Nick Whitty, Paul Reis, and Steve Thielman last week took an intense leadership training, management building material focused course at Wharton University in Pennsylvania.  It’s one of the top business schools in the country.

Here is Nick’s recap to me.  You can feel his energy and passion in the e-mail!  In the coming posts, Steve and Paul will recap for us what they learned and what we can now learn from them!



From: nick whitty [mailto:nick.whitty@drexelteam.com]
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2017 9:08 PM
To: Joel Fleischman
Subject: Wharton Re-cap


Thanks for the opportunity.  Life changing at the very least.  Now just have to make it stick.


*****Skip all the way to the bottom for the paragraph version recap*****


– Goal setting

-Find time and space to reflect

-Bring others with you (easiest way is to involve the team and get them excited with you)

-Take an outsider point of view on your efforts

-Create a road map, with milestones

-Share your vision “our tongues are our rudders”

-Plan for small victories and small changes


– Close the saying-doing gap (They really came out with live bullet’s calling bullshit on anyone who was there to coast)




Take small steps

Alter the environment

Realistic optimism


– “People make decisions not on the facts, but their interpretation of the facts


– 3 way’s of engaging

-Influence, Focus most attention here.  Build relationships and rapport with people

-Persuasion, Must be based on reasons.  Portray on their terms, not on ours

– Negotiation, Everything is give and take. Based on Trades

– Every outcome of engaging is based on the depth of the social network


– 4 C’s

– Consider the Conversation with the other person

– Connect, work to remove the 5 barriers

– Communicate, keep it simple. To the point and hear the feedback

– Commit, end every conversation with the next step.  (Action plans, deadlines)



-Problem, A short concise statement that defines the problem your idea solves.  KEEP IT SIMPLE

– Cause, An explanation of the cause of this problem or need

– Answer, Your solution or answer for the situation

– Net Benefits, A summary of why your answer is the best available, all options considered


– “Low Trust = High Transaction Costs”

-Would be a fun exercise to dive into with sales guys.  Would need to define transaction costs.  Could base it on margins?  Need to think about this          one.  But a cool statement none-the-less.


– ATO (Asset Turnover)

-Sales/Avg. Total Assets

Not looking to get too deep with this but Sales $ per delivery truck would be a cool #.  I can get this and then see if there’s industry average to                                   shoot for?  Wilbanks question?


– Finance Day

-Got my ass kicked on this one.  Whole bunch of calculations and formula’s. Yikes.

-Key Take Always – Day’s receivable is crucial for cash flow, Thank god we take our discounts, Cooking the books = Unemployment line and Jail time.

– Net Present Value, I wouldn’t know what to do with it if I was told what ours is but would be curious to see if Julie dove into this after last year?

– Microsoft makes a shit pile of $$$.  Instructor shared the financial statements.  Wow.


-Negotiation Day, This one was dynamite.  Instant offense here.

– Communicate the way other people want to be talked to, not how I want to talk.

– Prepare for meetings more than just on the way there.  Task the team to do this separate of us as leaders but go through it before the meeting

– 4-steps

1) Prepare, 70% of negotiations are won and lost here.  Should probably do more of this

2)  Probe, Make it positive and productive – Understand the other persons point of view

3)  Start the give and take, back and forth. “Dave if you can commit to 1 week lead time we can hold that price”

4)  Close – Spend enough time and be clear.  Make sure the other person understands.  No handshakes and dash.


-“Negotiation is a liquid, not a solid” – Eye opener.

-“Make your ask in their terms, speak to a higher interest”

– Tricks don’t work.  Be yourself or you’ll lose the relationship eventually anyway

– Credibility is the most important single asset of a good negotiator.  Tell the truth, but do it slowly.

-Best way to prepare is to Role Play


*****Side note: The path we’re going with State of Happiness needs to continue to be more stories.  These instructors were literally speaking a foreign language to most people in the class, but they told stories that tied what they were saying together to keep us engaged.  90% stories creates the best and most engaging presentation. *****


-Recognize the other person’s negotiating style

Competitor, Collaborator, Compromiser, Avoider, Accommodator.


-Who should open a meeting?

-Whomever thinks they have the most information.  Gives you the ability to steer the meeting.  (AKA, it’s better to be a dumbass in silence than to open your mouth and prove it)


– Use the negotiation preparation checklist. Quick bullet points to help think more clearly.




-Exit interviews.  Curious to see historical thoughts on this?  Caitlin question.


-Use more behavioral questions at interviews.

“Tell me about a time when you were…”


“Where you want to get to should never change, how you get there is where you should pivot”

-JFDI (Just F’n Do It) – Good and Bad.  Slow this process down at times


-Test and Learn

-Every experiment needs a budget.  But don’t do with the mindset of, “What will this add to the bottom line?”


– Customer attitudes are changing

-If we can help connect the dots on the labor shortage, we can position ourselves for world domination.  Are we being left in the dust by not looking        into this?  Is XXX onto something with installed sales?  Dudes from North Carolina have kept and landed big business but offering the service.  Their            words not mine, “We’ve kept our local economies going and boosted them by doing installed sales.” – Is this because their local markets are hurting?          Little guys without the cashflow to pull out of the downturn?


– Are we truly customer centric anymore?

-Has the pendulum swung too hard with some team members, vendors?

-Every decision has to be made with the idea of, will this help my customer?

-Margin, Margin, Margin. – We can’t do cool shit without making money.  50 sales people feeding 250, does everyone understand how important every single sale is?  Complacency is a scary thing.


– Customers don’t care about funnels

-It’s ok for inside guys to work across lines in certain scenario’s.

-Embrace this, let them run with it.  Make it easy for the customer and refine behind the scene’s.


– We need to figure out online banking.  At least need to be able to pay bill’s online.

-I don’t remember the last time I wrote a check for somewhere other than Drexel.

-We will lose business because of this.

-Needs to go to the forefront, not for us, but for our customers.


-Wharton endorses Ready, Fire, Aim.


Talent Management Day: What to do with Millenials


-Thought I’d want to barf the whole class, but the dude running it shot holes in the entire idea of millenial and basically called bullshit on anyone who wanted to argue.  Pretty cool


– Old dudes think they are perfect, need youth to keep us sharp.


– Social relations hold employees.

-“They may hate their job, and where they work, but if they love who they work with they will stay.”

-I almost came out of my f’n chair when he said this. I wanted to ask how many of these companies make it longer than 5 years.


-Create Stretch Assignment’s

-Put people out in front of their ski’s.

-Think we can do this better in Wrightstown, needs to be strategic though.


The whole day was pretty lame.  Too much focus on the numbers and not on the person.


Thursday: Customer Centricity


-This guy lost me pretty early on.  But I can sum up what he said over the course of 5 hours.


Find customers who are high margin and buy a lot of your stuff, find more like them, sell them a lot of stuff at a high margin.


-Big focus on CRM’s, need to track every sale, how did we get it, what trends can we spot.  Maybe a Doug/Andy thing, maybe.  Amazon was a client of this guys.


– Customer PNL’s. – LOVED THIS.  Going to try and set a small, easy to do template and test pilot with top 20 at W-town.  Will follow up with the results.  Are they really that profitable?


– Anybody can say what they are going to do, but the best know what they AREN’T going to do.  We can’t be everything, for everyone, every time.  And we have to be okay with that.

– C.A.S.E. is great when it’s quick hitters but we can’t get caught in the “At XXX we used to…, When I was with x we would…” – Well then why the hell             aren’t you still there and why are they out of business?  Laser focus on our goals and who we are.  We’re too big to be fragmented now.


– Customer experience will always win.  Strategy MUST be focused on this.  What can we do that our competition can’t easily replicate or do better than us?  Google vs. Microsoft, Southwest Airlines vs. Continental.  Put the blinders up and supply happiness like our lives depended on it.  Don’t get caught trying to be the competition’s better version, that’s a race to the price dungeon.


– We got into small groups and we were supposed to talk about what we do differently that our competition can’t easily replicate.  Interestingly enough Paul, Steve, and myself all spoke about culture and supplying happiness.



Alright to recap the week in a couple paragraphs will be tough.  Too many laugh’s, too much knowledge gained, too many interesting people met to do it justice with a few simple sentences.  The biggest thing I got out of the whole week is we all truly and honestly take for granted how fortunate we are to be on the Blue Bus.  I watched guys pace the hallway’s between class and worry about sales, truck’s breaking down, something on the fritz at their locations and my mind was blown with how much that must suck.  Our team is the best in the country, no doubt in my mind about that.  There may be specific people around the nation that can sell more, or maybe a yard or two that can spin more loads a day than we can, but there is nobody that has a better team than we do.  The things we’re doing for our customers, community and team members are so far ahead of the rest of the nation they don’t know how to even ask questions to figure it out.


Thank you again for the opportunity and I look forward to putting it all to use in the years to come  –


Nick Whitty


One thought on “WHARTON RECAP

  1. Pingback: Wharton / LMC Advanced Business Acumen | Joel Fleischman's Blog

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