PowerPoint + Morph…Who Knew!!

PowerPoint + Morph…Who Knew!!

Listen, I LOVE making my PowerPoint slides “sing”!  It’s important to have the correct information, appropriate layout, and engaging content on your slides, but I always try to go the extra step to make it visually appealing as well.  

I was floating around YouTube and found this video, and this channel.  I was blown away by this “morph” feature…and how simple it is to integrate.  

Look out J&J, morphing will be coming to a Kipp Gray PP Presentation soon!!

LinkedIn and the Job Hunt!

LinkedIn and the Job Hunt!

I’ve posted about this before, but as I was listening to this podcase of the Ken Coleman Show, he drove home some points I just had to add to my blog!

He was speaking with a caller named Spencer about his job search, which was limited to using LinkedIn and sending e-mails.  Ken really drove home some great points about why it’s still important, even in this digital/social media age, to develop and leverage your network, and actually meet and interact with people in person.

The specific call starts at the 30:40 mark of the podcast and takes the rest of the podcast (about 10 minutes).  This is an important lesson for those new to the job market, or those “new again” to the job market!  Please share if you feel this will help someone!

Here is also a link to an article at The Social Media Butterfly with some great tips about utilizing LinkedIn as A PIECE of the PUZZLE in Job Hunting…it’s not everything!

Activity Isn’t Necessarily Productivity

Activity Isn’t Necessarily Productivity

Activity is not the same as Productivity!  When a leader or salesperson gets more focused on “getting things done” than being productive, there is a real risk of losing focus on what’s important to their success in their current role…the organization needs PRODUCTIVE employees, not necessarily BUSY ones!

- Kipp

I’ve been working from home, with no ability to go into the field with my sales reps to interact directly with customers and organizations for almost a full year!  Obviously, that’s due to COVID-19 (for those who will be reading this 2028)!!  During that time, I’ve taken deep dives into GTD (Getting Things Done) and Atomic Habits to help me be more efficient.  I’ve spent hours testing and re-testing whether I like my iPad and Apple Pencil as my note taking solution versus Paper and Pen.  I’ve taken LinkedIn courses on managing sales people, telling better stories as a sales person, how to sell with data, how to coach in challenging environments.  I’ve evolved from not wanting to “face time” with my sales team (phone is fine) to living on Zoom several hours a day!  Another way to say it, I’ve found ways to stay ACTIVE from home…the question I have to challenge myself with is has that time been PRODUCTIVE

I found out this week that we are moving to a position where I can be in the field on a limited basis!  It’s challenging me to determine whether or not what I’m currently focused on completing weekly is actually PRODUCTIVE, or am I just doing it to stay ACTIVE

Here are 3 questions I will run my current activities through to challenge their usefulness to my productivity: 

  • Is It Focused on the “Main Thing”?
    • One of my directors favorite sayings is “Let’s not let the Trivial Many get in the way of the Critical Few”
    • For me and my team, the “main thing” is generating sales that we are judged on at the end of each month…the Rank Report!  
    • There are many great things we could be focused on, but do these activities directly tie into our ability to put numbers on the board?
  • Am I the RIGHT person to be doing this activity?
    • This one get’s personal for me, because I have a way I like things done, and I fall into the trap many times that it’s just easier for me to do it myself than it is to delegate it to someone on my team or peer group
    • Delegation is key…identify strengths of you peers and direct reports, then determine who is best suited to help with specific activities if indeed they are focused on the “main thing”
  • Is there a BETTER way to do it?
    • It could be focused on the “main thing”, and there may be someone that it can be delegated to, but is there a better way to do it given our return to a more normal workplace.
    • One example of this is Team Calls…we typically have them once a week or bi-weekly.  I’ve recently discovered the “Voice Recorder” on my laptop, so instead of having a weekly or bi-weekly call, I combine several topics into an e-mail with a “voice recording” attached of my walking through the items in the e-mail that actually do help us focus on important topics from week to week.  These recordings are less than 5 minutes, and the team can listen and respond at a time that works for them.  This has been received very positively by the team, and now we have monthly team calls instead of 2-4 times per month!

I hope you find these tips helpful…if you don’t, no worries, they were offered free to you! I know for myself, there is a true balance between being “BUSY” and being “PRODUCTIVE”!  I’m determined to be PRODUCTIVE in 2021!!


Remember your three to do’s today (and everyday):  

  1. Learn something you didn’t already know
  2. Make someone smile you come into contact with
  3. Be Productive!!

What People Want in a Leader

What People Want in a Leader

Most people are like wheel barrows, if you don't push them, they won't go anywhere

Many of the visitors to my blog probably aren’t familiar with Jerry Acuff.  He has done a lot of work through the years with our sales force at Johnson & Johnson.  He just has great insights on the sales process in Pharma as well as great leadership pearls.  I love his series of concise videos on YouTube.  I have outlined the 5 concepts that people want in a leader and added some of my thoughts from experience on each of the concepts below.

Here are his 5 concepts of what people want in a leader:

  • Competent Job Instruction
    • It takes one to know one…in pharma, we call it “carrying the bag”.  If you have had that experience of carrying that bag in and out of offices, you have a credible start to coaching your team.  It’s not instant failure if you don’t, but you’d better have some experience to pull from if you are to have an appearance of competence with your team
    • This is the most basic task of a leader…we are here to help our teams get better at their craft…if we can’t or more importantly aren’t doing this, we are failing miserably as a leader!
  • Independence
    • Coach them, Trust them, Correct them, Watch them succeed
    • One of the first traps I fell into as a manager was trying to turn my team into a group of “mini me’s”…I’ve learned over the years, and through sessions like “Lead With Your Strengths” that you’ll have more success tapping into their natural abilities and maximizing them to drive success rather than trying to “develop” skills that don’t come naturally to them.
  • Information
    • Treat your team as professionals.  For some reason, in Corporate America, the thought is that information must be distilled or even with held from the front line worker because they might “mis-handle” it.  I live by the thought that, at least for me, I strive to hire good people, pay them well, and expect them to be professional, so I try to treat them as such.
    • Share insights with your team…they appreciate it and whether you realize it or not, as a leader, you have way more insight than your team about what is happening “inside the walls” of the company…they are desperate to know what direction things are heading!
  • Praise for a Job Well Done
    • “Praise” can come in many different forms, and there are thousands of books on acknowledging performance of your team.  This is NOT a strength of mine, but after partnering with a leader who is definitely strong in this arena, I have taken my ability to praise my team to a new level…and I’m astounded at the results!
  • Work for a Leader, not a BOSS…Boss backwards is Double SOB!!
    • This isn’t just semantics…if you add up the first 4 characteristics, you will be viewed as a leader, not a boss.  A boss says “get the job done”…a leader says “let’s get the job done, and here is WHY it is important to you, me, and our company”
    • To me, it’s all about gaining “committment” from my team instead of just simply gaining “compliance” from my direct reports

I hope you enjoy the video…and if you are a leader, or an aspiring leader, take these suggestions to heart.  I promise it will impact your team, their performance, and your relationship with them in ways you couldn’t even imagine!


Remember your three to do’s today (and everyday):  

  1. Learn something you didn’t already know
  2. Make someone smile you come into contact with
  3. Check a box…get something done today

Sales Coaching is HARD Work

Sales Coaching is HARD Work

From the podcastResearch says that sales coaching is the #1 sales management activity that drives improvement in sales performance. Except…there’s not a uniform definition for what sales coaching is. That’s a big problem. Is it mentoring? Skills development? Deal coaching? Plus, if sales coaching has the potential to drive performance improvement, why don’t companies invest more in training sales managers how to do it?

As a sales manager in the pharmaceutical industry since 2006, this podcast caught my attention very quickly as the participants hit five key points right up front:

  1. Sales Coaching is a HARD Skill
  2. Most organizations don’t train Sales Managers to be GOOD Sales Coaches
  3. As a results, most sales managers are POOR coaches
  4. Effective Sales Coaching can boost Rep performance by 19%
  5. Good Sales Coaching is required for Good Sales Training to be effective

In my experience through the years, which was reinforced in this podcast, a sales rep will create habits based on a combination of 4 “teachers”:

  1. Peers
  2. Customers
  3. Managers/Coaches
  4. Training Classes  

Of those, the Training Classes have the shortest life span unless reinforced by a good Sales Coach. 

The Top Sales Reps in a company or industry can AND DO take time to coach and develop themselves.  This is a very small percentage of the total number of reps, because like most sales coaches, the majority of reps live day to day with very little focus or effort on improving their craft!  I’m amazed every time I ask my team and others a simple question: “What do you do, outside of what our company provides you, to sharpen your skill set as a salesperson?”  I typically get blank stares or a quickly made up or incoherent answer.  

Sadly, the same answer would come from most Sales Managers as well.  What are WE doing to improve our craft?  Do we coach to deals and sales, or do we coach to improvement of selling skills?  

The Covid Pandemic of 2020 has really exposed this challenge in my industry.  For decades, we stroll into an office, following protocol, get face time with a physician, engage in a conversation, and move on about our day.  We’ve been on “home assignment” since March 13 of this year, and we have had to learn an entire new sales approach – this software called “ZOOM.”  Instead of walking in, we are scheduling appointments, trying to learn how to best use it, teaching our customers how to use it, and finally figuring out how to engage in a meaningful conversation with our customers across a computer screen.  THIS TAKES EFFORT from the SALES REP AND from the SALES MANAGER!


Zoom Tuesday was an idea I had that defines what it means to be a “Sales Coach” in my book.  Knowing that we needed to internalize and understand how to utilize this tool, I had each member of my team schedule a zoom meeting with me, as if I were a customer, then conduct a full “role play” meeting with our shared resources and all.  While this took most of that Tuesday to pull off, we developed as a group a “process” that we still follow to this day.  

As the podcast references, we should be selling with a “process” that people can follow and that we can hold them accountable to follow.

The other focus of the podcast discussion is where we as Sales Coaches spend our time.  We should be spending at least 60% of our time with our reps coaching skill development.  Unfortunately, most Sales Coaches in large organizations like mine spend more time on Admin, Report generation, and responding to e-mail than they do coaching to the skill development of their teams.  The truth, as highlighted in this podcast, is that most organizations don’t spend enough time focusing on the development of coaching skills.  For better or worse, time is spent on tracking, administration, discussions, and meetings.  With that being said, I always have and will continue to look for ways to learn from others and improve my Coach/Leader skill set.  That typically means books, podcasts, and during Covid home time – LinkedIn Learning. 

To wrap this up, as a Sales Coach (and Leader), I get the most energy during the day when I spend time with my reps hearing them sell and coaching them to get better.  If my team of reps are following the “process” and have confidence in their abilities and take the time to develop relationships while selling, we will continue to put numbers on the scoreboard.  If you read much about the “process” as outlined by Football Coaches Nick Saban or Bill Belicheck, they don’t watch the scoreboard, they perfect their process.  If their teams do the right things, the scoreboard will take care of itself.

I’ll finish with this – a challenging final quote from this podcast, which I highly recommend you to listen to:

“If Sales Reps aren’t selling, what are they doing?”

“If Sales Coaches aren’t coaching, what are they doing?”

Andy Paul

Sales Enablement Podcast

Training Is Not the Answer!

Training Is Not the Answer!

Good Intentions will never take you anywhere you want to go!  Most people would rather “think about it” than “do it”

– John Maxwell

I heard this quote from John Maxwell during his “30 Day Journey” I recently completed via Right Now Media.  It seems to have been something intended for me, as I’ve been faced with this concept in many different conversations recently.  Maybe because this whole Covid-19 and working from home has given me the opportunity to take part in more training that I typically would.  This podcast from “Manager Tools” covers this subject head on.  The overarching quote I took away was this:

Training is not the answer…it’s only a means to an end, it is not the end in and of itself…as a manager, what you actually want is behavior change. – The Manager Tools Guys

The basic foundation of this podcast is that way too many people and organizations attend training to be trained…and they feel that attending and completing the course is the goal.  BEHAVIOR CHANGE is the goal.  As John Maxwell said, there are way too many people who would rather “think” than “do”.  I put myself in that camp as well!  I listen to podcasts, read books, watch YouTube, but do I really incorporate what I’m learning?  If not, why am I wasting my time on these “training opportunities?”

Here are some of the key concepts I took away from this podcast that I feel will benefit you as well:

  1. The purpose of training is to impart skills that you need to do your job at a high level…to be good at your job
  2. Most training programs don’t bridge the gap between “knowing” and “doing” and when it doesn’t achieve this goal, the training program is a waste of $$ and time because it doesn’t serve to improve skill
  3. A new skill that isn’t put into action isn’t a skill at all, it’s just knowledge – A “skill” is what you do, not what you know
  4. 80% of your skill building comes from “on the job” activity and learning…only 10% come from separate and stand alone “Training”…that’s why appropriate delegation is such as an important skill to leverage as a manager
  5. Knowledge by itself isn’t valuable…when it changes behavior that affects our ability to meet our goals it becomes valuable to an organization: You aren’t contributing to the performance of your organization by obtaining knowledge…it only becomes valuable if it makes you “better” at your role
  6. “Applied” knowledge is more valuable than knowledge: some people feel they are more valuable because of knowledge they’ve gained over time…your value comes from your ability to “apply” the knowledge on useful pursuits to the organization 
  7. If you want to change something, you need to MEASURE and REPORT OUT on it…that will cause behavior change!
  8. Training isn’t about the “going”, it is about the “changing” when you get back
  9. “Having”, “Knowing”, “Feeling”, and “Believing” are NOT Behaviors 
  10. We don’t get paid to do what we like, we get paid to be effective & productive: If you aren’t constantly pushing yourself to become more effective, you are dragging down the company’s overall performance and earnings! 

As my current director says often…”Activity is good, results are better!

Manager-Tools is one of my all time favorite podcasts, but I truly engaged with this one as I listened to it this week.  This one is worth the 40 minutes of your time…if for no other reason at about the 21:30 mark when he begins talking about how strong the job market is…it was at that time, little did we know that COVID-19 would destroy it only about 3 weeks later!!  Please listen to this one, but after you listen, APPLY what you’ve learned!!