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“How To Combat The Problem Of Blind Loyalty” – Negotiation Insight

“People demanding 100% loyalty want to blind you. Never be blinded by someone else’s light, less you taunt darkness.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click here to Tweet)



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“How To Combat The Problem Of Blind Loyalty”

Are you loyal? More importantly, will you be loyal to only me? Those questions were asked of someone with power by a person with more power. The response was, I’m devoted to the oath I took when I became a member of this organization. The implication was, I won’t be loyal to an individual – I’ll be dutiful to the institution. The person making that statement was fired shortly after that. The person asking the questions was the one that initiated the firing. And he would later demand that others be loyal to him too. He’d created a problem – one of perception. Later, it would ensnare several individuals under his charge. And his demand for loyalty would eventually be exposed as his means to deal in more nefarious behavior. Houston, we have a problem!

Loyalty is good in most cases. But, when those in power demand blind loyalty, people with power can stray from a righteous path. And problems can exist in any environment when there’s too much blind obedience. When that occurs, as someone in a position of authority or one challenged by those insisting that you have blind obedience to them, you must be prepared to combat unchecked loyalty. To allow it to roam free could be akin to walking blindly down a dangerous path that leads to misfortune. Don’t fall prey to the allure of blind loyalty. Here’s how to combat it.


Blind Loyalties:


Unbridled allegiances can lead to unchecked power. And unlimited power can lead to unrealized potential. Because those with leadership abilities will never have the opportunity to rise to their full potential, less they pose threats to the leader. So, they become checked out of fear of the leader’s retribution. And that permeates the myth that adherence is better for those that submit to it.


Reckless Endowment

Power is an aphrodisiac. Another concern that institutions should have is what becomes of a leader’s power when he has too much of it. Best case scenario, he uses that power for the improvement of those that he represents – in most cases, that’s not been what history has proven. Instead, a leader with too much power has feathered his nest and those that remain most loyal to him. And that creates an infectious environment amongst those that continuously strive to be the leader’s favorite. That occurs, while the inner backstabbing slowly erodes and robs the life’s blood of the future from the institution. Be mindful of those with too much power and how they use it. It can be the source of good times or those that lead to destruction. The weight is the balance of when either occurs and the length of time it lasts.


Stifles Imagination

Concentrated power can stifle creativity. When a select few hold power, those with that power seek less input from outside sources. They know what the best thoughts are – because they believe their opinions are best for the masses. And when it comes to planning, they only consider their plans. Thus, they don’t seek out or welcome additional information from anyone outside of their circle. They don’t want any info competing against theirs that’s out of alignment with their strategy. There’s a high cost to pay for a lack of diverse input. And usually, those lower in the ranks of an organization are the ones to bear the burden of that cost.


Confronting Requesters of Blind Loyalty

Everything is a negotiation. And if you neglect that thought, you forego powers that you might otherwise realize. If you’re to maintain blind loyalty to anyone, it should be to yourself. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be loyal to a cause, a purpose, an institution, or even a person. It’s to say, before committing to someone’s behest for loyalty, understand what it means. Understand where your commitment might lead you and what it’ll mean for your future. If you follow anyone’s mandates without questioning, you could end up at a dead-end street with nowhere to go except backward. That means you and those that you should have been supporting will have lost valuable time and your sense of purpose. And wasted time is time never regained. Always think before you commit to anything or anyone’s request.



The general that wisely chooses the field of battle wins before the fighting starts. Thus, always be aware of the mindset of those that demand complete loyalty. In so doing, they seek to consume concentrated power within a small container – themselves. And when it comes to absolute power, absolute power rules without leaving a void for dissension. Without discord, no organization can sustain itself. While chaos can reign inside of dissent, the delicate balance lies in getting benefits from disputes versus suppressing the growth that could otherwise blossom. Thus, curtail the chaos. It will lead to confusion, which will lead to disruption. And yes, the powers to be may check disorder for a while, but eventually, it will happen. It has done so throughout history’s rule in corporations, communities, and countries. And when it does so, it has been the beginning that’s lead to the unraveling of the entities that were once powerful.

Never trust blindly those that seek 100% loyalty. If you do, it could be to your jeopardy. Even when asked to do so, you may close one eye but don’t close both. Keep an eye open so you can see the light that might allow the perception of a more realistic reality … and everything will be right with the world.



Remember, you’re always negotiating!


Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator


After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/



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Using Value Networks to Grow Your Business


The craft of sales is one of increasing the overlap between what outcomes a customer desires for themselves, and what outcomes the seller’s offer can deliver.

Increasing that overlap requires the seller to:

  1. Conduct insightful discovery into the customer’s business and personal situation to increase the range of desired outcomes.
  2. Identifying an exhaustive list of seller’s capabilities, then translating those into customer business outcomes.
  3. Articulate unmet value gaps to product/service innovators, who develop high-impact differentiation.

Most commercially available sales training addresses the first item. Almost all leave the second item up to an internal product training function. By “leaving it to the product trainer”, I mean ignore completely. No good framework to fill this gap has been introduced.

Introducing the Value Network.

The Value Network is a great tool.  It:

  • Captures deal-winning gold from top sellers for use by the whole team
  • Helps everyone in B2B sales teams sell more widely and deeply
  • Ramps new sellers up more rapidly
  • Guides more impactful executive conversations
  • Shapes more impactful marketing
  • Informs superior new product idea generation
  • Helps non-sales, but still customer-facing roles uncover new value.
  • Serves as a central point of truth for competitive positioning.
  • It is easy to learn and intuitive to use.

…so why don’t you know what a Value Network is?

A value network diagrams all of the possible customer outcomes your differentiation can drive for a customer. The diagram at the top of this article is a partial value network: it illustrates the client outcomes from adopting the kind of value-focused culture I propose in my upcoming book, Radical Value.

Building A Value Network

Start by describing an area of differentiation. In the example above, I promote building a company culture focused on value to the customer (yes this is different from many organizations, surprisingly.  Companies focus their cultures on lots of other things when value is what they should use as the hub around which everything else rotates).

From that differentiation (drawn above in a rectangle), describe all of the customer outcomes that result…and the outcomes those outcomes deliver, and so on. Draw those customer outcomes in ovals with arrows representing cause/effect (you’ll notice a few bidirectional arrows on this diagram, which shows mutual reinforcement loops) The resulting network represents all of the potential value your differentiation could deliver to a customer.

In the current vernacular, these might be called themes for value messages.  That is, they could be likely hypotheses that one could deliver to a prospect (or use as a justification for a meeting) – but then validate through dialogue.

For this article, I’ve outlined in blue where the use of a value network fits in a value-focused culture.  It enables or drives more insightful business discussions: by not just salespeople, but every person who comes in contact with your customer.  It clarifies innovation in business cases. It

Next Step:  Make Each Outcome Personal.

To keep the diagram above clean, I didn’t perform this step, but here’s what to do next.  Next to each oval, list the customer personas most likely to desire that outcome.  Here’s an example in closeup from a different value network:

Notice that Facilities is likely to find value in both of these outcomes, but affected department managers are only likely to care about one of the two.  This targeting analysis guides meeting plans, sales conversations, account-based marketing content, product innovation, and more. It also helps guide executive selling efforts by identifying executive-worthy conversations.

Making the Complex Simple

Building customer-perceived value is the selling behavior that most affects customer buying decisions.  Value is defined as the desirability of customer outcomes and is built off of differentiation. A Value Network is a tool that articulates all of the possible business outcomes your offer could produce for a customer.

Depending on what it is your company sells (product, service or solution), being able to efficiently identify all customer impacts is where the great sales conversation training (the one you’ve probably already invested in) begins. In my work with hundreds of B2B companies, I can confidently tell you that there is room for improvement in refining your “product” (which includes service) training. Value Networks can help everyone involved craft a simple set of training, content, and other materials guaranteed to improve the quality of your customer conversations, supporting higher win rates at more mutually-beneficial prices.

Here’s An Exercise For You to Apply This Article

The diagram at the top of this article was purposely left incomplete. Extend it using the bullet point statements under the section titled “Introducing the Value Network” plus any others you can think of. Now, study the bigger Value Network and consider what each of these outcomes means to you in your role: both professionally and personally. What would developing a company-wide focus on customer value do for you and your organization?

Comment below, or contact me if you’d like to learn more about this simple, powerful tool.  Or get on the waiting list for my upcoming book, where I’ll go into even more detail on how-to and use of Value Networks.

To Your Success!

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Younger Generation Leadership Strategy: Create an Individual Career Plan for Each Long-Term Employee

Today’s article is an excerpt from my new book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generations, soon to be released by Authors Place Press. Details and ordering information will appear soon on the Ingage Consulting website. Please stay tuned!

 When I was starting out in my career, I was comfortable with the idea that I would get promoted after “learning the ropes,” making mistakes, and moving upward gradually. Most often, I would get feedback about my performance only when I went into a job review session with my boss.

In those sessions, I would get news that I was handling some aspects of my job well, and others less so. Some of my supervisors—the better ones—would outline a series of action steps and objectives for me to tackle, and then when it was time for me to have another review, I would get a little more feedback on how I was doing, and possibly some new goals to pursue.

It has been my experience that with that kind of hit-or-miss approach, giving feedback doesn’t work well with younger generations for some very specific reasons. Younger generations don’t like the idea of learning through trial and error; they like the sense that they are making a difference and contributing confidently to the success of your organization. Perhaps more importantly, they like to understand how they can move up and make a long-term contribution. It is best if you begin to talk about advancement and career planning with younger generation employees as soon as they arrive on the job. One good approach is to have career planning meetings with younger generations during their initial training period as new employees.

The most effective approach is to create an individual career plan for each of your younger generation employees. (Note that I am writing about employees who you can expect to remain with your organization for the long term, not temporary or seasonal employees who are in positions that will be short-lived. If you employ younger students who are only going to work for you for a short time, for example, you will not need to create individual career plans for each of them.)

Here are some steps to follow:

  • Ask younger generations about their personal ambitions and interests, and work with them to create a plan that lets them live out those dreams as they work for you.
  • Explain the behaviors and activities that are most valued in your organization. You can say, for example, “If you can grow repeat sales in your department, we will make every effort to reward and value your contribution.”
  • Explain how advancement works in your company, and how it could work for your younger generation workers. If they are starting out as a salesperson in one territory, for example, they can work toward taking over a new territory after a year of hitting sales quotas and bringing in a certain number of new accounts.
  • Talk about your company’s values and mission and invite younger generations to tell you how they can be part of them.
  • Explain management training and other development programs and layout specifics about how younger generations can take part.
  • Establish specific benchmarks and expectations for your younger generation employees to attain. Build-in timelines and due dates to keep the process specific.
  • Schedule future check-in meetings at regular intervals to assess how the career plan is working. Members of younger generations, like plenty of other employees, do not like to work in a vacuum. So, every month or three months, meet with them to assess how well the employee is doing with his or her career plan. At those sessions, keep the tone encouraging, and ask whether you or the company can help or provide resources.
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“Negotiation Crisis Intervention Behind The Scenes Trust Fear Factor” – Negotiation Tip of the Week


“A crisis is easily averted when you negotiate in a way that prevents it.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)


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“Negotiation Crisis Intervention Behind The Scenes Trust Fear Factor”


The opening scenes in his mind were calm and serene. The next thing he knew, silent alarms were summoning his attention. Instantly, he experienced fear. He instinctively knew that would be a factor in what was to come. And he wasn’t sure if that stemmed from his perception of a crisis in the making or the intervention that would be required to squelch it. Regardless, he knew trust would play a factor in the outcome – a negotiated outcome that he’d engage in whose result he could not gauge.

When you’re involved in any activity, you’re negotiating. That’s especially important to remember when you’re confronting crises or events that might be leading towards one. You should adhere to the following factors to enhance your chances of addressing challenging situations successfully.


Influence Factors:


Fight for power

Crises usually occur when there’s an unequal balance of power. Thus, struggles arise between forces to bring power back to the point of equilibrium. Then, harmony resides. But it only does so for the time it takes one side to become dissatisfied with the power-sharing arrangement. And that leads to another round of fractions between those that share the balance of power. Therefore, always be mindful of where your involvement finds you in the struggle for power. Therein will lie your opportunity to avert or incite a crisis. The action you take depends on what side of the equation you’re on – seeking more power or not willing to relinquish it.


Question: To what degree does trust become a factor in the influencing process during a crisis intervention? Answer: An entity seeking to create an agreeable and bonding resolution must first establish that foundation on trust – stated more succinctly, it’s everything. And, if trust teeters on uncertainty or there’s mistrust, the pillar to maintain a good relationship between opposing parties will stay in jeopardy. And that will hamper the cohesiveness of long-term agreements. Suffice it to say, trust when possible, but be keenly aware when you’ve extended it past its expiration. Sometimes, influencing a situation means pushing back on those that are not trustworthy.


Fear can be a powerful tool in a pre-crisis environment and during crisis intervention. It can be used as leverage to manipulate an opponent’s action to move in a more positive direction. It can also be used to entice your members to stay aligned with your cause (e.g., if they win, all of you will be worse off). You should also be cautious as to how you wield the tool of fear. Do that by having a calculated expectation of the outcome it might produce on your target. If the target responds in unexpected manners, and you didn’t consider them, you run the risk of losing control of the situation. And that could leave you impotent to address other aspects of the engagement. Therefore, when considering the implication and implementation that fear’s usage will have on a situation, the word to exercise is caution.



When considering the role influence will have when you’re negotiating in a crisis or intervention, think of the situation in stages. Break the interactions you’ll have with the opposing party into segments. Assess how you’ll act and react in a particular phase. And assess how the opposite side might respond to your positioning – determine what mannerisms they might adopt and how you might react to that, too. Your goal is to break the pieces of the engagement into manageable segments. That effort is geared to give you the most significant opportunity to move the talks in the direction that’s most favorable for the parties involved.


Bonding Questions

As most astute people are aware, trust and fear play a vital role in the bonding process. Thus, both of those factors are potent forces. To add to your powers, ponder how you’ll bond with other parties by considering the following questions.

  1. Should you bond with the other party?
  2. What ramifications might come about as the result of your bonding with some members that oppose you versus others in the opposition’s fold?
  3. Can the bonding process with certain sects further your goals faster than with others?
  4. When is the best time to engage in the bonding process?
  5. How will you measure the effectiveness of your relationships?
  6. Should someone of stature precede you to set the stage to enhance your bonding efforts?
  7. At what point might you break a bond to make a point?

Those questions, along with others you think of, are crucial queries to ask yourself. The answers will allow you to develop a cohesive strategy that can be used to further your activities, engagements, and goals.


Negotiation Strategies

Depending on the severity of the crisis you’re dealing with and the stage that it’s in, you might want to adopt the following negotiation strategies to improve your plight.


Block and Bridge

This is a tactic that allows you to promote your message and position while diluting the other party’s efforts to enhance his own. It’s accomplished by acknowledging the other party’s perspective but not allowing it to be fully heard or seen. Thus, if someone were to say, “we’ve been making these demands for the …”. You might cut them off after they said, ‘the,’ and say, “We understand time has passed. There have been mitigating circumstances that have prevented us from adopting a policy/plan, etc.”

By engaging in this manner, you will have stopped his efforts to project his position in the public domain. Instead, you would have promoted your point as the dominant thought that others should lend their attention. Block and bridge is an excellent way to steal the spotlight and allow it to shine brighter upon your plans for improvement.


Pincer Move

A pincer move, in a negotiation, is used to convey the message that you have the opposition surrounded by those possessing differing opinions than his. The implication being, succumb to the superior force – me/us that confronts you.

Marshall as many opinions and allies as you can that are aligned with your message, to refute those of the other side to implement the strategy. And be sure that none in your camp are shills posing as your supporters when, in reality, they’re inside your encampment as spies for the other side. You want the opposing party to feel isolated and devoid of hope in the quest for their plans. That will serve several purposes. One, it will sow doubt about how much longer they should continue down their current path. Two, it will create fractures within their ranks. And three, it will dilute their strength, which will make them a less potent foe.


Many years ago, Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman. Foreman was known for his power, not his stamina. Ali realized that he could not go toe-to-toe with Foreman less he heightened the chance of being knocked out. So, Ali adopted the rope-a-dope, a strategy meant to allow Foreman to wear himself out by pounding away at Ali. Ali’s ploy was to draw Foreman into thinking Ali was ‘out of gas.’ And the deception worked for Ali, who went on to win the fight. Later, someone stated that underestimating Ali was the mistake of a lifetime.

In any negotiation, sometimes, your efforts can be enhanced if the opposition is unsure of your strategy – it’s even better if they think you have no plan. Thus, when dealing with a crisis, release information strategically about your position. To the degree you can, don’t place it in mediums that you can’t control. And when other sources attempt to reposition you, be quick to thwart their efforts. Adopt the persona that’s best per how you wish others to perceive you, your team, your efforts. And, like Ali, you can pretend acceptance of one position while holding in reserve the one you wish to implement.


There are many factors that you should consider before, during, and after a crisis. The way you handle each phase will determine what occurs next. Thus, you must be aware of where your rhetoric and actions will take you per the procedures and posture you adopt in one stage and the impact it’ll have upon the next. By implementing the insights mentioned, you increase your odds of addressing crises better. That will place you in a more harmonious and prosperous environment. And everything will be right with the world.


Remember, you’re always negotiating!


Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator


After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com


To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here https://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/



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The Cybersecurity of Banking and Finance

I’ve discussed the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare due to the extremely sensitive personal data and the loss of trust if hacked. If healthcare data and a patient’s trust is as sensitive as research shows, then it’s no surprise that the banking and financial industry is in serious need for anticipatory cybersecurity and digital data protection.

Banking Evolution

Up until the early eighties, transactions at financial institutions were handwritten, calculated long-hand, and done without the aid of a computer or calculator. Fast forward many years and not only can we make deposits and automate our bills to be paid online, but many employees of financial institutions are starting to work remotely as well.

Additionally, cash-out technology is replacing physical cash and check exchange. PayPal, Venmo, Zelle Pay, Apple Pay and many more make the exchange of money a social network of sorts with minimal or no fees, depositing straight into your bank account digitally without the bank’s physical presence or involvement.

A Breach of Banking Security

Whether you drive to a bank to withdraw cash or log into your Venmo account and deposit cash digitally, banking is a personal and serious subject. Keep in mind, a financial institution has every last little detail about our financial situations.

Historically, a security breach in a bank was a takeover robbery. These now pale in comparison to cyber crimes committed against financial institutions, where they take sensitive information and even your identity. Much like the healthcare industry, financial institutions are faced with thousands of cyberattacks every single day, with ]the financial reward much greater than cash.

One example of a big bank that suffered a massive attack was Capital One. A single weak spot in cybersecurity allowed cybercriminals to capture the personal information of over 100 million people and leak it to the world.

In the past year, there have been over 3,000 known successful cyber attacks against financial institutions according to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. In the case of the Capital One hack, their system flaw was described as a “configuration vulnerability” in its security software that compares to the tellers and security guards in past banking years all going to lunch with the vault wide open and a lobby full of people.

Time for a Change!

Anticipatory cybersecurity measures should be elevated at financial institutions much like the healthcare industry. Capital One’s hack is not the only large scale financial institution that succumb to hacking, as we saw with companies like Equifax and Morgan Stanley being attacked as well.

Banks and financial institutions implement cyber protection, but are they really safe? I know of several cyber companies that test for vulnerabilities in this industry and within 48 hours they gain access to everything the bank “assumed” was protected and safe. But cyber protection is ever-changing and in need of constant testing for new vulnerabilities, and unfortunately, the vast majority of current cybersecurity strategies is about reacting quickly after the problem occurs rather than an anticipatory one.

The Hard Trend that cybercriminals continuously find a way to outsmart the institutions should be used by banks to pre-solve hacking problems before they become a nationally reported disaster, and be anticipatory by using behavior analytics and other anticipatory tools to prevent a breach of security and the breach of trust.

Cyber Solutions

When hacking occurs repeatedly in an industry, trust breaks because the customer does not feel their personal information is truly valued by the institution.

Hackers love to take advantage of weak passwords or use emails loaded with malicious computer code that lets them get inside the network while others scan for out-of-date hardware and software missing the latest security fixes. Likewise, cybercriminals work around the clock, therefore the IT firm or internal IT department must be in place to do the same.

Anticipatory cyber strategies put the cyber education of employees as a priority, with an outside firm doing security scans on everything before the problem occurs, having all software scanned and updated regularly, and making sure spam filters are adequate in your company’s email system.

Free Perimeter Test

Because we see cybersecurity as a strategic imperative in protecting your future brand and reputation, we have identified best-in-class cyber testing companies that will provide a free perimeter test of your organization to check for vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity defense system, provide the results of their tests and recommend immediate actions that can be taken to stop any uncovered leaks in your system. If you would like a free perimeter test to check for vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity defense system, please contact us.

Ask for your free perimeter test at: https://www.burrus.com/perimteter-test-request/

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