Building Team ‘Awesome’ – Where Are Your Strengths?

Focusing on building the right team to get the job done often makes us forget one thing … ‘change’ happens!

Focusing on building an ‘awesome’ team to deliver solutions to solve problems embraces the most important thing to remember … ‘change’ happens!

team

Introducing Team ‘Awesome’

  • Team ‘awesome’ is agile enough to be able to be responsive and proactive to change.
  • Team ‘awesome’ is able to recognise and resolve problems by making smart and informed decisions.
  • Team ‘awesome’ delivers relevant and real solutions for customers rather than delivering products and services to customers

How to Start to Build Team ‘Awesome’

Focusing on the behaviours you see, and the problems they present, instead of focusing on what strengths team members may have that are unseen, underutilized or untapped is where the secret to building and ‘awesome’ team lies.

Do you recognize any of these behaviours in your team?

The Procrastinator

Do you have team members who are indecisive and never seem to finish what they start?

  • Are these team members lacking confidence in the tasks they are expected to complete? If so, ask them why they feel this way and how you can help them to believe in themselves, particularly if the expectations in their role have changed.
  • Are these team members expected to complete tasks that they are under-skilled for?  Have you assessed your employee’s capacity and capability before having an expectation of them? If not, they may procrastinate to avoid being seen as incompetent.
  • Are these team members lost in the detail and cannot concentrate long enough to tick all the boxes to get the job done?  Find out if this person needs lots of information to commit or decide, and if so, how can you support this need?
  • Have you spent enough time explaining what you expect from these team members and the timeline you want them to complete tasks within?

The Antagonist

Do you have team members who create havoc and are sometimes a thorn in the side of other members of your team?

  • When this team member behaves this way are they aware of the impact on other team members?  Determine if this is a subconscious behaviour or one that is deliberate, and if so why?
  • Have these team members always behaved this way or has something changed that made their behaviour change, and if so why?
  • Are your antagonist team members bored and creating situations where they are the hero to challenge themselves?  How can you challenge them to refocus their attention?
  • What is the reward that these team members get by behaving this way?  How else can you reward them for other behaviours that are more appropriate, and in ways that will deliver higher productivity and is conducive to a healthy work culture?
  • Are other team members encouraging these behaviours by submitting or even enabling these team members?  Is being seen as having influence and authority the driver for these team members?

The People Pleaser

Nothing is too hard for these team members.  Give them any task and they will do their absolute best to see it through.

  • Are the team members that you identify as people pleasers capable of the tasks they attempt? How can you make these people feel that their contribution is valued while ensuring they are performing the tasks fit with their skill set and experience?
  • What are these team members looking for in your workplace?  Approval, a sense of belonging, popularity, or other drivers compel people pleasers to behave the way they do.  Identifying what the motivation is for the individual is key to ensuring that the potential of that employee is not lost in the effort and whether their behaviour may be more for personal gain than business productivity.
  • People pleasers often behave the way they do through fear and insecurity in the possibility of losing their role. By pleasing others they may feel that they will be liked and needed by the business, protecting them from their role being compromised.
  • If you channelled the energy that people pleasers spend on pleasing, into tasks that enable them to work to their strengths and give them a sense an opportunity to build a reputation on what they accomplish rather than what they do and say, what difference would that make to your business?

The ‘Accidental’ Leader

Have you got team members who have become accidental leaders? The role they are engaged in is not a leadership role but due to the team dynamics, they have had to stand up and take the lead, or maybe they were appointed into a leadership role but it is not their strength?

  • How can you identify who you natural leaders are, and when you do, how can you create an environment where they can lead, creating a more efficient and effective workplace?
  • Role misalignment can see accidental leaders thrust into an environment with an expectation that they are not engaged to perform.  How do you recognize natural leaders and appointed leaders who are misaligned?  When you do, how do you approach the dynamic of the workplace to take advantage of these leaders skills? Consider that working with these leaders strengths may alter or enhance culture with increased productivity and profitability.

The Quiet Achiever

The quiet achiever comes in, puts their head down and gets on with the task at hand.  Often this silent force pushes through workloads that others avoid, without complaint.

  • Is your visibility of the quiet achiever low?  Are you aware of what they have to offer, and if you are not what is your business missing out on?
  • Are your quiet achievers working to their capacity or just pushing through a workload?  Think about how you can start to introduce incentivization for these people to encourage them to challenge themselves and how you will do this.
  • Do your quiet achievers pick up the slack for other team members who may be taking advantage of their goodwill?  If you change how you measure the performance of your team and focus on their strengths to introduce key performance indicators, will this identify gaps in performance and open up opportunities?

The Whinger

Have you got team members who are never satisfied, never happy and always complaining no matter what you do for them?

  • People often whinge because whining about something is often easier than working to fix problems.  You need to discover why this behaviour keeps occurring to be able to establish a new purpose for these employees and to give them a reason why they would want to change their behaviour.
  • Is there a real reason for the whining that is being caused by the work environment that can be addressed rather than being dismissed?
  • Are their triggers that set off the whining, and if so what are that triggers, and what chain of reactions do these triggers put into motion?  Often taking the time to understand why people believe they need to behave a certain way is a great investment in discovering what motivates and what demotivates individuals and your team.

The Clock Watcher

The clock watcher’s timesheets are regimented and this is reflected in when they arrive at work and when they leave on time every day.  The clock watchers in your team may also be the ones who come in on time and then proceed to make their breakfast or socialize, procrastinating before they start work.

  • Why is your clock watcher disengaged? If they are bored and unhappy is it because their role does not challenge them, or are they only there to collect the weekly pay?
  • Clock watching is not only negative for the business but also impacts on the employee and the team collectively, with productivity suffering and everyone is affected. How can you help these employees to re-engage and take ownership of what they contribute?
  • Enriching the clock watchers job and time managing the activities may shine a light on their strengths and weaknesses, helping you support these employees and improve and enable their level of job satisfaction and value of the contribution they make to the business.

The ‘Big Picture’ Person

When it comes to getting things done it may be a challenge for the ‘big picture’ employee. They can see what needs to happen and inspire others to help them understand how this will happen but they may struggle to focus on making it happen.

  • The big picture person is important to encourage the team to work to achieve long-term goals and projects incrementally.  If you have a balance on your team with members who enjoy detail and process, these people will align well with the big picture person.  Who is on your team and is the mix right?
  • How can you embrace the vision of the big picture person to know where the business direction is going at an operational level? If you do this how will this make the employee feel, and what difference will that make to their level of engagement?
  • Often the big picture person is seen as a dreamer and not a doer. Finding the right vehicles for the big picture person to dream and deliver may help your business continue to gain momentum.  Is this important to help your business remain relevant and provide more insight for other employees?

The Manipulator

The manipulator is often the employee who feels that they have to position other team members by any means to make them look good.  This can be harmless or they can be very destructive.

  • If you have identified a manipulator the default is often to discipline them or spend time putting out fires they have started.  What if you looked at how they are manipulating to identify what they are trying to achieve by doing this?
  • If the manipulator is trying to make themselves look like a hero, how can you give them ownership of a task or project or offer them professional learning to teach them how to do this without creating collateral damage.
  • Often the manipulator’s behaviour is a cry for help.  They are feeling insecure or incompetent and this makes them fearful of their longevity and value to the business.  They often do not understand that they are being destructive or causing the behaviour that they do and may be horrified to think that this is what they are known for.  Showing the manipulator how to demonstrate value, how that is measured and rewarded is a learning process that can realign what once was a challenging employee into a champion employee.

The Follower

The follower just wants to be told what to do, how to do it and get on with doing it.

A follower can become stuck in a rut with little thought or attention to detail when they go through the motions to get the job done.  What if you changed some of the tasks or the ways they were to be done and supported this with training and guidance?

  • Often followers are motivated by basic safety needs and not by incentives and rewards.  Reframing their roles to expand what they do may challenge this. If you leverage the strengths and apply them to new job duties they may respond positively because they see themselves as team players. This will only work if they believe you are not trying to take them away from where they know they are capable. This process, if successful, reinforces their roles rather than changes them in their eyes.
  • How often do you see too many followers and inadequate leadership in teams?  When this happens you have a ‘pack mentality’ that is not conducive to productivity or profitability. If you identify the strengths of all your team members could this help you to change this dynamic?
  • Followers need guidelines or they operate by habit.  Is your business structured to facilitate this or do your team members just operate as they see best?

The Bully

These team members are your human resource nightmare.  This type of employee has the potential to create staff complaint or churn.

  • The typical reaction to a bully is negative and often this may just reinforce the bully to keep doing what they are doing. Likewise, calling them on that behaviour could also create a challenge.  Find out why this behaviour is happening in a non-confrontational way and you might find what pieces are missing that is causing this so you can remediate.
  • A bully often behaves this way because they feel inadequate and they are trying to compensate for what they are lacking.  Find out what is lacking and you may be on the way to defusing that behaviour,
  • Bullies often push to get their own way to validate how they think and how they behave.  Creating a collaborative work environment that is KPI’d on both individual and group efforts may help the bully to conform to achieve outcomes or be seen as the problem if they don’t.

The Innovator

Every team needs innovators to shift thinking from delivering services and products to delivering solutions.

  • Innovators are only an asset to a team when they are given the space and opportunity to discover and innovate.  How will you support this?
  • Innovators need to be measured to ensure that they focus on what the business needs to achieve.  How will you measure your innovators’ input and contribution to solutions and team performance?
  • Innovation can detract from the core business.  How can you structure your team aims and objectives to keep that focus while embracing innovation to remain relevant and competitive?

The Attention Seeker

Everyone likes attention but some employees seek it more than others.  These people can consume time and resource if left unchecked.

  • Why is your attention seekers attention seeking?  Are they looking for acknowledgement or recognition, and if so, why?
  • When you identify what the attention seeker’s motivation is you are able to understand what they need to perform effectively without feeling the need to find reassurance and reinforcement.
  • Rewarding autonomy and initiative may assist to reaffirm worth and value for the attention seeker.  This may work so long as that recognition is visible, and positions them as important in the team environment.

The Social Butterfly

Some employees see the workplace as a social environment.  Although it is good to create healthy relationships in the workplace balance is key.

  • What does the social butterfly want from the workplace?  Are they lonely, have low self-esteem or see their workmates as their friends first and foremost?  Workplaces can satisfy the need to belong, but it is important to nurture a culture where an employee feels they belong and are accepted, but are focussed on delivering what the business needs.  How will you elevate the social butterfly from someone who is perceived as someone who spends too much time around the water cooler, to one who is recognized as a productive and valued team member?
  • Harness the social butterflies talents!  Maybe they can run the social club or coordinate events?
  • Tightening the parameters around time management with performance measurement is another option, shining the light on what is really getting done.

The Reclusive

When an employee feels confronted or intimidated they may become reclusive and go within themselves.

Finding out why your team member is reclusive is the first step to understanding how to change that circumstance.

Being reclusive does not have to mean being unproductive, however, you need to be able to have transparency as to what these team members are actually doing.  If this assessment shows a strong work ethic it may not indicate any overarching challenges that exist but may indicate a person who prefers to work this way.

Respecting the reclusive team member is important, regardless of why they are reclusive, as this suggests that this is their natural default behaviour or by circumstance, they behave this way.  Tread carefully to encourage these team members to have a voice and you may learn a lot from what they have to say.

The Imposter

These team members often get promoted or secure a role without really having the qualifications or experience to perform in that role.

  • Imposters spend their time trying not to get found out.  Symptoms of this are poor performance, delegation and micromanagement.  Treating those symptoms may mean professional learning and mentoring or realignment of their roles. Be careful not to treat only the symptoms.  Focus on true change management.
  • The longer an imposter goes unchecked the more they are likely to impact the productivity of the team performance.  Regular team health checks are important.
  • An imposter will have more impact the higher their level of responsibility.  When you look at your team do you see an imposter impeding decision making and actions?  If so, how will you address this?

Team ‘awesome’ is a work in progress!

Profiling your people and making them feel supported as you go through this process will build trust and confidence and allay fears.

This is not about changing the job description but rather changing the job design. Emphasise and measure the strength and offset the impact of weaknesses by enabling other team members who demonstrate that those weaknesses are their strengths to align the team dynamic to compliment.

 

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Sales Discovery and Accelerator Workshops

Sales Discovery and Acceleration helps business align revenue streams and customers to improve cash flow and increase productivity.

discovery

I ask business the following questions:
•Are your confident that you know who your customers really are and what they really want?
•Do you believe that you can improve your sales performance by tapping into new revenue streams?
If the answer is ‘no’ the opportunity is to revisit and realign
their sales approach to optimize sales channels.

WE DELIVER
A methodology that will help business become more customer centric and learn new ways to position and sell their products and services to increase sales.
We do not teach you what to say and how to close the sale …we teach you how to think, how to speak in the language that your customers want to hear.

To learn more about what the Sales Discovery and Accelerator Workshop will deliver  

 

Originally posted 2016-11-20 15:14:41.

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Build your ‘sales’ muscle to enhance your performance

Would you agree that to be good at anything you need to exercise and hone your approach to get the performance you are looking for?  Sales is no different! Building up your sales muscle to be stronger, flexible, resilient and competitive is integral to becoming a successful sales person.

sales performance

All it takes is knowledge to understand and the discipline to persevere to get your sales ‘six-pack’ or maybe just a little bit of sales muscle to give you the edge you are looking for in the market.

The sales formula for success is not a ‘one size fits all’ remedy but there are a number of things you can do that will improve your sales performance and help you reach those budgets!

 

The sales ‘warm up’

limber-up-flexibility-sales

Limber up to prepare before you sell.  How you prepare before you even make the appointment with your customer is even more important than the sale itself.  If you prepare well you will position yourself to know who your customer is and why they would be interested in talking to you.  This sounds straightforward but it is amazing how many sales people do not do this and therefore do not have enough insight into who their target customer is.  They are also often blissfully unaware as to what would compel customers to engage with their business to secure and retain ongoing sales.

You must invest in research, analysis, strategy and planning to establish a strong ‘core’ to work from.  To facilitate this process you can gain advantages by strategic networking, partnering and collaboration with the right people to better understand the right approach.  This will help you to align what you are offering with the right customers.  This approach helps your ‘sales muscle’ to be more flexible and resilient to attract the right customers.

Sales Goal Setting

reach-high-sales-stretch

Once you have limbered up you can start to reach high and set goals that you want to achieve to increase sales engagement, interaction and conversion.

If you have done your homework and leveraged the right resources you will have an idea of what trends and insights will impact on your sales performance and will have learnt where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where those of your competitors lie.

Strength in Strategy

strategy-and-poise-sales

 

Now that you are informed you must determine what your strategy will be to not only secure new customers but also to retain and grow existing customers.  You must conduct yourself with poise and confidence in how and what you are offering as your unique value proposition to expect your customers to become true believers.  If you are convinced what you are offering is a good thing and you can project positive and measured outcomes that are credible and realistic you will overcome any objections that you may face.

The sales performance ‘strength’ workout

go-the-extra-mile-sales

Let’s step things up and start the sales performance workout.

Now that you have an informed strategy you can fine tune your approach and practice your craft to hone your skills. This will give you some strength and focus prior to talking to ‘real’ customers.  Find  a ‘sales buddy’ who will workout with you and practice being the salesperson and the customer to get both perspectives.  This will enable you to aim high and get the most out of your workout.

Be brave and be competitive!

be-competitive-salesPush through the pain of doubt to get the most out of your sales workout.   Your customers want to get excited by what you are offering them.  They also want to feel that they are getting value in that transaction.  That value might be a saving, a bonus or maybe even a sense of belonging or exclusivity.  Remember what people see they believe.  Perception is one of the best tools you can exercise in your sales toolkit.  What you say and do will impact on your sales success.

 

The ‘sales’ marathon

sales-marathon-not-sprint

Lastly, remember that sales account management is a marathon, not a sprint.  You need to spend the time to build relationships that will last with your customers.  To do this successfully you need to be consistent in being transparent and visible.  Communicate well and often, but constructively and always with respect.  Your customers want outcomes. Your responsibility is to be able to measure and report results that matter and resonate with what your customers are looking for.   Make no mistake, your customers have more choice now, than ever before.  If you are not looking after them somebody else will be.

Make sure that there is a virtual ‘drink station’ at regular intervals along the course. This will ensure that your customers are refreshed, replenished and invigorated throughout the sales marathon. This will guarantee that they are enthusiastic and receptive and want to run the race with you and not against you.

Originally posted 2016-11-07 16:10:33.

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Culture Shift: People vs Change

Digital transformation has become the ‘catch phrase’ of 2016.  Smart businesses now recognize that their business model needs to transform to remain relevant. Smart businesses also know their employees must embrace change. To achieve success with digital transformation a business must first of all achieve a sustainable culture shift.

How do you effect culture change?

….be ‘BRAVE’

culture

Brainstorming

Engage your employees from the ‘ground up’ in brainstorming sessions.

This will encourage the following behaviours:

  • ownership
  • engagement
  • ideation

 

This will unlock opportunities for your business to:

  • Recognize and acknowledge that the perspective of each employees will differ.
  • Understand how your employees see your business.
  • Acknowledge that his will determine how they will want to interact with your business.
  • Accept that this is where they see the business now and in the future.

The following outcomes will be:

  • What your employees envisage will illustrate how much they want to engage with your business.
  • It will also measure how much ownership they want to take of your business’ culture and direction.
  • This process is especially relevant as it will start to identify who your business’ change agents are.

Responsibility

Your business needs to take the following steps:

Your business needs to learn to ask the following question every time a decision is made in the business :

“How can digital make this more effective and efficient”.

Authentication

Engage with your employees by:

  • Listening to your employees and learning how and what they think.
  • Recognizing and acknowledging their ideas as worthwhile.
  • Authenticating your employee’ ideas through discussion and submission forums for consideration to establish engagement.
  • Validating the authentication of your employees through socialization and other communication opportunities.

Validation

Bookmarks to achieve employee validation:

  • Validate what your employees have to say. They want to be heard.
  • Show interest and engagement to let your employees know that what they think matters.
  • Validation is what motivates and inspires your employees.

‘What matters’ to you employees

If you become mindful of your employees need for validation you will start to elevate ‘what matters’ to your employees.

Emotional intelligence

To make the above steps work and to lead a successful digital transformation you need to have a high emotional intelligence.

To successfully drive change you need to

  • Understand the impact it will have on your employees.
  • Be conscious of your own emotional responses and reactions.
  • Realize that your behaviour sets the tone for the workplace.
  • Understand that your employees will respond to you if you show them empathy and acknowledge the value they bring to the business.
  • Recognize that having a blind expectation that your employees will perform based on what their job description says you will always disappoint.
…. have ‘RESOLVE’

culture

Reward

The human condition is motivated by reward.

You need to ask yourself…

  • Why your employees would want to get involved in your agenda for digital transformation?
  • What is in it for them?

Your business needs to…

Determine key performance indicators (KPI’s) and provide incentives for identified ‘digital’ champions to motivate them to lead. Reward your ‘digital’ champion performance.

Those rewards could be…

  • opportunity
  • promotion
  • responsibility
  • education
  • training
  • equity
  • ownership
  • remuneration
  • other ideas!!

Educate

  • Continue to educate to empower your employees.
  • Embrace knowledge as a way to offset concerns your employees may have.
  • Recognize that your employees have different learning styles.
  • Deliver omni-channel training and learning experiences that are visual, written, audio and interactive
  • Accelerate a culture of acceptance and understanding to tolerate failure as a step towards learning

Socialize

  • Silos insulate employees from what the business is doing and thinking.
  • Introducing socialization channels and opportunities will create discussion and debate. This will generate conversation.
  • Expose your employees to hearing and seeing how other employees and departments think and interact  around change and they will be less likely to be passengers.

Ownership

  • Create momentum by enabling and empowering key employees who will own, champion and lead your digital transformation internally.
  • Acknowledge that a C-Suite-led digital transformation is a foundation but will not successfully transform a business.
  • Empower your employee champions.  If they are given ownership and responsibility they will create momentum for change. This is when you will see the real benefits for the business.

Leadership 

Lead by example! 

  • Employees need to see that you are confident and consistent in your message about how the business’ culture will transform.
  • This will  enable your employees to embrace change.
  • Make your message clear and decisive so your employees know what is expected of them.

Visibility

Create visibility for your employees.  Perception that your business is hiding or holding back information will see your employees put up barriers to change. The result is that your culture will not shift.

Evangelize

  • Your employees are the best advertisement for digital transformation in your business.
  • Your employee evangelists, if well supported, are in the best position to convert  your change averse employees.
  • You can help by making sure your door is always open and you interact with your employees.

How do you continue to encourage culture change?

….you must ‘FACILitATE’ an environment that is conducive to this

culture

 

Flexibility

Flexibility is important because….

  • to be responsive to change your business needs to be flexibile to be responsive to changes that occur in your competitive landscape.
  • your employee churn rate will climb if your business is not flexible to change.
  • today’s employee is looking for businesses that recognize and respect their need for work/life balance.
  • employees like being aligned professionally with progressive companies.  Millennials exemplify this trend.

Agility

Challenge:

Traditional businesses often have legacy systems embedded in their operations that inhibit their ability to be agile.

Solution:

Digital transformation works to make traditional businesses more agile.  This process is usually implemented incrementally as legacy systems can take some time to integrate or eliminate.

Remember …you need to remember that small changes can bring big efficencies.

Communication

Communication is key throughout a digital transformation.  Communicating the what, when, where and who is responsible is integral to your business’ success. How you communicate must always be open and reciprocal.

Incubation

Incubation means…

  • Ability to nurture ideas and innovation
  • Supporting employee initiatives
  • Actively encouraging intrapreneurship

Layers

Businesses traditionally have layers of strategy throughout their business.  These layers of strategy are usually underpinned by a whole-of- business strategy.  The challenge is that these layers can create a disconnection within the business if they are supported and implemented by divisions and departments independent of each other .

Your whole-of-business strategy needs to be customer-centric and  customer-led. Each department or division initiative needs to support this.

The question that must always be asked for each business initiative is:

‘How can digital make this smarter or simpler’.

This approach transcends the traditional layers of the business.

Innovation

The word ‘innovation’ like ‘disruption’ is somewhat overused and often misunderstood.

Innovation does not have to mean something that changes the course of the business.  It can be something that is a ‘tweak’ to the business operations.

The emphasis should always be to make the business more efficient and effective. This can happen with very little change.

Innovation needs to become a mindset.  Everyone needs to ask how can we make this smarter or simpler?

Transparency

A business that is an open book can be very dynamic.  A business that operates openly and collaboratively is more likely to position itself to become a market leader.

Digital transformation can deliver data that will assist with transparency and inform businesses to help them make the right decisions.

Accord

A siloed or segmented business will struggle to survive disruption and change.

Finding accord through customer-centricity within your business and embracing digital to drive this in your business strategy will create common business goals.

This approach will also ensure your employees are aware of what is happening, where the business is headed, and what the business wants to achieve.

Technology

Connected

Ensuring that the platforms and channels you use are connected and communicate fluently across the business is vital to facilitating digital transformation.

Employees

Whether your employees are in a customer service role or an operational role within your business they need to know what is going on and how it impacts the rest of the business.

Embrace

Disruption is inevitable and no industry is exempt.  Embracing digital positions your business to be better prepared.

Disruption and change will occur but rather than be reactive to what other businesses are doing you will be able to be proactive.

You need to ask the following questions.

  • How can new technologies and business initiatives benefit your business?
  • How can you collaborate rather than compete?
  • In which ways can you complement or bring value?

Digitalizing your business with technology without recognizing how the culture of your business will be impacted is foolhardy and shortsighted.

Employees will accelerate business evolution if supported, educated and aligned.

What is your business doing to effect and encourage culture shift?

Originally posted 2016-04-27 14:40:23.

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3 Things You Need To Eliminate To Create The Best Version Of ‘YOU’

Do you want to be happy, successful and feel fulfilled, but you feel that you keep falling short of achieving this?  If this sounds familiar you are not alone.  The good news is that you can create the best version of ‘you’.  The choice is yours.

create

If you want to create the best version of yourself you need to ask yourself how you are spending your time and where you are focused.

Are you always busy?

busyness

This is a no-brainer, right?  You are probably always busy because you have so much to do and not enough time to do it in.

Have you considered that the problem you may create for yourself by being busy, is that your busyness may actually be distracting you away from focusing on what you really want to become?

Are you a copycat?

copycat

When you search for role models and mentors to help you determine where you want to go, who you want to become and how you are going to get there, who are you focusing on and why?

Have you considered that the problem you may create for yourself by looking at others for inspiration and motivation is that by trying to emulate what you see as attractive in others, you may be missing what your strengths are?

Are you an imposter?

imposter

Being seen to be capable and confident in how you conduct yourself is often desirable as it is seen as a reflection how you want to be perceived as a better version of yourself by others.  The question that you need to ask yourself is what you are projecting surface deep or the real you?  If it is the former you will always live in the fear of being found out.

Have you considered that the problem you may create for yourself by behaving this way is giving the world a version of you that is not real and could indeed be highlighting your weaknesses and not your strengths?

Becoming consciously purposeful is the key to becoming the best version of ‘you’ that you can be.

Becoming purposeful simply means that in everything you think, say and do you have a purpose.  That purpose needs to be focused on becoming the best version of you.

To become purposeful you need to let go of your fears.   

10 fears that may be holding you back

  • fear of failure
  • fear of criticism
  • fear of rejection
  • fear of loss of control
  • fear of loss of security
  • fear of success
  • fear of judgment
  • fear of being alone
  • fear of what you may be risking
  • fear of change

How do you know if these fears are getting in the way… 

  • Do you procrastinate?
  • Do you have a failure to launch?
  • Are you a people pleaser?
  • Do you always say yes?
  • Do you focus only where you know that you have a high chance of succeeding?
  • Do you perform in an arena where you know that you will shine?
  • Do you talk about what you know and not about what you want to know?
  • Do you listen to reply rather than listen to hear?
  • Do you tell yourself that tomorrow you will begin?
  • Do you spend your time trying to be like others that you think are successful or fit your model of social acceptance?

To grow you need to invest in ‘you’.

Find a good mentor or engage counsel because they can help you work on ‘you’.  They can help you to discover your strengths and help you acknowledge your weaknesses.

Imagine if you could discover your unique value proposition and identify with what would that really means to ‘you’?

What would happen if you identified what you are prepared to invest to reach your potential (time, resource, money)?

What if you took the time to understand how you can better articulate what benefits you will enjoy?

If you realize what you can achieve and visualize what your expectation and experience will be what difference will this make to your life?

You have the choice to seize the opportunity and shine, or languish in the ‘ordinary’ and live a ‘groundhog day’ existence.

Everybody has unique potential.

What is yours?

 

Originally posted 2017-10-17 13:03:41.

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Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

There is no doubt that we all want to making sales! How you go about making sales is critical to your business’ success or failure.

3D-Bar-Graph- Sales -Meeting-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many businesses believe that the more businesses they contact, the more sales they will make.

Are you are trying to establish a customer base?

Do you believe it is a ‘numbers’ game?

What are the top 10 reasons why a ‘numbers’ game can be costly and ineffective? 

  • Lack of credibility and reputation: If your potential client does not know who you are or they do not have a reason to believe what you say they will not give you the time of day.  Your potential clients are busy and have to prioritize their time. You need to have some credibility and/or reputation to establish your relationship. You need to have this before you can assume prospective clients will listen to you.
  • Time v’s returns: How much time are you investing in your sales efforts versus tangible outcomes you are achieving?
  • No. of conversions v’s no. of businesses contacted: For every business you have contacted what is the ratio of contact to conversion? Is it worth the effort you are putting in?
  • Talking to the wrong person:Are you talking to the person who makes the decisions or a contact in the business?  If your communication is with the wrong person it is likely to become a dead lead.
  • Talking to the wrong businesses: Have you qualified your target business/vertical?  or are you throwing the net wide to capture a size of business rather than a type of business?
  • Getting past the gatekeeper: Why would the gatekeeper open the door for you to talk to the decision maker in the business?  What is your strategy to overcome this?
  • Customer engagement: How are you telling the story of what you can do for your prospective business?  Is it in an email, on the phone or by another mass communication means?  Are you talking ‘to’ your prospective clients or ‘interacting’ with them?
  • Poor sales management: How are you tracking your sales efforts? Are you reporting time spent attending meetings, volumes of sales calls, number of active leads or are you making each sales effort fully accountable?
  • Personalization v’s critical mass approach:  The risk when you telemarket with a set script or you send a regular EdM is that you lose the ability to customize a solution for your prospective client.  You are expecting your prospective client to figure out how your solution will work with their business. Are you communicating this well enough for them to do this?

What if you had a secret sauce for cold calling that had a high conversion rate with a minimal customer burn rate?

The first phase is ‘being seen as an influencer and industry solution expert‘ as outlined below and this needs to be done immediately. The second phase is a relationship reinforcement that should be done once you identify and engage with prospective clients to make your sales recipe a success.  This gives you the impetus and momentum to grow a qualified audience.

Well here it is…

Your Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

Be seen as an influencer, networker and industry solution expert! 

Phase 1:

  • Identify as many sources of authority as you can so that your name is seen where and when your target personas are looking.
  • Demonstrate your industry knowledge and experience by being seen constructively, contextually and frequently through social media, forums, group discussions, blogs and webinars etc.
  • Offer something that your client wants and position your solution as the one they are looking for.

Phase 2:

  • Research the individuals you meet with to discover who they are and what their triggers are.  What is the predominant theme of information about your prospective clients that is available? e.g. ego, interests, background, people you both know to find common ground, strengths and weaknesses, achievements etc
  • Connect with each and every prospect you meet with in person on Linkedin. When you do this you are effectively putting them on your mailing list.
  • Send your prospective clients your contact details via SMS to capture their phone number. This will also ensure that your contact details are saved in their phone so when you do call  them they will recognize that it is you.
  • Form partnership, affiliations and relationships that will benefit both parties and accelerate your sales.

Identify who your target market really is

  • What is the size of the businesses you are targeting? (small, medium, large)
  • Have you defined the decision maker entry point you need to engage with to get traction?
  • What specific verticals will embrace your products or services?

What are the key ‘pain points’ that you can remedy?

  • Research the vertical and the businesses you have identified.  You need to understand what your prospective clients are communicating through forums, social media and other channels.  This allows you to become familiar with what their ‘pain points’ are.
  • Once you have an understanding of the vertical and business landscape cross reference the ‘pain points’ that you have identified with the remedy/s that your products and/or services offer.
  • Make a distinction of why your products and/or services should be the preferred choice to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’. What sets you apart from other solutions in the market?

Illustrate how you can remedy the identified ‘pain points’?

  • Now that you have done your homework you will now know how to communicate your solutions to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’.
  • Remember that slide decks can be flat, boring and ‘old school’. Don’t default to using them. Slide decks should be minimal in content and number of slides. Their purpose is to introduce and inform, not to educate, involve and excite. Slide decks do not allow your potential client to interact with your product and/or service. Remember your prospective clients needs to do this to take ownership of your solutions and make them their own.
  • To educate, involve and excite your prospective clients you should consider a mix of visual engagement tools including:

#Clickable prototypes

#physical products that you can demonstrate or they can be used by the business to illustrate efficiency and effectiveness. e.g. free trials.

#tangible display of outcomes that talk to the ‘bottom line’ proficiency of their business e.g. reducing overheads, increasing revenue, time savings.

#introducing case studies with relatable results to promote your track record of solution sales.

Remember that we do business in a world driven by immediate gratification. How will you get your prospective client’s attention and ultimately their sale?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 11:39:05.

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Customers don’t care

That’s right you heard me…Your customers don’t really care about you!  This can be a shock to some businesses who believe that they have loyal customers who have and will continue to frequent their business no matter what.

customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality in today’s world is that the customer can be bought, sold and coerced. If you do not know what their triggers are you are in danger of becoming extinct.

Challenge yourself by answering the following questions as ‘your customer’?

Be honest and brutal with your answers because these will assist you to improve your customer ‘stickiness’. It will also give you an advantage over your competitors. Once you understand where your weaknesses are where, when and how you interact with your customers you will be able to do something about it.

What are the ‘BEST’ reasons customers will leave you?

1/ Benefit

  • What value do you give a customer that no-one else does?
  • Are you solving a problem for your customers?
  • What advantage do they gain by using your product or service?
  • How do you differ from your competitors and how do you communicate that?
  • Is the benefit you deliver for the customer significant enough to establish them as a regular customer?

    2/ Experience

  • Is the customer’s journey seamless from beginning to end?
  • Do you believe your customer’s journey intuitive?
  • Do you believe that your customers feel like their needs and wants are being considered?
  • Does your customer feel that they have ownership of the process and are in control?
  • What makes the experience that you deliver different/better than your competitors?
  • Is the message, outcome or ‘call to action’ clear and relevant for the customer?

3/ Satisfaction

  • How does your product or service make your customer feel?
  • Will the experience make your customers want to tell their family and friends?
  • Did the customer feel rewarded, valued and happy with what you delivered?
  • What happened that will make the customer return?
  • How do you know that your customer’s are satisfied with what you are delivering?
  • How are you identifying and assessing the level of satisfaction you are delivering for your customers?

4/ Time

  • Was your customer’s experience timely because we now live in a world of immediacy and time is precious?
  • Are you aware of where your customers are and what they were doing?
  • Was navigation easy and quick to let your customers find what they are searching for?
  • Did the effort the customer had to put in to receive your product or service make it worth the investment that you asked them to put in?
  • How much time did your service or product save your customer and what value did it give them?
  • Did you customer achieve cost savings in other areas by using your products or services?

Do you know how you could improve your business to attract and engage customers so that they ‘care’ about what will you have to offer them?  How will you become a more customer-centric business?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 08:44:50.

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7 Deadly Sins of Strategies – Are you guilty?

Once upon a time… there were strategies for everything.  While having  a business strategy is often the anchor strategy you may also find a sales strategy, a marketing strategy and now a digital strategy in your business.

Digital strategies and the transformation they drive is evolving business’ from analog to digital.  The journey is fast and furious. As a result of this businesses who choose not to get on board now also risk becoming irrelevant, disrupted or extinct.

strategies

 

Digital must now be core to every part of your business.  Every decision that is made in the business should start with… So how will digital make this ….?

Digital strategies – Are you a sinner or saint?

1/  STRATEGY SIN:  You are business-centric 

Your business offers X products and Y services as a result of perceived customer demand. Naturally, because of this approach, you position your business strategy to continue to improve and deliver these products and services. Your focus is to also deliver these products and services with lower cost and higher returns. Does this sound familiar?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Become customer-centric 

Your customers determine the success of your business.  Now is the time to audit your business and benchmark how you perform in your industry and against best practices. This process will also help your business to understand what customers want now and in the future. Furthermore if you do the same thing the same way  your should expect to get the same result. In business today you are almost certainly going to get a much lesser result and see diminishing returns. This will also progressively compromise the viability and relevancy of your business.

2/  STRATEGY SIN: Cutting costs to remain competitive

When the going gets tough a lot of businesses would rather cut their costs and bunker down to weather the storm than be proactive. This behaviour closes the eyes of your business  rather than making your business aware of what is happening around you.  It also puts your business in a defensive position and increases your business vulnerability on price point and not on value.  This is a game that your business will almost certainly never win and you will continue to lose market share.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Invest in your business’ future

There is no doubt that due to the necessity for change and ongoing disruption the interruption of the traditional business model cannot be ignored.  To stay relevant you also need to understand the customer climate and innovate based on qualified and quantitative data.  As a result of this action being taken your business will be empowered to grow and outshine your competition. An investment based on intelligence and visualization is money well spent.

3/  STRATEGY SIN: Being reactive 

Your competitors are changing their business models and embracing technology. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. If your competition are doing it successfully you assume  it is what the market wants so you invest in a version of what your competitors are doing to remain competitive.  You compete on cost to offer an alternative that is attractive for your customers as an option to your competitors more expensive offering. This will make your competitive….right? Remember when you take this approach are trusting that your competition has made the right decision for you.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Be proactive 

Being reactive means you are always behaving from what ‘has happened’.  The key words here are ‘has happened’ .  Working in the past tense is disadvantaging your business as you are always trying to mimic or catch up to where you think you should be.  Strategic planning with digital tools at the core of your decision making ‘turns the tables’ and puts you back in the driver’s seat. You are able to introduce indicative and predictive analytics based on market intelligence.

4/  STRATEGY SIN: Culture adverse 

By accepting that the culture in your business does not or will not change you are condemning your business to a bleak future.  Technology is often mistaken as digital transformation where it really is a tool that facilitates it. The true driver is your people and the culture in your business.  Culture will have a bigger impact on your P & L going forward than technology ever will alone.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Culture shift 

Culture change doesn’t happen overnight and cannot happen without people in your business championing digital transformation and owning it.  When this starts from the C-suite down the momentum starts to swing but the key is identifying, incentifying and rewarding people in your organisation who champions and lead change.  These are the people who will work with their teams to make true digital transformation happen. Invest in resource to bring into your business to educate, facilitate and guide your business.

5/  STRATEGY SIN: Tunnel Vision

Planning a strategy that is projected on what you know or think you know now will be fatal.  The 3 year/5 year strategies that have been the mainstay for legacy businesses as the bible of what they will do next, how they will resource and what they will invest in is now redundant.  Your business vision needs to recognize that business is changing almost before the ink dries on the bound print strategy on your desk.  Today’s business strategy is a living and breathing document that must be agile to respond to change as it occurs.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Peripheral Vision  

You must look outside of the centre of your focus to be able to see what is happening in your industry and even in other industries that may disrupt or change the course of yours.  Smart and agile startups that are only interested in giving your customers what they want, where and when they want it should be on your radar. The strategies start-ups work from are agile and living.  They make changes to their strategies that reflect what the customer is saying and are responsive to change. This enables them to deliver immediacy and satisfaction.

6/  STRATEGY SIN: Competing with yourself

Silos are nothing new in business and silos competing for budget dollar in a business isn’t new either. This annual push and shove for the budget business dollar dilutes the power of the business to perform in an agile manner.  If department A is competing with department B to achieve their independent objectives you have to ask these questions.

  • What is happening to the companies goals of achieving their objectives?
  • Is the business being obsured by  internal politics and is this overriding what is important to the business holistically?

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making yourself competitive

Your business needs to establish strategies that are customer led and are driven by digital at their core.

  • How can you better manage your business by embracing digital?
  • Who should own digital in your business to drive this?

You need to hold digital accountable for this!  Digital should touch and impact every part of your business model and your business operations (yes your people). Technology is critical to make this happen.  This will arm your business to be ready to compete with disruption, change and challenges. Your business will evolve to become a smart and innovative digital leader.

7/  STRATEGY SIN: Set and forget

Does this sound familiar?

Your business strategy has consumed your business time and resources. You have ensured that you have addressed everything you need to and it has been documented ready for board approval.  The presentation goes well and the strategy is approved. Beautifully bound volumes of your business strategy are sent to key stakeholders across the business….then what?

Meetings follow and key elements of the strategy are implemented.  The challenge is that a lot of what is written on those pages is left sitting on desks.  It is highly likely as time passes that they will gather dust and be overlooked or simply ignored. This could be due to the either the challenges of the day-to-day running of the business or lack of time rather than intent.

STRATEGY TRANSFORMATION: Making it happen iteratively

Strategies need to be informed before they can be determined and your current and prospective customers should be the authors of your strategy.  Once you learn what your customers and stakeholders need and want you have qualified data that illustrates direction and enables smart decision making.

  • What if your business could have a strategy that was licensed to be implemented iteratively and incrementally? This would effectively take the strategy off those pages and deliver quick wins as it is implemented.
  • What if these wins could offset cost, reduce resources, improve sales and be measured by other benchmarks to grow the business.

This would justify investment and also empower your business to change course as your customers needs and wants change. This would give your business the competitive advantage you need. This is how true digital transformation works.

Please feel free to add other strategy sins that are not listed here and their remedies!  How we behave as businesses has never made us more vulnerable than we are now.

Your business  can not afford to invest in a digital transformation.

No business is exempt from change and everything you hear and see suggests that this is only the beginning.

Originally posted 2016-04-10 15:20:28.

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10 Step Smart Start-Up Checklist – Find Gaps and Opportunities

Please tick or put a crossmarts next to each statement on the 10 Step-Smart Start-Up Checklist. This is a retrospective look at your start-up, assuming that you have completed each task. This is purposeful to help you to identify gaps and discover untapped opportunities to accelerate your growth trajectory.

1/ What problem/s have you identified that your business model is solving and for whom?

 The need/s for what our business model delivers in the marketplace have been clearly identified and acknowledged.
 We understand who our customer/s are that we are servicing or intend to service, and what industry verticals or customer segments they belong to.
 We recognise how our customers want to engage with our business model.
 Our business modelling has evolved according to what we have discovered our customer’s want it to look like, how it should behave and how it should communicate and interact with them.

2/ What is the framework you have used to evaluate the opportunity as a founder/s?

 We have determined and understand what our motivation is to make the business a success.
 We have a strong network of family and friends to support us.
 We understand what the external environment is in context to our business model.
 We have created a unique value proposition that we can communicate in one or two paragraphs that sets us apart from competitors.
 We have explored the resources, structures, channels, platforms and processes that are available to deliver on our vision.
 We have researched and gained insight into our ability to perform and deliver on our vision.

3/ What have you determined to position your business to be successful?

 Research to determine the evidence that our business model will be viable has been completed.
 A SWOT analysis has been undertaken as part of this process to understand the true competitive landscape for our business model.
 Industry and like industry trends have also been researched to understand how they may impact on our business model.
 Research of best practices has been completed to benchmark against our business model.
 We have analysed our business model based on all the evidence we have collected.
 The evidence that was discovered is both quantitative and qualitative and has enabled us to establish the true value and perspective of the business in context to the marketplace.
 We have defined the need for our business model and created our business plan to deliver this
 We have created an MVP to demonstrate what the business offers, with a full or partial capability that demonstrates process and opportunity.
 Our organisational capacity and capability have been reviewed and a gap analysis conducted, analysed and addressed.
 We have clarity on how we will position our business model to ensure it is sustainable and scalable.

4/ What have you put in place to plan, execute and measure success?

 We understand who needs to be involved in the business and why to make this happen.
 We recognise what needs to be prioritised to accelerate this process
 We have created a business strategy, with incremental quick wins in place to demonstrate progress. This strategy is agile and flexible, to evolve with the business and overcome and create disruption as it grows.
 We have established a sales, content and marketing strategy that is a subset of and talks to the business strategy and aligns with our investment strategy to holistically deliver on our vision.
 We can demonstrate through financial metrics that our business model is sustainable and robust
 We are able to measure customer engagement, map our cash flow and identify our strengths and weaknesses through real time reporting of our performance.
 Timeframes have been identified and processes implemented to achieve the desired outcomes in a timely fashion aligned to investment expectations.
 Research has identified the right resources which we are implementing to facilitate the business model’s growth trajectory.

We have identified
 More than one revenue stream for the business.
 How we will KPI and measure the value of equity against investor impact.
 How we will plan, build and deploy our technology so that the core code is established as a foundation for scoping and future iterations, in alignment with our business strategy.
 How we articulate our brand’s story.
 Our growth trajectory and exit strategy for the business for investor transparency.
 Our forecast revenue growth rate and scalability to demonstrate how this will be achieved.

5/ Establishing the business as an entity

 We have determined what type of business we are establishing e.g. for-profit, not for profit, social entity etc, registered it and branded it accordingly.
 We have registered and secured the business name and any applicable copyright and patents have been established and protected.
 We have registered and secured all relevant domain names and established how they work within the context of the business vision and business modelling.
 Business cards and logo have been created.
 A web presence has been created and populated as an online shop front for the business.
 Office space or a physical shop front has been secured to operate from.
 Banking facilities have been established for the business.
 An accountant has been engaged and an approved accounting system has been implemented.
 We have secured all necessary insurances to protect the business and its employees.
 We have obtained all qualification relevant to operate the business in the environment.
 OHSC Compliance has been undertaken and satisfied.
 Relevant licences are in place to legally operate the business.
 We are legally compliant and have engaged legal counsel.

6/ Understanding the business model journey

 We are a Business to Business model.
 We are a Business to Community model.
 We are a Business to Business and a Business to Community model.
 Our business operates on a high margin, low volume business model.
 Our business operates on a low margin, high volume business model.
 We are a service only business that operates on a single revenue model.
 We are a product only business that operates on a single revenue model.
 We are a product and service mix business that operates on a tiered revenue model.
 We are cash flow positive and have established customers.
 We have no customers or live trials currently.

7/ Pricing the business products and/or services

 We have not established our pricing model.
 We have established our pricing model.
 We can demonstrate how our pricing model will operate in practice.
 We can demonstrate how it will show predictability and control over the business growth trajectory and positioning in the market.
8/ Creating the right foundation for the business
 We have established a governance process to guide and advise the business.
(An advisory board or/and an independent board of directors)
 We have not been declared bankrupt nor have any persons associated with the business declared bankrupt.
 We have run background checks on people who are involved in the business as a matter of due diligence
 We have established an investment strategy to fund the business.
 We have created a development plan to deliver the technology needed to create an MVP, its development and deployment as a predecessor of our business platform.

9/ Recruiting to grow the business

 We have created an org chart that articulates the structure, capability and capacity of the business to operate and position itself to be attractive for investment.
 We have established operational policies for human resource process and procedures.
 We have determined the culture and ethics that we aim to establish in the business and how we will communicate these to new employees
 We have no paid employees in the business.
 We have paid employees in the business.
 We outsource tasks to contractors or other resourcing opportunities to grow the business.

10/ What smart relationships have you established to enhance brand positioning, awareness, capacity and capabilities?

 The establishment of an advisory board.
 Partnerships with like-minded businesses for mutually beneficial outcomes.
 The establishment of peer industry alignment and consultation.
 The engagement of trusted vendors and/or suppliers.
 The engagement of customers through case studies and trials.
 The establishment of a reciprocal backlink and testimonial agreement with businesses and individuals we develop business relationships with.
 The commencement of private and/or public funding.
 The appointment of strategic and experienced management resources.
 The inclusion of on-the-job volunteer and paid intern resource to create a low-cost resource base.

 

Originally posted 2017-02-19 10:39:23.

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Be honest with yourself to reach your potential

Be honest with yourself and discover the real you.

Lets get started now!

Firstly you need to look at your strengths, weaknesses, interests and focus in the following four quadrants:

Be honest with yourself

 

Are you being honest with yourself and owning who you really are?

Reflection:

Reflect on how you see yourself and own your strengths and weaknesses honestly and without judgement.

Projection:

Assess how you project who you are to others.  Do you own your persona or present the strengths you think others want you to be?  What weaknesses and vulnerabilities does this approach create?

Interests:

What are your passions and how do they determine your purpose? Explore the potential of following what you want to be rather than what you think you are expected to be.

Focus:

Where do you spend your time and energies? Do you invest in your passions and is your purpose in life your focus?

Interested to learn more about authenticity?

On Being Authentic (Thinking in Action) by Charles Guignon

‘To thine own self be true.’ From Polonius’s words in Hamlet right up to Oprah, we are constantly urged to look within. Why is being authentic the ultimate aim in life for so many people, and why does it mean looking inside rather than out? Is it about finding the ‘real’ me, or something greater than me, even God? And should we welcome what we find?

How To Be Yourself – Become Your Authentic Self Right Now by Actualized.org

How To Be Yourself – Stop being a people-pleaser and start living your life true to who are.

When you choose to live an authentic life you will be able to realize your true potential. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t realize this and never accomplish what they are truly capable of.  You get to choose authenticity or ordinary!

 

Originally posted 2016-02-02 13:31:53.

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