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Who I am

 

I collaborate with a small group of trusted colleagues, working on specific projects in organisations committed to achieving results with engaged people, motivated individuals and high-performing teams.

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The Who and How to Woo

One of the most popular TED talks with more than 26 million views is by Simon Sinek . He has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?".

This Ted talk is deservedly popular because it reminds us that people don’t care about how or what. They care about WHY. Answer WHY and the reward is energy to make the what clearer, and the how happen. When we are engaged and buy into an idea, then we are energised to take action. To move towards making the idea a reality. As we progress momentum grows.

Answering the WHY for others requires us to have perspective. We can more easily see our WHY. In our enthusiasm we may be oblivious to others WHY and so fail to engage them. 

If a critical role of a leader is to create results that matter, to shape the organisation for the future. Success then requires engaging others in our vision. To get over the inertia of the status quo and create sustainable change.

In the words of March Bukingham, we need to Woo others. He defines Woo as

as a talent for “Winning Others Over”.

 My favourite book on influence is the Art of Woo by Richard Shell and Mario Mousa of Harvard. They describe Woo as:

Relationship based persuasion, a strategic process for getting people’s attention, pitching your idea, and obtaining approval for your plans and projects…

Woo. Simple to say. Hard to do.

In helping coach and train leaders in the art of influence, I distinguish six stages of influence. These can be summarised as:

1.      Play Chinese Whispers: If you can’t get your idea across in a few sentences how can you expect others to get it? 

Try this test: tell one person, ask them to tell another, who repeats back to you. What message did they send? How close was it to what you intended? To inspire others, you need to be able to clearly and succinctly stage your vision for the WHY in a way that they get it and can repeat it. Thus amplifying your message.

 

2.      Settle in for the long game. Influencing takes time. Define the stepping stones required to get you from today to the future. they may not be clear today, but having a rough set of first steps provides a tangible direction and somewhere to take the first step.

 

3.      Gather the troops. Who do you need to engage and when? Identify who all your key stakeholders are: those who can help shape your idea, those who may provide valuable insights, who are your critical friends? who have resources you may need? Who may be impacted and who need to be engaged? What might their perspectives be? Listen and learn. Be open to their ideas and input.

 

When we come from our own perspective we are blinkered to others WHY. Be curious and open minded.

As one workshop participant said to me recently.  “I love it when people criticise my ideas as it helps me to see the flaws that need to be addressed”.

 

4.      Flex your approach. The art of Woo outlines six discreet channels of persuasion. Effective influencers are aware of their preferred modes and develop the ability to consciously select and shift between channels depending on who they are influencing. This speaks to the need to have self-awareness and perspective.

 

The six channels they describe are:

                                               I.          Interest based persuasion: what’s in it for me (or them)

                                              II.          Authority: because I say so

                                            III.          Politics:  a coalition of a few

                                            IV.          Rationality: the evidence says so  

                                             V.          Inspiration & Emotion: the vision channel: how I want to see me

                                            VI.          Relationships: because I care

 

5.      When they say yes… its only just begun. We all experience hearing yes and then priorities change. Look for ways to gain momentum with small easy actions for commitment. Commitments given publically and voluntary are more likely to be actioned. How can you lock the change in to “become business as usual”?

 

6.      Let it go: When others take on the idea and stat to shape it for themselves, to add their own flavour, then we know we have truly been successful in influencing. Resist the temptation to hold on.  Be prepared to share responsibility and accountability to really engage others.

Many a great idea has failed to see the light of day because the person with the vison has failed to take others along. Failed to get buy in.  As a leader, in the short term we may see traction, but when the pressure is off, people quickly revert back. If you really want to lead strategically, investing in developing your WOO power will help you to achieve sustainable results. A good place to refresh your skills can be watching Simon Sinek or reading The Art of Woo.

Have you set your sales budget for the year yet?

If not, you are not alone. Research shows that more than 54 % of organisations deliver budgets to the sales force after the FY has started.  Even then, a whopping 42 % change the budgets after they are released. If you are still working thorough budget setting, you may be somewhere between the 5 -10 iterations most companies go through before agreeing on figures. Research by Gartner identified that 5 – 10 % of potential revenue is lost through poor budget setting. That is significant!!  So it is worth persevering.

 If you are still working on your budget setting, remember is about process and engaging people. A combination of the following factors can be helpful;

  1. Historic Sales as an indicator but not a predictor of future revenue ( so don’t just add on 15 % and hope)
  2. Projected growth based on good market and product research
  3. Account planning : working up from an account level to understand their strategy and  the potential for your products and services

 

We all know that budgets have a major impact on sales person performance and motivation. So taking time to get an agreed achievable budget is well worth it. Having a well thought our budget is essential for you to build your incentive scheme.

 Don’t be afraid to adjust budgets as the year progresses, more than 70 % of companies do. Just do it for the right reasons in the right way to keep engagement and motivation.

To the man in seat 11A

Thank you for such a stimulating plane conversation. It is so refreshing to meet someone who is passionate about making a difference and is doing something about it. He is contacting politicians, fronting up to speak doing whatever and ever he can to be heard.

 So often people complain about NZ, the government, the council global problems, they, complain about their company, their boss, their team mate, their partner. Yet they feel unable to make a difference. They sit around and complain or talk about what should be done... but they do nothing about it. They feel powerless to act, the problem is too big, and they feel they will not make a difference.

The man in seat 11A is different. I saw passion he said it was desperation. Whatever label you use. He is driven to put considerable energy and effort into creating change that he believes is critically important. He has a vision that drives him. When I meet people like him, I am inspired. I see that they create energy, in themselves and others. They are that tiny grain of sand, that eventually builds to create a beautiful beach.

Our inertia or feeling of not being able to make a difference holds us prisoner. We make ourselves powerless, energy draining.

We do the same in our daily lives. We easily get caught up in the cycle of reacting to problems and feel we have little if any time to do anything else. 

There is a different approach.  Try these 3 steps each and see what a difference it makes.

  1. Identify something that is important for you to achieve: A goal that really matters to you 
  2. Each  evening set yourself 1 action  for the next day that will help you progress towards your goal: nothing huge, it can be anything so long as it is achievable to do the next day
  3. When you see unexpected opportunities to progress towards  your goal grab hem

 

Repeat step 2 for 10 days... and see what you notice and how you feel

Please let me know how you go. And I will update you on my 10 day challenge in 10 days time

Increase Revenue by Investing in You

My daughter was complaining because so many apps she wanted wouldn’t work on her i4..  To get them to run she needed to upgrade  to an  i5 and then keep up to date with new software releases. Most of us are familiar with this, and update our software regularly. We know that if we want improved performance, then we have to update our software.  Our brain is like an operating system, it needs to be updated regularly so we can improve our performance.    As we strive to achieve more we need to acquire the knowledge, skills and the ability to think and perform differently.  Every year in business we aim to increase revenue, increase market share, increase margin etc etc. We put plans in place and strive to achieve targets. What really holds us back is not just what we do, it is how we habitually think, our beliefs in what is possible (or not) and how this translates into our actions. A lot of these habits and beliefs are unconscious or we are unconscious of the impact they are having on our performance. So though we strive to increase results, we are limited by our own beliefs; we get in our own way.  We are limited by the operating system we are using. We can continue as we are and probably make slow incremental progress, or we can update our operating system and accelerate our development and accelerate the results we achieve.  Our rate of development must at a minimum keep pace with the rate of change in our environment. Just image what more we can achieve when we upgrade our operating system.  As business Leaders it is critical to the success and growth of our business to continually update our operating system. Effective leadership drives business results.

 

 A major study of 486 mangers across a wide range of business showed that 37.6% of the variation in perceived business performance can be attributed to the leaders’ effectiveness.  This means that regardless of how much effort we put into our strategy and having the best products, service and systems the real untapped and often overlooked potential is the effectiveness of our leaders.  Investing in the development of leaders has a multiplying effect as they in turn lift the effectiveness of their teams. 

So what are the most critical competencies for sales leadership effectiveness? The most effective sales leaders need to be high on achieving results, balanced with how they relate to others. They have high levels of self awareness, are authentic in the way they act and have a perspective that is broader than just their unit, business or industry. Many sales leaders were promoted to the role because they were the best sales person. Ironically the very characteristics that helped them to be a successful sales person often get in the way of them being an effective sales leader.  Top sales people, who are driven, ambitious, operate independently, and take note of detail may become a controlling manager, who leads by reputation and example as opposed fostering team play, collaborating and mentoring others.  A sales person who relies on pleasing customers can become a manager who cannot make the tough calls. Both mangers will not harness the full potential of their team.

 

When we are promoted it is a god time to update our operating system. Existing leaders need to ensure they develop at least to keep pace with change just to stay still.  A well designed personal development program over a period of time will deliver increased

Increase your sales by 8 %

A few weeks ago we heard that selling lotto tickets at the checkout increased sales by 8 %. There has been a range of reactions to this, depending on how you view gambling. I for one applaud who ever came up with this seemingly easy and smart way to make it easier for customers to buy.

Our own experience tells us that the easier it is for us to buy something, the more likely we are to purchase. Research confirms that the ease of the purchasing process significantly contributes to customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

 

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