All organizations, be it a company, team, family, musical group, etc. have individual contributors who play a part for the greater good. Some of these roles are well defined, and others just emerge as the unit develops over time, seeking ways to offer solutions, support, enjoyment or sustenance in a variety of ways.

Last month, Charlie Watts died at age 80 after a long, wonderful career and life. His contributions to the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in The World are enumerable. And why he did accomplish so much within his particular artistic capacity, most of the fans and writers are discussing how he did it. With great precision in his drumming craft, consistent through and through and all within the confines of humility. The latter doesn’t sound very rock and roll, but neither was Charlie Watts.

As a follower of The Stones for 40 years, and having attended 29 of their concerts, I shared so many great memories over the years with and through their music. As a member of several organizations, it is always interesting to watch those steady, consistent high performers who show up day after day and deliver results. That was Charlie Watts- no flash, no sizzle, not running from one side of the stage to another, just getting it done. We need more individuals like that, in Sales teams, sporting clubs and families. The ones who keep the beat through and through.

Thank you for the memories, Charlie. A long life well lived. Peace.

You have undoubtedly read dozens of articles by now on the economic and health challenges created over the past 12 months. Well, I want to share some insights on the good things that have happened during this unusual time. And as my good friend Jim said to me, “don’t put the C-word (or 19) in the title.” We are all sick of seeing and hearing it as clickbait to get us to read. 

So, I didn’t. 

There have been many positive lessons to glean from this funky, strange, haven’t-been-here-before experience which is still in play today. The way I see it, four things have floated to the surface as ways I have tried to learn and grow.  

  1. Patience: What other option do we have? If you have patience, it has certainly come in handy during this past year. And if you don’t (that’s me), you have probably been forced to learn how to acquire it. On the macro level, this once-a-century event highlights what little control we have over anything, and that knowledge can be applied to the day-to-day things that used to rattle the cage. How much of it really matters? I’ll let you decide. As my dear friend Mischa says, “chill the f out.” Pop star Dua Lipa had the word tattooed on her hand as a reminder. 
  1. Perspective: Little things matter, and they happen a lot more frequently than the large ones.  Not getting to take big vacations with my family to far off places, I’ve gotten to appreciate where I am. I live in a beautiful place. My family is healthy and business has been good (really good for my wife). Our teenage kids are doing the right things on a regular basis. Taking the time to feel grateful for all the things that really matter has helped me stay calm and centered, even when I have encountered the pandemic-related snags and frustrations we are all familiar with. In his book “Illusions”, Richard Bach writes “perspective: use it or lose it.” I couldn’t agree more. 
  1. People: While I haven’t been around as many humans as normal (whatever normal means), the time I have spent with my close-knit family and a handful of friends has been a blessing. Have we grown tired of too much togetherness at times? Sure. But overall, there have been so many examples of quality moments that we wouldn’t have had with the frantic pace of non-pandemic life. And in the end, for me as I’m sure for many of you, the important people in my life are what matters most. 
  1. Peace: Silence can be deafening, or it can be used to go within to find peace. For some, the constant distraction by distractions has become a way of life in the “I’m so busy world”. But, even without the quiet provided on the road, there has been plenty of time for repose, solitude and expansion. My friend recently loaned me his cold-water immersion tub, and I got in that 40-degree water every other day for 10 days. It is the purest form of meditation indeed. 

Life teaches us that the challenges we encounter provide as much upside as the successes. I hope that, like me, you have made it through this challenging year with at least a few silver linings of your own. 

Very few people stay in the same job or career for their entire life. My Uncle Jerry Rowan worked as a salesperson for DuPont for 37 years, and my father-in-law Dr. Stephen Nohlgren taught Biology at the same college for 43 years,  but that longevity is rare to find today.

I found it in Philadelphia on June 18th, watching Mick Jagger and the rest of The Stones rock out an evening with a great show. And while it may not be the heyday of their career from an artistic productivity capacity, it is still quite amazing to watch them perform.

Who do you know who has been committed to their career in a similar capacity for an extended period? Drop me a line and let me know. Until then, click on the link above to hear more.


On a recent field trip to the San Diego Zoo with my daughter Hannah (on my knee in the photo), the students, parent-chaperones and teachers went through an introductory one hour interactive session called the “Life Cycles Program”. We were all entertained by a great speaker who took us through the Four Steps in the Life Cycle ( birth, growth, maturity and decline), and the children were then allowed to pet a blue skink lizard that was shedding his skin as part of the phase 2 growth step that he was going through.

Shortly after this, we went on with our excursion through the magnificent park, and happened upon one of the displays where the giraffes live. Several of the zoo employees were corralling us to the side to let us know that an amazing event was unfolding: a mother giraffe was in the midst of giving birth to her calf! Alas, the first step of the Life Cycle was upon us. We were all excited, and asked to keep as quiet as possible as to not disturb this process (good luck on that with a group of 36 eight year olds!).

Cycles are also prevalent in business. There’s the product cycle, the sales cycle, buying cycle, etc. One of the most rewarding components in my career is watching a sales person, Manager, VP of Sales or Executive “get it” when I am bringing a new perspective to them and their team. With the “birth” of a new idea, many see an enhanced way of representing their organization to prospects and existing customers, and the results do follow.  And the primary vantage point that we strive to help our customers to adopt is one from the perspective of their customers. It is not, and never has been about the seller and/or his product, service or organization. It is about the customer, and if you do not understand what motivates them to want to use what you are selling, very little will ultimately happen.

We discuss the importance of matching your sales process with your customer’s buying cycle, as many leaders of Sales organizations confuse the term sales cycle with the important steps they go through during opportunity development. Be careful; it’s not about you as mentioned above! It is important to take the step back and identify if your customer or prospect is in the Solution Development, Evaluation or Commitment phase of their buying cycle. Only then can you determine how to match up your sales process to facilitate the buying process.

The skink sheds his skin as a natural part of its growth phase. How have you and your sales team adapted to the ever changing landscape between buyers and sellers? Mother Nature will move us along in the Life Cycle, whether we like it or not. Be sure to make sure that your buyer’s cycle is one that you are a part of, not one that you are on the outside looking in. Oh, and yes, the mother giraffe gave birth to a healthy calf, and both are doing well. Some of the questions by the 2nd graders on the bus ride back to school still have me perplexed, but that’s alright.

Flannery Sales Systems – We help you drive revenue through sales process.