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Three Great Sales BooksIf you want to get better at sales, you must keep educating yourself on being a better sales person and communicator.  An easy and enjoyable way to do this is to read books.  Reading a book helps you to go deeper into new concepts, review tried and true strategies, and engage your brain.

To Sell Is Human:  The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink uses Dan’s study research in his “What We Do At Work” to validate what I have been preaching for years, “Everyone Sells”.  This book offers practical insight as to how to use the gift of communication to move people from A to B. That’s what selling is all about moving people, encouraging them to willing make a change, open up their mind to a new idea or persuading them to your way of thinking in a manner that is non combative. This is a book for every sales professional who wants to communicate better with customers!

Three Value Conversations: How to Create, Elevate, and Capture Customer Value at Every Stage of the Long-Lead Sale by Erick Peterson, Tim Riesterer, Conrad Smith, and Cheryl Geoffrion is filled with hidden gems.  This book delivers strategies on how to be engaging throughout the sales process. A key element of the book is about learning to build a buying vision and tell the story of how your product and services supports their vision. If you are looking to become a valued partner within your client organizations, this book is a must read on engagement!

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh, with Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh, is a must read for sales representatives and management leaders everywhere! This book focuses on monitoring and measuring what matters and if you do what it takes, the score will follow.  There are lots of golden nuggets throughout this book to help every professional level within your company’s sales department.

For more sales success reading suggestions, visit the Peak Performance Solutions resources for a book list.

The Sales MessengerIt is finally ready!  What is ready?  That thing several of my friends in sales have been asking me for is now available – The Sales Messenger as an audio book!  With an audio book, you can listen to the Ten Lessons for Sales Success in Your Business and Personal Lives while: driving to your sales calls, using the exercise equipment at your gym, or walking/running in your neighborhood.   Or anytime you want! Listening to this book can help you grow towards being a better sales representative as well as increasing your customer service skills.

If you are ready to buy now, you can go to Amazon to get Kindle e-book or audio book. Or go to Audible if you have an account there.  If you prefer a print book or PDF, I suggest you visit the publisher’s site to get the best pricing.

Want to know more about the book before you buy? Listen to sample audio or watch videos which include reader testimonials (you have to scroll down the page to see them) before you buy.  You may also read the reviews on Amazon from the links above.

Team ResultsWhen you can achieve accountability, it will make it much easier for the team to focus on collective results.  It may seem obvious that teams would be focused on its results. You might be thinking “What else would the team focused?” Remember, you are asking team members to put aside: their egos, personal career development, perceived job status, and individual recognition – in favor of the team’s goals.   That is the difference when we say collective results.

Patrick Lencioni says “A functional team must make the collective results of the group more important to each individual than individual members’ goals.”  Each group must identify its own measurable score card. You cannot monitor what you cannot measure.  The score card is vital in helping team members focus on the goal.

Your team members may be conflicted between their own personal goals and the team’s goals, but if they have real trust, work through healthy conflict, can show commitment to the team’s decisions, and if they are willing and able to hold one another accountable – they will be able to focus on the collective results of the team.  IT is the responsibility of the team leader to help the team members understand if they can focus on collective results, the individual results will come along.

If you found this blog post series on what a Cohesive Team is helpful and you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact us.  Peak Performance Solutions is an authorized partner and accredited facilitator for The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.

AccountabilityNow that we understand commitment, that brings us to the next behaviors of cohesive teams, accountability.  How do you help teams to become more accountable?

First, we want to define accountability as peer-to-peer accountability. We are not talking about personal accountability—I do what I say I’m going to do. That is taking personal responsibility for doing your job.  We are talking about holding one another accountable, and that can be difficult! It can be hard to tell a team member that you think they are not pulling their weight on a project or to question their approach/process for doing a task.   It is just easier to complain to co-workers or the team leader than to follow-up with other team member with team accountability as the goal.

Plus we realize most people do not like to give or get criticism!  Even criticism that is “positive” or made into a feedback sandwich can be hard to say or to hear.  So we suggest they offer constructive feedback (how and why for improvement) instead.  Feedback is a gift to help others grow and so is accountability.   If the team’s relationships are strong and team members are vulnerable then they feel able to provide open and honest feedback to each other and are able to hold each other accountable.

Part of the key to feedback is to understand where the other person is coming from, i.e. their personality of behavioral style.  This is part of the team’s communication that is built through assessments in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team program.  An  interesting thing about providing feedback towards accountability is the more the team members demonstrates this action, the less likely they become in needing to do it as often.  With feedback, team members will develop a habit and a mindset towards being accountable.  This builds accountability for the team as a whole as well.

Next, we will look at why results are the final layer in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model.

5b_commitThe conflict we discussed in earlier post often comes up in discussion of options and the decision making process for teams.  Without airing their opinions in passionate and open debate, team members will not buy in and commit to decisions, though they may feign agreement.  Healthy conflict sets the stage for commitment because people will have had the opportunity to share ideas, thoughts, and be heard.

Lots of team-building programs emphasis consensus in decision making.  Consensus is good as it builds commitment, but it is not always possible and certainly not a fast process.  It’s important to understand that commitment does not equal consensus…people can disagree but, having had healthy conflict, will have had the opportunity to share their opinions.  Cohesive teams understand that they must be able to commit even when the outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees. With this understanding, all team members are more willing to commit to the team’s decisions.

Working through commitment requires not only the ability to make wise and discerning results focused decisions. It requires setting up front, team norms or standards of behavior. These norms can be set around “how we communicate”, meeting management, protocol for reaching out to team members that report to another leader and more. They will allow us to set a foundation for “how we do things around here”, eliminating conflict and confusion later on.

Next, we will look at why accountability is a layer in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model.

 

5b_conflictOnce you have the foundation of vulnerability-based trust, you can start addressing the next behavior of cohesive teams, which is conflict.   Some people try to avoid conflict because it is emotional and at times physically gut-wrenching.  Whenever you bring people together, with different personalities, different ages, genders, etc. – these is going to be conflict!

 

Below is what one team leader had to say about using this program with her team:

“I have experienced the power of this program first hand.  It opened our team up for tough discussions, items we might have swept under the rug. It’s a process, but it is worth it.”

– Stacy Winsett, MS, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, Senior HR Executive with a Fortune 500 Company

 

Conflict on teams does not have to be all negative.  Cohesive Teams engage in healthy conflict around ideas.  With healthy conflict, team members have the freedom to disagree with each other in unfiltered, passionate, and constructive debate about ideas instead of veiled discussions and guarded threats.

 

Below is what another team leader had to say about using this program with his team:

 “The 5 Behaviors program was a real eye-opener for our team.  We have a much better understanding of each other’s strengths and challenges, and we’re better equipped to work together with trust, transparency and radical candor to achieve a common goal.”

– Stuart McMahan, Vice President of  Provider Solutions Software Division with a Fortune 500 Company

 

Next, we will look at why commitment, is a layer in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model.

5b_trustThe Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model  begins with a foundation of Trust. It’s easy to say “I trust you,” but Pat Lencioni (author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team) believes that in order to build a foundation of trust, we have to be transparent and honest with one another. This requires team members:  to be vulnerable with one another, admit mistakes, and ask for help when needed.

In building trust, teams create a safe place to talk about some very important interpersonal differences. Through the process of building trust, teams move from judging to valuing.  The natural instinct we have to people with differences is to judge them.  The trust layer starts with understanding why other people are the way they are. This is followed by learning to:  respect those differences, appreciate them, and then valuing the differences (including diversity of backgrounds and skills).

Members of great teams trust one another on a fundamental, emotional level. They are comfortable being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears and behaviors.  True trust causes real change on a team. True trust means people giving each other the benefit of the doubt, it means team members can admit mistakes, forgive, and take chances. This type of trust is essential if you want a team that gets results!

Next, we will look at why conflict is a layer in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model.