How Would You Describe a Great CEO?

December 27, 2009

Q: “As many of us are aware, you have been an acting CEO for several
major organizations and have been the behind the scenes advise to many
of us, me included. As a CEO and recipient of your assistance, I’d like to
know how you define or what qualities you think a CEO should possess to be a true leader.” (Myron S., CEO – Pre-Engineered Buildings)

A: Wow! That’s one of the most complimentary questions I have been asked all year. Thank you.

In my humble opinion, a consummate CEO must possess “at least” the following traits;

1. Intuitive people skills
2. Very strong execution skills
3. Intrinsic support of the executive team
4. Capability to adjust to rapid changing environments
5. Has without hesitation the willingness to delegate and trust
6. Develop key components in the method business is conducted
7. Cleverness to bring the team together as one because THEY want it
8. Doesn’t look at his/her workforce membership as headcount but rather abilities
9. Recognizes workforce implications on the front side rather than on the back side
10. Proficiency in the development of internal talent while searching for new skill sets
11. Is not only a great communicator but encourages the entire team to hone their communication skills and use them without question every day
12. And did I mention INTUITIVE PEOPLE SKILLS?

When I meet with a new company or client there are many questions that I ask. As an example of a few questions and their answers that are usually defining indicators of why business is or is not the way it could or should be in any given organization.

How would you answer these for your company?

A. How is the U.S. Mail handled when it arrives at the office?
a. Does one person open all the mail no matter who it is addressed to?
B. Do you maintain a telephone log in the event an employee needs to make a long distance call not relative to company business?
C. What is the average tenure of an employee at this company?
D. And what I believe is absolutely one of the most important ones….. “At this company, which statement is most accurate about our culture?
a. “You must earn my trust.”
b. “You must earn my distrust.”

Think about point “D” above and try to envision my interpretation of either answer. I typically ask that one question to every employee I have the opportunity to meet with face to face.

These four questions usually speak volumes to me when it comes to an evaluation and performance, as a hand’s on working CEO. It’s all about the people, trust, determination, fairness, growth and not falling into complacency traps of business as usual. I hope I have answered your question. We are all leaders in our own right and the call to grow is ours. Be a great leader and/or be a great follower. But remember, all great leaders know when to be a great follower.

In one week from today we will look at 2009 in our rear view mirror. Making 2010 a year filled with positive results, great success stories and happiness lies squarely on each of our shoulders. The proverbial ball is truly in your court. Are you going to let the ball bounce to a slow deadly stop or are you going to return the ball with enthusiasm, gusto and determination?

I always welcome any comments and remember if we can assist you or your organization in any way in 2010, please call or write and we will respond immediately. Have a Safe and Happy New Year!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, Iowa


Do You Talk Too Much?

December 19, 2009

Q: I was riding with a salesman recently and during the conversation with the buying authorities, I was amazed and a bit uncomfortable at just how much he talked and dominated the conversation. In fact I estimated he talked about 80% of the time.

A: This is a trait against which sales professionals need to constantly guard against. Because you are being asked to be the "expert" and provide “advice” in many forms to the client, one might assume that the bulk of conversation would flow from sales to client.

However, this would only be true if the sales professional already knew everything possible about the client's immediate need and/or organization. This is rarely the case, especially in the beginning of the engagement. At this point (especially at this point), a sales person risks shutting off the desire or willingness of a client to open up with information and opinions if he or she does all the talking.

Take the "talker test." If your answer to any of these five questions is yes then you may need to consciously work on moderating your domination of client conversations.
1. First, do you feel you have to explain your point in complete detail because each element is important for the client to understand every nuance?
2. Second, do your explanations or comments usually last more than 45-60 seconds?
3. Third, does at least one of the people listening to your talk, show signs of distraction or not listening?
4. Do you find yourself explaining or interpreting your comments, by making statements like, “….what I mean by that is….?”
5. Finally, do others seem to have a hard time breaking in to the conversation (assuming you even notice this)?
These are all indicators that you are monopolizing the conversation.

Tip: If it is OK with your client, record a selling session and count how much time you take control, versus the client or staff. If you are talking for more than 30 seconds at a time or more than 25% overall, then you need to look for ways of listening more and talk less.

On behalf of the love of my life, my wife Denise and our staff, we’d like to wish you, your family and business associates a very happy Merry Christmas.

George F. Mancuso, CPC


Are Your Services or Products a Wise Investment?

Q: Are your services or products a wise investment for the buying public?

A: In months and years past, clients and/or prospects called us out of the blue and “wanted to buy” and we usually “wanted to sell.” But the new normal business pattern brings with it more prudent buyers, research from the Internet, validated referral lists and a higher level of expectation for the same or less money.

As business owners, sales and management staff, we need to continually make the case that our services and products ARE a wise investment. Albeit the bar has been raised by the buyer, the wise business man/woman is raising their own bar as well. “Give me a reason to buy” is the cry from the business world. My response is simple…..”GIVE THEM A REASON TO BUY!” No excuses because as I have repeated in many Desk of Gman messages over the last several months, it’s not business as usual.

If you will AND we both know you CAN raise the bar and provide a result far beyond the buying expectation and become the new or continued growth partner with your clients. Don’t look around, because there isn’t anybody that is going to do it for you. Take control of your business life. Every day of your business life, substantiate that your services and/or products are a wise investment.

When you find yourself deep in the valley, reflect back when you were standing on top of the hill. CONVINCE YOURSELF you are capable of standing on the top of that hill everyday and your attitude and determination will carry you far. The buying public will feed off of your energy, your expertise and your confidence. I’d challenge anyone to argue against being on top of the hill far, exceeds the alternative.

Just eighteen days left in 2009 and I can only hope that you have enjoyed a decent year. But more importantly that you have your plans defined and your determination is at its highest level to carry you successfully through 2010.

As always, your comments are welcome. If I or any of the Gman staff can be of assistance to you in the days, weeks or months to come, please call or write and we will respond immediately. Have a tremendous week.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA


Learn to Demonstrate Value

December 6, 2009

Q: Premature Elaboration;
What is the best (or even a good) way to demonstrate the most value for your services during initial discussions with the prospect.

A: We are often so eager to show how much we know that we don't wait until the client has fully explained where his or her organization is, how it got there and completely understand the issues or needs that they have. As soon as some sales people, management people and/or consultants hear a problem they think they have recognized and solved the issues before the speaker is finished speaking. Many times they are way too quick to show how much they believe they know because they think this is the way to the buyers’ heart. Many times over the years I have made the statement, “….it’s better to be thought the fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Even when you have solved the presumed problem, you owe the client the opportunity to describe why it’s a need or an issue for the organization and the nature of the solution for which they are willing to engage you. Hold your conclusions until you have explored the issues together. Remember, it is about addressing the client's problem, not showing how smart you are. Your lights will shine bright once you put their pain to rest.

Tip: The title of this tip says it all. Not that every analogy is appropriate but initial sales -client conversations can be considered like dating: show exceptional respect, listen more than talk, and think longer term.
Have a tremendous week and remember that your comments are always welcomed. Call or write if I can be of any assistance.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


Building Your Client Base

November 29, 2009

I am often asked, "....which do you think is more important in growing my client base - filling the hopper with leads in the front end or transforming cold leads to warm ones?"

This question could be easily answered if every sales personality was the same. Some sales folks don't like to sell or cultivate prospects/clients. They would rather step into the sales arena and say, "hi my name is Bill, and how do you like me so far? Where's the order?"

Then there is the other end of the spectrum and the development of closing of the sale becomes laborious, boring and balances on the hopeful.

Many times we get a stack of business cards or a referral from a friend or colleague telling us we should meet this person or receive an inquiry from a person who is not quite ready to buy. But the bottom line in any and all sales arenas includes a formal mechanism, a solid definition and filled with professional determination. Consequently, it is not identifying people to put into your hopper that is the limiting factor, but moving them from stage to stage and eventually turning them into buying clients.

I believe it is important that we have a plethora of potential clients. And I too have used the term "hopper" on many occasions, but it is not just having the hopper filled that turns them into buying clients.

If we think in the terms of farming, where the farmer prepares the ground, plants the seeds, cultivates and irrigates the land, supports and watches over his/her field, we are more accurately representing what is needed to develop prospects into buying clients. Bottom line, you need both but without always acting in a defined, determined professional manner, the yield of your harvest may become distressed at best.

The first week of December is now upon us and as always I wish you the absolute best. If I can be of any assistance, please call or write and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, Iowa


Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?

“….Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?”

I recently had the privilege of meeting with the owners of a construction firm that has a national footprint, to discuss the growth path of their organization into 2010. A successful company by most any standards, they like all of us, would like to move up to the next level and wanted my advice. (That always makes me feel GD).

During the course of the rather lengthy conversation and interview process they explained to me how instrumental and effective their Internet presence was in delivering leads to them on a daily basis. I personally do not hear the loud cries of success from a company’s website, so I was a bit skeptical. “How many leads in a month would you estimate that you receive” I asked. 300 was the answer! Yes that wasn’t a typographical error, they said, “THREE HUNDRED LEADS A MONTH!” Holy Smokes! 300 leads a month???? In this economy or any economy, that is fabulous!

Then I asked the logical question…..”What is your percentage of closes?” Sadly, that percentage was extremely low. So I asked to speak to the sales manager and asked about their quoting process. The explanation was, “we get a great deal of simple quotes. Many of those I can turn around in a couple of minutes. But it’s the ones that give us a great deal of detail that take the most time and usually turn into sales.”

The short version of this conversation is, the sales department quoted whatever came across their monitor from an Email quote request. Even those inquiries who state; “Do Not Call Me, I Just Want a Quote.” So of course I asked the next logical question, “….Are you being paid by the number of quotes you complete in a day?” Of course the answer was no.

So my recommendations were as follows;

1. You must create a reason to speak with the prospect
2. You do not send any financial information to any prospect who doesn’t want to be contacted unless you create a reason to get involved in a open dialog.
3. In even a simple quote, you must initiate the request with a question that forces them to respond. i.e. “I am working on your proposal but have a couple of questions for you. Please advise a good time and phone number for me to call you or please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX”.
4. Sending blind quotes is an exercise in futility. Have sales people ever made a sale from a blind quote? Of course but you are dealing with thin air. You must get the prospect in the game or if NOT in the game at all; have the discipline to walk away.
5. Don’t give prospects ammunition that can be used against you if the proposed project turns into a price war.
6. In ALL sales cases you must create and sell value. Without value, the quote is only a number on a piece of paper. Have you ever given a quote to a prospect and then out of nowhere they tell you they are going with another firm? Of course, we all have, but who is to blame in that scenario?
7. If the low number takes ALL no matter what, then it’s a sand box you should not have been playing because it’s their game and their rules and those rules are stacked against you.
8. It’s not business as usual if you want to survive. Think outside the box is a term we have all heard, but few achieve. Complacency kills companies. Complacent employees kill companies. Complacent owners and managers kill companies. Again I say, IT IS NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL if you want to survive.

Have a tremendous week. If I can assist in anyway, please call or write and I will respond immediately!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA 50112


Is The CFO Overriding The Sales Plan?

QUESTION: We are truly a sales driven team of tangible big ticket items. We are constantly coming up with new or improved methods to differentiate ourselves from the competition. But our marketing and sales plans seem to continually get hijacked by the finance department, who focus on daily or month to month data and not long term goals. How do we get over the CFO’s wall of resistance?

ANSWER: There is little doubt my answer to this multi-company corporate problem will probably bring a touch of anger from our readers within the finance arena. Although we’ve all got an intricate place in the company structure, I continually state that companies should be managed by a management team that tends to lend itself to the sales side. However with that said, Performance Management Systems can be developed to help win over the finance men and women.

Performance measurement systems are affected by the very culture of the group designing and using them. There is nothing wrong with a financial reporting system, but this should not be confused with a performance management system. The latter is intended to guide an organization to results. The finance function, however, is embedded in a culture of risk avoidance and control. The effect of that perspective is to focus on process, accuracy of predictions and variance with expected data.

How much variation in month to month results are typical for your industry? Are long-term trends heading in the right direction? Does your executive team have evidence that past variance with plans is a good predictor of failure to meet goals? Is there a basis to believe this is the case now? Is the finance function being given undue influence over business operations? Remember, accounting is a trailing indicator and, while a provider of important data, it is a supporting function and should not be confused as a business driver.

Discuss with your finance group about a performance measurement system designed for your specific culture, perspective and the impact each department will have on providing data and interpreting that data. Talk about how decisions will be made if one set of data is well outside of expected predictions. How are accountabilities to be set, i.e., how much allowance is appropriate for variance and who is accountable for "fixing" that variance? Have these conversations during the design phase and it will help reduce conflicts with regard “a number” rather than measuring progress against long-term organizational objectives.

As always, your comments are welcome. Please accept my wishes for an outstanding week! If we can assist in any way, call or write and we will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources


Expanding Your Sales Horizons


Q: As the economy rebounds, what suggestions do you have
for broadening my sales prospects, thus growing my own business?

A: Race car drivers accelerate coming out of a turn instead of waiting for the straightaway. This is also a good model for sales people. What areas of the economy and your market are going to be slow to recover or never recover? Which of your clients will YOU stand by if it takes longer to get back to their former strength? What trends were YOU counting on that are picking up strength or were shut off by a changing economy? Now is a great time to be looking at regional and/or national trends to identify where you can begin to cultivate opportunities.

Many major trade organizations publish on occasion a "state of the industry" summary. Recognizing that these are promotional to some extent, they still contain good information on current structure, capacity, demand for products, and changes in production practices or consumption of its products. Also consider government reports that address more macro trends or longer term trends. These reports, even if they are not in your industry, can provide some deep insights into how the economy is changing and where your opportunities may lie.

Tip: If the trade association for your industry has no such "State of the Industry" research, and you feel reasonably sure you know a lot about the industry, suggest teaming up with the association's research staff in developing such a report. This is something their members would value and what better way to get known as the "industry expert" than to have the implicit endorsement of a trade association.

Now with all this said, I would strongly encourage you keep a positive mind, positive attitude, positive speech pattern, positive body language and develop my “SURE ‘NUF” thought process. And if missed that in one of my previous newsletters, here it is again:

“My thoughts of today are programming my tomorrow!” SUR ‘NUF. You wake up in the morning, put your feet over the bed, look out the window and say to yourself, “it’s going to be a lousy day!” SURE ‘NUF! You tell yourself, “this State is so depressed, I’ll never sell enough to make a living.” SURE ‘NUF! So the call is yours.

Get your proverbial act together, get into the field, be a leader and make things happen. If you are lazy and are waiting for somebody else to do it then hand it to you, the time has come to change professions. Without sales teams growing themselves and their companies, the company ceases to exist. The burden is on OUR shoulders. US the sales professionals of the world.

As always , enjoy your week and your comments are always welcome.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


Are You In Uncharted Terriroty?

Is this really uncharted territory?

Last week’s “From The Desk of Gman” brought a tremendous barrage of Emails. And although every single one of them was in favor of my message, the Emails themselves seem to contain mixed messages with regards the thought process. I would like to share a few of the messages, but I want to clarify to the executive/owner levels within this readership, the following;

1. A good leader will actively solicit ideas, suggestions and future plans from their staff and/or employees.
2. The message wasn’t about hammering employees into submission, but to extract and utilize their talented contributions. And with that said, I truly hope this doesn’t continue to be uncharted territory for you.
3. The method isn’t, “….do it my way…..OR comply or fly….OR it’s just business!”
4. The discussion about long term employees was and is relevant because;
a. They have a tendency to “make you feel comfortable” and that masks the real problems
b. The finger is never pointed at them, it’s always somebody else’s fault
c. They are the supreme authority and no matter what lip service they may give, they are always right
d. They will do and say anything to “save their space” within the organization
5. You must remember that a leader is someone who people WANT to follow and a manager is one who is appointed. Ask yourself the following and don’t rationalize or lie to yourself with regards the intrinsic answers;
a. Does your manager/leader have a reputation that everybody seems to dislike him/her?
b. Have you lost good employees without a real explanation?
c. Have major catastrophes seemed to have snuck up on the company and nobody in a manager or leadership role saw it coming?
d. If everybody around “me” complains about these entrenched “no it all’s” can everybody else be wrong?
6. If you don’t act or react soon, I promise you this……One morning you will wake and it will be too late. Your company will be pushing up daisies and you will kick yourself for years to come.
7. If your staff is working with great precision, there is no dissention amongst the troops, they look out for each other, they enjoy coming to work every day, and they work with tremendous diligence to achieve personal and business goals, then two suggestions immediately come to mind;
a. Either The Gman has already been there OR
b. I’d like to be invited to visit your company to learn how and why


A. “…..this week’s message was especially relevant, as my employer just terminated one of those Nabobs of negativity, who pretty much thought the sun rose each morning to hear him crow.
Absolutely, the atmosphere and morale here is now fresh and thriving, and the business appears to be poised once again to see positive growth; it will obviously take some time, but even in a slow economy, smart, hard work is always rewarded. Thank you for your article; it keeps me mindful that NO ONE is irreplaceable.”

B. “….It sounded “vaguely” familiar to a situation I’ve encountered in the past. Maybe that bank you helped was the one where I worked??  I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your comments and think you’ve definitely hit the construction nail on the head with this one!!
C. “….Our Company has one of those owners pet you referred to. We have lost a great many talented people and those of us who are left are treated with tremendous disrespect. Everything is a secret, the buck continually gets passed and the employment life expectancy of any one of us who have been honest and loyal for many years, balances on the whim of one “king” not to mention the owners attitude on any given day. It is terrible at best. Thanks for sharing; you really know what you are talking about. Companies you work for should thank their proverbial lucky stars to have you in their court. I believe that so much, I’m going to try and get you introduced to our husband and wife owners.”

I’d like to close today with a great quote I heard this week; “I’m not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I Love today!”

Have tremendous week and as always, your comments are welcome. If I can be of any assistance in any way, please call or write and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


Are you recovering or is it business as usual?

Are you trimming down expenses in your company? Reducing your head count? Cutting employee wages? Reducing marketing expenditures? Restricting corporate travel? Does the recession continue to keep your company in a squeezed down vise, even though you are making changes? Are your revenues down? Your company just doesn’t seem to be in a recovery mode? Is it possible that your logical vision and decision making process might be impaired? Maybe just maybe, the answer is in the office next to you!

[NOW] do I have your undivided attention?

I have heard the above scenario many times over in the last few months from clients all over the U.S., including 3 phone calls I received last weekend. This is serious times folks and this is an extremely serious message.

Many of my clientele have long term employees and I have always been a solid believer that you do what you can to save those you have a great deal of time and money invested in. But when I speak with owners about the questions above, it quickly becomes apparent that although they are making cosmetic changes and disrupting lives and believe it is under the cost cutting flag of survival, the reality is “IT IS BUSINESS AS USUAL!”

When I do company evaluations, there are typically individual(s) who reek of negativity. They give the bosses great lip service, but hide under the guise that they are way too important to lose be absent from the organization and/or their job. And to further compound the problem the client/owners have become complacent and continue to take the path of least resistance. When suggestions are made via an outside consultant or a well meaning employee, it typically gets vetoed by the senior employee and then they “make” the boss give the bad news. But employees are stupid and they know the pecking order has caused some of these difficult times. Most times the owners, “just don’t get it!”

In most cases, this senior employee is really the owners pet…..right hand man/woman…..has their hands in everybody’s mess kit most of the time….nosey, and typically a non-conformist. But the owners miss the sign(s) and keep cutting wages, cutting personnel etc. without any concept of “what could be.” And why you might ask yourself? Because the senior employee has “mentally” convinced the owner(s) that if he/she leaves, the company will be in tremendous distress or even close. And sadly the owners buy into this because they are in fear of discord or a mutiny. But what would happen if that senior employee would die quietly in his/her sleep tonight? Would the company continue on tomorrow?

One of my clients is a small regional bank in Iowa, in a town whose population is less than 8,000. The President had a senior manager, who I identified as the core of his personnel problems, (especially the revolving door of people). His administrative and teller employees always looked mad. It was obvious within hours of the three days that I spent there, that the morale was low, business was down and the intangible costs were soaring. He was convinced that not only would employees walk if he terminated her, but because of the small community it would affect his business in a negative way as well.

I convinced him otherwise and on a Monday morning the deed was done. The negativity was gone, employees could be themselves, smiles everywhere and later the President remarked that from that day forward, employees even dressed different. And much to his surprise, his business started to come back and in fact he was again a strong competitor against the other four banks in town. His job applications hopper started to get filled again, because the “locals” now knew it was a good place to work AND BANK.

This story is the reality of management folks. If you are not 100% into your management game, and all the subjects in the Questions above seem to be looming large over you, maybe just maybe, the fix in the next office. Seek outside help and pay attention to suggestions. Ask other key employees away from Mr. or Miss Negativity and respect their input and their feelings.
I had a business owner tell me just this last week, “….everybody that comes in here, tells me that I need to terminate her, including my banker. AND all of the General Managers I have had, never got the termination job done and she remains here today.” Key phrase here is “all of the General Managers….” Meaning he has gone through several but the senior employee always makes the cut.

To whom do you think I pointed the proverbial finger? That’s right the owner, because I believe he would not allow this to happen. Even though six executives in and out of his business gave him the same advice, it wasn’t his idea and the comfort zone far outweighed what he perceived as the risk. “He just didn’t get it!”

As I stated at the beginning, this is a very serious message. I hate to hear about companies closing or beating up their employees to survive. And I certainly don’t want to suggest that all long time employees need to be walked to the door. I can’t solve all the problems of the business world via my weekly newsletter, but if I have motivated the thinking process into a few of your heads and you REALISTICALLY and HONESTLY evaluate their long term key people, I have achieved my goal of the week. As always your comments are welcome and respected.

If I can of any assistance, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Have a tremendous week.

George Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources


A Great Sales Presentation

October 11, 2009

As most of you are aware, I am currently acting CEO for a national manufacture in N.E. Kansas. Within this role I was contacted by the WTS Paradigm Company (www.wtsparadigm.com) with a request to “show me” their software, especially designed for certain manufactures and supply chains. I will preface this story by telling you, that Lyn Hartl the President and developer absolutely thought of everything. This software takes a back seat to no other which of course helps to sell the product! But this story is about the sales process, which was quite impressive to say the least.

1. I received a call from Scott, the BDM. He was low key, defined in his voice and spoke with authority. He knew his product, the service they provide and he knew his limitations. I agreed to watch an online webinar demo, especially for our company and he explained it would take about 90 minutes. He let me know, this software was powerful and I wouldn’t be sorry.
2. He made a scheduled call to me the day before and we spent 30 minutes going over what would be most important to the company within the scope of their software. He explained to me that Lyn Hartl the President of the company was “personally” going to conduct the demo. And yes I did feel important.

3. The day of the presentation was everything it was cracked up to be. No fluff, no hard closes, just proof of how this could alleviate the shortcomings of our current programs. And yes he continually had subtle closes in the form of getting me to agree to the value(s) and how it would make a positive impact on our organization.

4. At the end of the demo, we had a short question and answer session, and then he asked more about our business. From that he informed me that they price accordingly to each individual company and that his team would discuss pricing and get back to me. Wow special pricing for just us.

5. Then I received an Email, requesting that I sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before they are willing to give me pricing! What the heck? I’ve got to sign an NDA to get pricing? Are you kidding? Nope, they weren’t kidding and after I stopped laughing, I signed it. I’m thinking this has got to be the greatest closing tool ever.

6. Next day I get a call from Joel, the VP of Operations and he “personally” wants to go over this with me. Wow, special pricing that I can’t talk about, the President, VP of Ops and the BDM all giving me special attention and a product and/or service would rank 10 on the HOLY SMOKES scale.

7. And they weren’t through…They were filled with handling objections from a “preemptive strike position.” They covered the potential objections, mainly price, before I could ask. They had all the answers.

For those of you who have attended my sales and management seminars, you will know that I have always preached (known as a Mancusoism) there is 3 points to the sale. Know yourself and your limitations, know your product/service like nobody else and all that it leaves is finding out the prospects pain, set his hair on fire and you become the fire extinguisher. Nice Job WTS Paradigm! It proves professionalism in sales arena is alive and well.
Have a tremendous week. If I can assist in any way, please call or write and I will respond immediately!


The Talent War

We all know demographics and economic forces are conspiring to create a "talent war." If we are not in the human resources or workforce management consulting areas, how can we best help our clients?

Great question. It is logical to think that with the recession, the pressure to find talent might be reduced for a few years. Good employees are going to stay while those around them are being laid off or are wary of changing jobs and losing any seniority. However, consider a survey by salary.com earlier this year that found, even in this recession, that 2 of 3 employees were actively or passively looking for jobs. This is almost twice the rate employers estimated.

The most talented employees are logically looking for opportunities inside and outside the companies in which they work. As the economy undergoes major shifts, more opportunities and new challenges will certainly open up at other companies. Because they will remember how they and their colleagues were treated when times were tough, they will act on bad treatment as soon as the economy improves. Probably the best thing you can do for your client is to assure that they clearly show their employees how valuable they are and to carefully consider what may be considered by employees as a lack of loyalty.

Executives must level with employees, even letting them know that they don't know. Historically, this may not have been the right advice, but in this environment, when your best employees are more mobile than ever (and more are Gen X and Gen Y, for whom loyalty means less than for Boomers), disclosure and engagement are critical.

Tip: Joe Pine who wrote, "The Experience Economy; Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage", and others, talk about how increasingly important experience is to a brand. This is true for employees as well as customers. Help your client make the employee experience more meaningful and trusting by not focusing on negotiating benefits, or promising more benefits when the economy turns around. If layoffs occur, use your skills in technology, strategy, process, or other discipline to help your client understand what elements of those activities in which you are an expert employees find most valuable or most significantly impact the employee experience.

The 4th quarter is now in full swing and hopefully you and your organization are working your plan to close out 2009 with tremendous success. If I can assist in any way, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Have a great week.

NEXT WEEK: Next week I’m going to tell you a short story about a Wisconsin based company that made an outstanding and professional sales presentation to me. I was so inspired by their defined process I asked and received permission from their president to tell their story.


George F. Mancuso CPC


Values of Testimonials

September 27, 2009

Q: In your experience, do prospective clients pay attention to testimonials? My company is a sales and service organization with both tangible and intangible offerings and we’ve been in business slightly over 6 years. I’ve told my team they we need to solicit and post on our website comments from satisfied customers both current and past. Do you agree? (Arthur P., Omaha, NE)

A: Remember that selling has a great deal to do with not only the perception of competence, but the concept of confidence as well. A testimonial is one way to lower the [mental] perceived risk that the intangible and/or intangible service a client is about to buy are plausible, realistic and risk free or at least "low risk." When you ask a client for a testimonial, think more about what a risk-averse executive or manager needs to hear and request the testimonial address the risk issues they considered in buying from you.

First, consider the greatest value your clients have received. What have they said was the most important benefit you provided? Then build your requested testimonial around that. Consider including the following, in a sequence that works best for you;
• The project issue or challenge (the preamble for why product or services were required)
• The intended outcome of the engagement (the value provided)
• The actual outcome (especially longer term, in unit terms of dollars, output, or other measure that might translate to a prospective client)
• The reason the client selected your firm (this is the key element to convincing the next client why they should select you, and should include why any reservations were quickly overcome by your performance)
• The core strength you brought to the project (what aspect of your firm's offering you want to highlight)
• The reason the client selected you above other consultants (here is the second most important aspect of the testimonial to induce your prospect to select you)

NOTE: Think about the points above when you are writing your printable marketing pieces or updating the presentation of your website. Use these concepts to make your company standout and demonstrate why “YOU” and not “another firm.”

Tip: There is good value in planning your "testimonial portfolio" to be a working part of your sales and marketing tools. Consider the range of compelling reasons you would like to place before a prospect. Since each testimonial can't realistically present all of these reasons, work with your client to create a testimonial that fills the gaps.

P.S. Clients are less impressed by a testimonial about a firm when it doesn't necessarily relate at all to the buyers proposed needs. If possible, collect testimonials for the individuals on the team rather than the firm in general. People relate to people.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


"You're Not In Our Budget"

September 20. 2009

Q: More than once this year I have heard, “….I’m sorry, we just don’t have the budget to fund this project right now.” We are a service organization and after working diligently understanding their needs and defining a proposal, these kind of turn downs dig right into the inner soul. Do you have any thoughts on this subject? (Charlie M., CPA Firm, Columbia, SC)

A: The budget closing objection is similar to several others, including the implicit objection that your price is too high for the work or value proposed. It is about perceived value. This can result from not talking to the person who will benefit directly from your product or service, thus a lower perceived value than you want.
Second, you may be facing a competitive pressure from other vendors of services, even attorneys, accountants and engineers, all of whom may be facing market pressures to lower their fees. Third, this may just be a negotiation technique to see how much money the client can save (we are not the only ones who use "closing techniques").

Assuming you are talking to the qualified buyer and the one whose problem you are solving, it is critical to find out how much your services are worth to the client. One way is to not beat around the bush and just ask, "I understand you are cutting back on many investments, so tell me how much budget is available to improve sales efficiency by 20% (or whatever you are proposing)?" If the answer is "none" then your conversation under these terms is pretty much over.
Another service, another outcome or another buyer is called for. If they say "around $40,000," then you can, without cutting your daily fee if you are charging on a time and materials basis, start the discussion about trimming services to available budget. You should always be prepared with alternative formulations of your project (e.g., what could you do for 25%, 75% and 150% of your proposed fee).

Tip: Budget objections are always tied to value. If your client was sued, they wouldn't say, "We just don't have the budget to defend ourselves," or if there was an office flood, they wouldn't say, "We can't afford to clean up the damage." Your services just need to be altered to find that value.
This begins week four of September 2009. Have you prepared for the defined dash to the finish line? Have a great week and call or write if you need me and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, Iowa


Reinvent Your Team

George a friend of mine works for a company where you recently got involved in reinventing their organization. He did share with me some of your philosophies, but I would appreciate you providing me/us with a few salient points that I can share in the process of strengthening with my team.

My mantra hardly changes much from company to company. I say this because I have always contended that in most any company, it is PRIMARILY about people. All of the people, customers included. So here is the short version of this concept:

1. ACCOUNTABILITY; Every employee must take ownership and accountability of their actions. No excuses, YOU MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. I don’t accept finger pointing and my method of resolving issues is simple. I get both or all parties of conflict in the room immediately upon being aware and then it starts something like this…..”….He said that you said XXX. Is that true?” Then I turn it around. Believe me once the word gets spread that people can’t pass the buck, the buck passing stops.
2. PROPRIETARY SPACE: We have to be very careful here as people who are insecure seem to take invasion of their space, very personal. But on the other hand there are employees who just want to have their nose stuck in everybody else’s business. The later reminds me of the great big arm at the waste treatment plant…..continuingly stirring the matter! Spend your concentration and effort in YOU doing a good job and if one of your fellow employees is in some difficulty, offer to help don’t just impose yourself upon them. You can get more bees with honey than you can with vinegar.
3. YOUR REPLACEMENT; I am a firm believer that we should always be training our replacement. And when I state that, I inevitably hear, “well if I train her to do my job then they won’t need me here.” This of course is ridiculous and counterproductive to any professional team. What happens if someone experiences a catastrophic event in their lives and can’t work? Why not have the replacement trained and ready. Or what if a promotion comes along and you don’t get it because there is no one to take your place? In this day and age, it is very common and pretty much expected that loyal employees are willing and able to function in multiple roles. The more you know and the more you contribute, the more valuable you become.
4. COMMUNICATION; In most companies, communication is at an all time low. One almost has to pry or extract in some way, needed information. Communicate via Email, written notes, telephonically or in person, but communicate with each other. Don’t believe that just because you’ve been employed at your company for a long period of time, you can come and go as you please. Communicate with each other. Learn about each other. Have healthy open discussions to help each other understand the goals, paths and/or expectations. And did I mention, “communicate with each other?”

There are 3½ months left in 2009 and this is arguably, the most important 100 days of the year. This is the time people and companies make decisions to spend before the year comes to an end or what they are going to buy in the first quarter. Be sure to set yourself in position to get your piece of the sales pie as well.

Have a tremendous week. I know those are my plans as well. Call or write if I can assist you in any way.


George F. Mancuso, CPC


Follow Up To Last Week's Newsletter

September 6, 2009

Last week I presented 7 not so nice Emails and asked you to vote on the worst one. Email #5
was the winner with #3 being a close second. I did receive 57 responses with comments and
decided to share two of those as they seemed to echo what most of the Emails to me were saying.
Next week we will get on to another subject, but I do hope you have enjoyed the last couple of weeks of this newsletter.

“I think my favorite one is number 5 for two reasons. First of all, it starts with the classic “It has come to my attention…”, secondly it assumes that communication with customers and suppliers is bad and not even worthy of qualifying as a “daily task.”
I can see the point that needed to be made behind most of the messages though, and each one strikes at the same general failure – addressing the entire population when one or two people might really need direction or assistance. I’ve seen this over the years in managers who are conflict averse – it’s easier for them to address the entire population and hope peer pressure or anonymous embarrassment will take care of the issue instead of having to speak to anyone directly”.
Good stuff 

“Hi George, I find most of these, offensive because in our work place, our employees are all of the caliber of top notch, work ethic driven people with good minds and trust-worthy work habits. We treat our people like adult, responsible and caring persons.

When I hear about managers or business owners who treat their employees like children or slaves, (which I thought most of these notices did) I think that they have only the profit motive in mind and forget that people all have minds and desires that aren't all that different from themselves. So I rely heavily on the Golden Rule, and I don't mean the rule which says, “He who has the gold rules"! Thanks for your sharing”.


Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day, not to mention a tremendous week!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources


Condesending Emails

August 30, 2009

Q: As I promised in last week’s newsletter, here are only a few of the condescending ACTUAL Emails and/or posted notices that have been sent by upper management to their employees. Some are laughable, some are sad but most all are demeaning, uncalled for and ridiculous. The mannerisms, the wording and the intended content could have been more professionally stated, but because these folks think they are omnipotent leaders, they get away with this. And they wonder why employees resign.

1. A: "Just a reminder to take care of all personal matters before you punch in. This includes personal hygiene, morning beverages or food, or any other personal task that is not directly work related. You should not be attending to any of these matters once you have punched in to start your work day."
4. “I want all the folks here to prioritize their time when responding to emails. Write them out when you have quite time and your thoughts are focused other than during the responsibilities of the day.”
5. “It has come to my attention that most of you are receiving lots of Emails from customers and vendors. Please notify those people to keep their Emails to business issues only and I’d appreciate it if you’d respond to them during breaks or after hours so it doesn’t take away from your daily tasks.”
6. “Clear your desktop of all distractions when you plan to respond to Emails. If you don’t have time right now, send the person and Email and let them know when they can expect to hear back from you. Then wait to respond to the Email when you are free of distractions.”
7. NOTICE: Office will be cleaned on Saturday. Each employee is responsible for dusting, cleaning their own desk and surrounding furniture as is written in each office employees’ job description. Also each employee is responsible for picking up around his or her area if they want their floor vacuumed. The shelves on unit by water cooler where coffee pot and supplies are located are to be cleaned by office employees who use the coffee area.

Let’s take a vote…..Which one above is your favorite. I will post results in next week’s newsletter.

September is here, I hope it turns out to be a great one for you both personally and in your business life. Call or write if I can assist in anyway.


Do You Have Stinking Thinking?

August 16, 2009

Q: Do you have Stinking Thinking?

A: A few months ago I read a report where two different groups of students were given a problem to solve. One group was told, “This problem may not be solvable.” The other group was told that this problem is solvable and a solution does exist, if they would just work together and find it.

To no surprise the second group did better and in fact identified the solution. They had a “can do” mindset and worked through the obstacles until they reached an intended result.

Negativity has destroyed more than one project and I suggest to you that negativty is a process that you need to use very sparingly. To exemplify this, I have always used the term, “SURE ‘NUF” in my everyday life. And SURE ‘NUF rides in tandem with, “my thoughts of today are programming my tomorrow”.

You wake up in the morning, put your feet over the side of the bed and say to yourself, “oh my, this is going to be a terrible day.” SURE ‘NUF!!! OR “I’ll never get this project done in time.” SURE ‘NUF!!

I believe that you need to always maintain an optimistic attitude and maintain the belief that any problem can and will be solved; OR that you can and will make the sale; OR that you can help one of your fellow employees grow; OR that you can and will reach your defined goals. This holds true no matter what your status within your organization may be. And think beyond the company and relate this to your personal life as well.

Your optimism will splash into the lives of the people around you including your clients, employees, peers, subordinates, your kids and even your spouse. What have you got to lose except an aura of Stinking Thinking? Who knows, it might even lower your blood pressure, the stress in your life and improve your health. You’d have to agree me with, the benefits outweigh the negatives. SURE ‘NUF!!

As always please accept my wish for an outstanding week three of August 2009! Your comments are always welcomed and remember, call or write and I will respond immediately with any assistance you may need.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, Iowa


How Can I Help One of My Team Leaders?

August 9, 2009

Q: I own and operate a small Missouri based manufacturing firm with
85 employees +/-. I have a “number 2 guy” who has been with me for
many years and has done some excellent work for us in multiple arenas.
But I’ve come to realize that because of his management style we have lost
many outstanding employees over the years that equate to well over 200
years of experience. I was told recently that the word on the street is; “we are not an employer of choice” and this cut to my inner core. I want to help my organization and this individual without losing him. Can you provide me with a few easy, yet effective suggestions to follow? (Name withheld by request; Columbia, Missouri)

A: If this were “easy” I would have bottled and marketed the solutions years ago. There are many questions that come to mind to help me with logical solutions for you. But without the advantage of those answers, allow me throw out points or ideas, mostly rhetorical in nature to stimulate your thinking process;
1. Have you allowed him to operate unchecked?
2. Is his management style a mirror of yours by him living vicariously through your eyes?
3. Have you counseled with him on a regular basis?
4. Have you requested he set company and personal goals that he shares with you?
5. Do you have a method in place to monitor those goals?
6. Have you personally completed exit interviews with employees who have terminated whether it was voluntary or involuntary, so that you can ascertain just what is going on within your company?
7. Have you taken the time to identify what this executive is doing or saying in your absence that causes these human resource difficulties?
8. Are you confident that you are not a micro-manager and have forced him into his current mode just so he can please you?
9. What is your intrinsic trust level in this individual?
10. Are you blinded by his personal sales/accomplishments and fail to see the big picture?
11. Do you truly believe that running your business is ALL about the people and not just the success of one narcissistic individual?
12. Does this individual know how to “play you” and finger point to keep the real heat off of himself?
13. Do you believe that he is irreplaceable and without him the company would fail?

I would subscribe to you on this beautiful Sunday morning that you soul search your own personality, goals, intended results and growth of your company by the thirteen points above. Be honest with yourself. It’s not easy, but it can be accomplished and if you help this person become aware of the deficits within his management style, your company will see a growth pattern THROUGH and WITH ALL employees.

CAVEAT: He must be sincere in wanting to change as well. Employees see through smoke and mirror talk. Attitudes that are condescending, replete with “I” and not “us” and “we” will typically will work in a negative manner and be extremely counterproductive.
Hopefully these thirteen points will help you get on the right track. Have a tremendous week If I can help, call or write and I will respond immediately!.

George Mancuso


Do You Practice Self Discipline, in the True Sense of the Words?

On Thursday, after the completion of a long twelve month consulting contract, I was making my final trip back to Iowa and had plenty of time for retrospect. As I was traveling the back roads of Kansas, I passed through the town of Phillipsburg and noticed a huge rodeo in progress. The banners all stated that this was the biggest rodeo in Kansas. There were no less than 100 horse trailers and well over 200 horses all around. Cowboys and Cowgirls were everywhere.

It made me think of the self discipline it took over the last year to achieve the goals that were set forth to and by me. I thought, "practice does make perfect", as the adage goes. And the case in point is that rodeos have grown out of a desire on the part of cowboys and cowgirls to demonstrate their skills. Skills they have developed, practiced and utilized everyday on the range. Somewhat like a subtle self discipline.

Their outstanding performances in the rodeo arena are only made possible by the unnoticed preparation day in and day out. The more you practice, the more you prepare, the better you will be. If you want to be the best you can be, you must develop self discipline.

Self Discipline like integrity, is one of those words we are all “pretty sure” we can define. Can you? What is your definition of self discipline? (And of course I’m not speaking about punishment)

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “discipline” includes the field of study; training that corrects molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. And “Self Discipline” is the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

If you say to yourself that you are prone to be somewhat undisciplined, there is a cure for that and it’s called COMMITMENT! If you aren’t committed to your goals, you are just marking time in your organization. And I promise that when you make a commitment public, you typically set in motion powerful forces within your mindset. If you follow that commitment with integrity and exhibit self discipline, you will find that your performance matches your practice time after time.

Have a tremendous week. Call or write if I can be of any assistance.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources


Who is The REAL Team Leader?

Who is the REAL team leader?

If I suggested to you that YOU are the real team leader, would agree or would you be surprised? If I suggested that just because you are on the team, doesn’t mean you can’t be the leader or the star player, would you be surprised at that?

Ulysses S. Grant said, “Leading is easy; the hard part is persuading others to follow.”

Although I do believe that one person should be the overall responsible leader in charge, any successful team is full of leaders. Each of us demonstrated leadership in our own rite. When you were born there wasn’t a program at the hospital checkout counter that included “leadership.” But yet we all have leadership built solidly within us. Some of us choose to be more demonstrative than others, but we’ve all got it.

To be a leader, I personally believe you need 3 elements of expertise;

1. You have to KNOW YOURSELF and all of your abilities to perform
2. You have to KNOW YOUR TRADE, whether it is making a part, providing a service, selling a product or managing a company.
3. You must demonstrate CONSISTENCY in your everyday life. This might possibly be the most important point. 3 examples of this statement are;

A. I know a Senior Vice President of sales who is loved by all of her customers, but bombs with her staff and her family as well. She has alienated her kids and husband and I understand is now even contemplating divorce.
B. I am aware of another person who is a Sales Manager and is considered to be very social and typically the life of most party’s. But when he is at work he makes no effort to make friends or alliances and pretty much stays to himself. But put him in front of an audience and he throws a switch to the on position and turns back to being Mr. Wonderful.
C. I met a team leader in a manufacturing role that has all kinds of friends within the building. But once he leaves the building, he becomes the true definition of a loner.

Why be on a team and be a loner? If you “bill yourself” as a one person show, then you accept the responsibilities on your shoulders of all facets of your daily business and professional life. Why would you want to do that? Why not show your team the leadership skills you have within your circle of expertise and offer it as part of the whole program?

And if you are the team leader in charge, you have a greater responsibility than to just reach a stated goal. You must have the leadership skill to encourage each member to be their own leader and contribute at a level of excellence. In doing this, your team members will have a feeling of exhilaration that will be hard to beat. This will come not only from reaching your team goals, but because they feel great about themselves and the team members around them. Bring out the best in your team and the rewards will be abundant.

I am a huge Vince Lombardi fan and consider him a man I’ve tried to model my own leadership skills from. He took a mediocre Green Bay Packers team, instilled leadership, team skills and the desire to be the best and they went to two Super Bowls. It wasn’t about him; it was about the people around him. “HIS” team, the Green Bay Packers! He never accepted the accolades; he gave them where they were due. But when they lost a game, he accepted that lost as a personal one and vowed to help the team to learn from their mistakes.

In closing today, I again suggest that YOU are the REAL team leader. Have a tremendous week and call or write if I can help in any way. Your comments are always welcome.


George Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


What Are The Qualities of a Leader?

QUESTION: Our organization is full of people that “think” they are leaders. In many cases, I suspect they have yet to wake up from their dream. How would you define a true leader?
(Marsha B, HR Director, Manufacturing)

ANSWER; My immediate response was to start typing with speed for all the things a leader is not. In my consulting practice as well as our recruiting division, we see many “leader want to-be types.” Some are good and many not so good. So please indulge me and I’ll give you what I call a “Mancusoism” which is the way I define a leaders twelve most important qualities;

1. Excellent listener
2. Business like, yet compassionate
3. Truly cares about the success of the people around him/her
4. Untiring perseverance level of willingness to teach others
5. Always gives the accolades of success to his/her team
6. Willing to stand on point when situations don’t quite go as planned
7. Respects the opinion of the people around him/her
8. Encourages staff to develop ideas and plans
9. Micro Managing is not in his/her vocabulary
10. Knowing that the title of manager, doesn’t necessarily make you a leader
11. Communication is an everyday practice
12. Staff always know where they stand with him/her

There is little doubt that I will get Emails with another 12 valid points. But when I talk about the qualities of a leader above, I truly mean that they possess most or all of what I have identified. Most managers who THINK they are leaders but perform poorly at it, typically treat people badly and don’t communicate worth a hoot.

May this week be one of the best of year so far for you and your family. Call or write if I can help in any way.


How do values fit in?

July 5, 2009

Q: Many companies follow the rational strategy development model that includes Vision, Values, Mission, Objectives, AND Strategy. I understand, operationally, how all of these other than values fit in, taking a company forward. What good is spending time figuring out organizational values if nobody pays any attention to them?
(William R., EVP – Construction Industry – Mananas, VA)

A: This statement begs the question of whether it is the poor articulation of values or their lack of use that is the issue. I would agree that too many companies place too little emphasis on defining their values. Even when they do, the values they do articulate are often inspirational and not the values currently espoused or acted on by the management and employees. When they don't, it is frequently because management fails to see how values could be "used" in executing the strategy they have developed.

What we can miss is that values are more foundational in an organization's day-to-day operations than strategies or tactics. If tactics are what you do, then values are who you are. In crafting the long view of strategy, a consensus on values underlies your decision making and problem solving processes. When a problem arises that challenges you in ways not foreseen by strategy, then values are what you must have to reconcile the conflicts in those decisions. For example, how should a company resolve a conflict between an employee and a customer if you haven't had a full conversation about how you honoring employees compared to how you serve customers.

If your company has not had a serious conversation recently about values, you could provide value by facilitating that discussion. Whether your specialization is in leadership, human resources, process management, marketing or any other area, a conversation about values as a way to increase the consistency and fairness of decision making is a natural leadership function.

The beginning of month seven, 2009 is in full swing. Have a great week and a tremendous month.

George F. Mancuso, CPC


Responses to the Hiring Managers of the World

June 28, 2009

Q: HOLY SMOKES! Last week’s newsletter created quite a fire storm of Emails back to me. Some of the horror stories I read about it those Emails made what’s left of my hair, stand on end. After wading through over 100+ Emails, below are a few of the responses that speak for all. Interestingly enough, I did not get any Emails that identified themselves as hiring managers.

A: From Allen S., An information security analyst;
Hi George,
To paraphrase a quote from "Treasure of the Sierra Madre,"
"Ethics? We don't need no stinkin' ethics."
It is a truly severe problem that is destroying America. How can we on one hand advocate for democracy and freedom when we are behaving toward others and ourselves against the very principles we claim to stand for? Hypocrisy does not become us.

And the examples are in all aspects of our society. On the one hand we say we are a society governed by the rule of law, but on the other hand many advocate for special treatment for select groups rather than working to change what may be indeed a very bad law or procedure. Americans are become Janus like figures where the public persona looks one way, but the private looks another.

Alas, I fear for America's future and the welfare of our children.

1. From Peter S., Sales Executive, Orlando, FL

You are on spot with this message. I can personally relate to this message since I have been searching for a new position this year. It is not just the companies HR people and hiring managers but some of the companies’ top executives.

In the past year I have been engaged in several interview processes that have included multiple phone interviews, face to face, etc. with up to President/CEO of companies only for them to fall off the face of the year and not respond to calls or emails. I have never experienced so much unprofessional-ism and like you said we as candidates just want an honest reply. Being in sales I can take a “No”.

I have had companies pull offer letters just before the start date due to economic conditions, this happened twice. Most recently I had a VP of sales shake my hand as I was leaving saying she was going to be calling HR as she drove home to get an offer letter started. Yep, a week later they said they hired someone else, but an inside contact said they never hired anyone. Why lie?
OK I am done venting, in a way I feel better knowing it is not just me but then it also is depressing to know that ethics and professionalism is dying.

a. Companies who take you down the interview path and then fall off the face of the earth.
b. Companies pulling offer letters “Due to economic conditions”, did you not check your budget PRIOR to starting an interview process?
c. If you ask for references particularly past clients I have sold too, call them!!! I respect my past and present clients so if I ask them to be a reference call them!
d. If you ask me for copies of my W2’s you better be prepared to show me yours or an official breakdown of how much your other sales folks have made, stop telling me the OTE is $ 250K+ when you don’t have anyone breaking $ 200K
e. Recruiters – Stop posting fake jobs just to illicit a bunch of resume to build up your DB,
f. Bottom-line yes it sure is an employer’s market right now but it won’t be forever and if you treat people like crap during an interview process if they do join your organization once things turn around they will bolt, you are also hurting your reputation in the market place.

3. From Marian L, Recruiter, Denver, CO;
Employers think their riding high on the wave right now, but they must remember that the wave eventually crashes into the sand. These lack of ethics and professionalism is going to bite them in the butt sooner rather than later. And I for one, will have very little compassion.
And one final commonality paraphrased by me;
PROCRASTINATION; We’re not talking about taking a day or two to think about it, we’re talking about the silence from the lack of communication so that hiring managers can look for just a little bit better candidates. The emotional toll on candidates is deplorable.
I have several final thoughts, but today I think I’ll take the position of enough said. “The People Have Spoken.” 

George Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


What's Wrong With Hiring Managers?

June 21, 2009

Q: What’s wrong with hiring managers? I am a contingency executive recruiter for a major recruiting firm based in the Midwest. And it is my humble opinion, that of late, hiring managers have lost their moral core. They play with candidates emotions, they use me to bring qualified candidates to the table then quietly search for “knock off’s” of my candidate so they won’t have to pay my agreed upon fee. Besides the recruiters in my office, are we the only ones experiencing this?
(Marissa L., Professional Recruiter, Overland Park, KS)

A: The answer is not only no, but HELL NO!!! As most of you know, half of Gman is an executive search model, so believe me when I tell you that I do have first hand current knowledge of this subject.
I have well over 200 recruiter “friends” across the U.S. with whom I stay in touch in one form or another. And they are all talking about this subject. And maybe you are correct in your assessment that their moral cores have been damaged and overcome with greed.

So from two standpoints, please allow me to make these comments:

1. IF YOU ARE A RECRUITER: You must get your client committed to your services. It’s okay to ask if you are going to be competing with them in the search. It’s okay to ask who else is involved in the search. It’s okay for you to set the mutually agreed upon ground rules. And I firmly believe it is critically important for your client to understand that this is how YOU make an honest living.
a. The work we do is very labor intense and many times we go through 10 x 10 candidates to find them 2 or 3 qualified.
b. Be a professional and get all of this out front and verbally spoken.
c. And if your client “burns” you, then wash he/she from your client list forever unless you just like working for free.

2. IF YOU ARE A HIRING MANAGER; Please understand that treating a recruiter like Marisa as described above is poor business, unethical and morally wrong.
a. How would you feel if your professional employees were treated in this manner?
b. Be honest and upfront. If you plan to be involved in the search then make it known.
c. If the recruiter continues then it’s a risk he/she takes.
d. And don’t lie to candidates. If you don’t think it’s a match, tell them. Candidates are capable of hearing the good news and the bad. And if you’re not honest it gives false hope.
e. Treat candidates exactly the way you’d like to be treated if it was YOU seeking employment.
f. The old saying that what goes around, comes around is more true in today’s market than ever.

No doubt this newsletter will come across one sided and those most guilty we become those most offended. Not really sorry, it’s just one of those honesty issues that needs to be said. Never let it be said that I sugar coat the truth. Your comments are always welcome.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.


Are You A Control Freak?


Time to face facts; you won’t be good at everything! In fact, at some things you will be downright terrible. However the bottom line is……”that’s okay.”

Take it from someone who knows. If you don’t do something well, don’t hide it or defend it. Early on in my management career, I learned this simple truth about myself….”I could be a control addict!”

When I got out of the military, (well over 40+ years ago) I managed a fast food restaurant in Rochester, NY and it was staffed with mostly high school boys. When they acted in a manner that I didn’t like, I had a certain pose and standard verbiage ready and waiting. I used to put my hand on my hip and state in a loud voice for all to hear, “SCREW IT, YOU’RE FIRED!” (And you thought Donald Trump coined that phrase.)

The difficulty was that every time I did this, I ended up working that person’s shift. And one day I realized I was the one working 18 hour days because that decent employee was no longer there and probably not deserving of being terminated. In one of my many long and on my feet 18 hour days I did a self inventory trying to find answers to my control freak attitude.

Why did I do that? One word described it nicely. FEAR!

Fear of losing control, fear of trusting others, fear of failure and fear enough that I wasn’t doing well enough and that I wouldn’t make a difference. Needless to say, these ill-fated inner feelings didn’t last long and I learned quickly from my mistakes.

A long time business associate who recently passed away, said to me a few years back, “I wished someone would have told me all this before I accepted the reins as the CEO. In looking back, I was truly a star performer, but I burned myself out in the process. And what’s worse is that I burned out or burned off many good people in the run for excellence.”

So I ask you to take an HONEST inventory of YOU;

Are you a leader or a follower?
Are you a team player or just on the team?
Are you a marketer of ideas or developer of concepts?
Are you a sales professional or a bean counter?
Do you make a difference or happy to just get through the day?
Do you relate to others because you care or what they can do for you?
Are you a know it all one stop decision maker or do you take the advice of people around you?

As you can see the list could go on and on. Where do you fall short? How can you fill in those gaps? Put your thoughts in writing as they will become more meaningful to you and then act on them. Fix you and you’ll help fix the scene around you.

May the sun shine brightly on you this week. If we at Gman Business Resources can be of assistance to you, please call or write and we will respond immediately!


Communication, One Key to Success

May 31, 2009

Q: Our Company is struggling to improve our communications between employees, managers and the executive team. What is the best way to bolster their communication skills?
(Breakdown in Progress, Human Resources Director, financial services, Seattle, WA)

A: The best way to start an engaging conversation with employees is by active listening.


Giving someone your undivided attention is the best way to start an engaging conversation. Eye contact, a relaxed yet alert posture and modulating your voice are essential. Keep in mind that your employees want to receive your message and better understand your situation. Showing empathy, however, does not mean forbidding them from having differing points of view. The object is to find mutual ground.


This involves clearing up confusion to foster greater understanding, without passing premature judgment. In other words, don’t use an attempt to clarify things as an excuse to dismiss another person’s viewpoint. Rather than telling them they’re wrong, soften your approach: “I disagree” or “My data says otherwise” are likely to be more well received.


Part of clarifying things is repeating what someone tells you. This gives the listener a chance to correct your understanding and make sure both sides are on the same page. Providing people with a laundry list virtually ensures that key issues and ideas will be lost. Learning to pause and segment your message helps the receiver catch the gist much quicker. Also, take momentary breaks from the back-and-forth so the parties can ponder and posit new possibilities. That turns active listening into “creative listening.”

Sometimes you may not know what the other person is feeling. Rather than guess, you might say something like: “I know you are on board, but it sounds like you may have some frustration with the decision. Would you care to discuss it?”

Strategize and summarize;

Strategic listening takes active listening to a next level. The goal is more than awareness and empathy. The purpose of such strategic back-and-forth is synergy, a sharing-listening-sharing loop that generates ideas, insights and imagination. It’s important to stop along the way and review and record agreements, unresolved differences and future steps at problem-solving.

As we begin the last seven months of 2009, are you on target to reach your goals? Go forth this week and make a difference in your life and lives of those around you.


What to do about a bad leader

May 24, 2009

Q: I am the HR director at a small company. I have been asked by the CEO to counsel my boss, who is the company President, about his tendency for insulting employees and making racist comments in e-mail messages. The same President has made derogatory comments about me, and retaliated against some employees (including firing) who have brought his defects to light. Morale is extremely low, from district managers to the corporate office, yet our company has never done better financially. As a result, our company's directors don't want to change Presidents. How do I handle his request for me to counsel my own boss?
—Over My CEO but on My Plate, vice President of human resources, real estate, Coral Gables, Florida

A: Dear Over Your CEO:

It’s good that your company is doing well financially, because it appears that in the near future they are going to need those funds to defend the EEOC, Sexual Harassment, and/or Discrimination law suits that typically follow engulf such a leader. In addition it speaks volumes to the blindness of the directors as well.

Before tackling this assignment, have a serious sit-down with the company CEO. And although it would be difficult you must insist the CEO get the Board together without the President so you can make your case to them as well. Be prepared not only from the pain caused by this guy but how the law reads and the legal and financial ramifications and how the long arm of a defense attorney will easily sweep all parties into the fray. This might wake them up.

Two questions jump out immediately: 1) Why is the CEO of the company accepting the President’s dysfunctional behavior and 2) Why is he not the one leading the counseling session? We can speculate on the motives, and again two stand out: 1) Your top leader is confrontation-averse and 2) He and the President are buddies.

Other question comes to mind: What is your relationship with the company CEO? Do you have enough experience to judge his integrity? This is vital as you must obtain substantive assurance (perhaps in writing) that the company CEO (or the board of directors) will give you protection from any retaliatory behavior by the President.(Is the company CEO aware of how far this President has taken retaliation when feeling threatened?

The company CEO and company board must understand that employee discontent with treatment from a specific manager or supervisor is the biggest cause of employees leaving a company. That is, profits probably won’t stay up if morale stays low and people eventually change ships, which is what they will likely do once the economic climate starts to improve.
Finally, I would obtain buy-in from the company CEO for some executive, communications, or diversity coaching for the President.

Assuming you get satisfactory assurance (and if you don’t then I would think twice about meeting with the President alone; I might opt instead for a three-way meeting with the President and the company CEO) then consider these steps:
Challenge and reassure the President. If possible, have the President meet in your office. Psychologically this will be self-empowering. Let the President know that the CEO of the company strongly suggested the meeting.

Then inform the President that you and the company CEO (there is strength in numbers) values his contributions to the company success (note specific strengths). Also, share that you appreciate how, as a leader, he wants to hold people accountable, and you understand his frustration when people do not meet company performance expectations.

However, you and the company CEO both are concerned that some of the President’s actions are hurting his status as leader and potentially are hurting the overall position of the company.
Be specific. Ask the President if he recalls imparting any insulting or racist comments in e-mails? If he denies the deed, if at all possible be prepared to present such e-mails or have some documentation at hand. (I would not bring up your experience with the President in this meeting.

Don’t give the President ammo to question your objectivity.) Let the President know he is putting himself and the company in legal jeopardy with such insults and racist comments.
Ask for feedback and have a plan. How does the President respond to your constructive confrontation? If he is defensive or in denial, then you have to let him know that you will be reporting this fact back to the company CEO. If he is open to your comments, solicit his ideas on how he can express his frustrations or concerns with people or business operations in a more constructive and substantive manner. I would also let the President know that the company is prepared to provide voluntary executive/communication/diversity coaching (and will make it mandatory) if problems persist.

Follow up on the meeting. I would schedule a three-way meeting with the President and company CEO to make sure everyone is on the same page, after you’ve had a report back with the company CEO. And then have a follow-up meeting in two to four weeks with you and the President to monitor progress.

If you follow these steps, I believe you will demonstrate your professionalism and will determine whether the President’s behaviors are amenable to change. And if the President resists this intervention, then the ball is in the company CEO and/or company board’s court, where it belonged all along. And if all of this occurs in a negative light, I would sadly encourage you to update your resume.

Hopefully, this will be a safe and happy family Memorial Day.
George F. Mancuso


Ask for referrals..... from EVERYBODY!

Ask for referrals..... from EVERYBODY!

In most cases, referrals are more powerful routes to clients than prospecting. A referral carries with it an implicit endorsement from the referrer and gives you an advantage over someone who reaches out to a client without a referral. Given, that, your best strategy is to focus on the mechanisms to cultivate and maintain referral sources. There are a few ways to do this.

First, understand who is likely to be a referral source. Small businesses are busy and may not have time to help you out. New businesses to a market won't have built their referral networks. Conversely, trade associations or chambers of commerce have broad contact with their industry or profession. Vendors, if you are not competing with them, can be great referral sources.

Second, understand what you need to do to get referrals. We sometimes assume that a referral source is eager to help us based just on our reputation. Although this might be true in some cases, you are better off making sure there is something in a referral to both the referrer and the target. Making a referral requires trust that you are both good and ethical over the long run. This means cultivating referral sources with repeated and consistent good service. Do good work and make sure you let your referral sources know about it.

Tip: Set as a target to get 50-75% of your new clients from referrals. Start with a list of your target clients and work backward to find types of and specific referral sources. Make this a formal, written plan to identify those referral sources for whom you have already or can demonstrate that making a referral will not put them at risk. Finally, develop the tactics that will assure that the referrer benefits from making that referral.


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources, Inc.
Grinnell, IA


Differentiate Yourself

I am an experienced consultant, in a sea of all types of other consultants. What can I do to differentiate myself from those who do similar work?

Every consultant faces the same issues of differentiation, regardless of firm size or discipline. Certainly your personal reputation from prior work and, often in a multi-practice firm, the reputation of your associates or partners makes a big difference as well.

However, people shop on rationality and buy on emotion. In the minds of a buyer of professional services, particularly the more senior they are, there is a greater likelihood of identifying with you if you come across as a peer. This means exhibiting leadership characteristics.

One of the best ways leaders relate is by having great history to discuss. Stories of history, more than dry recitations of capabilities that are virtually indistinguishable from others, help you emotionally connect. Great leaders can easily cover three arenas:
1. About themselves (what you stand for, where you came from)
2. About the organization they represent (you are promoting your firm as well as yourself)
3. About how they have made/can make people feel they are part of something bigger than themselves (this can be about past clients, community organizations or missions that you and your audience have in common)
Caution: Your stories won't get you in the door - only your capabilities, experience and value will. Create the “talk” that defines you and your commitment to professional services and you are much more likely to connect.


George F. Mancuso, CPC

Time Wasters

May 3, 2009

Q: About 2 years ago you sent us a newsletter about Time Wasting. Although I have shared that with my staff over the last “many” months, I have somehow been able to locate the piece in my computer. Would you kind enough to run it again for the edification of all? (Rebecca D. EVP, Business Consulting)

A: My pleasure:

Time management is one of the greatest challenges of any business professional. With that in mind, I offer you the following;

1. Time Waster: Personal Issues brought to work.
a. Solution: Leave your baggage outside the door of your office. When you are at work, you need to focus on work.
2. Time Waster: Discussing every HIGH and LOW with the ENTIRE office.
a. Solution: Don’t cost your co-workers and the company time and money that will be taken away when they stop to listen. Learn to keep things to yourself.
3. Time Waster: Arriving at work with a NEGATIVE ATTITUDE.
a. Solution: You have to arrive at work expecting to WIN and SUCCEED. You don’t want to be responsible for sucking the oxygen out or your office. Remember, if you think you can succeed or you think you can’t – You’re Right!
4. Time Waster: Asking Endless Questions.
a. Solution: Write down your questions and ask your manager at 11:30 AM or 4:30 PM. During prime time, stay focused on your work.
5. Time Waster: Arriving at work with no plan.
a. Solution: You should always arrive at work planning to accomplish all of your “A” priority goals of the day. Without a defined plan you have chaos.
6. Time Waster: Deserving more, settling for less and blaming others.
a. Solution: Always focus on what YOU could have done differently. If you are affected by the actions of someone else, realize that you have 100% control over how you react and you can choose NOT to react at all!

If I can be of assistance to you or your management team with regards to hiring, growth consulting and/or training, please call or write and I will respond immediately!

George F. Mancuso


Developing Leaders

April 26, 2009

Q: "The job of leaders is not to create followers; it is to create more leaders." What role can I as a business owner play in creating leaders within my organization?

A: I subscribe to you that this is not outside the scope of most business professionals. You, as the patriarch/matriarch of your company, present an interesting opportunity to provide extra value in the growth of your employees. If your goal is to improve the lot of your organization, this logically extends to creating in staff, the ability to develop leadership skills. In most organizations, leaders come in all flavors, not just the one at the top of the organizational chart. So, how does a confident (non-threatened) business professional provide those skills and experiences that foster leadership?

I would like to offer only three ways to do this via this correspondence:

1. The first is by setting an example of a person who diagnoses, explores, challenges, and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the organization. This is usually what you are asked to do in an organization, but you develop leaders by sharing your process and including staff in your deliberations.

2. Second, what if you formally "assign" one or more staff to shadow you on an engagement or process? This allows you to delegate some responsibility for project outcomes.

3. Third, offer to train staff not participating in the project in some basic skills in organizational assessment, diagnostics, selected aspects of your technical disciplines and your philosophy about organizational change. Who says that class is no longer is session just because they have graduated from high school or college?

Tip: Beyond just delivering a better path forward, much of your value comes from sustained implementation of that improvement. This is best carried on by staff after you have concluded the training. Make development of technical and leadership skills a part of your engagement, and the time you spend working with staff as a value add event. Broadening your contribution to trainer as well as mentor, may be in the best interests of everyone.

As always please accept my wishes for a tremendous week. And if I or any of my staff can assist you or your organization, please call or write and we will respond immediately!


George F. Mancuso, CPC


More About Slowed Down Economy

With sales slowed at most first firms, we are seeing a delay of projects starts, closing of sales and commitments in general. I feel like I need to continue to find new clients or avenues. Any thoughts? (Bill A, Sales Professional, Buffalo, NY)

A: In any market, your best opportunities come by identifying a prospect's points of pain and bringing expertise to solve them. In a disruptive market like 2009, even clients with solid businesses have different concerns than in normal times. Now the concerns of employees, creditors, suppliers as well as those of management are of concern. Your ability to bring these issues into sharp relief is your ticket to a motivated buyer of your products or services.

Read the concerns of managers in the business press. Their first thoughts turn to managing risk: preserving budget, using credit sparingly, doing more with less, hiring smart, and generally hunkering down. Risk management, however, also means not taking a chance on a sales or management professional who says they can help with those issues. You will need to do more than just promise results; you'll need to work out a clear, highly focused, short time frame approach with tangible results. No more lengthy windup, diagnostic-focused, training-rich, casual-pace engagement plans. For many companies, this is survival so you should treat the scenario accordingly.

Instead of shopping your traditional services or products in search of a need, think about breaking them up into their parts. Each service or product should have a clear line of sight between a specific point of pain, applying your expertise and producing a tangible result and ROI. Propose each part as a standalone service or product, each with specific benefits and show how these results resolve or relieve a specific pain(s).

Happy Easter to you and yours.

George F. Mancuso
George F. Mancuso, CPC

Pecking Order in a Family Owned Business

Q: I am the new director of sales for a 95 employee manufacturing firm that is family owned. The patriarch still runs the business with three of his children as department heads. When the sales team brings new ideas to the table, the other department heads will not commit or respond in a timely manner or sometimes no response at all with ANY type of commitment. What suggestion do you have for overcoming this? (Frank L., VP of Sales, Stone Mountain GA)

A: I must tell you that my experience in working with family owned and operated businesses have presented the identical problem time and time again, so you are not in a club by yourself. However in most cases, you can overcome the problem IF the owner, patriarch/matriarch if truly ready for change and has confidence in you. The commitment MUST come from the top and be passed down through empowerment.

What typically happens is the “kids” are accustomed to waiting for mommy or daddy to tell them it IS okay to make decisions on their own. But the real problem lies with you not getting the person at the top to agree in advance that you have the authority to act in accordance with your defined authority and/or agreement upon being hired. That acknowledgment of authority must be conveyed to the “kids” and once that is done, you should act within your scope without further interference. If they choose not to contribute ideas then they should be allowed to voice complaints.

We are all creatures of habit and change comes with truck loads of trepidation and anxiety. Your owner must have the confidence in you and must convey that confidence level to the balance of the staff.

Or in the alternative, after time proven decisions have been effective, they give you a carte blanche and you can roll right on through with the roadblock the kids are putting up. But in reality, by-passing the kids can easily be the kiss of death for your career within that organization. Getting the kids on your side as well as you on theirs is paramount to developing a successful team environment. After all, you said you ARE sales, so make your case like any other presentation and sell the concept and you will make it happen!

My guess is you are about to ask the question, “HOW DO I make that happen?”
1. Meet with the boss and explain the situation without being condescending
2. Ask the boss how he/she would suggest “you” handle this
3. Ask if he/she feels there is something they can do for or with the kids to better define your role and authority within the organization
4. Confirm what he or she would like to see you get accomplished and in what time period
5. Validate his/her confidence in you and your decision making process
6. Validate that you have the authority to act
7. Get a verbal commitment from the boss
8. Follow that meeting up with a writing confirmation and understanding, again without being condescending.
9. Meet with the kids one on one or as a group and explain the roadblocks and how you view this as an impediment to achieving mutual goals
10. Ask them if they see it the same way
11. Ask if they understand your concerns
12. Ask them what they suggest you can do as a team to work more effectively
13. Validate their confidence level in you
14. Validate that you are acting within your authority
15. Do not be condescending, argumentative or overbearing
16. Follow up conversation with confirmation in writing.
17. Get a commitment from them verbally and follow it up your understanding in writing.

If you have followed my newsletters or attended one of my seminars you will remember that according to “Gman” the definition of a commitment is an agreement to do something…..anything…but an agreement just the same!

What you should hope to accomplish is the opportunity to gather a barrel full of information that can help you plan, execute and/or include them so that they feel warm and cozy as well. The goal is to uncover why they choose to put up a wall when no wall is needed. Then develop a plan you can all live with and work it to the max. This issue is huge and all scenarios can’t possibly be covered in a few short paragraphs, but I certainly hope this helps.

As always please accept my wish for a tremendous week. If I can ever be of assistance to you or your organization, please call or write and I will respond immediately! Your suggestions and questions for future newsletters are always welcome.

George F. Mancuso
George F. Mancuso, CPC