Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – The Bank of Northern Michigan
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC
Senior Vice President, Traverse City Market Manager

Hear from the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, Rich Lievense, and his insight on what this blog encompasses.

In light of the recent news about data mining by US government agencies and private companies, I have been searching for an article that describes what is going on with our online information.  I think the article by Steve Lohr fills the bill.  It is both understandable and chilling.  

Click to read the New York Times article, Sizing Up Big Data.

Follow the link below to another New York Times article that references some common sense steps that we all can take to protect our online lives.

Click to read, Ways to Make Your Online Tracks Harder to Follow
I am taking a chance with a very long article about oil production in the United States.  As you know from previous blog posts, I believe our new technologies to exploit oil and gas reserves are a game changer and will significantly improve our competitive position in the world.  The attached article discusses crystalline natural gas (also known as methane hydrate) which was discovered in the 1970’s.  This energy source is stored in broad shallow layers on continental margins.  By some estimates, it is twice as abundant as all other fossil fuel sources combined.  The technology is being developed to exploit this energy source.  I had never heard of this energy source and thought you might find this very interesting.

Read this article
The popular media is awash in reporting that the government is printing money in an unprecedented manner and this will certainly cause inflation and cause all sort of other bad things.  A couple of us around the company have spent more time in economics classes than we care to admit and have known this perception to be wrong.  Effective money supply depends on the amount of reserves in the system and the velocity of those funds.  For those of you who are interested, the link below will direct you to a technical piece that explains this relationship.  It may provide some comfort that the world is not necessarily going to end badly.  At the very least, it will provide you some interesting facts you can use to amaze your guests at your next dinner party.

Click here to read the article.
When you read these adjectives, what comes to mind?

“Slimy, smarmy, sleazy, hoodwinkery, sleaze-baggery, low-brow, slick, aggressive, low-road…” 

According to Daniel Pink, bestselling author, these are the adjectives most often associated with the term sales. I’ve been around a while and have had many different roles that involved some type of sales – convincing others to make some type of exchange. I get it, that’s sales… but slimy, smarmy, sleazy? 

We introduced Daniel Pink to both our northern and western Michigan clients at an invitation-only educational forum. We all enjoyed Daniel’s presentation of his new book – To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. And we gained a new perspective on the term sales.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports one in nine Americans works in sales. Said differently, more than fifteen million people head out the door everyday earning their keep by convincing someone else to buy something. Daniel expands these statistics however, by claiming nine in nine Americans work in sales – like it or not, we are all in sales now. Doctors convince patients to follow-through with treatments; teachers influence students to study; employees persuade colleagues on a new idea; coaches motivate athletes to perform. Daniel presented a compelling argument that we all sell stuff – ideas, advice, products, services, etc.  We all persuade, negotiate, and pitch.

So what does this mean to us? I’ve often put forth in this blog what I hope is helpful and insightful commentary on how we build better businesses. Daniel made me think more deeply about this role of sales… and because we all do it, I asked myself, who really does it well and how are they wired?  

Are you familiar with the term ambivert? I was not until I heard Daniel reference the term in his presentation and book. We generally think of extroversion as the ‘must-have’ personality trait of top salespeople – sociable, life-of-the-party, lively, animated. I know them, I’ve hired them, (maybe sometimes I am them).  Daniel introduced me to a new reality – there is no empirical evidence that confirms extroverts to be the best salespeople. Statistically, ambiverts – those that sit roughly in the middle between extroversion and introversion – are the most successful sales professionals. Ambiverts find the balance – they know when to speak up and when to listen, they inspect and respond.  Ambiverts are able to build lasting and trusting relationships with a broader range of people; and they definitely are not slimy, smarmy, sleazy, hoodwinkery, sleaze-baggery, low-brow, slick, aggressive, low-road…
When time allows, pick up Daniel Pink’s new read… it’s a perceptive and practical book. 
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