Building Community Through Better Relationships

3 Steps to Getting the Right Answer

When teaching my college algebra class, I gave an exam where I did not cover all the material leading up to the test.  Instead of trimming the test, I advised the students that they were responsible for the material regardless.  But, in the interest of fair play, I decided to put the solutions to the uncovered problems on the white board for the class.  They were told that they would have the answers.  However when I corrected the exam, some students still missed the problems that were solved on the board.

My first conclusion was that winners will find a way to win, while losers will find a way to lose. But upon closer review other factors surfaced.  Perhaps some people do not find right answers because they are not trained to look for them, let alone identify them.  Some students simply miss the advantages that are available in front of them.  That revelation led me to question what advantages was I ignoring.  What answers were directly in front of me that I was not seeing?

The following steps empower individuals toward seeing answers.  These steps go beyond getting the right answers for a math test; they lead to success in making winning life decisions.

  • Live your passion – Living your passion does not mean not working. And, it definitely does not mean find your passion and perform it 24 – 7. What it does mean is to figure out what you want to accomplish and live for that specific reason.   Look on the white board, in your environment, among your relationships, or inside yourself for clues to figure out what you want to solve. You have to want it before you will see it.
  • Commune – The word means to communicate intimately, and also a rural community organized on a communal basis, according to Merriam-Webster.  In essence, come together and share with people of similar mindsets and objectives.  Both learn and exchange ideas with kindred spirits.  If the people that you commune with are not sharing ideas with you, nor pouring into your life (and you into theirs), then you may need to commune with others. Find relationships that will help put right solutions on your white board.
  • Pray – Ask for guidance.  Communicate from a position of faith. Religious people need to make time to pray to acknowledge their good fortune and identify direction.  For less religious people, demonstrate your faith in whatever higher purpose is driving you toward your success.  Any individual who meets a challenge has something to guide their values.  Clearly identify what guides your values and pay homage to it.

Believe that you will find the answer to your problem.  Solutions are often within reach once sufficient effort is applied.  Identify comrades who want to be part of your success and will support your efforts. Then, look. Answers to your test problems may be right in front of you.  Assuming you do not know the answer, or you have to figure it out on your own is a step backward.  Use your passion to prepare, then apply the three steps and pay attention to where the answer may be available.  What solutions do you still not see on your white board?

By Glenn W Hunter


November 30, 2012 Posted by | Better Person | , | Leave a comment

Alternative Education/ Consistent Learning

In the academic world of plaid skirts and crests on blazers, parents pay the equivalent of major university tuition to afford their children an elite, private school education. In addition to the social status, the parents are paying for extraordinary curriculum to prepare their children for college success. This scenario reflects a clear path to academic excellence and professional opportunity. On the other end of the academic spectrum is a direct path where academic excellence and professional opportunity also resides without the hefty price tag. How can this be?

Progressing from elementary school through a college degree, two alternatives have emerged on the academic landscape that provides an effective path to academic excellence and professional opportunity. Charter schools offer creative curriculum and post-secondary preparation for less affluent students. Although an unrelated entity, career colleges offer an alternative to students who recognize the advantages of a college degree without the benefit of a traditional academic background. Underserved communities and inferior early learning foundations are both characteristics of selecting these alternative academic choices.

Career colleges offer degrees, but more importantly they offer a practical attitude to learn and succeed. Unfortunately, these learners have often been told they were inadequate to be educated. In many cases, the terms of their education have been to stay out of trouble and we’ll pass you on. Not coincidentally, a similar mindset exists at the primary school level with charter school students prior to enrollment.

So, what do these alternative education choices mean to students in underserved communities and, in turn their advancement prospects? The difference is that these alternative academic choices bring learning options that are specific to the students they attract. Specifically, successful charter schools bring a sense of discipline, parental accountability, and social privilege to the student body. Likewise, career colleges bring a learning environment that specifically addresses preparation and skills for the job market in the student’s chosen discipline.

Alternative education makes a positive difference when a forgotten student has a clear academic direction and a supportive environment. Ironically, these elements represent success in more traditional school environments. The distinction is that alternative school students often begin their learning career disadvantaged by poor preparation. However, with an intentional desire to look beyond the ordinary experience, charter schools and career colleges offer students an alternative opportunity for educational advancement. Educational advancement resulting in better life opportunities is an essential component of learning. The educational landscape now has proven alternatives and is better positioned to deliver on the consistent learning objective of providing personal advancement across the social spectrum.

By Glenn W Hunter

November 26, 2012 Posted by | Better World | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Big Ask

“Nothing happens until someone sells something.” is a familiar business rule of unknown origin.  A corollary can be “No sale is made without ‘The Big Ask’”.  Successful sales professionals consistently approach their craft with discipline and skill.  Likewise, professionals who intend to escalate their fortunes realize that applying their craft in transforming prospects into clients is critical.

Sales professionals purposefully incorporate sales strategies, steps and processes to achieve their goals.  Curiously, professional services professionals routinely use the term, business development, to seem less intrusive when referring to sales efforts.  However, engaging someone in a business transaction requires some level of intrusion.  Essentially, business development and sales fundamentals remain the same.  And, concluding the process under either name requires the professional to execute.  Successful execution features The Big Ask!

No matter how many steps are involved, what methodology is applied, or which closing technique is perfected, business sales are achieved when one person asks another person to do business together.  Inferior business development practitioners often obey the process to the letter – step by precise step – then neglect to ask for the business.  This practitioner literally believes that the process will close the deal.  Failure is the process’ fault; the insecure, but allegedly competent, professional remains beyond reproach.  Even when the seller benefits from superior brand recognition, the actual relationship revolves around connecting individuals. The process is the tool. Success belongs to the professional who skillfully uses the tool, then owns the result.

This perspective by no means minimizes the importance of the strategy, steps, nor processes.  No successful business development professional would routinely approach a prospect and ask for the order immediately.  The Big Ask is an essential component, but not a silver bullet.  Logic and order does exist for to experience business development success.

This approach can be summarized in four activity groupings:

1. Engage the prospect – Market, call, email.  Make a way to get the prospects attention. This grouping involves the prospect learning that the seller exists and has something valuable to offer.

2. Connect at a personal level – This grouping is often referred to as building like and trust.  Inferior sales efforts stall here because ineffective professionals may assume that if the prospect likes them, they will clearly buy from them.  The real value from this grouping is establishing credibility so that the professional’s claim of solving a problem or meeting a need is believed.

3. Communicate how to help them solve the problem – Demonstrating excellence leads to success in this grouping.  People buy good feelings and solutions to problems.  The prospect needs to understand how the professional intends to achieve either of these two.  The skilled professional makes sure to clearly tell how.

4. Ask for the business – Reason, persuade, appeal.  These actions are potential paths for a prospect to agree with the sales professional.  However, intentionally and clearly asking for the business is the direct path to achieving the desired answer, “Yes!”

Too often, professionals receive business development training and apply their new education by mindlessly performing the process.  Effective sales processes are elegant. Effective sales processes are logical. Effective sales processes are strategic.  But, the sales process fails without full and complete execution.  Full execution means boldly using The Big Ask.

The process does not win the business by itself.  People do business with people.  Often prospects feel good about a sales professional in a certain business because of the brand that the person represents.  But, people still must connect.  And the connection is not complete until The Big Ask is made.  Right now, a prospect has a problem to solve using the attributes your business possesses.  Deploy The Big Ask and explicitly ask them for a business relationship.  Do it with the next prospect and enjoy sales growth!


By Glenn W. Hunter

November 5, 2012 Posted by | Better Person | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment