Posts made in March, 2014

Data Interoperability and The Last Mile

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Pricing Leadership | 0 comments

I came across this post on from Dan Munro, who offered insights from Malcolm Gladwell at a recent healthcare summit. In it, he discusses data interoperability in the healthcare industry, which is a huge effort and will require unprecedented cooperation to drive better results for the end customer. As we are all the end customers of healthcare services, we observe the inefficiencies in the model. I’m sure everyone has ideas about what the industry could do to better serve its constituents.

One major problem I have observed is the lack of ability to share my health data between my physicians.  This comes in two forms:

  • Lack of digital formats for data that share a common format
  • Lack of common systems between providers and/or integration between systems

Would you want your doctors to collaborate to provide the best care to you? I do.

At PROS, we spend a lot of time and energy identifying, classifying and transforming data to make it useful in business decisions and transactions. We are definitely ahead of the healthcare industry, but there is still a “last mile problem” that continues to occur. Each of our customers has a different combination of software systems that they use to interact with their suppliers, partners and customers. Keeping data in sync and in the right format – consistently and reliably – is tougher than it sounds.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could come up with better ways for companies to interact with each other?

Yes, I know, “every business is different,” but there are lots of common patterns in doing business. Yes, it would require all of us – vendors, customers, partners – to come up with standard approaches, and that requires cooperation. However, the resulting innovation could be immense. If we could reduce effort in basic communication, and focus on innovating, it could be amazing what we could do together.

I have the same dream about the future of healthcare, but can we get there?

Post written by John Salch

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Europe to Lift Restrictive Dairy Trade Barriers: Are You Prepared?

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Pricing Leadership | 0 comments

Europe’s dairy industry is preparing for the expansion and abolition of milk quotas in 2015, which provides a wealth of new opportunities for companies to expand their businesses. At the same time, the transition presents both opportunities and potential challenges to organizations and their traditional price, mix and supply decision-making processes.

To capitalize on this new market opportunity, dairy processors and manufacturers must be able to quickly adjust how raw material and inventory are being utilized to take advantage of new sources of demand and to optimize their overall returns. That’s where using big data and predictive analytics to grow sales and increase profits comes into play. It’s precisely these technologies that are going to help the dairy industry outperform.

I had the privilege of delivering remarks earlier this year at the IBM Food & Agri Symposium in Dublin, Ireland. The conference offered numerous illustrations of how technology enables Irish food companies to compete and win in global markets. In fact, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney also delivered an address at the event.

Participating in these types of industry events represents another example of how PROS and IBM are partnering to bring innovation to the market. The PROS SignalDemand solution has been recognized as an IBM Smarter Commerce-based supply chain solution and certified on the IBM Consumer Products industry framework. It’s this framework that focuses on the need for consumer products companies to work smarter by providing innovative, industry-driven solutions that help accelerate business performance. Our partnership has generated a variety of joint opportunities with SignalDemand customers, including Fonterra, a global leader in dairy nutrition; and Teys Brothers, a Cargill joint venture. It has also enabled SignalDemand and IBM to expand their relationships with customers, such as ConAgra Foods.

As a side note, PROS acquired SignalDemand last December, and we’re proud to be the newest members of the PROS team. Together, our predictive and prescription solutions – powered by data science – broaden our respective portfolios. SignalDemand works with customers in the resource-based and commodity-driven industries, and we bring additional expertise in these markets.

If you’re in a resource-based or commodity driven industry, we’d like to hear from you. Let us show you how to work easier, smarter and faster to outperform in your markets. How can we help you?

Post written by Tom Ward

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Mark Zuckerberg Redefines Value

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

roiDo you have $19 billion?

In the sales world, we equate value with ROI. Not so for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who just acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. He was thinking way bigger.

A New Value Proposition

This deal can’t be judged by the same standards as typical Wall Street mergers and acquisitions. It’s not about multiples. Those don’t matter in a social-media-driven world.  Here it’s users, not revenue or profits, that define a company’s worth.

Zuckerberg needed to protect Facebook’s interests in the mobile world. With WhatsApp, Facebook got a communications platform the company couldn’t have achieved with its existing infrastructure. Facebook also got an already-established mobile audience with international reach. In other words, Zuckerberg made a strategic, customer-centric move—not just for the present, but for decades to come.

Interestingly, WhatsApp co-founder, Jan Koum, who has written damning posts on advertising, will now join the Facebook board. It’s an outright clash of personalities and belief systems. But it shows the power of innovative thinking and the willingness to step out, step up, and never settle.

Your Turn

What’s the message for those of us in sales? For me, it’s about thinking beyond (and even trashing) our standard metrics. Instead we should be engaging our clients in strategic business conversations. The best of us are already doing this, and the rest better get on board quickly. In the future, sales professionals who fail to do so will be out of jobs.

I know it’s difficult to think beyond the present. How can we imagine a future that doesn’t yet exist? Well, Steve Jobs did it, Mark Zuckerberg did it, and so will I.

I have no clue how this will play out for me, but I’m OK with uncertainty and not having everything figured out. What about you?

Connect With No More Cold Calling

Follow Joanne on Google+ or Twitter @ReferralSales, or connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Comment Here

How do you measure value—in dollars and cents, or in satisfied customers?

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Play Is Important

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Co2 Blog | 0 comments


Play is Important

As an Executive Coach, I work with leaders who are already very successful. They come to me because they want to further succeed and sometimes because they feel overwhelmed. They feel like they’re working too much. Even when they’re not working, they feel like they should be–which takes some of the fun and happiness out of their leisure time.

Play is important to our happiness and our ability to be creative. Leaders understand the importance of creativity in the work context. They know that creativity helps their organization keep pace with market demands, and yet, ironically, some of them have forgotten how to play.

In Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Stuart Brown MD explains the importance of play to our wellbeing. He defines play as follows:


  • Is it’s own purpose, no other.
  • Comes with no demand, it is voluntary.
  • Moves you into flow where there is no sense of time.
  • Lowers judgement of the self.
  • Is free form and chaotic without planning.
  • Is a virtuous cycle in which you would rather not stop.

How to Play at Home

Brené Brown, Ph.D., offers the following activity to increase and improve play at home: Ask every family member to list activities they enjoy to the point of losing all track of time and themselves when doing it. Next, create a Venn diagram and see where there is an overlap among family members. Seek to engage in these overlapping activities so that your entire family can play together. Try to avoid leisure activities that feel more like work than play to some family members.

How to Play at Work

Putting a slide or fire pole between floors won’t necessarily create more play in your organization. Your team members may feel more embarrassed than inspired.

Don’t decide what is play for your group or team. Let them decide. Try Dr. Brown’s activity with your work colleagues. Ask everyone to list activities they enjoy to the point of losing all track of time and themselves when doing it. Draw the Venn diagram and see if you can find something that you can all play at.

What have are you playing at lately? (Please comment! I would love to hear from you.)

The post Play Is Important appeared first on Elements of Leadership.

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Lessons on Team Performance from Elite U.S. Military Units

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Leadership Now | 0 comments


James Murphy says American business has an execution problem. Why? Because we make things complex. “Complexity is the mortal enemy of good execution.” We tend to combat complexity with even more complexity. Simplicity is the SEALs answer to a complex world.

In Courage to Execute, Murphy walks us through a simple process used by America’s elite military units that will improve an organization’s ability to execute and achieve goals. “Their courage, confidence, and capabilities stem from a relentless, time-proven process of conditioning, training, planning, executing, and improving.”

Soldiers morph into Rangers—individuals into teams—when they get a sense of who they are and what they’re a part of. “Together, the army’s core values and the Ranger Creed create a unique organizational identity that breeds unit and trust. This is the glue that holds everything together.” Successful organizations are able to focus and execute according to purpose. “Principles are like cardinal rules so important to you organization that they should never be broken. They are things you always do or never do. They are your guardrails.”

To align everyone in your organization create and pursue a common high definition destination. “Think exclusively in high definition and create a specific, detailed, granular, crystal-clear picture of what you’ll look like and how you’ll be operating when your organization reaches its intended future destination.” Keep in mind, “General ideas lead to general execution, and that get’s sloppy.”

When you plan your “mission” ask, is it clear? Is it measureable? Is it achievable? Does it align with your high definition destination? Every plan should be run by a red-team. “Red teams play the role of adversary.” They “identify potential risks, holes, or contingencies that the original group may have overlooked.”

Once you begin to execute, “never let yourself or your team lose sight of where you are relative to your objective and your threats.” Utilize checklists and cross-checks to help avoid task saturation. The moment you have too much to do or resources to do it, you lose focus on the most important thing. “When people become task saturated, they either quit, compartmentalize, or channel. In each case, their performance deteriorates rapidly. Quitters stop working or stop being productive. Those who compartmentalize appear busy but focus on tasks that accomplish little. Most of us, however, channel our focus onto one thing and ignore the rest. None of these behaviors lead to a good outcome.”

Murphy says debriefing is the essence of teamwork. “Organizations that don’t debrief often equate failure with retribution or negative consequences.” (And often for good reason.) But it is an opportunity to improve and to see if something systemic might have caused the problem. Murphy advocates the STEALTH debrief: Set the time, Tone, Execution versus objectives, Analyze execution, Lessons learned, Transfer lessons learned and end on a High note.

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