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Buffaloes Charge the Storm

There is a great lesson for leaders to learn from studying the way that Buffaloes and Cows respond to storms.

It is a lesson that I learned as a kid and has become one of the most significant and influential lessons of my life.

It has also become one of the signature stories of my speaking career.

Here, for the first time ever, we have publicly released a video of just that story edited from a recent presentation I did.

If you are a part of any companies or associations who have events where they bring outside speakers in please either fill out this form, or shoot an email to

We’d love to talk with you and share some information with you to see if it would be possible to have me speak at one of your events.

All the best.

See you in the “storm.”

Better Than Perfect


There is a great temptation to be perfect.

We think perfection makes us more valuable, more notable, and more memorable.

But there is something out there that is better than perfect.

Being forgiven is better than being perfect.

Being perfect creates stress.
Being forgiven creates freedom.

Being perfect creates pressure.
Being forgiven creates peace.

Being perfect is always unattainable.
Being forgiven is only undeserved.

If you find someone who is perfect; they won’t be perfect for long.

Because trying to be perfect runs out, wears out, and burns out.

But if you find someone who has been forgiven; they’ll be that way forever.

Because being forgiven is renewing, rejuvenating, and reinvigorating.

I’d rather you not be perfect because it’s not something I can really require of myself.

I’d rather you be forgiven every now and again because chances are I’ll need the same.

Amelia Rose Earhart: Finding Your Identity and Creating Breakthroughs in Life – Episode 142 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Amelia_Rose_Earhart_53fd733b-613f-4041-80bc-5ce84c761aa0_1024x1024Amelia Rose Earhart – Amelia Rose Earhart believes that anything is possible with a solid flight plan.

Named by the Jaycees as one of the “Top Ten Young Americans”, Amelia Rose Earhart successfully recreated the 1937 flight of her namesake, Amelia Mary Earhart. Less than 30 women have ever been pilot in command of a flight around the world and Amelia joins this elite group with the purpose of inspiring women to discover the joy of aviation. As President of the Fly With Amelia Foundation, Amelia grants high school aged girls flight training scholarships to learn to fly.

Amelia’s 28,000 mile flight around the world in a single engine aircraft became a symbol of determination, courage and empowerment for anyone who has ever decided to seek new horizons. Fortune 500 Companies, The United States Air Force Academy, dozens of Universities and Civic Organizations, just to name a few, have been impacted thousands have been jolted awake by Amelia’s contagious enthusiasm for action, her raw and charming leadership style and her ability to take audiences along on their own flight around the world with her story.

To learn more about Amelia and to learn how you can develop your personal flight plan, visit

Show Highlights:

  • Sometimes leaps aren’t “one day” leaps, they are “ten year” leaps. @Amelia__Earhart
  • When I started to say my goals out loud, no one said they were a bad idea. They encouraged me. @Amelia__Earhart
  • You need to have a back up plan for your back up plan. @Amelia__Earhart
  • When you’ve experienced something similar at least one time before, it increases your chances of survival. @Amelia__Earhart
  • You are allowed to recreate your identity and decide who you are at any point in your life. @Amelia__Earhart
  • Identity is not who you are today, it’s who you decide to be from this moment forward. @Amelia__Earhart
  • You control everything you an control, but it still comes down to trust. Because you can’t control everything. @Rory_Vaden
  • There will always be variables out of your control. But you can’t waste time thinking about those. Focus on what you can control. @Amelia__Earhart
  • It’s about inspiring people with a story of someone learning who they are through taking risks and doing their own thing. @Amelia__Earhart
  • You always have a choice to do what feels right for you and your journey. @Amelia__Earhart
  • You think it, you speak it, you act, it happens. @Rory_Vaden
  • You don’t believe what is true. All you believe is what you hear the most often. You believe what you tell yourself to be true. @Rory_Vaden
  • You are the author. You can rewrite your own story at any time. @Rory_Vaden

To learn more about Amelia, visit!

The Action Catalyst show is a weekly podcast that Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ hosts every Wednesday, which is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts and has listeners from all around the world. The show shares “insights and inspiration for movers and shakers in the world of business”™. Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews one very special expert guest and thought leader every week. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

9 Essential Systems of Scalable Sales Organizations

Briefcase Sales

You cannot scale a company if you cannot scale your sales force.

Selling is scaling.

And while there are certainly parts of selling that are an art form, from an organizational view it is very much a science.

At Southwestern Consulting, one of our specialties is helping companies develop the systems they will need if they want to build a high performing sales army.

Here are some of the most critical…

  1. Scripts: Whether your salespeople like them or not, you must have scripts – or at least “talk tracks.” Yes, your most experienced people will probably push back on them because they don’t like using them. That is because they are only thinking of themselves; they aren’t thinking about scaling – that’s your job. If you’re going to be growing, then you have to give your new salespeople a fighting chance by having a script they can learn and follow. And it’s not about having what’s best, it’s about having something that is repeatable.
  1. New Hire Training Manuals: Every single possible question that a new salesperson might have should be answered in writing, in audio, and if at all possible in a video. The more defined any process is, the more likely it is to scale. Professional athletes have playbooks; professional salespeople need them too.
  1. CSFs and Recognition: One of the most commonly ignored systems of sales organizations is to have a system that salespeople can use to report their daily sales activity (CSFs – Critical Success Factors) and not just their production. And this is one place we suggest that you don’t want technology to automatically calculate it for your salespeople. You want salespeople to engage in the discipline of manually tracking all of their activity because it’s core to teaching them to “put your self-esteem into your work habits and not your production.” Relatedly, you need a well defined process for recognizing the top performers on a regular basis. That which gets recognized gets repeated so you should be recognizing the hardest workers and not just the top sellers.
  1. CRM: We are surprised at how many companies still do not have a customer relationship management tool. What if your salesperson leaves? What if you transition territories? What if you transfer accounts? What if you develop new products and you want to cross-sell? Without a CRM the salesperson truly owns the customer relationship rather than the company; which can be devastating. Empower your salespeople, keep your business organized, collect data that enables you to drive intelligent activity…get a CRM. If you’re a SMB we can help you build an amazing one here.
  1. Incentive Program: Salespeople are very often money motivated, and recognition motivated people. They respond to prizes, awards, trophies, and recognition. You need to have a plan for providing the appropriate carrots to dangle in front of them to share with you in the growth they provide for the company.
  1. Pipeline Reporting/Forecasting: This one often goes along with the CRM, but even if you don’t have a CRM you need to have a solid, consistent, reliable way of forecasting your future sales. Forecasting sales allows you to know when to save, when to reinvest, and enables you to keep tabs on the volatility of your business model. 
  1. Recruiting Sources: If you don’t have a well defined and executed list of places to get salespeople from, you’re always going to feel forced to keep the people you have. As a leader, that means you’re not operating from a position of strength. One of the most common things we do in sales leadership coaching is help organizations build a rock-solid recruiting strategy for developing a continuous flow of top revenue generating talent.
  1. Strict Selection Process: Perhaps even more important than driving a lot of candidates, is having an iron-clad system for weeding out which salespeople in your interview process will really never make it out in the field. You’ve probably noticed how some salespeople are great at selling you on why you should hire them, but apparently not great at actually selling once they get into the field of battle. You need to figure a way to vet them in advance before you spend the money officially bringing them on your team. There is a whole lot to this conversation, but here are 15 tips to help get you started with that.
  1. Vision Tracker tool: This is another rare find that few organizations have but is really critical. You want to develop income tools for your team so they can both set goals and see how their income can grow over the next few years. But then you also want it to be developed in a way that they can also track their “actuals” and compare it to their original goals on a moving basis. Creating a financial vision with someone like this can instantly turn around a marginal performer and make them a top performer. Our discipline is directly proportionate to the clarity of our vision.

If your team isn’t selling as much as you’d like them to, chances are it may be at least partially your fault. Run through this checklist, and ask yourself if you’ve really given them the tools they need to be successful.

If not, fill out this form, and let’s talk.

I’m curious to hear from you, what other critical systems do you use with your sales team? Leave a comment.

5 Rules to Developing More Influential Relationships

Influential networking

Do you see people only for what they can do for you?

As you strive for success and achievement, this can be an easy habit to fall into. But in order to truly connect with others, you have to be willing to give more of yourself first.

I’ve found in my life, it’s easier to connect with influential people when you yourself are seen as someone with influence.

So how do you attract the attention of influential people? And in turn, how do you become seen as someone with influence that attracts other to you?

Here are 5 rules to developing more influential relationships:

  1. Be Studious – Keep learning. There is something to be said about influential people that are always learning and growing. As they grow, they are trying new things, meeting new people and getting exposed to more opportunities. The more you learn, the more you earn. People are more likely to listen to you if you are knowledgable in your craft.
  2. Be Useful – How can you be of use to other people?  While of course we don’t want to use other people, it’s important to ask yourself how you can be useful to other people. Once you show that you’re useful, people feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty towards you. Then when it comes time, you can ask them for a favor and they are more inclined to help you. I want to be considered a resource to others. Start being a resource to others and then maybe they will become a resource to you.
  3. Be Seen – It requires boldness to be seen. In order to be seen, people need to know who you are. Go to networking events, go to social gathering, share your journey on social media. Find online or in person platforms that work best for you and your brand. Show people who you are, what your vision is, and what you stand for. This allows you to be top of mind on a consistent basis along with showcasing your talents and skills. Tools and technology are more readily available than ever before to help you be seen. You must first be seen in order to become influential. It’s difficult to be a person of true influence if no one knows who you are.
  4. Be Thoughtful – Do your best to advance the thinking that has already been said and done. You may have heard the term, “thought leader” to label individuals who are experts in their industry. As someone who has been said to be a “thought leader” in self-discipline and time management, all I ever tried to do was advance the effort of thought in my realm of expertise. What can you do/say that hasn’t already been done/said yet? This isn’t just for the sake of hearing yourself talk either, it’s asking how you can add value to your industry. As you become seen as someone who is on the cutting edge, you naturally gain more influence.
  5. Be Graceful – The definition of grace is giving without expectation of receipt. Being graceful is giving without expecting a return on anything. The value you put out into the world will come back to you, but often not in the same medium in which you first put it out. We don’t always receive the pay back from investing and building relationships with others like we think we will. And it often doesn’t come when we want it to. Something we always say at Southwestern Consulting is, “You always get paid for how hard you work. Sometimes now. Often times later. But always eventually.” This goes hand in hand with living with an abundant mindset. The more you give, the more that will come back to you.

In order to be someone of influence, you must first be studious, useful, seen, thoughtful, and graceful.

Greg Mckeown: Essentialism – Episode 141 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Greg Mckeown pictureGreg MckeownGreg McKeown has dedicated his career to discovering why some people break through to the next level—and others don’t.

The definitive treatment of this issue is addressed in McKeown’s latest project: the instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. As well as frequently being the #1 Time Management book on Amazon, this book challenges core assumptions about achievement to get to the essence of what really drives success.

McKeown is the CEO of THIS Inc, a company whose mission is to assist people and companies to spend 80 percent of their time on the vital few rather than the trivial many. Clients include Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, Pixar,, Symantec, Twitter, VMware and Yahoo!.

Show Highlights –
• We have been conned by the idea that we should be able to do it all and have it all. And it’s a lie. @GregoryMckeown

• We live in a world where almost everything is worthless and very few things are exceptionally valuable. @GregoryMckeown

• Essentialism – the disciplined pursuit of less but better @GregoryMckeown

• Employers want people who actually create value, not people that measure value by how busy they are. @GregoryMckeown

• What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance?@GregoryMcKeown

• Rich people chose to be paid by their results, not by their time. @Rory_Vaden

• The key to living a life of essentialism is to figure out what is important to you. Then it’s easy to find the unessentials in life. @GregoryMckeown

• What is the very best way you can serve? What is the highest contribution you can make? @GregoryMckeown

• Do you want to do your best? Or do your average? @GregoryMckeown

• If things don’t spark joy in your life, get rid of it. @GregoryMckeown

• We say yes to too many things. Instead, we need to find what is essential in life to us so we can gracefully say no. @GregoryMckeown

• Any time you say yes to one thing, you are simultaneously saying no to an infinite number of others. @Rory_Vaden

• The strength to say no comes from being rooted in the reality of saying yes and the impact that yes has on your time.

• Your highest value to others is to be your highest self.

• The more successful you become, the more opportunities that are in front of you.

To learn more about Greg, click here. To purchase Greg’s book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, click here.

The Action Catalyst show is a weekly podcast that Rory Vaden of Southwestern Consulting™ hosts every Wednesday, which is regularly in the Top 25 of Business News Podcasts and has listeners from all around the world. The show shares “insights and inspiration for movers and shakers in the world of business”™. Each week Rory shares ideas on how to increase your self-discipline and make better use of your time to help you achieve your goals in life. He also interviews one very special expert guest and thought leader every week. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!