Creative Ventures Newsletter
Volume #101 - July 2014
HAPPENINGS

Our business model is simple.  We generate our value in three distinct ways:

Presentations:  We share our ideas in unique and dynamic formats utilizing multimedia and interactive elements.

Education:  We incorporate our ideas into learning templates with individual and group exercises to create impactful educational experiences.

Application (consulting):  Here we create internal models that weave our ideas within a company’s existing operations to open new market opportunities.

During our 30 years it has been almost impossible to determine which of these buckets will get the most activity.  Lately our consulting pursuits have filled our time, with four major projects in one form of activity or another.

When we engage a client in our application process, we launch what we call our project thread, a simple process that provides an overview of the issues, an objective which is a rough idea of our solution vision, and a deliverable (how we plan on doing it).  Our determination to keep the entire process simple creates an easy method of garnering engagement in our ideas.

NEWSLETTER:  Last month was our 100th issue of our monthly newsletter and to celebrate we are redesigning our format.  We hope to debut the new version with the August issue.


June’s newsletter based on the idea of intent  was one of our most popular this year.  In that article I shared our approach to engaging in “intentful” activity and offered free copies of our “Before I . . .”  form.  It didn’t occur to me that so many people would take advantage of the offer, and it took Colin and me three full days responding to everyone who requested the form!  Thank you all!

IDEA

The way is long if one follows precepts, but short...if one follows patterns.

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

We live in a universe of patterns.  From the science of mathematics to the scales on a fish, patterns provide us a foundation for understanding how things work.  They let us discover regularities that enable us to predict outcomes.  Patterns allow us to share knowledge and to leverage activities that improve our ability to get results.  At Creative Ventures we spend a lot of our time searching for patterns, patterns that when discovered will provide strategic advantages for our clients.

In 2010 we embarked one of our most ambitious projects, an intense study into the patterns of the top sales professionals in five different industries.  We were looking for the “shared” patterns, those behavioral activities that all these top producers were doing, regardless of what they were selling.  After a year of interviews and research, we distilled the patterns we were looking for, and it became the most successful strategic platform in the 30 years of Creative Ventures, REPEATABLE SUCCESSFUL ACTS (RSA).  In 2013 we updated the platform and added two new industries, bringing our study total to seven different industries and over 150 sales professionals interviewed, and generating 1,500 narrative answers in which to find the patterns.

We have over 100 organizations involved in the RSA platform and have presented the patterns to thousands of sales professionals.  There are 28 RSA-patterned behaviors in the platform that create a mega menu that sales forces have been applying successfully to their sales processes, skills, and strategies.


We thought we would share a few of the RSAs that, despite being sales driven, often have a much wider application.

TIME BLOCKING:  Great sales pros understand the use of time.  They create “time blocks” that allow them to maximize the impact of their energies.  As an example, they work on what’s important and limit distractions.  They have the discipline not to give a Pavlovian response to the ping of incoming email.  They often turn off their email while they work on answering an RFP or doing other projects.  Don’t be a victim of your day, be a master of it.  Look for opportunities to create intense focus by blocking your time…and blocking out interruptions.

ACTIVE LISTENING:  Perhaps the most valuable skill set a top sales producer brings to the craft is a focused ability to engage with the client, and one of the most impactful engagement skills is active listening.  This happens when they make a conscious effort to listen.  They are “actively” pursuing what the client is saying.  They take notes to further help absorb information and emotions.  I often write the word “LISTEN” at the top of my note form to remind me of the critical nature of this skill.

ENTREPRENEUR & OWNER:  There is a delicate balance that both sales professionals and their companies are looking for.  It involves wanting the producer to attack the sales with the zeal and enthusiasm found in entrepreneurs, while also understanding the needs of the company.  Top producers understand this relationship balance and use it as a tool in their sales philosophy.  This is a great behavior that has a direct relationship to internal advancement.  Are you interested in that?

Patterns are rooted in practice, and adding known successful patterns to sales behaviors is a sure way to improve your sales activity!

Interesting phenomena occur when two or more rhythmic patterns are combined, and these phenomena illustrate very aptly the enrichment of information that occurs when one description is combined with another.

-Gregory Bateson

NEWS

AS CRAZY AS IT SOUNDS:  The Syfy network has made what most of us would think are pretty weird programming decisions with a strange focus on sharks.  Their made-for-TV movie, Sharknado  (yep, a tornado full of sharks) sounded, well, insane.  BUT…it drew over 2.5 million viewers, caused a Twitter frenzy with over 5,000 tweets per minute (that was 17% of all Twitter activity during the airing), and has spawned spin-offs such as (I kid you not) Sharknado 2 & 3, Sharktopus and Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda!  Crazy ideas are not so crazy when they’re successful.  Don’t throw out your idea with the shark water!

 

THE GORDIAN KNOT:   Ear buds are the world’s greatest knot makers.  Put them in your pocket, and voila!  You have a five minute puzzle.  But the San Diego company Zipbuds has found a great solution, a zipper.  Yep, their design is based on a zipper and it eliminates tangles of any kind.  In 2013 they sold 2.3 billion of them and won Fortune Magazine’s Best in Class design award for Audio Visual!

 

KIDS:  Being a new grandfather (hey, I married young!) I now am interested in kids again.  The NPO Group recently took a look at innovation found in kids’ playing and found out some interesting things.  New toys are being created to help kids think big, and that’s a good thing.  Consider that 42% of students in grades 5 through 12 say they plan to start a business and 38% want to invent something that will change the world.  Americans spent $2 billion on children’s building sets in 2013 looking to activate their imagination.  So, my granddaughter, after she gets old enough to hit the Lego scene,  better start working on  her venture capital pitch.

CONTACT
Interested in these ideas?

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See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com
Office: 512-712-5279

Steve Harvill • steve@creativeventures.com • Cell: 972-345-9480
Colin Harvill • colin@creativeventures.com • Cell: 214-794-1777