Prune The Dead Wood


This word is also a place. My dad was born in Deadwood, Texas. A rural dot map near the Sabine River, population 300.  Legend has it my family was the only family that could live with the Native Americans. My grandmother’s grandmother was a full-blood Choctaw, and her other grandmother was half-Blackfoot. Growing up in a larger town about 45 minutes away, and still rural by today’s standards, I was taught the ways of the woods, the circle of life, and living off the land. I developed a deep sense of belonging to and understanding of nature. My grandmother taught me how to read the signs of nature, make my own fishing gear, hunt, farm, and survive as the Native Americans did before the Trail of Tears. No, I won’t be applying to be a contestant on Alone. But give me a pocket knife and drop me off anywhere in the woods, and I’ll be alive and flourishing when you come back.

The community’s name, ‘Deadwood’, comes from a time of great conflict.  When the enemy crossed the Sabine River, the code word to fire at will was Deadwood! Or put the deadwood on them. This refers to the wooden stock of the musket.

Deadwood also refers to the tree I had to cut down this past weekend. Many of the city folks (neighbors) were concerned and full of opinions about the risk of me falling the tree exactly between two prominent ornamentals adjacent to the green electric and communication grid box, near the neighbor’s privacy fence, and just feet from my porch. Funny how non-experts are full of advice. Having 911 on speed dial was not necessary. The tree fell exactly where I wanted it to fall. The deadwood is not firewood.

Deadwood also refers to the nonproducing sales teams and individuals weighing the organization down. The salespeople that manage accounts and take orders where the company could put a monkey in the role, and the business would still come in. This dead wood is EXPENSIVE. The salary and commission most think of is not that significant in the scheme of things. It’s the lost opportunity that has the most impact. It’s the potential clients they run off. It’s the discounting to get the deal. It’s the inability to displace the competition professionally. The Eeyore mindset is contagious and brings down the rest of the team. The lack of skills and excuse-making penetrates the reliability of the pipeline. Sales Leaders usually get fed up and attempt to fix the issues, but they focus on the symptoms, not the cause. Let’s spend $ on marketing and get more leads. Yeah, that will fix it. NOT! Let’s install a sales process that will fix it. NOT. Let’s change the comp. plan that will fix it. NOT! Let’s bring in a new sales manager. NOPE. Let’s… Let’s… Let’s… NOPE, that won’t fix it, either.  Those solutions are pointed at the symptoms. To know how to fix sales once and for all, the starting place is to identify what is the cause! Take away the cause, and the problem goes away forever.  Here is a link to learn how to identify the cause. Once that is determined, it’s easy to hit the bullseye and prune the dead wood, including your Strategies, Systems, and Processes. Click here to diagnose the cause!

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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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