The quirkiness that comes with business travel...

It’s a lot easier to simply say you are going to Boston for a business trip instead of Newton (which is a suburb of Boston) — it’s simply more recognizable and comes will less explanation; although disappointing all around when you clarify. I don’t travel as much as I used to but every so often I find myself heading to the airport with carry on luggage in tow. A recent trip had me going to visit a potential client, and with it, offered up an opportunity to explore all the trials and tribulations that come with such trips. In other words, it was an opportunity to deal with all the quirkiness that seems to inherently be part of business travel.


As I look back on this, the first hint of the quirkiness yet to come occurred when I attempted to book my hotel room. When I went to reserve a room I was told the hotel was full but an alternative hotel had vacancies. This was particularly disappointing because the hotel I wanted to stay at was an easy five minute walk to my client — alas, I needed a place to sleep so I took the alternative. The idea of not having a convenient five-minute walk (and needing to rent a car) started to fester so I called the front desk of my preferred hotel to see if they could find me a room. I was informed that there were a number of rooms available and was passed onto “reservations”, and as you might guess, I was informed that the hotel was all booked up (but there was an alternative hotel available). After explaining I was told differently, I was again informed there were simply no rooms available. Spurred on by the idiocy of this, I hung up and called the front desk, explained what was happening, and eventually they took my reservation there and then. With that done, all I had to do was call and cancel the reservation for that alternative hotel. I was off the hamster wheel. (Persistence)

A 5:00 am start had me at the airport with lots of time to make my way from one side of customs and security to the other.

After a couple of attempts at the check-in kiosk, I was informed my identity couldn’t be verified and I needed to see an agent — twenty minutes later I handed my passport to an agent and explaining that the kiosk “doesn’t like me”. With boarding pass in hand, I was told that the reason for the uncooperative kiosk was because I hadn’t included a “Mr” when I booked my flight; as a result the kiosk removed a letter from my name to solve for the missing tile, but in doing so made my name unidentifiable. (Learning experience)


Because of my boarding pass issue, I found myself one of the last people to get onto the plane and had to check my carry on — a little inconvenient because I would have to wait at the luggage carousel but none of this mattered because I was on the plane and we were on time. That was until we were informed the pilots had missed their “connecting flight” and new pilots would be here in about twenty minutes. (Patience)

It was a smooth flight.

Some other quirky highlights of my short trip — I could get onto the guest password, the network, but not my email (I would have to access emails at the hotel); I thought I had lost my wallet and was moments from making the dreaded call to cancel my credit cards when I finally found it (my new bag has many, many, places to put things); I lost my umbrella (I still have no idea how that happened or where it could be. And yes, I went back to the hotel to look for it.). (Adaptability)

It was a smooth flight back home after a productive couple of days (with only a slight delay).

It was nice to be back home — that was until I started to get a sore throat, a cough, and a fever. I’ve been under the weather all weekend, and you guessed it, the weather outside was beautiful. (Stoic)


Are you buying drills?

An old adage came up in conversation the other day,

“People don’t buy drills, they buy holes”

If you are in sales you may have heard this — it is a reminder that people purchase what they need and you work to satisfy that need. With this pity adage it is the hole the person paying for and the drill is just the way they get what they paid for.

  • Selling “drills” is product and not customer focused — people prefer you are focused on them.

  • Selling “drills” is a good indicator that you are inwardly focused — everything that you can’t control (and which impacts you) is happening out in the “big bad world”; it’s good to know what’s happening out there.

  • Selling “drills” is a good indicator you are not solution driven — people prefer solutions and not just to buy something. They really don’t like when they buy something that doesn’t satisfy their need.

  • Selling a “drill” is a feature, whereas a hole is a benefit — people buy benefits.

  • Selling “drills” is a transaction and not partnership oriented — people prefer to deal with trusted partners.

  • You are engaging with (and understanding) the customer when you ask why they need a hole — when you really know customer you can help focus in on what they need.

This literally applies to anyone trying to convince someone to purchase a drill, and if you consider it figuratively, it applies to almost everything else — the features of a fitness club, what are the benefits? The features of a political parties promises, what are the benefits? The skills of a person, what are the benefits?

And with benefits, comes value.

Getting into the weeds a little there is extrinsic value and there is intrinsic value. Extrinsic value is the generally accepted value that comes from the benefit, whereas intrinsic value reflects the benefits specific to the person. If we go back to the drill example, the benefit of making a hole is the extrinsic value, but unless a person needs a hole, he or she doesn’t care — it is only when a person needs a hole does it offer intrinsic value and the likelihood they would be interested in buying a drill.

It becomes an alignment of features to benefits to intrinsic value — and with it, an understanding of what is intrinsically of value to you.

And if you know that, you will never buy a drill you don’t need (figuratively speaking).


Insights from an unexpected life coach...

At this time of year you would be hard pressed to find anyone in Canada who hasn’t started to think about winter…

I’ll be shameless and will say, “winter is coming” — and with the approaching season, we also find ourselves thinking about hockey. We watch it, we play it, and some literally live it … it’s a national sport after all.


Hockey is a game I wasn’t particularly good at, haven’t played for years, and as a fan, not interested in anymore — probably because (as I said) I wasn’t very good at it. Interestingly enough though, I found myself at a hockey complex the other day (where I sometimes train) and was drawn to a hockey practice. A group of young players who were down on one knee listening to their coach.

I was inspired.

A coach’s passion offered insight into something much bigger than just hockey —

  • Have a strong body.

  • Have a strong mind.

  • Work very hard.

  • Someone will always be watching — use any feedback to be better.

  • Do something — it is better than doing nothing.

DO something… it is better than doing “nothing”

  • Take that trip.

  • Take the CFO gig.

  • Quit that job and travel the world.

  • Build that house.

  • Be that lover.

  • Propose to that girl.

  • Start that company.

  • Be who you want to be.

  • Take that job, although you are scared “shitless”

  • Do something for fuck sake,

How you interpret this is up to you… all I ask is that you do something.