A Sales Management Refresher From the Desk of Robert P. Currie

From the Desk of Robert P. Currie

After 40 years of consulting to manufacturers and distribution companies, the changes in sales and sales management have been dramatic (technology) and surprisingly minimal (behaviors) at the same time. The sports analogy for this is that technology (video, statistics, training) have made great strides in coaches understanding the game, however, the game is still played between the lines by dedicated athletes–hopefully, well-coached athletes. The “technology” helps us coach those athletes (sales people) better, but the players (athletes and sales people) must be strong, trainable, and coachable. Is there a better example of trainable, well coached players than the 2019 USA Women Soccer Team?

Coaches having a “concept of the game” is central to the coaching of sales people. Often sales managers become sales administrators distracted by order entry, order expediting, pricing, commission calculations, contact management and a host of other administrative duties. Our observation as a management consulting firm is that this administrative process has, little by little, squeezed out the day-to-day coaching of “between the lines” activities. In the industrial equipment world, this situation is observable at the manufacturer level as well as distribution level.

In the distribution level, where the interaction is between a sales person and a customer, the concept of the game should be quite clear. It centers around the sales close. Referring back to the soccer example above, the process is: we put the ball in their net and stop them from putting the ball in our net. Recently we conducted a sales manager conference which brought up the inevitable question about lowering prices to stay competitive. We asked the sales managers to articulate the method of dealing with price objection, or any normal sales objection. The answers were not vibrant. So, we followed up with the question of the standard sales close. What do you train sales people to say at the time of close? Again, no vibrant answer.


A Review of Distribution Sales Management and Sales Effectiveness – White Paper

From the Desk of Robert P. Currie

Currie Management Consultants, Inc. has conducted a number of projects regarding unit sales development of independently owned distribution. Some of those projects were commissioned by manufacturers and some by dealers through our Best Practices Groups (Twenty Groups). Most of this work is on-going as its principal focus is Sales Manager Development. We believe the issue of Sales Management effectiveness is becoming a significant barrier to total operational effectiveness. Since the 2008/2009 recession, businesses rebounded; sales and profits kept improving and business owners generated good returns. Much of that return focused on Service and improving performance there. Generally, dealers have successfully matured Service–it has been the star of the recovery.

As business moves forward into 2020 and beyond, the new star will likely be Sales. That is, if Sales is restructured to meet the market needs and, most critically, the staffing needs of a new generation of sales professionals. A new vision of Sales is beginning to emerge. In this document, we will discuss aspects of this new vision that impact Sales operational excellence.


Benchmark, Don’t Budget!

By Robin P. Currie, image by Gerd Altmann,

As we begin first quarter activities, discussions will happen about what we just went through, and what we call “Budget Time”.  Budgeting is often seen as the most important exercise for any business, large or small.  And, yes—unproficient expense control is a leading cause of failure for many organizations.  But the budgeting process is oftentimes abounding with intensity, anguish, and clashes.   Our job, at Currie Management Consultants, Inc. is to reveal, in order to assuage, budgeting difficulties.  As expert consultants to the manufacturers, and distributors, of industrial equipment, this is one of our specialties.  As you read on, you will see why our rallying cry is Death to the Budget!  And instead, we call for Benchmarking over Budgeting.  The approach:  a unique product, mastered over Currie’s 42 years of consulting experience, called The Currie Gap Analysis.

Limitations that arise because of “budget mentality” are as plenteous as they are controversial.  Unfortunately, budgeting can be a divisive part of running a business.  The ownership team holds the vision, and rightly so.  The management team–those called to execute–often approach the process from a different position.

From the viewpoint of the Principal or CEO, or the view from the top, we see rigorous performance expectations, fiscally conservative activities and attitudes, and collective consensus around the decisions of the executive team.  With all the correct protocols in place, the system works, and all will flow into appropriate Balance Sheet and Income Statement results, and strong profitability.  The plan includes growth, collaboration, increased profitability, and strong return.  Audacity and courage are the powerful drivers at this level.

Have you heard of the book Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus?  With tongue in cheek, we sometimes refer to that catchy title in describing the different worlds from which we see managers and executives coming together. And the budgeting process is one such platform where tremendous differences in philosophy may emerge.  Within the belief that performance in their specific department is close to the ceiling, managers are often reluctant to submit budgets which project increase.  When growth happens to be trending, they are more willing to rely on that experience and will budget accordingly.  But the bottom line is that managers sometimes seek undramatic expectations, and as generous a spending account as possible, in order to continue to keep things moving along smoothly.  Fear is a strong word, but during traditional budgeting activities, department managers tend to submit conservative forecasts.  Security and continuity are the powerful drivers at this level.

In the event of a standoff, can there reasonably be a win/win?  If the scenarios roll out as indicated above, then the ownership team will present their budget as final (or at least as final before first reassessment later in the year).  We now potentially have an outcome of win/lose.  In this case, the loss is of a less measurable, but infinitely important, element of a successful team—engagement.

“Think like an owner”.  This is one of the mantras at Currie Management Consultants, Inc. Mindset is critically important, and the mission fueling the phrase is to engage all employees, at all levels, to think as the owner thinks.  The mindset of managers makes them more likely to behave as if they are independent contractors, as opposed to behaving as an owner would.  By implementing the conservative budgets that are presented by the management team, owners may be compromising growth and profitability.  Although they are stewards of assets, department managers are somewhat removed from Balance Sheet expectations and results.  Once again, philosophical differences, along with differing mindsets, catalyze breakdown within the traditional budgeting process.

After working with hundreds of dealerships and distributor organizations, the Currie Benchmarking Philosophy continues to provide a solid performance vision, comprehensive industry-wide financial expectation, and detailed metrics.  The Currie Financial Composite, and the Currie Gap Analysis are two leading products that have become hallmarks of the success of dealers and distributors of industrial equipment.

Currently, the Currie team continues to accept financial input, each quarter, from over 300 organizations involved in the distribution of industrial equipment.   This is an area we have been involved in, consistently, for over 40 years.

Within the Currie Gap Analysis, we present what has now become the industry standard of performance metrics.  The high-level view shows Gross Profit expectations by department, expense models by category and department, net profitability for each individual department, General & Administrative expense benchmarks, and net profitability for the organization as a whole.  Within the report is also an indication of Absorption at Model, and Actual Absorption.

The companion product to the Currie Gap Analysis, is the Currie Financial Model—an expanded process of measuring financial and productivity performance factors throughout the company.   The Currie Financial Model is used in the Currie Financial Composite, a comparative report for all of our Currie Best Practices Groups.  These methods are what we expect our clients to rely on—this is Benchmarking over Budgeting.  The traditional budgeting process must be replaced, and the industry-wide familiarity with the Currie Financial model is the natural choice.

The Financial Model has been developed from seeing the best of the best.  We know, through experience, “what it looks like when it’s right”.  The Currie Gap Analysis takes the mindset issues off the table.  We do not debate the validity of The Model.  Instead, we encourage the Dialectic Method of decision-making and planning.  Within a learning organization, managers and owners alike, seek the truth within the theories.  We identify leading and lagging indicators in the current market conditions.  We analyze the contributions of each department and unit within the company.  And we assist all clients in establishing the engagement necessary to hold the vision of The Model.  Results Orientation (Currie Success Principle #9) and Vision (Currie Success Principle #2) are now the influential drivers of growth and profitability.

Revolution to Involution, and a Sneak Peek at the Circular Theory of Time

This is an article about businesses, but underneath that I present a theory on self—self as it relates to business.  According to some postulates on a new law of time, true mastery is achieved by activities such as involution, reflection, meditation, and introspection.  These elements are all connected to “self”.  But wait—isn’t that selfish?  Under common usage, the word selfish would imply self over others, or self-promotion to the detriment of others.  What if we, instead, meant self as a state of “being your best self”?  As you fill your cup, it overflows with provision for all—at work, at home, at your house of worship, and everywhere.  Only through self-discovery can we learn who we truly are.  Only through self-awareness can we choose behaviors according to a correlation with our values.  And only through focused reflection can we understand our place in this world and create prosperous realities.  A journey into self is always the path to higher knowledge.  How do we then apply this principle to our distribution companies?

Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow is a Harvard Business Review classic.  The author, Larry E. Greiner, takes us on an odyssey into the growing pains of businesses.  We have shared this article numerous times, but now I ask my readers to take another look at it.  Can we go back in time?  Not exactly.  As we evolve and grow, so then does our perspective.  Therefore, let us start the process anew.  Change is upon us, as usual, and adaptation is called for.  Please note that Currie Success Principle #8 is Growth and Adaptability.  Here is where we must apply this Principle, as the directions of our economy and marketplace are creating the need for advancing and changing in an intentional way.

Within the very first page of Greiner’s work, we see his lament that management erroneously “fixes its gaze outward…”  In the following summary of the five key dimensions, is a reference to a significant problem: “Managerial problems and practices are rooted in time.”  This represents the essence of my theory:  advancement through change, revolution, evolution, and adaptation–all must occur through the process of involution.  And we must look at time itself in a new way—non-linear.

What is the state of organizations in the developed world today?  And what “stage” is your business in?  Distribution of industrial equipment, especially, is a mature and robust industry, fueling all the critical areas of human existence:  food development, transportation, warehousing and delivery, power generation, and more.  Let us look back for a moment, before we look forward, in another example of the cyclical nature of time.  The dealership, or distribution company, began with a vision.  The factors that went into the manifestation of that vision were numerous, perhaps even infinite.   Through generational sharing, the passing of knowledge, the wisdom of the founding values, and the processes that made distribution companies great, we enjoy continued growth and success.  The vision is still with us and very little has been lost. But what about the unseen—the crisis points and the call for growth and adaptability?  Evolution is a process which also begins with vision, much as the original distribution company was built.  As our businesses evolve, then so must we.  Confirmation for this can be found on page 6 of Evolution and Revolution, where Greiner states: “The critical task for management in each revolutionary period is to find a new set of organizational practices…” And that includes our thought processes as well as our physical processes.  Radial geometry describes projection of form through brain phase.  Preconscious, unconscious, superconscious, and subliminal conscious brain functions are the steps of creation from vision (invisible) into solid (visible) accomplishment:  evolution through involution.  On page 9 of Greiner’s article, he includes a section entitled Implications of History.  Here is where hindsight is 20/20, as they say.  We can most definitely learn from looking back, and we most definitely must work to correctly anticipate the next crisis–but how about adding involution as an additional, and overarching process?  How we practice involution as a human is a complex journey, but we must also apply this theory to our distribution companies.

How do we begin to apply involution to ourselves and to our businesses?  Patience, endurance, and courage are required.  The first steps are described below, and this will be part of a continuing series to provide more information but for now call them what you will:  evolution, crisis, involution, revolution–all these elements are addressed within the 12 Currie Success Principles.  Let us begin:

Principle #1 Audacity

The pursuit of operational excellence drives dealer principals to continuously develop and fine-tune their strategies. It naturally follows that dealership executives also focus their efforts on the vigilant execution of the strategy.  The business leader is the person who has the ultimate responsibility to provide the discipline needed for successful execution.  The business leader in your organization will be well-suited to exercise the qualities of a highly skilled general.  After all, business, to some, is warfare.  Speaking of such, who better to learn from than some of the great military leaders of the world.  They possessed audacious courage that most can only dream about.  What did they have that was different?  Where did the courage come from?  How do we achieve it for ourselves and our businesses?  But let us also learn from the great peacemakers of the past.  They, also, demonstrated a commitment and a dedication to give it all.  Audacity is therefore required for anyone who wishes to self-examine.  And it is required for those who wish to implement great changes in their companies for a future beyond imagination.

The Myers-Briggs Type indicator, originally developed from the continued work of Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Swiss psychiatrist, assists in determining your personality preferences and predisposition to certain tendencies.  For many it is an interesting exercise.  But for others it is a bold foray into new territory.  Either way, self-awareness is a critical first step in the longer process of self-discovery, or involution.

How we define the culture, or “personality” of your company is a similar undertaking and must be done with intention, and with an open mind.  Our power, both individually and collectively, lies within the natural gifts that each of us have from the beginning.  Learn them, define them, explore them, appreciate them, and grow.

Principle #2 Vision and the Big Picture

The Holy Bible may not be your holy book, but the story behind the building of the Ark of the Covenant is a perfect depiction of visions and of visionaries.  In the Book of Exodus, God gave Moses very specific instructions about the construction of the Ark during the first of Moses’ experiences of theophany. After several long and ambiguous exchanges between God and Moses, and after the writing of the Covenant and the tablets, God sent Moses to ask for the offerings.  And His directives continued for every sacred detail.  In reading the numerous, meticulously ordered commands, we see God’s brilliant vision for the project: from the priests’ clothing to the placement of the very last gemstone. The consecration ceremony, the reverence with which people are to approach the holy structure—all these elements demonstrated an immensely profound combination of “Big Picture” as well as “detail-oriented” thought and creation, one that would set the tone for an entire civilization, from that moment and for all of time.


The totality of these lengthy imperatives seemed to be communicated directly to Moses.  Yet, suddenly, in Exodus 31 we realize that God had also directly and intimately conscripted a man named Bezaleel, to execute the project in its entirety.  God also commanded by name, the assistant (or partner) that Bezaleel would engage.  In commanding this team, God equipped them with His own visionary power. This exquisite story is the essence of a visionary leader, rolling out His majestic vision to an exceedingly qualified, well prepared, and highly talented team.  These were men who understood the vision and were able to manifest a project ordained directly from God.  But let’s think about this project from a business perspective.  Think about some great visionary leaders that have transformed businesses, communities, and even cultures.  There are many that are quite famous, but who do we personally know, that can both understand and collaborate to create a lasting vision of growth and success for your company?


Look at vision, now, in a new way, and take the view from the top.  Just see where it will take you and your business.


Finally, referring to the grey shaded areas on pages 8-9 in Evolution and Revolution as Organizations Grow, the author discloses that the business world is a growth phase in and of itself.  We, as people and as businesses, are constantly evolving, we are always experiencing a crisis of some type, and we all strive for profitable growth.  And then we do it all over again.  Now we have come, once again, full circle.

The next piece I write for you will be a deeper study of time, and time management as it relates to effective management of a distribution organization.  We will dive into some of the work of Einstein and his theories on time, the work of Bradford Skow (Objective Becoming), Newtonian physics as it relates to time, and theories of time as non-linear (Jose Arguelles).  For now, here are some additional musings for you about involution:

  • Philosophically, involution is the “turning in” of something.
  • Mathematically, involution is a permutation within a set. It also represents an involuntary mathematical function: an unknown becomes its own inverse.
  • Spiritually, we think of involution as a journey into self and into soul. On a personal note, I believe a commitment to embark into self-exploration, self-discovery, and self-awareness can only lead to good things!

Happy Holidays!

Mastering Growth and the Spirit of Business

“But the disciplined self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion, mastered by the SELF, goeth to Peace”.  The Bhagavad Gita, 4th Edition, as stated in the Second Discourse, Line 64.

The 2019 Currie Leadership Development Program is open for registration and begins in February 2019.  This visionary program answers the question that all distribution company owners ask: “How do we maintain growth, develop new leaders, plan for succession, and evolve our distribution company into the next age?”  The Spirit of Mastery is the blueprint and it is the “oversoul” of the Currie Success Principles.  See “The Principles” below and see how they all come together for success:

  1. Audacity
  2. Vision and The Big Picture
  3. Focus and Purpose
  4. Strategy
  5. Continuous Development
  6. Execution
  7. Communication and Motivation
  8. Growth and Adaptability
  9. Results Orientation
  10. Poise and Gravitas
  11. Integrity
  12. Synergy

Visit our Currie Training Center website for more information about the Currie Leadership Development Program.  In the meantime, here’s the Currie take on Mastery, and what it means to me as a mentor and leader.  This work is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Robin P. Currie but has been modified to show how this concept applies everywhere – both at work and at home, and both in our businesses as well as in our spirits.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his 2008 best-selling work, Outliers:  The Story of Success, presents his 10,000+ hour theory.  Based upon an earlier (1993) study by Anders Ericsson, Ralf Krampe, and Clemens Tesch-Römer, Gladwell coined the phrase, the “10,000-Hour Rule”, as he extracted a hidden gem within the research.  Gladwell’s position remains:  10,000 hours of application marks a critical threshold which one must reach to enter the phase of mastery for a particular endeavor or area of interest.  Although other factors are at play which are necessary to consider in order to support this conclusion, we get it: dedication, long-term commitment, and focus are essential elements of the odyssey into mastery.

Since Gladwell’s success with his book, part of the original team from the 1993 study, including Ericsson, has published another success guide entitled Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.  Although the authors, Anders Ericcson and Robert Pool, explain in this subsequent publication that their original study was not accurately interpreted by Gladwell, the works of all these researchers and authors is of great importance for the study of expertise.

Now consider some of the experts themselves:  Black Belts, Olympians, highest-ranking musicians, social justice leaders, best-selling authors, great painters of Impressionism, military geniuses, and brilliant scientists.  The study of those who have achieved greatness in a focused discipline reveals to us the complexity of the art of mastery, and the themes and practices required are oftentimes theories in paradox.  Below are Robin’s Elements of Expertise, in alphabetical order, so as to assign equal weight to each.

Augmented experience.  Learning that occurs both on the field and off is critical.  Nearly all endeavors require some measure of rounded study.  Professional boxers watch their competitors, learn how they move, and create a customized strategy to apply during a match with that specific opponent.  Coaches present films of matches for the players to review, so they may, outside of the heat of the game, better observe their own performance.  Military leaders learn a great deal of history, psychology, and the study of other cultures. Consider the elements within this piece itself:  the ideas are designed to all fit together, as augmented learning tools for the greater goal of mastery.

Clarity of purpose is sometimes elusive, frustrating, and mysterious.  Yet, discovering our purpose and receiving direction for the journey creates for us a joyous, exciting, and fulfilling life and/or career.  Clarity is an essential piece of the puzzle of success in any endeavor.  Yet these two things–clarity and purpose–place us in a precarious position.  In unveiling one’s purpose, one must be prepared to make major, life changing decisions, the first of which requires that one says “yes”.

Commitment.  This element will make or break any practice, any endeavor, and any plan.  Commitment may be the first area you, your team, or your organization need to address in your resolution to become leading masters of your trade.  Depending upon your desired outcome, it may be best to set a predetermined time and place, in order to engage in activities to help you to stay the course of your intentions.  This is where the commitment is made:  in a specified, dedicated time and place, and with specific action steps.

Focus. Do not look to the left or to the right.  Distractions are everywhere.  Disciplined focus requires a disciple to sometimes say “no”.  Others may not appreciate your priorities, but many will.  Shut out the noise, ignore the drama, and keep the faith.  Remaining intently focused on any mission is not easy, but with practice you will eventually master this important skill.

Flexibility is nearly always required.  Opportunity may present differently than expected, or perhaps not at all.  Disappointments and setbacks will create the need to regroup, re imagine, and rewrite the path to excellence.

Intention is expressed in many ways, and most especially through a mission statement—a highly effective way to set and maintain powerful intentions.

Passion is a spontaneous and exhilarating emotion.  Passion is required to obtain true mastery.  Passion is the holy grail of commitment, drive, and tenacity.  Passion is one of the Elements of Expertise which is not something which we learn.  We each already possess it.  But it may be hidden from view, secreted in your underworld, or concealed by social conditioning.  Passion is Jason’s Golden Fleece–that for which he embarked on an epic odyssey.  Along with his Argonauts, and Orpheus with his lyre, Jason committed to an ambitious undertaking–to seize the Golden Fleece for his people.  Find your passion and claim it for yourself and for all.

Perseverance.  Keep going, never stop, be aware of how far you have come, and renew yourself every single day.

Self-Awareness is always the very first step, as has already been mentioned within this work.  A journey into mastery of any type must be executed with an awareness of who you are.  For this knowledge is your power base and where you meet your true higher self.  Figure yourself out and embrace and develop who you are.

Vision is enhanced by the art of visualization.  The visionary mind of Nehemiah, from the Old Testament, is among the most outstanding.  His dedication and commitment were intense and unparalleled, and he was a resourceful entrepreneur.  Nehemiah commenced an enormous project he believed was ordained by God himself:  the holy work of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the occupation had set in.  Read about Nehemiah and see what Nehemiah saw, hear what he heard, and believe as he believed.

The process of the Elements of Expertise you have just read may seem exhaustive, comprehensive, complete, and final–but it is not.  We are only just scratching the surface of what it truly means to be a master.  Let us “up our game” and continue to look to each other, and ourselves, as the ultimate masters of self, business, and service.  Masters understand the true potential of themselves and others.  They invoke and command.  They declare and manifest unimaginable creations of will and have transcended fear.  They do not play small.  There are no better leaders and mentors than those who have truly mastered their craft.  There are no greater guides than these.

Remember that Mastery is an art, and something which requires faith and passion.  Your own (or your company’s) journey of mastery may indeed take 10,000 hours.  Your resources are always there, whether you are focused upon them or not.  You may choose a practice, and then fall away.  You may forget, you may stumble, or you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged.  Those learning moments are part of the journey, and they are gems of wisdom, which can serve to advance you along the path, if you so choose to regard them in that manner.  Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947), a well-known psychologist and organizational and business expert, taught about advancement in his theory of change.  As we desire to grow, we must determine the constraint point, then unfreeze, change, and grow.  We then refreeze as we adjust to the newness.  The process repeats.  So also, be warned: as we make progress towards mastery, we are changed forever.  It is said that once you have achieved deeper mastery, and understand the fullness of your purpose, you may never go back.

Q3 2018 Article Review: “No Means No”, by Robin Currie

Here’s the Quarterly Article Recommendation for third quarter, from the Currie Team.  Please read this profile by Marcel Schwantes, entitled “Warren Buffett Says This 1 Simple Habit Separates Successful People From Everyone Else”.  The priceless words of Mr. Buffett should strike a nerve for many Currie clients, and they provide a well-timed integration with some recent, and important, discussion points.  Here are my thoughts on this insightful piece:


The discovery which is oftentimes made during the Currie Leadership Development Program, is that managers have a hard time delegating.  The reasons for this include lack of trust, lack of time available to train others, a preference for a more interactive management style, or some combination of two or more of these elements. The inability, or unwillingness, to delegate creates frustration, overwhelm, and erodes basic team foundations such as engagement and trust.  This article refers to author Jim Collins, and a book which has been recommended by Currie Management Consultants, Inc.  Good to Great[i] introduces the idea of a “stop doing” list.  In that process, we learn that a commitment to doing all of the work is considered a no-no.  Thus, delegation becomes a response to required task behavior and activities which a manager should be saying “no” to.  Delegation is smart, and the process will also help others on the team to develop and grow.

Time Management

What a natural lead in to another important item – the mastery of time.  Many time management theories are about boxes, quadrants, and lists.  Dr. Steven Covey, a renowned business behaviour expert, teaches the concept of rocks, sand, gravel, and water.  In this quarter’s recommended article, Mr. Buffet is quoted, along with Steve Jobs (another time management and business guru) and the belief is consistent:  there are things which fall onto the to-do list which must immediately be erased from the list.  Are we placing activities in our “time management boxes” which should not even be considered activities?  The Eisenhower Method of time management clearly states that any activities which fall into a “not urgent, not important” box should be eliminated.  How’s that for crossing some things off your to-do list?   Reducing what goes on “the list” will allow us more time for creative planning and balancing.  Which brings us to another great idea.


Life Balance

In her book Boom Life[ii], Michelle Currie provides us with a roadmap to assessing and balancing key areas of our lives.  Her segments include Health, Career, Environment, and Family, to name a few.  Achieving a balanced life both at home and at work is challenging, but it can be done.  Life is a journey, a work in process, and a grand adventure.  We are better at work, and better at home, when our time and energy is mastered in a productive and satisfying way.  And, that satisfaction may look different for each of us.  Page 2 of the recommended Inc, article speaks to us of Buffett’s viewpoint on happiness and balance.  If Warren Buffett says it, it must be so.  Do his statements ring true for you?  Does the meaning of the word “ambition” transform now, for you?  The very meaning of that word has changed over the generations, and this is precisely why I end here, with my ongoing praise for millennials and the often unrecognized, and underappreciated, gifts which they bring to the workplace.


Language is important, and words matter.  We could say that Boomers are from Mars, and Millennials are from Venus.  I wonder how Dr. Gray would feel about that?  My hope is that we recognize that it is now a different world, and a different marketplace, and technology has changed our lifestyles forever.  As one in the generation between The Boomers and The Millennials, my observation is this:  Millennials are born right on the razor’s edge of these tremendous societal changes.  They have come here on the eve of the demolition of the Berlin Wall – a major turning point in our human history.  Millennials do not view the world as Baby Boomers do.  There is a new paradigm in the world, and the concepts listed on page 2, along with Jim Collins’ list on page 3, describe the New World.  Warren Buffett is close to 90 years old and, instead of verbalizing extreme viewpoints on ambition, performance, and hard work, he tells the story of dreams, strategies, engagement, and self mastery as tools for abundant success.  This piece depicts a man who seamlessly bridges a gap between generational workstyles.


As always, we share something which resonates not just with the Curries, but, hopefully, with all of our clients as well.  Wealth is a function of principled strategies for success.  And, this piece is in direct correlation with Currie Success Principle #3 – Focus.  Enjoy!


Robin P. Currie

[i] Collins, James C. 1958-. Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking Is Not the Answer : A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great : Why Some Companies Make the Leap–and Others Don’t. [Boulder, CO: J. Collins], 2005.


[ii] Currie, Michelle B. Boom Life. [Bloomington IN Balboa Press], 2015

Leaders and Heros by Robin Currie

Leaders and Heroes in the Equipment Dealership


What are the Jungian Archetypes, and how do we connect them to management and executive leadership at our dealership?  Why would we want to?  Self-awareness is a critical skill in which all successful leaders must become proficient.  The work to master oneself creates powerful positive relationships both at the dealership, and at home.  Understanding the archetypes leads us into a greater knowledge of our true nature:  our unconscious mind, the origins of our personality, and the patterns which drive our behaviours.  Carl Jung (1875-1961), a Swiss psychologist, identified 12 archetypes of humans (Jung, 1969).  The list is not as definitive as one would expect, as the subject of human personality is quite varied and expansive.  However, many interesting myths and legends, based upon the archetypes, have arisen from the depths of the imaginations of great artists.  The Hero’s Journey is one such epic story.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality assessment based upon the work of Jung.  It is an invaluable tool, which we introduce in The Currie Leadership Development Program.  Those on the pilgrimage to enhance their leadership skills, begin this one-year program by determining their Myers-Briggs four-letter type.  This is the very first step on the path toward increased self-awareness:  what are my preferences; what are my strengths and how do they serve me and my peers; what are my blind spots; and what drives my reactions and responses? In short, the assessment gives the student a glimpse into the answer to a timeless question:  who am I?  Some may determine, based upon the MBTI and Jungian psychology, that they are The Hero.

The Hero is driven.  His purpose is to defend, to lead courageously, and to provide for his family and neighbours.  The Hero does not play small, and he works tirelessly.  The Hero’s true victory lies in the depth of the need that others have for him.  Are you now connecting this information to The Hero at your dealership?  Is this you?  Can you identify managers or principals who personify The hero?  If you attended the Currie Conference last year, in Dallas, you would have had an opportunity to attend my lecture on Buddha, Jesus, and Greek gods.  The story of Jason and the Argonauts is the epitome of “The Hero’s Journey”.   Below is an interesting graphic which depicts the Hero’s Journey.

This graphic was found on,  at

Remember now the epic characters who also embodied The Hero.  From Jesus, to Jason, to Superman and Harry Potter, we see the determined drive for righteousness and honour, and the perseverance to win.  And, Luke Skywalker shows us the futuristic Hero’s Journey.  Of course, there are women on The Hero’s Journey.  You didn’t think I would leave them out, did you?  Let us consider real-life heroines such as Jean D’Arc.  And there is a great deal to learn from some modern-day heroes and heroines as well:  Erin Brockovich, Karen Silkwood, and Nelson Mandela. These people stood clear, in their conviction of purpose and were so impassioned they were willing to risk it all. Each of us has, within us, a great hero.  But each needs to discover for himself, which of the archetypes is our dominant one, and how that archetype becomes the persona which drives action.  Who are you?  Are you The Magician?  The Lover? Or perhaps you are The Nurturer.  What are your natural gifts?

Additionally, did you notice that most of these brave souls who embark on The Hero’s Journey are not necessarily alone?  Many are accompanied, and nearly always by a powerful presence.  Harry Potter and Dorothy (of The Wizard of Oz) had wizards by their side.  Jason had his power team, and Jesus had connection to God.  Think Aladdin, and the Genie.  The lesson here:  perhaps for each, the accompaniments were quite possibly connections to an additional archetype.  As in the teachings from the legends of the Greek gods, we draw from their skills whenever we have need of them.  The power to reveal solutions is always available.  No matter the dominant archetype, all are present within each of us.

If your interest is sparked, join us for the next Currie Leadership Development Program.  The new session begins August 6-7, 2018.  But, we are looking for a new kind of leader to work with:  one who is ready to engage with us in a new direction for the distribution company, and one who is ready to see with monocular vision, as opposed to singularity of sight.  As we head midway into 2018, we must continue to develop a laser focus, as well as excellent insight.  How do we keep our eyes on both the operational performance, and, at the same time, inspire new and emerging leaders?  This combined vision is imperative for bringing our enterprises into the future.  The distribution marketplace of today requires us to run faster, lead differently, and see with fresh eyes.  There is a new way to lead a successful distribution company:  practiced self-awareness is required, as well as the ability to build a bridge between your own preferences and tendencies, and those of all of the people you are leading into the future.  We are all part of the adventure, and all must find the ability to tap into both Sensory tendencies, and Intuitive preferences.

The overwhelming majority of our dealership leaders show us a Sensory result, when they take the MBTI Assessment.   This result is in keeping with the general population, where we find roughly 75% of people with the Sensor preference.  These people prefer to rely on data, sensory experience, and physical information with which to make decisions—think The Currie Financial Model, KPIs, and other performance metrics.  The remaining 25% of the population are those with the Intuitive preference, and they seek meaning within that which is present. Intuitives look for patterns within the information, and they look to determine what is the “story” which the performance metrics tell us.  Both preferences are important, and true mastery is the ability to recognize both, and apply both in all situations.   High level managers and executives must learn to access, and activate, their Intuitive personality traits, along with the Sensory tendency.  This activity may not feel natural, and it may seem difficult, but the Sensor is already using Intuition more than she may realize.  The leader must use all available strategies, including tenacity and perseverance, to tap into her resources, and retrieve that prize which is necessary for the thriving of her community:  her dealership.  But how does she accomplish this?  Through the strength of the Sensory side of one’s personality, one can journey into the Intuitive.  Here’s a unique example of what this means.  Below are five common phrases which describe an intuitive process using a sensory modality.

“I see what you mean” (sight)

“I hear you” (hearing)

“This leaves a bad taste in my mouth” (taste)

“I have a good feeling about this” (touch)

“This doesn’t smell right” (smell)

What we have, are phrases which begin with evaluation of a sensory input, and then convert into a statement which derives intuitive meaning from that same sensory input statement.  We have now discovered the bridge between The Sensor and The Intuitive.  The phrases above are descriptive of a sensory experience.  However, as we analyze the way we use these statements, a deeper meaning is discovered.  This is a simplistic manner with which to describe the connection between the tendencies of a Sensor, and those of an Intuitive.  But we can take this information much deeper, and Sensors can continue to engage Intuitive thinking by taking a more Socratic approach:  asking questions and seeking meaning.   Take the helicopter and see the view from the top.  It opens entirely different perspectives for the developing leaders and empowers the leaders with new inspiration and additional tools for their journeys.

The Currie Financial Model is a quantitative tool, applied in order to measure the financial performance of a dealership or distribution company.  What is immediately visible, are the numerical results.  Now, enter the Intuitive application—what is the meaning, what are the patterns, and what story are the numbers telling us?  Intuitive are all about concepts, Sensors are about logic.  If you have attended a Currie lecture on High Performing Executives, you will remember that the competencies of mental agility, curiosity, and the ability to embrace complexity are required. The Socratic approach, as mentioned earlier, is the way to find the answers.  What are the questions which arise out of the results: who do we ask, what is happening behind these data points, and what strategies or processes should now be created and implemented?

In this piece, we have covered psychology, personality, leadership, financial modelling, and perhaps a little bit more.  For more information about The Currie Leadership Development Program, and other offerings at The Currie Training Center, visit our website at

Happy Trails!


Jung, C.G. (1969). Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious [sic], Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 1), Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1999.

Baum, L. Frank, and W. W Denslow. The wonderful Wizard of Oz . Chicago ; New York: G.M.


Summer at the Currie Training Center

Summer training is scheduled!  July is packed!  Some of the summer programs may not be offered again this year so please send your new hires, rising managers, and those seeking additional operational training!


Our top three programs are being offered in July (please note that you can visit YouTube to learn about the content offered in these courses):

Benchmarking and the Currie Financial Model, July 16-17, 2018.

Achieving Service Department Profitability, July 23-24, 2018

Building Effective Leadership and Management Skills, July 30-31, 2018

August Programs:

Parts Department Profitability, August 6-7, 2018

Leadership with Intent and Purpose, August 20-21, 2018.  This is a NEW program, and it is a little different from anything we have offered before.  There will be a free interactive webinar to introduce everyone to this program.  That’s coming up soon so watch the website for updates!  Here’s a little teaser about the topics we will work on in this seminar, and how we will apply them to a successful distribution company:  MBTI Workshop; Carl Jung study; Servant Leadership; The Eight Great Fears and the Six Perfections; and more!  The full agenda is available at  Check it out!

Click on any seminar title, from the list above, to see the Seminar Agenda!

Registration for all programs is available at


And don’t forget to plan for next year.  Leadership Development 2019 begins in February.  This is our one-year program.  Please register early, as this program fills up!  More information is available here.

Give us a call at 508-752-9229, or email, and let us know what we can do for you!

Spring is here at The Currie Training Center!

Believe it or not, the snow is nearly gone from Massachusetts.  It has been a long winter!

This notice is a “Last Call” for Currie’s Running a Successful Rental Department.  This offering is coming up fast—May 7-8 and will be facilitated by Matt Hicks.  Please register as soon as you can if you plan to attend.  Thank you!  Register here.


Also coming up soon is Account Management for the 21st Century, facilitated by Jim Henderson.  This program is for Sales Department Managers, Account Executives, Branch and Regional Managers, General Managers, any additional rising managers of account reps won the move!  This program is happening on May 14-15 so please let us know who is coming!  Register here.


Other programs coming soon:

Benchmarking and The Currie Financial Model, Robin Currie May 24-25, 2018.  View the Agenda.  Click here for a free one-hour webinar or register here!


Achieving Service Department Profitability, Robin Currie June 14-15, 2018.  View the Agenda.  Click here for a free 40-minute webinar or register here!


Additional news from The Training Center:

The Currie annual conference is coming up.  This year’s conference is in Atlanta GA, November 12-14.  All the details can be found here:  Currie Conference.  Over the next several weeks we will be developing more detailed agendas, securing our guest speakers, and more.  We hope to see you there!


Finally, registration is now open for next year’s Leadership Development 2019 Program.  This is Currie’s popular one-year program and will begin on February 11-12, 2019.  Please register early to help us prepare for you!  You can see more details about this program by watching a free webinar replay, click here.  Or download the brochure and agenda here.  Call us at 508-752-9229 if you have any questions or register now by clicking here.

Have a wonderful Spring!

Currie Training Center updates!

Crunch time for

Building Effective Leadership and Management Skills!

April 12-13, 2018

This is a powerful two-day program packed with a collection of the essential skills from the one-year Currie Leadership Development Program.  Please register soon if you are attending this program.  We will be asking participants to complete an on-line assessment prior to arriving in Massachusetts for the program.  There are some spots available.

Other upcoming events at The Currie Training Center

  • Building Effective Leadership and Management Skills, Robin Currie

April 12-13, 2018


  • Leadership with Intent and Purpose, Robin Currie

May 3-4, 2018


  • Running a Successful Rental Department, Matt Hicks

May 7-8, 2018


  • Sales and Account Management, Jim Henderson

May 14-15, 2018


  • Benchmarking and The Currie Financial Model, Robin Currie

May 24-25, 2018


  • Achieving Service Department Profitability, Robin Currie

June 14-15, 2018

Registration is now open for all of these programs.  Sign up at the Currie Training Center!