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IBM Study: Creativity Cuts through Complexity
By Tom Ries, Director – Sales Center of Excellence
3M Corporate Marketing & Public Affairs

"Capitalizing on Complexity".... Boy if we could figure out the silver bullet to this one, each of the members of the Sales Executive Forum would be out on the stump claiming to have discovered the Holy Grail!

Tom Ries  

Complexity is the reality in which we conduct business today, and will be even more complex going forward. Global coordination in a constantly changing economic environment, in which our customers' requirements are distinctly different from segment, requires the emergence of a new leadership quality: Creativity.

This is one of the key findings we discussed at October's Sales Executive Forum, which was taken from the recently published "Capitalizing on Complexity" Insights based on the Global Chief Executive Officer Study conducted by IBM.

Creativity was discussed in the context of business design adaptation and focused on customer intimacy. I loved the quote: " A staggering number of CEOs described their organizations as data rich, but insight poor." Winning organizations are focused on using all sources of customer data to really understand where their customers are heading… not where they have been. This type of creative focus is a strategy being used to cut through the complexity that global organizations face today. Rigor around business processes is obviously needed… but should be constantly challenged when they interfere with moving quickly to new customer insights.

So, how does this affect sales? Although there are ever more ways that companies are interacting with customers today, sales people are still the eyes and ears to a customer-centric organization. Now, more than ever, the insights our sales people discover everyday need to be collected, harnessed and acted on. We need to make sure we have the creative processes to do just that!

Jump the Curb! Cohort Hears How to Become More Creative and Take More Risks to be Innovative
Jacqueline Byrd  
Innovation was not only the theme of this October's Sales Execution Forum but also this month's Women's Sales Leaders Cohort. The cohort speaker was Jacqueline L. Byrd, Ph.D., and author of the upcoming book: Jump the Curb — How to Successfully Drive Innovation! The following is an excerpt from her cohort talk, based on her book:

"Remember riding your bike with friends and everyone would jump the curb and yell—I did it! And remember too, just sometimes, that queasy feeling in your stomach…'what if I miss', embarrass myself, not make the curb? But you usually did…. and how proud you were! Life is consistently like that—there is always a curb and there is always that possibility of jumping it, making it and the feeling of WOW. And yes, there is also the other possibility! Two things make it possible to jump the 'proverbial' curb---creativity and risk taking.

"To help us jump the curb, I created the Seven Drivers of Creativity and Risk Taking. These drivers enable people to understand that if you practice using one of the Drivers on a regular basis, you would become more creative and take more risks. Each Driver contributes to your greater success no matter if you are trying to start a business, face your own fears, contribute more to the success of an organization you work for, or just feel more comfortable with the ideas you offer and the risks that you take everyday in your life. Insight into who you are currently from a creative risk taking perspective might be valuable---funny, it is usually ourselves that get in our way—our own fears of jumping the curbs of life.

"When we consider each of the Seven Drivers of Creativity and Risk Taking, we have to be clear that it is NOT about where you are now-- but where you could be. It is about using the tools to be able to 'jump that curb'! Let's start that journey now with a brief overview of the Seven Drivers."

Click here to read the rest of this article.

New Sales for Social Impact Course is a Global Competition
The Center for Sales Innovation is delivering a new sales topics course — Sales for Social Impact — to enrich its academic sales program. The Acara Institute developed the course with 3M to address social venture sales efforts. Students in their junior and senior years are taking the course this fall semester at St. Catherine University from Lynn Schleeter, the Center's director, and Faye Larson, assistant professor.

"This program fits Acara's mission of helping to provide practical solutions to create societal change," according to Fred Rose, CEO, Acara Institute, which connects individuals and organizations, across the globe, with an interest in creating sustainable business solutions to tackle some of the large challenges facing mankind.

The Sales for Social Impact course is a competition conducted by Acara and 3M. The St. Kate's sales class is a team competing against six U.S. universities, with student research partners in Uganda, in collaboration with St. Paul-based Compatible Technology International. CTI is a nonprofit organization that alleviates hunger and poverty in the developing world by designing and distributing simple, life-changing food and water technologies.

The St. Kate's team will develop a sales plan to sell a food grinder in Uganda. Each sales plan must contain execution summary, situation analysis, marketing strategy, financial strategy, implementation, and recommendations. The two-round presentation process will conclude (one from each school) in December at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul where the winners will be chosen. CTI will pick one plan (or components of plans) to go forward to implement in Uganda.

Three Ugandan students at St. Kate's are taking the course. Latifah Kiribedda, a public health major, says: "The class promotes global understanding and cooperation between American and international students. We are making a difference by improving the well being of the people in my country of Uganda, which makes me proud."

Click here to watch a short video of Latifah.

November 2010
Volume 3, Issue 8


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