Changing patterns vs habits, and flipping the script because we can
In this episode Susan and Laura cover four actionable items to change patterns, versus changing habits. What can you control? Here are four ideas to take control and gain an edge in business and life. This was taken from a recent blog post by today's guest, Laura Patterson, President, VisionEdge Marketing. She and Susan drive through this hard truth list. You either embrace it and expand your effectiveness, or freeze in place with no desire to change your approach. If that's you, you can now choose to mix it up, or be left behind.
"The greatest teacher, failure is." - Yoda
Be Proactive. Participants register for a race. In triathlons, the registration list and course are published in advance of race day. This allows competitors to research the race and the performance of other participants. We can also read about the course from previous race participants. Most competitors check out the course prior to the race. The pre-race research provides an opportunity to be proactive rather than reactive on race day. It’s vital for business leaders to make conducting research a habit. (Read the rest in the post.)
Plan to Win. Two contemporaries from the 20th century offer good advice when it comes to planning. “Plans are nothing, planning is everything” attributed to Dwight Eisenhower, and “failing to plan is planning to fail” attributed to Winston Churchill. It’s easy for business leaders to get sucked into the vortex of the day-to-day. Lack of strategy and a plan is the equivalent of ‘winging it’. If you don’t currently have a cadence for business strategy and planning, now is the time to create one. Start by analyzing current performance and identifying why things play out the way they do. This provides insight into your current patterns and an opportunity to analyze which ones are working, which ones aren’t and what adjustments are needed. (Read the rest in the post.)
Work the Scenarios. In triathlons unexpected things can happen – tires go flat, people crash, goggles can get kicked off during a swim. Scenarios help you consider possibilities and anticipate what might happen in your market and moves by your customers, competitors or partners. (Read the rest in the post.)
Train and practice. Successful triathletes like most competitors train and practice off and during race season – daily – except for a few days before the race. They leverage coaches and refine processes, such as processes associated with transitions and changing flats. Serious competitors consistently look for opportunities to improve their physical performance as well as address equipment that might give them an edge. They practice and train with new equipment. Experienced racers know better than to run in new shoes or ride a new bike for the first time at a race. And they have training partners. (Read the rest in the post.)
Hey everybody. Susan Finch here, your host today for Sales Lead Management Radio. And I am really excited because I'm welcoming back a friend of Funnel Radio, a friend of Funnel Media Group, Laura Patterson, from VisionEdge Marketing. Laura had her own show with us. She does her own show now, because we taught you so much, huh? And now you've got to do it on your own. But I want to first before, Laura, I get you going, what prompted this... I know this sounds super old-fashioned, folks, but she sent me an email, and it prompted me to pick up the phone and spontaneously not schedule anything and just talk to her. I know these are radical ideas, and we forget how easy it can be to get a conversation. Because now look at less than 24 hours later, we're doing this interview in this podcast. So Laura, welcome. I am so happy to have this time with you and thank you.
Laura Patterson (01:12):
Oh, thank you, Susan. I enjoy talking with you and I appreciate the opportunity to be back. And I hope that this conversation will be helpful to all the people who are listening.
Susan Finch (01:24):
Well, you've been busy, since we last have had a lot of time together. Tell me about your book first. Let's give a plug for the book.
Laura Patterson (01:32):
Okay. Thank you for that. In fact, the last time we talked was right after the book came out. So that's been quite a while. The book, Fast-Track Your Business: A Customer-Centric Approach to Accelerating Market Growth, has been doing great. And I'm going to say how much I appreciate the people who have taken the time to do reviews. We have had some amazing reviews. Not all of them are on Amazon. All of them are on our website, reviews on LinkedIn, reviews on the site. I just am so grateful for people who have taken the time to let us know how much they find the book to be useful. And that was its intention to give people really practical things they can do. That's one of my personal philosophies is give people something that is actionable for them. Right?
Susan Finch (02:21):
Laura Patterson (02:22):
Philosophy's great. Ideology is great. But we're all busy. We need to be able to make things better. And so we have to give people things to do that.
Susan Finch (02:31):
Right. And your email tactic that I've come to admire and appreciate... And I will say it and you can correct me if I'm wrong. It's a mass email that is totally personalized. And so it goes-
Laura Patterson (02:46):
It's a chain.
Susan Finch (02:48):
A lot of them go to your list. And the only reason why I know is because I have two emails that each get one.
Laura Patterson (02:53):
Susan Finch (02:54):
Otherwise, I would've never known.
Laura Patterson (02:55):
Susan Finch (02:55):
Laura Patterson (02:56):
Susan Finch (02:56):
Okay. It depends.
Laura Patterson (02:57):
So the email that I sent that prompted this conversation did not go through a list.
Susan Finch (03:02):
Laura Patterson (03:03):
That was a personal email to you.
Susan Finch (03:05):
And those on the site too, I could tell by the top. I could tell by the greeting, but there are other ones that are not, yet they have the warm feeling that I matter, that I'm on your list feeling. And I appreciate that. Even knowing that I'm not the only one who got it, it's like, "I like being on this list. I like what you send." And it's usually, it's never asking for anything from me. It's always given me something. And you were one of the most sincere people I know-
Laura Patterson (03:39):
Susan Finch (03:40):
That does this, your thoughtful interaction with me and engagement on social, the way you talk about others. And it's why I've always enjoyed working with you. So I wanted to say that publicly. I endorse what you do, what VisionEdge Marketing does. I think you provide so much in the way of valuable insights and sincere championing of your clients, with no ego ever.
Laura Patterson (04:09):
Yeah. Well, you can't get through graduate school and have an ego. But I left that around a long, long time ago. I was talking to a colleague and he was so kind to say so. I write all of our stuff, and so if you don't like it or you do like it, it's me doing it. So you can take it up with me. I have wonderful folks who help me package it up, because that's not my area of expertise. But our content, our emails, our videos, I'm writing that. That is my heart. And I care about the people that are in our community. And I actually think of the people. I don't think of it as a list. I actually do think of it as our community.
Laura Patterson (04:56):
And we are selective about our community. Not just anybody. We don't just want anybody in our community. We want people that will benefit from what we have to say, and we'll share. We'll share. We want it to be an opportunity. I don't know. I've been at this a long time. You've been at this a long time, but that doesn't mean I know everything. Of course not. I'm still learning every day. And I think that's one of the things we're going to talk about. And I loved your episode that, if you're not getting what you need in the company that you're in, it's okay to take your own initiative and go learn. We should all be learning every day. Learn something. Go learn things.
Susan Finch (05:37):
Thank you. That was a really fun episode I did with Corey Frank from Market Dominance Guys. Corey Frank is from Uncommon Pro and from Branch 49.com. I love his energy. Since getting tangled up with Chris and Corey, I am constantly inspired and lifted up and introduced to some of the go-getters, which is what you and I were talking about surrounding ourselves with yesterday. As far as taking this initiative, I don't want this to turn into another, "Oh, the young adults today and the under-30s today do blah, blah, blah." And I didn't want to get into that. What I want to talk about though, is what we can do and make some great suggestions.
Susan Finch (06:20):
And your posts about the Four Patterns to Support Growth and Improve Performance, I wanted to start with that and then mix it up with some of what we know and some great ideas. I have to give a shout-out to that whole ConnectAndSell community and the offshoots, including the Oren Klaffs, Jeb Blounts, and all of those guys. Oh, my gosh. They wear me out in the best way. I am constantly being challenged to show up to things, give feedback on things and learn from my peers, from my competitors, from my associates, in different avenues and different arenas and industries. I really love how I end my day. I am lifted up every day and re-energized.
Laura Patterson (07:11):
That's a really important point about the people that we hang out with. The people that we hang out with, we can't choose everybody that we hang out with. We have jobs to do. But I have to say that in the 22 years plus that I've been in VisionEdge Marketing and in my entire career, which is decades, I have been really fortunate. Most of the people that I have interacted with have been inspiring, motivating, smart. I've enjoyed them and I stayed in touch with many of them, even if we're not still working together because they're cool people. And I think that's all of us need to remember that we choose the people. Maybe we don't get to choose who our parents are. We don't get to choose who our siblings are.
Laura Patterson (07:57):
We do have some impact on the children that we have, right? That is part of our job as parents. But the rest of it is all about choices. And that takes us to the post. But I do also want to comment on your episode. I agree. It was great energy, really good tips. And if people haven't had a chance to listen to that, when I hope they will. And if they did, I hope to go back because there were really... It was chock-full of really cool things.
Laura Patterson (08:23):
But that takes us to this conversation, right? We have a series of content, different types of content, and we have our regular blog like everybody else does. And we have a video series, which is really fun that Diana and I do called One Good Idea. And it's actually based on conversations we have with people where we give away one good idea. Then what we do, being the data people that we are, we look and see if there are some conversations that tend to be over and over and over again, sort of consistent themes. And we're like, "Oh. There's something we've been talking about a lot lately, probably is worthy of sharing with others. Let's see if we can take some of those suggestions and turn them into One Good Idea."
Laura Patterson (09:09):
So we had these One Good Idea videos, and those were fun. And then we have what I sent you yesterday. For the last few years, we've been doing this podcast series called What's Your Edge? And What's Your Edge actually came as a request from members of our community and customers. So I want to give you a little history of that so people, when they go, if they do go and listen to them, they'll understand like, "These are kind of weird."
Laura Patterson (09:33):
So I believe that stories and metaphors are very helpful in conveying ideas, just a personal philosophy. Not everybody maybe agrees with that. And so several people would say to me, "I really loved that story that you did on X. I really love that metaphor you used. Where is it? Where can I find that so I can share that with my team?" Well, they weren't anywhere. And so what came out of that was, "Why don't you take some of those stories and metaphors and make a podcast series?" So What's Your Edge podcasts really either leverage a story or an experience or metaphor to help get an idea across. And so yesterday's podcast, or the other most recent podcasts, because I don't know when this will come out. So it might not be yesterdays, which is on the patterns, in order to grow, you might have to break some patterns.
Laura Patterson (10:28):
I'm actually talking about swimming as the metaphor and that to get better at swimming, I had to break some important patterns that had become comfortable and that it was a struggle to do so. And that there are things that all of us, we all have patterns in our lives and in our businesses and the way that we do things. And recognizing that we have a pattern and then assessing whether or not it needs to change, and then what can we do to change it? It doesn't do any good to tell someone they have to change a pattern if we don't tell them some ways that we can do that. And so that was the inspiration for yesterday, the posts on patterns.
Susan Finch (11:07):
It's a word you're using. You're using patterns where many people would mix that up with habits. They're interchangeable to a degree, but I think the pattern usage makes it more actionable.
Laura Patterson (11:23):
Susan Finch (11:24):
I think we see habits as a weakness, as a rut, as different things. But a pattern has to me a more positive, some way to improve, some way to change, and to embrace it, rather than looking for a way to discard something. We always talk... Because you rarely talk about good habits. Sometimes you do. Habits of highly effective people, we've heard all those. But patterns is different. To me, it's more that you're actually really digging into it and looking for what's happening. Not just, it's a blunt thing, because a pattern is more than one piece in the making. It's more than one step in the making. It's not just one thing like a habit.
Laura Patterson (12:11):
Susan Finch (12:11):
People smoke. That's a habit. So that is the difference. And I really wanted to distinguish that word usage.
Laura Patterson (12:19):
Okay. You brought up smoking. I don't want to spend too much time on smoking. I don't think that's one where we want to go with this conversation, but I think you're bringing up a really good example. Smoking is a habit, but the things that trigger and where things go with smoking are patterns.
Susan Finch (12:36):
There we go.
Laura Patterson (12:37):
So if we think about it, when you start analyzing, so we're back to data. This is all really going back to data and analytics and getting insight. And you say, "Aha. When I go out and I'm in a bar and I'm drinking, I tend to smoke." There is a pattern there, right? And so now we're looking at that pattern and we're thinking, "Okay. If I really want to change the habit of smoking, what are some patterns that I need to change potentially or break that will enable me to address the habit?" Does that make sense?
Susan Finch (13:15):
It does. And it also... We're going to get into this. It is about a plan because maybe I still want to go to bars and I still want to go out, but maybe I'm going to be more aware.
Laura Patterson (13:27):
Susan Finch (13:28):
And for the ultimate goal, just that last thing, I'm going to shift it and not do that. And instead, do this.
Laura Patterson (13:36):
Susan Finch (13:36):
And part of it's still great. And part of it's still fun.
Laura Patterson (13:39):
Susan Finch (13:40):
But it's that last fork in the road to do good, to not do good, to do positive, to do negative. Where am I going to choose to branch off and make that next choice?
Laura Patterson (13:54):
So back to data again, the answer of my fallback position, because that's where I'm comfortable.
Susan Finch (14:00):
That's what you do.
Laura Patterson (14:01):
And that's what I do and that's where I'm comfortable. And the analysis of data, the purpose of data, and the analysis of data is to get an insight, an actionable insight, that will allow you to make a decision, right? So that's really what we want to empower people to do with patterns is to be able to make a decision and you may choose A over B. We're not evaluating your decision. It's just that you now have the insight that "Oh. This is when this happens, this happens," right? You're beginning to see that. And now you can make better or different decisions. And to your point, choices, but still a decision, right?
Laura Patterson (14:42):
So understanding what are the patterns and how they affect what you're doing, whether that's a pattern that you're doing in marketing, a pattern that you're doing in sales and the way that you interact with customers or prospects, or a pattern on the way that you lead your company and interact with your employees, or whatever those patterns might be. Then if you don't have the data and analyze those patterns, then you won't be able to really understand how to make the changes. Even though you might recognize something like, "Smoking's not good for me." You don't know how to necessarily do anything about it. Just being told, 'Stop smoking," probably isn't going to be very helpful.
Susan Finch (15:31):
Right. So you in your recent posts, and I like the snack size of your podcast. We have eight to 10 minutes and it's a nice size. It's like, "Oh. I'm between meetings, I can do this. I can take that one. I can listen to that."
Laura Patterson (15:46):
Susan Finch (15:47):
And so I want to get back through to these four patterns of support steps, and tackle each one to give everybody an actionable takeaway from here that let's start looking at these things, guys, what can you do? What can you control? Rather than waiting for somebody to do it for you, to hand you the playbook, to say, "I need you to do these five things right now." And so many times people don't even question. It's like, "Okay. I got to do that," or, "Forget it. I don't want to do it." Let's talk about some of the reasoning behind it. And we're going to start with each of these four items. I'm going to toss the ball to you. The first one you list is Being Proactive.
Laura Patterson (16:25):
Yes. So this plays off your previous episode or the episode we were talking about. We have to take ownership. We have to own our patterns, so we have to own our choices. And to do that, we have to be proactive. I mentioned to you, and I've told you this before, and we're from a similar era. So what I'm about to say probably will resonate with you. It may not resonate with many of your younger listeners, right?
Susan Finch (16:55):
Laura Patterson (16:56):
Right. But that's okay. If it doesn't, that's okay. So I grew up in the old saying... You will know what this means. They may not. From the other side of the tracks, right? And my parents were blue-collar workers. They both worked. My mother was a nurse. She worked nights and weekends. My father went to a job. We had a single car. So just to give people some context of what life was like, and they came from hard times. My parents did not have easy lives, but they were very, very grateful for what they did have. They were very, very proud of the fact that they could put food on the table every single day, because that wasn't always true from where they came from. So just giving listeners context.
Laura Patterson (17:41):
So my parents had five mantras, and this is going to tie into these patterns, that they would use with their children, me and my siblings. One is, life is hard. And, of course, that came from their context. Life is hard. And their lives were hard. Two, life is not fair. Three, nothing is free. Four, you're not entitled to anything. And five, you're not special. This was their way of managing, their way.
Laura Patterson (18:15):
Now some younger listeners might be thinking, "Oh, my God. How horrible, how harsh, how terrible, how mean." Maybe, I'm not going to judge that. That's where they... But what I think they were really trying to do is remind us that no one's going to give you anything. You're going to have to take initiative. You are responsible. You must be in charge. You must be in control of what happens. Nothing is going to be brought to you on a silver platter and handed to you, was their message in these five things. And it's not going to be fair. Some people are going to get things that you don't get. This is just the way life. Get on with it. Go do what you need to do. It was really about that.
Laura Patterson (19:01):
And so back to the post, that was what drove that be proactive. We have to take ownership and the initiative if we want something to change if we want to change a pattern. It's not going to change if we don't put the work in. That's where the swimming metaphor comes in. If I didn't put the work in, and it was really, really hard, I was going to continue to revert to the pattern that I was most comfortable with, but that would not get me the result that I wanted. So if you want a different result, more than likely, you're going to have to do something different. And only we, only we can make that happen. Do something different. And we need to be proactive about it. Did I answer that question?
Susan Finch (19:43):
Oh, you did. That was perfect to cover that. Yes, we are from a similar background. I was not on the wrong side of the tracks. I was on the suburbia. My dad worked. He put food on the table for six of us. My mom stayed home and it was tight. And we had hand-me-downs. We had thrift stores. We did what we could. We had really weird food sometimes. And it was very... I mean pancakes and eggs were dinner as well, because that's what we could afford. Things mixed in Campbell's soup and jello, that's where most of our recipes came from.
Laura Patterson (20:23):
Susan Finch (20:25):
Laura Patterson (20:26):
Totally get that. But at the same time that we grew up with that... It sounds like we had a similar experience. We were being encouraged-
Susan Finch (20:37):
Oh, gosh. Yes.
Laura Patterson (20:37):
To do better. Do better, right? You not only to do better and to excel, but what can you do to do better? Which was really the second pattern, Plan to win.
Susan Finch (20:50):
Laura Patterson (20:50):
Right? It's okay to fail. Was it Yoda in one of the Star Wars movies that said something about failure being for learning or something like. Go look that up. You got to get that quote right. I think it was a Yoda quote. Any way that we... Failure is where we learn. So it's perfectly okay. And we need to encourage people to fail and not always have a safety net, because if we always have a safety net and we never experienced failure, that's a lost opportunity.
Susan Finch (21:22):
I grew up with five older siblings, by quite a few years. So we range in age. There's a 15-year difference between me and my eldest brother, and eight years with my youngest brother. And so I had many-
Laura Patterson (21:36):
They wanted a girl.
Susan Finch (21:37):
They really did. I have one sister, but she's older. The interesting thing though is not only plan to win, yes, but I was also raised by them because my parents did their best and it was always tight and we did not... And they were older by the time I came along, it was never burdening our parents with the mess you create.
Laura Patterson (22:04):
Susan Finch (22:04):
And when I did mess up, my parents never knew about it, because I had to clean up my own messes without help from anybody. Get myself out of jams. Figure it out and protect the parents from the pain that some of my bad decisions resulted in. So I always was taught to take personal responsibility for every action or inaction that I made the decision to do or not do.
Laura Patterson (22:36):
Yes. And I think that is an important message about being back to owning it. Have personal responsibility. Solve the problem. Don't create a problem. But the second pattern really is about planning to win. And this is a business message. Yes, we all need to plan to win personally, whatever that looks like. But since this post is really for people in business and our market is B2B. This is his need to plan to win. That doesn't mean you won't fail along the way. It's okay. But plan to win. And what does that look like? And think about all the various scenarios that might happen, that might thwart your opportunity to win.
Susan Finch (23:17):
This has been Susan Finch with Sales Lead Management Radio. And we took this in so many directions, we're going to be splitting this into two episodes. So don't miss the second half of my interview with Laura Patterson, where we're going to continue our conversation about the four ways to break and shake up your patterns. You're going to want to hear the conclusion.
Susan Finch (23:44):
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Sales Lead Management Radio. You can find us on all your favorite podcast apps. Just look for Sales Lead Management Radio, and you will see us. Subscribe at our site, salesleadmgmt.com. So you never miss an episode, subscribe via email. Review us, rate us, share this episode. Maybe there was something in here that can help you or someone you know. We look forward to having you join us for our next episode. Thank you so much.
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