The Greenlight Highlight: How a Corporate Productivity Professional Builds Authentic Relationships for Business Success

Charlene DeCesare
Salem, New Hampshire
Greenlight Member Since: August 2010
Nominated by Greenlight member (George Newman)

Elevator Pitch: I am responsible for building membership for the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). Our focus is on the unique people practices of high performance organizations. I have a passion for helping people and companies achieve their highest potential and feel intensely grateful to be doing what I love.

What experience in your past was the moment you recognized how important relationships are to your success?

When I was at Gartner, I had a strong sense that there was untapped potential with myself and my colleagues all calling into the same clients, selling slightly different events and services. So, I created a strategic partner model that focused on assigned accounts, building relationships, and horizontal selling through referral. People bought more from me because I took the time to truly understand their business and map solutions at a much higher level. Ultimately they took my recommendations and spent more money because they liked and trusted me personally. I grew a small set of accounts by 46% in the first year and eventually helped manage a global team. Within just a few years, we grew $2M to $38M across a very small set of accounts and I know that exponential growth continued after I left. The (not so) secret sauce is in building relationships and becoming a trusted advisor. Continue reading

Jeffrey Pfeffer: To Be a More Effective Relationship Broker, You Need New Friends

Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University Professor and author of Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, is also the author of a popular business school case study based on myGreenlight founder Keith Ferrazzi. During his Social Capitalist interview, Professor Pfeffer explained the importance of becoming central in your network and taking on what he calls a brokerage role.

Brokers, even the literal term, bring people together. I mean, if you think about it, what is a venture capitalist? A venture capitalist links people with technology with people with money. And the people with money probably know other people with money. They don’t know people with technology and vice versa. So the broker fills this kind of structural hole and brings the two groups together.

That’s one of the things that effective networkers do. They find people who could benefit from being in contact with each other and put them in contact. And thereby, their sales profit from bringing those groups together. By the way, in order to do that, you have to do something that I think Keith really exemplifies and great networkers do, which is that you have to meet a diverse and broad set of people from a variety of industries and from a variety of walks of life. Continue reading

Christine Comaford’s Tip for Making Sure Your Message Gets Through

During her dynamic interview as part of our Social Capitalist series, Christine Comaford shared the concept of metaprograms. Created by Rodger Bailey, these are lenses through which people see the world.  Knowing which lens is in use is key to making sure your message is heard and received.

Christine says:

“The first metaprogram is towards or away. Each of these meta-programs is polarized. So if somebody is like, “Yes, I want to launch new initiatives, I want goals, I want forward motion,” that’s a towards person. An away person is all about risk mitigation: “Let’s be cautious, let’s not go crazy and jump in.”

The CEOs, the marketing people, the sales people, are often towards people. The CIOs, maybe, the accounting people, maybe HR, are away. So if you’re trying to get a CFO on board of a certain initiative, you say, “Hey, you know what? Let’s be real cautious, let’s make sure we’ve got all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed.” They’re going to feel a sense of rapport with you. Now you’re not this crazed sales or marketing or other type of towards person who wants to mow them down.

The next one is options or procedures. Options people are like, “Wow, here’s all these possibilities. We could do this and that and that,” and everybody’s all excited. Procedures people, listening to that, are getting freaked out. Procedures people are thinking, “OK, I just need to know step one, step two, step three, because I don’t want to mess it up. Don’t give me all those choices.” Continue reading

Relationship Roundup – Fresh New Features at myGreenlight

As members of myGreenlight progress through their courses, we (the staff) continue to step up our game to evolve the program. This week, we revealed a few new features we can’t wait for members to apply to their training experience.

For our road runners – Member’s who’ve completed all three courses (30 lessons) and are ready for new challenges will get revved up about myGreenlight’s first elective course The Sales Action Sequence. The Sales Action Sequence was designed by Keith Ferrazzi to sharpen the relationship-building skills most fundamental to sales success. These 10 missions help members stockpile their social capital and grow their pipeline in service of meeting their revenue goals. Check out the new elective course here.

Linking in our members – myGreenlight profiles can now use the new LinkedIn profile integration feature to auto import data and create their community identity with the click of a button. Link in your myGreenlight profile today.

Mobile messaging – The course reminder text message feature gives members more control over when and where they receive communications from myGreenlight. Leveraging the proven power of text “nudges” for behavior modification; this feature allows users to opt-in to receive supportive reminders to complete their missions. Set up your mobile message here.

Help Desk refresh – Members can now get answers more quickly with our expanded knowledge base using our new Help Desk feature at http://help.mygreenlight.com/.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

We’re All in Sales – So Consider These Success Traits

A recent article at Inc.com, discussed the top five traits of highly successful salesmen.

This is article is useful whether you’re in sales or not. No matter what our title and function, we are all selling ourselves, our brand, and our ideas.  As Keith always says, “We’re all in sales.”

Keeping that in mind, here’s the list of traits from Inc.:

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Empathy
  4. Problem-Solving
  5. Optimism

Particularly interesting to me was the idea of self-awareness.

The author says, “You need to be able to identify your own emotions, understand how they work, and then use them to help you build stronger customer relationships. This is a four-step process:

  • Identify the emotions that you’re feeling,
  • Based on experience, predict how those emotions will affect your sales effort.
  • Compensate for negative emotions that might hinder the sale.
  • Expand your positive emotions that might help you make the sale.”

Although the directions here are specific to sales, I believe that they can be useful in many different cases. Working on these attributes can lead to a whole host of new possibilities – give it a try!

What’s your level of self-awareness, and how are you working to cultivate it?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

The Wisdom of Worst-Practices

“I’ve often felt there might be more to be gained by studying business failures than business successes. In my business, we try to study where people go astray and why things don’t work.” -Warren Buffet, 1991

With the end of January approaching, I suspect I will be the very last person to wish you a Happy New Year in 2012. While I hope this will be a great year for all of you, let’s not close the door on 2011 without some collective reflection – which brings me to an interesting observation.

In work, like life, the essence of adaptive change is learning, and the most useful and transformative learning stems from the recognition and analysis of our failures.
While success has lessons to teach, we have the ability to learn far more from those unpleasant moments when we’ve inadvertently lost the plot.

As salespeople, we often interact with individuals and corporations who wish to benchmark themselves and their organizations against world-class firms and apply those new found best practices to their own set of circumstances.  I have been asked to discuss emerging trends and best practices more times than I can possibly remember. However, in 20 years, I’ve never had one single interaction when someone asked me to share my thoughts on worst-practices. Continue reading

If You’re Not Networking, You’re Not Doing Your Job

If you’re not networking, you’re neglecting a key part of your job, according to Forbes. We at myGreenlight obviously agree!

“To many, networking has been viewed as a mandatory activity for sales people but perhaps as an extracurricular option for others, or an activity only to be pursued when a person is in between jobs. Somewhere the paradigm has shifted and many people now recognize it has become a mandatory part of everyday life for anyone in the workplace,” writes Sherri Edwards.

However, unlike what many people think, just getting exposed, or networking for the sake of networking isn’t the answer. Personally, I don’t have relationships with many of the people I’m friends with on Facebook or connected with on LinkedIn.

So what’s the next step? “Relationships develop over time, not with a click and a connection. Developing relationships requires an awareness of a purpose and having an objective, followed by thoughtful communications that will support that objective.”

Just like everything else in life, you have to make an effort in order to have rewarding results.

What about you, do you prioritize relationship building like one of your official job duties?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Books, Fascination, and Even a Love Boat Reference

I read constantly. It is one of the great passions in my life.  I’m a Bibliophile. I collect books and to the chagrin of all who travel with me, am known to spend hours in book stores.   The Strand on Broadway and 12th;  The Tattered Cover in Denver;  Powells in Portland; City Lights in San Francisco;  Foyles in London – I’ve spent days of my life in each. I even own my personal Holy Grail of books – a signed and inscribed first edition of Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. If not a collectible, I like to abuse my books. I highlight them, write in the margins, fold pages, take notes in a separate notebook and never travel with less than three different books. On the flip side, the statistical probability stemming from the sheer volume of the books I consume ensures that I also encounter the profoundly craptacular. Therefore, when I recommend a book to my inner circle, they usually take note.

One of the most enjoyable business books I’ve read this past year is Fascinate by Sally Hogshead.  This very cool book looks at the seven universal triggers of fascination and shows how people and companies not only understand themselves better, but also how they are viewed by others and subsequently how to put these triggers to use. When I took the simple Fascination test (also found at www.sallyhogshead.com) my primary trigger turns out to be Rebellion, (which my sixth grade teacher Sister Ruth from Rev. George A. Brown Grammar School in Sparta, New Jersey would clearly attest to.)   My secondary trigger was Power.  (Oh Yea.)

The Rebellion score indicating that I’m:

  • Innovative
  • Independent
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Edgy
  • Unpredictable (Yes indeed. That sounds like me.)

While the Power score indicates:

  • Confidence
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Influential (Once again, spooky-accurate.)

Some well-known Rebellion trigger Leaders include:  Andy Warhol, Stephen Colbert, Eminem, Anais Nin, David Bowie, Charles Darwin.   (This brought great hilarity to our household as I have more in common with Isaac the Bartender from The Love Boat, than I do with Eminem.) Continue reading

Are You a Self-Directed Learner?

If so, we want to talk to you!

We’re looking for professionals in sales, marketing, executive management and entry level positions that have crafted their own career or promotional path by identifying supplemental online education and individuals within their network to teach and mentor them towards specific career goals and/or promotion aspirations.

If you have bootstrapped your education to attain or improve a professional role by….

  • Creating your own online e-learning curriculum through blogs, association content, webinars, e-training and other online outlets in your industry.
  • Recruiting one or more individuals in your industry to mentor you through the steps to attain a position or career transition.
  • Creating a social media group through Facebook or LinkedIn to aggregate professional knowledge.
  • Giving back to your industry with valuable knowledge in the form of a seminar, webinar or white paper.

We’d like to share your story. Contact us by 11/16/11 to be considered.  Comment below if you are interested!