Columnists

Squirrel Spotting: A View From a ‘Between-Jobs Guy’

ColumnistsMay 03, 2022

Squirrel Spotting: A View From a ‘Between-Jobs Guy’

Peter Smith reflects on the connections he’s made during his time off and explains why change is so hard for everyone.

Peter Smith is an industry consultant, speaker, sales trainer, and author. He can be reached via email at TheRetailSmiths@gmail.com.
My life as a “between-jobs guy” has been fascinating to say the least. 

There is the odd juxtaposition of not wanting to drift too far from the ship, lest I find myself unable to get back on board, while at the same time fearing a quick re-boarding might not be the best idea, as I later could realize the ship’s sailing somewhere I don’t want to go. 

The incoming calls and conversations to date have been, and I suspect will continue to be, interesting. 

There have been calls from people at small and large companies. There are newer operators, and older, more established businesses. There have been retailers and vendors/suppliers. And a partridge in a pear tree … OK, wrong season. 

There is, I confess, a real thrill in having the luxury of engaging conversations with company principals about their businesses, and where they want to take them. That exciting stew of frustration, passion, optimism, and history makes for wonderful theater and genuine human connection. 

The biggest challenge for me, thus far, has been maintaining a level of sincere interest in learning about the business, the personnel, the company aspirations, etc., if I concluded quickly that joining a given company is just not right for me. 

In those situations, I try to be respectful and, where possible, point the interested parties in a direction that might be a better fit for them. 

Having a large industry Rolodex (yes, a digital one) has facilitated many solid connections for industry colleagues and companies through the years and I have always enjoyed making those introductions. 

One of the more interesting aspects of this between-jobs period has been the number of companies that’ve reached out to enquire about using me in a consulting capacity. 

The premise being, one assumes, that if they can’t make a significant hire, they can at least tap into my accumulated experience and know-how to gain an objective assessment of their business. 

That has been a great deal of fun, as it allows me to bring my experience and perspective to interested companies without either one of us having to buy the cow, so to speak.  

 Related stories will be right here … 

There have also been, naturally enough, a few head-scratchers.

There was the company that wanted to reconstitute their sales team but ended up doing nothing.

The business that was sick and tired of taking two steps forward, followed by two steps back, but decided ultimately to continue as they were because … well, because of Russia.

The company that wanted to buy another organization as an acquisition play but ultimately dropped the idea because of costs that would be no more than rounding errors in any eventual transaction.

In “The Catalyst, How To Change Anyone’s Mind,” Jonah Berger wrote, “Change is costly and requires effort, so as long as things are good enough, the impetus to switch is muted. Research suggests that the potential gains of doing something have to be 2.6 times larger than the potential losses to get people to take action.”

Psychology has a term for believing you want to do something, and then not doing it. It is called the status quo bias

It’s why we stay with the same insurance company when we would be better off making a change. 

It’s why we continue to visit the same barbershop, even as those haircuts become less satisfactory. 

It’s why we continue to give our business to the same old dry cleaner while lamenting the quality of their work. 
Change is hard. It is so neurologically taxing to change that we often default to doing nothing, or more of the same, even when we know breaking the cycle of sameness would give our businesses the best opportunity to positively impact the trajectory.
 
Companies, even those that self-servingly sprinkle their communications with buzzwords such as “innovative,” and “disruptive,” are more often risk-averse. In fact, a Boston Consulting Group survey from 2015 identified risk-averse cultures as being the major impediment to innovation.

Neuroscientist and author Robert Cooper wrote in “The Other 90%” that, “The amygdala’s instincts, which have evolved over thousands of years, tend to spill into every aspect of life and promote a perpetual reluctance to embrace anything that involves risk, change or growth. 

“Your amygdala wants you to be what you have been and stay just the way you are.” 

With all due respect to Mr. Cooper, I’ll end it there. I’ve got to wrap this up for now, as I need to find a ship that just might be going my way.  

Peter Smithis an industry consultant, speaker, and sales trainer, and author of three books, “Hiring Squirrels,” “Sell Something,” and “The Sales Minute.”

The Latest

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov to Step Down, Report Says

According to Russian news sources, the sanctioned head of the diamond company is leaving to take a job with an investment group.

SourcingDec 02, 2022
Lucapa Sells 170-Carat Pink Diamond Unearthed This Summer

Said to be the largest pink diamond found in hundreds of years, “The Lulo Rose” was sold for an undisclosed sum.

AuctionsDec 02, 2022
Here’s How 2 Royal Jewels Performed at Auction in Denmark

A princess’s tiara fell within its pre-sale estimate while an Art Deco bracelet from a queen doubled it.

Brought to you by
Knowledge and Skills for Today’s Hot Topics

From laboratory-grown diamonds to design to country-of-origin, GIA's Alumni Collective™ has a seminar to suite your needs.

CollectionsDec 02, 2022
Piece of the Week: Foundrae’s Chain

A closer look at the bold links reveals a subtle, surprising detail.

Weekly QuizDec 01, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
Supplier BulletinDec 01, 2022
Take Your Jewelry Design Process Digital with the GIA Alumni Collective™

Sponsored by GIA Alumni Collective™

WatchesDec 01, 2022
Rolex to Certify Pre-Owned Watches

Retailers within its official distribution network will be able to sell the authenticated timepieces.

Brought to you by
Diamond Shoppers’ 2022 Holiday Wish List

Give your customers the best diamond buying experience this holiday season.

CollectionsDec 01, 2022
Kendra Scott’s New Collection is for Barbie Girls

The capsule collection combines the brand’s classic styles with Barbie’s signature pink color.

AuctionsDec 01, 2022
13-Carat Pink Diamond Withdrawn From Christie’s Auction

The auction house is not offering any details on why the fancy vivid pink stone was pulled from its upcoming “Magnificent Jewels” sale.

SourcingDec 01, 2022
Nomad’s Is Selling Its Stones to Raise Money for Ukraine Again

In the spirit of an advent calendar, “Gems to Help Ukraine” will sell a stone a day through Dec. 24 on the Nomad’s Instagram account.

GradingDec 01, 2022
PhotoScribe Granted Patent for Method that Verifies a Stone’s Identification

The secure mark combines an overt mark with a covert data set to provide assurance on a gem.

SurveysNov 30, 2022
5 Things Retailers Should Know About the Start to the Holiday Season

Plus, what a potential rail strike would mean for retailers.

WatchesNov 30, 2022
Watchfinder & Co. Will Launch a Marketplace Next Year

It will provide a place for select luxury watch retailers to sell their stock.

MajorsNov 30, 2022
Pomellato Buys Into Italian Goldsmith

The brand has purchased a minority stake in Costanzo & Rizzetto.

SourcingNov 30, 2022
Firestone Restarts Operations of Lesotho Diamond Mine

Liqhobong has been in a care-and-maintenance period since the start of the pandemic.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
LVMH Acquires Jewelry Manufacturer Pedemonte Group

The strategic acquisition will bolster the luxury titan’s production capacity in its watch and jewelry division.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Alex and Ani Founder Carolyn Rafaelian Has Launched a Fine Jewelry Line

The new brand, Metal Alchemist, focuses on unisex, classic jewelry designs.

IndependentsNov 29, 2022
Reinhold Jewelers’ Holiday Book Is an Ode to an Important Beverage

The 2022 edition of the retailer’s annual publication pays homage to the coffee farms and shops of Puerto Rico.

CollectionsNov 29, 2022
Gabriel & Co.’s ‘Fashion Book’ Is Out

Not a catalog, the magazine is a tool for Gabriel & Co. retailers to connect with their customers.

MajorsNov 29, 2022
Claire’s to Open Shop-in-Shops in Select U.S. Macy’s Stores

The partnership brings Claire’s jewelry and accessories to 20 Macy’s locations in time for the holiday season.

MajorsNov 28, 2022
Pomellato’s New Videos Raise Awareness of Violence Against Women

Starring CEO Sabina Belli and other celebrities, the videos emphasize the importance of supporting women who have experienced abuse.

IndependentsNov 28, 2022
Bert Kalisher, an Industry Veteran Who Loved Making Connections, Dies at 97

Kalisher started out manufacturing watch bands and later got into publishing, authoring two books and serving as publisher of Chronos.

Events & AwardsNov 28, 2022
Registration Is Open for AGA’s Annual Tucson Conference

Scheduled for Feb. 1, the event will feature six gemological education presentations and three hands-on sessions.

MajorsNov 28, 2022
The Kingswood Co. Is One of U.S.’s Fastest-Growing Companies Again

The jewelry cleaner manufacturer jumped up to No. 3066 on the Inc. 5000 list.

AuctionsNov 23, 2022
This Sapphire Tiara Once Owned by a Danish Princess Is Going to Auction

The Dec. 1 jewelry sale at Bonhams-owned Bruun Rasmussen will have several other pieces of royal jewelry on the block.

FinancialsNov 23, 2022
Movado Lowers Guidance Amid ‘Uncertain’ Retail Environment

Its Q3 sales dipped as inflation took its toll on shoppers in the U.S. and Europe.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy