129. For Big Gains in 2019, Forgive to Change


The global, debt-fueled, everything-bubble is deflating. Will the US economy go into recession? Accurately unforecastable and uncontrollable by us! Why not, instead, make controllable changes that will out-perform possible downturn effects?     

If you have not yet acted upon insights from both Customer and SKU Profitability Analytics, then you have big upside gains from doing a “Core Renewal”. (Email me for a free copy of my Core Renewal Roadmap at bruce@merrifield.com).


A common stumbling block: fear of going “open-book”. Sharing net-profitability/losses of customers and SKUs is “open”. And, you need three open-book innovation metrics to get everyone “engaged”. The dollars of gross profit; operating profit and gainsharing – per Full-Time Equivalent Employee (FTEE).

One Honest-Harry, roadmap-recipient confessed that his fears were: ego issues and change management energy. He – along with some of his managers and senior, coasting reps – did not want to be exposed for presiding over:  

  • Weaker profits than employees might imagine.
  • Having so many unprofitable: customers, SKUs and even sales territories.
  • Sales territories being harvested by senior reps.

And, going forward, managers did not want to look like rookies doing new plays. And, some didn’t have the personal gas and financial need to care to try.       

Was “doing nothing” a bigger risk than embracing the “core renewal”? After pausing, Harry confessed:  YES!   


Read and discuss the Roadmap recommendations which will trigger fears. Write down the real underlying fears and conflicting beliefs. Assess the honest degree of the risks. Discuss how the real risks can be minimized with small experiments.

And, embrace blanket forgiveness to all for any past shortcomings. Everyone has been doing the best that they could with the data that they had. New informational insights present new opportunities.

For fear of failing at new plays, do initial baby-step experiments with muddling-forward expectations. If the learning and skill improvement exceeds the cost of not-perfect execution, great!  

For low-energy veterans, forgive them, but insist they step aside to put new change-champ energy in charge. Let the new-number necessities be the Tough Cop Negotiator. No one can be allowed to obstruct progress for all.  If some may leave due to accountability pressures, so be it.

And, consider hiring a (part-time) analytics champion whose job includes making everyone a bit uncomfortable. (Be in touch for recommendations.)  

Forgiveness, though, is the biggest key to renewing profits, agility, and courage for ongoing change.

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