22 Chapters
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14. The Cost of Aligned Thinking: Three Gifts of Time

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE FOLLOWING evening as they sat around Coach Erics big oak table, Ray and Carol were filled with questions and emotions. Ray unloaded first.

I was intrigued by Woodys saying Aligned Thinking could get rid of all interruptions forever. As if that werent unbelievable enough, he said he could do that and still do justice to his clients, colleagues, and family.

What Woody and Prue shared was terrific, very positive, Carol jumped in. When we learned the MIN Secret, it was a high. We saw its elegant simplicity. But it was such a letdown to learn we have a handle on only 30 to 40 percent of the value of Aligned Thinking.

Coach smiled. Im glad Woody and Prue did the wonderful job that I was convinced they could do. Look at it this way: Lets say the amount of wisdom you have come away with fills a hundred pages. And lets say you have 99.9 percent of what there is to be learned. How much more value can you expect when you implement the process in your lives?

With a puzzled look, Carol said, Very little.

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5. The Aligned Thinking Pyramid

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

COACH INVITED Ray and Carol to sit with him around a big oak table. When they were settled, he said, Over the years, thousands of businesspeople I coached helped me identify three Life Aligning Questions. The interesting thing is these three questions impact everyones life, whether they know it or not. Our goal has been to make it quicker, easier, and simpler: quicker to learn the Aligned Thinking tools that help answer the three questions, easier to remember the tools, and simpler to get what you really want from life.

As we agreed, it is important that you focus on just one of the questions at a time. Answering the first of these critical life-impacting questions will lead you to the next one.

Here is an illustration that shows how the three questions build, leading to the MIN Secret. The MIN Secret is the key to your living as an Aligned Thinker, 24/7.

Coach pulled out an eye-catching illustration and handed it to Ray and Carol.

MIN Secret

Ray spoke with some concern. It looks simple enough. But is it?

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19. How to Help Salespeople Sell more

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

RAY WASNT the only one who had success bringing the Aligned Thinking tools into the workplace. On a rainy morning in October, Chuck Bonner, vice president of worldwide sales, telephoned Carol for an impromptu meeting.

Walking to his office, she felt a touch of nervousness. What did he want from her? Chuck had a reputation for being a very tough boss. He had publicly opposed the company-wide learning program Carol had recently sponsored. She knew from experience that he could be difficult to deal with. If an idea did not contribute quickly to the bottom line, he would be against it. He did get results. Hesitantly, she knocked on his door.

Without so much as a greeting, Chuck got right to the point. I just received the results of a two-year study, he said. Our research shows that the more time our salespeople spend with our customers, the more they sell. Can you find a program that will get our people to organize their time so they spend maximum hours with the customers? This is especially important for our experienced salespeople. Theyre the ones who sell the most.

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1. The Black Tunnel

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

    Too much to do! I never get everything done!

    Too many interruptions!

    Not enough time with the family!

    So little control over my life!

    Life doesnt seem to have much meaning anymore.

THESE WERE Rays thoughts as the train from Lower Manhattan tunneled to New Jersey under the Hudson River. As Ray looked out the window into the blackness, an occasional light flashed by to show him how dark the tunnel truly was.

How fitting, he thought. This is like my life. I feel like Im in a dark tunnel. My life is underwater. The infrequent flashes of light reminded him of the few lights in his life—his wife, Carol, and their two children. Unfortunately, as with the lights flashing by, he saw them for all too short a time.

What have I really accomplished today? Ray took out his organizer and reviewed the day. Hed skipped lunch and stayed late at work. He added two things hed forgotten to put on his to-do list. This made the list longer than it had been at the beginning of the day. He felt miserable.

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10. Life Aligning Question Two: The Focus Question

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

ELEANOR SAID, I understand from Coach that both of you also feel frustrated because you never get it all done. Youre looking for better professional-personal life balance, and you want a method to bridge the gap between what you really want and your here-and-now actions. Is that right?

Thats right, said Carol. When we got married, we dreamed about spending a lot of time together. Now that we have two kids, of course, we need to spend time with them. There is always too much to do and we never get it all done. Eleanor, Im especially interested in hearing a womans point of view since you are the primary caregiver for your two children and have a career as the CEO of your own business.

Answering the purpose question—even in writing— was not an immediate solution for me. To go straight from my written life purpose to doing my next most important action seems like an impossible jump. I feel I need something in between. Plus, I get a lot of little to-dos each day. How do I fit those in when Im supposed to be focusing on my life purpose?

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