3 Tips to Create a Listening CultureEveryone understands that listening better makes you a better communicator, but how do you develop a culture of listening? After all changing cultural norms in the workplace is not an easy task.  Below are 3 tips on candor, styles, and emotions you can try to create to a culture that listens to everyone.

Reward candor as a positive way to build a better listening culture. If you want people to share their ideas openly, it is important to give a simple “thank you” or say things lie “that is a great idea [perspective or thought].”

Adapt to the style of co-workers.  When you adapt, with the other person’s communication style in mind, more effective interactions can take place. DiSC is a tool that can help make you more aware of the styles of others.  When conversing with the other DiSC styles below make an effort to follow these suggestions:

  • D – make efficient use of time, stay focused, expect blunt truthfulness
  • I – support their enthusiasm, be open to collaboration
  • S – show concern for their feelings, use an easy-going approach
  • C – keep the message objective, expect skepticism

Manage emotions because it can be painful for people to experience new ideas or challenges to the old way of doing things. Many may have strong, emotional reactions – so expect them and be willing to open a conversation around their issues.  You need to acknowledge the existing emotions, pause before reacting, and then form a response that that supports your new culture.  It takes emotionally agile people to work across cultures, generations, and to adapt to rapid changes in the workforce.

For more communication suggestions, review Focus on Effective Communication Skills post.


Everything DiSC

Everything DiSC Styles

We now have five generations in the workplace!  In a culture where diversity and inclusion are expected in the workplace, it is important to remember that each generation is diverse.  Age-diversity can benefit corporate culture and improve work performance too.

You may already know that Everything DiSC (and MyEverythingDiSC.com) may help bridge the gap between different working styles, but did you realize it may help connect people across “generation gaps?”  DiSC serves as a roadmap to connect people regardless of age. With DiSC as a roadmap, your organization can foster a work environment that enables everyone to learn from each other.

How does DiSC do that?  Consider that a team of two Millennials, a Gen-Xer and a Baby Boomer may struggle to communicate.  They may blame this on the differences in their ages and experiences. After they learn their DiSC styles, they start to see each other from a different perspective. Instead of focusing on generational difference, they could discover they are an S-style, a CD-style, and two D-styles!  DiSC provides a way for them to connect across workstyles.  This helps the entire team to utilize a more effective way to work together.

For more on the multigenerational workforce, please read the post 5 Tips for Managing a Multi-generational Workforce.

Human Insecurity

According to Mark Scullard, insecurity can lead to the following drains on corporate culture:  gossip, territorialism, cliques, cynicism, defensiveness, hiding mistakes, resistance to change, fear of risk, passive aggressive communication, avoiding feedback, withholding of information, false consensus, and pocket vetoes.

In his white paper The Invisible Drain on Your Company’s Culture, he write “these actions slowly, and usually imperceptibly, corrode the machinery of the organization’s culture—a steady drain on efficiency, communication, transparency, engagement, creativity, and objective decision making. And, of course, all of this trickles down to the bottom line…”

People bring their personal issues into the workplace every day!  Insecurity is a natural human condition and possibly the root of most workplace conflict. At work people pretend that insecurity is something they should not reveal.  Insecurity is dismissed as a character flaw or weakness in the workplace, rather than a unconscious feeling.

Today, most leaders recognize the impact of personality and interpersonal relationships on their organization’s success, although they were unaware how much of their time might be spent managing insecurity and its consequences. However, Scullard says there is something managers can do.  Managers should understand the two dimensions of human nature (via DiSC model) to help organize interpersonal relationships and they can encourage trust in the workplace.

Everything DiSC - Management

Everything DiSC – Management map

We often hear that behavioral styles training is “all fluff”.  To help leaders understand how it can benefit an organization, we often point to case studies showing how profit-based companies, government offices, and non-profits have implemented Everything DiSC successfully.  These case studies give a big picture benefit for the organization.

What do individual managers who went through the Everything DiSC training to learn their own style and that of their: co-workers/ team mates, managers, and subordinates think about Everything DiSC?  Below are some of the individual comments when we followed-up to find out how the Everything DiSC training helped in managing and/or working with others?

  • It helped me to determine how to approach different employees.
  • I am very conscious of my actions and re-actions now. Emotions are all good; the way that we allow them to manifest dictates good or bad!!!
  • Am more aware of different profiles of Managers and how to handle different styles.
  • I’m not so quick tempered when I’m dealing with an outraged employee. I make time to think of his/her style and how to deal with this individual.
  • I have more tolerance for other people’s style.
  • By learning employees’ style has helped me communicate better.
  • When dealing with the District Managers on my level trying to figure out what disc style they are and know that I can’t deal with them all the same.
  • I use the disc chart for my managers and it has helped me know how to get more out of them.
  • Remembering what DISC style I am trying to communicate with.
  • I look at people differently because now I see that other people don’t follow and or hear simple instructions the same.
  • Deal with coworkers better.
  • Understanding people’s personal style has helped in knowing how to address them.
  • When trying to explain projects or instruction to an employee, I now first plan out my execution of direction in accordance to THAT employee.
  • Remembering that there are a lot of different personalities in the people I manage.
  • Applying the DiSC model to characterize and understand reports and associates.
  • Learning and continuing to work on my communication skills (reading people and understanding them to communicate effectively to reach a goal, teach or instruct)
  • Try to be more opened minded and look at it from their eyes.
  • People are different and need to be led by different manners. Sometimes just understanding how a person works/thinks makes all the difference in leading them.
  • Learning each other’s style D, I, C, or S.
  • Learn to be more open to other “types” of people and how they learn
  • Overall how I approached a problem with any of my guys! Instead of getting in there and pretty much treating them all the same, I try to approach each and every one of them differently and according to the situation they may be in. I always remember what you guys had said….not everyone reacts the same in a situation!!
  • Everyone is unique in their own way and how to deal with the different styles of people.
  • I do better at recognizing people’s good points and try to build on those points.
  • Try to remember I am dealing with many different types of folks that are motivated in many different ways.
  • Read people better and communicate with them.
  • It’s easy to read people better.
  • Understand your leadership style and the style of those who report to you, and whom you work with – learn to understand and speak their “language” to optimize the team.
  • Relate to other people that have different disc management styles.
  • Learn to be more open to other “types” of people and how they learn
  • That everybody looks at things differently and I need to be more open to the concerns and interests of my employees
  • Learning about the different DISC styles.
  • Relating ideas to personnel and best ways to approach personalities.
  • Realize that everyone has a style and each of us should learn to adapt our styles to reach effective communication to be productive.
  • Other people are different from myself and will see things differently. That is good. Use it.
  • That everyone else in this world doesn’t think and follow simple instructions the same way I do.
  • We all deliver and receive information in different ways. I try to remember that when speaking with different DISC types
  • Not everyone needs to be managed in the same manner as me!
Lunch & Learn, Learn at Lunch

Lunch and Learn Topic Ideas

A Lunch and Learn is an easy way to encourage continuous leaning in your organization. These short informational sessions can provide quick training opportunities for your staff.  If you are thinking about adding Lunch & Learns to the list of educational options you offer in-house, consider the 10 questions below to get ideas for possible training topics.

  1. Have your teams been trained, yet still seemed to fall short in some areas of team-building and collaboration?
  2. Do you already have topics you would like to introduce to the team?
  3. Is it important to reinforce your company values and business ethic policies?
  4. What new products or additional services could you introduce to sales and service staff?  
  5. Is there a new management strategy you want to educate staff on and gain buy-in for?
  6. Did you do a big training event last year that you should do quick refresher for on one or more key components?
  7. Is there a new technology tool in the company that several people need a basic introduction to instead of actual hands-on training? 
  8. Are there advanced topics your technical staff members can learn as small snippets of information?
  9. Does your leadership team want to learn new skills, however they do not feel they have the time to go to long training workshops?
  10. Are your employees feeling stressed or burnt out and in need of solutions?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then a lunch and learn session may be the answer to getting the training out there quickly.  With all the new virtual meeting options out there, you can include remote attendees as well.  Just be sure you test the presentation and technology options before the lunch and learn starts.

For more tips on delivering Lunch & Learn training, see Learn At Lunch: A Great Team, Sales, and Management Training Option.

Wiley announced the winners of their product sales awards at the April 24-26, 2019 MindLab Conference in Denver, Colorado (more photos from event).  Among the Diamond-level winners were Roy Davis (owner of Davis Success Solutions) and wife, Mary Anne (owner of Peak Performance Solutions).  Since both Davis’ are certified/accredited facilitators for Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team training options, their separate training companies are able to collaborate on delivering training workshops and seminars to their various customers.  Both Roy and Mary Anne Davis are also asked to speak on DiSC, leadership, and team-building topics at many association luncheons or dinners.  Additionally, Mary Anne is sought out as a sales/marketing speaker.  Roy Davis is also a popular speaker for career development topics.

Everything DiSC Authorized Partner

All award levels are based on sales of Everything DiSC and  The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Wiley products lines.  The two highest awards Wiley gives are Diamond ($125K+ sales) and Emerald ($75K+ sales), which are celebrated at a special Authorized Partner evening of the MindLab event.  The Davis couple has won Diamond in 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2013.  They have won Emerald in 2016, 2014, and 2011.  Other Wiley awards levels include:  Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz (new in 2019), and Opal.  Many of the other awards have been won by Davis Success Solutions each year since Roy began his authorized partnership for the variety of DiSC profiles in 2005, shortly after staring his business in 2004.  The selection of Everything DiSC behavior profiles and associated reports includes:  363 for Leaders, , Management, Productive Conflict, Sales, Work of Leaders, and Workplace which can be for both personal and professional communication use.  The Davis’ began offering  The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team products and training in 2014 and PXT Select assessments and reports in 2017.

The Five Behaviors of a Team Authorized Partner

Working with Wiley to increase the training offerings of Davis Success Solutions and Peak Performance Solutions has been successful for both companies.  It has also been extremely beneficial to their clients as well.  Customer success stories have been published in Training and Development Magazine (an ATD publication) and as examples published by Wiley.  The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team success stories include AmerisourceBergen and City of Schertz.  Working with Southwest Business Corporation is an Everything DiSC success story (see also testimonial video).

PXT Select Authorized Partner

Peak Performance Solutions has been in the training business since 1994.  Roy Davis and Mary Anne (Wihbey) Davis’ companies have been co- facilitating workshops since 2004 for synergistic success, before the two independent company owners married in 2010.  Each company has other training offerings, besides those based on Wiley products, which are unique based on their individual expertise.  As well as their standard course offerings, both companies also offer customized training in each of their areas of expertise designed to meet their varied client needs.  For training outside their scope of knowledge, each training company may contract with other experts that they collaborate with, in order to insure customers get the best options to fill specific skill gaps within the client’s organization.

Davis Success Solutions

Peak Performance Soltuions

Check out their company websites or contact Roy Davis at Davis Success Solutions or Mary Anne Davis at Peak Performance Solutions to find out how they may help you with your training needs.

  • “My sales manager told me I just need to make more calls.”
  • “My sales manager takes 50% of my commission to come on a sales call
    with me and doesn’t close deals that I know I could.”
  • “My company offers product training, but I cannot see
  • m to get sales training.”

Above are just a few comments I heard from Sales Representatives in the past week.  These are people who are hungry for success in sales. My life is sales and training.

I have had a passion for  sales and training for 30 plus years. I was fortunate to receive

Sales Training

incredible sales training and sales coaching.   We did a survey of a large sales group and it showed that 53% of the sales people had not been to any type of sales training in over 5 years!

That is like not sending your professional sports players to training camp. A small investment of time and money will yield more sales, a confident attitude, and improved customer relations! You want all of that, right?

Four leading experts agree that the following are keys to success: prospecting, building rapport, call management, active listening, communicating effectively, questioning, time management, showing value, managing objections, closing techniques, and maintaining customer relationships.  Only one expert said “product knowledge.”

Here are a few expert reference articles:

Ok, that is what the experts say – what about actual sales reps?  At Peak Performance Solutions, we did a pre-training survey of 79 sales people to see if their needs matched our training plan for their department.  Their highest desires were to learn how to: build/maintain customer relationships, manage objections/concerns, prospecting, understand customer needs, ask questions, follow a sales process, and understand customer personality styles.  Less than a fourth of the respondents also included: communicate value, time management, presentation skills, and meeting management.

Please note continuous learning should start with onboarding and live training.  Then the continuous part could be computer tutorials, reading books, keynote speakers, off-site seminars, and short concentrated workshops in single topic areas.

So if you want to increase sales immediately, here are a few quick tips for sales training opportunities.

  1. The Basics of Sales: Like a professional ball player, your reps need to get brilliant at the basics. They need to learn the art of engagement and have a purpose for every step of the sale.
  2. Questioning without Interrogating: Selling is not telling and there is an art to asking questions to get the answers to need, want, budget, buying motives and decision makers without interrogating. We practice the Socratic Method that stimulates critical thinking in a way that helps a client uncover their own need without being talked at.
  3. Body Language: It is amazing to me how many cues are lost in translation. If I am going to be a master communicator, then I would surely think it important to read what the clients are “saying” or not saying.
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