Why You Need to Develop Positive Risk Tolerance
Mark Raffan: Welcome to the Negotiations Ninja podcast, where we develop and deliver the most engaging negotiation content and training in the world. We host negotiation experts, business people and entrepreneurs and discuss what works, what doesn't work and how we can improve our negotiation skills. Hello, Negotiations Ninja listeners. You've got Mark here for the Negotiations Ninja podcast. Today, my amazing guest is Patrick Tinney. He's a return guest on the show. We've had him on a few times. Negotiation author and expert. And as in Patrick Tinney fashion, we riff on a few different ideas and get into the nuts and bolts on how he's found success, a few of his different books and some of the things that we talk about are really, really interesting. I really enjoyed this conversation as I usually do with my good friend, Pat. Enjoy this great conversation with Pat Tinney. Encourage you to reach out to him online. Thank you so much. Pat Tinney.
Patrick Tinney: Hey Mark, how you doing?
Mark Raffan: Fantastic, pal. How are you?
Patrick Tinney: I just wish I was out in Alberta, man, Stampede's on right now.
Mark Raffan: Yeah, man. For the listeners who are listening in, we'll record this on the last Friday of Stampede, being Calgary's Mardi Gras, basically.
Patrick Tinney: The greatest show on earth.
Mark Raffan: It is pretty incredible. It is pretty, if you're into rodeo then it's amazing. If you're not into rodeo, you'll still have a great time.
Patrick Tinney: If you're into raucous eating and absolutely insane fall on your face drinking so bad that you would have to burn at least three cowboy hats in a week because they're all covered in mucus.
Mark Raffan: Fortunately it gets pretty gross. It gets pretty gross occasionally. Definitely.
Patrick Tinney: Those buses that roll back and forth on two sets of tires while they're going between bars. Oh my God. I got pie eyed one time and I ended up on the roof of the Palliser with a girl and our legs were dangling over. We were in at the Silver Slipper and security guard walked by and he looked out the window and I thought he was having a heart attack. And he goes," Hey guys, how are you doing?" And I looked over my shoulder said," Cool." We were five stories up and our legs dangling over the edge. He said," Would you come here?" I said,"Okay." I said," Come on, let's go in and see what this guy wants." We got to close the window when he grabbed the two of us and pulled us through the window. Heart attack.
Mark Raffan: Oh wow. That sounds like Stampede.
Patrick Tinney: It is Stampede. Man, I've been in bars when people ride in on horses.
Mark Raffan: Yeah, that happens.
Patrick Tinney: It does happen.
Mark Raffan: It's a wild time. It's a wild time. It's a good time. It definitely separates us sort of from many of our cities in Canada.
Patrick Tinney: Oh man.
Mark Raffan: But that's not why we're here.
Patrick Tinney: We're not here for that?
Mark Raffan: We're here to understand The Bonus Round. That's what I want to know about. But before we get into that discussion, maybe tell the listeners a bit about who you are and what you do.
Patrick Tinney: Well, I've been in the sales and negotiation training business now for 14 years under my own banner called Centroid Training and Marketing. I've worked with some amazing clients. The very first client that I ever worked with was KPMG and since then I've worked with some amazing people that are looking for things that are unique. They're looking for unique perspectives on sales and negotiation. I still think that they're looking for a way to set themselves above average because average gets you a paycheck, above average gets you to your dreams as quickly as possible and I'm all about that. I'm all about embracing positive risk and thinking bigger than we are, fighting above our belt weight and being confident that we can do it. Now, you might not get it done on the first, second, third or fourth time but you know what? Eventually you're going to get there if you believe in yourself.
Mark Raffan: I like that about your messaging and your content. It's very positive. It's very focused towards achievement. It's very focused towards doing better and getting better. And that's what I like about The Bonus Round. For those listeners who don't know, that's Pat's latest book but I don't want to steal his thunder. Pat, why The Bonus Round and why now?
Patrick Tinney: When the pandemic started, I just started writing some pieces about thinking bigger. I started writing some pieces about what happens when the wheels fall off the buggy? What happens when you get lost? What happens when you have nowhere to go? What happens when you're being called out? What happens when you're trying to be the most creative person that you can be in a corporate setting? What happens when you're under extreme pressure? My territory in those days, and I think the second youngest guy they hired they're in corporate sales, but my territory was$ 35 million a year in the early 90s. That's a lot of jobs. Large contract for me was$ 13 million with one signature. That's a 150 jobs. It's being able to manage that much pressure. And once you understand what it takes to get those kinds of deals across the finish line and the complexity, I was representing a 125 newspapers simultaneously. There's a lot of meat on the business cases that I bring to The Bonus Round. And really what I wanted to do was to not deliver a whole bunch of theory, not deliver a new way to get to the moon. What I wanted to give to people was solid business cases that they could read over and over and over again and say to themselves," All right, so what did Pat do when he was in the middle of a disaster? How did he turn lemons into lemonade?" And that was really where I was heading. I also wanted to talk about some unusual things in the corporate world, like how you regardless of what the company thinks that they want you to do, how it is that you're going to manage your own career. In other words, don't let people manage you, you manage up. The very smartest people in business manage up. They don't allow themselves to be managed down. And the other thing is to get involved with groups within the company that you wouldn't otherwise get involved with. Product launches, understand what's under the hood of what it is you sell, take it apart. I was the first sales rep in Canada to become a certified print production practitioner. In other words, I looked at my industry not as a product. I looked at my industry as an ecosystem. And what I wanted to do was I wanted to see how many different ways I could repurpose what it is that we already made. And that, believe it or not, is what caused me to launch the last product that I launched. The company was called Print, Plan and distribute. We were one of the biggest printers in Canada but the kind of printing that I wanted, would happened outside of the company, I approached several printers. I found a couple that I liked and we put a package together and I presented it to all of the reps internally. And I said," We can do this." And what I did was I actually, in some cases, asked printers to raise their prices to fit my model. And then we took it to market. And the first order, I think was six million pieces across Canada, one delivery and we never had one complaint. I ended up in the first two quarters doing a million unbudgeted but the only way you get there is by building up your risk tolerance and understanding just how much pressure goes with that. Pushing back at senior management when they say," Listen, we want this to go today." And you just sort of say," No, I'm sorry. I'm not going to launch today." And if people come in and they want your stuff and they say," I understand what you're doing. You don't give me this right now then I'm going to go to senior management and they're going to pressure you to give it to me." And I would say," Fine, take it as it is but caveat emptor, I'm not sure it's perfect yet." And until I can go to sleep at night, until I know that whatever it is that I've done in my corporate setting proofs up beautifully so that everybody can touch it, feel it and walk out and say," If Pat says it's ready to go, we're bulletproof."
Mark Raffan: Something that you talk a lot about is positive risk and how positive risk is a mindset. What do you mean by that?
Patrick Tinney: One of the things that a bunch of people don't know about me was that I was a swing trader in the stock market for many years. I don't believe there's one way to make money. I just think there's a whole pile of ways to make money and if you're really good at understanding how business works, it's one of the things that makes me quite unique. When I walk into companies, I start talking to them about culture and balance sheets and product launches and where you want to go. I'm not there to talk about pain points, who cares? If you're one of those people that walks in and steps on the person's you are living 20 years ago, companies don't care about that. They don't understand their pain points, they shouldn't be in business. I'm there to walk in and say," Okay, so really happy to get together. I'm going to ask some really odd questions but the oddest question I want to ask you is if you look at your revenue opportunities right now and then you look at your resources and you look at your teams and you look at their skillsets, you're looking at revenue that you can't touch because you don't have the skill to get there. You don't have the mindset to get there." And one of the things that I talk to people a lot about these days is benchmarking because there's two big problems that's happening in the corporate world right now, the pandemic has just exacerbated both of them. But one is that you got staff turnover that's a little more rapid than it used to be. And that's kind of considered normal because that's the 20, 30 leading into the early forties crowd. They're very fluid right now. And they're right to be that way because this is something that I predicted maybe 15 years ago, that a job was going to be an anomaly. A number of jobs was going to create a career. And I presented this to, I was on the advisory committee for Sheridan College's advertising program. I remember the first time that I presented that to them. It was probably 16 or 17 years ago. They looked at me like I was insane but I think their world has shifted.
Mark Raffan: How do you tie in people to think about positive risk? Because I think it's all good and well for us to sit here and say," Hey, you've got to play with risk a little bit more and you've got to be more open to it." Yes. You obviously should have measures in place to mitigate against that, of course but how do you get someone into the mindset to take on more risk?
Patrick Tinney: That's a wonderful question. And I don't think many people have asked me that. Why don't I just sort of share what I do to create that moment? Let me go back to say that I was the first salesperson in Canada that became a certified print expert and I didn't even work with the equipment but I memorized the textbook and I wrote a 93 of my final and I can remember her name was Margaret McCloud. She said," Great job, Pat." She said," This is the most amazing regurgitation I've ever seen in my life." But here's the thing. When I was at the Toronto Star, I remember being called in by one of the senior managers there and he goes," Pat," he says," all the sales reps out on the floor," there's about a 100 of them," they're all thinking about marketing. You're thinking about printing. Are you leaving the company?" I said," No."" Why are you doing that?" I said," Because everybody else is doing the other thing. I don't want to look like them but I really want to know why. When I'm out talking to a customer, I want to be able to speak intelligently about them. If they have an idea that they want to explore. But secondarily, if something goes wrong, I want to be able to explain it in the moment. I don't want to have to come back here and talk to some guy who's in a union who's going to protect himself." Because that's what people do in those environments. They call it alternative management and that's fine and I had to work in a union at the Toronto Star and it was just part of the deal. But I thought outside, rather than thinking out of the box, I became the box. And so I was sitting with this manager and he says," If we have a problem, we have the best professionals in the industry. I call upstairs. I get an explanation. They give me the explanation. I go back to the customer full throated and I say, here's what went wrong. Here's what we're going to do." And I said," That's cool. But do you really believe what they're telling you? Because I don't." Should have seen the look on his face, it was like I dropped a grenade in his lap because he probably thought of about 20 situations where he was unsure about the answer that he got but he had to be confident with his explanation to the customer, regardless of whether it was right or wrong. You see, once you've gone off and done different things, I went out and studied management studies and I thought, well, that's okay but now I want to go off and study public speaking, which I did. And when that was done, I thought, better go up and take a trip up and have a look at university, see what it looks like. But I was horrible at algebra. I knew it. I had horrible teachers as a kid but I knew I couldn't pass the algebra course so they had another course there. It was called persuasion in advertising, which was a total lie. The course was about logic. It was a philosophy course. And one of the key elements of that course was being able to pass the logicians. You got 500 of us in a big class, and there's two professors that look like little people down on the stage and the one takes his arm and he goes across the room. And he says," You see this third of you in the room? We know you can't pass that test. We've been doing this a long time so better think quick and decide whether you want to risk being in this room and failing or going on to do something else that you'd be successful at." I thought I was going to die. I just put my head down and I developed a way to memorize all of the truth table elements and when we wrote the exam, I wrote a perfect. Now what that did for me was it helped me as I moved into the senior part of my career, into management and into product development and going out and seeing suppliers, I would ask myself, is the explanation they're giving me deduction and induction or is it just a random possibility? Back to risk, you know I kept my risk profile up? I'd go up in play long sessions of no hold'em limit poker. As a matter of fact, my wife bought me two tours. She bought me a tour to Windsor to play at Caesar's. And I left there with a little bit of money but we went down to Las Vegas and I rolled a natural royal flush at Bally's.
Mark Raffan: No way.
Patrick Tinney: Yeah. And there was a straight flush about two hands before me so nobody ever would have expected that coming. I've never seen a royal flush.
Mark Raffan: Straight flush and a royal flush in one game?
Patrick Tinney: In about five minutes. The straight flush won the house prize and then when I rolled my royal against the guy who had a very strong flush hand and we were both all in, so that meant that we both probably had, I don't know,$ 700 each in the middle and then whatever else everybody else has put in the middle. And then all of a sudden the screaming started and I thought I'd done something wrong. And I left Vegas with two and a half thousand dollars and collected another 800 with holding tax when I got back. And I'd go play very long sessions. The longest poker session I played probably on a Saturday would be 20 hours in a row.
Mark Raffan: Whoa, that's a long time. I'm about checked out after six hours.
Patrick Tinney: Yeah. Most people can't maintain their concentration that long. But you see what it does is that it keeps you into what I call almost a risk bubble. You're constantly having to understand what's happening at the table. You're constantly having to observe how people deceive other people, how people hide their emotions. One of the things that you want to look at, if you watch a lot of poker, the one thing a human can not control when they're stressed or when they're excited.
Mark Raffan: What's that?
Patrick Tinney: Is what part of your body?
Mark Raffan: My guess is your facial expressions but everyone talks about poker faces so maybe your feet.
Patrick Tinney: Your lower lip.
Mark Raffan: Oh, your lower lip. Interesting.
Patrick Tinney: That's why you'll see poker pros do this when they've got a good hand. They all do it, except for the really good ones like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey. I can name probably 10 or 15 people who just, they're stone faced. That gives you this air of, even if I'm not entirely sure I can complete this mission, it gives me that wholeheartedness to explore it because I put real money on the table and I've done it over and over again. And I've done it with the company. I've taken gigantic risks within the company that other people wouldn't take. People were telling me I was crazy on several occasions but the thing is you can never be called a pool for daring to try. People may try. I've had people try and do it but I just prove them wrong. Now, in the meantime, you've failed several times but I don't call them failures, I call them iterations. Edison didn't fail when he was building the light bulb, all he was doing was he was trying different ways to do the same thing over and over again, until he actually got the point where he had a light bulb. When Dyson was working on his vacuum cleaners in his workshop, he actually first became successful in Japan because they like gizmos. And most people couldn't understand a vacuum cleaner as a cyclone. And he did but what he did was he went back and he said," All right, so now I need to take my invention and turn it into a product that Westerners will finally accept. And then when I get finished that product, what's the next thing that I'm going to build?" Because you always have to have the crazy project in the corner. I always had one that was so far out, my bosses would call me and say," What are you working on now?"" All right, so I'm thinking about this. I know it's not going to work but I'm going to go at it anyway." If you can go to the marketplace with a new idea that gets a customer an advantage for four weeks, four weeks is an eternity. They will leap across the table and grab you by the throat. They're not going to let you leave the room if they know that they can have that idea before their competitors. That is positive risk. That's creativity. That's being the box than having people pay to get in the box or think outside the box. Who gives a rat's ass?
Mark Raffan: Hey listeners, I want to tell you about another company that I run called Content Callout. It is a thought leadership brand marketing company. Now, what does that mean? It means that we take you, as an executive or entrepreneur, a leader of a small or a medium sized business and we turn you into a thought leader online. We take your personal brand and we amp it up to 11 so that you can lead with confidence, knowing that people will recognize you, recognize your brand and recognize your business because of the thought leadership approach that you've taken on social media, through content creation and content distribution, as well as engaging with all of your following online. How do you get involved in this? Easy, easy, easy. Just go to contentcallout. com/ getstarted and you will see there three different options that will allow you to take your thought leadership brand for yourself and for your business to the next level. We are super excited to talk to you about this. We've seen some massive growth with the businesses that we've been working with. Very, very exciting time for us. Look at that, we appreciate it. Now back to your show. There's a component here that I think a lot of people miss though and it's the creativity component because we could say yes, we need to take more positive risk but a lot of people listening to that would say,"Well, I don't know if I'm creative enough." How do we create these creative solutions so that people can take a positive risk? Where do you learn that? How do you develop that?
Patrick Tinney: Having a tolerance for not accepting the norm. You can read good creative books on creative thinking, I like Six Thinking Hats because it allows me to think in another language. There's another book on creative thinking, I'll think about it later but it's how to focus on creativity. Jeb Blount has a wonderful term that he uses called murder boarding. That's where you got an idea and you just keep asking yourself questions over and over and over again about that idea. Tell me a million ways that this is wrong and then tell me two ways that we could be on some kind of a course. Let me give you an example. When everybody hated Facebook, when it first IPOed, company's worth about 60 billion. But the problem was they didn't have video available on the platform in the beginning. It was just kind of a chat thing. You could put pictures up and that kind of stuff. And I thought to myself, all right, so the market's getting down on the people at Facebook because they don't have video. What would I do if I was Mark Zuckerberg? Well, if I was Mark Zuckerberg and I had$ 60 billion, I would peel off one billion, which is about one and a half percent of the company and I would call the 10 brightest guys and women into a meeting and say," Friends, you can assemble any team you want but you'll be observed as a team and at the end of the day, the person comes up with the best ideas on getting video on Facebook, wins a million dollar prize." And this goes on until the end of the year when we complete the project. That's when I bought$50, 000 US worth of Facebook at 27.
Mark Raffan: Smart move.
Patrick Tinney: It's really just looking at the business case and discussing probabilities with yourself. And then just saying to yourself," Do we have enough smart people out there to complete it?"
Mark Raffan: It's about searching for opportunities but also basically saying, what are all the things that could go wrong? And then where are the opportunities this could go right? And if there's one or two, going for it.
Patrick Tinney: Yeah. And then go try them fearlessly. I don't care if I fall down. I don't care if I get punched in the face. I don't care. What is that? I think this whole idea of people being afraid to make cold calls is garbage. All you're doing is you're trying to make new friends. Are you afraid of making new friends? Because of you get a great customer, you've got a friend for life. When I was a kid, my dad died when I was really young and I had to go shoveling snow and I'd probably make, I don't know, a couple 100 calls a day when I was out on a full day, on a weekend. My failure ratio was probably, I don't know, 95% but I figured if I could get 10 customers that day, I'd walk away with 20 bucks. And when you're a little kid, that's a lot of money. I just didn't think about it as them saying no to me. I just thought, well, maybe they don't have any money today. Thanks. I hope you have a good day. And how do you say no to a little kid with a shovel is bigger than him? Who sweaty? I guess my view of the world is a little bit different. I'm never really big on top down thinking. Top down thinking is great. Being a guy who's been involved in retail for a lot of my life, I always wondered what was the motivation to make a cash register ring? And I want to understand that emotional state, the ambiance in the store, the lighting, the store layout, why people would get happy, why people would go insane to get a Cabbage Patch doll and fight each other in a line. It's fascinating to watch. And I love to watch people when I run my training sessions. And sometimes in discussions, just like this Mark, when they have a moment where you go, I just changed the trajectory of his thinking. She just had an aha moment. We rarely remember what people say if they're not sure who the person was the first sentence but I'm not the first. We rarely remember what people say. We don't always remember what we read but we always remember the feeling that people gave us. And I was talking to a real estate agent recently, actually a couple of new ones. And I said," How are you doing?" He says," Well," he says,"I'm working really hard and," he says,"I'm not making enough money." And I said,"What do you think is going wrong?" And he says," Well, I don't know. Sometimes customers don't buy and they want to ride around in my car and look at houses." I said," I hate to say it, there's two things you got to start doing. You got to start qualifying people really hard and really fast," which is what most salespeople are afraid of these days. I'm the opposite. I'm looking for hot money in the market, smart money. Why do I want to chase cars that are parked? How many dogs do you see chasing parked cars? Not many. They're after a car that's got something good in it and I'm one of those dogs. And if you're a guy out there who thinks he's a big dog, watch out for the little guy like me who's circling your goal because eventually I'm going to get to it.
Mark Raffan: That's colorful analogies.
Patrick Tinney: It's a state of mind. And if you have that state of mind in a corporate environment, your managers are actually looking for that. That's the thing they want. They don't want some steady Eddie. I said this in a podcast, I don't know about a month ago, the thing that would disgust me the most is if I was remembered as a steady Eddie. Are you kidding? What a waste? I told this guy, this real estate agent, I said," Pick up my book, Unlocking Yes, because most people in real estate have three ponies that they ride, split the difference, which is genius, a bully bid, which is even a bigger genius and will you take this price, which is desperation." And I basically said to him, I said," I can name about 30 buyer negotiation strategies off the top of my head. I catalog 25." But I said," Wouldn't you like to be the guy that when you walk in the room, people went," Whoa, that's the guy."
Mark Raffan: Pat, whenever I talk to you, I always get the sense that I need to pick up another book. There's always something that I walk away with going like, oh shit, I need to study that more.
Patrick Tinney: I read about 25 in a year so I'm as desperate as you are.
Mark Raffan: Desperate for knowledge like me. Listen, there's going to be people out here that are desperate for your knowledge. If people want to find you online and find your books, how do they do that?
Patrick Tinney: Well, I really enjoy LinkedIn so you can find me there. If you're in sales and you're really into it, send me a connect. Number two, I've got a website, centroidmarketing. com. All you have to do is really drop my name and sales author into any search engine, pops up. And there's lots of goodies on there. Take them now before I start to put a aid up and charging people because it's going to happen soon. And I would say the third way is to pick up the phone. See a phone, isn't a rattlesnake. It's actually something you can hold in your hand and communicate with. There's also a new thing called Zoom. It's insane. You plug in a date, a time and somebody's email address and you say," Hi." And the other person says," Oh my God, it's you." I know, what a strange happening. These way to find out about me is to wherever you are in the world, whatever Amazon you use, whether it's Amazon India, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, US, Italy, just plug in my name, Patrick Tinney and hit the button and all my books pop up with, I'm almost up to a 100 five star reviews across the books.
Mark Raffan: When are you going to put a box set together?
Patrick Tinney: About the same time I get around to finishing an audio book. My challenge is that I really enjoy creating the content but there's only so many hours in a day and so I'm actually working on about three different ideas for books right now. I had a creative rush about a month ago and I wrote 15,000 words in about eight days. all I need to do is come up with another, maybe 20,000 words and I've got a book.
Mark Raffan: Amazing.
Patrick Tinney: Yeah. I wrote a Perpetual Hunger in seven weeks.
Mark Raffan: Whoa.
Patrick Tinney: It took me seven years to finish Unlocking Yes and there's a reason why. Writing a negotiation book is probably the hardest thing to do in business. I can't think of anything harder. As a matter of fact, I can tell when people haven't actually done deals but they've written books.
Mark Raffan: Isn't the truth.
Patrick Tinney: When we go offline, I'll tell you, there's a reason why. One of the things you asked me about was you've got these examples and stories and business cases and all the rest of it, have you ever wondered why I don't quote people in my books? I don't need to. I proof up. That's why when I train people, it's all field tested and you know how it's been field tested? With real customers. I'm the only guy that you probably ever heard of this walked away from Walmart in a deal.
Mark Raffan: Well good sir, it has been a pleasure, as always.
Patrick Tinney: Mark, I got to tell you, always find to jam with you because you cut me loose. You ask insane questions and you ask questions that maybe some other people just haven't thought of but you're just coming at it from a different angle. And I think that's part of your procurement background, it's part of your industry knowledge. It's also part of your curiosity. It's part of who Mark is. You got to tell people about the white shark cage.
Mark Raffan: Oh yeah.
Patrick Tinney: You should do a podcast on that alone.
Mark Raffan: That was a scary day, man. I almost shit myself on that boat.
Patrick Tinney: Friends, if you want to reason to call, Mark, you got to call him up and say," What happened when things went wrong with the white shark?" You know that white sharks never stopped growing?
Mark Raffan: Yeah, I did know that. They also never stop swimming. Just hunting and eating machines.
Patrick Tinney: Yeah, the biggest one they think weighs around 5, 000 pounds. I don't know how long it is, but it's deep.
Mark Raffan: Amazing. Yeah, they get fat. They just get thick. Amazing. Well Pat, listen man, this was an amazing experience. Thank you very much. For the listeners, just so that you know, you should go pick up all of Pat's books. They're all fantastic. Especially The Bonus Round. Go buy it today. Pat, a pleasure as always.
Patrick Tinney: Thanks, Mark. Thanks. First of all, I think what people have to understand about podcasters like you is you're putting in the time, you're risking things by having people on your show because your time is your equity and I appreciate you deeply.
Mark Raffan: Hey friends, thanks so much for listening to this episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with friends and colleagues so that they can benefit from it as well. If you find Negotiations Ninja podcast worthy, please go onto iTunes and give us a cool rating with a nice review. We certainly appreciate every single one that we get because it helps us to understand who is listening, how they're listening and what it is they like. If there's something that you would like me to discuss around negotiation, influence or persuasion, give me a shout. You know how to reach me on social media or you can get me on my website, which is www. negotiations. ninja.
Pat Tinney has been in sales and negotiation training for 14 years. Before that, he worked in Media Sales, Product Development, and Training and Sales Management at Southam Newspapers, Hollinger Newspapers, and Canwest Newspapers. What did he learn in 20+ years in sales? Sometimes you have to take risks to reap the rewards. Pat works with people looking for unique perspectives on sales, negotiations, and a way to be above average. In this episode of Negotiations Ninja, he shares how a positive risk tolerance was a game-changer for him.