Just 10 days ago, I was shattered hearing the news of Robert Racine’s passing. Robert was one of the most interesting and dedicated sales enablement professionals I have met.
We first “met” a few years ago. He followed the blog and had made some thoughtful comments. Often, when I get particularly insightful comments, I start an offline conversation through email or phone. Robert and I started periodic email and phone conversations about critiquing the posts.
His perspective was always fascinating, in each conversation I learned something. We didn’t agree in everything, but I think each of us learned and expanded our perspectives. Every conversation, there was something that gave me an idea for another post.
When I published Sales Manager Survival Guide, Robert and I got into one of our most fascinating series of discussions. I sent him a copy asking his feedback. I didn’t realize that feedback would end up in a series of early morning conversations spanning several months. We’ talk about weekly, Robert would call, saying, “I’m through Chapter [X], there are some things you may want to consider in the next book…..”
Most people, responding to the request for feedback, would send a few thoughtful comments. Robert’s focused on where to take it, and how to leverage the lessons to help sales managers, sales people, and the profession.
As we spoke, the ideas snowballed. Often, we’d get off into the weeds about various issues in selling, business, learning and people development. In every conversation, Robert’s passion for learning and growth–both his, the person he was talking to, and sales people stood out.
Our conversations formed the foundation to the “Sales Manager Survival Guide Fieldbook.” I hope to publish that in about 18 months.
Most recently, I worked with Robert and his team, looking at sales performance at Wipro. As the team and I worked on the project, Robert would review what we were doing. He’d make suggestions, but in very subtle ways, so often, we’d walk away from these conversations thinking the ideas were our own, he was remarkably subtle in his coaching.
As we concluded the work, we faced challenges in getting “buy-in” from top executives and the organization. Robert was an outstanding strategist, thinking how we could structure our recommendations and move forward. I’ve been around a lot of complex situations and organizations. But still I learned a lot about change and buy-in from Robert’s approaches on the project.
Selfishly, I will miss my conversations with Robert. We had such great fun and learned so much.
I’ve just shared my own personal experiences with Robert. But Robert had a tremendous passion for teaching, growth and learning. He was an active participant in a number of professional organizations in the UK and US. He worked with universities in encouraging them to put programs in place to help develop new talent.
As we remember Robert’s contributions to our lives and our profession, perhaps the best tribute is continuing to learn and grow, individually, as organizations, as a profession and society.
My prayers go to Robert’s family and the colleagues he worked with daily. Robert will be missed.
Afterword: I reached out to Robert’s family, asking where I might make a contribution in Robert’s memory. In some way, I’m not surprised with their response. The focus continues to be about Sales, Sales Enablement, and Learning. More than money, they knew Robert would appreciate involvement and engagement. Their response is below.
Robert always believed in charitable work. Here are three charities he cared about and was actively involved with. Please consider getting involved yourself.