SEX, ETHICS AND BOSSES

bad bossesAn AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executives, chief financial officers, controllers and certified public accountants with executive roles in U.S. companies, found that businesses expect an increase in recruitment, staff training and spending in the next 12 months as economic conditions improve. Most of the executives questioned (56 percent) say their companies have the right number of employees, but 15 percent said they planned to hire immediately, up from 13 percent last year. Meanwhile the portion of those surveyed who said their companies had too many employees shrank from 10 percent to 8 percent.

Part of the problem with C level executives when dealing with employees, is that the employees don’t share nor understand the Type A+ personality of their bosses and they judge them harshly for it during tough economic times. Some mentioned that executives were thought to be ‘job slashers’ and lacked concern for their employees. In fact, based on executives’ own survey responses, they agree that they are getting worse at basic human interaction as the economy improves.

What’s the Disconnect?

A survey conducted last year by Booz Allen (BAH) found that executives largely believed the job was out of their hands and that they couldn’t help their company achieve its’ goals. A full 64 percent said they had conflicting priorities, while 54 percent said they don’t believe employees and customers understand their strategy.

That’s bad news for companies where executives’ capabilities in no way support the strategy. In that scenario, only 14 percent of such firms report above-average growth. It’s particularly troubling when 64 percent of managers don’t feel their company’s strategy will lead to success.

Being Ethical

A study released last year by the Economist Intelligence Unit, titled “A Crisis of Culture: Valuing Ethics and Knowledge in Financial Services” found that executives in the financial services industry didn’t see much to gain by conducting their business ethically. Does anyone remember the economic downturn of 2007-2008 which had a direct correlation from the securitization and purchase of ‘subprime’ mortgage loans?

Although 91 percent of those surveyed placed equal importance on ethical behavior and financial success, more than half (53 percent) think advancing their career would be difficult without being “flexible” on ethical standards. Only 37 percent believe their firm’s performance would improve if employees acted in a more ethical manner.

While 97 percent of those same executives feel qualified to handle their job — and 67 percent have raised awareness of the importance of ethics at their firms — 62 percent of financial executives admit they care very little about what goes on in departments beyond their own. But many of those same execs think their own departments are an ethical breach waiting to happen.

Sexism

Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg and research associate Robin Abrahams reviewed interviews of nearly 4,000 C-suite executives conducted by the school’s students between 2008 and 2013. Of those executives, 44 percent were women.

What is interesting is that 88 percent of male execs were married, compared with 70 percent of women. A full 60 percent of male execs had spouses who don’t work full-time outside of the home, while only 10 percent of women did.

Most male executives saw work-life balance as women’s work. Each side found it inconceivable that a man could pick up the slack, address work-life conflicts and actually contribute something other than money to the household. Meanwhile, the amount of stay-at-home dads has doubled since 1994.

What this review found is that executive’s contracts are locked-in and 16 percent said their company didn’t have a succession plan in place and that it would take up to three years to find their replacement.

Conclusion

Executives have lost the trust and understanding from their employees, and therefore honest and open communication has ceased. To engage employees, it is imperative that all executives and employees fully understand and embrace the strategic plan for the business. It is no longer acceptable to point the finger and say it’s management, and visa-versa. The real disconnect is the lack of accountability, with shared core values and a common and shared goal.

Advertisements

SALES MANAGEMENT DONE RIGHT

Sales Engagement1.  What percentage of salespeople consistently over-achieve?

2.  Are your salespersons’ order-takers and account managers instead of proactive Hunters and Closers?

3.  Are your sales people effective selling value and trust rather than selling price?

4.  What is the percentage conversion of your pipeline to closed transactions?

5.  Are there enough qualified opportunities to close in your pipeline?

6.  How many steps in your sales process have been properly mapped?

7.  Do you have a formal sales process that everyone follows every time?

8.  Do you have a formal sales recruiting process that consistently yields the ‘right’ salespeople?

9.  Does your sales force execute your strategic plan, and keep it moving forward?

10. Is your sales team aligned with your sales strategies and core values?

11. Are your salespeople coached on a consistent basis?

12. What Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) do you track and test that drive sales?

13. Do you hold a daily short (10 minutes) ‘huddle’ where salespeople are held accountable for their KPI’s?

14. Is everyone using your automation to track clients, sales and the sales process?

15. Have you optimized your selling demographic and geography?

16. Do you have a formal 90 day orientation and professional sale training process that prepares each salesperson for success at your company?

17. Are your salespeople selling consistently regardless of outside influences?

18. How have you optimized your sales cycle and reduced your ‘Cash Gap’?

19. Does your sales management spend too much time over-managing your salesperson accountability?

20. Have you identified and quantified all the value drivers for: total sales call, closed sales calls, the cost of a bad hire, etc.?

21. Are your salespeople fully engaged?

22. Do your salespeople know exactly what is expected of them at work?

23. Have you supplied your salespeople the necessary materials and equipment to their work right?

24. Do your salespeople have the opportunity to do their ‘best’ every day?

25. In the last seven days, have you given a salesperson recognition or praise for doing good work?

26. Do your sales support personnel, respect and care about your salespeople?

27. Do you have an active role of encouraging your salesperson personal and professional development?

28. Do your sales people opinions count?

29. Does the company mission/purpose of your company make your salespeople feel their job is important?

30. Are your salespeople committed to doing quality work?

31. Have you, in the last six months, talked to your salespeople about your progress?

32. In the last year, have you created opportunities for salespeople to learn and grow?

IMPROVE YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Customer ExperienceGallup’s research shows that few employees are aligned with or empowered to deliver the core elements of their company’s brand identity and promise. Executives must start by engaging their employees and then taking these steps to help their workers become effective brand ambassadors.

1- ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ALL EMPLOYEES PLAY A KEY ROLE IN BRINGING THE BRAND TO LIFE.

Successful branding is not just a marketing or sales function; it is an essential activity for human resources, management, and leadership.

2- AUDIT YOUR INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

Thus ensuring that all communications are consistent with your brand identity and promise. Invest in making employees aware of your brand promise, and empower them to act on it.

3- ARTICULATE WHAT YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS AND WHAT YOU PROMISE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS.

Inject the core elements of your identity into the workplace constantly and consistently across time, locations, and channels. Use these elements to define not only how you treat your customers but also how you manage, coach, and treat your employees.

4- DEPLOY SIMPLE PROCESSES

And ensure that you highlight and discuss the core elements of your company’s brand identity every day. Use minute meetings, lineups, or staff gatherings to provide specific examples of how to deliver the brand promise.

5- USE SIMPLE TOOLS

This might include such things as wallet cards as ready references to the brand, and require employees to memorize the key brand elements.

6- REGULARLY ASSESS HOW WELL YOUR EMPLOYEES KNOW AND UNDERSTAND YOUR BRAND PROMISE.

All employees — especially those in customer-facing roles — should believe in and feel they have the resources and permission to deliver your brand promise. Provide additional support in areas that fall short.

7- ENSURE THAT NEW EMPLOYEES UNDERSTAND YOUR BRAND IDENTITY AND PROMISE.

All new employees should be able to articulate what your company stands for and what makes you different within their first 30 days of employment, and your managers should reinforce this message every day.

8- MAKE SURE THAT EVERY EMPLOYEE UNDERSTANDS HOW HIS OR HER JOB AFFECTS THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

This is particularly important for roles that are not customer-facing. Constantly connect the dots between what employees are paid to do and what your organization stands for.

9- RECOGNIZE EMPLOYEES WHO DELIVER YOUR BRAND PROMISE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS.

Recognition is an important psychological need. Employees who know that they will receive recognition for acting on the brand promise will have a strong incentive to do so.

10- REGULARLY SOLICIT OPINIONS FROM YOUR EMPLOYEES ON NEW AND BETTER WAYS TO DELIVER YOUR BRAND PROMISE.

Convene town hall meetings that allow employees to share their ideas and receive feedback. Demonstrating an authentic commitment to alignment is the best way to embed it in your company’s culture.

LIFE LESSONS FOR 2014

Sam Headshot cropped1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive (and don’t forget to Forgive Yourself)

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a “gift”

46. Lastly and one of my favorites, from Jim Valvano,“To me there are three things everyone should do EVERY day. Number one is LAUGH. Number two is THINK — spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to TEARS. If you LAUGH, THINK and CRY, THAT’S A HECK OF A DAY”

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DON’T WORK . . .

So let me ask you, have you made your “New Year’s Resolutions”?  I have a recommendation for you– STOP IT.  But why, for you make new resolutions every year.  There is part of the problem, it becomes a vicious cycle. So stop making New Year’s Resolutions that just don’t work.

A former client that owned several health club facilities said that he sells more memberships in the months of December and January than the rest of the year.  Why is this?  This is due to our human desire to get in shape and change our body image.  He said is that you will find his facility packed to capacity during the month of January and February- with long lines at the machines and the classes full of people.  But, wait until March or April– 70% of the people that started working-out in January just QUIT!!

The problem with making New Year’s Resolution is that it sets you up for failure.  The best test for you is to determine if have S.M.A.R.T goals.  S.M.A.R.T. refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed.

Specific: Goals need to be specific. Often we set goals that are so loose, therefore it’s nearly impossible to judge whether you achieve these goals or not. For example, a statement like “I wish I will lose weight” is too vague. How will you know if and when you’ve reached your goal? Setting a goal like, “I will lose two pounds each and every week for this year”, is more specific. At the end of each week and month it will be a simple matter of weights and measures: take your measurements and get on the scale.

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. For example, many of us want to increase our number of contacts. But, “meeting new clients” is an ambiguous statement. A clearer objective is “I will meet three new prospects each week, and at least one of each of these prospects will become a client.”  It’s a simple, concrete goal. This makes it easy to see if you hit your target.

Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Nearly everyone has tried to drop a few pounds at one time or another. Often their success or failure depends on setting practical goals. Losing 15 pounds in 30 days is unrealistic (unless you’re planning a medical procedure). Losing two pounds per week is reasonable and achievable. So in order to lose just two pounds per week, you decrease your caloric intake by 7000 calories per week (a reduction of 3500 calories equals one pound of weigh loss) and you can do this by reducing your daily intake by just 1000 calories and increasing your activity. Make it easy, enjoyable, and achievable; however don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of reach.

Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. Guess what, we are not 18 years old anymore, so stop thinking you can still do everything as you once did. As adults, we learn that while we can achieve a great deal, you can’t have it all at once– the point here is to reasonably pace yourself.  It’s important to honestly assess yourself and your personal and physical limitations. Also, do you have the ability and commitment to make your dream come true?  For example, you may love to play tennis, but do you have the time, ability, talent and commitment to become a pro? So be honest with yourself.

Time Framed (and Tested): Goals need to have a specific time frame. Having a set amount of time will give your goals structure. For example, many of us want to find a new job or start their own business. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without a specific goal and date there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today. Having a specific time frame gives you the motivation to start today.  It also helps you monitor your progress during the process.

I devised a quick and simple 2014 Personal Goal Setting Exercise . . . .

1-  Write down your ‘magical’ and memorable moments for the past year.  Identify those moments that will live with you the rest of your life.  It may be something simple as having a ‘belly laugh’ with an old friend.  For example, seeing your newborn grandson or granddaughter for the first time.  It might be getting that promotion you worked so hard the past 5 years. ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

2-   So what didn’t work in 2012?  Now this is a tough one.  What will you do differently?  What will you NEVER do again?  What do you need to change? ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

3-   So what are you committed to changing this year?  This is a tough one.  You need to get very specific and detailed- remember these must be S.M.A.R.T. goals.   The bigger the goal, the more commitment and measurement needs to take place.  So, break these goals into smaller manageable goals, or KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).  But also clearly identify the consequences if you don’t achieve your goal and ultimate cost in your life?  Put these goals in front of your ‘nose’, so they are seen on a daily basis.  One client puts the S.M.A.R.T. goals above the bathroom toilet, so they are seen each and every day. ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

4-   Set up a Daily Ritual.  An example of a Daily Ritual is, “When I wake up every morning, the first thing I will do is go for a 45 minute run”.  Another might be, “I set 5 hours every weekend that I can read one book per week”.  What you need to do is clearly identify what you need to change, and make the change.  Changes start with Your Daily Ritual.  ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

5-   Make a list of every person that you will share your S.M.A.R.T. goals with, including key persons within your organization, your spouse or partner, your friends, and your Business Mentor.  Keep in mind that your ’accountability partner’ will agree to hold you to the goal, and ask that you supply regular accountability, and also keep you accountable to making the necessary changes in your life or business to attain these  S.M.A.R.T. goals ______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

GOOD STRATEGY vs BAD STRATEGY

A good strategy is not about vision or goals. It is a carefully researched and well-designed action plan designed to meet a challenge. However, leaders often substitute targets, branding and slogans for strategy. Bad strategy, contains fluff, dodges problems, mistakes goals for strategy and sets unrealistic goals. Good strategy focuses on critical issues and decides how to address them. It requires research and analysis, hard choices, decisive planning, and action. Identifying and leveraging your competitive SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) are the first steps in strategizing.

Good Strategy

Good strategy is simple and straightforward. It involves “strength applied to the most promising opportunity.” Strategizing means identifying critical issues within your market and industry, making a plan to focus results-oriented action on those crucial points. Strategy has little to do with ambitious goals, vision, leadership, innovation or determination. For many business leaders, strategy is nothing more than an exercise that generates impressive (but generally unrealistic) goals and meaningless slogans.

A good business strategy presents a specific action plan to overcome a defined challenge. Good strategy involves multiple analyses and development of thoughtful, expertly implemented policies, designed to overcome obstacles and move the firm profitably ahead. Good strategy is a highly focused, problem-solving activity that addresses fundamental issues. It uses the intelligent application of advantage to reach achieve higher goals.

Importance of Advantage

In business, advantages separate winners from losers, but no company leads in every area. Your job is to pinpoint your company’s specific advantages so you can leverage them in the most effective way. Never engage in any form of competition in which you hold little or no edge. Much like “wrestling the gorilla” – it’s completely counterproductive and gives someone else the upper hand.

Make change an advantage. The quicker you “grab the high ground” – or get out in front of it and turn it to the benefit of your firm – the more strategic success you can achieve. You must be able to deal with small details of your particular situation to get a jump start on your competitors, particularly those that are stuck in inertia.

Bad Strategy

Bad strategy isn’t just the opposite of good strategy; bad strategy materializes from “specific misconceptions and leadership dysfunctions.” Four characteristics identify bad strategies:

1. Fluff

Empty slogans filled with trendy buzzwords take the place of important insights. Consider this example from a bank’s internal report: “Our fundamental strategy is one of customer-centric intermediation,” or, translated into plain English, “Our bank’s fundamental strategy is being a bank.” Many so-called strategies are equally banal.

Failure to face the challenge, you can’t have a strategy if you don’t isolate and find your firm’s main problem. Heavy-equipment maker International Harvester sought to revamp its organization with charts and analyses but never addressed the main cause of its internal issues: poor employee relations.

2. Mistaking goals for strategy

Objectives are just a wish list if you don’t pair them with concrete action steps.

3. Bad strategic goals

4. Leaders must set overarching, but always realistic, aims.

Executives who develop bad strategies tend to ignore problems or to see them as irritants; some believe that acknowledging difficult issues equates to negative thinking. Bad strategy becomes no more than a rallying cry- it can be motivational, but it is not strategic. Bad strategy is common because it involves fill-in-the-blank, template-style thinking.

Good Strategy

Good strategy always starts with a foundation with three components:

1. Diagnosis

Don’t just ask, “What’s going on here?” Take the next step to find patterns and facts that might direct your thinking into new and different areas. Strategizing is an exercise in thinking and imagination, but it also involves judgment and evaluation. To improve your judgment, list your strategic ideas. Cataloging your ideas gives you a system for turning concepts into actions, and it also helps you overcome your biases and shortcomings. The more knowledge you gain about your company’s challenges and the ramifications of its strategic options, the better positioned you are to tackle a diagnosis.

2. Guiding Policy

Once you’ve diagnosed your firm’s strategic plan, you need a method that will direct your teams’ actions.  Good strategy focuses on the advantages your firm must leverage to overcome its obstacles. This leverage comes from the way you focus your policies and coordinate your actions to meet a desired. A guiding policy provides the reasons for the actions you need to take to meet your goals.

3. Set of Coherent Actions

The “consistent and coordinated” activities your company undertakes to carry out its strategy are critical tests. These steps should create the momentum your firm needs to succeed. A Plan of Action gets you where you need to go and calls for allocation of resources. As you plan, be aware of “chain-link logic.” Any system or organization is only as strong as its weakest link. Reinforcing all your stronger units is fruitless unless you also improve your weakest area. In your analysis, find if your potential bottlenecks – or weak links – can harm your strategic plan.

Design Your Strategy

Master strategists don’t choose or decide on a strategy; they design novel responses to challenges. Strategy always involves three points:

1. Premeditation

Strategy represents planning carried out in advance of action; “winging it is not a strategy.

2. Anticipation

Figuring out how others (for example, your competitors) will act in the future is an important part of the strategic planning process.

3. Coordinated Action

Your strategy is far more than your choice among various options – it’s something you construct. You are customizing a performance race car, not choosing a souped-up vehicle from a car lot.

What About Growth?

Few business people would question the concept that growth always equals value. Unfortunately, many CEOs will do almost anything to make growth, including making acquisitions for which they pay way too much. You create value when you buy good businesses for less than they are worth. If you don’t create value, the true worth of your enterprise remains static. Growth depends on such factors as innovation, increased product demand and upgraded offerings. Strategize about those hands-on factors and the steps you can take to shape them.

Conclusion

The proof of your strategy will be if it actually works. Good strategy represents an educated guess about how to increase your business in the most productive way. You will know if you guessed right whether your strategy has succeeded. If and when you meet your strategic success, only then can you refine your operations and make the Strategic Plan even more successful.

7 STEPS TO CREATE YOUR BUSINESS CORE VALUES

Core valueYour values are the behaviors you expect from your people. Values are clear statements of how you expect people in your company to act. Furthermore they must:

  • Provide a moral compass for your people. They can help your staff decide on the right course of action, regardless of the challenge they face.
  • Establish a basis for consistent decision-making by everyone.
  • When people share the same Core Values, they tend to make decisions using the same principles.
  • Give you some guides for hiring, rewarding, disciplining, and firing.

Think about companies with strong Core Values and cultures like Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Zappos, or Enterprise Rent-a-Car. People often say that “a certain kind of person” does well there. Those are the people whose personal values match the company’s Core Values.

Keep Core Values Simple

Here are some questions we want you to answer and think about:

  • Who in your company is a living example of “the right behavioral standards”?
  • What is your company known for?
  • What behaviors are so important that you’ll fire anyone who doesn’t consistently demonstrate them?

Southwest Airlines Defines Core Values

One key to Southwest’s success is its culture, “the way we do things around here.” One of Southwest’s most powerful cultural values is related to the concept of “fun.”

Southwest is clear about its values, and it hires people who have the same values and will fit into the culture.  Southwest’s number-one hiring criterion, the one they look for first, is a sense of humor. Southwest has designed a hiring process that helps them make smart decisions about whether a candidate has a sense of humor.

  • Your Core Values provide a moral compass for your people. They can help people decide on the right course, regardless of the challenge they face.
  • Your Core Values give you a basis for consistent decision-making by everyone.
  • When people share the same Core Values, they tend to make decisions in the same way.

Get started NOW!

Step 1: If you had to rebuild your company from scratch, name the 5 people you’d hire first because they behave the way you expect your people to behave. Forget functional skills and roles for a moment and identify people who act the way you want everyone to act, regardless of role:

Step 2: Use 3-5 word statements to describe the behaviors that are common to all of these 5 people.

Step 3: What behaviors has your company always been known for, or stood for no matter what the circumstances?

Step 4: Using 3-5 word prescriptive statements, list the top 5 behaviors you want demonstrated by everyone in your company? State very clearly the type of behaviors you expect from all your people, regardless of role.

Step 5: Core Values are “musts” not “nice to haves”.  Do each of your chosen Core Values pass these 3 tests? If not, they are NOT Core and should be eliminated from your list.

  1. Would you actively confront a colleague if he or she were not demonstrating this behavior?
  2. Would you spend money (or leave on the table) to uphold and demonstrate this value to your team?
  3. Would you fire someone if they could not demonstrate this value consistently, even if they were an excellent performer otherwise

Step 6: Where will you display your Core Values so they are clearly visible to your people every day?

  • Keep visible at all times
  • Test people – everyone should know them by heart
  • Reference them when making management decisions
  • Share Core Value stories at weekly team meetings, where everyone must share a story of where someone in the team lived one of the Core Values
  • Awards for the people who best exemplify your Core Values every month

Step 7: How will you incorporate your Core Values into your recruitment process and performance appraisal process?

BALANCE . . . RHYTHM . . . TIMING

golfJust last week, I had a chance meeting with EVP and General Manager of a $188 million sports team (unfortunately I cannot use his name).  He was very gracious in the time he spent with this small group of business professionals, and he shared some wisdom that gave me new ideas to move some clients to the next level.

As with any athlete whether the sport is baseball, golf, basketball or hockey, a superior athlete has exceptional command of three areas:  Balance; Rhythm; Timing.  So, how can business professionals use these three commands in their business to drive it to the next level?

Business Balance:

As Sir Richard Branson say, “You can and must make time for both family and business. It is important to build a strong family life: It helps to give you a better perspective and balance in business. Moreover, a key responsibility for each generation is to bring up the next generation — and you need to be present to do this.”

How do you balance family life with the time required to set up and build a business?

1-    Make sure we had proper family holidays — time spent away from work and the office. Spending time away teaches delegation.

2-    Take yourself outside the ‘busy work’ everyday business and allow yourself to make clearer and longer-term decisions.

3-    Develop a strong bond of trust with your colleagues. This means that your team must be fully engaged and support you in their convictions in the good time and the bad times.

4-    There is a balance between being in the office and outside the company.  An entrepreneur must make sure to be seen by the staff and spend time getting their feedback and ideas. Listening to others is a key quality of a good business leader.

5-    Time off should be important to you. To keep yourself and your staff motivated and healthy, it is important to take holidays and get a break from work. The right balance will ensure that you have a committed and enthusiastic staff that performs better when at work instead of looking for excuses to take sick days.

6-    Keep fit and healthy is also a key to staying on top in business. Exercising every day – a swim, a run or a game of tennis – gives you the energy necessary to tackle the everyday decisions.

7-    Live life to the fullest and take advantage of good home family and business family.

Business Rhythm:

If you’re not familiar with the term, business rhythm refers to the set of meetings that management has on its schedule to drive and manage the organization. Generally, it can be concluded that most executives spent too much time in meetings that were not appropriately focused or aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.

In fact, some reports say that owners and managers spend as much as 60 percent of their time in meetings. While most of the time was spent on the things that mattered to the company, they didn’t perceive the meetings to be overly effective.

An organization needs to understand that working in tandem with its management team members, each meeting needs to be linked to a core process and that is linked to a key performance indicator (KPI.).

1-    In building an operating rhythm the organization needs to assign specific and measureable KPIs to ensure every member of the management team has the same understanding.

2-    Then management needs to tie each KPI to the core processes that will enable them to be achieved. Then, management must detail these core processes to the next level of granularity, describing:

  1. Sub-processes (process maps)
  2. Inputs and outputs
  3. Roles and responsibilities
  4. Meetings
  5. Frequency

3-    Business rhythms drive core processes, which drive different timescales or frequencies.

  1. Annual meetings are necessary to set targets and strategy, typically two-three days
  2. Quarterly meetings are necessary to review results and adjust the strategy, typically one day
  3. Monthly meetings are necessary to check and correct deviations, typically two-three hours
  4. Weekly  meetings are necessary to track and monitor execution, typically one hour

Businesses can make significant progress in achieving their right rhythm if every member of management aligns their meeting schedule to the organizational core processes so that the right amount of time is spent on the right topics with the right people.

Business Timing:

1- Notice the signals of timing hidden all around.

An idea whose time has almost come gives subtle—but unmistakable—hints, often even leaving behind a physical trail of its presence. Everyone can relate to this. Common sense processes to help us make decisions about when, how, and whether to proceed with certain projects.

2- Be in tune with the timing of potential partners.

If you are making a sales call or presenting a business proposal, it is best to avoid your customers’ resistive periods. Each customer has at least one, but it is up to you to learn when it is. For some, it could be Monday morning; for others, Friday afternoon This is the best time to reach him. (It also helps that by ï¬?ve-thirty, his assistant has gone home for the day and he answers his own phone.)

3. Be aware of the relationship between your objective and your timing.

You have to determine where your strengths lie. If it is in research and development, then you do want to be first to market. If you are best at controlling costs—and therefore can be the low-cost supplier—then you want to follow the leaders and undercut their prices. The point is to align your objective with timing.

4. Use your intuition to improve your timing.

Intuition is like a muscle; the more you use it, the better it will develop. Whenever possible, before trying to figure out” the right answer to a problem you’re facing, try to sense what to do.

Yes, skills, training, and education are helpful, but don’t underestimate the power of intuition. By definition intuition is the way we translate our experience into action. Our experience lets us recognize what is going on (making judgments) and how to react (making decisions.) Because our experience enables us to recognize what to do …we don’t deliberately have to think through issues to arrive at good decisions [quickly].”

5. Use common sense.

You can improve your personal timing by tapping into your personal intuition and by doing your homework. We may not be able to control timing, but we can improve it by supplementing our intuition with common sense and experience and then following up by executing our plans in an ethical (and timely) manner.

Conclusion:

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character.”

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

RespectYes, that spells the word Respect.  But what has happened to Respect in the workplace and with regards to customers and clients?

The workplace is a reflection of society at large. Today, we see a range of behaviors that demonstrate a lack of respect and civility, both inside and outside the workplace. Studies and polls indicate that we all view disrespect as a serious problem that is getting worse.

One study found that 60% of employees believe that co-workers’ annoying behaviors negatively impact the workplace and, as a result, 40% reported that they are looking for new employment. These findings illustrate that disrespectful behaviors drain productivity and negatively influence both an organization’s bottom line and the overall economy.

The following are some tips to assist you in achieving more Respect in your workplace:

1-    Before acting, consider the impact of your words and actions on others.

2-    Create an inclusive work environment.  Only by recognizing and respecting individual differences and qualities can your organization fully realize its’ potential.

3-    Self-monitor the respect that you display in all areas of your communications, including verbal, body language, and listening.

4-    Understand your triggers or “hot buttons.”  Knowing what makes you angry and frustrated enables you to manage your reactions and respond in a more appropriate manner.

5-    Take responsibility for your actions and practice self-restraint and anger management skills in responding to potential conflicts.

6-    Adopt a positive and solution-driven approach in resolving conflicts.

7-    Rely on facts rather than assumptions and second-hand information.  Gather relevant facts, especially before acting on assumptions that can damage relationships.

8-    Include others in your focus by considering their needs and avoiding the perception that you view yourself as the “center of the universe.”

9-    View today’s difficult situations from a broader (big picture) and more realistic perspective by considering what they mean in the overall scheme of things.

10- Become a bridge builder and role model for civility and respect. Act in a manner whereby you respect yourself, demonstrate respect for others, and take advantage of every opportunity to be proactive in promoting civility and respect in your workplace.

11- Respect yourself and those you work with. or criticism personally. Respect is a building block of meaningful relationships, and it comes about when we place value on other people.

12- DWYSYWD and Exceed the Expectations of Others. Don’t disappoint those around you, therefore Do What You Say You Will Do and Exceed the Expectation of Others.  You set the standard, as an example throughout the entire company.

13- Stand Firm on Your Core Values, Convictions and Principles and never waver. As a leader it’s always tempting to make politically correct decisions that promise safety instead of bold ones that involve risk.

14- Maturity Well-Beyond Your Years. One mark of maturity is the willingness to assume responsibility. Another indication of maturity is character, or the willingness to do what’s right even when it’s costly. A final mark of maturity is confidence.

15- Experience Success in Your Family and Career. Neither success nor failure is a one-time event. Rather, both result from the accumulation of thousands of seemingly insignificant actions done day-by-day and week-by-week. Identify which activities, performed daily, will develop you into the type of leader you aspire to be and then be relentless about practicing them.

16- Invest in the Success of Others. But, first define success, it has to involve helping people.

17- Plan, Plan, Plan. Leaders gain respect because they think ahead of others and more deeply than others. They project their minds into the future, and they discipline themselves to put sustained thought into major issues facing their team.

Conclusion

Respect in the workplace benefits everyone, and it’s really not that difficult to achieve. All it takes is a little care in the way you deal with others. Getting into the habit of mutual respect in the workplace will inevitably spread into your personal and social life as well, so the advantages just keep adding up.

GETTING SALES PEOPLE TO USE YOUR CRM

CRM.1Anyone who has their own business has probably have heard of the term CRM – however a great deal of these people don’t actually understand what it means. In short CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, although this is a general term and it does not really take into account the full scope of what a CRM really means.

Obviously, customers are the backbone of your business- without them your business would fail. CRM or the implementation of a CRM web service is a way that a business goes about organizing, marketing, managing, handling and tracking customers and potential customers. To do this successfully a specific CRM software program is used, which is usually is a software program which can then be altered to suit the individual business.

There are some features of a CRM software program that all businesses will use such as:

  • Customer contact details – it is essential that these are kept up-to-date and accurate as communication with customers is crucial to any business.
  • Customer order details and analytics – it is essential that these details are up-to-date and accurate as they are needed to process jobs, create invoices and track you customer activities.
  • Quoting, helpdesk software, and invoicing tools – having such tools within a CRM program means that users do not have to have several programs open at once.
  • Outstanding debt and payment information.
  • Current tasks/jobs that outstanding and in which department.
  • Employee information, this can be anything from employee contact information and departmental information to information relating to employee wages and holidays.

CRM for Marketing

CRM also plays a large role in a targeted marketing to customers and future customers, it can help a business plan a marketing strategy based on a number of critical data like previous sales. This means that you are not wasting money on marketing campaigns targeting the wrong demographic. Similarly a CRM helps the sales staff when they are speaking on the phone to customers as it can help them to identify trends in customer’s habits which can then enable them to up-sell products and increase profits.

When using a CRM in your marketing strategy, you now have the ability to track all customers and prospects throughout the sales process.  When using the CRM to map the entire Sales Process, by each campaign, you identify the type of ‘touches’ and the analytics with each strategy.

Incorporate CRM into Your Business

While salespeople are obsessed with targeting new leads and closing deals, they don’t have a track record of being excited about using a CRM. When the topic of CRM is brought up to many salespeople who have used some form of CRM in the past, expect eyes to roll, to hear heavy signs, and even to see some salespeople ending their own life in some comical fashion. This reaction is justifiable as older CRM systems have a reputation for being clunky, limited in function, and perceived to be a waste of time. Because CRM systems are constantly being re-engineered for maximum efficiency and flexibility, CRM’s today are hardly recognizable to salespeople today. Still, the bad taste from past CRM systems remains. How do you get your current sales team to start using your CRM system? There are a few different methods.

1. The benefits of using a CRM

Part of the reason you probably want your company to start using a CRM system is to increase sales – and CRM does this. With critical customer background information your salespeople have the maximum amount of information about a customer before the sales call or sales appointment is ever made, this allows the sales representative to customize the appointment to the customer’s needs. When a sales call is more focused on the customer’s needs rather than a sales goal or a salesperson’s commission. When the customer’s past orders are visible to the sales associate, this gives the sales person an opportunity to either sell the customer more or, at the very least, get their feedback on their past purchase for future business. With all of this knowledge available to them, this should work as great incentive for sales people to utilize CRM for not only the benefit of the entire company, but their own sales.

2. Provide the proper CRM training.

After showing your sales people the benefits of using a custom CRM system, implementing a CRM will be an uphill battle without the proper training. Arranging for the proper training doesn’t have to be an elaborate event or require too many resources. Just setting aside some time for a certified CRM consultant to show your sales team the ropes and answer questions. You may also consider having a follow-up training session over lunch or some other related event where sales people, after having had a chance to use CRM, bring their questions, voice their concerns, or share how CRM has benefited them so far.

3. Build CRM into your existing system.

You’ve talked up the benefits of CRM and given your sales staff the proper training in order to use it, but you still have a few sales people who are dragging their feet. You may feel like you’re running out of options, but there are a few more things you can do. One of the ways to ensure that your sales people utilize your company’s CRM system is build it in to your existing systems. Because of the tremendous versatility of today’s CRM systems, CRM can be used to make announcements, to share data, to make marketing decisions, and much more. If your sales people are receiving leads via email or some other system, switch that avenue to your CRM. If your sales team has to use CRM in order to access their bread-and-butter leads, they’ll have no other choice but to utilize the investment your company has made in them in the form of an effective CRM system.

As you phase your CRM system in, begin to phase your older systems out and make sure to have a pre-determined date your sales team knows about when older systems or methods will be completely gone

4. Get Serious about your CRM system.

Sales people are a very independent bunch of workers. While on one hand, sales people work to sell products and services for a company, many struggle to be “team players” in order to have a vision of what’s best for the company as a whole several years down the road. It can be easy for sales people to forget that, though their pay is usually directly based on their ability to sell, they are ultimately part of a team just like everybody else.

5. Incentive to Use the CRM

If a company makes the investment in their sales team in the form of a CRM system and a sales person refuses to use it, those are resources going to waste.  Not only have you wasted the money in the cost of the CRM system, but also what is the ultimate cost in the form of lost sales opportunities that would have resulted from properly implementing the CRM system.

Build in the compensation program for your sale people with an incentive or dis-incentive for the sale people to use the system.  This can be easily justified if you need the services of another staff member to help build the critical data into the CRM system.  At a future date, this redundancy will need to be addressed and the sales person needs to realize that as of a certain date, the ship will set sail, with or with them.