curveballs

Do you Crush Curveballs?

The more senior you are, the more curveballs you see. Anticipate the unexpected, adapt, and leverage team strengths to turn challenges into opportunities.

Explore the Curveball Method

Play Better

The Curveball Method is a leadership and life philosophy developed by master manager Joelle Kaufman, drawing from her 25 years of team leadership, education in Organizational Behavior and Business, and her 40-year “dance” with cancer. This innovative approach equips leaders to handle unexpected challenges better and seize opportunities by emphasizing anticipation and preparation for ‘curveballs’—unforeseen events or problems. The method empowers leaders to swiftly recognize and adapt to issues while fostering a culture of clarity, autonomy, and accountability.

Leaders who embrace the Curveball Method excel at prioritizing effectively, leveraging team strengths, managing emotional responses, and optimizing available resources. This comprehensive approach enables teams to navigate challenges more efficiently and capitalize on opportunities with greater agility, ultimately driving improved performance and resilience.

The Curveball Method™

Leaders step up to the plate every day and need an approach

Typical Team Curveballs

Revenue Shortfalls

Revenue is oxygen and when the revenue machine isn’t producing, it’s the major issue facing leadership. With GTM Flow Curveball Coaching, you’ll see the curveball sooner, assess alternatives more broadly, and swing with strength.

Slow or No Growth

Do more with less and get the pipeline growing while demand generation struggles and sales attainment suffers.  Keeping people engaged and running the business through challenges is tough. Curveball coaching will relieve stress, unlock alternatives, and tap into the strengths around you.

Product Delays

Prospects, customers, and sales teams expect an exciting new product and it’s delivery date is slipping. You cannot recognize revenues on product you do not ship. Forecasts are disrupted and relationships are damaged.

With Curveball Coaching, you’ll create an environment where people share problems early and you mobilize for success.

High Turnover

Losing key leaders and contributors deprives the organization of knowledge, talent, and treasure. Curveball coaching will reduce the frequency and impact of unplanned turnover while helping you build the bench strength to minimize turnover’s negative impacts.

Excessive burn

Costs are up and revenues are down. The organization needs to right the ship and free up resources from operations or capital. Curveball coaching aligns your team and priorities while unlocking creativity and energy to solve the organizational-threatening problems. 

% Curveballs

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What percent of leadership problems are curveveballs?

Core Principles

  • Curveballs are inevitable but rarely unhittable
  • Prepare and anticipate curveballs
  • The leader determines who plays where
  • Make adjustments after a swing and miss
  • The more you practice, the better you play

Mastering the Curveball Curriculum Guide

Through assessment and our preliminary conversation, you will have a bespoke curriculum to dramatically improve your approach to curveballs to drive your organization’s success to new heights. I combine 30 years operating experience as a sales and marketing leader with no-nonsense coaching to accelerate the growth of your company and yourself.

Introduction: Why are the best leaders curveball sluggers?

Objective: Individual leaders need to assess their curveball mastery level and where they need to train to be better sluggers. It may be their perception of leadership, communication, team dynamics, sales skills, marketing expertise, product, recruiting, or board management. Curveballs increase in frequency and intensity with leadership seniority. 

  • Three Leadership Jobs (YouTube)
  • Examples of great curveball sluggers
    • Talbott Roche
    • Elon Musk
    • Jeff Bezos
    • Reed Hastings
    • Julie Sweet (CEO Accenture)
  • Typical curveballs 
    • Cash crunch
    • Executive turnover
    • Competitive scoop
    • Product delay or failure
    • Insufficient pipeline
    • Declining growth
    • Weak win rate
    • Customer churn
  • Curveball Slugging Opportunities
    • Vision & Leadership
    • Communication
    • Team Dynamics 
    • Goal Setting
    • Financial Management
    • Revenue Generation
    • Brand building, marketing, and growth
    • Product-Market Fit
    • Recruiting and retention
    • Board Management

Module 1: Introduction to Curveball Mastery

Objective: Understand the frequency and magnitude of curveballs you already see and will likely see as a leader. Appreciate building confidence, strength, and skill to hit life’s curveballs. 

Topics:

  • Reflect and recast – what are the curveballs you’ve already seen, and did they hit you, ground out, become a homerun
  • Rely on your strengths – you need to know what they are
  • See the curveball – recognize situations and the types of curveballs you are likely to see
  • Deconstructing the curveball – master rapid assessment of the curveball
  • Swing targeting – where do you want to hit the ball
  • Swinging together – Alignment (Article)
  • Swing practice – communication
  • Swing practice – Mission & metrics
  • Time to play – Approach and Execute

 

Module 2: Rely on your strengths

Objective: understand your natural leadership strengths and how you leverage them always especially when you see a curveball. This understanding allows you to develop new leadership intentionally approaches that better suit the curveball (off-speed pitch) you face. Through this module, leaders will access opportunities to lead with less stress and less fallout.

Topics:

  • 4 Leadership Archetypes – what’s your natural space – Overview | Assessment
  • Positive Intelligence – Saboteurs, sage, self-command – Assessment | Overview
  • Process Communication Model
  • Role models and transitions
  • Other tools you may have and want to bring into 
    • Meyers Briggs
    • Enneagram
    • Kolbe
    • DISC
    • Strengthsfinder
    • Leadership Circle

Deliverables

  • Write the Story of You
  • Create your ongoing Leadership Manifesto

     

    Module 3: See the Curveball

    Objective: anticipate the curveballs that may emerge in a given situation. Develop an “approach” for the likely curveballs.  Find ways to practice your “swing”

    Tools:

    • Topics: Leadership Roles and the 4 Archetypes
      • Founders/Visionaries
      • Fixers/Scalers (Rapid)
      • Operator/Managers
      • Growers & Integrators (Steady)
      • Teachers
      • Sellers
    • Leadership Situations
      • Stage of Company
      • Role in Company
      • Strategic Situation of Company
    • Recruiting the team

     

    Module 4: Deconstructing the curveball

    Objective: A curveball coming at you triggers adrenaline and the fight, freeze, or flight reflex. If it’s headed at your head, you must immediately duck. However the adrenaline reaction usually lasts longer than practical because it interferes with your slower critical thinking capabilities. In this module, we’ll explore a ( xx) step process to acknowledge the alert, assess the curveball, and explore alternative approaches to the swing.

    • Early warning systems – how do you feel about a curveball, and how can your emotions train your curveball vision? Fear? Excitement? Ignore? 
    • Neuroscience of reactions and actions – why our brains evolved to recognize and respond to threats and how we can harness that for modern life.
    • Assessing the curveball – creating your barometer for curveballs and calibrating it. Keeping your calibration front and center
    • The power of a pause and techniques to pause time (aka how baseball players slow their heartbeat to hit better)
      • Davey Martinez, 2019 Wild Card game – “But the biggest thing is really I tell them, hey, control your heartbeat. You guys have come a long way and played really well. Just play one more game. Just go 1-0 today, and that’s all we can focus on.”
    • Ways to explore alternative swings

    Deliverables

    • Reaction Journal
    • Historic curveballs – and the one year look back
    • Power of Pause practice
    • Alternative assessments

       

      Module 5: Swing Targeting (Vision) – picking the target for your hit

      Topics:

      • What’s a vision?
      • What’s a target?
      • Prompts and inputs to specify your target/vision
      • Storytelling – the narrative of why this target
      • Storytelling – the origin of you and why you can hit this target
      • Reflect and adjust with new data – when to switch your stance/strategy

      Deliverable:

      • Vision Casting Framework
      • Vision/Target Brainstorming

         

        Module 6: Swing Practice: Communication

        Objective: One of the ways you will swing at a curveball is through communication – how you hear about it, talk about it, and how it infiltrates your communication. Learn how to communicate effectively with a curveball situation to maximize the probability of a home run hit.

        Topics:

        • Personal Communication Assessment and Process Communication – strengths and development opportunities for you as a communicator.  (PCM)
        • Team Communication Feedback Survey – ask your audiences for confidential feedback on your communication – benchmark a baseline and choose where you want to improve.
        • Communication Strategy
        • Communication to different audiences (VCs/Investors, Boards, Peers, Team Members, Friends, Family, Difficult people)
        • Communication & Culture
        • Optimal 1:1s
        • Giving/Receiving feedback

        Deliverable:

        • Personal Communication Plan

           

          Module 7: Approach the Plate and Execute

          Objective: Life’s curveballs last longer than a baseball pitch, and as you engage with hitting the curveball, you’ll get feedback. Just as baseball players learn to adjust to the pitcher based on data, you must learn how to accept and reject data as you refine your approach.

             

            Module 8: Stellar Sales 

            • Urgency Triggers (Article | Article)
            • Aligning Sales and Marketing (Article)
              • Metrics & Expectations (Article)
              • Shared Language
              • Problem identification and resolution
            • Designing sales teams
              • Organization
              • Quota and Territories
              • Growing world-class salespeople
            • Forecasting YouTube | Article
            • Pipeline Math – YouTube | Article
            • Pipeline Inspection – YouTube | Article
            • Discovery & Qualification
              • Best Qualification Methodology YouTube 
              • Qualification Consistency YouTube | Article
              • The future of SDRs
            • Pipeline Coverage (YouTube | Article)
            • Scaling a sales team (Article)
            • Sales Enablement
              • Sales Managers and sales management (Article)
              • Presentation Skills
              • Facilitation Skills
            • Sales Stages
            • Buyer Enablement (Article | Infographic)
            • Emotional Intelligence and Successful Sales – Article
            • Combatting Seller Burnout  – Article
            • Win Loss Analysis – with or without AI – YouTube | Article
            • Sales Compensation
              • Basic sales compensation structures
              • Cap or not to cap
              • Compensation benchmarking
              • The supporting players for sales
            • RevOps
              • What is RevOps and where should/could it report
              • What is/was Sales Ops
              • What is a RevOps stack?
            • AI in Sales
              • AI for Prospecting
              • AI for content targeting
              • AI for account research
              • AI for intent detection

               

              Module 9: Maximizing Marketing

              • Marketing Metrics
                • Aligning on a metrics philosophy
                • Metrics for the Board
                • Metrics for the Exec Team (Article)
                • Metrics for the Marketing Team (Article)
                • Next Generation B2B Marketing Metrics – 6Sense article
                • Attribution Arguments (Article)
              • Aligning with Sales (Article)
              • Marketing Budgeting (Article)
              • Product Marketing
                • ICP
                • Personas and Stakeholders
                • Positioning and Messaging (Article)
                • Category Creation (Article)
                • Product-Market Fit (Article)
                • Buyer Enablement (Article | Infographic)
                • Sales Enablement
                • Competitive Insight
                • Release vs. Launch of Products
              • Brand Building
                • Creative and Design
                • Voice
                • Brand standards
                • Naming
              • Content Marketing (aka Inbound)
                • Blogs (Article)
                • Podcasts
                • Syndication
              • Growth Marketing fka Demand Generation (aka Outbound)
                • Paid Media
                • Earned Media
                • Social Media
                • Webinars
                • eBooks
                • Infographics
                • Tradeshows
                • Private Events
                • Sales led events
                • Digital growth marketing (Article)
                • Field Marketing
                • MQLs and other problems (Article)
              • International marketing
              • Community and Customer Marketing
                • The Gainsight Insight
                • Executive Sponsorship Programs (article)
              • Partner Marketing
              • Investor Relations
              • PR
              • Analyst Relations
              • AI in Marketing
                • AI for persona development
                • AI for content creation
                • AI for campaign development & execution
                • AI for intent detection

                 

                Module 10: Negotiation

                Objective: Develop an effective and flexible negotiation skill set to navigate the continuous curveballs you have to navigate. Become comfortable and energized by the possibilities in a negotiation.

                • To Sell is Human – by Daniel Pink – explore how virtually everything we do as leaders is a sales opportunity with a broad and inclusive definition of sales.
                • Never Split the Difference – by Chris Voss – practice the techniques and exercises of the former top hostage negotiator for the US FBI.
                • Negotiating with employees
                • Negotiating with the Board
                • Negotiating for yourself
                • Negotiating with your family

                 

                How can you tell that you and your team are struggling with curveballs? Watch our videos for specifics on each major indicator – you could have one or many.

                • Crossfunctional bickering
                • People working in silos
                • Lots of strategizing, little results
                • Not executing
                • Always needing more resources

                Get In Touch

                Joelle Kaufman
                joelle@gtmflow.com
                @TheCROJo