‘Overcommitted’ is an interesting term I hear often. Use of the term and your underlying assumptions may be a problem. The verb “commit” means “to obligate or pledge oneself”, so you may have pledged your time and energy too broadly. You are likely involved in a number of activities and roles at work, at school, in the community, and at home. You probably struggle “finding the time” and energy to keep your obligations. But are you really committed?
There is an old axiom: "You have to hunt where the ducks are.” This is especially true in selling. If you do not have a pipeline filled with prospects, you are not putting yourself in a position to sell very high volume. The champion salesperson recognizes that the lifeblood of sales is prospects. Before you can begin developing prospects, there are a couple of things that need to be defined.
Is excuse-making a problem in your office? Excuses are really just defense mechanisms, because employees fear blame, embarrassment, reprimands and firings. As a manager, it is your job to turn mistake-making into a learning experience for your employees.
You can become a better listener if you want. You can stop some of the main causes that affect listening before they begin. Changing your environment and approach to listening will result in better listening and better communications.
Control Distractions. One of the biggest distractions is the telephone. You are giving the speaker your full attention and then the phone rings. When you answer the call, you are sending the message that you are not listening and it interrupts the discussion and train of thought. You can avoid this by directing all calls to voice mail or having an assistant answer the incoming calls.
If you are a manager, consider the following:
Old-line hierarchical companies follow a football model of organization. Everyone lines up in a specific place under the direction of the quarterback. The quarterback is the only person responsible for seeing the whole field and determining strategy.
When you have your own act together and get along well with others, you’re ready to reach for excellence.
From our earliest days, we are taught that excellence is snazzy, glossy and bigger than life. It’s that three seconds of glory, not the constant training workouts. But that’s just false. Most people think excellence in business is sitting at a big desk and making power decisions, but true excellence is really the years beforehand making little and big right decisions and learning from mistakes when things go wrong.
Why should they follow you?
People follow leaders because they trust you and believe in you. They also have the confidence in you to take them to the next level.
However, it only takes one incident to break the trust and have people looking for leadership in others and not in you.
There may be people who will resist change because it is different or new. Resistance to change is a common and universal malady. Therefore, understanding some of the barriers to change may help in creating and implementing successful growth strategies.
Some common barriers to change and innovation are:
Maybe it’s the way you sleep – or dream. The body’s internal ‘clock’ runs on a 25-hour day, which can become inconvenient, since the earth runs on a 24-hour day. This inconsistency normally goes unnoticed. But the misalignment catches up with many people on weekends, when their ‘social schedules’ play havoc with their normal sleeping patterns. Nothing is more crucial to surviving Mondays than keeping the body clock on track on weekends.
How many times have you heard people say “I spend too much time in meetings to get anything done” or “I just attended another wasteful meeting” (maybe you have said something similar yourself)?
Make the most of every meeting for you and your staff by assigning roles and responsibilities for everyone involved. If everyone knows their role and responsibilities, your meetings will become more effective, efficient, focused and successful.
Increase business by asking for a referral from an existing customer. Referrals are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to market.
In every business, mistakes happen and coworkers or customers get angry. But when a problem is fixed properly and stays fixed-- loyalty actually increases!
Here are five steps you can take to not only resolve the problem, but also actually build loyalty with your coworkers and customers. In fact, you can use these steps to deal with anger and build positive relationships in all areas of your life.
Meetings can be very effective for maximizing time, or they can be tremendous time wasters! More than 11 million business meetings take place each day in the U.S. and many, as you know, either go longer than necessary or are not needed at all.
If you are in charge of a meeting, here are some ways to make it more productive for all involved:
Leading staff through downsizing, resizing, rightsizing, (or whatever the buzz word is today) requires the leader to exercise superior planning, judgment and decision-making. It's a complicated task that involves the leader in recognizing the natural reactions of those that remain in the organization, and determining the right timing for moving the organization from the emotional reactions to a focus on the present and future. While it is difficult, the consequences of mismanaging or undermanaging the situation are severe. Both management and staff will suffer if the timing is wrong, or managers deny or avoid dealing with the fallout from downsizing.
“The service we render others is the rent we pay for our room on earth.” Wilfred Grenfell
Last evening I saw a standup comic go through his customer service routine. He was very funny and had the audience of about 200 people roaring with laughter. But I found myself thinking of his basic premise as being very different from my research and experience.
Today’s employers are looking for innovative and creative ways to attract and keep talented employees. Traditional recruitment and retention approaches focus on offering attractive pay and benefits packages. Yet, those well-intentioned efforts are falling short. In their ground-breaking work, First, Break All the Rules, Buckingham and Coffman have found that once an employee’s basic financial needs are met, talented employees want more. They want to know how their job impacts the overall good of the organization. They want to feel a part of the organization and they want opportunities to grow and develop their skills.
A successful mentoring relationship will help employees meet these vital developmental needs.
Employed properly, mentors create a safe environment for employees to discover (or rediscover) why their work matters as well as gives them a sense of belonging.
People can make a difference in the profitability and success of an organization. This is the conclusion reached in two books I have read – Peak Performance by Jon Katzenbach and Hidden Value by Charles A. O’Reilly and Jeffrey Pfeffer.
Katzenbach characterizes a high-performance workforce as follows:
- A large number (more than a third) of employees consistently exceed the expectations of their leaders and customers
- The average worker performs better than the average competitor’s worker
- A strong emotional commitment to higher standards and aspirations is reflected across the workforce
- The collective performance of the workforce is a competitive advantage and is extremely difficult to copy
What then is the secret to developing a high-performance workforce? The answer is simple – leadership.
Perfectionists set high standards and push themselves hard. That’s fine for self-motivation and career moves, but it can cause problems if they supervise others.
When your perfect protégés move to management positions and refuse to cut anyone any slack, you need to:
- Help them see and acknowledge that all people make mistakes, and that occasional mishaps don’t preclude success.
1. Start with the end in mind.
Develop a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. State the end results in one sentence that even a child can imagine, understand and remember. Consider the power of President Kennedy's goal "to send a man to the moon and bring him safely back home within this decade." Thousands of people did very detailed work and spent billions of dollars based on this simply stated goal.
2. Develop a written plan.
Get it on paper (or on the computer). Make the plan as specific as possible in terms of what will be done and by when.
3. Enlist support of others.
Let them know what you are doing, and how they and others will benefit from the results you want to produce. Invite them to lend their support however they can.
Studies have shown that outstanding salespeople share certain traits, whether they run their own business or work for someone else.
According to Jim Cathcart, well-known speaker and author of Relationship Selling: The Key to Getting and Keeping Customers, whether people are professionals isn't determined by the business they are in, but by the way they are in business.
As we think about our everyday life, we find most problems occur because we have failed to communicate clearly with someone. If we take a moment to think about why, in almost every case, we find that someone did not listen to what was said. This holds true in sales as well as in our personal lives.
If we are to have effective communication with each person we talk with, we must “tune the world out and the person in.”
What is a mentor? According to Greek legend, the goddess Athene liked to come down to earth disguised as a man named "Mentor" so she could advise the young son of Ulysses. (The Greek root "men" means remembering, thinking or counseling; we still use it in words like "mental.") Today, a mentor is an experienced and trusted counselor, anyone who guides and encourages another, especially someone younger.
If employees could be more productive for just one half-hour per day, the savings in lost time is amazing. Consider increasing productivity by: teamwork, better communication, better work styles, taking action quickly, resolving problems or being accountable. If 10 employees were earning $28.00 per hour, you would gain $36,960 per year, if the employee actually decreased their non-productive time by one half-hour per day.
How can you increase employee productivity for 30 minutes per day?
Sometimes, even on the best teams, emotions can spin out of control. An error occurs. You’re responsible. You apologize. But your teammate flies off the handle. You need to preserve your working relationship with this person. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1 – Do little or nothing. Let your teammate vent. It may be difficult to sit still and take abuse from an angry person, but doing so will allow her to vent some pent-up anger. Remember: Never tell an irate colleague to "calm down" or behave in a certain way. This will only increase her anger.
Effective e-mail messages begin at the top. Save time and set a good example for your staff by keeping these tips in mind as you type:
Use short, specific, and concise subject lines to help others identify your e-mail message's purpose and importance. They also motivate recipients to read and reply.
One simple and effective technique will help you solve most of the difficulties your team runs into. Follow these steps:
1. Define the problem.
Do some research and include all the details. If a series of tasks was mishandled, include notes on each job and try to pinpoint where each error occurred.
Sharpen communication between you and your staff members by following these guidelines:
No matter where you are in your career, taking the leadership role in your organization is a given. Here is the lesson about creating leadership momentum. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
True leadership begins through valuing others. In working with many law firms, major corporations and associations, everyone plays a leadership role, from the receptionist all the way through the organization to the top dog.
How to become the boss everyone loves to praise rather than the boss everyone loves to hate!
1. Acknowledge your staff.
When a member of staff does a job well, make sure you notice it, and acknowledge her or him for it. Don't let the opportunity to praise a piece of good work go by.
2. Never, ever, humiliate anyone on your team.
If you are annoyed with someone on your team, or they have done something wrong, make sure you keep your cool, especially in public. If you humiliate someone, he or she will hold a grudge against you, and their work will suffer too.
3. Create a culture where mistakes are OK.
If you don't make mistakes, chances are you are not stretching yourself. If your staff are allowed to feel that mistakes are part of reaching for new highs, rather than something to feel bad about, or shamed for, then they will take more risks on your behalf.
Most of us have been in a situation where we’ve seen someone in our workplace get a promotion that we were hoping to earn. Maybe they have worked for the company for a less amount of time than you have, or possibly you feel that they aren’t as deserving of the promotion because you are better qualified for the job. Either way, you don’t think that they should have been awarded the promotion. How did they get noticed enough to receive the promotion? Here are some things that you can do to stand out and finally win that big promotion.
Interviewing takes a lot of time and effort. One thing that may be helpful in keeping interviews bias-free is using this 5 step process.
1. List of questions
Create a list of questions that you ask each interviewee. Why? You’ll be able to compare your candidates “apples to apples” if you ask the same questions. Remember, the goal is have bias-free interviews and this will ensure that happens.
Interviewing takes a lot of time and effort. One thing that may be helpful in keeping interviews bias-free is using this 5 step process.
Do you have any "friends" who call only when they want something? Are they your favorite people? Do you contact customers only when you're asking for their money? Or do you keep in touch for other reasons? Do salespeople call on you only when they want you to spend money? What if, instead, they called you with a lead, a referral, or an idea? Wouldn't that make you think you were more than just a customer? That they cared about you and your business?
As a leader in your organization, how much impact do you have on its performance?
Probably more than you know. You may have been a leader for many years now, or recently promoted. Your organization may be a for-profit business or a church organization. It may be a not-for-profit community service organization or a local sporting organization. It matters not. What matters is that your leadership of your organization will directly impact the results you get.
Companies spend a lot of money recruiting and hiring new employees, only to forget about them when they start.
Here is how to start off correctly with your new hires:
Inform everyone of when the new hire will start working, and ask him or her to make a special effort to make that person feel as though they made the right decision coming to work here. Make them feel a part of the team.
Great salespeople are great listeners – Period. Case closed. They have developed the ability to hear their customers and clients, understand their needs, and meet those needs with products and services. How great a listener are you? Answer most given: Not good enough.
Here are four key points to help improve your listening skills:
We've all heard the adage "You can't argue with success." But if you don't question your own success, you're doomed to eventual failure. Here are some ways you and your staff can fight complacency:
Court complainers. Not all of your customers are happy. Bring in unhappy customers and let them speak directly to employees about product or service improvements.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of ATTITUDE on life.
ATTITUDE, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstance, than failures, than success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church… a home.
Everyone in your organization must know how vitally important customer service is in your business. Good customer service starts with good training of your employees. Here are a few suggestions to help your organization keep your customers beaming and eager to come back for more.
Do you think your employees are happy? Consider these findings from a recent survey of 700 workers at 70 firms:
- 54% said management decisions aren’t explained well.
- 61% reported they aren’t well-informed about organizational plans.
- 64% admit they just don’t believe the information that management dishes out.
So if you see signs that your staff’s disgruntled, regain their loyalty with these five key elements:
Successful managers should be able to anticipate and adapt to changes in their industry. The following are some quick tips to help you spot trends that may affect your job:
Scan your junk mailbox before deleting emails and your junk mail before discarding it. What trends in advertising, marketing, new products and emerging technologies can you see?
A large percentage of a person's day is spent communicating with other people such as customers, employees and managers. This communication can be in person, on the phone or in writing. Even your body communicates a message when you haven't said a word. Being able to communicate effectively is an important skill that can be learned.
Busy professionals with a strong desire to achieve sometimes fall into slumps which can destroy creative drive. Do your best to avoid these slumps by accepting that you cannot do everything. Delegate responsibilities to others qualified to perform the task. They should share your goals for success.
Many managers are eager to compliment, but often neglect to criticize. It is so hard to tell another grown-up when they have done something incorrectly. But managers are responsible for helping others grow and need to help mentor their employees.
You don't have to be afraid of delegating work to others if you follow these principles:
Make Appropriate Assignments
You know the capabilities of each of your associates. When you plan their assignments, consider which person can do which job most effectively and efficiently.
Leadership roles involve many skills, from being a good compromiser to functioning as the group conscience by keeping discussion moving toward the common goal.
Are you using your time efficiently? Do your actions support your goals and job requirements? Checking items off a to-do list is less important than performing tasks and activities that support you. Doing a lot is less productive than doing the right things. In order to get what you want, you need to produce results. You do this not by managing time, but by investing it to produce the highest return.
1. Get the right people. Motivation is primarily in the selection. Find people who are both capable and motivated to achieve the goals you help set for them.
A lot of business leaders have the idea that if they just post a job opening in their company, that talented candidates will start beating down their door. Yes, a good number of people will apply for the positions, but are these individuals top performers?
Whether negotiating the biggest deal of your career, coaching your team, or describing a project, keep your ears open. Otherwise, you may talk yourself right out of the room.
It’s a mistake to expect everyone to react to change in the same way. Instead, say consultants Kathy Kolbe and Jim Woodford, it makes more sense to benefit from what Kolbe calls the instinct-based actions of these four personalities: