Do you have sales employees report to you? If so, this article is for you. If not, you might find this interesting anyway because we’re talking about how thinking impacts our outcomes.
I worked for a service business where 95% of the employees are paid either base rate or commission, whichever is greater. My department was in charge of customer service and sales training classes for these folks.
We hired an outside industry trainer who took his system of tactics, tracking and inspiration and delivered a program for us with the intention of increased sales. He showed us the increase of sales in his business as a result of the program and we banked on getting similar results.
After over a year, the results did not come. Marginal ROI came from the investment of facilitating his program.
I’ve been thinking about it over the last couple of days. I know more about getting results now then I did then. I understand more about the power of thinking and what it takes to get different results in your life.
The chain I worked for is a value based service business. The average annual earnings were less than $25,000. The majority of employees work part-time (less than 30 hours per week). Most new employees are hired fresh from school with little business development training.
The consultant hired to deliver his program had a similar business, but there were key differences. His business is not value priced. His service prices average 25% more or greater. He also owns a technical school and trains his students in both technical skills and business building. He hires the top students from his school into his business. The majority of his employees are fulltime.
Laying these differences out, it seems obvious why his program didn’t yield the expected results. There core differences in both price and employee demographics. You can look at the practical business differences and come to conclusions.
I think it serves to go deeper though. I think the key difference between his team and ours was in the mindset of the employees.
What do I mean by mindset?
In this case, I believe the prevalent beliefs and expectations of his employees are different than those we had. His employees expected more based on their training and focus than ours did. Because they expected more, they gravitated to bringing in more sales.
I believe we get out of life what we expect. Taken one step further, I think we all have a magic number in our heads that is our ceiling for income.
T. Harv Eker wrote a best selling book called Secrets of a Millionaire Mind where he refers to this same idea as our money thermostat. He draws an analogy of a furnace thermostat. If our money thermostat is set at 72 degrees, the temperature (or money amount) we allow into our experience will gravitate to that number.
In the next post, we’ll talk about more beliefs and expectations and their effect on our life and business outcomes.Read More
I overheard a conversation the other day where a manager was talking about how his team resists doing teambuilding exercises. He went as far to say there was a stigma about these types of exercises and asked how to get over the stigma to make the events more effective.
Maybe the question to ask is why are people resistant to teambuilding exercises in the first place? I suggest that the resistance is a symptom of a deeper issue.
Why do we resist things I our life?
Here’s a start to possible reasons. We resist things because
1. We think that if we do them, we will feel pain or discomfort (embarrassment, fear, anxiety, failure, etc.)
2. There is something about it we don’t trust
3. We don’t think it is the right thing to do
4. We don’t think we can do it
So, if your team resists teambuilding, or anything else for that matter, what is the source of the resistance and how can you address that?
The next logical step is to accurately figure out the source. Don’t assume the reason. When you assume, you are judging their behavior through your perceptions versus through theirs.
You can find out in a couple of ways.
If you have rapport and trust with your, simply ask them. You can go to the one you have the most rapport with or ask them as a group. The asking should be from a place of curiosity. It could sound like “I’ve noticed when I bring up having teambuilding events, you (fill in the blank – roll your eyes, look away, sigh, start doodling, say we don’t need it…). Can you tell me what that is about?
If you don’t have rapport or trust with all or part of your team, that is the place to start. The reason for the resistance could be because they don’t trust you or your intentions, or it could be something else. Either way, you won’t get the real answer until they feel safe and trusting toward you.
Too often, managers are pointing out to the team as the reason for issues. We forget the level of influence we have over the dynamics and actions of our team without saying a word.
Next time you meet resistance from your team, or at home, step back. You can change the situation simply by asking versus pushing the point.Read More
When I hear people talk in absolutes, I sometimes wonder if they are trying to convince me or themselves.
I recall a conversation I had with a peer soon after she had terminated an employee for poor performance. She spoke in absolutes about how she had done everything she could and the employee was not willing to do things differently to save herself from being fired.
The manager said she had done the right thing because she was left with no other choice. I heard several examples of the ex-employee’s incompetence.
I listened without interjection until she was done. Given the amount of emotion and energy used to describe the situation, I sensed there was more to be said. So I simply asked if she really did everything she could have to try to turn her employee’s performance around.
There was a pause and she looked away. Lucky for me, she and I had developed a strong trust and respect with each other. She looked away and then looked back at me.
She said she could have done more. She said she got to the point of just wanting to get rid of what she perceived as a problem and bring in someone fresh without baggage.
I think it took a lot of courage for her to say that to me and to herself. In her self identification comes the opening to learn and identify areas for improvement.
Here’s the thing about being an effective management coach. Most people focus on what’s going on with the person being coached. What about what is going on with you as the coach?
Being clear and responsive versus tainted and reactive is critical to effective coaching. When I say clear, I mean having a clear mind to hear the spoken and unspoken. It means being clear of having a personal agenda. It also means choosing your response to what is being said versus having personal reactions.
You might say that you inherently have a personal agenda when you are a coach for someone. When I refer to being clear of a personal agenda, I mean making choices and decisions based on the good of the situation versus what is good for you personally.
There is a fine line between coaching a person versus managing behavior of a person. The difference falls in your intention. Managing behavior has the intention of getting you to do what I want you to do. Coaching is about creating connections for you to see the best options of action to get the desired results.
Before coaching conversations, check in with yourself on your intention. Is this conversation about what I want or about what is best for the employee?Read More
How do you like to receive recognition for a job well done?
I remember a story a friend told me about her dad. He had worked for a company for 30 years and never had taken a day off sick. The company wanted to recognize his outstanding attendance record. There was an upcoming all hands meeting and his supervisor told him he was going to receive a gift for outstanding attendance at the meeting.
So far this sounds like a pretty good story, right? Job well done is to be acknowledged and praised.
The part that wasn’t so good for him was that he was going to have to get up in front of hundreds of people to receive his gift. While he appreciated the thought, he did not want to get up in front of everyone and having such a public spotlight shown on him.
So, when his boss told him about the presentation at the meeting, he had a reaction the company did not expect. He said if they planned on going forward with the recognition as planned, we was going to call in sick before the meeting. This would disqualify him from receiving the recognition.
Why do you think he reacted like that?
I never had a chance to ask him in person. You could take guesses and say he did not like the public spotlight, he was shy, he was uncomfortable at the thought of being on stage or perfect attendance did not matter to him so the recognition held little personal meaning.
To me, this story really hits home the value of giving recognition that is meaningful to the recipient – both in what is recognized and how the recognition is given.
But back to our story. The hr department got involved when his boss told them he planned to call in sick. They tried to talk him out of it. He stood his ground. Ultimately, the company agreed to give him the gift in private and he did not call in sick.
How could you find out what is relevant recognition for each member of your team?
Years ago I had a boss that simply asked me and each of her direct reports. When she asked me, I personally felt like she really cared about me as a person. My trust and respect for her went up. Not only did she ask, she acted on it to. When I did something well, she acted on what I told her and the recognition she gave was very personal and important to me.
One size does not fit all. Why not ask your team and find out for yourself?Read More
As a manager or supervisor, are you stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done? Are projects running late or tasks falling between the cracks?
This is a common concern for managers at all levels. I suggest first to take comfort in knowing you are not alone. And, if you are interested in feeling more at ease in getting your list done on time, read on.
First, a story.
When I started my career, I processed employee benefit enrollments. I remember when I was promoted from Benefits Specialist to Benefits Supervisor. I was pretty good at what I did as a Specialist (that’s part of why I got promoted), and I liked the recognition I received, but I also wanted to make sure work continued to be done to my standard.
So after the promotion, I held onto my work, plus added the responsibility of supervising them team – two smart folks willing to learn. Very soon I found myself working longer hours every day to keep up and I was beginning to miss deadlines. I never missed deadlines before.
To add to the fun, I was starting to get nasty looks from the folks at home because I was missing dinners and working on the weekends.
But I still wanted to do a good job, so I put more effort into doing what I knew. After awhile, the hours and push took its toll. I started to fell grumpy with the team at work and family at home.
I also started to question the value of having others report to me … before the promotion came, I got things done and life was easier. I started to feel resentful to my two direct reports. Everything was okay before they came along.
Can you get the picture?
About that time, my boss called me in for a talk. He told me he saw the dip in my performance. He also said he saw a shift in me. And then he asked me why I wasn’t using the team to help get all the work done.
The easy answer was I wanted to make sure the work was done right (my way). The harder answer was because I didn’t trust the others to do it the way I thought it should done. Years have passed now, and I can say that there was something else too. I liked the recognition I got from by boss when I was a rock star specialist, and I wanted to keep that perception. So, I thought I needed to keep doing the things I did best (at the time) to keep getting the recognition.
Then my boss told me that he saw a lot of potential in me. He said he wanted to put me on some project teams to get more exposure to the company but hadn’t done it yet because I wasn’t seeming to be able to handle the workload as it was.
He told me I was not going to be able to grow into the next level and beyond until I learned how to get work done through others.
Admittedly, it was a tough conversation for me. I wanted to defend my actions because they made sense to me. Then, I realized they made sense to me because they were comfortable and what I knew. But then again I realized what was comfortable wasn’t working anymore. It was time to change and do things differently.
That coaching conversation with by boss gave me the information I needed to realize I needed to do things differently.
So I started involving the team more and delegating. I found my time balanced out and the work still got done. And, the quality quickly got back up to par to my expectations.
That was my story … what’s yours?
Are you utilizing your resources to get your work done in the most effective way? Can someone else pick up some of the list? Are you saying yes or setting unrealistic expectations for yourself? What are you missing out on as a result of how things are going now – at work and at home? What is one thing you can start to do today that can make a shift in your results?
Are you ready to begin?Read More