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What is a Greyism?

During my years of managing organizations in corporate America, I found myself developing a few concepts for which my employees and I could relate; and hopefully draw some inspiration.  My employees came to refer to these things as "Greyisms" because of how often I would say them.

When I left Kellogg's, my team took it upon themselves to compile these 14 sayings into a framed list and presented it to me on my way out the door.  I must have said something right...however you may or may not agree, here is the list.

  1. "Lead with your strength" - Too often people and businesses fail because they are trying to do things that they are not naturally good at.  Everyone has strengths, something they are good at.  Your success in life and in business will come faster and more securely if you lead with those strengths.
  2. "Narrow & Deep" - This is a simplification of the old adage, "you can be a jack of all trades and a master of none".  Develop a set of a few core competencies.  Two or three things that you do better than anything else, this is the NARROW part.   Once you have identified those things, you should simply execute them over and over again, this is the DEEP part.  Success is far simpler to achieve if you take those few things and run deep, versus trying to do it all and ultimately achieve less.
  3. "Ye who controls the information...controls everything"- We live in an information age, access to information is at unprecedented levels.  Interacting in business without having firm control over the information is suicide.  If you prepare for any situation by gathering as much information as you can you will win far more deals than you lose.  You will be surprised how few people have a grip on vital information, even as it relates to their own business or area of expertise.  
  4. "Stay in your lane"- Statistically speaking do you think more car accidents happen when people are changing lanes or when people stay in their lane?  Logic and stats would dictate that far more accidents occur when people change lanes versus staying in the lane that they are in.  This same can be said in business.  People have jobs to do.  You have a job to do.  Are you more likely to succeed if you do your job well and expect that the other person does their job well?  Or should you do your job and try to do theirs a the same time?  Too often companies want sales people to be marketing people and marketing people to be sales people, production to do distribution work etc...if people simply stayed in their own lanes, did their own jobs well, everyone will get where they are going faster.
  5. "We lead" - If you are confident in yourself and your abilities, why would you want anyone else to dictate where you go and how you get there?  Outside of mandated corporate directives there are a wealth of opportunities to decide upon a personal plan of action.  You will succeed far more often than you fail if you lead yourself with your own ideas (and your teams), versus allowing someone else set your course.  
  6. "Information without analysis is just information...information withanalysis is ACTION" - If all you do is spit out information you are not adding true value to your clients.  Information is only valuable when it empowers people to take action.  Otherwise you are just wasting time and a lot of paper.
  7. "Nothing happens by accident" - I believe that successful people create their own success, lucky people create their own luck and the reverse is also true.  I do not subscribe to the idea that things just happen by accident.  Good or bad, you place yourself in circumstances that have consequences, good or bad.  One of the people I detest most in the world is Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.  Mark made his money during the early days of the internet boom.  He took a chance on an idea, put himself in the path of success, and capitalized on it when it came.  He sold the business before the internet boom went bust.  Some people say he was lucky to have gotten in and out of the internet business at the right time.  I would say he created his own luck by putting himself in the path of the storm.  Now why do I detest Mark Cuban?  He is a walking example of how money cannot buy class and dignity.
  8. "Fish where the fish are"- Now I obviously did not think this one up by myself, but it makes sense to me.  This is the law of averages at work.  Do you want to sell a high percent of something to a small group or are you better off with a plan to sell a small percentage to a larger group.  Success is far more likely to be achieved if you expand your reach to a large group and expect to close a smaller number of transactions.  While it is nice to have a product on the shelves of the local boutique shop, if you want to move product, pay the price and put in on the shelves are Wal Mart.  We may not like it, but that is where the fish are.
  9. "Less is more" - I have watched far too many deals go down the drain because the salesperson felt compelled to say everything they came to say versus listening to the conversation and sharing only the relevant information needed to answer the questions and secure the business.  Salespeople are notorious for getting a case of diarrea of the mouth, answering questions that have not been asked and not listening to the questions that have been asked.  This often leads to issues that are not relevant to the deal at hand and thus a loss of business.  You will be surprised how much more business you can get if you simply make your relevant points and then "shut up" to hear what is being said and then respond.
  10. "An effective processes operates in a Symbiotic Circle" - The is not a Zen philosophy, but rather a recognition that any successful process or management system is one that operates where each phase works in circular harmony with the others.  Each phase adds value to the next and is not a simply a list of things to do, but rather at the end of the process you have prepared yourself to begin the process again without having to recreate the process over and over.  It is self fulfilling.
  11. Allow people a "peak under the tent" - Informed clients are happy clients.  Whether you are serving an internal or external customer, if you allow people to see what you are trying to accomplish and the thoughts behind it, they will be more likely to work with you and be satisfied with the result.  In the mortgage business, there are far too many people that work in this industry that keep their clients in the dark so as to avoid difficult conversations or potentially loose the deal AND then deal with the consequences later.  Give people the information they need to stay informed and trust that they can handle it.
  12. "Twelve"
  13. "Thirteen"
  14. "Fourteen"


Numbers 12, 13 and 14 are sayings that over the years have proven to be true, but some may say are too controversial for public consumption.  These are not sayings with bad language, or hurtful or offensive stuff.  Rather they are personal insights that reveal a certain part of my personality reserved for those closest to me.  If you are interested in these last three, give me a call and I can share with you the genesis of these remaining Greyisms. 


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