Use This 4th Quarter to Gain Momentum for 2017

Here is a truth: If you go through the same motions you’ve went through all year, and you are not satisfied with your results, it’s almost a certainty you will begin next year behind in performance very quickly.

Here is another truth: You should use the 4th quarter to establish  momentum for a fast start for 2017 and to prove to yourself that you can achieve at a higher level.

As it relates to your goals, you have either:

  1. Exceeded them
  2. Met them
  3. Fallen behind

If you don’t have any goals, well shame on you.  That’s impacting you more than you know.

Regardless of the position you and your organization find yourself in now, you CAN both finish this year strong and gain momentum towards coming out of the 2017 gate fast.

However, you will need to do a few things differently.  The things you need to be doing in the 4th quarter are exactly that same things you should have been doing all year.

Here they are: Continue reading

Time Management Problems? They’re Not What You Think!

time management

I can’t even count how many executives, managers, professional sellers, and entrepreneurs over the years have told me they have time management problems.  Time management problems are not even time management problems.  They are GOALS CLARIFICATION problems.  Because when you are clear on your goals, you know how you should be spending your time.   Period.

If you, my reader, self-identify with time management problems, you probably don’t have goals.  How close am I?

Forget about “Oh, I have goals in my head…”  If they aren’t written down, you don’t really have goals.  Period.  You’re just pretending you do.

If you think you have time management problems, here is what you need to do:

1. Decide on what your goals are.  Business goals.  Personal goals.  Short term.  Long term.  Write them down.  Notably, this will be one of the most important things you ever do in your life, by the way…

2. Prioritize your goals by thinking through and deciding on what’s most important to you right now.

3. Apply “first actionable step” and “next actionable step” thinking to each goal until you can answer the question “If I do all these things, will I achieve my goal? This will become your plan.

4. Always be working on action steps related to one of the goals which are a top priority.  If you are taking goal oriented action, you are productive.  With this n mind, don’t worry if you only accomplish 2 things or 3 or even 1 thing during the day.  If it’s the most important thing, that’s all that matters.  Achievement of your goals is all that matters.  Or should be all that matters.

If only it was this easy…

In my years of working with executives, managers, and professional sellers I’ve found that self identified time management problems are usually impacted by a person’s competencies in long term planning, project and goal focus, and concrete organizing.  Low scores in these areas impact goal setting, prioritization, planning, and staying on task.  Hence, the self identified time management issues which aren’t time management issues.

What it takes is understanding these things before you can do anything about it.

Take a talents profile which measures these things.  For your profile: Click here.

See if that’s the problem for you or not.  The goal is, or should be, to be completely clear on what you’re not good at.  Then you can eliminate those things and to find out your strengths so you can multiply them.

 

What Makes a Company Truly Great

Business Growth

Following is a guide to increasing your chances of delivering business growth and exceptional performance well into the future. This information is relevant to business regardless of size or revenue.  This blog is adapted from an article in the Harvard Business Review.

Two Deloitte consultants conducted a study of twenty five thousand companies to come to a conclusion of what makes a company truly great.  They selected 340 that had done well enough for long enough to qualify as truly exceptional.   It is a study similar to that of Collins in his work “Good to Great.”  Although the Deloitte results showed that:

The many and diverse choices that made certain companies great were consistent with just 3 seemingly elementary rules.”

The rules are:

#1:  Better before cheaper

#2: Revenue before cost

#3: There are no other rules

According to this study, these rules are not how a company takes specific actions.  Nor can this be considered strategy.  Rather they are “fundamental concepts on which companies have built greatness over many years.”

Mergers and acquisitions, customer focus, innovation, and risk taking were associated with all levels of performance equally from the good to the great.  The rules came into focus when the emphasis was shifted from what these companies did to how they thought.   An interesting concept…

The rules provide what is believed to be credible answers to every business leader’s basic questions about superior performance.

Let’s take a little deeper look at each. Continue reading

The Reason You Are Losing Sales

Sales

I’ve been in professional sales for over 20 years.  But, I don’t ever sell anything.  “What!?” you might be saying.

I don’t sell anything because I sit back and let my probable purchaser take from me.  I know that if I give them enough information and ask the right questions, they will make the decision which is in their best interest.

The key is that they need to see the benefit.

Whenever two people see things the same way, they most likely come to the same conclusion.  This is a universal law.  Effective questioning will help people see what you see.  That they should do business with you.   Giving the right information, only the information that is relevant and important to your probable purchaser will help too.  (Note well that I am not talking about “pitching!”) Continue reading

Why Effective Questioning Leads to Sales

effective questioning

I talk with clients a lot about effective questioning as part of the sales process.  (Notice I said “effective questioning.”)

In his book “To Sell is Human”,  Dan Pink gives the reason that questioning is so powerful.  The book is a study of the psychology of moving people aka: Sales.  (I do this type of studying so you don’t have to if you don’t want!)

The significance lies in the core of how questions operate.  Let’s contrast this first with a statement.

When you make a statement, it can be received passively. You know, in one ear and out the other. This is what happens when you “pitch.”  And why a pitch so often falls on deaf ears.  Telling is not selling.  It’s certainly not helping a prospect buy from you.

When you ask a question, the receiver is compelled to respond. Either aloud if the question is direct, or silently if it is rhetorical.

That requires at least a bit of effort on the part of your prospect. Or as researchers say ”more intensive processing of message content.”  That’s the key!  Make your prospect think. Continue reading

If You Don’t Plan, You Are Guilty of Neglect

business planning

Here are 3 basic beliefs when it comes to business.  They are particularly relevant when it comes to business planning:

1. The best way to predict your future is to create it. 

2. The greatest form of abuse in this world is neglect. 

3. If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. 

How this applies to your future is important for the simple reason that if you don’t invest the time to think through and design your business plan for the rest of 2017 and beyond, you’ll be guilty of neglect…and you will by default, compromise your future. 

Pause for just a minute and give that statement the consideration it deserves.

 You can create the future you want on your terms.  The planning model below is  simple to understand.  However, it is not simplistic. Plan on spending about 4-6 hours to work through it.  It is easy to implement but without focus and accountability, you can easily get off course.  All the components are there which are necessary for you to have a plan which is actionable.   

Get started on your future today. As Henry David Thoreau has so beautifully stated, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve always imagined.”

 

Business Planning Model Continue reading

Tools of Professional Management

.management tools

“…at some stage ‘entrepreneurship’ is not sufficient and the nature of the organization must change, together with the people who run it.” Eric Flamholtz “Growing Pains”

How well do you cope with the endless day to day problems in your business?  AND simultaneously keep an eye on it’s future direction? Both are critical.  However you will need the right tools to do both; the Tools of Professional Management.

In this case, I recommend that every entrepreneur use the following tools. My challenge to you is to review them. Then ask “How well is this being put to use in my organization?”  Commit to doing something about it if you are not satisfied with the answer.  In fact, that is the only way anything will change.

The Tools of Professional Management

Strategic Planning

This process is a critical resource for managing growth and development. It defines the company’s future direction and provides a focus for everyone’s efforts. At the very least, planning should include:

  1. Goals,
  2. Objectives, and
  3. Action steps to achieve goals.

Strategic planning helps employees start to understand the direction the company is taking.  Also their role in its development.

Continue reading

What Not to Say-The Importance of Human Relation Skills

effective communication

Excellent technical skills are a must for any business.  Outstanding verbal skills are also, as they influence customer service, sales, team effectiveness, efficiency, and turnover.  If you say the wrong thing, or say something the wrong way, you risk losing customers and prospect opportunities.  You jeopardize effective communication with everybody.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, you are also in the business of interacting with people.  This requires developing and managing both new and ongoing relationships.  You must have a good understanding of persuasion and influence.  In other words, you need to know how to get the outcomes you really want by using the power of your words.

There is a very thin line in any dialogue between being tactful and persuasive and not being understood.  Or being confrontational.  Which do you think leads to better outcomes?

I have listed a few things to be aware of saying or not saying.  I have also explained the “why” for you.

With a few small changes you will find yourself getting much better results!   Continue reading

Time Management Problems? They Are Not What You Think!

I can’t even count how many people have told me they have time management problems. But time management problems are not really time management problems.  They are GOAL CLARIFICATION problems.  When you are clear on your goals, you know how you should be spending your time.

 

Michael Gerber (author of The E Myth) talks about the difference between thinking of time with a small “t” as opposed to Time with a capital “T”.

 

“Time” is simply another word for your life” he says.  You can spend your Time any way that you like.

 

Many people haven’t thought through how they really want to spend their though. In other words, they have no clearly defined written personal or professional goals. Continue reading

Is it Work or is it Productivity

productivity

Do you remember the physics definition of “Work”?  Specifically, it’s moving ‘X’ pounds ‘Y’ distance.

The next definition is significant as well.

Managerial Talent can be defined as: The behavior exhibited by a manager which increases the amount of productive, results-oriented, and profitable behavior on the part of others in the organization on a daily basis. 

This definition assumes:

  • That desired results are clearly defined and,
  • That the behaviors leading to those results are known.

Understanding both definitions is important to a manager or leader.

Let’s tie them together…

If you pushed on one of the walls of your office for a whole work day and it didn’t move, did you work?  Certainly not!  Energy expended doesn’t matter.  The question is: What did I accomplish?

 Indeed, if I was responsible for delivering newspapers and I drove around all day but didn’t deliver a single one, was I productive?  I was busy!  However,  not productive, right?  The productive behavior is the delivery of the newspapers.  The desired result is 100% of subscribers got their papers on time.

 

A key takeaway:

Never confuse motion with progress and activity with results.  Continue reading