The Long Road Back

A head-on collision has changed my life—for the better. –By Ken Krogue

I’ll bet a lot of you have been asking, “Hey, Ken, where’ve you been lately?”

At times, I’ve wondered that myself.

Perhaps many of you know that I suffered a terrifying head-on collision not long ago. That’s why you’ve seen a lot less of me around the office lately. As a result of the car crash, I suffered a concussion and whiplash that I’m still dealing with. The entire experience has changed my life in profound ways.

I’d like to share with you what’s happened to me over the last few months—the accident and the slow recovery process. I don’t think anything in my life has had such a powerful effect on me.

Why talk about it?

I can’t help but share important lessons. For years, as a founder and president of, I’ve taught companies how to create high-velocity inside sales organizations. As a volunteer, I’ve showed Boy Scouts how to build a campfire, put older kids through football drills, explained to executives the principles of strategy applied to sales and marketing.

Now, I’d like to offer what I’ve learned about my life.

This all began about noon on Sept. 2, 2015. (In fact, I just noticed that my last blog article was that very day about the infographic my friends did about my mom’s passing.)

My 3/4 ton Chevy Silverado after the head-on collision (I have a bigger truck now!)

My 3/4 ton Chevy Silverado after the head-on collision (I have a bigger truck now!)

I’d just begun spending a lot of time at home in Mapleton with urging from Dave Elkington, trying to finish a couple of books I’ve planned for years, and went out to get a few things. Coming back on Highway 89, I slowed down to 20 mph to get into the turn lane. A large truck traveling at 55 mph was coming down the hill around the corner. Just then, a young woman in a Honda Civic pulled out and the truck, unable to stop in time, hit her car, picking it up and hurling it across to the side of the road. The impact forced him to plow into my lane at a net speed of about 70mph and we had a head-on collision.

The force of the impact crumpled the front-end, hood, and engine of my ¾ ton Chevy Silverado, shattered the windows, and spun my truck across the freeway and into a steel barrier. I hit the side door, my arm slammed into and bent the steering wheel, and my seatbelt, pulling me back, felt like it tore me in two. The airbag deployed, saving my life, but causing a concussion as it deployed with force on the front of my head at the same time whiplash whacked me from the back as I hit the barrier.

Time seemed to stop.

I remember watching the particles of the airbag explode in front of me. Four batteries I’d bought for my motor home flew from the bed of my truck, landing as far as 30 yards away, and I watched the acid that exploded out of them sizzle in the cab. My spleen hurt; I thought I’d broken some ribs. Otherwise, I didn’t feel a thing. A guy showed up and told me not to move. He called my wife and told her what had happened. As she arrived the ambulance came for me. At the hospital, they picked glass fragments out of my hand and set my arm where I’d fractured my ulna, one of the two long bones in the forearm. By the end of the day, they released me.

And the young woman in the Civic? She had to be life-flighted. Everyone assumed, given the impact of the crash, that she’d died. Amazingly, she survived, with a broken nose and arm. I’ll need to bring her into my story again soon.

The next few days were really cloudy. It’s hard to explain, but I could only see and think in one narrow direction. I was very emotional and irritable; the littlest stresses tipped me over. I was trying not to let people notice. My natural filters that kept me from saying stupid things were partially gone. My biggest struggle was just to keep my mouth shut.

Obviously, I couldn’t process the insurance claims myself, but I couldn’t resist tracking down the truck driver. After I found his name on an insurance form, I called him up and said, “I’m the guy you hit.”

He said, “I remember your face. You didn’t have time to even flinch. And I remember seeing the back of the young woman’s head. She didn’t see me, but I saw two beautiful children in the back seat. I did everything I could to swerve so I wouldn’t crush them.” The landscaping trailer he was towing behind him jackknifed when he hit me.

I asked, “So, what happened?”

He said, “The cops came, and I asked, ‘How’re those kids?’ The cop said, ‘there were no kids in that car.’”

I guess that young woman had a little help. I know I did.

The Honda Civic driven by the girl that first got hit by the truck that then hit me

The Honda Civic driven by the girl that first got hit by the truck that then hit me

So did the truck driver. I’ve talked with him since. He’s a different person today.

And so am I.

A few days later I was up in my cabin up in Timber Lakes just east of Heber City, recuperating over the Labor Day Weekend. I told my wife, I’ve got to go to church today. Well, it was pretty crowded—a chapel-full and three overflow rooms of people. I was in the back of the last one in, feeling pain and powerful drugs. And I suddenly had this urge that seemed to lift me out of my seat, “I need to get up there and tell my story.” I walked to the front of the congregation and said, “You don’t know me, but I’ve got to tell you what just happened to me.” I was fuzzyheaded but walked them through the story, and then I sat down.

Later, people reached out to me and put their hands on me in a consoling way. A young guy came up to me and said, “I know you,” and pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of my wreck. He said, “I was one of the first people on the scene, and I work for the guy who hit you.” And he validated the story of the two beautiful children. The truck driver still swears up and down those children were in the back seat.

Well, not all of my recovery is shot through with otherworldly mystery and human warmth.

I forget stuff.

I’m irritable.

And I’m having the hardest time writing again.

For those of you who know me, this is frustrating and painful. I’m getting help for this piece from Tom Post, a former managing editor at Forbes Media who was my editor for several years and who now works for my dear friend, Cheryl Snapp Conner. Both of them are coaching me back to help me rediscover my writing.

This is when I was in the emergency room

This is when I was in the emergency room

But I’ve started on the long and pocked road back. I did some treatment with several chiropractors, massage therapists, and tried physical therapy. But I couldn’t get an appointment with a neurologist until the middle of January. Some friends told me about a new concussion clinic in Provo, Cognitive FX, headed up by Dr. Alina Fong, a graduate of BYU and a neuropsychologist. Using a functional MRI, which monitors changes associated with blood flow in the brain, the machine makes a movie of the inside of your head, mapping out what happens when you have a concussion (or develop Alzheimer’s).

While in the fMRI, I went through six batteries of cognitive exercises, which lit up different parts of the brain and mapped out where the trauma occurred.

At first, I could only tackle the easy stuff, looking at a screen and trying to match the dots and shapes. It was hard, like physical workout. I’d never before thought of the brain as a muscle that atrophies without use. It doesn’t heal by itself. We have to activate areas around the brain, creating new pathways.

That’s what I’m doing on many levels: creating new pathways in my life.

Dr. Fong found a very clear signature for mild brain trauma that first day. I tested 2.58 on a scale of 0 to 5, with anything over 2 a concussion. For the next few days, for 7 or 8 hours a day, I engaged in 47 different exercises with cognitive therapists, like hitting buttons on a board while looking in my peripheral vision, doing bio-sensitive feedback to control my brainwaves, and, of course, engaging in physical therapy.

I was told I’d feel worse the first couple of days, and that was true. I felt noticeably better by day four. But by the end of day five, when I tested 0.23, I felt quite good. I could think, see, and feel again. While I could think and speak again, I could not write. It’s something about the linguistic side of the brain where I’m still struggling. I’m going back for a couple more days soon.

And I’m learning I have to reset before I hit a wall, I call it “vapor lock.”

It’s still really hard to hold my head and body up after about two in the afternoon. If I lie down and rest, I can usually pick up where I left off. But if I try to push through, I’m exhausted.

I’ve learned to type a little while lying on my side. Mostly, I speak my thoughts into a voice recorder. I’ve trained Siri to recognize almost all that I say, though she sometimes makes bad mistakes—as in four-letter words I don’t mean to say.

All of this—the accident and the recovery—has been life altering. I’ve learned to care less about the obvious things like money, status, winning.

Don’t get me wrong. is the top company in our space—and, of course, I care deeply about this great company and the people who helped carry it to the summit.

But I find that if I take less and give more, better things come back to me. I am trying to focus on the essentials.

So many of us are on an endless treadmill of meetings and busy-ness, going faster and faster, while our work gets worse, our results disappoint, and our relationships suffer. We are in the thick of thin things. But if I focus on the mission—helping other people do better, get through tough times—the business will take care of itself.

I'm trying to eat much better. This was my first meal on the outside after my 3 week clinic visit to Optimum Health Institute

I’m trying to eat much better. This was my first meal on the outside after my 3 week clinic visit to Optimum Health Institute

Before the accident, I wasn’t taking care of myself. I didn’t exercise, didn’t eat or sleep well, and was on the verge of diabetes. Pedal to the metal, I hadn’t realized what a toll this life was taking on myself—and my wife and family—over the last 12 years. I’d let some important family responsibilities slip.

Now, I’m eating better and just starting exercising. I have more time for what’s really important to me: my family, and especially for my youngest son who needs me. Friends I rarely see have suddenly come into my life again. Life has become much more beautiful. I wish that other people could discover that they, too, can get off that crazy treadmill before they can’t get off.

I think while I’ve been gone others have been experiencing change in their own lives. We all take what life gives us and try to improve and become better. I’ve felt very bad that I haven’t been able to contribute on the day-to-day like I would like to. I’ve heard that there has been lots of important change happening at and in the Inside Sales industry that I love so much.

I don’t want to exaggerate or romanticize what’s happened to me.

I’m struggling.

Sometimes I look at earlier articles I’ve written on my blog or out on Forbes and think, who was that person? I read them again and I’m amazed I once wrote them. These days, the only time I can form ideas and remember them is if I visualize them, go to bed reviewing them, and then wake up at 4 a.m. with a clear perspective that I can retain. If I can get to that stage, I can own it. If I don’t, it’s gone and I can’t seem to get it back.

One of the first times I spoke after the accident with Jaime Shanks, Koka Sexton, and Jill Rowley at the Sales Stack conference

One of the first times I spoke after the accident with Jaime Shanks, Koka Sexton, and Jill Rowley at the Sales Stack conference

I’ve given a couple of public speeches since the accident. I’m told they went well. Friends like Koka Sexton, Jamie Shanks, and Jill Rowley covered for me a bit on stage at Sales Hacker. Most people don’t know I’m even struggling. But it seems to take five times the effort it once did. I’m afraid I pushed so hard when I spoke at RootsTech that I made myself ill preparing for what used to be second nature to me.

It’s all part of creating those new pathways.

The good news is, the doctors say that with time I should bounce back. In fact, Dr. Fong says in some areas, with the work I’m putting in, I’ll actually be better.

The books I had been working on clear back in August and September are actually in draft stage, though months later and with a lot of help.

Dave and the executive team have been very patient. My wife and family have been amazing. I’ve tried a few times to come back and found myself immediately overwhelmed. I used to easily swim in the deep end of the pool. Stress was nothing. Now it is something significant to be reckoned with.

I’ll be back. I may not be quite the same person. And it may take a while…

But I’ll be back. -Ken

The Two Riskiest Things I Ever Did in Business

This article just appeared on page 33 of the Summer Edition of Business Q Magazine, it was an interview I gave to Brianna Stewart.

The two riskiest things I ever did were two sides of the same coin: working for myself, and working for somebody else… let me explain.

From an interview I did for the Summer edition of Business Q Magazine

I have always been a serial entrepreneur, but in one early company I went out on my own way too early, before I knew how to run a company. I lost a lot of money. My first big adventure was when I worked with a partner in a computer consulting company and we bought out the previous owner, only to find my new business partner was not honest. I lost $70,000; about what a nice graduate degree in business would cost me.

I call it my MBA from the school of hard knocks.

Big mistake.

I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I should have learned my strengths and weaknesses on somebody else’s dime. I figured out later that I excel at the strategic side of sales and marketing, not managing business. I went to the Naval Academy and I love military strategy. It took me a while to translate that knowledge by mapping it onto sales and marketing strategy.

It’s like when I coached 9 years of youth football. 8 of those 9 years I coached the defense, my love, my background, and my skill. I can count the games we lost in those 8 years on both hands. The year I tried being a head coach I don’t think I even had a winning season. Find your strengths and bet on them.

This is the cover of the summer edition of Business Q Magazine that just interviewed me. This is Jayson Edwards, the Founder of JDawgs, the best hot dogs in Utah.

This is the cover of the summer edition of Business Q Magazine that just interviewed me. This is Jayson Edwards, the Founder of JDawgs, the best hot dogs in Utah. Read his story, it’s pretty awesome!

My second big mistake was working for somebody else too long. I started the original inside sales department at Franklin International Institute. In the early 90’s we were the 2nd fastest growing company in the US, before they merged with Stephen R. Covey’s company. I built a massive organization for them and didn’t have enough ownership equity to buy a car. I risked all of my hard work for very little. To me the biggest risk is to have somebody else in charge of your future.

My dear friend Oliver DeMille reminds me that a hundred years ago 90% of Americans owned their own farm, shop, or business. They were entrepreneurs.

They were owners.

Now 90% of Americans work for owners and entrepreneurs and control very little of the variables that affect their lives.

They are employees. To me that is very risky.

The next opportunity came and I co-founded what is now inContact. I gained enough equity to launch my future, and I was in a position to help control the variables that put that future at risk.

After that Dave Elkington and I founded I learned to join forces with an absolutely brilliant business partner that was world-class great at the things I was not good at. While I was able to bring my strengths into focus and really excel at what I am great at. It was very little risk. Being an owner when you know what you are doing is very little risk. And having a little help from upstairs is the least risk of all!

Author: Ken Krogue
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Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

Dave Elkington, Marc Benioff,, Philosophy, Hyper Growth, and Shrimp Tacos

The first company picture of Dave Elkington in August of 2005.  No grey hair at all!

The first company picture of Dave Elkington in August of 2005.
No grey hair at all!

Dave Elkington and I met early in 2004.

He had graduated from BYU with a degree in Philosophy and had already been working at Deutche Bank Alex Brown, an investment bank and a venture capital firm through the dot com era. He had a strong sense that web software, and especially software-as-a-service was a huge opportunity. He had tasted a small win or two and had dipped his toes in the entrepreneurial stream with an early Bluetooth company. He went through the dot com crash and saw the future of internet-based companies but knew they would need to have a strong financial model.

We often would laugh at companies with great ideas but no way to monetize them.

He wanted to start his own company in that space but wanted to grow it out of revenues, so he went back to BYU and started a graduate degree in computer science. He had already seen ignorant founders of companies who didn’t understand enough of the technologies who couldn’t guide the outcomes of their IT staffs and who sold their souls too early to raise money and then had new bosses before they even hit critical mass.

While doing this he started a web development company and began doing all kinds of projects as he zeroed in on what he wanted to focus on.

Marc Benioff started with Inside Sales during the First 6 Years

Marc Benioff started with Inside Sales during the First 6 Years and pioneered the world of SaaS software for the rest of us. – (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

He knew he wanted to use machine learning, artificial intelligence, and what he called “set theory” to do things that had never been done before in business. He had seen many companies’ come and go and was especially watching Marc Benioff plow the deep snow in application service provider platforms (ASP) just when the phrase Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) was being tossed around from the waves being made by



Dave would talk about his philosophy degree and how it had taught him to think. That was one of the strongest things we both held in common; philosophy, and how to think. I was amazed out differently we thought, but we agreed on many common areas. Though we disagreed strongly on others. Dave believes strongly in what he calls “pragmatic relativism,” he has some pretty compelling arguments and has almost convinced me… almost. 🙂

He and I have warmly debated that topic from about the first few days we met each other. I believe much more strongly in universals principles and laws; I worked under the guidance of Hyrum Smith and Stephen R. Covey during my days at FranklinCovey, and my philosophic mentor had been Dr. Chauncey Riddle since I was just out of college. I had moved my family to Provo, Utah, and audited his last BYU class; the only class I ever took without getting a grade. I remember I felt my brain hurting from the rigorous Socratic method and System Thinking and strategic methodologies he shared. I regard it as more valuable than everything I studied at the University of Utah and the Naval Academy combined to help me be successful as an entrepreneur.

It was from this that I distilled the Systems Model we use:

Analyze > Design > Implement > Evaluate.

Or in one word: Test.

Dr. Riddle challenged me to learn how to think, not just what to think and when to think.

Dave had gone through a similar level of rigor and the two thoughtful backgrounds combined to make very animated discussions. We found when we could both engage we would distill things down to almost their very essence and spent many late nights doing just that.



I had gone to the Naval Academy and when we started this company in 2004 I had already been in the world of sales and marketing for 16 years, I had pioneered the use of inside sales at Franklin Day Planners when they were the 2nd fastest growing company in the US. My plans had abruptly changed from being a Naval Aviator and flying the space shuttle to pioneering professional sales over the phone and through the web. I had learned through sad experience that hyper growth was a unique animal all it’s own. We would set appointments and invite training directors at 115,000 companies with 100 employees or more to see a Franklin seminar and turn it over to the field sales teams. Then we started proving we could close them ourselves.

Our department was gaining the nickname “Telesales,” but I recoiled at anything with the phrase “tele” in it. To me it was a four letter word. We coined the phrase “Inside Sales” which was just beginning to be used.

I told them I would stay 5 years or until we did a million dollars in a single month. I knew I had a long way to go, when my first month sales was just over $27k. I told them we would use college kids on the phone for 60k to sell what their 300k salespeople would sell. We started with six phone reps transferred out of the call center on old furniture out of the warehouse. I researched to see what new outside sales Account Executives would close in the first six months…

We beat it by 127% at a small fraction of the cost.

They closed at two to three times better ratios, but we made seven to eight times more contacts. Sales was a numbers game, and still is.

We made a ton of the old timer outside sales people very mad at us. They first tried to crush us, then control us, then cooperate with us. It was so stressful I would wake up in the mornings with what seemed like little pieces of rock in my mouth; the edges of my own teeth. But much of the problem was me, I needed to grow up and so did my people.

We were dialing by hand but still doing great. Franklin struggled so badly with technology at the time they actually made us dial a 10-digit account code in the phone system after every phone call to track and charge us for any personal calls. It was a policy of the accounting or “sales prevention” department and it drove me nuts. I initially wanted a dialer technology just to store that dang account code under a single button, but I remembered my earlier days at Quota Marketing Centers where we invented one of the very first “power dialer” technologies as we generated leads for Toshiba copy machine dealers all over the country.

I had all kinds of ideas to leverage inside sales, but no technology, just a big leather book. I would go to lunch with Mike Shelton, the Telecom Director at Franklin and we would brainstorm new ways to save time. Next thing I know, he had left the company with some developers and built many of the very things we had talked about. He sold it for millions of dollars; I never got my dialers.

I left Franklin four years later to the day when we did our Million Dollar Month. I left with my dear friend Paul Jarman, who was one of my first two sales reps at Franklin to start what became a long distance company. After being there about 5 years I went to a meeting one day to buy another company and there was my old telecom guy from Franklin seated across the table. He had already sold his first company and was working on rewriting the same code to be the first call center technology in the cloud. He wanted to launch the first SaaS telephony company.

He did.

We saw the possibilities and a year later we bought his 2nd company and eventually changed the company to what is now inContact, the top inbound SaaS contact center company in the world. But I hated inbound, I loved going outbound; causing sales… not catching them.

Talk about destiny, now we owned the very technology I had sketched on napkins in the Franklin cafeteria. Within weeks I started pulling together the single most powerful inside sales technology ever invented. The problem was we didn’t have a way to handle all of the leads. We tried embedding the dialer technology into Act!, then Goldmine, but it took them right to their knees. I had a consultant helping me and he called me and said I needed to go to Springville, Utah and meet Dave Elkington, who had just finished a massive lead management database in the cloud.

Dave Elkington and I first went to lunch at Bajios in 2004 when we decided to launch the project that is now

Dave Elkington and I first went to lunch at Bajios in 2004 when we decided to launch the project that is now

I called and we went to lunch at Bajios, we had shrimp tacos and horchata.

We soon realized he had the database technology, the drive, the financial expertise, a crushing discipline, and an ability to execute with charisma like nobody I had ever seen before. I had the dialer technology, the strategy, a clear vision for the future of inside sales, and way of buffering to hold it all together.

We soon decided to build the world’s first customer database with built-in dialer tools in the cloud (though the phrase ‘cloud’ hadn’t been used yet.) The database had the qualitative data, the call center tools had the quantitative tools and we had a feeling that the two together would open up a whole new world by letting us see things in a new light… the light of data.

Dave and I both knew this synergy of predictive analytics, big data, and artificial intelligence would change sales and marketing forever.


Author: Ken Krogue | Follow me on Google+
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

This is section 1 of The Story of
Go to Section 2 of The Story of

What is an Entrepreneur?

What is the difference between an entrepreneur and someone who just runs a business?

As is often the case, I may not exactly know what it is, but I know what it is not.

What is the difference between a leader and a manager?

A leader worries about her people; a manager worries about his boss.

Leaders walk in front and show others the way. They lift the heavy boxes first and, like Tom Sawyer, they start out by painting the fence better and faster than the crowd who gathered to watch them. It is awe that makes the crowd members pick up a brush and join in. But unlike Tom, they stay involved through the process and keep recruiting others. (Entrepreneurs figure out vinyl fences don’t need paint.)

Leaders don’t stop for nearly as many breaks or gather around and watch others, unless they are learning and comparing. They always hoe to the end of the row, even in heat, a rainstorm, or when supper is calling.

Leaders begin to sing out when the song begins, because they know the other voices will soon blend in and hide the fact they are slightly off key.

Leaders seek out the one lagging beyond, find what makes them tick, then challenge them to keep up and to keep time.

Leaders are like the Marines… first in… last out. They don’t punch a clock, they get a job done, even if they mop up what’s left behind.

Leaders work on the system, managers work in the system.

Leaders are like Tom Sawyer, they start out by painting the fence better and faster

Leaders like exempt over non-exempt. They demand a fair salary, they don’t ever want to be measured as just an hourly wage. But they will work hard and long under one if they have to, even if they get sent home by their manager before overtime rules kick in.

A manager never quits a job until they find one that is better.

Leaders rarely get fired. But they often get fired up. They will quit any job that asks them to do something they don’t believe in. But they will work at any job if the reason is strong enough or they have given their word.

Leaders are shepherds with a staff who call out with their voice, not sheep herders that ride horses with lots of smart dogs that nip at your heals.

Entrepreneurs know you need to be both a leader and a manager… in that order. They always start with a leader, and then find a manager.

They know a great leader is the ultimate solution to any problem. They pay ten to a thousand times more money for a great leader than a great manager… in a heartbeat.

What is the difference between finance and accounting?

One is a tool with leverage, the other is a method with scrutiny.

One puts the world at your feet, the other keeps the IRS away.

Finance finds the money at all costs. Accounting finds the cost of money.

Finance uses predictive analytics and statistics to gauge the odds of success. Accounting uses bookkeeping to track success and report to finance.

Accounting hears there is a recession going on. Finance finds counter-recessionary trends and catches a wave.

Finance steers through the land mines and sees trends on the rise. Accounting reports on the cost of running aground.

Entrepreneurs practice both and hire both. And pay much less for Accountants.


What is the difference between sales and marketing?

Sales are the Navy Seals, the Green Berets, the Rangers. Marketing is the Air Force that rides high and sees far. They can’t win a war by themselves, but they sure look good to the folks on the ground kicking door to door.

Sales seeks out and solves need.

Marketing causes awareness and turns it to interest.

Sales wishes Marketing would educate interest into need before it gets to them, so they don’t have to. But they do if they need to. It just takes longer.

Sales knows that interest is the counterfeit of need.

Sales yells at Marketing for not generating enough good leads. Marketing yells back for not calling them all before they get cold.

Sales makes a way, marketing finds a way.

Entrepreneurs know they are both right, but that sales is the last to ever turn off the lights.
What is the difference between a statesman and a politician?

A statesman, or stateswoman, wades into the fray, a politician maneuvers through it.

A statesman fills his hand against the odds. A politician feels the odds against his hand.

Ethics and law are a statesman’s guide, with greater good as the motive. A statesman is honest when nobody is looking. He speaks up even when he is the only one in the room who is willing to.

He would serve for a single dollar, and often does. He would love to put down the heavy burden, but only does so when those he loves and is duty-bound to uphold are out of harm’s way.

Entrepreneurs are the statesmen (and women) of business.


What is the difference between faith and belief?

Faith is action, it is of the body. Belief is thought, it is of the mind.

Faith comes after hope, which is the fuel of the heart… desire… purpose… motive.

Faith is an assurance that what you have seen happen before, though you don’t see it now, will happen again… if you act and work.

Faith knows it’s enemy is doubt.

Belief hopes to become faith someday when it grows up.

Faith is based on truth. Belief may not be based on anything.. It doesn’t know.

Faith will risk it all and is willing to pay the price for every blessing. Belief flees because it isn’t sure, and wavers when things get really difficult.

Others look at faith and say “I get it!”

They look at belief and wonder if they get it.

Faith only wonders why.

Belief worries how.

Entrepreneurs know that belief turns to faith based on truth, assurance, and action… always action.

What is the difference between church and religion?

Church is a place you go to, on the outside. Religion is within.

A church is a building you go to worship on a specific day each week. Religion can be found on a mountaintop… alone.

Religion may or may not be had in a church.

A church is what you identify with. Religion is who you really are.

Some religions believe in God or god, or no god. But they live it.

Religion is the sum total of your habits. Habits are the true garb of religion.

Entrepreneurs hire people from all churches, but look deeply for those who live their religion, whether it includes a belief in God or not.


What is the difference between learning and understanding?

Learning goes to the source by itself, practices and rehearses, engages, memorizes and teaches back, and walks away with a treasure.

Understanding watches the teacher do the problem on the board and gets it then, but can’t figure out the ciphers in the textbook at home in the evening.

Learning goes to for $25 a month, where every software package lies at its fingertips, and in six months figures out how to start a company building websites.

Understanding gets a degree after four years, finds a job, and then works for somebody else for six years to pay off student loans.

Understanding is the counterfeit of Learning.

Learning goes to school to sit on the front row and ask questions.

Understanding takes notes to pass a test.

Learning cares much more about the quality of the question.

Understanding cares more about the completeness of the answer.

Training is what the trainer does. Learning is what sticks.

Teaching is what a teacher does. Learning is what a student does.

Learning is the valuable residue that is left over after Teaching occurs.

Learning counts only if it is measured and can be applied.

Learning leads to an education. Understanding leads to a degree.

Learning leads to an entrepreneur. Understanding leads to an employee.

Entrepreneurs don’t spend much of their time as an employee.

Only long enough to learn on somebody else’s dime, and from somebody else’s understanding.

Entrepreneurs don’t usually have an MBA, but they hire as many of them as they can.


Author: Ken Krogue
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Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

The Day The World Of Sales Changed Forever

It’s pretty rare when you can remember an exact day when the world changed.

I remember 9/11… The day the twin towers fell.

I was meeting with my client, the Department of Defense, a mile away from the Pentagon. Luckily we had received a call the night before asking us to move our location. We had just finished our very early meeting and were walking out of the conference room in the basement through the cafeteria when we saw the first of the twin towers burning; we were transfixed to the television screen.

Then the second tower was hit and the jet fuel erupted outward in a yellow and black surging cloud.

When I saw them start to fall later that day I knew the world had just changed.

My parents Dave and Sheila Krogue both remember where they were the day John F. Kennedy was killed, and the day Neil Armstrong declared his first small step for man… on the moon.

Mark the day…

March 27, 2009…

Five years ago yesterday… The day inside sales became an industry.

It was the day that Bob Perkins and Larry Reeves launched the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals with a press release from Minneapolis, Minnesota, dedicated exclusively to advancing the inside sales’ profession:

“Over the past two decades the inside sales profession has undergone a remarkable evolution. Not long ago, inside sales was perceived as annoying telemarketers or unsophisticated ‘order takers’ who smiled and dialed. “

How wrong the world was. Bob continued:

“Today, inside sales is an integral part of many organizations’ overall sales strategy. Customers accept and sometimes prefer virtual communication through e-mail, internet and the telephone. It’s not unheard of for inside sales representatives to build and manage multi-million dollar accounts and close six-figure sales.”

He knew it wasn’t the use of the telephone that started inside sales, that is what started telemarketing, which is most definitely not inside sales.

It was web conferencing… Webex and GoToMeeting: the ability to simulate a face-to-face sales call remotely.

I hadn’t met Bob and Larry yet the day the world of sales changed. But it was January 10th, 2010 that I wrote an article that went viral called “What is Inside Sales? – Our Definition of Inside Sales” and stated:

“Inside Sales is “remote sales,” most lately called “virtual sales,” or professional sales done remotely. Where Outside Sales or traditional Field Sales is done face-to-face. Telemarketing is a single, scripted, unprofessional phone call you get at dinnertime where you have to say “No!” seven times before you hang up.

In fact, Inside Sales Professionals regard “tele” as a four-letter word.

Taken in this context, the majority of all sales is done remotely, and the numbers are growing.“ Bob finished, as he started hammering in the coffin nails to the traditional world of going door-to-door.

Dave Elkington, our amazing CEO, and I were still recovering from the crushing blow of the crash of 2008.

Our little company, though profitable, had just had our credit line yanked by Wells Fargo and we thought we were like Billy Crystal said in Parental Guidance: “lights out Alice.”

Without enough money to smooth out not enough water over the rocks our managers rallied and went without pay, then we started to grow… in the worst economy of our lifetime.

Wondering what had just happened we called several of our brand new clients and asked them why they were buying our technology when everyone else was laying people off.

They answered that they were laying people off also, their $300,000 outside sales people to be exact, and hiring three $80,000 inside salespeople with our leveraged technology and others and still doubling their new sales revenues. The crash had forced them to look deeply at where the sales efficiencies and effectiveness were both really happening.

Inside Sales…

Bob and Larry had called it right.

What had once been a second-rate department taking the crumbs off the table from the outside salespeople was now a counter-recessionary growing industry, an answer to companies who needed answers.

We knew the world had changed when Dr. James Oldroyd who had already researched the power of responding immediately to a web-based lead also analyzed survey data offered by infoUSA and found that inside sales was growing at a rate fifteen times faster than outside sales, to the tune of what would be 800,000 new jobs.

Did I say 15 times faster?


We realized four years later that it was the counter-recessionary surge that caused companies like Apple, Cisco, Fedex, IBM, Google, Dell, Sprint, and ADP to hire thousands of inside sales reps, and join the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals or the AA-ISP.  Bob and Larry gave a voice to those who were now the dominant, though very young, players in the sales space.

Another study came out in 2013 showing inside sales was now only growing 300% faster than traditional outside sales, and the same study demonstrated there were now more inside sales than outside sales reps, if you removed retail salespeople.

And inside sales was expanding at the rate of 42,400 a year now, great paying jobs, when American wasn’t quite believing the economy was really standing on it’s own again without the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing money printing practices. (And still isn’t I might add.)

Marc Benioff, former inside sales rep from Oracle, and the founder of, was one of the early disruptive game changers of sales models when he went the first six years in his company using the remote sales model before hiring his first sales rep out in the field.

How do I know? We hired Dave Orrico, who was the Vice President of Enterprise Sales at For seven years he built the team that finally lived in the field and went face-to-face at the cloud-computing juggernaut.

Check out my summary of Marc’s book, Behind the Cloud, or go to Amazon and download it to your Kindle app right now. He tipped over an entire industry with a bunch of young upstarts full of vision and incredible passion and was finally recognized as the most innovative company in America.

Rightly so!

My old company, FranklinCovey, was an even earlier pioneer when they asked me to roll out an inside sales model in 1993, and became the 2nd fastest growing company in the United States a year later. We had just coined the phrase “Inside Sales” because we hated anything with the word “tele” in it.

Like Avis, we may have been second, but we tried harder!

Those were the glory days, but I don’t miss them.

The political battle for position against the entrenched veteran field salespeople who first wanted to crush, then control, then collaborate, left me waking up every morning with what I thought were little rocks in my mouth…

Bits of my own teeth I had ground off the night before.

Now outside salespeople are realizing they better learn the methods of selling remotely we pioneered.

Many are embracing a hybrid-model of selling that still goes remote once or twice instead of four to five times, but spends most of the time on the phone and GoToMeeting saving both buyers and sellers much valued time and money.

Thanks to Bob and Larry I get to keynote for the fourth time at Leadership Summit 2014, the worlds largest gathering of Inside Sales Leaders in Chicago on the 8th and 9th of April. If you are anywhere near Chicago, or really need a shot in the arm of your career…

Be there!

If you aren’t a member of the AA-ISP you are missing out on my favorite event of the year, and the best bunch of people I’ve ever been a part of other than my family, my plebe company at the Naval Academy and, my company.

Thanks to Bob and Larry, I get to see all of my dear industry friends several times a year: Trish Bertuzzi, Steve Richards, Art Sobzak, Kraig Kleeman, Koka Sexton, Mike Smalls, Chad Burmeister, Peter Ostrow, Kyle Porter, Bruce Lewolt, Sean Burke, Anneke Seley, Antarctic Mike, Lori Richardson, Kelly Molander, Josiane Feigon, Jill Konrath, Jamie Shanks, Liz Gelb – O’Conner, and tons of new friends.

Thanks to Bob and Larry, I get a fun and friendly place to rub shoulders with companies like Oracle, Vorsight, Factor 8, Clearslide, LinkedIn, Hoopla, Xactly, Kitedesk, Salesloft, Frontline Selling, Tibc, Aslan, PGI, LexisNexis, Salesloft, Acton, and Marketstar.

Thanks to Bob and Larry even competitors come together to grow an industry that has room enough, and for all (but I don’t have to mention them in my article, now do I…)

Thanks Bob…

Thanks Larry…

Here’s to another five years!

Where are we going from here?

Now it’s all about what my friend Mick Hollison calls Sales Acceleration

First star on the right, and straight on ‘till morning!


Author: Ken Krogue | Follow me on Google+ 
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles



Boy Scouts, John Wayne, and the United States Naval Academy

The year was 1978.

I was still twelve. Almost thirteen. We had a Scoutmaster named Dave Watson.

We nicknamed him “Swat.”

Why? We heard he had blown his thumb off in an accident with a shotgun and had it sewn back on.  When he reached out with his big hand he couldn’t quite grab you, he just swatted you. (I don’t know to this day if that story was true.)

Swat was a big bear of a man. We always hiked behind him in the mountains because he cleared a big path and made it easy.

But he taught me to do hard things.

To hike one more step when I couldn’t. To plan for an activity when my friends were all out playing. To stick by my “buddy” even when he wasn’t the coolest kid to hang out with. To clean up after they went home.

I’ll never forget Swat.

He helped me finish my eagle, along with my mom. He impacted dozens and dozens of boys. I still remember his stories around the campfire at the end of a weeklong scout camp on Friday night. They were welded into my soul.

His example shaped my life. I want every young person to have a positive experience like that.

Starting your own business is hard. Keeping it going is very hard. Being an entrepreneur is hard. But because of Swat, it doesn’t seem quite as hard.

For several years I worked closely with a woman in my church whose son wrote home to her once and mentioned something about that first word of the Scout Law…


She read the letter to several of us and I paraphrase what the young man said:

“Mom, I’ve come to learn that being trustworthy is even more important than being loved. A parent loves every child in the family, but they need to be able to count on those children to do what they are asked to do… that is trustworthy.

I’d say that the Boy Scouts of America did its job in that family. There are thousands of stories just like that for every value in the Scout Law.

I’ve had several employees who didn’t learn that…. I had a few business partners who didn’t learn that. One cost me $70,000, I call it my “MBA” from the School of Hard Knocks.

There are 12 values that provide the boundaries within which the Boy Scouts try and operate, based on the mission and vision of the Scout Oath.

Stephen R. Covey taught us that values are neutral unless you measure them against something. They are, by definition, what we “value,” or care about. People care about very different things, sometimes completely opposite things. Some values diametrically oppose each other. Everyone chooses the values they will live by.

Mother Theresa had values. Hitler had values. Martin Luther King had values. Ted Bundy had values. Lord Baden Powell had values. Lenin had values.

Today organizations and famous people espouse their values. Hollywood has values. Professional sports has values. Bill Gates has values. Oprah has values. Mitt Romney has values. Barack Obama has values.

The other night I again watched the 1972 movie The Cowboys with John Wayne.

The Cowboys, starring John Wayne -

The Cowboys, starring John Wayne –

He had strong values.

I didn’t agree with all of his methods, but his values resonated. He taught one of the boys in the movie to overcome his stuttering by getting him so mad he finally turned on Wayne and cussed him up one side and down the other. One of the first times the Lord’s name was used in vain in a movie. It became clear later it was for the boy’s own good. He learned to speak without stuttering that day.

Tough love I guess.

Many say John Wayne was the physical embodiment of America. The Cowboys director Mark Rydell, coming strongly from the left, crafted this work of cinema art with John Wayne, strongly from the right, to synergize a story of the American West that stirs the soul even today, in 2013.

It took both of them…

Some claim it was Wayne’s favorite movie he ever made. The story of a cattle rancher that couldn’t hire men to take his large cattle herd to market because there weren’t any available. So he recruited a bunch of boys to do a man’s work. The gruff Wayne takes the boys riding and camping into the wilds, on the high adventure of their lives. He uses some very tough methods at times.

They grow up quickly.

They do hard things… very hard things.

One of them dies along the way… trampled by the cattle.

Things turn from bad to worse when Bruce Dern, the friendly neighborhood cattle rustler with his dozen men, shows up again to take away the cattle, just miles from the final destination. John Wayne protects the boys and stands alone as he calls Dern out in a fair fight, and wins. His taunting challenge is one to be remembered:

“I’m thirty years older than you are. I had my back broke once, and my hip twice. And on my worst day I could beat the hell out of you.”

It’s only when he turns his back on Dern that he is shot in the arm, the leg, the back, and then the stomach.

One of the few movies that John Wayne actually dies in. His last few words will soften the hardest heart. I won’t spoil it for you.

The boys decide to take the cattle back and finish the job Wayne started. They had made a promise, had given their word, a verbal contract, an oath, to the old cattle rancher.

Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set of The Cowboys, teaches boys to do hard things and keep their word

Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set of The Cowboys, teaches boys to do hard things and keep their word

Grudgingly led by Roscoe Lee Browne, the best actor on the set, with perhaps the most moving scene in the whole movie and almost any movie, they succeed. They do hard things. They put it all on the line. They fill their hands and grow up in a single day. They face down the most difficult challenge of their lives. A challenge they never saw coming.

They live up to the oath they made.

Society judges the value of the values in question based on their result over time and their impact on the world.

The year was 1982.

I was in my junior year in high school and applying for scholarships and appointments to the Air Force and the United States Naval Academy. I was amazed that both Academies asked if I was an Eagle Scout. Their profiles both showed an inordinate amount of Eagle Scouts in their alumni compared to the normal population. I decided to fly out and spend a week during the summer at the Naval Academy and see if I could handle it. It was brought up several times while I was there.

Being an Eagle Scout obviously meant something. I recently have found that 11% of boys in the US are members of the Boy Scouts of America, 2% are eagles. 11% of Annapolis Midshipmen are Eagle Scouts, 25% are Boy Scouts.

I decided to go the Naval Academy the following year. My appointment was from Orrin Hatch. They cut my hair. I had to memorize my chain of command all the way up to Ronald Reagan. I had to memorize the officers of the watch and the menu of the day… every day. We had to know two front-page articles and a sports article every day before breakfast or we got demerits… every demerit was at least an hour of marching at the worst possible time of the day.

We were there the year BYU, Ty Detmer, and Lavell Edwards won the national championship and I also memorized the articles about the Superbowl of the Washington Redskins.

It was hard… very hard. I marched a lot.

I remember being at parade rest on the parade grounds with my left hand in the small of my back, my bayonet forward, and sweat rolling down the middle of my back causing an itch that couldn’t be scratched… not then at least. It was 98 degrees, and about that same level of humidity. I had never seen heat like that in the mountain west. But it was ok, I had done hard things growing up as a Boy Scout.

I was 17.

One day on the parade grounds, I noticed the plebe in front of me starting to sway. We had been warned of the symptoms. He had locked his knees. He was going to fall… backwards this time. My choice was obvious even though I knew the consequences. I moved my bayonet from out of the middle of his back, threw my piece to the ground, moved out of rank and tried to leap forward to catch him. All I did was slow his fall, but I stopped his head from hitting the ground with full impact.

They came and got him.

And I got in trouble, again, for moving in the ranks.

I couldn’t understand why.

Many years later I realized it was a time-proven model to grow men out of boys and put them in charge of leading the greatest military in the world. Flying those 30 million dollar jets was no small thing. The whole game was about how we react and lead in a no-win situation. If I moved I was in trouble. If I didn’t help my comrade I was in trouble. Which trouble was worse?

It was about leadership. It was about service. It was about being trustworthy in any situation.

Once again, I was marching. But that time it was worth it.

At the end of Plebe Year we climbed the greased Herndon Monument to take the Plebe cap off and to put the officer-style cap on top so we could end the most difficult summer of our lives.

I was one of the guys holding up that last row or two of Plebes as one of our tallest class members reached to his very limit and exchanged the two hats. You can’t even see my face in the pictures, just my grease-smeared back. We had taken off our t-shirts to wipe away the grease so we could just hold on to that two story granite pillar. Many had fallen to the ground in the early stages when the grease was still very thick. But we did the very hard thing and ended that summer of hell. It was amazing though, as hard as it was, you couldn’t pull us away. One of those love/hate situations you will never forget.

We all did a very hard thing.

I have a bond with my classmates of ’87 that is strong today even when I’m old and fat. Dieter Rademacher, Jonny Hayden, Howard Merritt, Steve Cote, Jim Lelio, and many others.

I watched our First Class men and women throw their caps in the air as they graduated.

That day they took an oath: To lay their lives on the line, if necessary. My late roommate Jonny Hayden was the gunnery officer on the ship that fired one of the first shots of the Gulf War. I hear a few of my classmates aren’t with us anymore.

To uphold our constitution and to protect our freedom.

Not a just recommendation or a guideline…

An oath.

As I sat in that audience watching, I was struck with the impact of them taking that oath. I never got to. Once upon a time I had it memorized and had to quote it dozens of times or I marched:

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

Many was the time my mind reviewed the only oath I had ever taken up to that time in my life… when I was a Boy Scout.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

I think I have rehearsed the words of that oath well over a thousand times…

It means something.

I mean it when I say it.

I feel it when I hear it.

In my heart…


Now the year is 2013.

I have four boys and a girl. Mostly grown up.

I was their Cubmaster. Their Scoutmaster for 8 years.

Then an Assistant Varsity and Venture Leader. A Unit Commissioner. Last May I was asked to be a District Chairman over three cities. It isn’t nearly as much fun working with a bunch of old guys as with our youth.

But I do it.

I’m a volunteer. I’ve never been paid a dime. In fact, I’ve shelled out more money than I care to remember because I want my boys, all boys, and girls, to learn what I learned…

Duty to God and my country.

How to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

I want my children and newly born grandchildren to learn values…

I want them to hear stories around a campfire.

To feel that tingle that goes up their spine as they come face to face with greatness… and truth. I want leaders who tell stories that teach values, stories of Baden Powell and Scoutmasters minutes.

Dave Elkington and I, and all entrepreneurs, want to hire young people that know their values, and live by their values.

And know the meaning of trustworthy.

And an oath.


Author: Ken Krogue | Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

The Most Important Thing I Learned in a Business Meeting… Ever

The year was 1992. I was the Marketing Director for Infobases, Inc.

Paul Allen and Dan Taggart owned the company, they later went on to found and is the cloud computing genealogy powerhouse that just passed the 2 million subscriber mark and added the 10th billion record to their database.

We were one of the very first electronic publishers using the Folio platform. We published the scriptures on computer and products like Famous Quotes, The Multimedia Family Bible, and the CD Sourcebook of American History.

We were struggling to make enough money to stay in business in those early days and things weren’t looking good. We were rookies. We pulled the management team together to discuss our problems and our options.

We had a great team: Paul and Dan, Joe Nilson, John Heaps, Dale, Bruce Ackerman, and later Mark Meservy.

I still remember the meeting. My memory is fuzzy at to who all was there.

It is one of the first meetings I ever sat in where we offered a word of prayer to begin. Sad to say, you don’t see that much in business, especially today. We were very concerned and needed help. After a long discussion we realized our biggest problem was software piracy. People were just making copies and passing the floppy disks around. This was before we put everything on CD-ROM. People could get copies of the scriptures from other sources for free, so they seemed to assume they could do the same with ours.

Roughly half the copies out there in the marketplace weren’t being paid for. And the funny thing was our main product we sold was the scriptures on computer.

We chuckled at the irony.

Whatever happened to, “Thou shalt not steal?”

The mood turned very somber when someone in the meeting asked the question:

“But what about us? We only have one set of software disks for WordPerfect… and we all use them. How can we expect our customers to pay for our software if we don’t pay for what we use…”

We had no money, and at least we paid for the one set. We justified. Everybody does it. Most of us didn’t even realize it was happening. I did though. And it’s just business… right?

But it was a poor rationalization… and we all knew it.

I remembered just a few days previously installing the one set of WordPerfect discs on my computer so I could write my marketing plan.

I looked down at my feet under the table. My shoes seemed a little tight.

Paul Allen asked the question, “What would it cost us to get completely legal and stay that way?”

Several thousand dollars…

About as much extra money as we had left.

We looked around the room at each other and knew what we had to do. There was a powerful feeling that hung in the air. We decided to do the right thing. We hadn’t realized things that seemed so little could be so big… and have so much impact.

Honesty. Ethics. Character.

I’ll never forget that day. I’ve never been the same since. It was a junction point. One of life’s lessons that burns deeply into the soul and changes things forever.

Paul and Dan led the way. Strong leaders. Thanks guys.

I remember right after that, two of the largest sales in our company history rolled off the fax machine. And John Heaps, our VP Sales, started closing up a storm of orders. We were off to the races and never looked back.



But every one of us that were in that room that day know different.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

Forbes – Level 5 Time Management: Beyond Stephen R. Covey and Ben Franklin

I’m writing this from the kitchen table in by brother in law’s mountain lodge home on the snow-covered golf course of Huntsman’s Springs in Driggs, Idaho, on New Years Day. My family just left to go into town. John Huntsman, the billionaire, built this entire development. I’m told Steve Young and Glen Beck have both stayed here. It’s a great place and time to reflect. The sun is just setting on the first day of the new year.  It’s time to get back to basics- Ken

Every year I stand up in front of my company,, and talk about time management right before the new year. I usually do it in that slow time between Christmas and New Year’s when everyone is trying to finish out the year strong.

I just did it Friday again for the ninth time.

Time management is one skill that is universal to all disciplines of business, and life. The skills tend to decay without constant refreshers and over-compensation with process and systems. We all have huge goals to get organized, but it is much like our New Year’s resolution of going to Gold’s Gym; the parking lot is full in January, but by May it is mostly empty again.

Until you learn Level 5 Time Management… building habits of execution through recurring tasks.

I ran the inside sales department for Franklin Quest for four years during the time they were the biggest training company in the world. My job, and that of my team was to fill up 200-300 seminars each month in hotels around the United States with 30-40 people who wanted the peace of mind of being in control of the events of their lives.

Time Quest was our best seminar back then.

Those were glory days.

We rubbed shoulders with Hyrum Smith, Stephen R. Covey, Denis Waitley, Ken Blanchard, and the trainer of trainers, Joel Weldon.

This was before Franklin Quest merged with Stephen Covey’s company and became Franklin Covey. I hear they are doing very well under the leadership of Robert Whitman; he runs a tight ship. Today their seminar is the 4 Disciplines of Execution.

They live it.

My hobby has been watching over the shoulders of the greats, noticing the patterns, putting the patterns together, and trying to apply them in my life.

I have noticed that there are many levels of time management:

Level 1 Time Management is Capture: Make a list.

Capture your random thoughts in one place so you don’t forget. A dull pencil is sharper than two bright minds. And Evernote that syncs on my iPad, iPhone, and Macbook Pro is better than any dull pencil. My father is great at this. He learned it in the military.

Level 1 is where you manage your minutes.


Level 2 Time Management is Prioritize: Rank your list.

Once you have made a list of tasks, put them in order in which you want to get things done. Then get to work on your list by priority. The prioritization step takes time.

While at Franklin Quest we often surveyed people to find why they didn’t prioritize: their answer was funny… it takes too much time.

Level 2 is where you manage your hours.


Level 3 Time Management is the Prioritized Daily Task List: Control the events of your life.

The Productivity Pyramid by Franklin Covey

An event is the basic building block of time.

An event is a task with a date and time, a deadline, attached.

Franklin Quest taught us that controlling the events of our lives brought us peace of mind. Their Productivity Pyramid built Long-Range Goals, Intermediate Goals, and Daily Tasks on a foundation of Governing Values.

What are Governing Values? They are what matters most in your life.

Anything you care about is a governing value. Good or bad.

Both Ghandi and Hitler had governing values.

I guess this level of time management would have helped them both be more productive. Society has judged their outcomes.

I remember we taught the story of how Ben Franklin outlined twelve values he deeply believed in. A Quaker friend of his looked them over and commented he really should add humility, so he did. He worked on one per week for thirteen weeks, then started over, four times a year.

At the end of his life he said he believed he actually achieved each of those values, except humility, but that one wasn’t his anyway.

Here they are:

  1. Temperance
  2. Silence
  3. Order
  4. Resolution
  5. Frugality
  6. Industry
  7. Sincerity
  8. Justice
  9. Moderation
  10. Cleanliness
  11. Tranquility
  12. Chastity
  13. Humility

He wrote a defining statement after each one. Click here to see what he wrote. It’s a good exercise right about now.

So how does the Productivity Pyramid work? You set long-range goals, break them down into intermediate goals, and then break them down into bite-sized daily tasks which you write in your Day Planner.

Then you prioritize them A (must do), B (should do), and C (could do.) Then if you have time you put a rank order on your A’s, B’s, and C’s with a 1, 2, 3, etc. This is highly efficient, and largely effective.

A Franklin Day Planner is one of the best time management tools ever invented. Many people are going back and using inserts to fit their iPhone, Android, or iPad into their trusty planner. The planner is still very good for managing tasks and taking handwritten notes. Electronic devices are great for scheduling and managing contacts but still struggle in tasks and notes.

My favorite app, Evernote, hasn’t addressed tasks yet.

Level 3 is where you manage your day.


Level 4 Time Management is Week-at-a-Glance: Mission, Vision, Roles and Principles

I just listened again to 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, probably one of the most copied titles or headlines, and one of the most impactful books ever written. I love the version so I can listen to his voice again. My Forbes tribute to Dr. Covey on the day he passed away is still one of my most commented articles… he changed people’s lives all over the world in a way few have.

He promoted time management to a whole new level. He often spoke of Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals. But in fairness to Franklin, they had values and goals clear back in Level 3.

He added the fourth level or four quadrants to be exact:

Figure 1: Stephen R. Covey's Time-Management Matrix from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989, p. 146.

The Quadrant Four Model is very powerful.

I won’t spoil the read of either of these two landmark books, but the key is focusing proactively on Quadrant Two, important but not urgent, lessening Quadrant Three, not important but urgent, and killing Quadrant Four, not important and not urgent, by saying that all important word, “No.”

Dr. Covey was a proponent of inside-out, or the ‘character ethic’ ahead of outside-in, the ‘personality ethic.’

Both are important, but first things first.

He believed in universal truths, he called them ‘Principles.’ They were a necessary addition to the agnostic and relativistic ‘Values,’ by definition, of the Level Three disciples.

He argued we can’t really break universal laws; we can only break ourselves against them.

No amount of argument will change the law of gravity as I slip off of a roof. Perhaps anti-grav belts will one day show us a higher law.

He also inserted the critical concept of ‘Roles’ into his model of time management. Roles warrant their own priorities in our model of time management. He warned we needed to find time for the important roles in our life: Husband, Father, Son, Partner, Friend, Citizen, Author, Self.

He warned of spending lots of time building a ladder only to find it is leaning against the wrong wall.

You have probably seen the example where you have a jar full of big rocks, a jar of pebbles, a jar of sand, and a jar of water.

It is an amazing visual demonstration to watch someone put the big rocks in first, shake the pebbles, and then the sand around the rocks, and then pour the water in on top and have all four jars settle together.

Four jars… into one.

Dr. Covey recommended that we begin the week with the big rocks. The important tasks that align with our roles and principles; we put them into our schedule first. Then we add the pebbles and the sand, then pour the water around to fit it all in, or not.

Remember, it’s ok to say “No.”

His New York Times Bestselling book ‘First Things First,’ along with A. Roger Merrill and Rebecca R. Merrill is a must read for anybody who is serious about time management.

First Things First, by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill

Dr. Covey espoused effectiveness more than efficiency; getting the right things done at the expense of getting lots of things done.

Level 4 is where you manage your week.


Level 5 Time Management is Monthly: recurring tasks that build habits

I mentioned earlier that Franklin Quest and Covey Leadership merged into Franklin Covey. And now their flagship seminar is called The 4 Disciplines of Execution. The forward to the book is written by Clayton Christensen, one of my favorite thought leaders. It is about combining effectiveness and efficiency into execution in business.

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney and Sean Covey

It rocks… literally.

Execution is getting the right things done well, day in and day out.

The right things are those Quadrant Two actions, important but not urgent, that bring the most leverage, but are forever delayed by practicing procrastinators.

As an entrepreneur, these are the keys to a good business. These little daily drops into the reservoirs that sustain life when cash flow is uneven, growth unsteady, and morale suffers:

Making the calls, answering messages, balancing the books, walking the floor, testing the results, hitting your numbers, reporting back, meeting with your people, calling your customers, listening to voicemail, building relationships of trust.

I first learned this lesson of life during two years as a Mormon missionary in South Carolina. Now an important caveat here, I’m not proselyting for my church, but I am advocating the development of daily habits.

Later in life I learned from my mentor, Dr. Chauncey Riddle, that…

“Our religion is the sum total of our habits.”

It isn’t just what we think about, intend, or talk about…

It is what we actually spend our life doing that reveals who we really are.

One of my favorite quotes:

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” –Frank Outlaw

The Mormon, Muslim, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Protestant, Agnostic, or Atheist would all fall under this same guideline when we are all measured and weighed in the balance; whether the measure of good is God, conscience, society, or humanity.

It is only our actions that bring results.

The politics of the liberal, conservative, moderate, libertarian, or progressive are ultimately measured by whether we are full of mere political theories, or do our words turn to action for the good of mankind?

In business, as an entrepreneur, or an executive; talk is especially cheap. Key actions, leverage actions, actions that are pursued until you are finished…  follow through… this is what matters. In our life habits shape our character. The character of our business is it’s culture. It is the recurring small things that shape a culture.

You see, these principles are extremely relevant…

So here is the key question:

How do you discipline yourself to do those key important things every day or week or month that you know you should do?

This was especially hard to do as a missionary. You see, it wasn’t a job. I didn’t get paid to be there, in fact, I was paying my own way just to knock doors for two years in the humid summers of the Deep South. I’m from the heart of the Rocky Mountains; I grew up at 4500 feet above sea level.

This makes it especially hard to get up early every morning.

For the first few months I was up and down, like a rollercoaster.

Has your life ever been like you were on a roller coaster? How is it right now?

It was Ronald Pierce, the guy in charge of me, who taught me one of life’s profound lessens… steadiness. He told me if I would do several things every day I would be steady through the day. I won’t give them all away, but one was to get up early. Another was to end the day by writing in my journal; a form of ‘debrief’ of my day.

“Every day?” I asked? I knew I was sunk. Steady I was not.

I wanted to do it. He did it! I knew I had to find a way to overcompensate for my times of weakness. I needed a process, a system.

Bryan Tracey said,

“Character is the ability to follow through with a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.”

I had an idea.

I went to the five and dime store and bought a large piece of poster board, a sharpie marker, and a yardstick.

I came back and marked a chart with roughly 60 columns and several rows.

I put ‘Get Up on Time,’ as the first row on my chart with 60 check boxes, enough for two months.

A section of my early Reservoirs Chart - Ken Krogue

Then I added a couple of other items, and ended with, ‘Write in Journal.’

I called it my ‘Reservoirs’ chart. I hung it on the inside of the door that went out of my apartment so it would just sit there in my path and bother me until I did my daily recurring tasks, and marked it.

I did OK for a few days, then a few weeks, and then I never missed.

Research we accessed while at Franklin Quest showed that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days to build recurring tasks into a habit.

After I had built all four daily recurring actions into habits, I dramatically improved in my steadiness. I seemed strong all the time. Then I added a fifth item, a sixth, a seventh. By the end of my two years I was checking 24 things on my chart every day. Writing a letter daily. Eating right. Exercising. Memorizing a paragraph a day.

When I got home I kept my discipline up for several months. I went into sales. The one thing I had learned how to do was to knock doors. I married my dear wife Crystal during the high point of my life. Slowly the cares of life, going to school, full time work, and raising a family crept in. I fell into a five year long dark time of my life.

One day my wife said, “You aren’t the same person I married.”

Wow. Shock to the system!

What happened? My reservoirs were empty.


In fact, I had holes in my reservoir I needed to patch just to hold anything. I knew what I had to do.

I printed a new chart.

And this time I put things for me to build into habits and for my family to do together. Every night I had a checkbox for, “Read a Story to the Kids,” and “Activity” where we played a short game like hide and seek. Every Friday I put “Date night with Crystal”, and “Family Night with Kids” on Monday.

Then I printed a chart for work.

  • Be 5 minutes early,
  • check voice mail,
  • return email,
  • make 50 prospecting calls,
  • manage by walking around,
  • talk to 3 clients,
  • daily reports, and
  • weekly meeting preparation.

Things started to take off. My reservoirs started to fill. That was almost 20 years ago. I taught my teams to do the same. Daily Recurring Actions. Habits.

We became the fastest growing department at the second fastest growing company in America.

The darkness left. The roller coaster of life steadied out. We often read our favorite poem:


The Habit Poem

I am your constant companion.

I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.

Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them – quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.

Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I?

I am Habit.


That is Level 5 Time Management, where you manage your month… your habits.

Stay tuned for Level 6, where you manage your quarter, your change, your character, and more.

Oh, and make it a great day, a great month, and a great year.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

5 Things Business Can Learn from a Tree

from my most recent article on Forbes – Ken

Principle 1 – Find Water Quickly

A tree seedling sends down roots quickly to try and find water. They go in all directions until a root taps a water supply.

5 Things Business can Learn from a Tree - Find Water - Grow - Branch Outward - Change - Watch Patterns

5 Things Business can Learn from a Tree – Find Water – Grow – Branch Outward – Change – Watch Patterns

Trees don’t do well without water.

Companies don’t do well without cash flow… sales.

I’m a big fan of getting out there, trying lots of things, and selling something quickly.

Find your tap root.

By going in all directions (testing) the root system anchors the tree from storms. If one tap root dries up, others continue looking. They also often enter twine with other trees (partnering) to provide stronger support than they might have on their own. The redwoods grow tallest and the aspen covers the most ground from this principle.

Principle 2 – Focus the Growth

Once a tree finds water, they change their growth from expansion and diversification to focusing on the trunk; one single large trunk growing upward. Once you have a tap root and a water supply, stop trying lots of things and focus.

Trees must compete for sunlight with other trees so the ones that focus longer and grow faster gain more than their fair share of the sunlight.

They make hay while the day lasts… or rather they grow while the nutrients and the tap root stays in a water supply.

Focus, focus, focus.

Principle 3 – Branch Outward

Only after you have focused for a long time and grown dramatically do you branch outward and diversify again. CEO’s are tempted to do this too soon and waste needed resources. Good CMO’s know the law of focus… listen to them. Stick with it if it keeps working.

When do you diversify?

After you have hit critical mass and have lots of resources flowing.

Then is a good time to branch outward while you keep growing your root system for other water supplies.

But only after you hit critical mass in one area. And only after sending tap roots for more water (testing.)

Principle 4 – Change for the Seasons

  • New buds in spring. (Research, develop, and release new products)
  • Strong expansion and growth in summer. (Grow like crazy when conditions are right)
  • Change of color before the leaves fall. (When trends change, you change, and quickly.)
  • When the leaves fall prepare for winter. (Scale back prudently, cut and prune for a new growth season.)

Principle 5 – Watch the Patterns

If you cut a tree down you see the annual rings of growth. The good years had wide rings (lots of water), the bad years were narrow.

Track your effort and your results. Watch the patterns. Analyze what works and what doesn’t.

A tree is a large system.

Use systems thinking: Analyze, Design, Implement, Evaluate. This is an iterative loop that goes on and on.

Year after year…

Like a tree.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

My Forbes Article: The Case for Startups Not Taking Venture Capital Too Early

When Dave Elkington and I started eight years ago we wanted to build a company that was well prepared for hyper-growth without just throwing money at it. My article on Forbes…

Dave Elkington, CEO of, Chose Not to Take Venture Capital Too Early

We wanted to build it from the ground up based on great ideas and sound execution. We wanted to test and vet the business by growing it organically based on its merits in the marketplace. We wanted to learn what we needed to do each step along the way. We wanted a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship from the University of Hard Knocks.

We realized that the company grows only as fast as we do.

It also means a lot more when it is your money. You don’t spend it as fast. You learn to rub two pennies together. You want leverage. You make do. You invest in great people and technology, but you don’t care how fancy your chairs or desks are.

You force yourself to stay disciplined. You figure out a way. It also has other benefits:

We didn’t give away the shop. We control our own destiny (with help).

Both of us had been exposed to entrepreneurs who had great ideas and thought all they had to do was raise some money and grow like crazy.

Very few of them are still at the helm of their own companies years later.

Dave Elkington, our CEO, is a legend of fiscal innovation.

That is a nice way of saying he is tight as can be. But it is paying off big time. He is amazing. I could never do what he can do.

Anyone can say “Yes.” Few can say “No.” It is by far the greater of the two disciplines. It will become even more important with the direction the economy is continuing to go.

We outgrew our competition while growing organically. We forced ourselves to run the tightest ship in our entire industry. We learned to out innovate our tech competitors, to be data-driven, to make hard decisions, and to stay hungry. Because we had to.

One of my favorite success stories is of Hyundai. They set a big, hairy, audacious goal of being able to offer a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty on their automobiles when the industry thought they were crazy. They weren’t crazy. They forced themselves to raise the quality of their cars until they were the best and could survive the scrappy commitment they had set for themselves with their warranty. They pushed Toyota and Honda and all the American brands back on their heels.

Hats off to Hyundai.

When the crash of 2008 happened, and Wells Fargo yanked our only small credit line for no reason and with no notice, we pulled together as a team, tightened up the belt, and grew.

In fact, we grew like crazy.

They said there is a recession happening. We voted as a team not to participate.

Because we could… You see…

We were profitable.

Nobody that I have ever seen gets as much done with as little as our scrappy team here at, leading our own corner of cloud computing, the world of remote sales. We all owe that to Dave. Very few can boast being the leader in their space and twice being on the Inc., 5000 without raising money. Every CEO who starts life as an entrepreneur has their own approach to doing things. A blend of management and leadership. Only a few of them are world class, based on their strengths.

Dave Elkington is world class.

Nuts! Southwest Airlines crazy recipe for business and personal success

I love reading Nuts!, the crazy story of Southwest Airlines. The only airline that is consistently profitable over the last four decades because they out innovate everyone else combined and they run a tight ship. I choose to fly them now whenever I can. When a downturn comes, they barely notice. They fly one plane because it keeps parts, service, and training costs low. Why do I fly them when they serve peanuts and I love the ginger cookies on Delta? Lots of great reasons, but most important…

They are profitable.

They have a sound fiscal policy, much unlike the leaders of our government current and past (where are the fiscally responsible entrepreneurs in government?)

They don’t charge extra for luggage… because they don’t have to. For years they did what nobody else was willing to do.

Now they can do what nobody else can do.

At the end of last year we finally took a round of investment from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and several SaaS industry leaders like Josh James, the founder of Domo and Omniture (which sold to Adobe.)

It was a rather small round.

We didn’t need the money.

We wanted the expertise, mentoring, and coaching from folks like Mark Gorenberg, Lars Lecki, John Hummer, Ann Winblad, and Josh James.

Mark Gorenberg, Partner at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, our mentor and coach. Image via CrunchBase

Now don’t get me wrong. With some additional resources and investment you can afford to put your foot on the gas. We are growing even faster now. But we are bound and determined to stay disciplined and in control of our own destiny.

So just because everyone else thinks that the formula is to come up with a good idea, raise money, spend money, and grow like crazy…

That doesn’t mean it’s right.

There are a lot of founding entrepreneurs out of work watching other people manage the companies they started who say otherwise.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles