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Assumptive behavior holding your business back? A cautionary tale

Making assumptions can hold you back not only in your business, but can cost you business. Read this cautionary tale to make sure you’re on top of your game.

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Sitting down for a professional lunch

Imagine sitting down to lunch with a potential client at a small bistro on the north side. You’re wearing a classic light blue button up top with collar stays and unassuming cuff links. Your potential client arrives in a sharp black suit. Firm handshakes are exchanged, the weather is discussed and you are shown to your table in the rear of the bistro.

Your client recommends the acorn squash soup that is to die for, so you oblige and both order soup and sandwiches that the bistro is so famous for. You hear the clink of silverware and dishes and your ice glasses are refilled with regularity. The conversation turns to business and you read that your client’s body language is positive – they are leaning in and their eyebrows are raised and they are slightly smiling. Your client is completely engaged in your pitch and receptive and you are nailing it.

Your meal arrives and you both unroll your white linen napkins and place them in your laps. You reach for the salt and your client reaches for their spoon. You both start eating and chatting, but you notice your client’s body language has changed, but you let it go because the waitress was fairly rude when she placed the bowls on the table with a thud. Your client has another appointment coming up, so you eat relatively hastily, but your pitch was fantastic and you know you two had great synergy.

When you get back to your office, your client has already emailed you, but instead of a gracious note of enjoyment, you get a brief note of thanks and that your client “will be in touch.” Ouch.

What went wrong?

A failed test

Several power players are said to have parted ways with potential partners or employees for the very reason you failed the test above. It is said that Thomas Edison invited potential employees to lunch and if they salted their soup before tasting it, they were immediately disqualified because Edison believed this type of person had too many assumptions built into their daily life that would limit creativity and critical thinking. Edison needed people that challenged assumptions on a regular basis.

Howard Hughes, Henry Ford, and J.C. Penny were also said to have used the salt test as a type of litmus for people as salting food is an ingrained behavior. The theory is that salting food before tasting it implies haste and arbitrary judgment calls, not to mention poor manners.

Why the test is stupid

The salt test is an old litmus test that is fairly widely known and is taught in business schools across the globe, so interviewees tend to alter their behavior based on this test and go above and beyond to be overly polite at meals when in an interview situation. This lends to manipulation and presenting ones self in an untrue light.

The tale is cautionary, regardless and challenges people to consider how quickly they make assumptions.

What assumptions are you making?

Are you assuming that you shouldn’t ask for the sale or referrals because you won’t get them, or that you can’t advance any higher in your company? Are you arbitrarily assuming that you can’t open any new locations or start any new verticals?

On the flip side, what assumptions are you making that your current methods are superior? Are you assuming your pitch is good enough instead of continually tweaking it? Are you assuming that template website you just bought is good enough out of the box? Are you assuming you know everything about your area of expertise and are neglecting continuing education or reading news about your industry?

Don’t lose that client, and don’t make negative or positive assumptions about yourself or your performance that might actually hold you back, just as salt on that soup before tasting it may hold you back.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dusza

    May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Always eat soup from a spoon pulling away from the bowl too. Pulling towards yourself supposedly means you’re greedy

  2. AgentGenius

    May 10, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Fascinating, Jonathan Dusza!

  3. Pingback: SalesMaple is a hot new sales tool on mega steroids - AGBeat

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This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution

(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.

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A small jar of cannabis on a desk with notebooks, sold online in a nicely made jar.

The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.

Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.

There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.

Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.

Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.

Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.

“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”

For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.

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Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?

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Woman in car working on engineering now allowed a flexible schedule for working from home.

The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.

As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.

And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.

Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.

How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.

“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”

Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.

Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.

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Business News

Unify your remote team with these important conversations

(BUSINESS NEWS) More than a happy hour, consider having these poignant conversations to bring your remote team together like never before.

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Woman working in office with remote team

Cultivating a team dynamic is difficult enough without everyone’s Zoom feed freezing halfway through “happy” hour. You may not be able to bond over margaritas these days, but there are a few conversations you can have to make your team feel more supported—and more comfortable with communicating.

According to Forbes, the first conversation to have pertains to individual productivity. Ask your employees, quite simply, what their productivity indicators are. Since you can’t rely on popping into the office to see who is working on a project and who is beating their Snake score, knowing how your employees quantify productivity is the next-best thing. This may lead to a conversation about what you want to see in return, which is always helpful for your employees to know.

Another thing to discuss with your employees regards communication. Determining which avenues of communication are appropriate, which ones should be reserved for emergencies, and which ones are completely off the table is key. For example, you might find that most employees are comfortable texting each other while you prefer Slack or email updates. Setting that boundary ahead of time and making it “office” policy will help prevent strain down the road.

Finally, checking in with your employees about their expectations is also important. If you can discuss the sticky issue of who deals with what, whose job responsibilities overlap, and what each person is predominantly responsible for, you’ll negate a lot of stress later. Knowing exactly which of your employees specialize in specific areas is good for you, and it’s good for the team as a whole.

With these 3 discussions out of the way, you can turn your focus to more nebulous concepts, the first of which pertains to hiring. Loop your employees in and ask them how they would hire new talent during this time; what aspects would they look for, and how would they discern between candidates without being able to meet in-person? It may seem like a trivial conversation, but having it will serve to unify further your team—so it’s worth your time.

The last crucial conversation, per Forbes, is simple: Ask your employees what they would prioritize if they became CEOs tomorrow. There’s a lot of latitude for goofy responses here, but you’ll hear some really valuable—and potentially gut-wrenching—feedback you wouldn’t usually receive. It never hurts to know what your staff prioritize as idealists.

Unifying your staff can be difficult, but if you start with these conversations, you’ll be well on your way to a strong team during these trying times.

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