Solving day-to-day business problems can sap your time and energy. Learn how to be more efficient by identifying the roots of your problems. Today’s post is by Todd Palmer, CEO of Diversified Industrial Staffing and author of From Suck to Success: A Guide to Extraordinary Entrepreneurship (CLICK HERE to get your copy). One common struggle entrepreneurs face is that they spend too much of their day putting out fires. That leaves them less time to do the most important work in their business. It also stretches them thin from a personal perspective, so they end up overworked, stressed out, and unfulfilled. Are you spending all day putting out fires? Do you struggle to get ahead with your workload because there’s so much on your to-do list? Have you spent years telling yourself that you need to better train team members but haven’t had a break long enough to do so because you are putting out so many fires? If you answer yes to any of these questions, congratulations. You’re your company’s best firefighter. This role is important because it can keep a company going for a long time. Fires come up in every business. These businesses need firefighters on the inside to prevent those fires from spreading. So many business owners I coach complain to me that they spend all their days “putting out fires.” I get it. That’s how I felt for my entire first decade at Diversified Industrial Staffing, too. I spent every day putting out fire after fire, keeping the business open for nearly a decade before the flames got too big for me to control any longer. Every day, it was fire after fire. I’d swoop in and save the day and then move onto the next fire. That was my Groundhog Day. I’d head to […]
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Our reader poll today asks: How effectively do the leaders in your organization manage change? Extremely: We’re change management experts. 8% Very well: We do a solid job of managing change. 31% Marginally: We do OK but could do much better. 36% Not well: We struggle with managing change.14% Poorly: We have no idea how to manage change. 10% Change requires focused effort. Most people focus on the change itself versus thinking through how they’ll manage the change and get people through it. Just because you implement a new system, launch the new product, or move to the new office, that doesn’t mean the change is done. If you’re not carefully planning for how to help your people deal with the change, you run the risk of attrition, project failure, and lower performance across the board. 60% of you report you’re marginal, at best, at managing change. The next time a major change effort comes along, invest the time in planning for that change and dedicating resources to getting your people through it. 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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Transform your business by completely rethinking how it works. Analyzing your business model, revenue, and costs can lead you to innovative solutions. When you go to generate new ideas to run things better, you need to think critically about the way your business runs. I like to look at three things: a business model blowup, a revenue blowup, and a cost blowup. On the business model blowup, fundamentally rethink how you go to market. And rethink what your market actually is. You’re going to challenge the entire business model for the way you deliver products and services. On the revenue blowup side, how do you dramatically expand the products, your pricing, the geography, and the reach of your business? And on the cost blowup, how do you fundamentally eliminate drag from the business to become more efficient? Business Model Blowup: Skybus Airlines
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Preserving authenticity is fundamental for generating a sale. Ask these simple discovery questions in your next client meeting. Today’s post is by Jeff Kirchick, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Next Caller, and author of Authentic Selling: How to Use the Principles of Sales in Everyday Life (CLICK HERE to get your copy). In traditional sales programs, you are typically taught to ask certain questions. The problem with being taught to ask certain questions is that you are fundamentally changing your behavior when you ask them. Generally speaking, you are probably changing your behavior out of self-interest – to generate a sale – rather than asking in the interest of the customer. And the thing about sales is that you should always be focusing on the needs of the customer. Why? Because sales is not about you. Sales is about them. So what questions would you normally ask someone when you are trying to figure out what is best for them? In my new book, Authentic Selling: How to Use the Principles of Sales in Everyday Life, I discuss the importance of authenticity relative to the usual tips and tricks you might learn in a formal sales training program. The rationale for this is two-fold: first, people just register authenticity easily. and authenticity is the key to building trust, which is fundamental for generating any sale; second – and perhaps more importantly –
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Our reader poll today asks: How much of a perfectionist are you when it comes to deliverables for clients, customers or senior executives? Extreme: Everything has to be absolutely perfect. 28% Very much so: A small error here or there is OK but no more than that. 55% Kind of: Perfect is the enemy of done. I’d rather get things done than perfect. 14% Not much: As long as the work is good enough, I’ll deliver it. 2% Not at all: I tend not to focus on perfectionism. It’s annoying and slows me down. 1% Quality matters. A strong majority of you (83%) are perfectionists or close to it when it comes to client, customer, or senior executive deliverables. Deservedly so. While it may only be a presentation, a business case, or a memo in many cases, the quality of that work is often taken as an indicator of the quality of the thinking and the quality of what the final deliverable will be. Invest the time in review. Get multiple eyes on your work. Be open to criticism and feedback (you asked for it!). For those who have a “perfect is the enemy of done” mindset, that approach does have its place. Your challenge is to recognize when it‘s appropriate and when it’s not. Taking that approach with everything you do can have undesirable consequences. Those of you in the extreme 3% minority who don’t sweat the details, I invite you to recognize the approach is quite the outlier. If you’re wondering why your ideas don’t advance and your recommendations aren’t approved, I’d suggest you start looking at the quality of your deliverables as the root cause. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you […]
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Part 2 of 2: Use the SMART acronym to set better goals. Learn how to make your future goals achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When you go to set goals, I suggest you try to set smart goals. Smart is an acronym. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These are the key characteristics of a good goal. Now there are multiple versions of smart out there, but they all get to the same thing: creating clear and actionable goals that matter. This week, we’re talking about the last three SMART characteristics: achievable, relevant, and time-bound. If you missed the first two characteristics—specific and measurable—check out last week’s post here. Achievable Another characteristic of a good goal is that the goal is achievable. If a goal is too extreme, people won’t even try. You may have heard of the term “big, hairy, audacious goals.” That sounds great—let’s set a huge goal for the team and they’ll try really hard to achieve it. The thing is, those types of goals can be very demotivating. The team looks at it and they say, “We don’t even have a chance. We’re guaranteed to fail. So you know what, forget it. I’m not even going to try.” And if a goal is too easy, people won’t care about it or see it as meaningful. “Oh, 1% improvement? No problem, I can do that in my sleep.” And then what happens?
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Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Learn how to improve your sales pitch by taking the time to understand your customers. Today’s post is by Joe Paranteau, author of Billion Dollar Sales Secrets (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Even if you are the best sales person with an airtight pitch, you might fumble your sale if you don’t make space to listen to what your customer has to say to you. Steamrolling ahead without listening to your customer will cause you to miss key cues about what’s important to them, their hesitations, and their goals. Without this information, you’ll never achieve value alignment. Listening well is your single biggest asset when it comes to selling. People fundamentally want to be understood, but many salespeople get so caught up pitching their latest whiz-bang widget that they don’t stop to investigate whether their customers even want or need it in the first place. This is why, as a seller, one of the most important skills you need to develop is empathetic listening. I learned early in my career that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. To be an empathic listener is to understand someone intellectually and also emotionally.
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Our reader poll today asks: How resilient of a leader do you believe you are? Extremely resilient: I can handle any challenge and bounce back easily. 10% Very resilient: I can handle a lot and bounce back reasonably well. 74% Somewhat resilient: I can handle most challenges but sometimes struggle to bounce back. 12% Not very resilient: I struggle with challenges and bounce back slowly. 1% Not at all resilient: I feel like I’m at a breaking point all the time. 3% Bouncing back quickly. The vast majority of respondents feel pretty good about their ability to bounce back from adversity. Just be careful during extended periods of uncertainty and adversity. Each setback is harder and harder to bounce back from. If you’re not pacing yourself and taking care of yourself day to day, you’ll find your resilience eroding. Wrap your mind around being in something for the long haul. Adopt small daily behaviors to keep your mind, body, and spirit fit. Things like meditation, exercise, mindfulness, and calendar management all become more and more crucial the longer a crisis wears on. For those who struggle with bouncing back, definitely look into these new behaviors and adopt them immediately. You need to start building your strength and ability to bounce back. That requires daily practice and discipline to build those muscles. 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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