I have been reminded time and time again; that an obstruction in our view can hurt us and more importantly it may hurt others.  This hit home when a distracted driver drove straight into our two-day-old car this December, missing my door by an inch and totaling it.  I am reminded of this type of blind spot every time I hear someone complain about: their bad manager, their incapable employee, or that they did not get the promotion they deserved.  While distracted driving causes auto accidents, those drivers do not wake up in the morning saying “I am going to go out and cause an accident today.” Nor do most preoccupied managers intend on hurting their employees.

You see, we all have our blind spots. A blind spot can be detrimental but because it is blocked from site, we do not see what others can see that is sitting right in front of us. We may never fully realize the pain we are causing others by lack of clarity of our own shortcomings.  Studies keep revealing employee engagement lingers at about 33%. Bringing the blind spot into a clear view takes effort.  By not trying to see what our own blind spot is we go around (without a clue) repeating behaviors that are inflicting pain and even damage to co-workers every day and even on ourselves.

I challenge you to have the courage in the coming year to identify your blind spot, the thing that may be holding you back from: moving into that next position, hitting your next big goal, or making it a better workplace for those around you. How can you do this?  Below are five Quick Tips for Identifying your Blind Spots.

5 tips for identifying your blind spots

  1. Ask people who will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.
  2. Get a 360 Feedback process that gives you concrete strategies for self – improvement.
  3. Learn to accept feedback – maybe you are hearing it, but are you really listening?
  4. Identify patterns and trends in working relationships – you might find that the common theme has a finger pointing back to you.
  5. Hire a coach or find an accountability partner, someone who can help you see it and then be aware when it may be impacting you or your work relationships.

Clarity allows for clear vision and alignment in your life.  Seeing the whole picture will open new doors and increase employee engagement in your work-space.

You can find our scheduled training events on our website.  If you need other training or coaching to help you achieve your new goals, please let us know if we can help.


Gallup employee engagement

The year is winding down.  You begin to think employee morale does not matter because everyone is in a holiday mood anyway and not really concentrating on work.

It is never too late or too early to promote employee engagement.  Marketing Innovators white papers on employee engagement says Companies that commit to engaging their employees increase customer satisfaction by 54% plus companies that foster high morale outperform their competitors by about 20%.

Efforts to increase motivation now may be short-lived, but remember it is a long-term commitment to achieve long-term benefits for your business.

Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”  – Anne Mulcahy

A Gallup poll of USA workplaces indicated 51% employees are disengaged from their work; only 33% of employees are effectively engaged in their work but only 21% of those are motivated to do outstanding work.

What are some ways you can boost motivation and engagement?  Check out 9 Motivational Ideas to Increase Employee Engagement.  (BTW: We offer training and solutions that can help with #6 and #9.)

If the above statistics were not bad to get you considering motivation and engagement goals for next year, check out the many statistical links in the Access Perks blog.

Everything DiSC - Workplace

Everything DiSC Workplace map

For years now, Peak Performance Solutions has been offering DiSC training for our client companies directly to their employees.  Some of our clients have expressed an interest in having their own people trained to be Everything DiSC Workplace facilitators.  For that reason, for the past few years, we have offered training on-line or in in the Wiley-Minneapolis Office to our clients.  Now we can bring the training directly to your location!  Below are short descriptions of the three different options for Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitator Certification.

The on-line training is designed with busy schedules in mind.   Everything DiSC Workplace Certification on-line offers the flexibility of self-paced learning, paired with live webinar sessions led by expert trainers.   You can find out more about this option from our on-line flyer.  To check out the schedule for on-line training, visit our website

The new 2-day Everything DiSC Workplace Certification facilitated learning option of live in-person at your location is a by request only.  You can review the on-site flyer for a little information and check out the agenda too.  Then contact us to find out more and plan dates if you are interested.  Training Includes:

  • Personalized Everything DiSC Workplace profile
  • Certificate of Completion upon completion of course and practical exam
  • Everything DiSC facilitation kit of your choice
  • Learning portal for pre-work, post-exam and reinforcement tips as you begin your training.

If you prefer to combine on-line with travel plus spend at least 2-days in Minneapolis, then the live in-person Everything DiSC Workplace Certification training at the Wiley-Minneapolis Office may fit this desire.   This training agenda is the same as the “at your location” training above. The schedule for this off-site training is also on our website under the on-line dates.

Everything DiSC Workplace

Everything DiSC Workplace Facil Kit

All Everything DiSC Workplace Certification training options should help facilitators:

  • Gain foundational knowledge about Everything DiSC and the research behind it
  • Experience the Everything DiSC Workplace assessment and apply the personalized profile results to real-world scenarios
  • Increase confidence and competence in delivering Everything DiSC Workplace sessions
  • Develop experience using the Everything DiSC Workplace Facilitation Kit with small groups
  • Learn to keep Everything DiSC alive within the organization by creating a culture of DiSC with MyEverythingDiSC.com

Other facilitator accreditation we currently have available is on The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.  You can find the training schedule and links to flyer on the Peak Performance Solutions website.  If you do not know what this program is, visit our blog for an overview of the program, a 2-part outline of the 5 behaviors, and a list of available reports.

In our last post, we looked at why you need to establish a skill set requirement to make your sales process customer focused so you can position yourself as a problem solver for those customers.  In this post, we will consider the what you need in your skill set, how you might assess where your representatives are in the desired skill set, and plan training or other interventions to help them improve their skills so they can achieve more sales and keep customers coming back.

Step 1 – Determine necessary skill set.

Basic skill your sales representatives may need include:

  • Understanding value creation and proposition (more than just knowing your products/services and the competitors plus the differences)
  • Implementing a customer-driven approach that builds relationships (which includes solving their problems by becoming an advisor verses being a pest)
  • Understanding buyer styles and behavior (knowing the difference between conversation and communication skills, as well as body language signals and key phrases)
  • Knowing what questions to ask a new lead when asking for their time or a sale
  • Identifying opportunities (as well as knowing who your customer base is while understanding industry regulations)
  • Knowing the complete sales process and determining where each customer is in the process

Step 2 – Assess current skill levels

  • Determine skills and competencies needed for various sales expectations or levels
  • Design a sales skills matrix and assess each sales rep against it
  • Analyze the matrix results and plan appropriate sales training to fill the gaps in each rep’s matrix

Step 3 – Plan upskill interventions

  • Hold sales training that includes role playing and key questions reps may need to answer
  • Besides training, consider mentoring/coaching and monitoring for successful continual learning
  • If you are planning a hiring ramp up, be sure to include an onboarding process to move new hires along the skills matrix more quickly
  • Re-evaluate yearly to keep up-to-date and promote more sales

If you would like some options for sales training, please visit the Peak Performance Solutions website.  If you are interested in a book to encourage your sales staff, consider The Sales Messenger.  If you have any questions on how we can help you with your sales process and training needs, please contact us.

Are you in a highly competitive marketplace? Does your sale require a lot of prospecting? Is revenue or retention a priority? According to CSO Insights, only 23% of customers view the Sales Rep as a problem solver and very few find their time with a sales person of value.  That brings up a question, are you positioning your Sales Rep to focus on the customer or their training? How much time do then spend on product training versus pure, tactical persuasive selling. There is nothing soft about sales training. It is a skill like welding, batting, or playing a musical instrument.

I watched a documentary on Ted Williams this past week. He was considered the greatest hitter in baseball of all time. He would get very upset when people said, he was a natural. He attributed his success to practice, hard work and self-improvement. He mastered everything including hand and finger positioning, the swing, the hip movement and more. Persuasive communication ( i.e. selling) is no different.   I like to say, there are a lot of amateur baseball players, photographers, and golfers and they are pretty good. What separates the good from the great? The great focus on what matters most: the customer – first, last, and always.

Ramp up your competitive advantage by making sure your sales representatives have the right skill sets to get the answers to the question they need, make a compelling presentation and the sale should close itself. Excellent sales skills should easily transfer from business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) departments within an organization.

How do you know if your employees have the right sales skill set for your business?  First you need to determine what that skill set should include.  Second you need to assess where your representatives are.  And third, plan training or other interventions to help your representatives improve their skills and excel at winning sales.

Check back for the three steps on How to Upskill Sales Representatives in the next post on assessing sales skills.

Everything DiSC Productive Conflict

Everything Disc Map for Productive Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable, stressful, frustrating, and sometimes very uncomfortable.  Did you know it can also be productive?  Your response to conflict is within your control.  Conflict is usually a difference of opinion that can bring about strong emotions in people.  Understanding yours and others responses to possible conflict situations by engaging DiSC styles can be helpful to move conflict in a productive direction.

The typical manager spends 25-40% of his or her time dealing with workplace conflict. – from Training Industry introducing Productive Conflict product and training modules

Rather than focus on a step-by-step process for conflict resolution, Everything DiSC® Productive Conflict helps you curb destructive behaviors so that conflict can become more productive, ultimately improving workplace results and relationships. This tool and training helps you increase self-awareness around conflict behaviors.  With it you can discover how to effectively respond to the uncomfortable and unavoidable challenges of workplace conflict with improved communication.  The Productive Conflict training goes beyond the classroom with your unlimited access to My Everything DiSC for on-demand insights about DiSC and strategies for applying DiSC to real work situations.

You should know that self-awareness and knowledge of conflict behaviors is not a “one-size fits all” approach.  That is to say, understanding each other’s DiSC style (see videos) can help move conflict from destructive behaviors to a more productive process of working it out together. However, it is what you and others are willing to put into the process that will make it successful.  Below is a 2-minute video introducing Productive Conflict profile using DiSC model.

Team LeaderIn a zone post a few months ago, I shared a few tips from the book Monday Morning Leadership to help leaders improve.  This time I want to share a little on how to make sure the teams you lead are the best they can be.  Below are some paraphrased tips from that same author along with thoughts shared in our Leadership Excellence and Team-building workshops.  Three Things the Best Leaders Must Do For Their Teams

  1. Hire good employees. Do not just fill open positions quickly the easy way, instead hire tough.  If you hire tough, you can manage easy.  If you hire easy, you are forced to manage tough.  Good employees will do their best for you.  Words of wisdom quoted from the book: “The most important thing you can do as a leader is to hire the right people.” And “The most important asset in your company is having the RIGHT PEOPLE on your team.  If you have the right people on your team you have a great chance to succeed.” Check out PXT Select to see if it can help your improve this process.
  2. Coach every member of the team to become better. Everyone can improve, so give your team (as a group and individually) feedback on what they need to do.  Be open to ideas of training and mentoring inside and outside the team.  Continuous learning can eliminate holes when someone has to have time-off or be out-of-the-office for meetings, vacation, or illnesses. Check out The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team to see if it can help you improve the team-building, performance, and feedback processes.
  3. Dehire the people who aren’t carrying their share of the load. Your other team members see their bad performance and wonder why you are not taking action. Others could begin to feel like they should do less too.  So get with HR on what you should do to begin tracking performance issues to begin the dehiring or internal transfer/placement process.   Words of wisdom quoted from the book:  “Never lower your standards just to fill a position!  You will pay for it later.” And “The greatest liability in your company could be having the WRONG PEOPLE on your team.

To help with the first thing above, the author presented the interview tips below later in the book.

Three Rules of Three for Interviewing

  1. For each position, interview at least 3 qualified candidates. Hold out for the best fit, whether it is a new hire position or a transfer within the organization.  If you are in a hurry and just take the first one that looks good, you could end up with a bad fit for the team.
  2. Interview the most qualified candidates 3 times. Do this at different times of the day each time they come in.  Changing the time will help you and your team to evaluate how each candidate may be at different times during a work day.
  3. Have 3 different people evaluate the candidates for best job fit. Hiring manager and/or HR representative could be first two people.  One or two other people to finish the three should be from the team the position is for.  Team members know the work the best and the team dynamics, so they can help determine if the candidate fits the need.
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