12 Most Transformational Business Insights From The Last 11 Months

12 Most Transformational Business Insights From The Last 11 Months

In my work, I talk in depth with hundreds of business executives and thought leaders about how they’ve grown their businesses, even in a down turn economy. Here are some of the best insights I’ve gleaned. Some of these are wise adages from veterans with years of experience who consult for a living. Others are from the front lines of those in the thick of it, learning the hard way. Some are tough lessons I learned on my own. Either way, these are great points to ponder that are certain to transform the way I do business in the coming year.

1.Storytellers Rule The World

Know the facts, but if you can form them into a good story you will have the world in the palm of your hand. Learn to tell stories that help people comprehend and recall your ideas. Learn to tell stories that people relate to, that they love to hear, that they will share with their friends. Storytelling gives legs to great ideas.

2. Stop Pitching Product – Co-Create Value With Customers Instead

Customers don’t come to you because they want to hear about your products. They come to you because they have a problem to solve and they want your help solving it. Stand beside them and look at the problem or together. Be a partner in value creation that helps them grow more successful. Products will sell themselves.

3. Listen To Your Customers

Sounds simple right? So why are so many companies just not doing it? In the words of the Kinks: “Give the people what they want.” You can’t do this unless you know what that is. By understanding your customer’s business and letting their needs drive your development, you will be in the business of what they want and that is a very good thing.

4. Everybody Is In Sales

Some would disagree, but if you think about it, every day we all must get buy-in for ideas or decisions we care about. The business world could learn a lot from each person in a business thinking of themselves as being in sales. Get good at understanding the other person’s goals and building win-win situations.

5. There’s Always Room For One More

Gather as many different points of view as you can before making a decision. If you surround yourself with people that think just like you, you will limit your discernment and miss opportunities for growth.

6. Strike a Balance Between Quantity and Quality

Business activity is a good thing, but only if it leads to revenue growth. Avoid busy work. Think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Learn to walk away from opportunities that don’t make sense. Focus on deeper engagement with clients who really care about what you’re doing with them.

7. Love Is Not a Business Model

Just because you really like something, doesn’t mean everybody else will. Keep your desires in check. Solid business necessarily needs passion but it needs to be tempered with common sense and a reasonable business case.

8. If You Don’t Measure It, It Must Not Matter

Successful businesses run by the numbers. They know what, how much, when and to whom. They take the time to calculate the value of every resource and maximize its use toward business goals.

9. Execution Is The Hardest Part

There’s no shortage of great ideas in business. It’s putting them into practice day after day that separates very successful businesses from the rest. Execution is hard work and it often means growing more comfortable with change.

10. Everybody Needs Some Help Sometime

If you look at the lives of any of the great people throughout history, you will find them pointing to others who have helped them do great things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many are glad to give it. We all want to be on the side that’s winning.

11. Being a Bridge Is Way Better Than Being a Tower

If you are all about getting ahead in life, you may find that once you get there you are very lonely. Go ahead and be driven, but build relationships that go deep as well. Learn to connect those around you to each other so that they succeed. We were made for community, not crystal towers.

12. Everyone Has a Story – Learn What That Is

The best way to ensure you know how to provide value in a relationship is to understand who they are and what’s important to them. Everything makes a lot more sense when you are able to put it in context. History, culture, influential people, events, etc. all play a part in shaping how we think and what we’re about.

What other transformational business insights have you realized this year? It’s interesting that once you start to employ some of these principles, other ones naturally arise from the process as well. Let’s keep the conversation going!

Photo courtesy of gnuckx, used under creative commons license. Some rights reserved.

Don F Perkins


Don F Perkins is a Sales and Marketing Professional as well as Chief Reflection Officer at the Mindmulch.net blog Don has been solving problems, building systems and learning the stories of others in technology and business for almost 20 years. By building strong relationships, observing patterns and asking tough questions, he uncovers ways to help clients adapt to business challenges and create sustainable growth opportunities. Don is passionate about community and connections. Find out more and connect with Don at his landing page online

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Hi Don. As a corporate narrative person i love the fact that story tops the list, and note (with some bias of course) that it also halos the next 4:

the Co-creating Value process is smoothed when emotional connection is first forged and that's where story comes in

Listening is integral to and a skill that becomes enhanced through.....story. Metaphor elicitation/ customer anecdotes and stories is being used by savvy businesses for 'listening' purposes and it trumps interviews, surveys, even trad focus groups

I've found that story plays a huge role in building assertiveness, conducting crucial conversations, selling (if not manipulative)

There is always room for one more in an anecdote circle too, or in a sense-making exercise............once again, story!

And so on and so on


Is there ANYTHING more true than "Everybody Is In Sales!" - good job, Don!


Don. These are great tips and I am going to steal some of them. Love love love that you put story telling as first followed by love is not a business model. Too often do we see entrepreneurs tell their story of how they love X so they decided to start a business in it - unfortunately, many of the love doesn't translate to a real world need and want. Both need to exist for the entrepreneur to be successful.

Also, measurement is important! It is sad to see great people with great companies fail because they are blind to the numbers side of their business. Don't shy away from it just because it is not the core strength or not as "fun and glamourous" as the rest of the business - learn to reach out for help. Finally, running a business by cash in the bank does not work. It never did and it never will. Look into the numbers, many times the truth is a lot different than how we "feel." Good insights allow us to make better businesses.


Don, thanks so much for sharing. I love your comment about execution and I agree with Margie below about how being a bridge is a great business principle. Heck, I don't see one of these that doesn't fill ne with inspirational delight.

#1 especially jumps out at me because I'm planning a venture centered around storytelling. What you sell isnt nearly as important as the story surrounding it. Products lead to transactions. Stories lead to loyalty. Thanks for your comments on the subject...it's VERY encouraging.


For me, #9 really stands out. In my work with individuals and corporations, a lot of marketing efforts focus on developing the "sizzle" - but delivering the steak is what really counts. Thanks for a great contribution to 12most!

Latest blog post: What's Your Story?


Well, as I read each one I kept saying, "Ok, that's my favorite." But after reading all 12, my favorite is definitely "Be a bridge, not a tower." I absolutely love that. I keep coming back to this again and again, but it feels like in this world, everyone is feeling the pressure to out-do and out-talk everyone, or be the tower. But if you're a bridge, you're covering gaps, connecting people with people or people with opportunities. I like that much better!

Great post!