this, one needs to be a researcher and an antropologist. We should be objective. Let’s not get self-judgmental. Self-mastery is the goal. Pay attention. She teaches this to all kinds of people such as executives and people in grad-schools.

Beginning the Process

To begin ask yourself, what habits do I have that serve me and what habits should I drop?

Only choose one thing. “Identify the one thing that’s getting in your way.” Identify the thing that makes you cringe. Check it out with people you trust. Perhaps even a boss if there is a trusted relationship. “Is this the right area to focus on?”

Most common symptom of not having self-awareness is not listening. It is common with senior executives. It’s understandable though. If you’re a leader, you feel like you are supposed to know and quick to respond to questions. There are cultural things that get in the way:

  • Supposed to know
  • To appear quick, one usually is formulating a response while listening. That’s actually counterproductive.
  • You feel like you are not supposed to hesitate.
  • You feel like you’re not supposed to even take a moment to reflect.

Validate the behavior you want to work on: Don’t have to pick the hardest. Can pick the easiest one to gain confidence. Once you figured out the one thing to work on. There are strategies to apply.


For example, let’s say it has to do with eating. People usually will want to jump on the thing they want to change right away. “Don’t do that.” Don’t immediately jump into action. Watch and observe yourself. Side note: this sounds quite close to what was said on the 10% Happier podcast episode #61 titled Dr. Judson Brewer, Using Mindfulness to Beat Addiction.

When interacting with your direct reports, in meetings, and all areas of life observe yourself. Watch for when you are listening and not listening. Side note: reminds me of Stephen Covey, Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

The approach:

  • Pick a week or ten days.
  • Log it. Collect data.
  • You will see a pattern of when you are not listening and you will understand what is motivating the behavior.

Example: Direct report comes into the office. They have something to tell me. Trigger: they walk in. Response: Ready to tell them something first before listening. They are telling me and I am waiting to share what’s on my mind. Reward:I got stuff done. However, it could have been better.

Psychology and the Brain 

She is trying to drive a wedge between the trigger and response. We have less than a 1/2 second to work with. The first 1/3 second is physical. Most of what we do is an automatic response. Science says 90% of what we do is automated behavior, driving, swallowing, and so on. The brain starts on pathway and creates a groove (wrinkle). The brain says this works. So, it keeps doing it.

Another side note: This sounds similar to the aforementioned 10% Happier podcast, Stephen Covey as described by Michael Hyatt, and Dr. Victor Frankl. As said in Don’t Just React: Choose Your Response:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”   -Victor Frankl

If you are trying to stop an automated behavior, you have a small fraction of a second. Side note: Nir Eyal talks about habits all the time.

We’re driving a wedge between trigger and response. You can choose to do it the old way or when a direct report comes in, one can say: “I will shut my mouth, experience the uncomfortable feeling (it’s normal), and learn from it.” Try it for a couple weeks.

From a chemical standpoint, a habit is rewarded when dopamine gets released in the brain. That’s when the habit loop starts. Whether taking a drink or exhibiting a behavior in an organization, you are fighting the same battle.

Leaders are rewarded by getting things done themselves and they stop trusting others. They stop collaborating and delegating effectively. They second guess a lot.

A habit of not trusting is rooted in the fear of being let down. If I trust you and you let me down, it reflects on me. Trust requires vulnerability and understanding. A lot of leaders don’t feel they have time for that.

New VP of Operations Example

Example: There was a VP of operations. He focused on lean strategy and efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Everything was through a very logical approach. He was 36 years old. His approach was by blowing things up (organizationally) and make things better.

When he got the VP position, he went in assuming that no-one knew what they are doing and so on. He built a habit of mistrust. He assumed that he had the only solutions. It would take too long to get things done. Now that he’s the VP he could no longer blow things up. Behaviorally, he was:

  • Too direct
  • Aggressive
  • Didn’t listen
  • Didn’t trust
  • He would second guess their solutions
  • He should have let his seasoned and senior people be part of the solution

His people went to the CEO and said this “guy’s a jerk.” He wasn’t listening and trusting. They brought Kelley Amadei in.

That’s one example of how something that serves a leader in the past can backfire later in their career.

Support the Right Culture and Also Build Authentic Relationships

Google has spent a lot of time learning about the successful attributes around leaders (related). Most psychology books would call some of this psychological safety.  Do I feel safe? Are my ideas heard? Can we have constructive conflict? Can we disagree and leave the relationship intact? One should allow constructive conflict. That’s where great ideas come from. Steps to make that happen:

  1. Encourage authentic connection between people.
  2. Never interrupt. When running a team meeting, don’t ever interrupt. Encourage team to do the  same.
  3. Allow everyone to be heard. If someone is in the corner, call them out. They are probably have something to say and are being squished by others.
  4. Known conflicts should come out in the open. Otherwise, the unresolved conflicts will waste people’s time later when talking in subgroups later.

Most people think they have a work persona. Can you get people / teammates to connect as real people?

Have an offsite and bring some questions. Examples:

  • What are you most afraid of?
  • Want do you most want out of your life?
  • What’s something difficult you have overcome?


There is plenty of great information in this podcast episode around self-awareness, communication, group relationship building, and even psychology. It’s clear Kelley Amadei is passionate about her work. She has great strategies for helping organizations improve their productivity and undoubtedly their overall happiness. I recommend you listen to the podcast episode yourself.

Sticky Notes

Sticky Notes by Gabriel Toro

What Do Your Emoticons Mean?🌿

She caught me, bless her. Recently someone special to me asked me what the green leaves 🌿 meant in a message I sent. There is a deeper meaning behind what I was sharing. So, I confessed. Here’s what I shared:

The green leaf / leaves symbolize life. It’s the nourishing energy that makes the flower petals possible. When I share the 🌿 with someone, it means “may you have a stable and nourishing foundation upon which to grow so you can share the beauty of your life with all. 🌈

There are other emoticons I share regularly which have a deep meaning to me. Such meanings enrich my life and I believe are good for the brain. Such emotions are even contagious.

If interested, I can share what it means when I share other emoticons. 😀

Until then, you might ask yourself: What feelings do you feel when sharing an emoticon with someone? Is there a special friend you share a specific emoticon with?



Caresse by zenera

Notes on “Jobs to Be Done is Product Management”

The focus of the Jobs To Be Done is Product Management episode is about:

  1. Disruption Theory and Innovation
  2. Current Innovation Approaches Established Companies Do
  3. How “jobs to be done” Drives New Features and Product Development
  4. Companies that Embraced “jobs to be done” Either Explicitly or Implicitly
  5. A Lens To Look Through

The guest is Karen Dillon, co-author of Competing Against Luck.

The rest of this blog post contains pretty much raw notes. The notes contain a mixture of direct quotes from the podcast, my own thoughts, and sometimes ideas that came to mind while listening.

Disruption Theory and Innovation

Clayton Christensen is known for the disruption theory aka disrupting the established company. The theory of disruption doesn’t cover everything. It covers the established company. The startup is not covered by the theory.

“Getting innovation right” is not just luck. The “theory of jobs to be done” is the “casual mechanism” of success. You need to understand it.

Current Innovation Approaches Established Companies Do

  • They gather lots of data, but the evidence is correlational as opposed to based on causation
  • Most innovations fail which may mean they are not in the field a year later
  • They don’t understand the “causal mechanism”

How “jobs to be done” Drives New Features and Product Development

As given 8:17 into the podcast episode, the definition of “jobs to be done” is:

The progress someone is trying to make in particular circumstances.

Very key: We pick a product or service based on our social and emotional reasons.

We should view things from the perspective of the progress that someone is trying to make. We have to understand the social and emotional circumstances along with the functional reasons for choosing a service / product. They use the language of “hiring” instead of “buying.”

Companies that Embraced “jobs to be done” Either Explicitly or Implicitly


They are a good example of a company that applied the “jobs to be done” approach successfully. Competition and solving the problem.


  • In 2001, they did things based on various personae. That’s changed.
  • They even changed how they organized their company based on the “jobs to be done” framework:
    • They now have different physical teams around those “jobs to be done” which includes technology, marketing and so on.
    • They did great by offering prices for specific jobs and made more money overall.
    • They target the job to be done as opposed to the personae.


“Help me get my accounting done now” is the “job to be done.” The up-sells they used to do were counter productive and interfering with the “job to be done.”


They get “it.” They are focused on the “customer’s job to be done.”

They measure the speed of delivery from the moment when the customer makes the order to when the item arrives.

A Lens To Look Through

Looking at things through this “jobs to be done” lens, highlights what to do in regards to:

  • Customer service
  • Billing
  • How to renew and talk with people

It’s hard to find the right KPIs related to “jobs to be done” to show it’s working. Also, “jobs to be done” has to be integrated throughout the organization to succeed.


The “causal mechanism” is used often. It’s clearly an important part of the “jobs to be done” theory. Although there is concern about coming up with KPIs that demonstrate the successfulness of the approach, it absolutely makes sense. I encourage you to listen to the podcast episode yourself.

Notes on “Empathy is Product Management”

The focus of the Empathy is Product Management episode is about:

  1. Advantages of being new to an industry
  2. How to get industry knowledge
  3. Strategies for keeping empathy
  4. Formula?
  5. They have users near them
  6. Career transition

The guest is Jon Stross, a Co-Founder of Greenhouse.

The rest of this blog post contains pretty much raw notes. The notes contain a mixture of direct quotes from the podcast, my own thoughts, and sometimes ideas that came to mind while listening.

Advantages of Being New to an Industry

The advantages of being a product manager in an industry where you don’t have any experience:

  • Can stay objective. Can have a wider perspective.
  • Requires you to get out of the office.
  • You are not “..blinded by your biases.”

How to Get Industry Knowledge

(Talking to Potential New Customers)

Need to talk to many people. For them, it was recruiters. They would ask them, what do you like or hate about your tools and jobs? His business partner was an expert. He ran a team of recruiters.

They went and said “we want to teach a course on how to make recruiting a strength of your company.” They did a handful of classes. They figured out what resonated and what did not. They looked to see who showed up. They wanted to bounce ideas off of them. It was “great market research.”

They created a paper product. It was made of notecards and more. “They walked around to people’s offices and tried it out with them.” Before they wrote code or even made a company, they had a pretty good idea that the idea would work.

Strategies for Keeping Empathy

  • They hire out of their consumer service department. The tech team gets a sense of which of those “get it.” So, technical expertise and domain expertise is there.
  • They have a user experience research group.
  • They break out the different segments.
  • Sales and Consumer Service provide input.
  • They look at user data.
  • Product Managers synthesize all of those inputs and decide which ideas to go with.


There’s no formula that they use. Their agile philosophy helps a lot. If they can get twenty things done and eighteen of those things are right, they are doing fine. They keep things scaled small. They manage scope and have things be smaller. Six months is too long.

They Have Users Physically Close To Them

They used their network. They can easily find folks. It helps that recruiters are real public. They want to be easy to reach.

They have lots of data. The hard part is figuring out who to listen to and “the patterns that matter.”

Career Transition

Product Management is a natural step towards becoming a CEO or general management.


Lots of great things in here! Clearly, Jon and his partners have figured out a way to dive into a domain and come out with awesome products. I really enjoyed the podcast episode and invite you to listen to it yourself.

Wondering about the Wandering Retreat on 10% Happier?

Is the “Wandering Retreat” the most ambitious and craziest course on the 10% Happier meditation app? I say yes!

Dan gave us a preview tweet tease back in December with this picture of Jeff Warren and Dan Harris:

Since then, I have been waiting for this release with great excitement! It has arrived and I am overwhelmed with how good it is. The course is heart warming, insightful, pragmatic and frankly a work of art.

It's a work of art.

Discussing the Plan and Working on Dan’s Face

The course begins with seeing a little bit of Dan’s work day which is quite fascinating. While a little bit of makeup is artfully applied, he discusses the retreat. As he says, part of the plan is to literally get lost.

Next, I’m seeing a sweet and cute family scene that makes me smile brightly. It transitions to hearing family goodbyes of “Bye Daddy!” and “I love you!” It’s truly touching.

This switches to a funny scene where Jeff and Dan meet and choose where to go. Dan initially suggests a luxury beach retreat! There’s some playful back and forth where the choice is between luxury and the woods. In a lighthearted way, Dan says “Coursing under everything you’re saying is a raging river of like you’re a sissy if you don’t do the latter.” Jeff playfully says “That’s right.” Meeting adversity head on, they chose the woods.

Meditating On Day One

Camp is set up and the day ends with their first meditation. Now, here’s where the app does something truly magical. As opposed to a hard transition from video to recorded meditation, you are led into an experience that goes like this. You’re watching the video, you close your eyes, and then you’re meditating with them in the woods. That is exactly how it feels! Well done!

In the meditation itself there’s a mixture of nature sounds, Jeff’s guiding voice, and what I will describe as the occasional technology related sounds. This demonstrates a great integration of meditation practice with real life. Here there’s equanimity and really just taking it all in.

After the meditation, there’s a funny and insightful followup discussion around the campfire.

Meditation Follow Up Discussion

Dan doesn’t hold back his innermost thoughts where he has “an embarrassing moment.” Although I don’t want to spoil it by sharing this hilariously funny moment in detail, I don’t think Dan’s going to hell for it.

After their first day, the adventure continues with hiking, swimming and insightful wisdom shared along the way. It’s worth watching the videos multiple times and listening carefully to the wisdom that is shared. Among other things, a great thing that Jeff shares in the “Field Naturalist of the Mind” is:

You’re experiencing your own experience through the only means that you have available which is your own experience.

It’s clever and deep. That might take time to sink in and context is needed. He’s saying this in the context of meaningful and playful exploration that is available by training the mind. What Jeff is sharing throughout the course is practical and pragmatic yet it’s life changing.

Jeff and Dan touch on so much in this short retreat such as pain, equanimity, compassion, and Jeff’s favorite of muditā which Jeff says is “like celebratory joy.” What I especially like is at the end where they deal with “a mathematical impossibility” of logistics that Dan is facing. Will Dan make his meeting? Will Jeff make his flight?

Jeff says he has the perfect meditation for this common ailment titled “Where is a Thought?” The context is to work with the thinking process as it is. It’s extremely useful and I will be using this meditation often!

Logistics and a Meditation

So, wonder no more. This latest “Wandering Retreat” course is a beautiful gift to the #10PercentHappier community. With humor and beautiful nature scenes throughout, wisdom and practical tips are shared.

If you wish, check out my other posts about the 10% Happier app or better yet check out the 10% Happier app itself now!

CARROT iPhone App Video Marketing Done Right

The maker of the CARROT TODO app does user experience and marketing right in so many ways. To keep this post short, let’s just focus on one bit of video marketing titled CARROT Launch Trailer. The video is fun enough that I even saved it to watch again!

The video starts with some exciting music and a strong message similar to this: “the todo list with a personality.” It’s a good clear message which shows how it distinguishes itself and what the app does.

With the blue circle pulsing, the video moves on to the playful and humorous statements of “Let’s play a game. We’ll call it ‘Don’t Suck at Life.'” It shows some functionality of the app and then moves on to the rules of the game. Get stuff done or CARROT will get mad!

As someone who has used the app for years, I guarantee she (CARROT) will get mad. CARROT is often referred to as the user’s “new mistress.” Here’s the video:

One thing the video doesn’t show you is the funny and sometimes creepy (in a humorous way) push notifications that the app receives. I highly encourage you to turn the notifications on. Although the humor is often dark, it is fantastically funny. Check out the app for yourself!

Staying Alive, The Beatles, Basic Income, and Gamification

Paul from The Beatles said, “We got more freedom to be artists.” Paul means the freedom to live. Don’t we all want that?

This struck me hard while listening to a short sound clip where Paul said “..more freedom to be…” Now wait a minute. So at first, they had to make stuff that might appeal to others and would pay for. OK. What if they did that but then died or broke up before they got to make one of my favorite albums, the Magical Mystery Tour?

What a horrible loss that would have been! What if that is happening all the time and we don’t know it?

It’s about to get worse. As Sam Harris puts it here in How Rich is Too Rich?:

Future breakthroughs in technology (e.g. robotics, nanotech) could eliminate millions of jobs very quickly, creating a serious problem of unemployment.

So, we should be afraid for our very lives with automation continuing to expand. The game is changing and humans need to change with it soon or die. What to do?

Credit goes to Nir Eyal who pointed out to his followers on Twitter a concept called Basic Income.

I had not heard of Basic Income before. Searching Twitter for BasicIncome, I learned more. Of course, the “what-if”s started popping up. What if people game the system? What if, nothing gets done?

I completely understand the concerns. They may be right. They are worried about some fool doing nothing, but sitting on a hill and watching the world go by. Hey! That’s a fantastic Beatles’ song, The Fool On The Hill! Since Paul McCartney was writing about the Maharishi and thus meditation, a fool on the hill is a horrible example.

Refocusing back on to the legitimate concerns at hand, what if someone games the system. Wait a second! “Game the system.” Hmm. What if we work with this gaming idea instead of against it?

There’s a concept called Gamification. Gamification may be a good answer to alleviating concerns about people being lazy. As Yu-kai Chou calls it, Gamification is another word for “Human-Focused Design.”

Here is his popular TEDxLausanne talk:

Ironically, Yu-kai says “..everything’s still functioning better than before. No. I’m not talking about a society run by robots.” I invite you to watch the video. It’s only 17 minutes long.

So, answers will come if we look for them and look for them we must. If we experiment carefully, I think we can try things like Basic Income. In fact, we should be afraid not to. We should be afraid for our very lives with automation continuing to expand. The game is changing and humans need to change with it soon or die.

Let me emphasize. The game of life is changing. Humans need to change soon or else. Seriously.

This can be an enjoyable and exciting journey if we start immediately and listen to Gamification leaders such as Yu-kai Chou (Octalysis), Andrzej Marczewski (gamified.uk), Dutch Driver (Organization Development), and Nir Eyal (Behavior Designer), and others who have already done a ton of work for us. We just need to piece it all together and learn what works.

One thing I know for sure, I want the freedom to live. Due to my background driving me to actualize my potential, I will contribute as best as I can. How important is the freedom to live for you?

Once we feel we’ll survive, we can stretch ourselves and work on filling the world with compassion and maybe even love.

Imagine. What might humanity achieve if we weren’t so afraid?


On Fire

Shining sun

Sun energy by yogialessandra

Oh! Such a rush! In an explosion of ecstasy, I experienced something like the sun’s rays shining through my mind.

For a few mornings, I found a way to repeatedly experience a rush of happiness. A happy mental “boom” and a tingling rush of energy throughout. How I got there is summed up like this:

In the video, I gave special attention to the words: “sacred” and “on fire.” I played until he says “Love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” It’s a great video, but for this purpose I stopped the video.

Why did this happen? Many possibilities. Most importantly, how one holds the world in her or his mind matters. As said in the video:

If you really learn how to think, how to pay attention then you will know you have other options.

Learning how to pay attention is what mental focus exercises like mindfulness meditation is all about. Through such mental exercises, you can recognize that we’re all in this together. We’re all experiencing life and it is life which binds us all together. We’re all on fire with the same forces. As he said in the video, we can experience a situation as:

…not only meaningful, but sacred. On fire with the same force that lit the stars. Love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Note: I broke the above quote up to give the concepts separate emphasis. They are: “Sacred”, “On fire”, “Love”, “Fellowship”, and “Oneness.”

These aren’t just nice words. They are universal truths that tap into how we’re wired as social interconnected beings. It’s because of these truths that I experienced the happy mental rush and more importantly why we might survive together. Like all things though, the series of mental rushes have faded into the past.

If I searched long enough through the 10% Happier iPhone app, I could probably find the specific meditation that helps trigger this experience for me. It’s probably a Sharon Salzberg’s Loving Kindness meditation. Even now, if I do a five minute Loving Kindness meditation and do the video as described above, I get the energetic buzzing in the face. It’s fun, but it’s not all there is to life.

For me, life is about love, fellowship, and oneness. A connection with the whole human family and all of life. A connection that is to be continuously explored and deepened.

For the curious, I’ve blogged about how great the 10% Happier is since the year 2015. Feel free to explore the blog posts and then if you wish checkout the iPhone app that you can download for free at http://www.10percenthappier.com.

Notes on “Networking Is Still Not Working”

The focus of the Networking Is Still Not Working episode is about:

  1. Business indifference is a huge issue
  2. Nourishing new relationships versus existing relationships
  3. Dormant ties and what that means
  4. Optimizing a networking event
  5. “Host a different kind of networking event as a way to offer value to the people you already know and work with.”

The guest is Derek Coburn, author of Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections.

The rest of this blog post contains pretty much raw notes. The notes contain a mixture of direct quotes from the podcast, my own thoughts, and sometimes ideas that came to mind while listening.


Leaping into indifference from a software developer point of view, a supervisor might see people as fungible software developers. How to disrupt this? Just going heads down and working harder doesn’t help.

Financial Advisors have a 94% retention rate. 75% of the time it’s because they provide great client service. The way to disrupt things is to focus on providing more value for your existing clients beyond just doing a good job. You can help them network and make introductions.

Strategically and effectively communicating how you are different will give you great opportunities. It’s better than waiting around for people to contact you.

Create a different rung of service that people have ever thought about or ever seen as necessary in their job. Don’t just be someone who does their job.

Derek’s general example: You can be someone who generates trust and rapport and makes the client feel safe by sending them something in the mail. Specific example:

Here are five reasons you don’t have to worry about Brexit.

[or] I’ve already come up with something in order to help you deal with Brexit.

Be an extension of your client’s development and marketing team. Derek positions himself to work with business owners.

Nourish Existing Network

Existing relationships are very important. Among other things, it’s important for job searching. Nourish your existing network. Existing clients are a good place to start. You can say to your client “I want to know more about your ideal client. What are your trigger phrases?” What is meant by trigger phrases is that certain phrases provide a clue that someone may need your services now or at some point.

A trigger phrase would reflect perhaps a triggering event. Perhaps, something that happened in life. You can share this with clients and others. Example: Someone is getting ready to sell a business. They said this 3 to 6 months before they know they even need you.

Figure out good triggering phrases for your business and then help your clients figure out triggering phrases to listen for for their own business. You can teach your clients how to do this by giving examples of what phrases you would be looking for. This also teaches the client to listen for trigger phrases on your behalf. Even though the client interviews are for learning about your clients, you can teach clients and friends how to help you.

Teaching Others How To Help You

Generic questions of “How can I help you?” doesn’t work. Having something ready to share with those who honestly want to help you is helpful.

This is what I am looking for. If you know someone that knows someone that would help.


Don’t just go to a networking event. Go to an event that has a great speaker and content. Invite a client. Tell the client to bring a friend.

Setting Up an Event Yourself

You can host round table discussions. Facilitate events. Examples: Poker or wine tasting events (for a client and someone else.) You can tell them: “Don’t feel like you have to bring a prospective client for me.” This plants a seed. Initially, they thought about their wife or friend. With that seed planted, they may bring a prospective client.

Start with a 5 to 10 minutes idea. You can share an idea and not a sales pitch. Think about sharing a couple things that are not directly related to the thing you provide.

After sharing a bit of information and sharing wine, you’re the thing in there they all have in common.

Hosting a technology event can get you in touch with the recruiters. You’re the hub. You know all the recruiters / head-hunters. Tons of lateral connections or non-lateral connections in your industry.

How often events? Roundtables are easy to set up. With Open Table, you can search for all the restaurants that have private rooms. Contact the restaurant; can they do separate checks? Invite people to come together and have lunch. You can facilitate a conversation about whatever you want to have a conversation about.

You can start with 4 to 5 people and 2 of those people can be your friends to get feedback.

He stumbled into great success with this. He invited a few influencers that are influential in the industry. This made the events very popular.


Lots of good gold nuggets in here. How to stand out and be seen as essential by providing extra value. How to nourish the existing network. How to set up an event. There are more tips in this podcast that I couldn’t capture in this post such as don’t just reach out to someone periodically with a template. I recommend listening to the podcast episode.