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December, 2017
Welcome to YOUR newly designed and re-formatted Results Report.
TAKE ACTION. For on the clock of life or watch of winners THE key word is NOW!
Strategies and ideas for life and business, to help you maximize results!
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"The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way they are put to use."
"Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finishes the job he starts." 
 - Coleman Cox
"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance."
 - Samuel Johnson

QUESTION: Jeff, recently heard you speak, great stuff! As a CEO & President, I’ve been able to implement lots of your strategies and suggestions,  with immediate results. As have many of my people. Yet I’m having trouble getting some team members to buy-in. They claim, “That idea is too basic.” Or, “Our market is far more sophisicated.” Jeff, how do I convert non-believers, to believers?

ANSWER: If you’re a leader, attempting to get your team to “do something” they oughta be doing, because you know it’ll drive far better results, you may encounter challenges, resistance or push-back.

Likely to sound, something like this.

Your folks retort: “You want me to do what?!” “You’re kidding! That’s too basic!”

It intrigues me, when folks exclaim an idea or strategy is, “Too basic.” Because they then declare:

“That’s something I already know.” or

“That’s an idea I’m familiar with.” or

“That’s a strategy I’ve heard before.”

Well, guess what...

Your folks, (or even you), should KNOW it, should be FAMILIAR with it or have HEARD it before.


Because the preceding would be considered principles. And principles are timeless. They don’t change. Yet the key, is to convert the principles into practice.

A “principle” is what you “know.” The “practice” is what you “do.”

A “principle” is the “idea” you’ve “heard.” The “practice” is how you “implement” it.

A “principle” is the “strategy” you’re “familiar” with. The “practice” is how you “execute” it.

The practice is how you apply the principle to an opportunity, challenge or decision. Practices evolve and grow from principles.

Principles plus practices, drive profits!

After all, you don’t compensate your team for what they know, but for what they do! Pay for performance, not intent!

As a client of mine says, “Avoid Peacocking!” Meaning, don’t fall prey to your or your team’s self-important prima donna pride or puffed-chest posing, as they, (or you), boast, “I already knew that!” or “I’ve heard that before!” or “I’m familiar with that.”

When folks tell me this, I politely ask, “What did you do, with what you already knew, heard or were familiar with?” Often, I hear silence! It ain’t what you know, it’s what YOU DO, with what you know!

There’s a reason, over the decades, countless clients of mine; CEOs, Presidents, business-owners, and C-suite leaders have said, “Jeff, while we need to learn new business-growth strategies, we also, must return to the basics.” Or, “Our people have forgotten the fundamentals.” There’s also a reason, professional athletes start their training camps, with fundamentals or basics.

According to Green Bay Packers legendary lore, their iconic football coach, Vince Lombardi, began every pre-season training camp the same way. He’d say, “Gentlemen, once again, we’ll start with the fundamentals.” He’d then hold up a football and declare, “THIS…is a football!” To which All-Pro offensive lineman Jerry Kramer exclaimed, “Coach, could you please slow down!”

Under Lombardi’s leadership, the Packers won five NFL Championships and Super Bowls I and II. And since 1971, the NFL Super Bowl Trophy, is named in Lombardi’s honor. Apparently, Lombardi knew basics and fundamentals work. Big time! Plus, help you win!

But it almost sounds, too basic! Yet here’s why basics and fundamentals always stand the test-of-time. Because, again, they’re principles. Etched in stone. They lay the foundation. And you can’t erect a tower, without a strong foundation.

Here’s a powerful example. Recently, I spoke to a group of CEOs, Presidents, business-owners and C-level executives in Walled Lake, Michigan, near Detroit. The results-session, was held at Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc.

Their President, Mike Burskey, is a heckuva nice guy. (And like me, a big fan of classic rock music!) But Mike and I, quickly bonded over something else. Emblazoned on the walls, throughout his offices, were simple signs proclaiming: BACK2BASICS

Mike first posted these signs in Q2, 2016. He says their purpose is to, “Remind our team members of the importance of doing the basics right, the first time. Look at what we’re doing, improve upon that where we can, and not chase shiny objects.”

And what has the impact been? Mike stresses, “It has helped maintain focus, on doing what we do. Reduced errors. And helped to reduce crisis. We hear often, ‘What’s the procedure?’ Our team has been receptive and is on-board.”

So how will you get your team on-board? With the basics. And the fundamentals.

For the driving force, is then, how YOU as a leader, choose to help yourself and your team, convert the basics, fundamentals and principles into practice.

Then, and only then, can you transform the practice, into profit!

Want to see how Jeff helped one client drive results?
Please take a peek at this video, where Chris Randall, CEO of Ultra Risk Advisors, talks about Jeff's positive and powerful impact on his team:

Tim Padgett and I quickly discovered we’re kindred spirits. We both have a love of sales, marketing and passionately serving our clients. Yet, we also share a painful and unfortunate flaw—we’re crazy Chicago Cubs fans. Tim, like me, is also an alum of the Chicago Cubs Fantasy Camp. (Aside from the Cubs being crowned World Series Champions in 2016), a Cubs “Reality Camp” would be far too depressing!)

Tim is the founder of the award-winning Pepper Group, a business-to-business marketing communications firm in Palatine, Illinois. (A northwest suburb of Chicago.) He’s also a co-founder of Teer1, a software platform and consulting firm for companies to encourage, manage and leverage their employee volunteering. (In the interest of total transparency, I served on Teer1’s advisory board. And in 2014, Tim and the Pepper Group also became a client.)

When Tim and I chat, either over-the-phone or in-person, our conversations are filled with laughter and lessons. The following, are excerpts from previous visits. And as you’ll immediately see, they’re filled with strategies to help you quickly, ethically and dramatically communicate who you are and what you do—to drive results, revenue and profits.

Jeff Blackman: With so much external stimuli competing for one’s attention, how does an individual, company or brand successfully capture eyes or ears, then mindshare and market share?

Tim Padgett: Even with all the attacks on our senses, never before have we, as consumers, been able to tap into so much information regarding products and services. We can instantly find the history of a company, all specifications, inventory/availability, pricing and what our peers think. With that in mind, brand distinction and reputation are even more critical.

If you’re stimulating to the audience, they’ll seek you out and crave interactivity, much like a relationship. When they choose to spend time with you, they opt out of other external messages.

JB: What are common blunders you see folks making, as they attempt 
to land new customers or clients?

TP: Following the leaders and not being consistent. They see something worked and they want something like it, regardless of the appropriateness. Companies need to focus on being more creative and strategic in crafting their own brand and client experience, then being tenacious in delivering it.

Companies need to objectively evaluate what makes their offering different from the competition. If there isn’t a concrete differentiator, choose a benefit you know is of interest to the consumer and build on that. Obsess on it.

To “own” it in the minds of your marketplace:

1. Review your competitors’ brand positioning to find a space you can leverage.

2. Brainstorm on what your edge could be, and be sure you can back it up.

3. Create a positioning statement and a messaging platform using all the creativity you can muster.

4. Strategize on your introduction to the market and also a sustainable plan to continue the campaign.

5. Engage your employees, they’re your ambassadors. If you share your vision, they’ll provide great insights and ideas.

6. Develop a realistic budget to invest. Have confidence that a strong plan will reap a strong ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment).

7. Develop tools (website, direct marketing, events, social mecdia, etc.) that are consistent with their look and feel, always keeping prospects and clients engaged by never letting the experience get stale.

8. Set goals, large and small, and be sure to measure results, pivoting when necessary.

JB: How does one really create market differentiation in a crowded marketplace?

TP: Be bold. Identify one position and make the most of it. Accept that the entire universe of prospects will not respond to it. But the ones who do connect with your solutions will have the greatest potential to be long-time customers and evangelists. Consider:

1. Alternative: Apple challenged us to Think Different. Don’t accept the norm and envision what can be.

2. Experiential: Toilet tissue has few qualities to leverage, so Charmin focused on the one we all want, but did it with humor. Secret obsessive fondling of the product ended up with, “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.”

3. Challenge: Lay’s didn’t say, “We’re great tasting.” They challenged us with, “Betcha can’t eat just one!”

JB: How can social media be used effectively, not just to communicate, but also to be monetized, so it's a revenue generator and customer pleaser?

TP: Social media is creating great opportunities for brands that really take care of their customers. Although the marketers can plant some seeds, your audiences have the power to positively launch your brand or bring it crashing down. “Social” means people are talking about you, and before we had “Media” we had fences we leaned over and asked our neighbor what was the best TV, who they use for their plumbing, medical needs, etc.

Even without being asked, we still like to spread the word to others of the best and the worst in order to be helpful (and sometimes boast we heard or bought it first or for the lowest price). It’s just a new tool. The need is the same, the speed with which we can share it is exponential.

JB: How do you help companies avoid falling prey to the “price game”
or reducing their product, service, or solution to a commodity?

TP: They have to deliver something extraordinary. If they’re mediocre, then they are a commodity and will only compete on price, a bad place to be. We can help position them, but it’s all smoke and mirrors if they can’t deliver.

If they have a market advantage, they need to tenaciously stick to their brand so they engrain it over time, being patient for prospects to attain awareness and confidence enough to try them out. Having a strong brand will usually alienate some prospects, but most of our clients only need a segment of the market to be hugely successful. We want them to own the hearts and minds of that segment. Only then will they avoid “commodity” status.

JB: Take us into the future, what strategies or marketing tactics will 
attract loyal, profitable customers for a lifetime?

TP: There are basically three: transparency, being genuine and striving for a relationship, not just a transaction. We see more and more consumers in the B2B as well as B2C arenas expecting companies to not only deliver quality for a reasonable price, but to be good corporate citizens practicing social responsibility.

The cool thing is, based on a study sponsored by market research firm Penn Shoen Berland, 70% of consumers are actually willing to pay a premium for goods or services delivered by a company that’s exceptionally socially responsible.

JB: What are sure-fire ways to quickly “connect” with prospects and
 customers in any business?

TP: One, or a combination of the following: be engaging, funny, educational, controversial, outrageous, cynical, ironic, determined, passionate, cute, sentimental or clever. And bring the right energy to the situation. This isn’t a formula that’s easy to follow. You have to have a passion and patience for the process. Then find the best angles or ways to grow your company.

For more hot and spicy growth strategies, please take a peek at:

Your cup of inspiration,   reflection and laughter!

On Sunday, October 29th, our eldest daughter Brittany and her boyfriend Rob, planned to run in Chicago's annual "Hot Chocolate" race. But just prior to the race, they both got sick and injured. So they graciously gave their registrations to our son Chad, and his girlfriend Lauren. Lauren runs on a regular basis, so she easily knocked-out the 5K or 3 mile course.

However, Chad declared, "I'm going to run the 15K or 9 mile route!" When I asked, "How have you prepared?" He answered, "Dad, you and I easily bike 35+ miles, so how tough could running 9 miles be?"

Not only did Chad run the 9 miles, he averaged 10:17 per mile. When we asked Lauren, "Seriously, what did he do to prepare?" She answered, "He woke up and started breathing!"

While Chad's pavement prowess was impressive, he achieved two things in November, that our family is even more proud of. Especially, because it required LOTS of preparation, focus and hard work. First, Chad aced his phlebotomy course. And then, on November 18th, he called my wife and I at 4:06pm and began the conversation with a simple declaration, "I passed the certification exam. Your son is now an EMT!" (Emergency Medical Technician) Way to go Chaddy boy, you earned that happy face!



I always admire any "driver" who knows how to correctly use their side mirror!



Ever since our youngest daughter, Amanda, (a.k.a. Amanda Panda Pooh), was a little girl, she and I have had a wonderful Halloween tradition—our annual "Daddy Daughter Pooh Pumpkin Presentation!"

While this year was fun, it was also bittersweet. Because in 2018, Amanda will leave Mom, Dad and "suburban security" to live with her friends in Chicago. (I'm excited for her. Yet will sorely miss her.) By the way, all that gunky stuff inside the pumpkin, what do you call it? Amanda and I, call it, "glarg!"



For a bonus dose of inspiration and knowledge, please take a peek at our latest blog posts:

And of course, you're welcome to become a blog subscriber too!

Coffee Break for the Mind is a trademark of Blackman & Associates, LLC

To make a submission when you see or hear something funny, quirky or offbeat, please send it to: [email protected]



Thanks to family, friends and clients, who have made 2017 another incredibly memorable and successful year. And may your holiday season be filled with love and laughter. Plus...

I've chatted with the soothsayers of success and predictors of prosperity, they all agree, YOU are gonna rock 2018!

MEET JEFF |Jeff helps you win BIG in today's competitive marketplace. His high-energy and high-content messages deliver immediate take-home value, growth and results for you and your team. Whether he works with you once in a dynamic keynote or once-a-month in an ongoing coaching and learning-system, he helps you drive relationships, revenue, profits, results and rewards. Jeff is singularly focused on helping you achieve and surpass your desired outcomes. And you're even protected by Jeff's incredible No-Risk Assurance.
RIGHT FOLKS, RIGHT RESULTS |What's driving current or prospective members of your team? Your salespeople? Service 
                                                    pros? And leaders? What causes them to produce, lead or loaf? What motivates them to attain, or not attain, new levels of success? What direction are they headed? Where do you want their journey to go? How valuable would it be, if you had the answers to these questions? Well now you can!
AUDIO EXCERPTS | Listen to powerful excerpts from Jeff's audio growth tools, CDs or interviews. | LISTEN NOW
"At DUKAL we have an experienced team, exposed for many years to individuals and speakers who can help us. Yet when Jeff Blackman spoke, (a half-day results-session with reinforcement), I received comments like, 'Awesome!' 'Highly impactful!' 'Learned things I never knew, even after 25 years of selling.' 'I'll now take a different direction on how I present our value and work with customers.' and much more. Jeff's attention-to-detail and fact-gathering, made him better prepared in learning about our culture and team—than any previous speaker. And it showed! I highly recommend Jeff as an impact-player who can make any individual or company better!"
Gerry LoDuca President
"We engaged Jeff as our keynote speaker at our annual national sales event. We're embarking upon a challenging time in our history, and Jeff's assignment was designed to resonate and inspire. Jeff was by far, the most engaging, entertaining and thought-provoking speaker we've ever had. So much so, elements of his presentation are still reverberating, (weeks later), around our organizational communication chain, at all levels. Thanks Jeff for a job well done!"
Michael J. Kelley President & COO
Glantz Holdings, Inc.
"My firm, a commercial insurance program management company, engaged Jeff as a sales training advisor in June, 2014. He helped us design a customized training and reinforcement system. We're extremely pleased with our significant improvement and results. That's why we have an ongoing relationship with Jeff, and I enthusiastically recommend him."
Chris Randall CEO
Ultra Risk Advisors Bellevue, WA & Atlanta
Please click the following link,
to see Chris' video testimonial:
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© 2017 Blackman & Associates, LLC
2130 Warwick Lane • Glenview, Illinois 60026
[email protected]
phone: 847.998.0688 fax: 847.998.0675
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