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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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When I lead training workshops, I provide a recommended reading list.  Why? Because we know that readers are leaders at all levels of an organization.  There is even new research showing that one’s success can be equated to their reading level.

A must read, and often built into our Leadership Excellence and Management Workshops is a classic, Monday Morning Leadership by David Cottrell.  While the book is loaded with fundamental tips, for leaders and managers at all levels, the final chapter sets the stage for continued growth and professional development. In this book, Tony, the coach talks about the difference between the comfort zone and the learning zone.

I thought it would be an appropriate topic for beginning a new year. So let me ask, are you in a comfort zone or a learning zone? Are you moving forward or remaining stagnant? Is the way you have always done it, going to keep you and your organization in the front of the market? In the book the parts of the learning zone are presented as three rooms.

3 Rooms in the Learning Zone:

  1. Reading Room where “You learn more by reading more… the more you learn, the more you earn.”  Did you know that if you read from a business book for 10 minutes each day, you might read 12 books in a year?
  2. Listening Room where you gain knowledge by listening to employees and co-workers.  Attending conferences and seminars, or listening to audio books is another way to learn. Did you know the average person spend 500 hours a year in their car?
  3. Giving Room is where you share the knowledge you gain with others.  “The more you teach, the more accountable you become to what you’re teaching.”

As you looked through the rooms, where do you stand?

I am no one to judge, while an avid non-fiction reader, 2017 was my year to coast. I am being vulnerable here, as I bought many “must read” business books. But somewhere along the way, I got hold of a Vince Flynn novel, the Mitch Rapp series, I could not put them down. While waiting for the next last one to come off the press, I got hooked on Daniel Silva and went through the entire Gabriel Allon series! That was a lot of reading, great entertainment but did it move my goals forward, or, the authors? I have set some learning goals for 2018. I hope you will join me.

In the final chapter of Monday Morning Leadership , the coach also shares common reason people do not set goals.

4 Reasons People do not Set Goals

  1. They do not understand the importance of goal-setting.
  2. They do not know how to set good goals.
  3. They are afraid of failing to meet the goals.
  4. Achieving goals might require them to leave their comfort zone.

Remember, from this book one of the wisdom quotes is “For you to be the very best, you cannot allow yourself to become complacent in your comfort zone.  You need to be reaching for improvement.”  Complacency is the enemy of Success. Although the book is designed for leaders, the principles are applicable to all.

 

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Teamwork DiSCIn the last post, we covered the first two team building tips on culture and communication.  Below are final three team management tips related to trust, accountability, and recognition.

Tip #3 – Build trust among team members. Success will always be limited if trust is lacking. The job of a good team leader is to cultivate a safe environment, where members feel comfortable being open and honest with the group about their weaknesses, fears and limitations.  Teambuilding activities can be incredibly effective.

The idea of activities has gotten somewhat of a bad rap, because most people hear “team-building exercise” and immediately assume they are going to be crammed in a room, thrown in an awkward and unrealistic scenario, and asked to share their deepest fear with a group of people they are forced to spend the afternoon with. However, when these exercises are done correctly and in a healthy environment, the positive results are astonishing. We have successfully been helping teams build vulnerability based trust using our program, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Tip #4 – Encourage accountability. In addition to frequently checking in with your team, give them permission to check-in among themselves and hold each other accountable. This can only work when concrete expectations and timelines are set. Not only will this reinforce communication and trust between team members, it will also help to avoid pitfalls, remove obstacles and assure constant progress. This seems to be one of the most difficult tasks and when issues and timelines are not addressed, it later becomes a personal issue.  There are a lot of activities that can help team members practice accountability, including have everyone go around the room and share what they believe is their strength and their weakness as it relates to the team. Then, let the peers share their candid feedback.

Tip #5 – Recognize achievements and give sincere praise. It is a widely known fact that when you positively reinforce a desired behavior, a person is far more likely to continue repeating that behavior. Leading your team from a posture of praise for good outcomes, achievements and behaviors is far more effective than teaching them to fear negative consequences. They will feel valued by you and strive to exceed expectations. A few tips to ensure your comments are perceived as sincere. Never make a statement of praise, thanks or appreciation unless you can tell them why. Try dropping hand-written notes to your co-workers and team members.

When we ask, in many of our training sessions, if anyone has received a hand-written note from a co-worker or a boss to raise their hand, we follow it up with the question, “where is that note now?” Only about 3 in 300 have ever said they do not know or they threw it away. The rest of them say they, treasure the notes and keep them in a safe or visible place. By taking just a few moments of your time to acknowledge a person on your team and show them how much you appreciate the job they do, you will not only make their day but also reinforce the desired behavior.

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When I facilitate a leadership or sales workshop, I am often asked for suggestions on books to read.  With that in mind, I placed on my website is a list of book suggestions on the different topic areas of training my company does.  Many of these books are classics and a few are new.

I was recently given the newest book by my friend and publisher, Tracey C. Jones.  It is called A Message to Millennials. Below are three key leadership tips taken directly from the text of this book.  Although the book is directed at millennials, smart leaders from the boomer generation have been doing these tips for some time.  If you are not sure what the difference between these two generations are, check out Parade Magazine article on Millennial Vs. Boomers: Habits and Characteristics.  At the bottom of this post, you can also find a video with more about the book and how it can impact business.

  • Expose yourself to the experiences of the great minds who have gone before. In other words, read great books. You don’t have enough time to make all the mistakes, profit from all the failures, and earn all the stripes on your own. Read profusely about how the greats of the past dealt with their individual challenges.”
  • “Create your own best leadership path. Don’t just seek to become rich; seek rather to enrich.”
  • “Truly, the most important part of management is managing yourself. This includes staying focused on people and books that will hone your sense of personal motivation. You need to do this every day for the rest of your life.”

 

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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.

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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.

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2016 has already started with or without you!  Blink, the holidays over!

I actually experienced a nice vacation in NYC enjoying Rockefeller Center and all the other wonderful things “The City” has to offer and then a few days of pure rest in Oklahoma closing 2015 and entering into 2016.    No computer, no work and it felt good.    A week later back to work and whether I like it or not, this year is moving with or without me.  I realized yesterday, I had not taken the time during that time-off to reflect on what I had accomplished nor write any new goals for the New Year.   This is the time of year I usually take stock of where I am and where I want to be.  As Yogi Berra said “If you don’t know where you are going, you may never get there.” 

goalDEFSitting in a Bible study hosted by a legend, Mr. Garry Kinder of Kinder Brothers International, it reminded me to take time to put my dreams and goals for my life and the New Year in writing and keep them in front of me.   While I take the topic of goal setting for granted due to growing up in the life insurance industry, I realized how many people do not have any formal process nor recognize the importance of taking the time to write the goals and action plans down on paper, for no other reason than they have not been shown how.  So here are a few great tips that Garry Kinder reminded me of along with a few tips that work of me.

  1. Know what your Chief Aim is in Life – Dream and Dream Big. To paraphrase Daniel Burnham, “there is nothing in the small dream that stirs the blood.”
  2. Goals are what help you meet your dream and goals are set to be met. Set goals for various aspects of your life including:  Business and Professional, Educational, Physical, Financial, Personal including family and hobbies, and don’t forget Spiritual.
  3. Tom Landry was the first to promote setting two goals, your superior goal and your minimum. Your minimum is the accomplishment that no matter what gets in the way, except an act of God, you will meet.  Let me repeat, goals are set to be met!
  4. Break your goals down into daily “do-ables” and put an action plan in place to get thing done.
  5. Monitor and measure where you are on a weekly basis and make adjustments along the way.
  6. And as my husband says, “GOYA” – Get Off Your Anatomy. Or as Nike says, “Just Do It”.  You can talk about your dreams all day and wake up mid-life to have others realize, “they are just a dreamer” rather than a success.   Garry Kinder, God bless him in his 80’s stated, “You can’t coach people who live in la-la land.”
  7. And the greatest Garry Kinder statement that I walked away with after the goal setting talk was, “Compete, but don’t compare.” Compete, work to accomplish your goals, financial and otherwise, but do not compare yourself to others.  Competition is good; comparing can hurt us and others.

To learn more about goal setting for sales results, chapter one of my book, The Sales Messenger: 10 Lessons for Sales Success in Your Business and Personal Lives is all about setting sales goals and how to accomplish them.    Invest in yourself; hire a business coach, a sales coach, personal trainer or anyone else who can help you in this process.

Dream big, set goals, and develop a plan.  Make 2016 your best year ever!

 

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