links for 2010-04-13

  • "You can tell a lot about what you're up against in a sales pitch by the way they serve you coffee," John Deal mumbles to me, as the others in the room noisily take their seats around the conference table at a well-known British engineering and defense contracting company on a dreary day in central England. I take this to mean that Deal has his work cut out for him, given that his prospects have unceremoniously plunked down in front of him a jug of scalding coffee and a stack of plastic cups, with no cream or sugar in sight.

    Deal begins making his case to six poker-faced executives, who proceed to blast him with an array of questions that cast doubt on his product, his business plan, his prospects for survival, and possibly his sanity. Every sentence seems to start with, "What I don't get is," or "The sticking point with me is," or "But how can you possibly…?"

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