Expandmenu Shrunk


  • Tag Archives leadership
  • Don’t just work hard. Do the hard work.

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    hardwork-1-560x294Working hard is not the key to success; it’s merely the price of admission. 

    Hard work alone isn’t enough to bring you everything you want. 

    Because if you’re working hard at the wrong things then they won’t take you to where you want to go. 

    You have to work hard at the right things if you want to achieve your desired destination. 

    Which introduces a second element to the equation. 

    Because not only do you have to work hard, you also have to work hard at the right things. 

    So what are the right things?

     Actually, it’s usually pretty simple to identify them. 

    Typically the right things, the best things, the most significant things you can do to achieve your goal are often the things you know need to be done but you most don’t want to do. 

    They are the things that nobody likes to do. 

    If you’re trying to build muscle, it means doing pull ups or leg day. 

    If you’re trying to lose weight, it means cutting your alcohol, carbs, or sugar intake. 

    If you’re in sales, it is prospecting. 

    If you’re trying to get out of debt, it’s making and following a budget.  

    In other words, it’s not enough to just work hard.  

    You have to do the hard work. 

    You have to do the things you don’t want to do. 

    You have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do. 

    You have to do the things that you know are good for you, but they are hard. 

    You don’t do them because the goal is to make life as hard as possible. 

    Quite the contrary, you do them because they ultimately make life easier.

    But that path is predicated on the unpopular truth that the shortest most guaranteed path to a more productive life is to do the hardest parts of things as soon as possible!

    You don’t just work hard. You do the hard work. 

    And if you that… 

    If you work hard…

    And you also do the hard work…

    Then you will start to find that eventually, things get easier and easier. 


  • You wouldn’t let your parents do it. Why do you do it?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    Karen is a successful sales manager with a problem. Her leaders never seem to step up in their leadership roles. She wants to trust that they are doing their job but then when their teams aren’t performing, she finds herself needing to step in and work with her leader’s sales team members.

    What? Hold on a minute? How do you think this story ends?

    Well, it wasn’t ending well and it was causing endless frustration for Karen as well as wasting hours and hours of her time.

    Unfortunately, Karen is only one of many clients who face this issue and does not understand why I suggest that she stop leading over her leaders. But think about it. Any parent will tell you that they don’t appreciate their own parents stepping in and trying to parent the grandkids. There isn’t a parent I know who won’t quickly stand up and matter-of-factly ask their parents to ‘butt out’. ‘These are my kids and I will parent them how I see fit!’

    parents grandparents

    Can you relate? Or maybe you are a leader of a team and your immediate leader continues to step over you and lead your team. How does that make you feel?

    There are 3 main issues with this.

    First, when you lead over your leaders, it demoralizes them on the inside. By leading over them, you are telling them that you don’t think that they can do their job. When people don’t think that you believe in them, then they aren’t going to try as hard. Why should they, after all, won’t you be stepping in and doing the heavy lifting for them.

    The second issue is that you are sending a signal to the people of your leader that your leader isn’t really skilled enough to be your leader and then all respect flies out the window. The leadership power is washed away leaving your leader with a title but no one who really respects them. After all, if they aren’t getting their way, all they need to do is call you, right? You like how important you feel when you are able to step in and save the day, but instead of really helping, you are now hurting all 3 of you.

    I had one client who was learning how to be a better leader and went to apologize to one of their leaders for what they have been doing. The leader accepted their apology and explained that every time the leader went over his head to work with his team, he felt embarrassed. You can imagine the shock of my coaching client who had previously described that leader as an ‘arrogant know-it-all’. The guy wasn’t that bad but was simply reacting to the situation that my client caused.

    The third issue is that leading over your leaders is that it causes a ‘gossip triangle’. I have seen it become a time-consuming he-said-she-said that can waste hours, if not days, of everyone trying to solve disagreements and hurt feelings. Team members aren’t dumb. They quickly learn how to play the game that kids often learn to play ‘parent-vs-parent’. If the leaders aren’t showing a united front and letting the leaders lead only their direct reports, then they can be pitted against each other on a regular basis which will stagnate growth and cause division within the ranks.

    So what is the solution?

    First, if you find yourself guilty on all counts, then you need to have a private conversation with your leader. Begin with apologizing. Let them know that you didn’t realize what you have been doing and how you were inadvertently neutralizing them as a leader. When you start this conversation with an apology, I’ve never seen it end badly. It usually ends up as it did with my client Bob with the manager who he was leading also being vulnerable and admitting how embarrassed or helpless they have been feeling.

    Second, you make an agreement that all issues with their team members will be immediately directed to the leader and you will partner together, if needed, to solve the issue, but all leadership of that team member will come from the right person in the chain-of-command. This also means that you need to be willing to let go of some control. The leader might make some ‘bad’ decisions as they learn how to really be a leader. It’s okay. It’s their team. You’re going to be there to partner with them so help them avoid making too many bad leadership decisions but it’s going to happen and you need to be okay with it and trust your leader.

    The third thing that you do is meet with the leader on a weekly basis at a scheduled time to discuss their team members and help them to think through how to best resolve any issues. We do this by asking instead of telling. I find that most leaders (including myself) want to just tell people how to do things. This is fine if they are new to the company (or new to leadership) and learning the ropes. For an experienced leader, it is better to ask questions to help your leader think through how to solve the problems on their own. People who are convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. If, however, you ask questions and get them to come to the appropriate conclusions, then they are convincing themselves and internalizing the lessons.

    Tired of always thinking that you are the only one who knows how to do anything? Then that is a sign that you are leading over your leaders and it’s time to take a new approach.

    Try it and please let me know how it goes!

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Finding Purpose In Your Company

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    At the end of 2008 our company was in the third year of its business. It was a very difficult year. We were running our company at a huge deficit and we almost closed the doors. In January of 2009, as a company of 10 people, 8 of us got together for this meeting and asked ourselves these questions:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 2.19.35 PM

     “Who are we?”

    “What do we want?”

    “What do we believe in?”

    “What do we stand for?”

    We got clear as a company on our values. We came to the realization that purpose precedes performance.

    If you or your team are not performing like you want them to be, if you have renegades, if you have low performance and bad attitudes, it’s most often the lack of vision. It’s the lack of clarity around your values and what you stand for as a company.

    As a leader, you have to help your people get really clear on what they must believe to be part of your organization. You have to be clear on the company values and non-negotiable beliefs.

    Ask yourself, “What do I stand for?” “What do we stand for as a company?” Find out what is nonnegotiable.

    Figure out the ways of behaving, the things that you believe in, that no matter what, you will all need to rally around. If you get clear and promote this in a very consistent way, and repeat it so it’s owned, you’ll get people marching in the same direction.

    People will start changing their behaviors because they have gotten clear on their beliefs! And if they don’t, they will eject themselves from the culture.  You’ll have a culture that is very much stronger with the performance and results that you want. 

    It is so important to find your purpose to perform your best. Has this been something you recently discovered, or even need help unfolding? I want to know! 

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    backward_clock

    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Teamwork

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

     

    blueangels
    When I think of the ultimate in teamwork, I think of the Blue Angels flight team.  These pilots must be not only perfect but also precise in their daily performances.   They do this not only entertain, but to stay alive.  They raise the bar in a multitude of ways.  Their passion for what they do along with the amount of preparation and dedication to being the best is remarkable.  Regarding teamwork, when it is at its best, amazing standards are being set daily.  What level do you think your team is currently operating?  I am referring to the team you work with, and perhaps your family unit as well? Where do you and your team and need to raise the bar?  What areas do you think need the most improvement?
    Below you will find a few common characteristics seen in teams that work well together and achieve significant successes, both together and as individuals.

    teamwork

    Teams that rock, or are wildly successful, tend to share certain common values.  I find these teams typically have very focused goals along with a passion for succeeding.  You can ask any member of that team what is the focus of their team.  Each member of the team will know the main goal and they will all answer in a similar fashion. These teammates are so committed to their shared goals and success that they will put the success of the team first and be willing to make personal sacrifices in order to help the team.  One person on the team may purposefully take a back seat for a short while and let another teammate succeed.  They realize that a short-term sacrifice of glory and ego, today will help the entire team in the long run.

    When you are a part of a top team, teamwork is not something you only do part time. You live your life by doing what is best for the team.   I like to teach the concept of either/and instead of either/or. Top leaders of top teams must have a team first attitude and mentality.  Also, they must make sure they are performing at their very best.  When you are at your very best, in most cases you are helping the team as well.

    Top teams tend to consist of several leaders, leaders that are confident and skilled enough to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. In all areas both personal and professional you will see top teams whose leaders lead by example and set the pace. They are proactive, rather than reactive and plan on winning no matter what.

    Yet another part of teamwork to be aware of is trust.  Teams that have a great chemistry also have amazing trust for one another.  This comes from amazing communication amongst the team.  Often teammates will carve out  time to communicate when challenges arise.  Typically the type of situations that may threaten the bond and success of their team.  Often, trust is broken when communication is poor.  People who want to grow their teamwork skills must make good communication a priority.

    Teams that succeed are the teams that prepare the most. They often work harder and more diligently than anyone would imagine. Whether its additional hours of work in order to prepare, or tenacious effort during the hours of preparation, strong teams do the work. Ask yourself this question: Does your team put, less, the same, or more work when preparing for success than the average team?  The answer probably lies in your results.  If your team isn’t where you want it to be, it is because you need to work on becoming more prepared.

    Lastly, great teams have great attitudes. Attitude stems from what and how teammates talk to themselves when no one else is around.  They have clear affirmations and the words they said whether to themselves or to their team.  Of course, things happen in life and having a good attitude and good self-talk can help everyone bounce back fast from the challenges one may experience.

    You don’t see winners walking around defeated and down.  It’s because they have mastered the self – talk and attitude skill set.

    What type of team do you want to build? When do you want to start? What are you and your teams biggest growth areas to Turn It Up A Notch in your teamwork abilities?

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.


  • Control What You Can: Attitude and Effort

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    attitudeOften we get frustrated in life when we try to control things that we actually have no control over.

    We get frustrated when the traffic is bad and we are late to work.

    We get frustrated when somebody doesn’t buy from us, or they don’t show up for an appointment.

    We get frustrated all day long with little things that are happening, that we forget that we cannot actually control some of those things.

    What can we do to keep from feeling this way?

    There are only two things each day that you actually can control. Only two things!

    They are your attitude and your effort. That’s it!

    When something bad happens you control how you react to that something. You can control what attitude you choose to put on. Choose to put on a good one!

    You can also control how hard you work. How many hours you put in. You control how hard you work during those hours, how many phone calls you make, if you pick up the phone and dial again and again and again.

    There are things that you can influence, like how well you have a conversation. You can influence if somebody buys or not, but you can’t really control the outcome at all.

    You can control a lot of what you do in terms of how many appointments you set, etc. You can have a great amount of control over that. Two things we can work on controlling is how hard we work and our attitude.

    If you focus on controlling the “controllables,” controlling what you actually can control, and just surrender the rest, you will have a lot less frustration and a whole lot more peace!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Fuel Your Fire

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    It’s easy to look at other people’s success and be jealous.

    Sometimes it’s not even envy that shows up, but more of just frustration with your own situation or your own progress. Because you see where they are and you know that you’re capable of the same thing.

    But that gap of dissatisfaction doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It can be incredibly compelling and highly motivating for you on your journey.

    You just have to remember two things:

    First, other people haven’t taken the same route as you have to get where they are. They may have been more focused, had different mentorship, more specific training, or just plain started earlier than you did. And you can’t compare your chapter 3 to someone else’s chapter 9. Instead, you can gain perspective by evaluating the “trajectory” that you’re on.

    Don’t compare where you are today to someone else’s yesterday. Think about where the course you’re currently on is going to lead you. Very often you will find that if you are making good choices now, that you are inevitably headed toward the same eventual destination.

    Secondly, and more importantly, you have to quickly realize that there is no benefit in wallowing in what you do not have.

    It brings no value to your life to think about what you have not yet accomplished.

    And it does nothing to speed up your progress by looking at what others have achieved that you haven’t yet.

    Unless…

    It drives you and inspires you to do the only thing you can do: work.

    As soon as you realize there’s more you want to accomplish, then you should immediately activate.

    You go to work.

    You decide that you’re not ok with that gap.

    You decide that it’s not acceptable for you not to achieve those same things with your life.

    And you decide that you will find a way to do whatever it takes to accomplish those achievements that you want.

    It’s not about what other people have that you don’t.

    It’s about seeing other people’s accomplishments that you believe are meant to be possible for your own life too.

    And when you see them, you feel that gap. You feel that dissatisfaction. You feel that space that you were meant to fill.

    You don’t get jealous. You don’t get envious.

    You simply get to work.

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.

    Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine.


  • Are You a Manager or a Great Leader?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    leadership1-248x300Favorite pieces of leadership advice when running a 1000+ team was “You can’t do for 1 what you can’t do for 100”

    Think about that. Think about your business and what you are doing for your team members today.

    Write out that list and now put on your thinking cap. What can you do to systematize this so that you aren’t running around putting out one fire at a time?

    Recently, I was working with one of my amazing coaching clients who is a future Area Manager with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Karli Spahr. She is growing to a 23 person team and has brought in 7 new people in a few short months in 9 different branches. In order to get people trained and successful, she is working on a systematic way to ensure they are all getting the right training in the right order and that they know where to look for help if she isn’t available. Here are a couple of issues that she is dealing with and how she decided to deal with them. I hope this helps you think of ways to deal with what is stealing your leadership time every day as well. Comment below with your ideas.

    Issue #1: New loan officers constantly coming to her with questions about different loans.

    Solution:

    1. Put together an onboarding system that includes a chart showing the entire loan intake process from start to finish and who will have the answers in different areas.

    2. Compile a list of the most commonly asked questions and add them to the training material.

    3. Partner with more experienced loan officers for certain types of questions.

    Issue #2: Loan Officers scheduling meetings for her to go with them to visit real estate agents at all different times during the week.

    Solution:

    1. Share her schedule with everyone the week before with the times she is available for going with people and they are to sign up first come first serve.

    2. Create a script and outline for how to meet with real estate agents and words to use. Train on this so that they learn how to do it for themselves.

    Issue #3: She plans her schedule every week, but she never gets to keep to it because people are always calling her and popping in to ask questions.

    Solution:

    1.Do a sales meeting where she teaches them what she has learned in coaching about time management and setting a weekly schedule.

    2. Share her schedule every Monday by 8 a.m. with her team.

    3. Let her team know that this is her schedule and when she is available and what they need to do if they have a question when she is not available and what constitutes an emergency that would be cause for interrupting her schedule.

    Since we have been coaching together, we have been working on a ton of issues just like this that bother sales leaders every single day. Why do that? So you, as the leader, can make the time to do the things that will have a significant impact in growing your business and your people. Instead, so many sales leaders spend their days running on the hamster wheel and wondering why they are frustrated and overwhelmed.

    It’s not hard to be a manager, but to be a Great Leader who runs a well-oiled organization that positively impacts your clients and the lives of your employees, it takes a lot of thought and preparation. So which are you today, a manager or a Great Leader? If you’re not a Great Leader, what are you going to do today to change that?

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate.


  • 10 Phrases You Can Never Say Too Often as a Leader

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Attending Southwestern Consulting Leadership Lab, Rory Vaden was sharing the following list. People care more about verbal appreciation more than the dollars you pay them.

    10 Phrases You Can Never Say Too Often as a Leader:

    1. I am proud of you.
    2. I care about you.
    3. I believe in you.
    4. I am grateful for you (People can sense when you are annoyed to spend time with them and when you are excited to spend time for them.)

    Click here to continue reading…


  • Leadership Isn’t Logical

    From: Rory Vaden

    Rory Vaden

    Sometimes the things that co-workers are doing just don’t make any sense.

    It frustrates me to the point of anger to have someone on the team who has so much potential but just never seems to perform anywhere near their capabilities.

    I am sometimes baffled and confused when another person who has been a top performer on our team for years suddenly starts spending more time complaining and whining, instead of working and creating.

    And how is it that the one person who used to be the “steady-Eddie” on our team now hardly ever shows up on time, goes home early and squanders much of the day surfing online?

    It’s exhausting and disheartening to know that these people aren’t doing what they are supposed to, and none of if it ever made sense to me — until I realized something:

    Leadership isn’t logical. Leadership is emotional, because humans are emotional. . .

    Finish reading this article in the Tennessean here.