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0 comments on “Keep real conversations REAL to avoid miscommunication”

Keep real conversations REAL to avoid miscommunication

realconversations.jpegEvery day, I coach leaders of all levels and somewhere along the way we discuss when to use email and when to have a face to face discussion.  Email cannot pass emotion or intent it can only send words on a page.  Those words are then read and interpreted through the filters of the recipient.  How often do you imagine there could be wires that get crossed?  Statements like this become front and center:

  • “I thought this said that”
  • “My intent was this”
  • “when I read that I was offended by what you said”

So, as you can see there are a lot of things that can enter into our minds.  This does not mean you can’t send a “thank you” or other simple message through email.  We want to avoid this confusion for sure but that is easier said than done.

I recently made this mistake with an email I sent that was left to interpretation.  My intent could not be transferred in the message only words were and they did not hit the mark.  This left me with a damaged relationship and then trying to explain my purpose and intent when they thought it was a different one so basically you have a conflict you will need to resolve.

Email is great to transfer data, information and reports.  You can quickly share that information with large or small groups.  Really though that is where email starts to stall out.  Anything we are sending that contains emotions, needs to have intent read into it, or could confuse the recipient should be a conversation not an email.  We break this rule all the time and it is usually because of time.  Better planning to allow for proper communication is one step, but also resisting the urge to respond when we should exercise patience.  In the rush to get more done we start to communicate less appropriately and then we will pay the price with poor communication or like in my case the potential loss of a customer.   Please heed my advice and use email for the right messages and keep the real conversations to just that REAL conversations!!

Wishing you success and growth!!

Tim

0 comments on “Getting things done for real this time!! Execution!”

Getting things done for real this time!! Execution!

Road to successHow many times have you been part of a high energy off site planning session?   Plans are discussed and the team gets excited.  Then what happens?  Everyone heads back to the office and the wind goes out of the sails in the matter of 30 days for a lot of companies.  How do we fix this challenge?  It takes a process that really is built to make it simple to stay on track.  Generally, it will break into 4 steps to fix the culture of execution.  You need to get Traction!!!

Let’s look at the steps of execution as they fall into 4 discernible phases.

  1. Narrow the focus to 1-2 goals or targets. We get swallowed up by the day to day so when we are hit with 5-7 goals and metrics from an offsite and then get back to business unfortunately the day to day wins.  So, 1-2 items max to control the focus.
  2. Define the who and what around those 1-2 goals. Now that you have the goals defined you need to determine the personnel and the metrics to keep the goals on track for success.  So, define the measures and milestones for the goals and who is responsible for what and your odds for successful execution just went up again.
  3. Tracking and celebrating success. Create a scoreboard all can see and track to know where performance stands.  This helps create better team support and also transparent communication and accountability.  We all want to win and this helps us see how to do that.
  4. Hold weekly meetings to report progress. This will again create the team buy in and accountability you need for success.  Regular meetings are like the pulse of the projects and processes that you are working on.  The team gets use to that reporting structure and it makes it easier for them to plan activity and understand accountability.

 It may sound simple but carrying out the 4 steps is not easy, it can break down at any one of these steps.  To get real Traction it takes a leader up to the task that can make sure all are on board and engaged at a high level.  You have seen the word Traction in here now 3 times bold, underlined and italic.  That is because it is a book and that program from the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is what we teach at The Growth Factory.  The EOS process is a proven one to allow you to set track and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.  Simply put you will get things done and after all that is what we are talking about right?  Execution!!!

Are you interested in getting more out of your business?  More growth, efficiencies and profit.  If the answer is yes like it is for most businesses talk to us about implementing EOS with you and your team.  Until next time when we will cover building trust.

I wish you success and growth.

Tim

0 comments on “Can leaders succeed without Emotional Intelligence?”

Can leaders succeed without Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence mind map, business management strategyThis is a question I hear and receive all the time as we are developing leaders.  Owners and CEO’s look for something that helps assure them that they have hired or promoted the right person.  The question of which is more important EQ (Emotional Quotient) the measure of Emotional Intelligence VS. IQ (Intelligence Quotient) the measure of Intelligence.  While both are very important to have real success as a leader and manager of others, EQ is seen more and more as leading the 2 measures.

Why is this and what is Emotional Intelligence?  The Emotional Intelligence model is defined in 5 areas as follows according to Daniel Goleman:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Regulation
  3. Empathy
  4. Motivation
  5. Social Skills

We described Self-Awareness in the last blog a bit as that ability to understand yourself, your feelings and reactions to things even in anticipation of them happening.  The next area is Self-Regulation and the control of our reaction to things that may be triggers.  Managing anger, disappointment, failure or fear.  The ability to not let any of these overpower our own will to choose to act in a certain way when needed.  You can see easily the power of this when working with a team and the dynamics of situations that they may throw at you.  Intelligence can help problem solve in certain situations but Emotional Intelligence can far exceed that for the team and the morale of the group.

Empathy is discussed a lot and not always positively. Sometimes it can be seen as being too soft and moving to sympathy, but that is not the correct viewpoint on empathy.  It allows us to listen more intently and understand better other points of view.  Empathy creates in us a real desire to help others and see the situation as they do.

Motivation is not simply money, title or status driven.  Yes, they are important but, there are other types of motivation like intrinsic motivation that focuses on team success or experiential gain and accomplishment.  People with strong Emotional Intelligence are driven to reach their own internal and team goals that may be even harder than the one that drives the bonus.  They will always want to do more and have great initiative.

Lastly is Social Skills but it is in no way the least.   Being able to understand others and build rapport and relationships is critical in leading and managing.  Manager and employee have to be able to connect, listen and communicate effectively for success of their own performance but also the teams and the business.

So, looking back the 5 areas and understanding what they mean you can see why organizations want leaders that are intelligent (IQ), but often fall short of seeking the EQ needs of a great leader.   Ultimately though to truly get the most for the business and the teams.  Leaders with strong Emotional Intelligence are critical to success and typically deliver overall stronger results.  Strong business cultures typically are led by leaders with high EQ.  Highest performing teams are lead by high EQ leaders.  Our businesses are the people and high EQ leaders tend to build relationships that are deeper and get the most out of them.

This is not a topic that can be handled in a single blog we do full and multi-day workshops on Emotional Intelligence and the impact on your company.  Until next time when we will discuss execution.

I wish you success and growth.

Tim

0 comments on “Why did I do that?”

Why did I do that?

Closeup of worried Hispanic man sitting at deskHave you ever had one of those days where you just felt that you lost touch with yourself and your behavior?  Before you knew it a series of impulses and actions followed that were not your best and you were not even sure why they happened.  You probably were just triggered.

What are Triggers?  Anything really can be one.  In simple terms, they are any form of stimuli that cause a reaction or behavioral change.  They are not that simple though as environment and personal situation can change the impact of something said or an action from day to day.  Meaning that if you have had a personal recent situation take place you may be more sensitive to something that before did not affect you.  For example, if you recently lost a parent and your emotions are very heightened then a passing comment by someone that said a derogatory comment about their own parents may trigger you to jump in and want to tell them to stop their behavior and act differently and this may lead to a further discussion and soon turn into a verbal conflict.  So why does it all happen and how can we be better prepared?

We move through a few phases when we look at the root cause behind a behavior.  If you looked at the flow of the events you probably have:

  1. The trigger – whatever it was that stirred the reaction and got things moving.
  2. Impulse – this is the “what should I do with…”  stage.
  3. Understanding – Why am I interested in the outcome.
  4. Decision – the choice to do something. And finally,
  5. The Behavior – the action we take as a result of steps 1-4.

Looking at that information flow how do we change our behavior.  The most impactful thing we can do is develop great self-awareness.  The ability to be in touch with and know our self and the interaction we can anticipate based on environment and other factors. We choose to be in control and do not choose to be a victim of the circumstances that unfold.  We have the accountability to our actions and understand that if we allow a poor situation to happen based on our inability to control our self when the trigger hits it is on us.  So, the next time you feel that emotions and impulse building inside of you ask yourself if you can control your outcome or not.  Choose self-awareness, make the right call and don’t allow yourself to be the victim of the trigger.  Until next time when we take a bit deeper look at Emotional intelligence.

Wishing you success and growth!

Tim

0 comments on “After Thanksgiving – Family for Thought”

After Thanksgiving – Family for Thought

wood text cube family

As we have all wrapped up our 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday we have said thanks and have expressed appreciation many times.  We’ve connected with family both near and far.  Maybe, reached out to someone not spoken to in a while.  We smiled a little more, maybe laughed and cried some too.  Possibly, we had a few awkward situations, a couple of fights and a word or two that we wish we had back.

Okay, so did I just describe your Thanksgiving Day or a day at the office?  In my many years, I have seen it as both on a regular basis.  Every day the teams we work with are our family just as much as all of our relatives.  You might be shaking your head and thinking I’m not sure I agree.  Well, let’s take a look.

If you think about the 24 hours in the day and how they break down for most it looks about like this.  At least 8+ hours at work, add in the time to get there and all else that goes with our time around work and you can see pretty quickly that the largest chunk of our time awake is at work around our co-workers.  We are scattered at home and rarely have evenings where we get home from our work and are able to sit down with the whole family all night.  Then, before you know it, the night has caught up with us and bedtime calls.  We wake up and we do it all over again.

Based on that rough look at an average day you can quickly see how our co-workers see more of us than our families to a certain degree.  So, why would we not think that that full range of emotions that we experience and share with our families would not be the same at work?  The reality is they are the same, but often we fail as leaders and managers to recognize it.  With the amount of time we spend with our teams and clients, relationships are built, strengthened and also disrupted daily.

A large part of the education time we spend with our clients at The Growth Factory is around how to communicate well with the teams they manage as well as their customers.  In all of my years of managing and leading teams, I’ve recognized that the need for this is obvious.  We can say the wrong thing or misinterpret an email with our work relationships just the same as we do with family.  The consequences will look and feel familiar as well.   Making sure to always take the time and recognize the good performance and saying thank you for the effort put forth on a regular basis is a nice start.  If that isn’t done well or consistently enough it can feel a bit superficial and like a substitute for not being more connected year-round.  We all can suffer from this as we know we are busy and have so many things going on in both parts of our lives.

The point of this blog, written the day after Thanksgiving, is to challenge yourself to try to make a conscious effort with both of the families in our lives to be a little more aware each day of how we, as leaders, are caring for both of these groups that in the end mean so much to us.  It takes thought and effort to make a difference, but in the end, the payback here is well worth it.  I think in this case the return on investment is clear, but sometimes in our day to day lives, we quickly lose sight of it.  Work every day to be a better leader/family member and show everyone the right way to build that strong productive and caring family.

Good luck and good growth to all.

Tim

0 comments on “The Heartbeat of Your Business”

The Heartbeat of Your Business

man drawing heart and chart heartbeat

We all say it more and more this time of the year.  As the end of the year approaches, we  become more and more goal driven. Suddenly, our teams have an amped up awareness of numbers, goals and what it will take to hit certain levels because there’s usually a bonus tied to it.  This extra focus and increase in performance feel good around the business, but it is usually short-lived.  When the calendar turns and the numbers are counted focus and energy seem to take a bit of a break and a deep breath from the hard end of the year push.  So, what if you could harness that year-end push and keep it more consistent all the time.

The focus of all businesses is to have the best return on the investment put into it.  Human capital is one of the largest assets that we have to lead and encourage to get the best overall results.  If you look at the performance of a team you see a spike in activity right before any due date.  If you only have one true measurement point a year you only have one period of truly heightened performance for your business or your teams.

We like to use a formal quarterly accountability/measurement because it helps to harness those emotional activity peaks and smooths them out to keep the total year at a higher performance level.  Instead of a peak at year-end, you have four accountability points that drive individuals and teams to have their work complete and reported on.  All of this leads to better results and your team/business is thinking about driving or finding innovative ways to accomplish their goals.  This can be done through quarterly companywide meetings to show each teams goal and their results.  When you set up this type of accountability/recognition you will be shocked by how your teams respond.  No one likes to have their numbers shown and see a big miss to a goal.  Self-motivation now is driving all the time to do everything possible to stay on goal and receive the positive recognition at the quarterly celebrations you now have set up for your business.

We would love to see you challenge your business in this way to track the improvement you can achieve.  It is important to always look for and try to maximize our human nature to respond to deadlines.  This will deliver measurable improvement but you have to stay creative with it as anything can become tired and worn out.  That is your challenge going forward.  If you need ideas give us a call as we have a lot of different approaches you can use to keep things fresh and your teams motivated.

Good luck and wishing you growth and success.

Tim

0 comments on “What Drives Your Sales & How Do You Get More?”

What Drives Your Sales & How Do You Get More?

The growth of sales

Do you know what your process looks like that drives sales?   Are there certain actions and activities that yield meetings and sales?  A lot of businesses do not know the answer to this question.  Great businesses do.  They know that there is a number for each of their sales staff to accomplish day in and out that will yield results that the company has set as their targets.

If you believe sales just happen I encourage you to finish reading this and in the end, see if you still feel the same. By the time we are done you will be defining your process. There is a process behind everything with very, very rare exceptions.  So, let’s take a look at it from a real business perspective.  Every proactive sale starts with a customer contact.  A contact can be a phone call, in-person visit or an email for a few examples. Those then tend to lead to a meeting and that meeting may involve others, etc.  For some businesses, the sale happens at this meeting and for others, there is a proposal step back at the office and then another meeting to present this plan to the customer again.  At this meeting, the “yes” or the “no” take place on the deal.

If we track these events over time, say for 6 months, we can start to determine our sales effectiveness process or SEP.  This is a term we use at The Growth Factory when we help you build out your metrics to show at each step in the process the number(s) needed to drive the next result.  SEP workshops are incredibly beneficial for not only you as an owner or sales leader, but for your team to really see what behavior they must increase to keep the sales funnel producing.  We start at your closed sales and work back.  For example, it might look like this:

  1. Closed Sale to get here took…
  2. 4 proposal meetings with a customer to get here took…
  3. 20 prospect meetings to get those took…
  4. 100 initial contacts with a customer.

In this example, we can start to draw out some metrics. For every 100 initial contacts, we can create a closed sale. So, if our business needs 5 closed sales a week we need to make sure we are having 500 contacts taking place within that cycle timeline you determined.  If you really look at your business I know you will see the same types of flow to your sales.  Through a SEP session, you can learn the number of sales contacts that have to happen to yield your goals for the year.  You will then know if you have the right staffing and tools available to make this happen as well.  The first step is tracking your data through your own system or a CRM system.  Take the time to do this if you have not and we will guarantee you your sales will grow if you increase the right behavior that is the start to your SEP (Sales Effectiveness Process).

Wishing you Growth and Great Selling

Tim

0 comments on “Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?”

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

businessman with the weight

When it comes to selling our need to be busy and active will often convince us that following our sales process is not necessary.  When we have a process, and we utilize it, it is important to work the whole process and not jump in and out or skip around it.  A process by definition is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.  In the case of selling the end is a sale.  Just by thinking about the definition it should be clear why following a process will yield success.  We avoid things that seem like hard work.  By nature, most people if left to their own choices will choose the easy way out.  Taking shortcuts and skipping steps in our minds is a smart thing to do and by doing so we undermine our process and success.

The sales process for most businesses follows steps that look something like this.

  1. Identify prospect
  2. Qualify prospect
  3. Meet to gain understanding and discover pain
  4. Build a plan to address the pain
  5. Meet to reveal the plan and attempt to close the sale
  6. Rework the plan to match customer changes and close sale
  7. Recalibrate after the sale moves forward to remain in sync and grow account

So, if we follow the above process there is not a step in there that is more important than another.  If you leave any one step out or do not fully complete one you will have a reduced chance of success.  It is hard to ask great questions of your customer to find their pain if you have not spent the time in steps 1 and 2 to find out all you can about the account and make sure it meets the model for your business to have success.  Looking at the process we achieve success by bringing the client along with us we ease their fears by providing proof of our ability to handle an account like theirs.  We do this through client testimonials or other hands-on knowledge of our capabilities.  When we pitch our solution and attempt the close we match the client’s employees at the buying table.  We want to show and demonstrate the value that we see in them and our team that is ready to stand alongside and work with them to find success. So, if they have the owner present our owner will be there as well.  We want to have Subject Matter Experts (SME) present in areas like IT or Digital Marketing to show our strengths or reach in a specific area.

If we do the steps in our process we will find success awaits at the end.  If your business does not have a formal sales process maybe it should.  Don’t be your own worst enemy. The Growth Factory is here to support you in building out your process or just having a review of your current process and maybe freshening up your team on how to sell successfully.  Let us know how we can help you grow your businesses success.

Tim

0 comments on “Why Did The Growth Stop?”

Why Did The Growth Stop?

Stagnation or Growth Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

“Why did my business stop growing?”  This question comes in many forms.  It often presents itself in times of challenge and all out panic.  Right out of the gate many companies can grow when they serve a niche market or have solved a valuable problem with a widget.  That initial growth comes easy with an overwhelming market demand.  But, often the business or the CEO/Owner of the business is fooled into thinking they’re leading the growth.  They tend to think that their sales team is the best in the market or their sales leadership is top notch and they believe it will always be this way.   They quote how much growth they achieved in the early years as a badge of honor and something that will continue on forever.  The unknown success is a curse or a nail in the coffin unless the business takes the time to understand the why behind their business that’s really making the customers turn to them.  As Author Simon Sinek states, “Customers don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

Different businesses will run for varying lengths of time before hitting the wall or plateau as some will call it.  Those that hit it sooner are always easier to try and get back on course as behaviors are not as deeply set.  Other businesses can go for 15 – 20+ years before the problems hit and they’re convinced of their knowledge so they refuse to look inward for the opportunity to fix their lack of growth.  As a leader, this is where having openness and vulnerability will make all the difference in the world.  But wait, how many leaders/owners really operate that way.  Yes, really very few are willing to listen openly to the challenges and input from their management team, employees and especially their customers.  They will go back to what’s comfortable and think it’s innovative because they want it to be.  The business is not listening to the market or the customer they’re listening to themselves and will continue to try to grow by repeating past strategies and behaviors.

The one cure to this challenge is regular meetings where management is brought together and spends time redefining core values, core focus, and market needs.  By having a continuous trusting and open dialogue the business will have the opportunity to evolve to the market and customer feedback.  As the business owner, we can apply filters to what we hear and convince ourselves that our current direction will still work until it is too late and we are too far behind the market to catch up.

Don’t let this happen to you and your business.  The Entrepreneurial Operating System builds in the quarterly checks and forces the business to stay in tune to the market and customer’s changing demands.  Companies that fully implement EOS have grown by an average of 18% per year while eliminating a lot of common frustrations.  Let EOS build Traction in your business.  The Growth Factory is here to support your business at any step along this path of continuous growth.

Wishing you success and growth

Tim

0 comments on “Quit Chasing Squirrels!”

Quit Chasing Squirrels!

Focus Concept Clipped Cards and Lights

Everything in business moves faster and happens easier when everyone is moving in the same direction or following the same plan.  One of the most critical things we can do as business leaders are to make sure we align core values throughout the organization.  After core values are set and we are following them we must stick with the core focus of the business.  When a business has this focus, there is tremendous growth driven by a clarity of the vision seen by all.

Like all things, this is easier said than done.  For business leaders, owners and entrepreneurs there is always that fever for more growth and doing more.  Most of the time it becomes satisfied by going outside of your core strengths.  Businesses believe that since we do so well with “A” we should go ahead and enter market “Z”.  This is the downfall for many as they try to chase hot markets or expand well beyond their core focus.  Once the errors of those ways come to surface resources have been squandered and key customers have been lost, maybe even lost employees.  While it may seem easy to take on other business opportunities the result is moving outside of your businesses sweet spot.  When this happens and the product/service is not performing, more resources are thrown at it because we never think it’s not the right product. We tend to think that we just must be doing something wrong.  Then the dust settles and it’s realized that the product/service is not a fit and it has failed.  Ultimately, your business has paid the price through loss of various resources as we discussed above.

It is critical to determine your real core values and then take those to create your core focus.  By doing this the clarity of your core values will bring into focus what you are looking for.  That core focus should come from answering just a few simple questions.  At the Growth Factory, we help clients find that core focus by walking them down the discovery path of what truly makes their business unique and help them to build on it. We work with you to find the “WHY” behind your business.

Once you have this direction set it becomes really easy to ignore all those pesky squirrels that want to take you off course to chase them somewhere you don’t need to go.  Let your competition chase them while you grow by delivering the best product/service to the right customers.

Wishing you great growth!!

Tim