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September, 2011

Is Your Business a Solution?

Early in the technology phase of my business career the market frenzy for new products was such that it was too easy to be technology or product and not solution centric when selling to customers. We all recall how the rush to buy the next PC that came to market without understanding how we would economically benefit from it. This was particularly significant when cheaper, high performing, models began to enter the market.

The Transition began in Sales
While we enjoyed the new PC experience the quiet question was, "Is this new tool a solution?" Did we understand what problem it solved? As sales people did we really sell and solve a problem or take advantage of an appetite to buy satisfying a customer pressure to be the first to be "productive?" Or was it an opportunity to equip customers with hardware and related software that they did not really understand how to implement, integrate, optimize performance and maximize value to their business?


As the technology market matured the sales environment shifted from a focus on speeds and feeds of the product to whether or not the proposed "solution" solved a real problem and provided a tangible return on investment (ROI). Customers became less emotional and more analytical in their technology decision-making and were determined to make a purchase decision based upon the ROI of the proposed system.

Solution Centric Selling
Sales people had to adjust their technique on how to creatively get their customer to reveal what kept them awake at night and . . . Read More.

Mike Brice
Phone: (206)226-1617

Executive Poll

Under renovation. The Executive Poll will return in October.

Feature Article

"How to Be Like Apple"

by Rachel Emma Silverman,

Note: I have included articles on Apple in past iLetters and with the recent change in leadership at Apple chose to devote space to three articles on Steve Jobs and Apple in this edition. Whatever you think of Apple you cannot overlook the impact on their industry, society's use of technology and business success they have had and the many examples they offer many other businesses on how to achieve success

This article examines the impact of how well the creativity potential of a company is managed and stimulated in order to meet the wants and needs of its customers. Apple represents and excellent example of an effective visionary leader influencing product direction in concert with a talented organization that also made significant contributions.

Key innovation success factors include:

  • Stimulating company resources to create new ideas to stay relevant.
  • Effectively getting all levels of the organization to contributing ideas.
  • Implementing a high percentage of employee ideas.
  • Allowing employees time to work on ideas.
  • Effectively observing what customers need versus what they want.

Innovation Assessment:

  1. How effective is your innovation process?
  2. Are your employees engaged in the idea process?
  3. Are you satisfied with the return of your R&D investment?
  4. Do you need to overhaul your innovation process?
Management Resources
Decision Making: Do you know when you should trust your gut instinct when making a decision? Your gut intuition accesses your accumulated experiences in a synthesized way, so that we can form judgments and take action without any logical, conscious consideration. This can be helpful because it speeds up our ability to act. But how can we be sure our gut is not giving us wrong information?
Should you trust your gut? Testing your decision-making instincts

Leadership: If you work for a leader who is a control freak or live with one, I guarantee you’re not going to like this post. But like it or not, the characteristics that make control freaks insufferable jerks may be the unwanted flipside of what makes them natural leaders.
Why Control Freaks Are Natural Leaders

Communicating Your Strategy: Here are just a few communications approaches that will help you effectively reach your employees and encourage behaviors that advance your strategy and improve your results.
Eight Ways to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively

Leadership Behavior: Some of the best company builders have the ability to - naturally and legally - slip into a dissociative state when analyzing their business. These founders may be described as "dissociative architects" because they have a knack for pulling themselves out of their business and looking down on it objectively, as if it were a great big science fair project.
Do You Lead With Intellect or Emotion?

Disaster Planning: Hurricane Irene and the East Coast earthquake are critical reminders of the importance of timely communication among managers and their employees. It’s imperative to regularly connect with those in the workplace and especially remote employees, who are traveling, home based or working at remote sites when natural disasters hit or are looming. The connection should be two-way, enabling outgoing messages to be aired and incoming feedback to be received and responded to.
When Natural Disasters Strike, Touch Base Regularly With Employees

Industry Leader: Steve Jobs nor Apple were ever known for being, shall we say, loquacious. Both were famous for sticking to tightly scripted and controlled statements. But the better known and more influential you are, the bigger a trail you leave in the world.
Steve Jobs in His Own Words: A Video Retrospective

Leadership: In the wake of his resignation announcement, the Wall Street Journal rounded up Steve Jobs’ best quotes, culled from various interviews, speeches, product announcements, and the like. Obviously there’s some gold to be mined in Jobs’ words - the guy knows how to build a business from scratch, revitalize a business that's on the brink of failure, and elevate a business to global-powerhouse status.
Steve Jobs' Best Business Advice

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