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Teamwork DiSC“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”  This simple statement from the classic movie Cool Hand Luke is truer in our workplace than we want to admit.

We live in a culture where employee engagement and productivity are rapidly decreasing, while business competition, customer expectations, and new technology are on the rise. While there is no quick-fix or easy-button to transform your company, have found that the simple solution is still the right one. A successful company or business team must have effective leadership. Now more than ever, being able to manage an effective team is vital to the success of an organization.

This post and the next will cover 5 simple tips to keep in mind when you are building and managing your team.  The first two tips contained here will be on culture and communication.  The final three tips will follow in the next post and they will be on trust, accountability, and recognition.

Tip #1 – Create a culture that celebrates individuality. Your job as a leader is to help identify each person’s unique skill set and how they can best utilize it to contribute to the success of the whole team.   The fastest way to demotivate your team is by trying to force them to fit in to an environment that does not allow them to operate in the manner most effective for them. Great leadership is not about bossing people around. It is about inspiring them and guiding them towards a common goal. You will pull leaders forward when you encourage them to believe in themselves and what they bring to the table.

Tip #2 – Communicate effectively. In order for your team to maintain a result oriented mindset, there must be an open dialogue for their ideas. People want to feel valued, heard and respected, not just prioritized.  As a leader you must be intentional with your words. If you want your team to be in alignment with your vision, you should adequately articulate information, priorities and long-term goals.  Do not shy away from the difficult conversations just because they are uncomfortable. Even when the content is unfavorable, people tend to be open and receptive when you create a safe space, speak with grace and ask for their input.

The golden rule, while well intended, does not apply to a cross cultural, cross gender, and cross generational workplace. Today it is about invoking the Platinum Rule:  Treat people and communicate with people the way they want to be communicated with.  We use Everything DiSC Workplace to change cultures. This generational tool helps bridge the gap between learning style, communication, and personality differences that can cause petty annoyances.

Please come back for tips three thru five next week.

 

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youngworkersBy 2025, millennials will account for over 75% of the global workplace.  With this fact in mind, many organizations allocate a significant amount of time and resources to finding ways to accommodate this group’s learning preferences and skill sets.  Many of us fear for the future when we think about placing all we have worked for in seemingly incapable hands of a generation whose thoughts, ideas and processes are so foreign to us. They want different things, are motivated by different incentives, and have drastically different values.

While there are clear benefits to examining trends, tactics, and behaviors in order to chart the best course of action; I suggest focusing on the many ways in which they are not so different from the rest of the workforce. The skills needed to manage a successful team have not and will not change. You may need to modify your approach a little bit but ultimately great management is individual. You just have to be willing to know and understand the members of your team on a personal basis.

Here are five simple things to remember as you master the art of effectively managing a team, even if they are millennials.

  1. Provide Feedback. You cannot avoid crucial conversations because you are too busy to provide positive feedback or to uncomfortable providing negative. Both are extremely necessary for success. Your team wants to look up to you and learn from you. According recent studies, millennials look to their direct manager as their number one source of development. However, 54% report feeling like their managers did not provide the developmental support they were looking for. People crave and respond well to thoughtful feedback. Do not shy away from an opportunity to invest in their individual success and the success of your team.
  2. Coach More Than You Manage. Be a leader who is worthy of being followed. People need to know that they are valued and that you recognize the strengths they bring to your team. While leadership and structure are necessary, people respond better when they feel you respect their ideas. The heavy hand of authority and the mindset of “command and control” are both outdated and completely ineffective. If you want your employee engagement to rise above the shockingly low 30% average, do not expect them to just silently comply with whatever directive you hand down. Encourage and inspire them. Give them permission to voice new ideas, and the freedom to solve new problems and challenges their own way.
  3. Build Relationships. I will continue to say this, because it will continue to be of the utmost importance. Building relationships and nurturing a sense of community are essential components in maintaining a successful team. Encourage socialization and group projects. This new generation of professionals enjoy preforming their tasks in a more relaxed, communal atmosphere. They thrive in settings where they are able to access and have close relationships with their superiors. Consider offering a mentoring session every few weeks as part of an incentive program.
  4. Give Them Something to Believe In. We exist in a culture where obligation has given way to choice. People search for inspiration in all aspects of their lives. The “why” matters more than the “what.” Include your team in your vision. Let them know their mission is tied to a bigger purpose and explain why their role fits intricately into the “big picture.” Passion is a much more compelling motivator than simply making a list of demands.
  5. Capitalize on Their Abilities. Preforming multiple tasks at one time is a way of life for the millennial. Talking on the phone, while composing an email and answering several instant messages is the “norm” for them. In fact, without this level of chaos, they are likely to become bored and disengaged. Instead of stifling these behaviors, encourage them to help improve networking and multitasking abilities across your organization.

To find a book suggestion for millennials entering the workforce, visit post Three Leadership Tips for Millennials and Boomers.

 

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PXT Select ReportsWhat are the ways companies try to predict success in their hiring?  From an applicant’s resume they may learn: career history, job experience, technical knowledge, and potential references.  From the interview process, they hope to understand the applicant’s: thinking style, extent of technical skills, true job knowledge, problem solving skills, and typical behavior traits.  Following this, they hope for a good selection process to match the right candidate to the correct job.

What is the company had a better way of doing interviews that could insure a better selection process?  In a previous post, you learned that PXT Select assessment could be required by each candidate for the job position.  Once multiple candidate assessments are complete, management and human resources gain access to a range of reports that can used for the selection process, as well as other purposes after the hiring is complete.  Below is a list of the PXT Select reports and what is contained in each.

 

PXT Select Position and Single Candidate Reports

Report Name Results Summary or Definition Performance Model Interview Questions or Ideal Candidate
Comprehensive Selection

 

Candidate’s Results from the assessment compared to the Performance Model Range of scores typical for success in the position, with scale and job fit interpretations Series of personalized Questions based on the candidate’s fit to the Performance Model
Performance Model (for position) Definition of each of the styles and traits Range of scores typical for success in the position Statement describing the Ideal Candidate for this position will appear for each style and trait

 

PXT Select Single Employee Reports

Report Name Definitions Feedback or Results
Individual’s Feedback Each of the styles, traits, and interests that were measured by the assessment will be defined Personalized Feedback based on results and how they should be interpreted
Individual’s Graph Each of the styles, traits, and interests that were measured by the assessment will be defined after Results Results will be summarized on scales for Thinking Style, continua for Behavioral Traits, and a ranked-order list for Interests

 

PXT Select – Multiple Placement Comparison Reports

Report Name Performance Models Candidate Fit Comparison or %Fit
Multiple Positions

(1 Candidate to Many)

Range of scores typical for success in each position Candidate’s results from the assessment compared to the Performance Models The candidate’s Overall Fit for each of the positions
Multiple Candidates

(Many to 1 Position)

Range of scores on each scale typical for success in the position Each candidate’s results from the assessment compared to the Performance Models Candidates  results for each scale are placed together for easy Comparison

 

PXT Select – Misc. Management Reports

Report Name Results Feedback Definitions, Reflection, or Action
Coaching

(1 to 1)

Assessment results are compared to the Performance Model, which show the range of score typical for success in the position Feedback personalized for the individual based on the results and how they should be interpreted Thinking Style and Behavioral Traits will be Defined following the results summary
Manager-Employee

(1 to 1)

Manager’s assessment results are compared to the employee’s on 9 different scales Personalized feedback based on how manager‘s results compare to employee’s Reflection includes quick review, questions to answer, and an action plan
Team Each team member’s assessment results placed together on 9 behavioral scales Feedback for each scale based on personal and team’s responses Team averages and personalized tips for Action planning

 

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PXT Select Assessments

Did you know that companies report that 1 in 5 of their hires was a bad hire?   That means 20% of the people hired were not a good fit for the job where they were placed.  Another survey showed that just one bad hire in a position can cost a company $17K and another says for the 6-digit annual income level, a bad hire can lose a company as much as $250K.

Is there a better way to hire the right people for the position you have open?  According to a Fast Company article it primarily comes down to pre-hire assessments and proper onboarding.  So let us start to help you with hiring by introducing a new assessment tool called PXT Select by Wiley (the company that brought us DiSC and Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team). Wiley assessment solutions empower organizations by providing them with actionable data about the people they employ now and in the future.

What is PXT Select? PXT Select™ is an online hiring assessment designed to help you select the best candidates for your organization.  It contains selection and employee assessment tools to help organizations make smarter hiring decisions.  Simply put, PXT Select can make selecting the right candidate for a job both simpler and smarter. Having the right people in the right jobs fosters a culture of happier, more engaged, and more productive employees.

PXT Select allows your organization to:

  • Fill in the gaps between a resume and interview with actionable objective data
  • Identify the most suitable candidates, streamlining an effective hiring process
  • Match candidates with jobs that fit their inherent capabilities
  • Identify opportunities to enhance performance and maximize an individual’s contribution to an organization
  • Produce several reports for management and HR use, powered by the latest in assessment technology

PXT Select will help your organization:

  • Dramatically streamline your hiring process
  • Minimize the risk of bad hires
  • Reduce turnover
  • Lower your hiring and training costs
  • Add objective, data-driven metrics to your hiring process
  • Drive noticeable improvements in your hiring results
  • Boost employee engagement

Get the most out of this hiring solution with the custom, interactive online learning platform that will provide you with fun, essential learning. If you want to experience PXT Select, you will need to contact an Authorized Partner who can help you fit the assessment power to your unique needs.

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Email

In my previous post, I provided 4 tips for composing sales emails to prospects and current clients.  This time I want to give two hints and a warning related how to send and prepare better sales emails for the purpose of prospecting to gain new business.  New business can come from existing clients as well as new leads.  See three tips for sales email Do’s and Don’ts below.

 

  1. Do separate prospect mailing list into strategic segments. In order to make the content relevant to all recipients and avoid sending very general emails, you have to segment your lists. Sending every email to every person in your contact list makes it impossible to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. General emails rarely end up anywhere but the trash bin.
  2. Do NOT assume prospects want your attachments. Due to internet crime, recipients may fear an unsolicited attachment may contain a computer virus.  Websites where marketing materials can easily be found as well as more information on your company are helpful and typically preferred attachments.   Put your company website with direct link to email topic within the body of your email.  Then repeat the website directing to home page in your signature line.
  3. Do consider technology that your prospect may be using. Recent research shows that people read their emails on mobile devices at least 50% of the time. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in email marketing is to only optimize your emails for laptops and desktops. Be mindful of smaller screens when you are including content and design. The safest option is to go with a responsive design that will cover all screen sizes from phone to iPad to larger monitors. Otherwise you are decreasing email effectiveness and may be losing a huge portion of your audience.

For 13 more email tips, check out Email Etiquette article.

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Email

We are all on email overload – all the time. For many of us, email is our first line of communication. Email has, in many cases, taken the place of the business letter or marketing kit. As I write this, I must confess that I have a growing number of unread emails I have yet to sift through and respond to this afternoon. Forget about spam, which is so not cool… even my ‘priority’ emails can quickly become a wasteland where information goes to die.

The same is true for my prospects. When sending them an email, I can safely assume mine is not the only one they will receive that day. Chances are they already have 1-3 emails sitting in their inbox asking them for “time to connect” or telling them about some “really great opportunity”.

Statistics show that most sales emails have a response rate of about 1%. In other words, if you send an email to 100 prospects, you most likely will only get one response back.

So, how do you make your email stand out from the crowd? How do you catch their attention? How do you make them an offer they cannot refuse?

Below are four simple tips to keep in mind as you master the art of composing a sales email that your proects cannot pass up.

  1. Subject line will matter. It needs to be intriguing, something they feel compelled to click on and open. People have little time and even less desire to open an email that is not useful to them in some way. Avoid “spammy” words like complementary, discount, and sale.  Your subject line should be personal and grab their attention. Know your prospect’s needs. Offer advice and solutions.
  2. Email body must have a purpose. Now that you have piqued their interest and they have opened your email instead of deleting it, you need to clearly state your purpose for reaching out. Whether you are trying to: warm up a cold lead, set a time to meet, or close a deal – your message should convey value and offer them something that aligns with their goals!  Less is more, so keep it short and simple. If you want to ensure that you stand out from the pack, only share clear and relevant sales content. Cramming your email full of too many details about a service or product, will only ensure it gets deleted before they have read through the entire text.
  3. Closing should finish strong. Here is where you should give them a clear path to action. The last thing they read should leave them thinking about their next step. End with just one question, one that prompts a response.
  4. Signature line is important. Do not forget to include a phone number in the contact information after your signature or name. Including your email address is a little redundant, but your phone number is a must.

For more sales email tips, come back soon for 3 Do’s and Don’ts of prospecting emails.

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Refferals

In life, there are three R’s everyone has had to master at one point or another; Romance, Relatives and Roommates. As sales people, you get the added task of a fourth R; Referrals.  Referrals are an extremely powerful selling tool. Yet why is it, many people share in the difficulty of obtaining them?

Your best lead for new business and future sales are referrals that have been sent your way by a satisfied client, who will attest to the value of your ideas, products and service. Maybe it is that you do not want to seem desperate or look like you are asking for a favor? Or, maybe you just do not know the right time to pop the question? There definitely are proven methods for getting referrals.

Below are six strategies to keep in mind, as you are learning how to master the fourth ‘R’.

  1. Connections – every one of your clients, friends and work affiliates could potentially connect you with dozens of contacts. People prefer and are much more comfortable doing business with someone they know, or at least know of. When you have been endorsed by someone they know and trust, it is much easier to open the door. The possibilities for new connections are limitless.
  2. Social media – different networking platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are invaluable assets to your business. They are especially helpful when you are trying to generate referrals and acquire new clientele. If you have a name, ask your source if it would be okay to connect with the third party and use their name in the introduction.  Know the purpose of each tool and be certain to ensure your posts reflect your brand and image in the right way.
  3. Simply ask – sales are often lost because a sales person did not ask for the order. It is the same with referrals. Do not be shy about asking for referrals. You are great at what you do and you add value to your client’s lives. Because of that, you should never shrink away from the chance to benefit someone else and enrich their experiences as well.
  4. Help them help you – when asking for referrals, describe the type of people or organizations that are your ideal prospects. If you make them think too hard, they will respond with the statement, “Let me think about it and get back to you.”  A few examples, if you are in job search mode, specify your target companies or the ideal role you are seeking.  If you are looking for internal leads, ask if they can introduce you to people in that specific department.
  5. Offer incentives – the type of incentives you offer should coincide with the type of business you run or product you offer. In addition to a free item, you could offer discounts, upgraded packages, bonus material, or credit to their account. Do not be afraid to test various methods to find out what offer entices clients the most and encourages them to make referrals.
  6. Reciprocity – the law of reciprocity is if you give, you shall receive. If you see a need you cannot meet, make a referral. Remember, positive energy and good intentions always come back around. So look for every opportunity to promote someone and build them up. One of the most effective ways to elicit referrals is to give them bountifully yourself.

There is room at the top for everyone and it’s much easier to get there with a little help and encouragement from our friends.

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