Joseph Paris | Emphasizing People Over Technology

Operational excellence is Joseph Paris’s specialty. With his work at consultancy Xonitek he’s all about making companies more productive, efficient, and effective.

We talk about the techniques and strategies he uses to give his clients a boost, including in the sales and marketing departments.

Lean and Six Sigma can be part of that, says Joseph. But he cautions that those systems are just the first step. We talk about how to make sure they have a company-wide impact, as well as…

  • Strategies to get buy-in for your vision of the future
  • How to ensure your team measures success the same way
  • Why it’s hard to follow a CEOs vision – and what to do about it
  • Determining the true value of a salesperson
  • And more

Listen now….

Mentioned in This Episode:

Episode Transcript:

Michael Webb: Some people focus on selling skills like reaching decision makers or internet marketing. Others focus on work processes. Measuring data and systems thinking. In this podcast, we discuss how these can be brought together to motivate people and create wealth for everyone. I’m Michael Webb and today I’m excited for you to meet my guest, Joseph Paris.

Joseph is the author of State of Readiness, Operational Excellence as Precursor to Becoming a High-Performance Organization. Joseph, welcome to the show. I’m really looking forward to our discussion today ’cause there’s so much potential for sales and marketing organizations to benefit from operational excellence. But, it’s often misunderstood by them and so I just think this is going to be fascinating.

Before we get started, could you tell us where you came from and what you’ve done in your career that’s earned your reputation in this arena. I suspect that not many people in my audience know about your work.

Joseph Paris: Well I was born and raised in upstate New York, a town called Endicott whose claim to fame was being the birthplace of IBM. IBM had since, at one time the area employed like 20 or 25,000 people in IBM but IBM has since shrunk considerably from that large footprint. But my father was an IBMer through and through and that’s from where I hail.

Michael Webb: Okay. What is it that has earned your reputation in operational excellence?

Joseph Paris: Well I started my consulting company XONITEK in 1985. So, running a consulting firm now for 30 plus years, it makes me uniquely unemployable. It would be very difficult for me to work for somebody. I guess I could do it because we work for clients after all. Clients, work for them. I would definitely have to be a C-suite kind of guy. But I started in 1985 and I’ve always had an emphasis or an orientation of trying to get companies to be more productive. More efficient, more effective in endeavors when they’re going dot.

I started off in the IT industry. Engineering PC networks when PCs were just first coming out. And then into ERP systems and that took me through and the company through the early 2000s. But along about the early 2000s I became disenchanted with technology and I’m still disenchanted with technology to this day. When I say disenchanted what I mean by that is that I saw these very, very bright people, leaders of companies, business units and I call them 50-pound brains. If you think about the original Star Trek pilot with the big-brained individuals. That’s the kind of brains these people have. They’re in front of their screens 50% of the time. They’re feeding the beast. This information systems beast. What frustrated me was I didn’t know if the technology was servicing the people or the people were servicing the technology.

What I really felt was that the people were servicing the technology more. They were feeding it more than they were getting. Especially the very, the leaders of businesses. I didn’t like what I was doing anymore. I had to reinvent the company. That took about a five-year dream walk if you will from the moment I said I have to reinvent my own company to it being reinvented. I said, okay, what do I like to do? I like to make companies work better. What I’m going to do is I’m going to emphasize the people over the technology. I really started looking at how do the people interact with the work and how does the work interact with the people. Process flow and I had a reorientation towards industrial engineering and Lean and Six-Sigma. All around the 2005, 2008 timeframe.

But even then, I saw that people were fixated on the tools. Wasn’t about just process improvement, it was about people arguing whether or not Lean is better than Six-Sigma or now we got agile. And they were so fixated on the words and the toolsets, it was almost as if they were manifesting this information technology into processes and procedures and toolsets. I said, there’s got to be a better way.

Michael Webb: Is that what led to the operational excellence society which you founded.

Joseph Paris: Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly how it. Mind you, it was much, it was more of a forced dump moment than anything else. It was more lucky than smart. This was not a design play. I was at an Institute of Industrial Engineers conference, maybe 2006 or something like that and there was a discussion about operational excellence. Some of the discussion was kind of interesting ’cause it was like beyond Lean and Six-Sigma but most people wanted to just rebrand Lean and Six-Sigma’s operational excellence. I was like, no there’s got to be more.

I got back and I started, I was like user number 10 on LinkedIn. I’ve been a LinkedIn user forever. They had a thing called groups so I just decided to grab operational excellence as a group. Again, this is like no real design. Because I wanted to try to figure out what it was to other people. And people would join and I would approve, eventually, it got up to like 10,000 people and what I discovered is that the challenges companies and individuals face are the same around the world. But how they approach those problems is very different. It’s very local.

For instance, a South African being in South Africa, when something needs updating, something needs repairing, their immediate go-to solution is duct tape and WD-40 ’cause they know it’s going to take them forever to get the part and it’s going to cost money they don’t have and they need it running now.

A German, on the other hand, will come up with the perfect solution that archeologists will find generations from now and it’ll still be working. Because they have the resources. Americans are a bit impetuous. We don’t think things all the way through. But these are the way we were brought up. When we’re looking at a problem, we want to solve it based on how we’re brought up.

Michael Webb: Is your approach to operational excellence then like cultural or especially sensitive to these different backgrounds of people in different parts of the world?

Joseph Paris: Yeah, it really is because people want to hold onto their beliefs, onto their faith if you will. It’s very, very difficult to get somebody to abandon one set of beliefs for another set of beliefs. Virtually impossible. What you really have to do is you have to couch and coach from within their value system, their core beliefs. You can’t expect big muscle movements very quick. You could expect big changes but it’s going to come over time.

Getting back to the operational excellence, I also have a friend that’s a marine aviator and of course they all go by their call signs. There’s Boom and there’s Hats and there’s Dirtman and the X-man and unlike Top Gun the movie, you don’t get to pick your own call sign. You’re usually given it because of something stupid that you did. Anyway, I’m speaking with Boom and I’m talking about operational excellence and he talks about when a carrier group is made operational. It means that the Navy has designated it capable to pursue or engage in the purpose for which it was intended. You think about it. You think about now an aircraft carrier. You’ve got 5,000 people on there. You got airplanes. You got a bunch of kinetics. You got a nuclear reactor. You got, if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re going to have a bad day.

They’re all about systems and they’re all about processes but then the carrier’s not by itself. It’s got other ships tending to it, supporting it. You think about this whole organization now working together as an organization. And now I’m thinking yeah. Now I understand what operational excellence is all about. It’s that if you have an organization that excels at operating as an organization, you’re going to have a competitive advantage.

This doesn’t mean that Lean, Six-Sigma and process improvement is passé, it doesn’t have a place. It’s absolutely false thinking. Because you can’t have organizational or operational excellence without having systems excellence, without having process excellence. Think about processes, a bunch of processes forms together, organized together, constitute a system. A series of systems constitute an organization. That’s really how I came to consider operational excellence as it is today. But it took a good five years of research and discovery and listening. A lot of listening to a lot of different people.

Michael Webb: Okay, so what is it about your conception of operational excellence aside from the cultural sensitivity, and emphasizing what people already know and building on that, what are the components of your approach? What’s unique about it?

Joseph Paris: Well, I mean there are a lot of things. The first thing is that it’s prescriptive without being finite. What I mean by that is that business factors are different from business to business. From where they are in the business cycle compared to others. When you’re looking at operational excellence you can’t do it all at once. You have to figure out what’s important, what’s not important and start working on what are the important things.

For instance, I have a client here and I asked them, what’s their vision? What’s the company’s vision? And they said that they wanted to be the number one eCommerce fashion provider in all of Europe. I said, “Super. Super. You want to be number one. Number one in what? Is it number one in profitability? Number one in market share? Number one in customer satisfaction? What does number one mean?”

The reason this is important is because you have to align efforts to it. If I want to be number one in market share then my efforts and what I do to achieve that, might be different than if my true north is number one in profitability. What we have to do as an organization I believe is understand what operational excellence is, getting that organization to work better as an organization but at the same time, understand what the vision is of the company and to prioritize your efforts in the pursuit of that vision.

The real challenge there is, you’ve been around the block as have I, we’ve seen Lean, Six-Sigma or continuous improvement programs cease being continuous. It’s because they’re not working on what’s important to the company. You think about the CEO, the CEO in most companies unless it’s a family, a smaller family-owned enterprise, but most CEOs are appointed by the board. The board said, “You know what, Mr. or Mrs. CEO? I like your vision of our company’s future. And I think that not only do I like it, I think that you can deliver it.” When the CEO signs that contract and leaves the boardroom the clock is ticking. Or excuse me, that commitment to the board, that in three years’ time this company’s going to be this.

The prioritization of the efforts are going to be in pursuit of that vision. If you think about continuous improvement or OP EX to people, I’ve never seen these people leave a company worse off than when they started. There’s always improvement. The CEO doesn’t get excited because they don’t see, the CEO doesn’t see how these people can help the CEO achieve that vision.

Michael Webb: Yes, that’s a common disconnect and a frustration of Lean and Six-Sigma people around the world.

Joseph Paris: Right, yeah. I got into an enthusiastic, call it an enthusiastic debate. It’s a nice euphemism for it. An enthusiastic debate where I was speaking to some Lean and Toyota people. Some of these folks really take it as a religion. It’s not a religion. It’s a methodology. It’s a management operating system. It’s not a religion.

They’re telling me and making a statement that leadership just doesn’t understand. I turned it right around I said, “No, you don’t understand. Leadership knows what they need to accomplish. You have not taken the time to understand what’s important. You’re fixated on the inputs not on the outputs.” I said to them, “Find out what that three-year plan is in detail.” This is the challenge here is because the CEO oftentimes and when I say the CEO what I’m talking about really is generally the C-suite but I’m just consolidating it down.

But the CEO has this vision of the future and to that CEO, that vision’s so crystal clear that it should be obvious to everybody. But it’s not. That’s a wrong assumption because the CEO is thinking in terms of Wall Street. Thinking in big MBA words. They’re not thinking and communicating to the rank and file in terms that they could get their heads around.

I’m going to give you, you’re going to appreciate this because this has to do with sales. When I was younger, I wanted a muscle car, an American muscle car. 1979, 1980, I wanted an American muscle car. Just think about it. Big eight cylinder gas guzzling, growling fast car. I went to these auto dealerships, couple of used car dealerships and by ’79 of course, the oil embargo had hit and you’re not going to get the muscle cars that they made in the 60s and the early 70s.

Michael Webb: Yeah, and you’re similar age to me so you didn’t have exactly unlimited funds to go find one of these beasts.

Joseph Paris: That’s right. I go to these used car dealerships and I tell them what I want. I said, “I want a fast American muscle car.” The first two dealerships and the sales rep is talking to me about carburetion and compression torque and I’m like, I don’t understand what you’re saying. You know what I mean? I don’t understand any of this stuff. And of course I didn’t buy the cars from them. I went to this other dealership and I tell them what I want. I want a muscle car. This is pretty simple stuff. He shows me this one and I said, “Is it fast?” He looks at me, he says, “It’s a rocket.” Now, I could get my head around, it’s a rocket. I could visualize it. I understand it. You know what I mean? And so I bought it. It’s a rocket.

The other cars might have been faster, might have been better, I don’t know because I didn’t understand the language. But I understood a rocket.

Michael Webb: Were you happy with that experience in the end?

Joseph Paris: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It was a Chevelle SS ragtop. It was a really, really sweet, sweet ride.

Michael Webb: Good.

Joseph Paris: But the point is, I’m the CEO. I want to be sold. I want to accomplish my mission which is to get in this case, a muscle car. The Lean Six-Sigma guys are talking to me about torque, compression and carburetion. Don’t care about any of that stuff. I want an American muscle car. The guys that gets, that helps me, is the one that gets the deal. Gets my support in essence. I support this person because they’re delivering to me what I want in terms that I could understand.

Michael Webb: Well they’re promising you what you want.

Joseph Paris: Well, they’re promising yeah, but you have to have a level of trust. If you don’t have trust then you got more fundamental problems. Assuming that the trust is established and the trust in this case was established ’cause I took the thing for a test drive and it was behaving the way I was hoping it would behave. And the ragtop was just like just sweet. But the point I’m trying to make, getting to more contemporary and operational excellence is that if I have two guys and I’m the CEO of a company and I’m not an OP EX expert, I’m going to want to explain to the people that are going to help me achieve my objectives what those objectives are and I really, really have to be specific and crystal clear. Very, very clear in order for them to be able to configure a program that’s going to help me out.

The thing is, the funny thing is is that the CI, continuous improvement or OP EX people, are going to use the same tools and techniques they would otherwise. Except that they’re working at, they’re prioritization methods are different. It’s not like they’re abandoning their tools and techniques for what the CEO wants, they’re applying those tools and techniques, prioritizing to achieve what the CEO needs to achieve.

Michael Webb: You’re saying that they need to do a better job of showing the CEO how they can help them to achieve the objectives they’ve set for the organization.

Joseph Paris: Yeah. In this case it’s a two-way street that the CEO’s got to be really crystal clear and very, very simple. Simple terms explaining what that vision is so people can help him or her. And then of course the CI people or OP EX people have to listen. It’s up to them to understand the CEO, not the CEO to understand them. The CEO is never going to be on the shop floor with a stopwatch evaluating tack time. That’s not what the person does. You’ve got to able to trust that those people are proficient at their job to deliver the outcomes that are desired.

Michael Webb: Right. So, let me ask you a question. No doubt you’ve followed the progress of one of the companies that was vaunted as an operational excellence paradigm, General Electric. After Jack Welch left, who was quite a commanding control kind of a fellow and Jeff Immelt took over. It’s been like a meteor falling to the ground in the last 15 years or 18 years I guess. He was real clear about what his objectives were and he was pretty good at communicating them to the rest of the organization. Didn’t work out so well even though they had operational excellence DNA in their blood.

Joseph Paris: Well they didn’t really have operational excellence. He was a big, Jack Welch was a big fan of Six-Sigma. In fact, he had Dr. Harry Michael doing the training there. Smart bunch of folks. Where GE had a strategic blunder, and this of course is my opinion, is that GE was known for making apparatus. Like jet engines and turbines and power plants. Then they got too deep into finance and they left industry for finance. The unfortunate thing about finance is sometimes you don’t know you made a mistake for years. For instance, one of the things that is recently haunting them is way back when they started, GE started selling these long term care health insurance programs, plans. Insurance. What they didn’t expect is that people were going to live so darn long. The actuaries were wrong. But of course, they’re selling plans 20 years ago that are just now being paid out. That was, if you make a defective turbine, you’re going to find out pretty quick and you can measure that.

I think Jack Welch there’s two things. There’s GE still do things with they’re manufacturing product. They excel at manufacturing product. We haven’t heard about major recalls of GE anything. We’ve heard about financial woes. I don’t know necessarily that I would say that Jack Welch and that culture of continuous improvement or Six-Sigma resulted in the challenges they face today. I think it was getting too deep, too long into non-core offerings. That’s just my opinion.

Michael Webb: You’re thinking that it had nothing to do with operational excellence.

Joseph Paris: No. I don’t think their current situation had to do with operational excellence. I think that it had to do with getting into fields of business that they no business being in.

Michael Webb: I think I might differ with you there. The reason is that one of the things at least in the really lengthy Wall Street Journal article that came out month or so ago, there was a lot of telling people what they want to hear instead of telling people the truth going on. Up and down the ranks of management in GE. That is a violation of the integrity required. Of the data and evidence and the rational connections required. In my mind, that’s one of the key things that operational excellence brings to companies but only, it can only do it if senior management is willing to listen and pay attention and understand the difference between data and evidence and telling the market what they want to hear.

Joseph Paris: I don’t disagree with that. I don’t disagree with that at all. I don’t know how much of that had an impact on their current situation. Like I said, when it comes back down to building product, you don’t hear about GE making poor products.

Michael Webb: You don’t. So let me ask you this question, one of the things and you mentioned it earlier, is about operational excellence and continuous improvement, that’s challenges in sustaining the gains. Sustaining improvement over time. Why do you think companies have such difficulty with that?

Joseph Paris: Well, a lot of times it’s because they’re going into the unknown. They don’t take the time upfront to decide or determine what success looks like. If I’m creating an OP EX or a CI program, how do I know I’m successful? Not too many organizations take that time upfront to architect their program. I think it’s a fatal error in almost every case because then the organization or the program is constructed around inputs. What I call inputs. Numbers of projects, numbers of black belts created or green belts created et cetera, et cetera and they’re not focused on the outputs. What is it generating?

I was working in a Gulf state, one of the Gulf states, one of their national oil and gas companies there and their director of OP EX had made mention to me that he had created or had certified 60 black belts and they hadn’t completed a project. How can you be a black belt without completing a project? Putting that aside for a second, how can you have 60 people and none of them had a project to work on? To me, that is the same as building inventory.

Michael Webb: Right. I would agree with that.

Joseph Paris: You want to create a pull in your organization for the solution and the resources to fulfill that, realize that solution. I think that that is a challenge that most companies have. They focus on the inputs not on the outputs.

Michael Webb: Aside from the operational excellence department, all these different functions in the business, have you seen that some of them have more difficulty adopting or applying principles and creating successes, improvements? Some departments have more difficulty than others?

Joseph Paris: Yeah, a lot of that has to come down to capacity and capability. If you go to any business, if you go to anybody within any business and you ask them to give you a suggestion for one problem that they would like to have fixed, guarantee you, every one of those employees could come up with one problem. Problem recognition and I hate using the word problem ’cause it’s so pessimistic, opportunity for challenge recognition is not an issue. They’ll give you challenges all day to Sunday.

The challenge is, what to do about it. Some of them don’t have the problem-solving skills necessary to realize these opportunities and I believe that those skills should be taught at the local level. That being said, not everybody is going to be able to be the problem solver. They just don’t have the aptitude. People are different. There’s a reason that I love to play golf. I suck. There’s no amount of practice that’s ever going to make me good enough to be on the PGA tour which is why you don’t see me on the PGA tour.

Even though I have an appreciation for something, if I don’t have the aptitude or the ability to have that skillset, then I have to rely on others. When I think it’s a mistake for an organization to say, “I’m going to make everybody a yellow belt or a green belt or whatever it is in my organization.” That’s just not how it works. You have to have people that will illuminate opportunities for improvement and then other local resources that are going to realize those opportunities for improvement as a team. Those people will learn problem-solving skills to the level of their ability. I think it’s a mistake to try and say everybody’s got to be this.

Michael Webb: Okay. Let’s turn to the sales and marketing department. Do you think it has any unique challenges? Or is it just similar to other departments?

Joseph Paris: If you get above it, it’s similar. But the funny thing about sales and marketing, it’s less exact than production. There’s people involved and people have a funny way of being different. What might work with one person is not going to work with another person. I don’t know if you ever heard of the Peter Principle. I’m sure you have.

In the example that I enjoyed the most ’cause I could relate to it, that you have this rockstar salesperson and you know you’re going to promote that person to be the manager of sales and maybe that magic salesman dust will sprinkle on all the other salespeople and they’ll all become rockstar salespeople.

Rockstar salesperson is a great rockstar salesperson but he’s a terrible manager. It’s two different skill sets. What ends up happening is that rockstar sales rep leaves or is forced out. Where had they just been allowed to leverage their strengths and augment their weaknesses, everybody would have been better off.

In sales, I think that it’s a mistake to try to be as exact as you are in production. You’re never going to get to Six-Sigma. Three defects per million, whatever that is. You’re never going to get to that because it’s being inexact. The same would be of healthcare. You tell a doctor that an appendectomy is going to take exactly 16 and a half minutes to perform because that’s the tack time, and they’re going to say, “Well what about this, this, this and this?” Once you start cutting, the outcome is going to be, is going to vary. Same I think with the sales and marketing is that you have to look at the salesperson and what their strengths are. What works for that person in their pitch and approach. What doesn’t.

I’m working with a client right now that’s going through something very similar. They’re going through a, you might, you’re able to relate to this. They’re going through what we’ll call an S-curve. A business S-curve where they were a small company and they’re quickly becoming a big company. When you’re a small company, people wear a lot of hats. What’s happened and it’s a technology company so they have a sales group that has six or eight people in it. People will do the demos and fulfill the literature requirements and maintain the CRM system and et cetera but they have not gravitated to best purposes yet. They have a couple people that are really great at technical pre-sales and they have other people that are great at establishing trust and relationships but everybody’s all mixed up and it’s bit of chaos.

In order to grow, it’s foolish to try to grow your sales team in a linear fashion as your revenue grows. You’d like to be able to have more sales per sales rep over time than not. That’s an organizational challenge that they have to face and resolve.

Michael Webb: Well in addition, customers are actively avoiding B to B salespeople. They’re looking on the internet for information and they’re challenging what value does the salesperson add? A lot of companies have to kind of step back and rethink how they go to market including channels but more of what’s the stages that a customer goes through from the time they never heard of you before to the time that they’re spending time and money with you? Those stages are fairly predictable and what are we doing to help the customer better than our competitors at each of those stages? And the salespeople only play one role in that. They do the stuff that can’t be automated but there’s lots of other places that the customer wants to find information. There’s lots of things the customer’s trying to do that a marketing tactic or a website or a conference paper or a soft assessment is not necessarily a sales tactic for everybody.

I think one of the traps that B to B companies fall into is they think that the sales department, sales is about what salespeople do and they don’t have a model to think about it in a systemic value stream kind of a way. Would you agree with that?

Joseph Paris: Yeah, I would agree with that. I would agree with that. As you point out, what is the value of the salesperson? Especially in a B to B environment. A lot of times it’s going to be depending on who that salesperson is talking to. If you are talking to the CEO, or a CEO type like I am, you want to buy the rocket. You don’t want all the detail. I got a pain point, you say you can fix it. Do I believe you? If that’s true and I think it’s a reasonable price for what I’m expecting then I’m just going to hire you and I’m onto the next thing ’cause I got to make 10 other decisions just like that today and that’s one less that I have to make.

You get down to deeper in the org chart and those people want more detail ’cause they’re going to be using it. CEO makes the decision. They think it’s done. I’m going to buy an ERP system. Okay, yeah, I’ve seen five of them. I’m going to hire this one. Good, I’ve signed the contract, given them a check, I’m thinking that that’s done. That’s just the end of the beginning. Now it’s got to be implemented and whatnot.

For the CEO, that is a very, very high-level decision that’s being made and in their mind it’s done. Those people down below are knowing that that’s going to be a lot more work.

Michael Webb: All right, so I’ll ask you just one more question then we’re kind of running out of time but we’ll have to do this again and it’s kind of fun and I find it fascinating to see your perspectives on this and this is just such a rich topic. Here’s the question.

Joseph Paris: It’s really been fun.

Michael Webb: What do most CEOs, what would benefit them if they understood about operational excellence? I have a feeling that there’s a lot of CEOs who have some misperceptions about what it is. What do they really need to know about it?

Joseph Paris: What they need to know about it is that if it’s properly leveraged, properly configured and designed and I use the term architected. If it’s properly architected, an OP EX or CI program will help that CEO realize their vision sooner. My personal belief is that time is the enemy of the 21st-century company. The company that can see further beyond the horizon, recognize opportunities and threats sooner, devise and deploy decisive responses faster, is going to have a competitive advantage.

If I were to say anything to coach an OP EX or CI program to be more successful, it would be, make sure that whatever it is that you’re doing is going to shorten the delivery time to the commitments the CEO made to the board and to its shareholders.

Michael Webb: Okay, so then I’ve got to ask one more. What does operational excellence offer to sales and marketing?

Joseph Paris: If we think about time being the enemy, I think that you might even agree with this that based on your experience is that oftentimes we don’t win projects because we’re the best. Because we’re selling some, oftentimes, intangible stuff. I’m a consultant. You can’t, I was able to take that Chevelle SS around the block for a test drive. You can’t really take me around the block for a test drive too easily or other similar offerings.

How does a sales and marketing team benefit from OP EX is ’cause when I win projects, it’s almost, one of the deciding factors maybe not always but one of the deciding factors is that I’m faster, more responsive than my competition. You think about it. I’m in the competitive situation, the prospect is never waiting on me. They’re always waiting on somebody else.

If you think about if I’m in a competitive situation with three or four other people and I’m there and I’m there and I’m there and the other people are not, eventually the client’s going to say, “Well I’m waiting on this guy. I’m waiting on that guy. I’m never waiting on you.” Well, that’s on the sales side when you’re supposed to be at your best. How’s it going to be at implementation? If that person’s always late and inconsistent and incomplete, at the end of the day it’s about trust. Trust that the business I’m placing this person is the best decision. There’s no guarantee. There’s only a level of trust.

I think if sales and marketing if you think about operational excellence in sales and marketing I think it’s going to be about accelerating the responsiveness to customer needs and the changes in customer needs. That’s big if you ever get a point where you can actually create some demand. Create, I don’t know, I’m sure you’ve read Blue Ocean Strategy. If you could create a blue ocean, where you have that innovation premium that you could charge for a period of time until other people copy it.

Michael Webb: I like to tell sales VPs it takes a minute for them to realize it but if you hand find objective data and evidence, that tells the company how it can achieve the sales objectives more readily then it makes no sense for the company not to put the maximum amount of money behind those changes. Because you’ve got data and evidence. Just like bringing the whole resources of the entire company to the service of the sales force. That’s what it’s like. To the sales VPs and they rarely think of it that way.

Joseph Paris: Right, right, right. It really just comes down to that clarity of purpose. You know what I mean? You’re asking dad for some funding. Dad’s got to know that this is going to be money well spent.

Michael Webb: And that’s what operational excellence should ensure.

Joseph Paris: It should. Getting back to if you’ve defined the program with a clear outcome in mind and everybody understands and agrees that that’s a desired outcome, you’re halfway to winning. Now all you have to do is just do it. Most people are behaving as logistics and searching for a strategy. You have to have the strategy.

Michael Webb: Yeah, super. Well, Joseph, this has been awesome. Thank you for your interest in doing this and support of my podcast. If someone wants to know more about you and your book and your organization, how can they find you?

Joseph Paris: The best way of course is on LinkedIn, Joseph Paris. I’m the guy with the cowboy hat on my profile. I can’t get rid of it now because everybody remarks about it. It’s almost like a brand. LinkedIn is you can find me easily on LinkedIn. Probably the best website would be josephparis and by the way, my last name’s Paris like the city in France. It’s

Michael Webb: C-A-R-D.

Joseph Paris: Right.

Michael Webb: Cool. Great. Well, again, thanks for your time and your expertise here. It was fun. I think we should do it again.

Joseph Paris: Yeah, I agree Mike. I had a very fun time. It was a very lively conversation. I enjoyed it a great deal and thank you for thinking about me and having me on your show.

Michael Webb

Michael Webb founded Sales Performance Consultants to create a data-driven alternative to the slogans and shallow impact offered by typical sales training, sales consulting, and CRM companies. Michael helped organize and delivered the keynote speeches for the first conferences ever held on applying Six Sigma to marketing and sales. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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