Swinging a Blunt Axe

May 28, 2020 3:56 pm

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“If the axe is blunt, and one doesn’t sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength.” ¹

Without pausing, reflecting and observing, we can easily end up swinging a blunt axe. Maintaining sharp skills and organisational effectiveness warrants constant attention and application, but far too often, we accept things as they are rather than attempting greater effectiveness through a sharper blade.

Here are some examples to reflect on.

  • An accounting firm had lost its edge, having plateaued for 8 years. They took 8 months to sharpen the blade and launched off the plateau to report record growth in subsequent years.
  • Another business, after analysing who its buyers were, sharpened their blade and went more directly to the decision-maker with reported improvement in the following quarter.
  • A supervisor lost his work fulfilment edge over a period of time which started to show in the quality of his management. Once reassigned to a different position he regained his happiness and corresponding sharpness.
  • The 90+ debtors for one company was well out of hand. Sharpening the retrieval blade, we reduced the amount by 97%.
  • A salesperson, disheartened from the realisation they were swinging a blunt sales axe, took a week for reflection and review, found the fail-point, made corrections to their process and went from a 25% to 72% win rate in the following 7 months.

These examples all refer to people gaining insight into their current situations and then responded by the sharpening of their efforts.

In recent times I have had the pleasure of working with a manager who exemplifies a more ahead of the game approach. Recognising an opportunity to sharpen his blade, he requested a rehearsal meeting prior to a sales call with a prospective client.  He wanted to ensure he was swinging a sharp conversational axe. Smart.

A blunt axe equates to increased effort with minimised results whereas a sharp axe reduces required effort but dramatically shifts results and in many cases, almost immediately.

 

 

¹Solomon is generally attributed to writing this around 935 BC

Photo by Markus Spiske

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Aborting Strategy Work for the Ease of Tactical Execution

February 7, 2020 6:23 am

Planning is relatively easy. Come up with a bunch of tactics, assign them to people for execution, keep them accountable for results and progress is hopefully being made.

However,  in the absence of a strategic direction, tactical execution is similar to heading out on a road trip with no set destination in mind. We might see a lot of countryside, meet a lot of people and enjoy the gratification of knowing we have driven many miles but we never actually arrive. We make plans up en-route but given there is no destination in mind, the roads we take and the places we stay are more spontaneous choices along with way—good ideas at the time. This might work for a “let’s see what happens, driving holiday”  but running an effective and profitable organisation in an ever-changing world without an established strategic direction can be extremely ineffective in the long run.

Strategy Work is Destination Work.

Strategy is a thoughtful, top-down process where we define who we are (and who we aren’t) along with where it is we are headed. It doesn’t involve tactics.

For planning and tactics to be effective, they must be formed in relation to, and aligned with, our strategic direction. If they do not represent this “strategic relationship”, they result in a collection of well-meaning but isolated tasks on the road to nowhere.

Strategy work involves looking at some of the following areas:

  1. What is our Purpose?
  2. What is our Vision?
  3. Our Values. What will we stand by?
  4. What are our ideal Markets and where are they based (location)?
  5. Where will our Revenue come from?
  6. Competitive Advantage. What makes us unique and distinct? 
  7. Critical Points. Critical issues needing to be addressed.
  8. Critical Objectives to achieve our vision.
  9. Metrics of Progress.

These all are indicative of the big picture, the ideal future.

The Strategy – Planning Relationship

Below I have sought to represent the relationship between Strategy and Planning to demonstrate how they are linked.

Strategy Planning Relationship

Aborting Strategy with Tactics

Given that strategy is thoughtful and deliberate work, we sometimes opt for getting immediate runs on the board via tactical planning and execution. “We can’t think about this forever so let’s just do something” is the abortion tool. Tactics identified and implemented too early in the strategic identification process aborts strategic clarity and direction. If the strategy is birthed, it is likely to be ill-formed from a shortened incubation period.

The strategic process doesn’t need to be a long process but it does need to:

  • be deliberate and focused;
  • incorporate “what if” scenarios;
  • involve big picture thinking;
  • be exploratory in nature;
  • have everything questioned;
  • be given time to settle and then reviewed;
  • be documented;
  • be embedded in our organisation’s culture.
Dust Covered Strategy

I’ve often come across business strategies and plans in beautiful binders but covered in layers of dust. They were formulated and documented sometime in the past but never seen the light of day for many years.

The strategic document should be a living, breathing piece of work that is constantly reviewed, changed if required and used for all ongoing decision making. “Does what we are planning now, relate to our strategic direction?” is the question that should always be asked when considering tactical planning and execution in any area. This keeps our organisations on track to the pre-established destination. If markets change, new opportunities emerge or disruption is occurring in our industry, the strategy can be reworked where and as required with new plans implemented for its fulfilment.

Summary

Strategy work is thoughtful work and involves thinking and collective senior leadership processing.

It is courageous work because it places us in a short-term zone where we feel we are not doing anything. (From all my work with organisations over the years, thinking and planning time is most often ascribed to as waste). Our penchant is for activity which provides more immediate gratification and the sense of movement, despite the fact that the movement might be in the totally wrong direction.

And it is worthwhile work, driving us into the future with a destination by which we can evaluate everything against.

Most are good at tactical execution but aligning these actions against a clearly defined strategic direction provides a powerful driving force into the future.

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The Expertise – Teachability Model

November 27, 2019 4:51 pm

At a recent workshop on Adaptable Leadership, I presented a four-quadrant model (below) that I developed to capture the relationship between an employee’s expertise—associated to their job-related ability—and then the degree to which they are teachable.

The vertical axis is the degree to which someone is personally teachable with the horizontal axis highlighting the degree to which someone has job-related expertise or competence in their job

Expertise - Teachability Model v3

 

Quadrant 1. The Poor Fit

If this employee has been with the organisation for some time and has shown little or no progress in job competence, teachability and enthusiasm for the job are the most likely cause.  Current lack of job expertise combined with little or no desire to learn makes forward progress challenging and time-consuming for management. It does not mean there is anything wrong with the person; it’s more likely to be explained by their place within the organisation, or that the organisation itself isn’t a naturally good-fit to inspire them to learn and grow. This type of person would probably be better placed elsewhere  (perhaps in someone else’s business). The arrows in this quadrant indicate training and coaching are required in both job-related expertise and personal teachability. The red arrow suggests helping them depart could be the most mutually agreeable outcome.

Quadrant 2. The Know-it-all

This team member (actually individual player) is: highly competent in their work but their lack of teachability is reflected in resistance to change. Mostly, they simply don’t see the need for a personal or professional shift; they live in a zone somewhere between the ostrich – with its head in the sand – and God himself.  They generally reject the notion that they could possibly improve; believing the organisation revolves around them. I’ve even heard the Know It All say that the boss would never sack them because they are too valuable. The vertical arrow represents coaching is required in teachability.

People in this quadrant may change in the direction of teachability if they are fortunate enough to experience a perspective enhancing  “moment of truth” to shift them out of the potential complacency that makes them vulnerable to changes in the organisation, technology, context, legislation and customer preferences.

Quadrant 3. The Fast Mover

This person may not have fully developed expertise in their role but because they are naturally higher on teachability they approach each day as an opportunity to develop new skills that will make them proficient in their job. This person is a “gift” within the organisation and is the perfect recruit whether early or later in their career. Nurturing such an employee along the horizontal arrow via mentoring /training will foster even faster growth and promote loyalty.

Quadrant 4. The Autonomous

The combination of teachability and technical skill means this employee will meet and exceed the demands of their specific job requirements. People in this quadrant are likely to be innovators within the business, blessed with the insight and foresight needed to perceive and respond to change.  This type of person can function autonomously; with the horizontal arrow recommending further growth tailored to the individual’s personal and professional goals. To retain employees of this calibre, managers/business owners need to work with the person to identify meaningful ways to reward and sustain exceptional performance, noting that providing financial or promotional opportunities are only two of many ways to reward outstanding contributions made by employees.

A Note On Teachability

In over thirty years of coaching people, teaching people to be teachable is plain hard work. On developing this model I did a web search on “how to teach people teachability.” Zero results. Every entry on the first few pages spoke to the individual of how to cultivate teachability within themselves. The issue for the manager is when you have someone that doesn’t demonstrate teachability, how do you teach it when they don’t want to be taught?

Someone early in their career—apprentices come to mind—can sometimes reflect this unteachable attitude. Being patient with them, praising them for even the smallest task completed well, explaining that because they listened and did what was asked of them resulted in a great outcome, can sometimes inspire them to begin opening up to further instruction.

Others I have coached who I would have deemed to be unteachable at the start demonstrated a growing enthusiasm and teachability when I helped them connect their daily responsibilities to what motivated them personally. Others I have noticed to be unteachable in one particular environment or role, but when shifted elsewhere, began to learn and shine.

Get it Right in Recruitment 

The best place to ascertain the degree of personal teachability is at the recruitment stage. Here are some questions you might like to consider integrating into your initial interview process.

  • Tell me about what you have been learning, reading etc?
  • What areas do you feel you need to grow most in?
  • What are some of the things in life that you love doing? How have you personally developed in these areas?
  • If you were to be successful with this application, what areas would have the most challenge with? How would you deal with those challenges?
  • Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your boss?
  • Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your peers? What did you learn from this? What did you do about this?
  • Tell me about a time where you were allocated a task that you didn’t know how to do?
  • How do you stay up to date with this industry?
Summary

This model seeks to help employers and managers understand where a person sits on the two scales and corresponding quadrants and is useful for determining: someone’s current role placement; the type of coaching/training required; what leadership style to adopt along with being a useful recruitment model.

If you would like to discuss how this might enhance your organisation or to have an assessment completed of your key personnel please feel free to reply here or call direct on 0403 341 105.

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Sales is a Process, Not a Personality

July 23, 2019 6:11 pm

Once upon a time, two brothers and their father went into business together. Without them selling their services, there would be no business. One day, the younger brother said to the older one, “how will you ever be successful? You are way too quiet.” That older brother was me and at the time, I didn’t know that you were “supposed” to be an extrovert in order to sell effectively.

Fortunately, after his “motivational” speech, I recall hearing someone say they would rather employ an introverted salesperson than the extroverted for it was much easier to help the introvert open their mouth than help the extrovert shut their mouth. I’m still not convinced about that as I think anyone who wants to learn a skill can, despite their personality, but it gave me great encouragement at the time and has seen me involved in sales for almost 20 years, and successfully I must say, dear brother.

1. The Sales Foundation: An Interest in Others.
An interest in people and their well being is the foundation for a successful sales career. Yes, I can make a quick buck by not giving a damn but having a successful career with repeat customers is all about care for the person. Taking an interest in the well being of another has nothing to do with personality; it is simply part of our humanity. We choose to care, or we choose not to and that choice is ours.

2. Sales As a Process.
When I was a musician, I recall the importance of learning first the structure, then from that basis, to improvise. And when improvising, it was still centred around the structure.  Selling is no different. First, create the process, learn it and then the improvisation comes once that mental sequence is embedded.

3. An example of a Sales Process.

Enquiry Stage – Sales Assistant

  1. What does the customer want?
  2. Ascertain who the decision-maker is.
  3. Ask, “when do you want to do this?”
  4. Ask, “is there a budget you have in mind?”
  5. If qualified, arrange a time for the customer (decision maker) to meet with the salesperson.

Meeting Stage – Salesperson

  1. Document requirements on the quote form.
  2. Uncover emotional drivers.
  3. Reconfirm budget.
  4. Ask “are there any areas that we haven’t discussed that could prevent this project from moving forward?”
  5. Confirm when quote will be sent.
  6. Arrange a time to follow up quote via phone.

Quote follow up stage – Salesperson

Ask:
a) “was the quotation a reflection of what you wanted?”
b) “which option would you like to proceed with?”
c) “which day will suit you best for us to arrive onsite?”
d) “would you like to transfer the deposit or make it now over the phone?”

Your business will have its own sequence according to what you provide and what the customer requires but the documenting and memorisation of the process transforms sales volumes dramatically.

4. Objections and Rebuttals.

Here again, the process comes into play. List all the major objections you receive from prospective customers and create rebuttals to them. Having these embedded into the memory so you can respond in the moment is essential in making it easy for the customer.

5. Please make it easy.

When I purchase something, I want the salesperson to make it easy for me. It’s not their personality that interests me but it’s their interest in me that is most important.  I want them to guide me through the process so I end up with what I want (or what is best for me according to the salesperson’s expertise and suggestions). I want them to be confident and to answer my questions and objections adequately. I want them to stay focused on me and my needs, nothing else.

Whether introvert, ambivert or extrovert, all of us can sell if: (1) We want to; (2) Desire the best for our customers; (3) Have a pre-designed sales process to follow (4) Make it easy for people to do business with us.

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The Tough and Tender Of Leadership

June 6, 2018 8:57 am

The Tough and Tender Of Leadership

I have always found that improving a business process is relatively easy i.e. find the waste or the input issues, make the necessary changes and you can with some certainty predict the outputs. When it comes to improving our people, the equation, unfortunately, isn’t quite that simple.

In this past weekend’s Herald Sun, Matthew Lloyd (previous AFL Essendon footballer) wrote a piece about new Hall of Fame legend Kevin Sheedy titled “How Kevin Sheedy Influenced My Career From Day One – Tough and Tender.”

Here are a few insights into Sheeds, that are pertinent to anyone involved in the leadership of people.

“It would take a lot for him to give up on someone, much to the frustration of those around him.

When others’ patience had been tested once too often, Sheeds would always look deeper than just the problem that had surfaced at the time. It was his greatest strength but also a weakness, because it did test relationships…

Building genuine relationships with players and gaining their trust and respect is the greatest challenge of any coach. Sheeds had this amazing ability to hit you between the eyes with what you needed to be told, but still have you believing you could be best on the ground the following week.

His ability to understand, accept and relate to the different personalities of his players was brilliant. Tactics will always be secondary to relationships when it comes to separating the great coaches from the rest. “

Tough and tender

Believing in our people; understanding how long we endure with someone; looking beyond surface problems; being tough when we need to, tender when required; relating to, and coaching the myriad of different personalities in our workplaces on a daily basis…while it can be tough, it can be incredibly rewarding.

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Operations and Strategy: The Two Hats Of Management

May 25, 2018 7:42 am

From Operations To Strategy

I have just completed speaking at a two-day workshop this week with a very astute group of national managers. From delivering approximately 7 hours of content, it gave me a fresh appreciation of just how much we as managers and leaders have to deal with at an operational level on a daily basis. Below is some of the content from one of the sessions that relate to the importance of taking time to lift our eyes to think ‘future’; to disengage our brains from the operational tasks at hand and turn our focus to strategy.

Strategy Operations

The Switch Of Hats

Taking the daily operational hat off to focus on the future can be a challenge for the most adept business owner or manager. The day to day running of our businesses and organisations often demand our all, leaving little energy and focus for anything else.

We tend to get caught up at ground level, fighting fires, dealing with staff issues and meeting budgetary shortfalls. Our minds are on making today happen, often neglecting the future planning and strategic progress that is so essential for success. When this is our ‘normal’, the ideal future gets delayed.

The switch of hats, from operations to strategy needs to be a planned activity as more often than not, does not occur on its own. A study in recent years concerning the disciplines of Australia’s leading CEO’s revealed that of the top three practices, the scheduling of time out for weekly review and reflection along with planning the future were paramount to their success. A further study by the Centre for Management and Organizational Effectiveness (CMOE) that surveyed a wide range of influential US executives indicated that on average 25 minutes per day were spent on strategising.

We would do well to practice the same. Being able to jump off at regular intervals the business or organisational boat we are sailing on; to sit on the sand and stare out at the horizon – thinking, planning, reflecting, will help us when jumping back onto the boat in operational mode. Timeout spent in this manner will enable us to take the ship more directly to its destination.

These are some areas to centre on when practising this:
• Review of progress and results in recent days and weeks – the good, the bad, the ugly
• Key issues requiring immediate attention
• Activities that are irrelevant to the current journey and need to be stopped
• What were the successes and how can we further build on them?
• What is our destination?
• Are we on track as far as the milestones previously established?

Taking time out to Review, Reflect and Plan is essential for managers and owners if they are to effectively lead and manage a growing organisation.

Review
Is about looking back at the past week, month, year or years to see what has ACTUALLY happened in terms of numbers, key indicators, growth or decline, staff, inefficiencies, successes etc.
Reflect
What is the review process and actual data communicating? Taking time to reflect on the meaning of this is essential for the next stage.
Plan
Based on what HAS taken place and in light of your key goals, how do we continue progressing from here to there? From actual to ideal. What do we need to do, change and enact in order to drive this ship forward? Planning is also about scheduling the key activities identified from the above process into your calendar. It assists in taking it from your mind to the page, to the actual operational (action) stage.

If you are similar to me, spending too much time at the coal face of operations can make one a little weary over time. Taking time out in order to think future; while advantageous for our organisations, it can also return significant benefits to our personal lives and can be its own source of inspiration and freshness.

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Releasing Control. If it is to be, it’s up to me and THEM.

March 25, 2018 7:33 pm

You’ve probably heard the saying “if it is to be it’s up to me.” While the quote holds water on some levels it’s quite leaky in others.

For a variety of reasons, business owners, managers and leaders find it hard to let go. “No one can do it as well as me” is one of those ‘reasons’ and an oft-repeated phrase I hear.

Businesses often hit this challenge when they reach growth ceilings. The organisation has grown to the extent where the owner or managers can’t effectively be involved in everything, yet work excessively long hours and weeks in an attempt to maintain control.

The challenge at this point is to reconfigure the above saying to “if it is to be, it’s up to me and THEM.”

Moving from a small enterprise mindset to a larger enterprise mindset; to move from the current operating level to the next; to move through those inhibiting ceilings of growth prevention, we have to release control.

We move from:

  • me doing it, to training
  • others to do it and then,
  • releasing them to do it.

As we release others to take over our previous tasks we then establish checks and balances along with key data reports to ensure the just in time reporting of quality, timeliness, customer satisfaction, financial results etc.

We move from maintaining control through doing it all ourselves to controlling the organisation through effective planning, the utilisation and management of others and progress reporting.

Yes, there will be the pain in the process and yes, others will falter along the way. But if we want to progress upwards, making the shift from me to them is well worth acting upon.

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Employees: A Reflection Of Management

February 6, 2018 5:58 am

Grapes

I visited the Curlewis Winery on the Bellarine Peninsula this past weekend in Victoria. Their wine was the definite go back for more variety. As I drove into the property I could see immediately the high care that was given to the vines. Their website says that the owner “wraps each cordon himself by hand in a process that takes up to three months. This hands-on, detailed approach is applied to every step of growing, nurturing, protecting and eventually picking the fruit.”

And as for the vine so for our people.

Talking to an employee recently they said, “I have learned to just do my job – nothing more, nothing less.” Digging a little deeper it was obvious that this was a case of diminished care of the vine by management resulted in lacklustre fruit.

I have met and worked with other team members over my time who are constantly improving, taking ownership of their roles, attempting new things, suggesting better ways of operating to their managers and so forth. When I see these employees in action  (and particularly a team made up of these types) I don’t have to look far to see that the leader is one that nurtures his vines (people) for greatness.

If you desire to increase both the quality and yield of your organisation, don’t forget that the vines need attention. Take care of them and they will take care of you.

 

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Love Languages In The Workplace

January 11, 2018 9:39 am

I remember reading Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages many years ago. The one thing I took with me and have sought to implement over the years (sometimes successfully and at other times dismally) is that each of us hears love, value and appreciation in our own particular way.

If someone speaks to you in Chinese and you understand only English, there is little, if any chance, that you will have any clue as to what they are communicating. It makes sense therefore that if we are to communicate to someone, in order for them to understand us, it has to be in their language – one that they comprehend.

Some people understand our value and appreciation of them verbally and others don’t. The key here is taking the time to understand what the other person’s particular language (or languages) are.

Gary Chapman lists the following languages:

  1. Gift Giving
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

How do these play out in the expression of value and appreciation to those who work for you and with you? And note, I always advocate saying ‘thank you’ with each of these.

  1. Gift Giving
    Simply put, these people appreciate the smallest of things. It might be a cup of coffee that you buy for them through to a holiday in the Bahama’s for outstanding performance.
  2. Words of affirmation
    The words ‘thank you’ are powerful words. As I posted in my blog a few weeks back, “Gratitude, particularly expressed in the two words thank you to all in our relational sphere, though taking but a second to express, can reverberate through the receivers psyche for a lifetime – making the journey all the more richer.” This can be expressed both verbally and written.
  3. Quality time
    This obviously is a tricky one for business owners and managers but it might mean instead of having coffee or lunch on your own, you take one of your people with you.  You could include an employee in helping you accomplish a task. If you have a long drive to do or a flight to catch you take them with you. The key here is quality time whereby you are expressing interest in who they and how they are travelling.
  4. Acts of Service
    Your manager’s car broke down on the way to work…you make the call and arrange the towing service for him, paying for it in the process. An employee is struggling with his paperwork and you stay back and help him get up to date. One of the female team members expresses how her yard is overgrown and you organise some of the staff to head over on a Saturday morning for a working bee.
  5. Physical Touch.
    Ahh… where angels fear to tread. This obviously is a tricky one and I’m not referring to the types of sexual touch that the media moguls are currently being called out for. From personal experience here, I have found that when some people talk they automatically touch me on the arm. This has proven to be a good indicator that one of their languages is touch. In turn, when I say thank you to them or express my gratitude for who they are or the work they do, I simply touch them on the arm in the process.

The place to start is to understand what your personal love language is and also those closest to you. Then, in the workplace, start observing and trying a few different languages as you express gratitude and value to your team. Some will hit the mark, others will miss and if all else fails, the fact that you are trying to express appreciation and saying those magical words ‘thank you’ will in themselves, move your workplace culture and team members engagement forward.

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Street Lessons

September 20, 2017 4:59 pm

Travis

I’d like to introduce you to my street friend Travis.

I met this man (through my daughter’s introduction) twelve months ago on the streets of Melbourne and sit with him most Saturday nights. He was homeless, raising money through begging and sleeping in a local car park. He has since been provided with a home and still comes out weekly to ask for money to cover his costs.

Recently at 2 am on a bone-chilling Melbourne morning,  I sat with him on the footpath talking more about his life.  The thing that struck me was his gratitude.  He is no longer a heroin addict, he has a roof over his head and loves his daughter dearly. He is incredibly grateful for his life and for the smallest amount of money or food that people provide him. He is also a very gentle man; always interested in my world, his face lighting up every time he sees me.

When I asked him about why he chooses to come to the street to beg for money instead of working for it (part of my personal quest to deal with my own judgements around this issue) his response blew me away. The workplace is where he got his earlier heroin addiction from and now that he is clean he is extremely hesitant to go back to that situation again. Travis sees a counsellor on a regular basis, is bettering himself through educational courses and is looking at doing voluntary work to help others live better lives.

Travis has reminded me of two critical things in the time I have known him.

  1. Gratitude.
    No matter whether we live in a mansion or a car park, we have much to be grateful for and it’s the practice of gratitude that is the key as opposed to what we have or don’t have.
  2. Acceptance.
    He’s reminded me (and as I wrote last week) that everybody is doing the best they can and how easy I judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a homeless person by their situation. The act of acceptance, with or without words, communicates love powerfully.

The name Travis comes from the Old French traverse – meaning to pass through or cross over a bridge/boundary.

My street friend is traversing his own streets, rivers and bridges as best he can and doing so with grace, gratitude and a big heart. A good reminder from the street for our own life traversal.

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They’re Doing The Best They Can

September 8, 2017 11:37 am

They’re Doing the Best They Can

Over my years of consulting, business owners or managers, in describing their people have sometimes said “this person is hopeless” or “they just don’t get it”. The most memorable was “I work with a bunch of dickheads.”

Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong mentions a concept that I’ve really taken hold of in my own personal journey and in my coaching work with others. That concept is that everyone is doing the best they can. The understanding that people are generally doing the best they can,  given their history, emotional and physical health, current skill set, strengths and weaknesses, habits, life circumstances and so forth.

She says, “It can be painful for organisation leaders to answer this question (are people doing the best that they can?) because…what often comes up is the realisation that instead of prodding and pushing someone, they need to move on to the difficult task of helping them, reassigning them, or letting them go.” [Bracket insert mine]

Brené goes on to say “This doesn’t mean that we stop helping people set goals or that we stop expecting people to grow and change. It means that we stop respecting and evaluating people based on what we think they should accomplish, and start respecting them for who they are and holding them accountable for what they’re actually doing. It means that we stop loving people for who they could be and start loving them for who they are. It means that sometimes when we’re beating ourselves up we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, “Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.” [Italics mine]

A large part of my consulting and coaching work over the years has been to help employees and leaders within organisations to become more productive. The approach I’ve taken is, go slow to go fast.  I take time to get to know who the person is as per the areas I mentioned in the first paragraph. Once I know who I am working with I can steer them appropriately. For some it can happen within the hour, for others, it can take numbers of meetings – dependant on the person. From this approach I get to know:

  • if they have the potential to be a star player
  • if they have reached their capacity in their current role or within the organisation
  • if they need to be demoted or promoted
  • if they need to be released to work elsewhere that is more suited to them.

Once I know the above about a person, having built trust with them along the way and when they know I have their best interests at heart, the process of getting them where they need to be can be rapid. It’s a win for the organisation and a win for the employee. Both parties come out on top.

For you as an influencer and leader of people, taking this empathetic leadership, they are doing the best they can approach, means that you start with where the person is; accept that who that person is now is what you have to work with and then to work alongside them from the ground up as opposed to from the top down.

Everyone is doing the best they can. I am doing the best I can. It has the potential to revolutionise your organisation and your own life.

Watch The Video

 

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The Fresh Breath Of Inspiration

August 25, 2017 10:59 am

Video transcript below…

I’ve just come out to the country and this place is amazing. I always find the country one of those activities and places that deeply refreshes my soul. I’ve been reflecting on this whole concept of refreshment and inspiration. I had a look back at the original Latin of where the word inspire originated from and it comes in two parts. The first part means into. The second part means breathe. Effectively, inspire means to breathe into. I’ve been researching this and thinking through how I can live more consistently in an inspired state and how my clients, those I coach, consult, mentor, how they can do the same because life has a way of sucking the life out of us, leaving us anything but inspired.

I’ve found that there are various connections with people that breathe life into me. Some people are so valuable in my world. There are different forms of spirituality for different people that breathe life into them. There are different activities that also have that work and the converse is true. There are things and relationships that suck the life out of us and it’s really for us, it pays to look at what are the things that breathe life into us, the connections, the activities and what are the things that rob our joy, rob our life, and to start filling our world with breath, with life-giving activities.

I just finished reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie. Great read. Mitch said when he came away from being with Morrie, he felt like he had been rinsed with kindness. My friends, that is inspiration and the more we are topped up and filled with breath, with life, the more we can be an inspiration to others.

My name is Ray Hodge. You can connect with me at rayhodge.com.au and thanks for watching.

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Melbourne Heartbreak. A Personal Reflection

January 30, 2017 6:39 pm

IMG_3276 (1)

For those of us who live in Melbourne Australia and no doubt for many across the world, the recent senseless killing of five innocent victims by a man speeding up the footpath into lunch time crowds is simply judged as abhorrent.

Last week, I went to dine and work in the RACV Club of which I am a member. Outside were two separate memorials made up of flowers, teddy bears, cards, photos and notes. Those passing slowed their walk, sometimes stopping – quietly absorbing the scene confronting them. They shared in the grief of loved ones who for most, the victims are personally unknown. It was apparent that many walked away with heavy hearts and falling tears.

My primary reflection as I moved between the two memorials was two-fold.

The first was that relationships matter. It often takes events like this to drive home the importance and appreciation of those we have in our lives.
To hold each other a bit longer
To encourage each other a little more
To express appreciation more often
To give of ourselves and our resources more freely

Secondly, I was mindful that none of us knows when our last day might finally arrive. Those who died were aged from three months to their early thirties – all non-deserving of a premature earthly departure. Both they and their loved ones never suspected that this particular Friday would be that day – the day that would cause them to sleep in the blankets of death rather than returning to the warm beds of home. It served to remind me that while we have breath it is a life to be lived fully with gratitude, with purpose and intent. To enjoy what we have and those around us. To make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others, to the society we live in – just as those Melburnians exemplified for us in assisting the injured and dying – some in their last moments. It served to remind me how often I find myself complaining and getting worked up over things that in light of this tragedy count for absolutely nothing.

Loving wholeheartedly with gratitude; living a thankful purposeful life that contributes to the betterment of all those in our relational circle, our organisations and our broader world is I think, at the heart of humanity.

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Introducing My Acquaintance, Depression

November 28, 2016 9:28 am

During the last couple of years I met a person called Depression of whom I’d like to introduce you to.

Our initial introduction was at a time of significant personal loss when, quite unexpectedly, he dropped in and offered his quiet consoling presence in order to remove me from my present pain into a numbing darkness. It was in some ways attractive – that removal from the confusing world I knew at the time. He anaesthetised my brain and my soul, painting my world a comforting dark grey. When the pain persisted he would recommend other numbing activities such as loveless sex and the sedation of alcohol. I know others experienced various recommendations that were unique to them however, these were my tailor made remedies. I followed his advice and while he was right (in that these things helped for a short period of time), the after effects pushed me further into reliance upon him. It was a bottomless downward spiral – from grey to black. While he promised comfort it turned out he was a liar and a thief, seeking only companionship for himself and not giving a shit about my personal well being.

That was some time ago.

Occasionally to this day he still visits me, particularly in times of vulnerability. I have got to know his particular insistent rapping on my door and sometimes, in these times of weakness, I am persuaded to walk through that door and take his hand – all the while knowing this will lead to nowhere good. He reminds me to not hope for a better day because this is as good as it gets. He encourages me to not share my pain with my life giving friends; to not dance, not read, not laugh, to procrastinate, not attempt to love again, not go to work, not go out, not eat, not seek new enlightening experiences. Sometimes he even suggests that life is really not worth living at all. And if I follow him out that door… instead of leading me into the open sunshine (which he indeeds promises every single time) he guides me back into that dark and dank cave that I know only too well. And once I get there I realise I have yet again been fooled once more.

If you have Depression in your circle of acquaintances, you might at present be arm in arm with him and if not, one day in the future you may experience as I do, his unannounced visit or that quiet yet insistent tapping on your door. As I have got to know him I have come to understand that he is deaf. Despite me telling him I never want him to revisit he doesn’t seem to hear. He just keeps dropping in from time to time. I have come to accept this and now have strategies in place for when he does. Simply hoping he would never visit never kept him away.

The next time he pops in on you, instead of opening the door and instead of allowing the falsely comforting numbness to take hold – take a step the other way and reach out to a true friend to let them know what you are feeling and experiencing, as I did this morning to my friend Jo. Not all my friends are aware of my acquaintance Depression and that’s okay. They’ve never been introduced to him and some even deny his existence. I am happy for them (as I wish I had never met him either); so these friends never get to know of his presence in my life. I am very selective in this process.

Reaching out to others in these times, in order to bounce into the light  is counter intuitive as the easy route is take our acquaintances hand and progress into the counterfeit comfort of darkness.

But reach out we must.

Cultivate friends who care for you, who have your best interests at heart. Build a life giving circle of a few that might include a therapist as I have had in my circle at times. Create and live a life where your soul is regularly refreshed and happy, for Depression detests healthy joyful people. And finally, create a simple strategy so that if Depression does happen to knock on your door, you know exactly what to do and who to call in order to ward off his advances.

Copyright 2016 Ray Hodge
Illustration by Bekky Halls. 
http://saintdamascus.blogspot.com.au/ 
Used with permission

Note to the reader.
If you are currently struggling with depression or you’ve realised that you’ve lost your happiness and life is mundane, may I encourage you to reach out to a trusted friend and/or seek professional help. As my beautiful daughter keeps reminding me, we are only as sick as our darkest secret – thus the light of admission and open conversation helps reduce the power of soul darkness and assists us in moving forward one step at a time.

Feel free to also get in touch with me. A large part of my daily work is with business owners, executives and employees – assisting them to be happy and productive in their work and personal lives. I can be contacted directly on +61 403 341105 or at ray@rayhodge.com.au

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What Song Are You Playing?

February 25, 2015 9:42 pm

I happened to be staying in a hotel a few weeks back near the parade start for the Giants Street Theatre performance in Perth. As they moved from the park to the street an accompanying band was playing a tune on the following flat bed truck. Ever since that day, the tune comes back into my head two to three times a week, reminding me of the event. The melodic hook in the song, hooked me.

What song is your business playing? What is the tune that lodges in the head of your customers and prospects? Is it one that evokes pleasant memories of customer service, quality products, workmanship and service – so much so that they will return for future business and tell their friends? Or is it simply a banal tune with no distinction, no hook?

Front of mind is better than out of mind. Which song are you playing?

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Thin Air Marketing

January 12, 2015 11:32 pm

There was a company that approached their marketing endeavours in an ad hoc fashion. They spent tens of thousands of dollars every year getting their message out, with one of their strategies being radio advertising. I am not picking on this form of advertising here but merely pointing out some issues…

  • Two of the ads promoted an area of their business that they were long known for in their town but…they disliked doing  that type of work and it made the least amount of profit
  • The other two ads were probably 50% near the mark of their core business
  • The radio company had never bothered to get a true understanding of their business and what they really wanted to promote
  • The radio company wrote ads more from a historical perspective of the company than its current direction
  • Because they weren’t analysing the response rate, weeks had gone by without a single call from the advertisements

The disconnect here, between the core business and its profit drivers,  and the corresponding advertising is strikingly apparent. When a company doesn’t have that deep understanding of who they are and where they make their money, and then promote their services in a shotgun, ad hoc approach, the chances of success are very limited. Combine this with no analysis of marketing strategies and corresponding enquiries and you’ve got good money going down the drain (or into thin air in this case).

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Happy New Year

January 6, 2015 6:59 am

Happy New Year!

The changeover period tends to lend itself quite naturally to looking ahead, thinking, creating plans and then pushing the action buttons. In my recent newsletter I have written about optimism balanced by realism. I find that the two are perfect partners when it comes to business growth. Facing and then countering market conditions, changing economics, increased competition, challenging staff, low cash flow and the like yet holding an unremitting optimism is one of the things that sets the resilient and successful apart.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

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Thoughts on Planning

December 15, 2014 12:51 am

At this time of year our thoughts tend to wander over the bridge into the following year. For some it is the hope of a better season to come, grateful that the current year is coming to an end. For others it is to capitalise on an already excellent year and grow to a whole new level whether in business, personally, financially and so on.

Here are two focal areas to help  you as you enter the New Year.

  • Get present with the past. Jot down the positive outcomes for the year past and the challenges and disappointments you experienced.
  • Create your future.
    • What would you like the coming year to contain?
    • What are the areas of growth you would like to see?
    • What relational, familial areas do you need to work on?
    • What are the personal growth and fun zones you would like to enter and develop? eg. learning to dance, cook, ski, fitness levels
    • What would you like your bank balance and debt levels to be by years end?
    • Where can you take your business or career in the next twelve months? What are the areas you need to work on to ensure you are growing and moving toward the next summit?

I have been aware over the past few months that we are really growing or declining. Strengthening or weakening. After all, plateaus of safety and comfort eventually erode if left to their own devices.

Best,
Ray

Planning Template for Business Owners.Click here

Ignition Coaching Program. Click here
Take advantage of my Christmas offer. Register by Dec 24th 2014 and receive either 3 months additional time (valued at $4000) or take 10% of the current price.

 

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What Are You Sitting On?

November 30, 2014 11:40 pm

A public speaker requests the audience to look underneath their chairs. One lucky attendee finds placed there a gift.

Business is like that.

In our attempts to drive new business we expend countless funds and effort on creating well laid out plans – hiring marketing strategists, social media experts, web SEO specialists and the like.

One of the things we neglect (and often this is due to the effort involved) is the hundreds and perhaps thousands of customers, prospects and unfulfilled quotations that have built up over the years but have never been utilised and are sitting right underneath us. The simple process of gathering  their contact details from business cards, quotations, various lists etc. can be an extremely valuable process. Judiciously collating this data into highest potential leads and then creating a strategy designed to connect with these can turn a business around fast, getting get cash in the door a lot quicker than taking months to make a plan and then market indirectly – such as social media.

While all these strategies have their place, going directly to those who you have dealt with in the past is one of the best ways I know of and that many of my clients have experienced significant results in.

What’s under your chair? Take a look. You might be presently surprised.

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Gaining Favour

November 11, 2014 11:27 am

If you want to gain favour and be treated well, remember peoples names and then use it when you connect with them. Hopeless at remembering names? I use the notes app in my phone to record peoples names after I’ve met them. Then, prior to staying at a hotel, visiting a cafe etc, I review the list, recall their name and end up with a free glass of wine.

Whether customers, suppliers, restaurant owners, hotel managers, retail staff and the like, if you make the effort to remember someone, take an interest in them and engage with them, favour will definitely come your way.

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It’s Not Rocket Science

October 30, 2014 8:50 am

In our attempts to promote growth, expanding our brand and presence, some of the basics of business get neglected. Take these for example:

  • Treating our people purely as workers not as valuable assets
  • Not returning phone calls in a timely manner (as per the customers sense of timeliness)
  • Communicating when you will complete a service or have delivery of a product and then not communicating when there is a delay
  • Not keeping the customer in the progress loop
  • Consistent lateness or cancellations of appointments

If you have happy staff, that happiness factor will overflow to customers. If you then keep your current customers and key prospects at the centre of your attention, doing what you say you will do and communicating when things change you will find your business will more likely grow intrinsically and word of mouth business will come your way.

Doing the basics well is not rocket science

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Car Lovers – getting a customer to return

October 30, 2014 8:45 am

Having a filthy car from my travel in the country and disliking the process of washing it, I decided to call into a car wash I’d never been to before – Car Lovers,Toowoomba QLD. It was my first time and won’t be my last time. Why?

– the employee was very patient with me describing

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All You Have To Do is Ask – Referrals

October 30, 2014 8:42 am

Business owners, managers and marketers spend countless hours in developing complex marketing strategy models with lengthy roll out times. One of the most overlooked and quickest ways of getting new business is that of referrals.

There are two main ways of getting referrals.

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Front Of Mind or Out Of Mind

October 30, 2014 8:40 am

I have long held the belief that those who, on a monthly basis, keep in touch with their key prospects and customers are in the top percentile of their industry. At a recent speaking engagement to 70 electricians I asked the question “how many of you keep in touch with your key prospects and customers at least monthly either by calling, monthly newsletter etc?” It was worse than my prediction. No hands went up.

So…if you keep in touch with your key customers and prospects at least once a month, not only will you be in the top one percent of those who do so, you will be the one they call when they need your services.

You want to be front of mind – not out of mind.

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The 1 minute Survey

October 30, 2014 8:38 am

I get emailed five minute and seven minute survey requests from hotels I’ve stayed at and other companies that I have conducted business with. I never fill them out with the main reason being the 5 and 7 minutes time requirement. It is just not that important to me.

But… if they were to send me a one minute survey I would be more likely to complete it. One hotel sent an email with two options. A one minute and five minute survey. Smart. I completed the former.

Surveys are useful things and reducing the survey to even one question ie. “would you refer us to your friends and family?” will more likely be completed than one with fifty questions. If they answer yes to that, you know you’ve done a great job. Adding a section of ‘additional comments’ is also useful.

Treating customers time as a priority will more likely get you the responses you are after

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Providing Options

October 30, 2014 8:37 am

If you send a quote or discuss a product with a potential buyer always present options. Options provide the choice of “which one should I take?” If there are no options it then becomes “should I take this or not?” Providing options for payment type, delivery dates, sizes and anything else that is relevant is invaluable and significantly increases the likelihood of gaining a new customer.

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Hitting Goals Through Weekly Standards

September 18, 2014 12:01 am

Having weekly standards creates momentum and progression toward our goals. Here are some examples:

Goal – lose 3 kg
Weekly standard – walk 150 min; chocolate on weekends ONLY

Goal – 4 quotes sent per week
Standard – make 5 calls per day

Goal – enquiries to increase by 10%
Standard – monthly newsletter, weekly blog, daily social media update and radio presence

Too often a goal is set without scheduling daily and weekly standards that will contribute toward the achievement of that goal. Schedule the standard activities and you will move toward your goals at a more rapid pace.

 

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Efficiency Tip #8

September 4, 2014 10:23 pm

Tips for increasing your daily efficiency:

  1. Use a diary – electronic or paper
  2. Plan tomorrow today
  3. Use a headset when on the phone and deal with what you can immediately. e.g. send the email you promised, the meeting invite, book the job in etc.
  4. Arrive to appointments 10 minutes early
  5. Discard the To Do list and schedule tasks directly into your diary
  6. Become outcomes driven not time driven. ie. if you set aside time for marketing, the outcomes might be to arrange two meetings for next week. Once achieved move onto the next thing
  7. Limit distractions.Turn your phone onto silent (or give to your assistant) and turn email alerts off while working on the important. Make callbacks and reply to emails at scheduled daily intervals
  8. Return calls within three hours and emails same day
  9. Learn to travel light without checked baggage
  10. Conduct stand up meetings when there are only a few quick things on the agenda
  11. When a meeting is near completion stand up and walk toward the door. The attendees will follow suit
  12. Work with a sense of urgency and speed
  13. Keep yourself rested and refreshed

 

 

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Customer Needs Verses Pushing Product

August 4, 2014 10:37 pm

I visited a high end hi fi store on the weekend. The salesperson asked me what I was interested in which was simply something I could play CD’s on that gave excellent separation of instruments and vocals. For the ensuing 15 minutes I got a download of all his musical education and how wonderful the product was. The system rotated, I could mount the speakers on walls, the remote could make coffee (joking) –  all of which 1% related to why I went in there in the first place. He lost me and lost the sale.

Most buyers aren’t interested in how good you are or how good the product is, and ALL of them are interested in themselves.
“What are the benefits to me and will it meet my goals?”
If you listen intently to your customers needs, identify their wants and centre your discussion around them, you might in fact create a new customer in five minutes than have them walk out the door empty handed after fifteen.

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Simple Change Process

July 20, 2014 10:43 pm

Simple process to dramatically cut waste and streamline for improved performance…

  • Measure current results; map relevant processes
  • Identify waste in processes
  • Set improvement goals
  • Create change strategy
  • Implement strategy
  • Manage changes
  • Rinse and repeat
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Efficiency tip #7

June 26, 2014 1:46 am

To increase employee efficiency ensure:
– each person knows exactly what’s expected of them
– that for each role/responsibility there is a related performance measure
– you meet with them regularly to review their progress
– they are in the right role according to their strengths
– a training track is created for them for both personal and technical development
– that they aren’t promoted outside of their core strengths
– you take an interest in them personally
Efficient personnel are a foundational asset to any efficient business or organisation

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Exceptional Service Doesn’t Just Happen

June 17, 2014 7:22 am

I was recently involved in giving an Exceptional Service award at the Dalby Chamber of Commerce. A great initiative of the chamber and one which is much needed in this day and age of very low service in many organisations. With the ongoing focus of outsourcing, streamlining, cost slashing and electronic automation, the whole area of customer service has taken a very low priority on the agenda of many businesses. What if ALL hotels attempted five star service and kept a record of our preferences; if tradesman showed up on time or called to advise they were running late; if large companies kept the customer in mind when considering outsourcing to different countries; if banks didn’t schedule their teller lunch breaks when a million others are on lunch and in long queues; if the receptionist was taught to smile when they answered the phone. Exceptional service starts with the intention of management. When customers feel and experience that they are the centre of your attention the organisation then grows by word of mouth reducing advertising costs. Exceptional Service doesn’t just happen.

Dalby COC

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The Good and the Bad of BMW Selling Techniques

May 15, 2014 11:41 pm

Over the last number of years I have encountered sales staff from BMW that has left me thinking that the societal ill feelings toward the current day car salesperson was justified – pushy, disinterested if they perceived you didn’t look the part, all about their commission and so on.
Having an early morning wander through one of their Brisbane car yards Paul Maddern (sales consultant) approached me. These were the things that impressed me about his sales approach that might be of help when you or your staff are talking to potential customers in your business:
  • his body language and vocal tone matched mine
  • his sales approach was in sync with my needs and wants, not the standard lineal approach encountered with other high pressure types
  • relaxed
  • interested in ME
  • didn’t try to sell me
  • when I told him I wasn’t ready to buy today he didn’t switch off, walk to the next customer, show disappointment or attempt to drag me over the line
  • didn’t hold back on fully answering my questions giving me quality information and value
  • relationship was more important than an immediate sale
All this built instant rapport making me trust him instantly. Subsequently he was the first car sales person from memory I have ever requested a business card from .
Given that BMW is my favourite vehicle, Paul will do very well from me over the coming years as well as the referrals (one immediate) I send his way. BMW would also do well from insisting that all their sales people emulate his approach.
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When Operations Impede Progress

March 27, 2014 4:41 am

Taking the daily operational hat off to focus on the future can be a challenge for the most
adept business owner or manager. The day to day running of our businesses and
organisations often demand our all, leaving little energy and focus for anything else. We tend
to get caught up at ground level, fighting fires, dealing with staff issues and meeting budgetary shortfalls. Our minds are on making today happen, often neglecting the future planning and strategic progress that is so essential for success. When this is our ‘normal’, the ideal future gets delayed. The switch of hats, from operations to strategy needs to be a planned activity as more often than not, does not occur on its own.

A study in recent years concerning the disciplines of Australia’s leading CEO’s revealed that of the top three practices, the scheduling of time out for weekly review and reflection along with planning the future were paramount to their success. We would do well to practice the same. Being able to jump off at regular intervals the business or organisational boat we are sailing on; to sit on the sand and stare out at the horizon – thinking, planning, reflecting, will help us when jumping back onto the boat in operational mode. Time out and spent in this manner will enable us to take the ship more directly to its destination. These are some areas to centre on when taking practising this discipline:
– Review of the progress and results in recent days and weeks – the good the bad the ugly
– Key issues requiring immediate attention
– Activities that are irrelevant to the current journey and need to be stopped
– What were the successes and how can we further build on them?
– Where are we sailing to? What is our destination? Are we on track as far as the milestones previously established?

Taking time out to Review, Reflect and Plan is essential for managers and owners if they are to effectively lead and manage a growing organisation.

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Transactional verses Relational Selling

February 16, 2014 11:48 pm

I was having lunch with a client I had completed a project for and he told me of a company that had come to discuss their services with him. The word ‘bludgeon’ came to mind. The sales person was all about getting the sale NOW. Wasn’t interested in establishing a relationship with my client but was all about the transaction. This form of selling while it still works (people buying out of fear and pressure) is the least effective sales approach. The strategy has been around for decades and those in sales should recognise it should be buried in decades past. Here is the best approach by far for selling in the current times:

1. Establish a relationship with the person. Build rapport and gain trust
2. Gain mutual consensus on moving forward together providing options so THEY can choose
3. Ensure your product or service is right for THEM, not just of benefit to you
4. Walk away if point 3 isn’t met and refer them to someone or another product that is better suited
5. Stay in touch. This is called relationship. They might not be ready now but they might be in 12 months time.

Transactional selling is about now. Relational selling is about now and the future. A sales pipeline reflects people at different stages in their buying process and timing. If you are all about today then there is effectively no pipeline.

High pressure, bludgeoning, transactional selling is all about the seller not the buyer. There is no care, no concern, no recognition that people matter. Establish a relationship and you’ll establish a successful future with the added bonus that people will be calling YOU because they’ve heard that you are the best.

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Virgin Australia and Consistency

November 28, 2013 8:53 pm

I have flown Virgin Australia frequently for a number of years and one thing that strikes me about the company is their incredible consistency in doing things well. I can never recall dealing with a grumpy attendant whether on the ground or in the air; a few though could be reassigned back office roles due to not being overtly people oriented but they at least maintain courteous service. There is a consistent energy and vibrancy about the look, feel and dealings with Virgin both in person or via phone and their website is designed for the customer. Their rivals in my opinion (on the occasions I have flown with them) don’t capture the essence of this energetic and consistent culture.

I think every company would do well to emulate Virgin Australia in the aspects of creating and maintaining a culture of consistent excellence.

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Selling is not Telling

September 30, 2013 9:11 am

Many approach selling from the historical erroneous proliferation (by the many ‘sales gurus’ that have gone before us) that it is all about the ‘telling’ in selling. In that, we are there to tell the potential buyer about how good our product or service is, rebut objections, convince them to buy and walk away with an order. I think there’s a better way?
Approaching a sales situation from the buyers perspective and not our own makes a whole lot more sense, especially given the fact that they obviously have a need or want, we potentially have a solution and it’s not until we truly ascertain what that need/want is do we know whether our product or service will assist them. We can’t get understanding if we are in telling mode.
Asking well directed questions, listening, asking, listening is the priority for any situation. Advising a buyer that we are there to find out about them and to see if there is a potential match and synergy between us puts the sales situation into a whole new light, especially when they know you are more than happy to refer them to a better product or service if that is best for them. That communicates integrity. We approach it from the perspective of mutual benefit not in just getting a sale.
The 80/20 rule applies here. Listen 80% of the time, talk 20%. I think that ratio also applies to our success. If we listen and carefully provide a solution chances are we’ll be successful 80% of the time. Sell by telling and you’ll effectively reduce it to 20%. I know which I’d rather.

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Stupid Language

September 24, 2013 11:07 pm

I just received an unsolicited email from an unknown saying “just thought how similar we are in our approach to problem solving…I am personally inviting you to join me in helping sales team all over Australia for a better Sales Improvement Process.” It was OK to this point.
THEN…
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to make YOU the HERO just like Steve Jobs to your clients.”
Delete…… 

If you want to sell your services don’t use stupid language

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Think Outcomes, Not Goals

April 30, 2013 2:58 am

If you’ve been in business for any length of time you’ve heard time and again about the importance of goal setting. Goalposts, as in football, help us define our aim and assist in directing our energy toward that end. The goal scored provides the outcome we are after points against the opposition.

Often times though, a subject can lose its power. We read about goal setting, attend seminars, try our best to action what we’ve learned but still seem to head toward the oppositions goals. Deflating!

Here’s a twist on goal setting.

Think outcomes not goals.

Outcomes are the results that ‘come out’ over a set period of time and from specific activities. For example, heading into today we could set the following:

1. Call key prospects and set two new appointments for next week

2. Follow up 4 previous clients to see how they are progressing and communicate the latest products available

3. Complete ABC Pty Ltd quote and post

4. Visit each of my staff over the day and express how much I value them

5. Knock off at 4pm for an hour’s exercise before dinner

Five outcomes that are easily achievable and measurable. At days end you will have the satisfaction of tangible results from your planning and actions.

Outcomes can be set for any period of time and in any area of life. Try it for a week. You might just find a new sense of success, the feeling of a job well done and that you’re not simply sitting around watching the opposition beat the pants off you.

Good luck!

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