Sunday, July 24, 2011

In Memory of Paul

I lost a good friend this week, his name was Paul Knight.
Paul was a very eclectic individual. We worked together on night crew (third shift) from 1974 to 1976. Paul was never one to give people a good first impression. His appearance was often less than professional and he was so soft spoken that he was hard to understand at times.
Many considered Paul a little weird and unmanageable, but I took the time to get to know him and truly recognize his God given talents.

“Find the number one in everyone,” a leadership quote from my book Pecan Pie¹, was a catalyst for me in identifying the right role for Paul. Because he had a special talent for memorizing numbers he was a brilliant inventory control person, however only I and a few other team members of our store knew of Paul's unique skill.

On July 2, 1975 that brilliance, that gift, became known to everyone in the store and eventually throughout the entire supermarket chain. You see on that day, the assistant store manager had accidentally erased the cassette tape (and the back-up) that contained the inventory codes for all the product that needed ordered from our warehouse for the holiday weekend. The shelves would be empty. Panic set in.

I was ending my shift when I heard of this calamity; I approached the store manager and said,
“Call Paul, he can probably help.”
“Paul? What can he do!?” he replied with a negative surprise.
“Trust Me,” I said looking firmly into his eyes, “He will know what to do.”

We had less than one hour to “place an order” with the warehouse, we needed four hours.
The manager called Paul at home.
Paul called the warehouse.
Paul had memorized all the order codes, the on hand inventory and all the product movement.
In less than 30 minutes, he verbally placed an order for approximately 300 items.
Yes, you had to be there to believe it.

Paul gained a new respect with his colleagues that day and was promoted to Company Inventory Control Manager.
Paul was a hero…and on that July 4th weekend of 1975 Paul was truly a “Knight” in shining amour.

¹ Please refer to The Diamond Rule² (page 29) and Pecans of Wisdom (page 120) in my book:
Pecan Pie, 32 Business Success Strategies Passionately Baked to Order.
Available on

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lou the Nabisco Guy

We have all heard, read, took training, listened to CDs, etc. on how to sell, i.e. “selling” strategies.
Lou the Nabisco Guy never used selling strategies …Lou had a culture of “selling.”
I was 23 years old when I first met Lou. He was the region’s number one salesman for Nabisco from 1974 to 1985.
One day I was eating lunch with Lou and asked,
“Lou, so what do you do to be so good at selling?....can you share some tips?”
Lou replied, shaking his head and smiling, “Bob there is really no magic tips, but I do have five core beliefs about selling.”

1.) Love and believe in your product.

2.) People like to buy, but not to be sold to.

3.) I never sell anything, I solve people’s problems.

4.) Never talk yourself out of a sale.

5.) and….Never close a sale, open an opportunity.

Lou died in 1985 from a heart attack at the early age of 63.
Lou’s culture of selling has lived on. Those that adopt it become very successful.
To be the best, you need to have more than just strategies, you first need a culture, a core belief.
Dr.Ivan Misner says it best, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Today when I eat my favorite Nabisco crackers I always think of Lou…Lou the Nabisco Guy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Seven Ways to Help You Identify Leaders

1. Leaders have passionate enthusiasm! Attitudes are contagious and your team “leaders” need to understand that they are role models.

2. Leaders model your company’s values and “walk the talk.”

3. Leaders pull their teams up the hill, face them and don’t turn their backs.

"Old-school"  managers push employees.

4. Leaders are not necessarily the best workers, and they understand that the “task” is never more important than the customer.

5. Leaders develop others, place a high value on the “we,” and discourage the “I.”

6. Leaders know when to let other “leaders” lead.

7. Leaders listen and provide positive reinforcement and constructive criticism.