Prescott is a graduate of Babson College, served as an officer in the US Marine Corps, trained police officers at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, launched POLITICO Pro Defense, and now serves as the International Research Consultant for his family business, 300 Below, Inc. After cardiac arrest, brief death, and subsequent revival, his reflections on an inspired second chance at life are posted here daily.
Reflecting beyond the day I found out why.
Posting publicly that a bag of luggage was found seems like the most vain comment I could make today, as my belongings are irrelevant to the three primary reflections I’ve endured for Wednesday, which may inspire your own change in the world.
Instead of elaborating on getting old clothes back, which is not life changing, I offer up 3 “VIP” (very important perspective) points of action that will help you be your own VIP once you reflect and confront them.
VIP awareness helped me get my belongings back, my life in order, our customer service on the right path toward improvement, and several business deals squared away in the right directions.
The confluence of meetings was represented first with VISION: What is the optimal outcome? How may we get there? Then IMPACT: What occurs after this vision is achieved? Then PERSISTENCE: How can we follow through to ensure this vision achieves optimal impact? If optimal impact is not earned, what can we do better next time?
Three examples surfaced. (E1) A consultant’s meeting, (E2) A guilty reflection following a failed investment, and (E3) a deal that was saved last night.
**As for the airline, that’s not really worth discussing in depth. Baggage found. There was a lack of responsibility for the optimal vision: returning the bag. Impact was getting clothes back without requiring shopping, and persistence led to implementation. (phone calls to multiple parties found the bag and got it moving again for delivery to our hotel.)
*E1*: a consultancy sought our technology for their clients. We consistently establish expectations (our vision) up front that we pay only commission as the result of a favorable outcome. Following confirmation, their entire leadership team gathered for an overview of cryogenic processing — our business deals with the ultra low temperature science used to improve metals, making them harder, last longer, and perform better. After our presentation, their CEO stated, “We’re working in the best interest of our clients.” As we soon found out, Words vs. Actions are two very different things.
Though shrouded as a celebration with “A.S. Kiken” wine, we used our final five minutes to probe the discordant reality for the relationships they professed to introduce. This team working in the “best interest of their clients” sought a retainer from us, expecting to get paid from both sides. In essence, expect us to pay upfront to meet their clients with zero expectation of results.
Would a company who contracts with an executive search firm expect the potential new hire to pay to be introduced before they’re even interviewed? That is absurd. Would you hire someone as your agent if they squeeze every contact that might hold inbound value? Such behavior stifles innovation for business prospects, because it removes impartiality. When A.G. Lafley (CEO of Proctor & Gamble) set a goal in Y2K of obtaining 50% of all innovation from outside the organization, the product launch success rates increased from 15% to 60% in 2008; a 400% increase. There were no upfront charges to potential collaborative partners that P&G invested in, and one of the successful products was the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, found by meeting a peddler in a Japanese street market.
All impactful visions require a level of persistence to see them through. For us, we will invest our future percentages, but steer clear of handshake dealers. Hope from a handshake offers no guarantee of performance, whereas all of our business transactions offer a 100% money back guarantee. Being apart on values is often incompatible for a deal to congeal. Similarly, the look on one’s face when they are inconsistent and vision-averse is always fascinating to watch, seeking to justify inconvenient truths that have just revealed themselves.
IMPACT: Time is our most valuable asset, and it appears we just wasted our time.
*E2*: I am guilty of violating an established vision, though it is my own fault following a lack of due diligence, not posturing. This situation also brought to light a personal investment, whereas weeks ago I made an earnest offer to purchase remaining shares of a startup from multiple business partners, yet when I mapped out the decision and fully understood our remaining assets (where all financial details emerged), my vision changed, and my offer to purchase was rescinded before I signed the paperwork. To my other partners, this was most certainly frustrating, as (unbeknownst to me) it killed another acquisition opportunity that one of the other partners was working on.
IMPACT: While we now will divest in this wayward venture with minimal loss, I am confident that this experience has damaged a close friendship in the process. Saying “don’t do business with friends” is a cop-out excuse, as while this experience is indeed a life lesson, the real teaching point here is the importance of accepting responsibility for deeper due diligence and never proffering verbal resolution if it may presuppose the action of a handshake or signature that is unworthy of genuine commitment.
*E3*: We have a new deal that merges our new technology with another team’s technology to improve network security. The initial theories are nearly a decade old, but through collaboration we were able to create new patentable measures to enhance network security with global impact. The original programmer is friendly and easy to deal with, and he and I collaborate well together to come up with new ideas. But as the old partners started to realize that money was coming back around, they got re-involved to the point of killing the deal.
Our vision is to start a new company that we own a percentage of, and the optimal impact is that we can help prevent or stall a large amount of global cyber attacks. Through persistence we have arranged meetings with several top organizations who are interested in this solution. While we came to an agreement about how to structure this organization, and I spent an entire evening writing a Letter of Intent for us to partner together, their appointed partner to handle negotiations started talking in dollar figures owed rather than shared percentages. Since we have no proof of deployment or guarantees of intellectual property, this threatened to kill the deal. As such, we decided to say no, and walk away because of this greed.
What was most interesting is that this particular individual has been removed from negotiating with us, and we have resumed negotiations at a most reasonable level that again allows productive collaboration. This evening (Wednesday) was spent meeting with the programming team one-on-one to understand our vision moving forward, define what immediate impact we wanted to have, and set a date for our persistent engagement so that we could make demonstrations to our prospects.
The VIP points for engagement have allowed this business deal to be saved because we have all agreed to align our values and get on the same page with commitment to an aligned vision, optimal impact, and steadfast persistence.
What opportunities do you see to apply VIP thinking in your own life? What about for work?