View In Browser
  EMAIL   847.998.0688
March, 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!
You're receiving this complimentary e-letter, either because you requested a free subscription or because of our relationship with you, your company or your association.

If you're reading The Results Report on your desktop, initially your browser or operating system might make it tough on your eyes, as the page or font appears small. No worries! Simply hold down your Windows Key or Apple Command Key and at the same time hit your + key. Each time you do this, it'll enlarge the type or page. It's that easy! Now you'll have a bigger and better Results Report reading experience. (To decrease the size, hold down your command key, while also hitting your – key.) Here's to your results!

"If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one." 
 - Dolly Parton
"The successful warrior, is the average person with laser-like focus." 
 - Bruce Lee
"Knowing what must be done, does away with fear."
 - Rosa Parks

QUESTION: Jeff, how do I get deeper and more valuable input from my customers, aside from the traditional survey or feedback form?

ANSWER: Great question. Especially, because surveys and feedback forms are cold, static and unemotional. They don't have energy and passion.

So what do you do? That's an easy one. Create an advisory group or outside board of directors.

Call several of your key customers or clients and ask them to be part of your advisory council. Contact folks who know you, like you and trust you. And they can also be brutally honest with you, your leadership team, sales team, etc.

The group can meet quarterly, semi-annually, annually, etc.

I’ve had the pleasure to facilitate lots of advisory councils or outside boards for a variety of clients. Since I have no bias or pre-disposition, I can ask the tough questions my clients might be hesitant to ask.

I then counsel my clients to LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. I unequivocally urge, repeatedly recommend and strongly stress—they not convert this meeting into a sales pitch for their latest product or service.

That stinks of bait and switch!

The key, is to create a healthy and honest dialogue with your clients or customers, so together you can best determine how to grow your respective businesses.

At these meetings, I emphasize some simple messages:

  √ this is a time for honesty not hesitancy

  √ this is a time for truth not timidity

  √ this is a time for candor not caution

The exchanges are always lively, spirited and even emotional. Yet clients and their customers value the experience. It strengthens relationships. Creates deeper levels of understanding. And drives future business.

Also, be sure to pamper your advisors or council members. Spoil them. Treat them like the VIPs they are. Meaning, pay for their airfare, transportation, hotel, food, gifts, etc.

Within one to two weeks of your initial dialogue, be sure to:

  • send participants thank you notes

  • send copies of the "team picture" taken at the event

  • send a press release to a "board member's" local newspaper, highlighting their participation

  • send a hardcopy or e-mail document that recaps the major issues discussed, as well as the gameplan for future discussions, action steps or resolutions

  • honor any commitment or deliverables

The only risk to your credibility, is if you merely listen and choose to do nothing. And that's dumb! And I know, you ain't dumb.

Here are 5 more ideas, about how to maximize results with your advisory council or outside board of directors.


invite two people from each customer's company to participate in the advisory council, (this encourages a shared experience for your customers, plus you and your team get to spend quality time with more decision-makers)


invest in an experienced facilitator, who stimulates ideas and dialogue, with humor, spontaneity and incisive questioning skills, (do not have somebody from your team lead the discussion, for two reasons, first, it's tough for that person to remain impartial and second, your customers assume, rightly or wrongly, there's an agenda or bias)


set up the room with round tables, with approximately four to six people per table and all chairs facing front, (this arrangement fosters a true "roundtable" discussion with direct sightlines or eye-contact to table-teammates, also, if possible, be sure to have at least one member of your team at each table—their primary role, is to LISTEN)


conduct research, meaning, know in advance what's on the minds of your customers and clients, (prior to actually facilitating clients' councils, I interview via phone several of the attendees, as well as create a simple e-mail questionnaire) the preceding helps me and my clients identify trends, issues, challenges and


have an advisory council link at your website, (it can feature council members, pictures, recaps, updates, etc.)

If you'd like to yak about, how to create a council or board for your company, please gimme a buzz or shoot me an e-mail, so we can explore the possibilities.

As my clients have learned, the investment for an outside board is minimal. Because the results and outcomes are significant. And increased outcomes, produce increased incomes.

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:

Valuable lessons for business and life, can come from many places. Including the office or even the open seas!

And Bob Roitblat knows what it's like to be in-charge, as a company leader or the skipper of a boat in a yacht race. Both require extreme focus, a strong desire to win and the willingness to prepare for the unexpected or even uncontrollable.

As a speaker, author and self-proclaimed, "purveyor of fine ideas and experience," Roitblat is ready to help you successfully reach your goals, even when confronted by relentless obstacles or "enemies."

Jeff Blackman: How'd you get involved with yacht racing?

Bob Roitblat: It began during a meeting with an attorney whose office was decorated with a sailing motif. When I asked if he sailed, he said, "No. I race!" Since I have a need for speed, that got my attention. The conversation quickly turned to racing and he invited me to a day of race practice. At the end, the team captain handed me their schedule and said, "Don't be late." I showed up and kept coming back.

JB: How is sailing a metaphor for business?

BR: Both share common, fundamental elements: a team of people using speed, tactics, strategy, timing and multiple resources to reach a destination and achieve a goal while facing a fleet of opponents.

The environment each operates in, is constantly changing—the physical environment of wind, waves and weather, the competitive environment, and the economic, regulatory and technological environments.

Both the business-executive and boat-skipper must exercise choice and control over some elements and adjust to those over which they have no control. Effective executives, like effective skippers, anticipate when conditions are about to change. The leader best able to anticipate changing conditions and effectively adjust—is the one who comes out ahead.

JB: What's the biggest challenge of sailing?

BR: The same as operating a business: the first is finding good people with compatible attitudes and traits, plus a high level of skill for the role. Next, is collecting and interpreting forecasts—wind and weather for sailing, market and economic for business. The third is execution: knowing when to stick to your strategy or alter it.

JB: What has been your greatest victory, and what did you learn from it?

BR: Selling a company I had founded 13 years earlier. It was a long, tough struggle at times and also very rewarding on many levels. When you stick to your values and are flexible with your timetable, anything is possible.

JB: What was your biggest sailing mistake, and what did you learn from it?

BR: Failing to inspect the mainsail on the boat I was racing on during the Fastnet. It's a race from England to Ireland and back, and one of the four premier yacht races in the world. By skipping this important step—by assuming it's working and it'll continue to work—we had to withdraw from the race because a small, unnoticed tear became a large irreparable rip. I learned when you short-circuit the preparation process—you short-circuit the results.

JB: While sailing, you have no control over the elements, so what's the best way to prepare for the uncontrollable?

BR: Planning for specific likely events is relatively easy. But as Yehezkel Dror put it, there's "at any given moment a high probability of low probability events occurring. In other words, surprise dominates."

The challenge then is planning for multiple low probability events that, if any occur, will have a high impact. There are four different yet simultaneous areas to prepare: Safety, Leading indicators and weak signals, Practice, and Knowing your limits.

Onboard the boat, we carry fire extinguishers, spare parts, tools, a first-aid kit, emergency locator beacons and many other safety devices to cover a broad array of unforeseen events.

There are often leading indicators and weak signals that foretell uncontrollable events. We may not be able to control the event, but we can decide how we’ll respond to it.

While sailing, a leading indicator is the sky darkening and clouds building. So we prepare for the wet conditions likely to occur. Even if there are no storms forecast. If I were running an OEM parts business that supplied auto makers, I'd look at automobile sales volume as a leading indicator.

An example of weak signals while sailing include unexpected wave action or barometric pressure changing at an unexpected rate. Neither of these is immediately obvious. We have to look for them. But they do tell us something unexpected is in our future.

Weak business signals include changes in the unemployment rate or changes in the Dollar's value. Changes to either of these numbers signal a future change in our economy, which eventually will impact every business.

Instead of merely reacting to events as they occur, we practice how we'll respond to events if they do occur. Boats work best when the water stays on the outside. Many things could happen that cause water to make its way into the boat. It doesn't matter what the cause is. When more than a small amount of water gets inside the boat, we have electrical and manual pumps to get the water out. We have practice drills on pump usage and life rafts if the pumps prove inadequate.

If someone falls off the boat, it's a major event. We use safety harnesses to keep people on the boat and practice man overboard drills to retrieve anyone who ends up in the water.

A business could have a fire-suppression system, for example, and practice fire drills in the event of a fire from any cause.

The last way we prepare for uncontrollable events, is that we know our limits. We want to be self-sufficient but that doesn't always work out. If the situation gets to the point where we can no longer handle it, we'll ask for help. On the boat that help may be to withdraw from the race and seek shelter in port or ask for help from another vessel or the Coast Guard. Businesses can also seek help when the situation is over their heads. That help could come from a consultant or the courts.

JB: How can speed and tactics work for or against you?

BR: Speed alone won't win the race if the wrong strategic choice is made, or if the boat or business sails in the wrong direction. And perfect strategy and tactics can't overcome slow speed. Winning requires a mastery of all these elements: preparation, strategy, agility, speed and tactics.

JB: Sailing and business can have "disruptions." Yet you encourage one, to disrupt. How come?

BR: Committing to generating and adding value to one's customers, will always serve a company well. Yet clinging to one's products or services, will not.

No one wants to abandon a service or product-line that's currently profitable. It takes immense effort to overcome the inertia of, "That's the way we've always done it." But if you don't abandon your "golden goose" on your timetable, somebody else will kill it on their timetable.

It's better to be the disrupter than the disrupted—even if the business has to disrupt itself before anyone else has a chance. Innovation involves not only generating new ideas, but also letting go of existing ones.

A business disrupts itself by practicing Proactive Obsolescence, by replacing its own successful products or services with fundamentally new solutions that provide a significant leap in customer value. And then doing it, again and again.

For more of Bob's ideas, to help you again and again, please head to:

Your cup of inspiration,   reflection and laughter!

Thanks to my family, friends and clients for all of your recent birthday wishes. Am so fortunate to have you in my life! And special thanks to cousin Joanie, who reminded me, what I looked like at her wedding, at the age of 11! Sporting big fashion and even BIGGER ears!



Last month, Amanda, our youngest daughter and I spent our final "Daddy/Daughter Day" together at the University of Illinois. She'll soon graduate from what has become for both of us, our "beloved college."

Each school year, during second semester, I make the 159 mile trek from home to the U of I campus, for the two of us to hang, laugh, walk, talk and eat.

This year's festivities included; lunch, attending three classes with Amanda, snacks, an Illini basketball game, dinner, plus breakfast the next morning. As always, we had a ball together. Amanda recently told a friend, "My Dad and I are basically the same person, he's just a lot older with a mustache!"

Amanda is also now seriously considering graduate school. Especially, since Illinois has offered her a football scholarship!



On a chilly day, the Blackman family enjoyed the ingenius creation of Lin-Manuel Miranda. As our eldest daughter Brittany exclaimed, "Hamilton with the familton!"



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]

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:
fb linked_in tweet
One giant winner: YOU!

Get results. Now! Powerful tools to read, listen to or watch. You'll learn more. Be more. Become more. And earn more!

Quickly. Ethically. Dramatically!
Best Selling Business-Growth Tools
Thanks for being a valued member of our virtual family! Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated. And we value your feedback about our new design and format. The Results Report is read by loyal subscribers like you, in 58 countries. How will you rock April and Q2, 2017! Here's to your results!
fb   linked_in   tweet   g_plus   rss   you_tube
© 2017 Blackman & Associates, LLC
2130 Warwick Lane • Glenview, Illinois 60026
[email protected]
phone: 847.998.0688 fax: 847.998.0675
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -