Skills Can Be Taught, But Attitude is Forever. – by Kurt Rakos

Skills Can Be Taught, But Attitude is Forever.

by Kurt Rakos on fordyceletter.com 

When hiring for a new position, all employers want to recruit the most talented and skilled candidates possible – preferably with a great attitude too. In reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find potential hires who “have it all.” All too frequently, these “have it all” individuals aren’t actively seeking a move.

Instead, employers are faced with an ever decreasing talent pool where the right combination of attitude, culture fit, and skills are difficult to find in one person.

In the final decision making process, which one is the most important?

When talent and skills are in scarce supply, we at SkyWater advise our clients to recruit for attitude and train for skill. Now, just what does that mean exactly?

Skills and talent are undoubtedly closely related but as the saying goes “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” While talented employees may possess the ability to learn new skills effortlessly, it doesn’t follow that they will always make the effort. Individuals possessing less natural talent but who have the willingness to work hard can acquire outstanding skills through application.

The difference in the two candidates is attitude.

On this basis, whether or not a candidate is talented is not as important as their potential.

Attitude encompasses a range of attributes, from personality, work ethic, ambition, commitment to a person’s general outlook on life.

Teach Talent?

While natural talent can’t be taught, neither can attitude. Candidates with  innate talent who do not apply it will not progress or perform to the best of their ability. On the other hand, a candidate with a great attitude will be more inclined to coomit to learning new skills. In this case hard work becomes as important as talent. While the divide between the terms is blurred, a positive attitude is clear for all to see.

Talent and skills can be taught to those who are ready to listen and apply themselves.

Hiring For Attitude

How does an organization hire for attitude?

Next time you get a job order for one of those “has it all candidates,” have the conversation with the hiring manager about the weight he or she is attaching to attitude. Work to tailor the job profile or advert to emphasize  the positive attitude you’re looking for. Be creative in describing the types of candidates you and your client are looking for so the position and the company stands out from the crowd.

On the basis that past performance predicts future behavior (and reveals attitude), use competency based questions. Some common examples appropriate to most industry sectors include:

  • Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
  • Give me an example of how you respond to difficult co-workers.
  • When did you last try something new when there was no guarantee of success?
  • Tell me about your last serious error with a customer or colleague and how you reacted to it?

Avoid the predictable questions such as, ‘Tell me about yourself”; “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”; and, “What are your weaknesses?”  Today’s candidates are well prepared and equally well rehearsed so include open, subjective questions in your interview process that ask for their opinion on issues that can’t be scripted.

Remember too, as a recruiter or hiring manager, your own attitude in an interview is crucial to the overall success of the hiring process.

Skills Can Be Taught, But Attitude is Forever.

Skills Can Be Taught, But Attitude is Forever

by Kurt Rakos – Source: http://www.fordyceletter.com, September 2, 2014

When hiring for a new position, all employers want to recruit the most talented and skilled candidates possible – preferably with a great attitude too. In reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find potential hires who “have it all.” All too frequently, these “have it all” individuals aren’t actively seeking a move.

Instead, employers are faced with an ever decreasing talent pool where the right combination of attitude, culture fit, and skills are difficult to find in one person.

In the final decision making process, which one is the most important?

When talent and skills are in scarce supply, we at SkyWater advise our clients to recruit for attitude and train for skill. Now, just what does that mean exactly?

Skills and talent are undoubtedly closely related but as the saying goes “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” While talented employees may possess the ability to learn new skills effortlessly, it doesn’t follow that they will always make the effort. Individuals possessing less natural talent but who have the willingness to work hard can acquire outstanding skills through application.

The difference in the two candidates is attitude.

On this basis, whether or not a candidate is talented is not as important as their potential.

Attitude encompasses a range of attributes, from personality, work ethic, ambition, commitment to a person’s general outlook on life.

Teach Talent?

While natural talent can’t be taught, neither can attitude. Candidates with  innate talent who do not apply it will not progress or perform to the best of their ability. On the other hand, a candidate with a great attitude will be more inclined to coomit to learning new skills. In this case hard work becomes as important as talent. While the divide between the terms is blurred, a positive attitude is clear for all to see.

Talent and skills can be taught to those who are ready to listen and apply themselves.

Hiring For Attitude

How does an organization hire for attitude?

Next time you get a job order for one of those “has it all candidates,” have the conversation with the hiring manager about the weight he or she is attaching to attitude. Work to tailor the job profile or advert to emphasize  the positive attitude you’re looking for. Be creative in describing the types of candidates you and your client are looking for so the position and the company stands out from the crowd.

On the basis that past performance predicts future behavior (and reveals attitude), use competency based questions. Some common examples appropriate to most industry sectors include:

  • Tell me about a time when you went beyond the call of duty to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
  • Give me an example of how you respond to difficult co-workers.
  • When did you last try something new when there was no guarantee of success?
  • Tell me about your last serious error with a customer or colleague and how you reacted to it?

Avoid the predictable questions such as, ‘Tell me about yourself”; “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”; and, “What are your weaknesses?”  Today’s candidates are well prepared and equally well rehearsed so include open, subjective questions in your interview process that ask for their opinion on issues that can’t be scripted.

Remember too, as a recruiter or hiring manager, your own attitude in an interview is crucial to the overall success of the hiring process.

 

Kurt Rakos is a founder and partner at SkyWater Search Partners. SkyWater is a “short list” search firm placing sales, marketing IT, accounting/finance, and HR personnel. The company also has a highly specialized CPG (consumer packaged goods) practice group. Kurt places mid- to executive-level talent for a wide range of companies — from small emerging companies to the Fortune 500. SkyWater Search Partners was recognized as ‘Best Places to Work’ by the Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal. Over the past decade Kurt has been viewed as an industry expert, regularly quoted on recruiting issues by such publications as the Star Tribune and Minnesota Business, as well as online publications and CBS radio. Prior to helping create and establish Skywater, Kurt co-founded Minnesota?s largest search firm, which made the “Fast 50” list of the Minneapolis – St. Paul Business Journal. Before beginning his recruiting career, Kurt held several sales, management and executive positions at a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company. He holds a B.S. from St. Cloud State University. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

When to Walk Away From a Customer?

When to Walk Away From a Customer?

By AJ AGRAWAL – Source:  http://www.inc.com/

Most entrepreneurs think all business is good business. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Is it ever a good idea to turn down business?

When you start your company, most of the time you’re willing to take almost anyone as a buyer. You’re tired of being in debt and you want to start bringing in revenue. At this stage, one of the hardest decisions to make is when to walk away from a customer. Is a bad client worth the money you’ll receive? Will this customer help move your company forward? Many times, the answer to both questions is no.

There are certain clients we must avoid: those who drain our time, abuse our service, and are not excited to work with us. Not all business is good business, and at an early stage, bad buyers can destroy your startup.

Here are the three signs you should look for when thinking about dropping clients:

1. They Have a Bad Attitude

This may sound a bit elementary, but your customer’s attitude toward you is crucial. When the customer calls, are you excited to pick up the phone?

If customers seem mean or rude when you speak to them, that is a huge red flag. Unfortunately, some clients that you’ll sell to will look down on you because you are a vendor. If you start to experience this, you need to walk away. Don’t take abuse from customers just because they are going to pay you. We became entrepreneurs so we can have freedom, create solutions to help others, and love what we do. If a customer doesn’t help fulfill that, he or she has to go.

2. They’re Taking All Your Resources

There’s always the customer who makes ridiculous demands on your company. Early on, you’ll be more likely to let clients bully you because you want their business. When this happens, remember the sacrifices you make when you tailor your product to please one buyer. First, you start pouring resources into a specialized solution that may not lead to positive returns. Second, you set unrealistic expectations for future business. Once you bend over backward for one client, others will start expecting similar treatment.

When we started Alumnify, some of our schools would ask us to over-customize their applications just for them. At first, I supported the idea because I thought making customers happy was always the right decision. Over time, I noticed that as we continued to do this, more and more of our clients expected this kind of service. This not only took up resources and time, but also reduced the amount of new business we could bring in. Finally we put our foot down and limited customization. Did we lose some business? Sure. But in the grand scheme of things, we were able to build our company knowing what we could do for our customers to stay in business.

When clients ask you to spend more on them than you can afford, take a stand and say no. If they have a problem with that, it’s time to walk away.

3. They Have Unrealistic Expectations

The worst kinds of customers are the ones who expect your solution to solve all their problems. If this customer purchases your shirt, he expects to become one of the most attractive people in the world. When certain customers buy your software, they freak out when they discover a single bug. These clients will cause you to rip your hair out.

Great buyers are the ones who work with you, not against you. If something is wrong with your product or service, apologize and fix it immediately. Don’t take the blame if your customer expects you to do more than your company promises. In most cases, you need your clients to put in effort to make your product a success for themselves. If they’re expecting you to solve all their problems, they’re not going to be happy customers no matter what you do.

 

AJ AGRAWAL

AJ Agrawal is an entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. He is the CEO and co-founder of Alumnify.

 

 

 

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100 Best Quotes On Leadership

100 Best Quotes On Leadership

  1. A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
  2. Where there is no vision, the people perish. —Proverbs 29:18
  3. I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? —Benjamin Disraeli
  4. You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
  5. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
  6. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis
  7. Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. — General George Patton
  8. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
  9. A leader is a dealer in hope. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  10. You don’t need a title to be a leader. –Multiple Attributions
  11. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell
  12. My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. —General Montgomery
  13. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker
  14. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
  15. The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. —Sir Winston Churchill
  16. The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born. —Warren Bennis
  17. To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. —Andre Malraux
  18. He who has never learned to obey cannot be a good commander. —Aristotle
  19. Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position. —Brian Tracy
  20. I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —Ralph Nader
  21. Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. —Peter Drucker
  22. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. —Publilius Syrus
  23. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together. —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
  24. The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. —Theodore Roosevelt
  25. Leadership is influence. —John C. Maxwell
  26. You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case. —Ken Kesey
  27. When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out. —Napoleon Bonaparte
  28. Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. —Harry S. Truman
  29. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. —John Maxwell
  30. So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work. —Peter Drucker
  31. The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes. —Tony Blair
  32. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. —Reverend Theodore Hesburgh
  33. The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. —Kenneth Blanchard
  34. A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible. —Polybius
  35. A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. —John Maxwell
  36. A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be. —Rosalynn Carter
  37. The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. —Jim Rohn
  38. Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish. —Sam Walton
  39. A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur
  40. A ruler should be slow to punish and swift to reward. —Ovid
  41. No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it. —Andrew Carnegie
  42. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —General Dwight Eisenhower
  43. The leader has to be practical and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist. —Eric Hoffer
  44. Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. —Brian Tracy
  45. A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd. —Max Lucado
  46. Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. —General George Patton
  47. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. —Bill Gates
  48. All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. —John Kenneth Galbraith
  49. Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. —Eleanor Roosevelt
  50. Don’t necessarily avoid sharp edges. Occasionally they are necessary to leadership. —Donald Rumsfeld
  51. Education is the mother of leadership. —Wendell Willkie
  52. Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. —Stephen Covey
  53. Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand. —General Colin Powell
  54. Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths. —John Zenger
  55. He who has great power should use it lightly. —Seneca
  56. He who has learned how to obey will know how to command. —Solon
  57. I am reminded how hollow the label of leadership sometimes is and how heroic followership can be. —Warren Bennis
  58. I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody. —Herbert Swope
  59. If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities. —Maya Angelou
  60. If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. —Benjamin Franklin
  61. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
  62. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. —Thomas Jefferson
  63. It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself. —Latin Proverb
  64. It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership. —Nelson Mandela
  65. Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be lead. —Ross Perot
  66. Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. —Vince Lombardi
  67. Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them. —John C. Maxwell
  68. Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. —John F. Kennedy
  69. Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. —Jesse Jackson
  70. Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise. —Woodrow Wilson
  71. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy. —Norman Schwarzkopf
  72. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. —Colin Powell
  73. Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts. —Erskine Bowles
  74. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley
  75. Management is about arranging and telling. Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. —Tom Peters
  76. Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. —Stephen Covey
  77. Never give an order that can’t be obeyed. —General Douglas MacArthur
  78. No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. —Abraham Lincoln
  79. What you do has far greater impact than what you say. —Stephen Covey
  80. Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. —Chinese Proverb
  81. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency. —Arnold Glasow
  82. The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction and the will to carry on. —Walter Lippman
  83. The greatest leaders mobilize others by coalescing people around a shared vision. —Ken Blanchard
  84. The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. —Harvey Firestone
  85. To do great things is difficult; but to command great things is more difficult. —Friedrich Nietzsche
  86. To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have to be obsessed in some way. —Pat Riley
  87. True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well. —Bill Owens
  88. We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity. —Marco Rubio
  89. Whatever you are, be a good one. —Abraham Lincoln
  90. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. —Eleanor Roosevelt
  91. A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops. —John J Pershing
  92. A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. —John Maxwell
  93. There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity and courage. —Fuchan Yuan
  94. I am endlessly fascinated that playing football is considered a training ground for leadership, but raising children isn’t. —Dee Dee Myers
  95. A cowardly leader is the most dangerous of men. —Stephen King
  96. My responsibility is getting all my players playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back. –Unknown
  97. A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George Patton
  98. The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. –Dwight Eisenhower
  99. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership. –Dwight Eisenhower
  100. Earn your leadership every day. –Michael Jordan

What Bothers Us Most About Our Leaders?

What Bothers Us Most About Our Leaders?

By: Glenn Llopis – Source: forbes.com

Leaders have unique qualities that don’t always rub people the right way.  This can unknowingly create distractions and misunderstandings that lead to a dysfunctional workplace.  Unless employees learn to adapt, the same character traits that make effective leaders will begin to wear on them and grow tiresome.  Though a leader’s responsibility is to guide the organization in the right direction and sustain profitable growth – inspiring the success, significance and capabilities of their employees along the way — they must also become more self-aware of how their approach and style may be standing in the way of their employees realizing their full potential.  As one Fortune 400 leader recently told me, “My intensity and sense of urgency can get annoying and I need to be more mindful of the potential repercussions on employee morale and the burden it places on my teams and the corporate culture.”

What-Bothers-Us-Most-About-Our-LeadersThough many leaders have good intentions, they can get tunnel vision over time and fall into the trap of complacency.  As a result, they lose sight of the negative consequences they are creating that few will ever confront them on.   Employees are looking for leaders who are genuinely interested in understanding their needs, before their own.   More employees want the type of leader that is mindful about how their employees want to be led.  Though Human Resource professionals are beginning to understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership doesn’t work anymore, many of the current training programs and their curriculum still need to be revised for a more well-rounded and emotionally intelligent 21st century leader.

We are transitioning from a knowledge-based to a wisdom-based economy.    For leaders, it’s no longer just about what they know, but what they do with what they know.   Today, employees want their leaders to be transparent, trustworthy and strong communicators of their expectations.  They want leaders that are likeable and who make work fun again; leaders who focus on making those around them better; leaders that have developed their personal brand and consistently live it.  Tired of the politics, employees want to be part of an organization whose leadership empowers them to be themselves and whose workplace culture rewards collaboration, the entrepreneurial spirit and   those that have each other’s backs.

Whether you’re evolving into a leadership role or just want to evolve your thinking about how to engage most effectively with your employees, be aware of these eight things that bother employees most about their leaders:

1.  Unknowingly Selfish

Leaders need to be more mindful about setting a more positive and inclusive tone to avoid being perceived as selfish.  Given that employees in the workplace are becoming more sensitive about their job security, leaders must be more deliberate about recognizing and taking action to satisfy the needs of others.

For example, leaders should take the time to better know and help strengthen the credentials and credibility of others.   They need to put their employees in more situations where they can learn and grow.  Too many leaders enjoy talking too much about their own credentials and experiences and waste their time comparing themselves to others.    Many times they unknowingly get caught in the trap of self-promotion instead of learning that leadership is a responsibility much greater than themselves.

Here is why leaders must have a legacy-driven mindset and  avoid getting absorbed in self-promotion.

2.  Micro-Management

Many leaders don’t trust themselves enough to empower their employees to manage their own responsibilities. As such, they employ exhaustive micro-management efforts that make it difficult for employees to prove their self-worth and naturally showcase their talents.   This ultimately demotivates their efforts, making it difficult to retain high-potential employees.

Employees with high potential want leaders who test their ideas and ideals – not leaders who constrain their capabilities and the development of their full potential.   Micro-management can be an effective initial approach when establishing performance standards and setting the tone and the expectations for the organization and its people.   It’s when micro-management is the norm that it becomes bothersome and a deterrent to boosting employee morale.

While people want to be led to help advance their professional goals and that of their organization, leaders that get too involved in micro-managing make for an uncomfortable workplace environment. Employees feel forced to become more of what their bosses want them to be – rather than feel safe to be more of themselves.  Micro-management leads to a workplace identity crisis that makes it difficult for employees to feel empowered and thrive in their work.

Here are five workplace dynamics that fuel an employee identity crisis.

3.  Don’t – or Can’t – Explain Their Vision

Many leaders have the tendency to get too caught-up in the big picture, the grand vision – without guiding their employees along the way. Employees get annoyed when they don’t know where they fit and how they are expected to contribute to the master plan.  Many times, leaders simply assume that employees understand their roles and responsibilities without taking the time to explain their vision.

It’s better to over-communicate than to assume employees know what you are thinking, especially when mapping out the plan required to implement a strategy. Be specific, make your employees feel they are part of the process, and allow them time to buy-into the vision – organically.  Employees get frustrated with leaders who lack attention to detail and who are unable to communicate the vision for which they are ultimately accountable.

4.  Ignore the Problems

Leaders that tend to ignore the problems make it difficult for their teams to learn from them and move on to the next opportunity.   Employees are bothered by leaders that are not accountable for their actions and shift the blame onto others.

Ignoring a problem exacerbates a situation rather than helps to identity the root cause and a potential solution .  Leaders expose their immaturity and this makes it difficult to respect their judgment and their ability to lead during times of uncertainty.   Employees are observing their leaders’ actions and inactions more than one might think.

Here are the four most effective ways leaders solve problems.

5.  Lack Patience Under Pressure

Employees are bothered by leaders that can’t handle the pressure associated with great leadership   and don’t have the maturity to practice patience.  Today’s business climate is more complicated than ever and fueled with many unknowns.  Leaders must be able to step up their game and lift/inspire those around them to get through the added pressure without missing a beat in generating results and securing sustainable outcomes.

When leaders lose their cool or don’t have the mental toughness to stay focused and avoid distractions, their employees grow increasingly frustrated.  Employees want leaders that can see the light at the end of a difficult situation and course correct along the way.   When leaders lack patience, this reverberates and multiplies throughout the organization – creating an uncertain environment in which to operate.

Here are five ways leaders can practice patience.

6.  Don’t Listen to Themselves or Others

It’s easy for a leader to tell others what to do – but are they listening to themselves and leading by example? Leaders can outline their expectations for their employees and organization,   for example with the introduction of new best practices and reminders of the guiding principles and values of the organization.  Though many employees will walk away inspired, the first person that is often guilty of not listening to the message and putting it into action is the leader him or herself.

Leaders today must touch the business just as much as they lead it.  They must listen to their own words and keep their promises, setting the example for others to follow.   Equally, leaders must be more active in listening to the needs of their employees and take it upon themselves to deliver upon those needs so as to earn the loyalty and trust of their employees.

Here are six ways listening can make you a better leader.

7.  Not Courageous Enough

Many employees complain about their leaders being too much of a push-over – someone who gets caught up in office politics at the expense of advancing people, clients and the business.   Leaders need to take more calculated risks and stop worrying about playing it safe.   Courage is a critical success factor in leadership and when your employees don’t witness enough of it (especially in the most obvious of circumstances), it makes it difficult to lead them. Great leaders are willing to dive into an uncertain situation for the potential benefit of the team.

Here is why risk must be a leader’s best friend.

8.  Not Enough Presence, Personality and Likeability

Employees are never proud to introduce their leaders to clients and partners when they lack charisma, presence, personality and likeability.   Your leader doesn’t need to know everything about the business, but with a strong presence and likeability factor they can help build and cultivate a relationship important to the business.

Employees are especially bothered by leaders that don’t have the required executive presence to elevate a simple conversation, let alone command the attention of influential people or convert potential problems into real solutions and opportunities.

Here are eight qualities that make leaders extraordinarily memorable.

Many leaders are still employing a leadership style that is 20 years outdated and aren’t making the necessary performance and attitude adjustments to retain top talent and employee respect.  This is when leaders become followers and must change their leadership style and approach. When they adapt and learn that it’s alright to give up control at times, to give high-potential employees the space they need to get the job done, and to avoid falling into the trap of mistrusting themselves and those they lead – these leaders will no longer give their employees reason to be bothered.

Are you interested in starting a business?

 

Build Your Business Plan:

Creating a business plan is one of the most important steps you will take because the plan serves as your road map for the early years of your business. The business plan generally projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to reach its yearly milestones, including revenue projections. A well thought out plan also helps you to step-back and think objectively about the key elements of your business venture and informs your decision-making on a regular basis.

SBA’s Business Plan Tool provides you with a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Follow this link to get started. 

The Secret to the Recurring Revenue Revolution: The Sales Cycle Never Ends

The Secret to the Recurring Revenue Revolution: The Sales Cycle Never Ends

By Paula Reinman | Source: http://www.business2community.com/

There’s been a lot of talk in recent months and years about the so-called ‘recurring revenue economy’. But what does this really mean? Surely the aim of all organisations is to ensure that revenue recurs as frequently as possible in any case? Paradoxically, perhaps the best way to answer this question might well be to ask another one. When do you think a prospect successfully exits the sales funnel in a subscription-based economy?

Is the answer:

a)    Once they sign the purchase order
b)    When the payment clears
c)    When they start using the solution
d)    When they renew the first time

The correct answer, of course, is that this was a trick question, and prospects never actually leave the sales-funnel where recurring revenue is guaranteed! For sales and marketing teams accustomed to the old model of guiding prospects through a sales funnel and then moving on, it’s a new reality that can be quite disconcerting. This is where the recurring revenue revolution starts. To explain, it’s a fact of modern business that many technology companies now earn the bulk of their revenue from their existing customer base who are tied to recurring revenue through subscriptions to products or services. In fact, larger companies with growth rates below 15% rely on their existing customers for over half of their revenue.

When you count on recurring revenue, you need to track customer behaviour and usage for as long as customers remain customers. It’s also important to sell the value early and to continue to demonstrate value throughout every phase of the customer lifecycle – spanning acquisition, on-boarding, adoption, renewals – for greatest customer success. In fact, if your customers are loyal users within the first 90 days, there’s only a 10% chance that they ever will be. Perhaps more importantly, when they cease being customers, you need to understand why.

Crucially, in the recurring revenue economy, marketing and sales teams must also manage the ongoing relationship with the customer past the traditional end of the sales funnel and in new and different ways. Increasingly, a key part of their role is to convert prospects through a trial to customers (the traditional end of the sales cycle), retaining customers through ongoing renewals and cross-sell or upsell the right customers strategically to optimise revenue. To do this successfully, a great deal of visibility is needed into customer usage data, as well as the ability to predict what that usage means at different stages of the customer lifecycle.

Combining usage data with purchase history can provide new insight into the reasons behind revenue growth and customer churn – insight that guides continued sales and marketing plans. Indeed, predictive analytics based upon usage data can help sales and marketing teams figure out why customers renew or convert, to target sales and marketing efforts most effectively.

What’s clear is that actionable analytics are not only important to renewals, but that they also need to feed into ongoing sales and marketing efforts to support those renewals. Detailed and predictive data can play a number of key roles in helping you to identify the levers that that inform your sales and marketing campaigns. These can include identifying which trial customers are most likely to convert, which existing customers are most likely to renew and identifying those which are most at risk, as well as how valuable are they as a customer.

Moreover, data can help your business to ensure that specific subscriptions are priced according to actual usage, as well as a range of other factors, including cross-sell opportunities, and the level of value specific customers are getting from their subscription. Put simply, operating in a subscription economy can provide so much more than just a regular and reliable stream of revenue. By combining subscriptions with data analysis, recurring revenue can provide business insights, reduce customer churn and help you to run an effective and profitable business. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that more and more organisations are looking to join the recurring revenue revolution!

Should I Present Solutions? Or Are Options Better?

Should I Present Solutions? Or Are Options Better?

Those questions were raised at a recent sales course we ran, and they are interesting because most salespeople are trained to present and close at every opportunity.

In fact, in one of my favorite films, Glangarry Glenross, Alec Baldwin is famous for using the ABC method of closing, standing for Always Be Closing.

So why wouldn’t you always offer the solution? Why would you think of any alternative? Isn’t it strange to think that you wouldn’t close when you have the opportunity?

Well, many people suggest that it might be better to offer up to three options and then help the prospect choose which one would be best for them.

Let’s discuss the reasons for this:

Humans have this innate desire to want a choice. When they have a choice they feel in control, as if they are having an influence on the solution and the benefits they will achieve from it. Even if the choice is between Yes and No, we still like to feel that we control the situation.

Also, the optimum number of choices for someone is three. With two choices, it’s an either/or decision. With four or more choices, it can tend to overwhelm and intimidate us. But three seems to be the optimum number; not to many, not too few.

If we’re asked to choose between two options, we may feel pressured, wanting to choose the lesser of the two evils, or asking for more time to think it through.

But when we’re given three options, we tend to see the option of ‘no’ fading away.

Think of this when you next are asked to present a solution, or you feel the time is right to present the solution. Ask yourself, are there three options available to the prospect? If so, offer the choices, then request the prospect thinks through which be best for them or their business. This gives them a wider choice and enables you to help them consider the best alternative of the three for them and their business.

Offer three solutions. Discuss which one would be best for them. Help them make the best choice.

You’ll be surprised how often you’ll get a solution there and then, instead of ‘I’ll think about it’.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

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