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Remembering Mark – Part 1 of 2

Last week we lost a great one.  It’s impossible to begin to measure the impact and reach, the influence and benefit of Mark Rednick’s contribution.  That is of course true across what may well be the longest span of work in the recruiting industry to date.  As I recall, Mark purchased the 12th franchise in the MRI network, back then, simply called Sales Consultants.  His career spanned the entire decades of the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.  Add a few years on either side, and that has to be something of record.

But, his contribution obviously went way past mere years alone.  When I met Mark…hey wait, first let me share a picture I’m extraordinarily proud of…

anita pasquale mark

This was taken in 2009, at the MRI Global Conference in Philadelphia.  Anita and Mark are, as you can see, simply two of my favorite people in the world.

Okay, getting back to Mark and his impact on me, Mark and I met over the phone (I’ve always been a cold-call selling telephone man) back in 1994, February to be exact.  And the first thing I noted was this.  I couldn’t win if I tried to compete with him.  He had already forgotten more about selling than I’ll ever know, and he retained the largest mastery of the tactical art of selling I ever encountered.

A bit more than just impressed and intimidated, I tried to go the other direction and talk strategy, and brought up my studies of Peter Drucker’s books.  That almost always used to impress my prospects. Dumb move!  Mark had hired and consulted with Peter Drucker himself, personally.  More, he’d negotiated Drucker down from his Fortune 100 rates so that Mark could afford to pay him and work with him.  Do you know the word nonplussed?  Just in case not, here’s the definition:

Nonplussed:  surprised and confused so much that one is unsure how to react.  For example, “he was completely nonplussed and embarrassed at the idea.”

I never really did figure out why Mark was the one paying me, but he did hire me and our work and friendship was, well, one of the great treasures of my life.

Among the infinity of topics we covered – oh, Mark not only majored in Philosophy, he was also a philosophy professor at the same time, and in the same department with his friend, the world famous writer Larry (Lonesome Dove) McMurtry – we discussed Zen philosophy extensively, especially as it applies to the art of selling.

With our first session in February of 1994, it couldn’t have been any later than March or May that Mark introduced me to an author who was to become one of the most influential I’ve ever read, Daisetz T. Suzuki, whose greatest work was Zen and Japanese Culture.

What, exactly, does Zen have to do with selling, or with recruiting?  I’ll be damned if  I know.  But Mark did know.  No kidding.  Let me try to recall what he might have said in response to such a question…it might have gone something like…

The world is one.  Believing, as I do, that God created it for the good, it is man’s job to simply sit, think and find the good before he acts.  Sales is action.  But, it requires mind, thought, thinking.  The practice, the best practice in all the world when it comes to thinking is Zen.  A salesman who doesn’t understand what Zen teaches about sitting and thinking, is handicapped in the sales art.

Mind you, I went to NO effort at all to try to sound like Mark, that would be impossible.  And, I’m certain he’d find my paragraph way too wordy and want to cut it at least in half.  But, the passion, that I believe he’d approve of.  Mark was nothing if not passionate.  That and intelligent.  And funny.

Speaking of funny, Mark found it uproarious that swords and selling were also – just like Zen itself – basically the same thing.  And that is where we’ll finish today, and pick up tomorrow.  In Suzuki’s book, there is an amazing list of the diseases that swordsman suffer.  I’ll offer it now in closing, and then, tomorrow, we’ll apply each part to recruiting and to the art – The Zen Art – of selling.  Here’s Suzuki’s list:

“An idea, however worthy and desirable in itself, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.  The diseases or obsessions the swordsman has to get rid of are: 

“(1) the desire for victory,

“(2) the desire to resort to technical cunning,

“(3) the desire to display all the he has learned,

“(4) the desire to overawe the enemy,

“(5) the desire to play a passive role, and lastly,

“(6) the desire to be rid of whatever disease he is likely to be infected with. 

When any one of these obsesses him, he becomes its slave, as it makes him lose all the freedom he is entitled to as a swordsman.”

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