From Dave's Desk

The Tale of a Legacy Lost

I remember when my Grandfather passed away, many years ago now, the comments made by his three sons, one daughter and many extended family were that this was the start of a legacy lost.

Nothing could have highlighted this more when, years later, my Grandmother also passed away and there was a clean-up of belongings with many trips to the skip to dispose of unwanted, unnecessary or ‘low value’ items.

A legacy saved…

One trip saw six or so Bibles in different sizes, shapes, versions and condition about to be tossed but stopped just in time. Known for being fairly sentimental, they made their way to me where I was fortunate to discover inscriptions from my Grandfathers parents where they had handwritten thoughts, words of encouragement and endearing messages to him at milestones in his life.

Some of these milestone moments include times forgotten by those around him and range from -just prior to getting married to my Grandmother; prior to his period on the Gold Dredge in Eldorado, Country Victoria, because of hard economic times and just prior to his departure to Papua New Guinea where he fought for our country.

Those inscriptions taught me more about my Grandfather than any stories others have told me.

A legacy lost…

With mixed emotions, I recently heard a similar story from a business we have done past work for. The files we saw and scanned (digitised) where AMAZING and I have never seen anything like them before. These files were old and many predated WWII and included handwritten letters, typed letters and (for those who remember) telegram slips, just to mention a few.

These files were presented back to the customer after much care with all originals returned for quality assurance assessment.

Once the quality was confirmed by the customer, the original files were destroyed by the business.

We also learned of the ingestion of the remaining hard copy files by the company directly – which is a great strategy should it align with your business goals.

However, in this case the files were:

·        Scanned and destroyed without any QA.

·        Scanned by volunteers and juniors with no experience in business.

·        Scanned in-house to minimise the expense.

The result was a fast turnaround time, using juniors keeping the costs down, and meeting the above listed expectations.

The sad part of the story was when, some weeks later, some critical information was required and the file was opened only to reveal nothing, an empty file! No hard copies (already destroyed), no electronic copies and a heap of finger pointing.

This was a massive loss of legacy and now information relating to important people will never be readable.

This was a massive loss of legacy and now information relating to important people will never be readable.

The reason I thought I would tell this story is simply to highlight the importance of due diligence with electronic document management systems. Even people close to my grandfather nearly, and unbeknownst to them, destroyed important information. They didn’t mean to – but they nearly did.

Whatever your role, engage experts to help you understand the legacy of loss and its potential impact.


Make It A Goal To Set Goals

Here at The Essential Group we start each year off and running at a busy pace. I use the opportunity to open up discussions with my staff about using their time well and encouraged them to set goals in everything we do, both personal and at work.

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Yet we don’t always do this and the problem with that is that it we can feel like we are drowning. Maybe you are the same this year – if I asked you to respond with an answer to ‘are you out of control, yes or no?’ then most of you would answer yes!

 Goal Setting

So why would I set a goal?

A goal is a milestone, a point of significance that helps us interpret progress. Without them we feel out of control.

Are goals short or long term?

Goals can be 10 years in length down to a one hour period.

What if I don’t have time?

This comes back to priorities – take the time to plan your goals. Take an hour to plan out your year, holidays, big events. Take 15 minutes to plan your day and what you will achieve. I remember many years ago being told ‘100% of goals NOT set are always met!’ Makes sense hey?

A goal is a milestone, a point of significance that helps us interpret progress. Without them we feel out of control.

Allow me to give you a work challenge each morning:
  1. Ask yourself ‘what am I going to achieve today?’
  2. Set your goals
  3. WRITE them down and keep yourself accountable.
  4. Measure them at the end of the day.
    (ie. “Great, I achieved my goals so can I do more tomorrow” or “No I didn’t – what stopped me achieving them?”)

A good tip for you to remember is that a goal shouldn’t always be easy. It should be a stretch but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it. Let’s say you set yourself a goal of 40 emails out for the day and you only get to 30 – it’s likely that without that initial goal you would have been distracted and only achieved 20 (just an example).

Another good tip is to not get distracted by noise. My noise is email (BING, an email came in, oohh – who is it and what do they want?) but the reality is that it can wait, so avoid distractions.

 Finally, your goals need to be SMART!

S – Specific (I will do 5 face to face customer calls each day.)

M – Measurable (I can measure 5 appointments, what is the name of each customer?)

A – Achievable (Can I do it? Each call is 30 minutes long, with 30 minutes travel time between each – that is 300 minutes collectively, divided by 60 is 5 hours. I work an 8 hour day (I wish) so, yes, its achievable.)

R – Realistic (Whilst it is achievable, it can be draining. If I do that amount of appointments will I get all of my paperwork done? 3 hours for proposals etc is fine.)

T – Timeframe (The goal is 5 per day, so I have a definitive deadline.)

If you feel flat out – set your daily goals and you will get a clarity like no other!

Write a goal. Keep it simple and find a way through to better productivity.

I hope this helps you as it has helped my team and I.


Are You Prepared To Fail Your Way To Success

What have I really got to lose? Am I prepared to fail in my efforts to succeed?

How many times a day do you think, ‘I don’t want to do that or I don’t like to do that’?

For me, I have thoughts like this every day and working in a sales environment I know many many peers experience the same feelings. However, it’s the ones that admit this and deal with it that seem to be successful in their craft.

I don’t always want to walk through a front door, or I don’t want to make that phone call or speak to the customer with a problem, but the reality is: What have I really got to lose?

My beloved Grandfather, Wilfred Thomas Harrison, was dispatched to fight for our country in a war he didn’t want to fight; a war he didn’t start; and a war he lost great buddies in.

The reality is, he had no choice.

Thanks to him and many like him, I am lucky and blessed for what he did and what he gave. What he gave me is a choice – something he never had.

I sell stuff, and it’s not going to kill me and I suppose I don’t have to do this for a living. I have a choice. What I sell is far from sexy, however, I do love people and I love helping people – that’s why I do what I do.

What I sell is far from sexy, however, I do love people and I love helping people – that’s why I do what I do.

Seeing a customer is not going to kill me. Calling a customer is not going to kill me. Making a mistake is not going to kill me. Losing a deal is not going to kill me. Yet, helping someone by selling them useful and meaningful solutions is extremely rewarding.

I was recently talking to a group of sales professionals about what motivates me and I told them this story. I didn’t tell them this to tug on the heart strings. I told them so they knew that even at 46 years of age, what I do is grab any opportunity by the throat and do everything in my power to succeed. I figure that’s the least I owe my Grandfather and anything less would feel like I would have let him down.

The questions I now ask you is this:

Do you know what motivates you? Are you doing what you want to do? Are you prepared to fail in your efforts to succeed?


How To Resist Imitation and Get Excited About Innovation

My wife and I enjoyed some time in Italy a few years back – a lovely country with far too much sun, coffee and vino!

Before I departed we had been talking in the office as a team about innovation – what is it, how do we do it and what do we do it with? These days everyone seems to be ‘innovating’ or at least they say they are.

Innovation – what is it, how do we do it and what do we do it with?

That is the challenge we face day by day as a business. Are we simply imitating previous models and other businesses? Or are we genuinely innovative?

Having visited Italy previously, I’ve enjoyed several visits to the Colosseum and we were looking forward to going again. Those that have been will appreciate it when I say that the sheer magnitude of a structure built in 72AD, partially still standing even today, with its size, design, purpose and detail, was and is amazing.

The people responsible for its concept, design and construction in my mind are true innovators. They were people with the foresight to build something to hold around 50,000 spectators (albeit for fairly brutal games). It was unique, it was new and it certainly wasn’t an imitation.

In my connection to photocopier sales, over the years I have been fortunate to have seen several distinct industry innovations that have changed the modern office.

  • Analogue to digital devices changed service requirements with reliability of devices increasing in astronomical proportions.
  • Network connectivity changed the common copier to a true Multifunction Device reducing the amount of devices required to support an office which drove costs down significantly.
  • The introduction of Colour Printing to the office.

The question then, from this more traditional market and from a hardware perspective is: What will be the next truly innovative product? Will it be 3D printing, IoT or will it be something else?

The question then, from this more traditional market and from a hardware perspective is: What will be the next truly innovative product?

As for our business, we have helped innovate others through our scanning services, workflow processes and the evolution of the document. This in itself has helped us innovate processes and procedures.

We see ourselves becoming more of a Service Provider, Connector, Facilitator and Trusted Advisor to our customers with the only constant being change. We are continually trying to innovate and reinvent ourselves as a business and in what we can offer.

So we have decided the question we need to be asking ourselves as a business and team is:

 ‘What is our Colosseum’?

As long as we keep asking ourselves – How do we improve? What can we do differently to deliver a better result? What’s in the best interest of our customer’? – then we will continue to innovate.

When we get caught up in comparisons and replicating then we run the risk of being imitators!

Let me leave you with this question…what’s your Colosseum?


About David Harrison

Recognised as a Business Solutions Expert, Sales Management Consultant and CRM Specialist. A ‘future’ enthusiast with a love for innovation, David is always looking for easier, better and more efficient ways to solve problems.

As founder and CEO of The Essential Group, David has helped thousands of business navigate the ever changing landscape of business and I enjoy mentoring tomorrow’s brightest entrepreneurs.

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