Author Archives: Rob Pilz

About Rob Pilz
Avatar of Rob Pilz

Director of Possibilities, Revelation Business Solutions Ltd. I blend leading edge intuitive principles with traditional business methods helping leaders to grow and maximize the value of their businesses. I’ve held management and executive positions in Fortune Global 500 to Deloitte Technology Fast 50TM companies, including 10 years as a CFO. My direct experience includes: strategic and operational planning, corporate finance (public and private, Canadian and US), mergers and acquisitions, partnering, project management, sales and marketing, supply chain, human resources, accounting, and audit. I'm grateful for the mentoring and training I've received in best-of-breed practices by leaders in their fields. I now enjoy combining that business training with models in human consciousness making the esoteric useful through a methodology I've developed called Zero Point Decision MakingTM. You can read an excerpt from my upcoming book, eXceptional POWER in business: Book 1: Making Better Faster Decisions With Zero Point Decision MakingTM here. Feel free to connect with me by email at [email protected]

CPAs of Canada’s vendors CRM survey for 2014

Certified Professional Accountants of Canada’s 2014 vendor survey of customer relationship management systems includes both Salesforce and Microsoft as well as other notable CRM systems such as ACT! FrontRange, Maximizer, NetSuite, Sage CRM, Saleslogix and 11 more. The survey contains hundreds of questions about target customers, cost and features.

CRM Survey chart of 2014

The results are available in pdf form by clicking on the CRM survey chart at this link.

Note that on page 29 of the pdf the table starts over with a new set of vendors which includes many of the smaller packages.

Thanks for reading.

Create Leverage With A Wise Business Advisor – Every Frodo Needs a Gandalf

Recently I was inspired to revisit the Lord of The Rings trilogy and noted how to me there were many similarities between the hero’s journey of Frodo and that of a typical entrepreneur.  I appreciate these types of magical films as they prompt me to think outside of norms and help me to see new and revisit old but wise perspectives.

Lord of The Rings is a story about a Hobbit and his friends on a quest against all odds to save Middle Earth.  At the time I was watching the film again I was also witnessing someone I knew startup a new company.  As I watched the movies again, I saw stark similarities between the film and this real life story unfolding…only the real life story was not working out so well and serving to highlight for me, not unlike the movie, the many critical characters that are required for the hero to succeed in his/her quest.

I think that many entrepreneurs are similar to Frodo Baggins – optimistic, courageous…and unprepared for the adventure they’re about to embark on. Not unlike Frodo, they come from a protected idealistic life safe from the ravages of the wars of business not too unlike the metaphorical Shire.

They have never faced competitors the likes of Gollum who have spent their lives being gradually broken into the most severe parts of business world.  People who will pretend to be the entrepreneur’s friend, waiting for the opportune time to turn the entrepreneur’s real friends against them.  The obsessed “at-all-costs” Gollums of this world are experienced and comfortable in the dark places of business, ready to draw inexperienced entrepreneurs into the terrain they know and snatch the ring from them when they’re at their most vulnerable.  Entrepreneurs are often unprepared for conflicted friends like Boromir who are susceptible to being seduced by power and likely to turn on them.

Like Frodo, to have hope of success entrepreneurs require many things, but none more important than the committed support of key people such as:

(1) a trusted core team that will stand by them through anything, like Samwise Gamgee, Merry and Pippin;

(2) the wisest of counsels that will be there to help them navigate the inevitable crises, like the great wizard Gandalf; and

(3) skilled battle-wise warriors and protectors that will determinedly lead and clear the path with specific and complementary skills in sales and marketing, operations and finance.  In the Lord of The Rings these characters were Aragorn the Swordsman, Gimly the fearless axeman, and Legolas the quick and accurate archer.

As in Lord of The Rings, having all these roles filled by the most competent and loyal team mates possible is necessary for the success of the quest. To some, this comparison may sound extreme and overly pessimistic or simplistic but the statistics have proven this out. In his e-Myth book series Michael Gerber indicates that less than 4% of businesses remain in business after 10 years. In my experience, it is approximately the same percentage of businesses who manage to assemble the team necessary to succeed in their quest.

Against such odds, where does the entrepreneur then start? In my view, just like in the movie…by carefully avoiding the dark wizards like Saruman and engaging the support of his or her own Gandalf – Find a business wizard who has the experience, wisdom and power to help guide and keep the entrepreneur safe as she prudently assembles her team of the most skilled and committed business warriors to succeed on her quest.  Hopefully a quest to build a sustainably profitable and possibly world-changing business.

Written By Rob Pilz, Copyright 2014 Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.  

About Rob Pilz

A senior executive, including former CFO, of public and private companies, I have more than 20 years experience building, optimizing and financing businesses ranging from Fortune 500‘s to Delloite’s Technology Fast 50TM.  With a talent for bringing out the best in leaders and an expertise in creating leverage, my current passion is building a network of highly conscious leaders generating a virtuous cycle of positive change and wealth.  I am constantly looking for ways to improve the odds of business success and have developed a process combining gut, heart and mind to make better faster decisions that I call Zero Point Decision MakingTM.  I welcome your questions or comments to my email address at [email protected] or phone 646-480-0507.


Creating Leverage Infographic – Better Decisions Less Effort

The power of a business is defined and limited by the speed at which its people make effective informed decisions, then execute based on the importance of those decisions. The Creating Leverage Channel is dedicated to bringing you a consolidation of solutionsinsightsspecialists and a host of additional resources to help you get the most out of your efforts by choosing the most effective leverage points and helping you make the most effective decisions.

Creating Leverage Infographic

Ceating Leverage Infographic

Leverage Gut, Heart & Mind to Make Business Decisions

How To Leverage Gut, Heart and Mind to Make Better Business Decisions

In this blog post titled, The Brain Science Behind Gut Decisions by Daniel Goleman, Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, explains the complex process of how our minds and bodies formulate and respond to a hunch.  Dr. Siegel describes how the brain is a set of spider web-like set of connections. Additionally, we have neural net processors around the heart and intestines that process information in very complex ways. These information processors of the internal organs of the body, called viscera, are not rational or logical. However, they are processing information and sending signals to the spinal cord carrying the information from the intestines and heart. In this way, we receive meaningful gut feelings and heartfelt senses of things that can inform our business decisions. Some other people seem to agree that the heart and gut are powerful and accurate receivers of information when making business decisions:

“Follow your heart and intuition, they already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs 

Warren Buffet told me once and he said always follow your gut. When you have that gut feeling, you have to go with don’t go back on it”.LeBron James

 Dr. Siegel further explains how information from the heart and gut can be corrupted by biases created from past personal trauma.  For example, if you’ve been bitten by a dog or hurt by someone who had red hair, when you see a dog or a person with red hair, your gut may feel “bad” creating a tone of negativity based on the past traumatic experience. Mr. Goleman’s wise recommendation hence is to not blindly trust these gut or heart-based feelings but to also analyze them.  I also believe the best ideas often come intuitively and then are validated and refined by the mind – combining mind, heart and gut. Additionally, I would recommend the following:

  1. When receiving gut or heart based feelings, see if you can determine if they are true intuitive information or the by-product of past personal trauma.  One way to do this by tuning into the spot in the gut or heart where the feeling is coming from.  What images come to mind – are they from the past or the present? Does the spot feel clear and open or does it feel dark and heavy or negative? Does that spot feel like it’s all “you”, someone else or a mixture of you and someone else?
  2. By virtue of being human beings we all have past trauma.  However, most of us also like to believe we have free will and the ability to make choices free from the influence of others – even our past selves.  If you feel this way then you must also know there are ways to get neutral for even a moment on an issue in order to know if information received is truly intuitive or simply the by-product of past trauma.  There are many methods to get neutral in the moment both, mental and physical. A mental one that I like to use is asking myself, ‘how would I feel if this was my last day on Earth, would I feel the same way? How would I experience this moment or issue differently?’ Then bringing my awareness to my heart.
  3. In your daily life, work at releasing triggers to past trauma so that you can more often be clear to live in the now and make clear business decisions based on the now and not the past. Again, there are many ways to do this.

In my upcoming book eXceptional POWER in business: Making better faster business decisions using Zero Point Decision MakingTM I provide a clear methodology I call Zero Point Decision MakingTMwith practical tools to allow business decisions people (and others) to do these three things and more combining gut, heart and mind to make better faster business decisions.  If you’re interested in learning more feel free to contact me at the details below.

Written By Rob Pilz, Copyright March 2014 Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.  

About Rob Pilz

A senior executive, including former CFO, of public and private companies, I have 20+ years experience building, optimizing and financing businesses ranging from Fortune 500‘s to Delloite’s Technology Fast 50TM.  With a talent for bringing out the best in leaders and an expertise in creating leverage, my current passion is building a network of highly conscious leaders generating a virtuous cycle of positive change and wealth.  I am also passionate about improving the odds of business decisions success, in particular combining gut, heart and mind to make better faster business decisions.  I can be reached by email at [email protected] or phone 646-480-0507.

Related Reading

The Brain Science Behind Gut Decisions by Daniel Goleman

Other books by Daniel Goleman on Emotional and Social Intelligence

Evolve Your Brain, The Science of Changing Your Mind, Dr. Joe Dispenza, D.C

Wired for Joy!: A Revolutionary Method for Creating Happiness from Within, Dr. Laurel Mellin, Ph.D

Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions and How to Keep it From Happening to You by Sydney Finkelstein, Jo Whitehead, and Andrew Campbell

Why Smart Executives Fail by Sydney Finkelstein

Decisions Are Emotional, not Logical: The Neuroscience behind Decision Making by Jim Kamp

Creating Leverage through “Co-opetition”

What is co-opetition?

“Coopetition (also spelled co-opetition) goes beyond competition and cooperation, combining the advantages of both. It develops win-win scenarios in which a business strives to gain more…” The world is moving towards more distributed and collaborative models of doing business and, despite the world’s population expanding, as consciousness rises, more people are viewing the world in terms of abundance versus scarcity.  In this new world, evaluating collaborative alternatives in your planning will become more important. Co-opetition and frenemies are becoming commonly used terms – As my partner Brigitte says,  in describing the paradoxes in this dualistic world we live in, sometimes it’s “Both And”.  

How to create leverage through co-operation?

The Financial Times Lexicon describes co-opetition well. Co-opetition is “simultaneous competition and cooperation between a company and external players such as rivals, government agencies, suppliers, distributors, and partners. Co-opetition goes beyond competition and cooperation, combining the advantages of both. It develops win-win scenarios in which a business strives to gain more, not necessarily by taking market share or profit from a contender, but by creating a bigger market in complementary areas. Companies often work with selected rivals, suppliers, distributors or alliance partners to collectively enhance performance by sharing complementary resources and committing to common goals (such as improving industry standards, research and development, and consumer or market awareness). At the same time, they compete by taking independent action in other areas (such as product quality, market share, sales growth and cost effectiveness).” In general, co-opetition arises from and results in a growing interdependence between businesses as well as increasing demand for strategic flexibility and collective action in certain areas or functions.

This is the case in the arrangement between PSA Peugeot Citroën and Toyota who shared components for a new city car that was simultaneously sold as the Peugeot 107, the Toyota Aygo, and the Citroën C1.  The companies save money on shared costs while remaining competitive in other areas. Some challenges have to also be overcome, including distribution of control, equity in risk, resolving competing needs and general trust. Not only is it possible for two companies to interact within a coopetitive environment, but several partnerships among competitors are also possible.

Next time you’re doing a competitive analysis to develop your plans and product roadmap, ensure that you not only consider how you will compete to win but also how you might cooperate to win-win.  For each of your competitors brainstorm a list of how you might work together, for example to create or capture new markets or capture more market share jointly.  For each potential frenemy develop a list of helping factors and hindering factors that can affect a collaborative (or more collaborative) relationship.  Create a list of criteria and perhaps a weighted scoring system for your team to prioritize the coopetitive ideas for further research and stage gate action planning.  Consider using Edward De Bono’s 6 Thinking Frames to ensure that all perspectives are thoughtfully considered (read more on the 6 Thinking Frames method here).

So, if you’re interested in greater business growth, a powerful point of leverage might to expand your view of your business coopetitively as sometimes it’s better and easier to increase the size of the pie together than to fight over the pieces.

by Rob Pilz, Copyright 2014 Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

Related Reading

Improving Decision Making Using Edward DeBono’s 6 Thinking Frames, Article by Rob Pilz

Wikipedia on co-opetition

Co-opetition, a slide deck by Barry Nalebuff, Yale School of Management, 1996

Co-opetition, a book by Adam M. Brandenburger, Barry J. Nalebuff, 1997

Empathic Civilization – The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, by Jeremy Rifkin, describes how human empathy is beginning to extend to all of life in the biosphere, including business life, leveraged by the power of distributed networks and collaboration.

Co-opetition, TEDx video by Berit Oskey


Make Financial Decisions When The Time is Right To Create Leverage

One of the principles I learned early while being trained to implement Sales & Operations Planning was to not make financial decisions until you have to – not too early and not too late.  Evidence suggests that the best decision makers, premier athletes, expert investors, and even popular comedians, hone the ability to wait as long as possible before deciding or acting.

Make Financial Decisions When The Time is Right

Often when I see a client’s team “spinning its wheels” and getting nowhere it’s because the time is not right to make a decision.  However, the non-decision can spur heated debate and a lot of wasted energy.  In these situations, I usually ask,

  • “Is now the optimum time to make financial decisions?”
  • “When is the optimum timing in terms of date or in terms of other events that have to have to happen in order to make that decision?“
  • “Do we even have enough information to make that decision if we had to?” Rarely is there yet which leads to the next questions
  • “What information is needed to make financial decisions?”
  • “What are the action items to collect the information?”

We then assign the action items and monitor them in the company’s task/action management system and note the decision to be made and the timing of it in a section labelled “key decisions to be made”.  In that way, those to whom the decision is most important will feel heard, the decision will get revisited when it’s most appropriate (and importantly not too late), and the team’s energy can be spent on decisions that do have to be made now.

by Rob Pilz 2014, Copyright Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

Related reading:

Forbes Article: The Art and Science of Timing Decisions

NY Times Article, Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue?

Frank Partnoy’s book Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking 

NY Times Article Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue

Creating the Behaviors You Want is a PIC-NIC

PIC-NIC is the name of a behavioral system model developed by Aubrey Daniels International that helps you understand the reasons people do what they do or what they may do in response to rewards.

The behavioral system model – PIC-NIC:

I can’t count the number of times sophisticated companies have implemented expensive performance programs only to find that they were paying large amounts of money only to reduce the effectiveness of their organization. This occurred as a result of negative behaviors that they were unintentionally motivating in their employees. Using the PIC-NIC models managers can support a proactive system that examines behavioral consequences and then acts on such knowledge.

It’s called PIC-NIC because the acronym somewhat describes the three classifications consequences P = Positive, I = Immediate, C = Certain and N = Negative.   You can strengthen or weaken behaviors with positive and negative rewards, respectively that have both immediate and certain consequences. Positive, immediate, and certain consequences (PICs), are the most powerful consequences that can be used to strengthen desired behaviors. Negative, immediate, and certain consequences (NICs) are the most powerful consequences that can be used to weaken behaviors.

Type Positive – will strengthen behavior;   Negative – will weaken behavior
Timing Immediate – while behavior is occurring;     Future – a delay of more than a few seconds
Probability Certain – always follow the behavior (high probability);     Uncertain – may or may not follow the behavior (low probability)

This method should seem familiar as it is what also works best in creating the behaviors you want with pets and children.

If the consequence to an action is delayed or does not happen consistently it will not be very effective. So, when implementing any reward system – whether it be for safety, environmental initiatives or operational business goals, consider which behaviors you wish to strengthen and weaken and develop immediate and certain positive or negative rewards respectively.

by Rob Pilz 2014, Copyright Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

Thanks for reading article about PIC-NIC Related reading:

An article on PIC-NIC from Aubrey Daniels applied to safety, Understanding At-Risk Behavior

Blog article applied to children by Paul McGuire, Rewards and punishments – it’s all a PIC-NIC


Business Decision Making With Bono’s Six Thinking Frames

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Frames

Edward De Bono’s book Six Frames: For Thinking About information addresses the way their people think in the process of business decision making – a key point of leverage in most businesses.  Edward De Bono’s book Six Frames: For Thinking About information provides a framework for understanding this.  Six Thinking Frames is built on his earlier book that some of you may remember, The Six Thinking Hats.

The essence of the Six Thinking Frames method is that we have different ways of thinking and both as individuals and groups we often get stuck on the particular ways we feel comfortable with.  Even as a society we have been taught ways of thinking, based on making moral judgments versus critically thinking where multiple perspectives are used to determine the truth or reality of the situation first.  By separating your thinking into six distinct categories you avoid getting stuck in limited and poor ways of thinking allowing you to make decisions by adequately considering all points of view and all available information. Additionally by following the six frame process you can logically move through the different views in a way that flows.

The six thinking frames for business decision making are:

1.Purpose, clarity Triangle frame where the three corners represents answers to the questions why?, where?, what?
2.Accuracy, credibility of information Circle frame
3.Alternative points of view Square frame
4.Identify interests, motivators Heart frame
5.Value(s) of the information Diamond frame
6.Outcomes and conclusions Slab (rectangle) frame

A slide deck I found that illustrates the Six Thinking Frames can be found here

By asking and answering open ended questions (see my article on creating leverage with questions here) within these frames you have a powerful way to “keep it real” allowing your business to be nimble and make decisions that are responsive to its real environment. Next time you have an important decision and/or meeting consider applying the Six Thinking Frames to help you come to the optimal decisions and conclusions for your business.

by Rob Pilz 2014, Copyright Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

Related reading on business decision making:

A summary image of the Six Thinking Hats.

Some useful videos on thinking from the De Bono website.

Thanks for reading article about business decision making. Don’t forget to share your ideas about business decision making in comment.

How Primary and Secondary Gains Affect Behaviors

Primary and secondary gains often explain repeating behaviour and decision making patterns that can be destructive in business and in life.  Why is someone reporting sick to work an unusually high amount? Why does it look like someone is sabotaging their career or business’ success with obviously bad behavior?

How Primary and Secondary Gains Affect Behaviors?

One could say that these are simply examples of poor judgment…but why do they show poor judgment?  As I mentioned in my blog post on creating leverage by releasing judgments, it can be because of what they learned and associated with in their past and are now programmed or triggered to react in certain ways. Additionally, the pattern was perhaps maintained because there is either an internal psychological (primary) or external (secondary) gain (benefit) to them.  If you can help someone to identify the personal gains he / she receives from their apparently negative actions, you can then leverage this to help them find other more productive ways to satisfy that need or if you have the tools, or access to someone who does, neutralize the need altogether.

An example of a primary gain would be the use of a defense mechanism to feel less anxiety or greater self-worth by making yourself right and someone else wrong.  Secondary gains are external motivators that provide an incidental benefit, such as when a situation results in an employee being able to avoid a responsibility they dislike, gain rest, or receive gifts. Sometimes being sick or emotionally crippled can give people shelter from the world and their troubling relationships.  If an owner’s business fails then perhaps she doesn’t have to carry the responsibility of having money which her parents taught her only brings unhappiness and besides, “you only need so much”. Additionally, she can go skiing every day which is something she loves.   With both types of benefits she may not be aware of the gain let alone the link between her actions and the gain.

So, the next time you find yourself frustrated by a client, employee, or even yourself who appears to be making poor decisions  and sabotaging opportunities in business or in their life, ask yourself what the primary and secondary gains might be. They may very well be what is undermining achieving their potential and a major point of leverage.

by Rob Pilz 2014, Copyright Revelation Business Solutions Ltd.

Thanks for reading article about primary and secondary gains. Don’t forget to share your ideas in comment.

Create Leverage by Harnessing the Power of Completion

Jeff Olson in his book The Slight Edge describes how uncompleted tasks are a part of our lives that tend to block our momentum and keep the past alive. This can affect our business lives and prevent our business opportunities from growing as fast as we would like them to.

Harnessing the Power of Completion

To free up your energy and space for creation I suggest taking an inventory of the things that are or feel “incomplete” in your life and your business. For each one ask yourself if it’s something that is really useful and makes you happy. If not, consider if you can simply eliminate it and let it go. If it is useful then ask yourself if you can delegate it to someone else. With the remaining tasks prioritize them based on degree of importance and urgency and manage them actively to completion using your daily task manager and a model like Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix from his book the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

A daily discipline of urgent completion of important tasks first will help you to empty your cup and fill it with more ideas and energy to create and stay ahead of the competition.

Related reading:

The Slight Edge

Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People



Are You Waiting for Someth...
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A woman who had attended my Vision Workshop approached me with both frustration and

What Do You Long For?...
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Life is seeking to express more by means of you. More joy, more fun, more success


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