The Drift

The Drift

The Drift is Back.

You haven't heard from The Drift since late spring... a several-week hiatus that allowed for some R&R, a bit of business planning, a little bad golf, and the outlining of a book that will be called Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales. Since fleshing out the book will take a while longer, I've decided to share many of the aforementioned Memes and Metaphors across the next few posts of The Drift. Read on, comment, share, push back and apply them to your own life in sales. Your interaction will only make what I ultimately produce that much better.

The first thing you talk about or put on screen is what the sales call is about. If it’s about you, or if it consists of a set of blank-slate questions you might have already answered with a bit of research, then you’ve defined your meeting as either an information dump or a fishing expedition.

Stop listening to the voices in other people’s heads. You can't manage what others may or may not think about what you say or do. Focus instead on your own Why. That will be enough.

Leadership happens everywhere, at every level. A title change or promotion isn’t the starting point for leadership. It’s most often a matter-of-fact recognition of someone who’s already been leading.

You get delegated to the people you sound like.

There is no such thing as a renewal. If you’re not working to win your customer’s respect and loyalty as though the relationship were brand new, someone else is. And you’re in the process of losing a customer.

Life is better when you’re left of budget.

Attention is not a passive state. To pay attention is, literally, ‘to attend’ – to be present. When you are – and you will KNOW when you are – you will have created the white space where all good things happen.

You can promote someone long before you give them a new title. Including yourself.

Adversity and struggle are capricious. All we can control is how -- and how often -- we stand back up.

    More Posts


    Evidence is everywhere. But we only get what we look for. And when we examine it – thoughtfully, critically, unsentimentally – it tells us where we really stand… what needs to be done… how to move forward intentionally. We become better forecasters, better time managers, better teammates, better stewards of company resources – better sellers.

    Ecosystem Leadership.

    Empathy is the oxygen of your ecosystem. It sustains people and relationships and also acts as fuel for the fires of creativity, production and perseverance. You are A leader in this ecosystem, not THE leader. You'll lead by constantly referencing a very short list of recurring questions.

    Stay In.

    Right now, there’s an awful lot of showing up. There have been some immediate moves on diversity hiring, and a whole lot of public statements being made — including my own. But showing up is one thing: staying in is entirely another.

    Everybody Knows.

    The now-famous New Yorker cartoon told us “On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” On Zoom, everybody knows.

    The New Story.

    I do not know what it’s like to navigate life and business as a woman or an African American or an immigrant. I never will. I probably can’t ever really understand the micro-aggressions – the small acts of humiliation – that people who don’t look like me suffer every week. But I can and must take account of the micro-opportunities that have been there for me all along.

    If I Only Had the Time.

    Not obsessing about time is one thing: re-imagining how we use it is entirely another.

    Alone in Space.

    You're not alone if you're feeling overwhelmed and broken by the perceived enormity of the challenges. Indeed, if you find yourself struggling intellectually with the entire issue it will, in fact, break you. But the best managers and sellers - the best executives of every stripe - all seem to have the same rhythm. They slow it down. They break it down. They solve one problem and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.

    Inside the Box.

    At the end of this stage there won’t be a return to normal or anything close: there will be a transition to a brand-new era. And none of us will ever say, "I wish I’d waited longer to change."

    We Can Do This.

    Here at Upstream Group, it’s day 50 of The Siege. Having looked back over these weeks of recovery, reinvention and writing, I’m sharing my bullet list of ideas that have sustained and invigorated me. Hope you find them helpful.

    Stopping the Clock.

    Stopping the Clock breaks the tyranny of the calendar. It allows us to start living again in the present… to focus on the next hour. We can now start visualizing what productivity and joy and excellence look like in our altered world. We have only now. Stopping the Clock let's us make the most of it.

    The Plan.

    Dwight Eisenhower famously said "Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." Today I think rather the opposite is true. As we navigate the disconnection, isolation, disruption and anxiety of today’s pandemic and tomorrow’s shattered economy, I think The Plan is what matters. Let me explain.

    The Broken Scoreboard.

    The scoreboard has blown up. It’s been destroyed by the Coronavirus pandemic, and its absence is the reason sales people are struggling. The smart managers and evolved sellers are adapting by building new scoreboards. They’re building scoreboards around excellence and creating internal competition around learning, and service, and empathy. Understanding that this is not a time to reap, they are choosing to keep track of what’s being sown.