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Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or to work in the background?

Posted on June 22, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Entrepreneur, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: Do you prefer to be in the spotlight or to work in the background?

– I love the spotlight and getting attention for my work: 23%

– I prefer to do my work in the background and stay out of the limelight: 77%

Out of sight… Clearly the majority of you prefer to do your great work in the background and stay out of the limelight. There are risks that come with that approach. It’s possible your great work might not get recognized or, even worse, could be attributed to one of your more visible colleagues. Be sure you get the visibility you deserve for your great work. For those who prefer the limelight, the risk you face is being perceived as arrogant or self-important. Be sure you bring others up with you when you’re recognized for great work because it’s rare that you ever accomplish anything alone.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Become a Better Salesperson or Business Development Executive in Mere Minutes

Posted on June 21, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership, Sales

Pig Swimming in the Ocean

We’re starting a new podcast series specifically for sales and business development managers. Episodes will feature either interviews with leading experts, consultants, and bestselling authors in sales, or a discussion of the result of our research into the art and science of storytelling in sales.

Today’s post is by Paul Smith, thoughtLEADERS principal and bestselling author of Lead With a Story and  Sell With a Story.

Here’s an easy way to learn some new selling skills – in easy-to-digest podcasts you can listen to at your convenience.

These podcasts are based on interviews with professional salespeople at over 50 organizations, as well as professional buyers. Who better to tell us which sales stories work and which don’t than the professional procurement managers who spend each day listening to dozens of salespeople tell their stories and deciding which ones to award business to and which ones to send away empty handed?

The first six episodes include an introduction to the concept of sales stories and how to distinguish them from a sales pitch, the top 10 reasons why storytelling works so well in sales, the 25 most useful sales stories, as well as discussions with two bestselling authors and sales experts. Sit back. Listen. Learn. And sell more.

Pig Island: An Accidental Sales Story

An introduction to the concept of a sales story, not your average sales pitch.

Sales Guru and Bestselling Author Anthony Iannarino on His First Lessons on Selling

Read More…

Easy Steps Toward Becoming a Magnetic Leader

Posted on June 19, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Communications, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Red Horseshoe Magnet

Magnetic leaders have a line of people waiting to work for them. What sets these leaders apart? Authenticity, vision, and resilience are three good first steps.

Today’s post is by Roberta Matuson, author of The Magnetic Leader (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Lots of people believe it takes years for someone to become a magnetic leader. Lucky for you, I’m not one of these people. Magnetic leaders are ones who have a line of people outside their door, waiting to come work for them. That line moves slowly, as positions rarely become available.

There are seven traits of irresistible leaders. Here are three and how you can earn magnetic status almost instantaneously.

Authenticity

Magnetic leaders don’t try to be someone else, nor do they change who they are based on office politics. They are true to themselves and are honest in their dealings with others. They are not afraid to share their mistakes or shortcomings. Warren Buffet is an authentic leader who speaks openly about his $200 billion mistake buying Berkshire Hathaway.

I want you to think about how authentic you really are today. Here’s what I mean by this. Do you tell staff members you have a doctor’s appointment, when you’re really leaving work early to see your daughter’s school play? Are you being completely truthful when giving performance reviews or are you holding back because you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings? Are you speaking up in meetings and saying what’s really on your mind or are you going along with what the boss has suggested because you’d like to remain in his favor?

A yes to any of these questions is a clear indication that you can improve your authenticity. As you can see, making some shifts in this area won’t require much in the way of skill building. However, it will require some internal shifts. If you find you are having difficulties making these modifications on your own, then consider hiring a coach, who can point out opportunities to improve in this area and will provide guidance as well.

Resilience

Read More…

How trusting are you when you work with someone new?

Posted on June 15, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How trusting are you when you work with someone new?

– I trust them completely until they demonstrate I shouldn’t: 17%
– I’m generally trusting but proceed with some caution: 65%
– I need people to earn my trust over time: 10%
– I don’t trust people at first but warm up once they prove themselves: 7%
– I don’t trust people at all. Ever: 1%

Trust is given then lost. Eighty-two percent of you say you’re willing to trust people right off the bat, albeit with some caution. The bigger the issue you’re trusting someone on, the larger the risk you’re taking in extending trust. That said, trust builds efficiencies, collaboration and a less stressful environment. If you do want to proceed with caution, think through the unknown variables that cause you to withhold trust then figure out how you can get certainty around those variables. Be pointed in your diligence. That will enable you to extend full trust on smaller issues while protecting yourself at the same time from major adverse events.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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Define Your Question Before You Solve the Problem

Posted on June 14, 2017 | 1 Comment
Categories: Books, Communications, Leadership

The word why written on paper with pencil

To effectively solve problems, you must first understand the question being asked and why it’s important to your stakeholder. Without clarity on why your stakeholder cares, the recommendation you generate might be useless.

The following is an excerpt from my latest book The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get it Approved (CLICK HERE to get your copy). The book spells out a straightforward process you can immediately use to get your ideas approved.

The first step for generating a clear and compelling recommendation by using the Structured Thought Process is defining the question. All too often when stakeholders ask for a recommendation, we rush off to conduct analysis and bring back an idea as quickly as possible. That approach can cause massive problems because we never stop to get clarity on what the real issue is.

Teams often assume everyone knows what the question is and therefore don’t take the time to document the issue. Even if they do document the issue, they don’t go the extra step of explaining why it’s important to the stakeholder to solve the issue. Without clarity and agreement on the “what” and the “why” of the issue, the likelihood of generating a recommendation that will meet the stakeholder’s needs is low.

To demonstrate the importance of defining and documenting the question, let’s walk through an example. Imagine I’m your stakeholder and I ask you for a recommendation. I ask “Can you get me your best idea for how we can generate an incremental $1MM in profits? Thanks!” I then leave the room. For this exercise, write down the first three ideas that come to mind for how you can solve my problem. Go ahead – write them down so we can refer back to them.

Finished? Okay, let’s look at your ideas. You may have come up with ones like launching a new product, entering a new market, reducing manufacturing costs, conducting a layoff, or raising prices. You might want to launch a new marketing campaign, set up a joint venture, offer discounts to drive sales, or cut travel expenses. These are great ideas but you might have a big problem. Your ideas might satisfy my “what” but you have no idea what my “why” is for why I want this solved.

Understand the “Why?”

Imagine if my request to you was “Can you get me your best idea for how we can generate an incremental $1MM in profits because our earnings quarter ends in three weeks and we have to make up a financial shortfall? Thanks!”

Now look at the list of ideas you generated. Will any of them meet my needs as a stakeholder? Do any get me $1MM in three weeks?

Read More…

The Same Personality Trait Can Define Two Very Different Leaders

Posted on June 12, 2017 | 2 Comments
Categories: Books, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership

Steve Wozniak Playing Defender

Personality and leadership are inextricably linked. Two people with the same personality trait can be two very different leaders.

Today’s post is by Ron Warren, author of Personality at Work (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Personality and Leadership

Personality and leadership are inextricably linked. Think of how many professionals experience your personality through your everyday behavior. Moreover, your personality is multi-dimensional – the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. Two people with the same personality trait can be two very different leaders depending on the mix of their other traits. A perfect story to illustrate this is the two Steves from Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley Grit

Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs spent almost ten years in garages working together and tinkering with and mastering electronics projects. What drove them was their shared Grit – a blend of Conscientiousness, Achievement Drive, and Innovation – the behavioral drivers that focused their IQ and intellectual curiosity and was the common denominator on which their relationship and Apple Computer were built.
Note that my definition of Grit is broader than Angela Duckworth’s that is much more focused on conscientiousness. Yet historically, psychologists have also used Grit to describe intrinsic drive, achievement motivation, persistence, passion and inquisitiveness.
Dominance and Deference

Aside from Grit, Woz and Jobs differed in almost every other aspect of personality, which made their overall personalities strikingly different:

Jobs wanted to be in control, in the lead. Beside his formidable Grit, Jobs was extremely dominating – inflexible, aggressive, controlling, and competitive. These domineering traits – not his Grit – led Jobs to see a binary world (great or crap, his way or the wrong way), be self-centered and be incapable and/or unwilling to collaborate with others. Empathy is rare in dominating personalities, but Jobs was also hostile – mean, nasty, and ungracious – the exact opposite behaviors of social and emotional intelligence.

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How actively do you encourage employees to contribute to their community?

Posted on June 8, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Communications, Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: How actively do you encourage employees to contribute to their community?

– Very – we even make it part of their work evaluations: 15%
– Kind of – we suggest they participate in the community and suggest how to do so: 44%
– Not very – if they participate, it’s up to them: 34%
– Not at all – we demand so much at work that they don’t have time for community: 7%

Get them involved. Getting your people involved in the communities where they work or live can have powerful and positive business impacts. Your employees will have a better view of your company because you encourage giving back. That should drive both engagement and morale which improves performance and retention. You’ll also enhance your brand and customer relationships. Remember – your customers and partners also work and live in that same community. You never know where or when the next big client relationship will begin. It might just be at a community event attended by that prospect and one of your associates. When you look at community involvement more broadly, the business benefits become clear (not to mention you’re making the world a better place and we could really use some of that these days).

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

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The Power of the Mind in Decision Making

Posted on June 5, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Books, Business Toolkit, Communications, Entrepreneur, Guest Blogger, Leadership, Strategy

Whispering in Ear

The inner voice, or what is more commonly referred to as “intuition,” is a powerful tool in the decision-making process. Opportunities open when the guidance of the inner voice is used because it is a reflection and compilation of the knowledge, experience, and conclusions thus far in a career and/or lifetime.

Today’s post is by Gabrielle V. Taylor, author of Legacy of Wisdom (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Imagine you lead a $1.5 billion company in the United States that sells financial products and services. The firm offers everything from mutual funds, derivatives and money market instruments to financial management and insurance. There is an opportunity to expand into virtual currency, the most widely known type being Bitcoin. The Blockchain technology, which is the encryption method used for many types of virtual currencies, has come a long way; but there is a trail of investors that have fallen victim to hackers who have targeted Bitcoin-based accounts and investments. Do you take advantage of this opportunity? What does your inner voice tell you?

At first, you ponder the expansion into virtual currency. Your firm might be able to position itself on the cutting edge of the virtual currency revolution that is in the nascent stage in the U.S. but further along in other countries such as China, United Kingdom, and Germany. Early entry into this market by a U.S. firm may facilitate new innovations that prepare you to take advantage of opportunities for growth.

Then, your inner voice no longer throws caution to the wind and gives you doubts about the viability of this opportunity. There is considerable risk and many financial firms are deferring to the Central Banks to explore this market first. Why should you risk losing share value and possibly customers through increased liability by participating in the complicated world of virtual currency that is still prey for hackers? The situation is riddled with pros and cons but your inner voice plays a critical role as a trusted advisor that no one can see. For many leaders, the inner voice guides us when sorting through opportunities in order to make decisions.

Have you ever heard your inner voice telling you what to do and then you don’t listen to it? Read More…

Does your team work as a collection of individuals or as a true team?

Posted on June 1, 2017 | No Comments
Categories: Leadership, Poll

EKG Pulse Graph with Glowing Blue LineOur reader poll today asks: Does your team function more as a collection of individuals or as a true team?

– It’s a bunch of individuals who all happen to report to me: 45%

– It’s a true team where the group is more important than any one person: 55%

What makes them a team? If you’re struggling with a collection of individuals who don’t function as a true team, the burden rests with you to fix that situation. Have you articulated a shared purpose? Is everyone bought into that purpose or is it just something you put on the wall? Do you praise team successes or do you hold up individual success as a bigger achievement? The way you lead the members of this team drives how close they are. Look for a shared obstacle they can overcome but the only way to do so is by working together. Find a challenge and throw down the gauntlet. A crucible can help forge separate elements into a united entity.

Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your inbox!

Read More…

Building a Great Culture by Using Processes and Behaviors

Posted on May 31, 2017 | 2 Comments
Categories: Communications, Entrepreneur, Leadership

Successful Business Woman

Great culture doesn’t just happen. Building a strong culture requires planning, effort, and incorporation into your daily processes and behaviors.

If culture is the sum of our daily actions, then people and teams are the true drivers of culture. The people you choose to be leaders, the individuals you promote, the way you organize teams, and who you decide to hire all send strong messages about your culture.

Ensure cultural fit is an evaluation criteria for selecting leaders or employees. Make cultural fit part of your design considerations for organizing a team.

At one consulting firm whose culture is very strong, they focus on being a meritocracy. People are valued about all else. Selection to lead teams and become a partner at the firm is based in large part upon people leadership and cultural fit for their behaviors.

One candidate to become a partner used to beat their teams up. He would overwork them, not show appreciation for their work and, in some cases, be disrespectful to team members. During the partner evaluation process, 360 evaluations were conducted. This person received very strong negative feedback about their behaviors. They weren’t promoted that cycle. He was given a clear development plan to behave in a more culturally appropriate manner. He did change his behaviors and eventually got promoted to partner.

Let’s look at tying culture to organizing your teams. There are several techniques for building teams that will support your culture:

Leadership Role Selection

When selecting someone for a leadership role, assess their prior efforts and how they’ve strengthened or weakened culture. Have the strength to pass over someone who gets results at the expense of the culture you’re trying to build.

Promotion Selection

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