brooklyn bridge

Deciding to Respond… INSTEAD of React…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Doctors tell us that Responding is positive and Reacting is negative.

How do they tell us that?

I was sick awhile ago and I went in for a check up. My doctor sent me over to Walgreens to pick up my medication, but before I left the office she said, “Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.”

I went back to the doctor and she said, “Oh no, your body is having a bad Reaction to the medicine.”

Needless to say, she prescribed something else.  Before I left the office she said, ““Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.  If the reaction is bad again, don’t wait to come in, CALL ME ASAP!”

I went back in and she said, “Oh good, your body is Responding to the treatment.”

Responding is positive, Reacting is negative.

You are going to encounter disappointment along the way in life.

It does not matter how perfectly you run your life, how committed you stay to your goals, or what level of success you reach, you will at some time or another experience disappointment.

What you do need to do when this happens is deal with it well and Respond. How many people do you know who deal with disappointment well?

How do you personally deal with disappointment?

Do you get angry?

Sad?

Do you blow it off as though nothing happened (which can potentially be as dangerous as the other options)?

The way in which you cope with disappointments is one of the defining factors in how you will do in life, and how well and how quickly you will achieve your goals.

Don’t wallow for too long.(a little wallowing is okay)

Don’t be angry forever. (a little righteous anger is okay)

But you can’t stay there long.

Be proactive.

Get back up and seek out new opportunities. Find a positive outlook on the turn of events.

Say this to yourself, “What if everything that has happened… has happened FOR me instead of TO me?”

Likewise, do not act as if nothing has happened.

Not properly assimilating a disappointment can leave it to fester, and affect you later on down the road.

Always take a moment to address what has happened.

Then allow yourself to proactively move forward.

Denial is one of the most effective ways to inflict harm on yourself and your progress.

Repression hurts and festers and leads to a system-wide infection.

Don’t brush aside your experience so effectively that you have never even processed it.

Remember, there are lessons there to learn, lessons that you can use down the road as you progress toward your goals.

There’s a very moving story around the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s a true testament of how a dedicated, committed human spirit and mind can be.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is an engineering feat, but it is also a feat of human potential.

A very ingenious engineer named John Roebling conceived the idea of the bridge.

A lot of other experts in his field tossed off his idea. They told him there was no way he would be able to build such an ambitious project with the technologies of the day.

Roebling was not about to be dissuaded from his dream.

He enlisted the help of his similarly innovative son, Washington, and set out to design, plan, build, and complete that engineering masterpiece.

They got the financing in place, got their permits and city paperwork taken care of, and hired a crew to begin construction.

Only a few months into the project, a truly disastrous event took place.

An on-site accident killed Roebling and left his son a quadriplegic with brain damage severe enough to prevent him from communicating with words.

Immediately, plans were made to scrap the project; how could that ambitious project continue without the only two people who really understood how to execute it?

The thing is, Washington was not down for the count—not by a long shot.”

Even though he lost his ability to move and communicate through the spoken word, Washington’s faculties were all still in place.

More importantly, his dream of building the bridge and his devotion to that dream had not faded.

So what did he do?

He engineered a new way to communicate.

In cooperation with his very patient and caring wife, Washington developed a system for communicating through finger taps.

An idea hit him as he lay in his hospital bed, and he developed a code for communication.

He literally tapped out instructions for the construction of the bridge and oversaw the entire project from his bed for thirteen more years.

So you can see how the bridge is not only a miracle of engineering, but also a miracle of human ambition and commitment, too.

No matter how carefully we lead our lives, we are going to experience disappointment.

It is inevitable that we will see failure, grief, pain, and every type of disappointment come into our lives.

Since you are sure to see disappointments, make sure you keep an extra sharp eye out for joy.

Spend time with people you love and value: family, friends, mentors, anyone who brings you solace, love, and joy. These moments of balance and bliss will make you that much more prepared when disappointments arrive.

 

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Sales Mistakes That Could Be Costing You MILLIONS

There’s a truism that every sales professional knows all too well.

 

The longer the sales cycle, the bigger the risk.

 

When I worked for Tony Robbins, we were trained in the Law of Diminishing Intent… or what we called LODI.

 

Basically, the longer the sales process, the less likely the close.

 

When the process goes on for too long, salespeople usually lose to the most formidable competitor of all; the status quo.

 

The company they’re pitching decides to stay with things as they are, even though a new technology could provide amazing benefits.

 

Here are five mistakes you may be making that drag out the sales cycle, cost your employer millions, and deprive you of healthy commission checks.

 

  1. You don’t really know who controls the budget.

 

Ever experienced the frustration of getting to the end of a sales cycle and realizing you were never talking to people in a position to release the budget?

 

I have.

 

You had incomplete, inaccurate or missing information, and it cost you in a big way.

 

The solution? Don’t rush to the fulfillment stage.

 

Instead, take time to do an effective budget check.

Thoroughly understand the budgeting process, the people who control the budget and how it gets released.

 

It all goes back to the principle of avoiding standing on your own foot by making sure you cover, in meticulous detail, every part of a sale. That includes who holds the dollars.

 

  1. You don’t discover the criteria the buyer is using to make the decision.

 

Salespeople typically go rushing down the path, quickly submitting million-dollar proposals and losing the deal.

 

When they find out why they lost, it’s almost always a surprise to them.

 

Let’s say, for example, that you’re pitching new software to a major manufacturer. A key stipulation is that the software must be integrated into Europe someday.

 

Unfortunately, you lose out because somebody else had a better strategy for making that happen. (The thing is, the “Europe stipulation was never even raised.)

 

The solution?

 

In a sales cycle, it’s critical to understand that different buyers use different sets of requirements.

 

Dig deep to unearth the criteria all parties are using to qualify or disqualify you.

 

  1. You start calling too low in an organization.

 

There are lots of reasons why salespeople do this, including a lack of confidence.

 

Instead of calling on the CIO or supply chain VP, they start too low in the prospect company.

 

They invest time building a champion, then get hit with a deal breaker.

 

The proposal gets shot down handily when it gets to the decision-making executive.

 

The solution? Start calling high up the chain. Don’t worry that you’re aiming too high, it’s easier to be kicked down than it is to be kicked up.

 

  1. You leave the sales call without clearly defined next steps to advance your progress.

 

You’ve left a sales call and there are good feelings all around, but the buyer hasn’t fully committed.

 

They say they’re going to take some time and process what they’ve heard, but time kills deals, even good ones.

 

Before you know it, your champion gets promoted, fired or jumps ship and you end up starting over.

 

The solution?

 

There’s a technique designed to help you avoid this problem.

 

The Outcome Concept.

 

Ensure that everybody’s on the same page by setting a date and time for your next meeting with an agreed-upon agenda, list of participants and definition of what success would look like.

 

  1. You have too many unanswered questions about a buyer’s willingness to make the appropriate investments.

 

Is the buyer willing to invest in risk by changing a supplier?

 

Are they willing to invest their time?

 

If they’re not the decision maker, are they willing to invest relationship capital to champion you to executive sponsors?

 

Are they willing to invest in key philosophies crucial to the success of implementation?

 

The solution?

 

You need to thoroughly qualify every opportunity before going after it.

 

Don’t just hope that your contacts will be willing to invest in all the ways you need them to. Know for sure.

 

So that’s it.  Those five.  Take steps to fix those five mistakes, don’t succumb to FEAR, take action now, don’t procrastinate, have a level of certainty that goes through the roof, and watch your sales begin to TAKE OFF.

 

Thanks for reading… until next time…

 

-Tom

 

 

 

These Young Managers, Who Do They Think They Are?

“He doesn’t have a lot of experience managing people. Do you think he can do the job?”

I remember being a young manager of a small business.  I was 26 and most of the people working in the company were my senior.  Even though I was qualified for the position I still felt as though I didn’t have the respect that the position required.

This is a tough position for anyone to be in

So I started asking questions to some of my coworkers, and people I was responsible to manage.

Here’s a couple questions:

  • I’m feeling like you don’t listen to my insights when it comes to your project, is there something wrong with our relationship?
  • When I’m talking to you about your work I feel like you’re not listening, and to me it comes off a little disrespectful.  Is everything okay with me as your manager or is there something bothering you about me?

Some of them expressed frustration about being managed by someone so young that didn’t have years of experience.

Were their frustrations grounded? 

How effective are newly appointed managers compared to the older and more seasoned folks they replace?

I assumed veteran managers would prove to be the more effective leaders. But the data surprised me.

Younger leaders are better at six things.

Here’s what we found:

  1. Welcome change. The younger leaders embraced change. They did a great job of marketing their new ideas.

They had the courage to make difficult changes. Possibly their lack of experience caused them to be more optimistic about proposals for change.

It was as if they did not know that changes would be hard to make happen. They possessed the courage to take on significant changes and were more willing to be the champions of change projects.

  1. Inspiring behavior. Younger leaders knew how to get others energized and excited about accomplishing objectives.

They were able to inspire others to high levels of effort and production to a even greater degree than their more experienced counterparts. Their older colleagues tended to more often lead with “push” while they lead with “pull.”

  1. Receptive to Feedback. Young leaders were extremely open to feedback. They more frequently asked for feedback.

They wanted more extensive feedback regarding their performance, and they found ways to both digest and implement the feedback. Older leaders tend to be less willing to ask for and respond to feedback from colleagues.

  1. Continuous Improvement.  It may be the result of the fact that they have less invested in the past, but the younger leaders were more willing to challenge the status quo.

They were constantly looking for innovative ways to accomplish work more efficiently and with higher quality.

  1. Results Focused.  Young leaders will do everything possible to accomplish objectives.

They have a high need for achievement and will put every ounce of energy and effort they have into achieving their goals.

In contrast, when someone has been in an organization for a long period of time, it is easy to become complacent and to see the status-quo as sufficient.

  1. Elevate Goals.  The younger leaders were more willing to set stretch goals.

Some older leaders have learned to sandbag a goal so they don’t have to work too hard or run the risk of falling short of a goal.

Younger leaders were more prone to set stretch goals and inspire their team strive to achieve difficult tasks.

Every organization will need younger managers to fill in the vacancies left by their long-term predecessors. Understanding and leveraging the many strengths of this younger group creates a big opportunity, higher performance, and productivity.

While younger leaders have challenges that will require focused effort and leadership development to overcome, they bring tremendous assets to the organization.

They may likely be one of the most under recognized and under utilized resources in our organizations today.

Thanks for reading,

-Tom

 

Contributors: Thomas Nestor, Forbes, Joseph Folkman

 

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Are YOU Making These Mistakes as a Leader?

Are YOU Making These Mistakes as a Leader?

It’s often said that mistakes provide great learning opportunities. However, it’s much better not to make mistakes in the first place!

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.– Oscar Wilde

In this article, we’re looking at 10 of the most common leadership and management errors, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them.

If you can learn about these here, rather than through experience, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble!

  1. Not Providing Feedback

Sarah is a talented sales representative, but she has a habit of answering the phone in an unprofessional manner.

Her boss is aware of this, but he’s waiting for her performance review to tell her where she’s going wrong.

Unfortunately, until she’s been alerted to the problem, she’ll continue putting off potential customers.

According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make.

When you don’t provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.

  1. Not Making Time for Your Team

When you’re a manager or leader, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don’t make yourself available to your team.

Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first – without you being available when they need you, your people won’t know what to do, and they won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.

Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!

  1. Being Too “Hands-Off”

One of your team has just completed an important project. The problem is that he misunderstood the project’s specification, and you didn’t stay in touch with him as he was working on it.

Now, he’s completed the project in the wrong way, and you’re faced with explaining this to an angry client.

  1. Being Too Friendly

 Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get on with.

However, you’ll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.

  1. Failing to Define Goals

When your people don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can’t be productive if they have no idea what they’re working for, or what their work means.

They also can’t prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.

  1. Misunderstanding Motivation

Do you know what truly motivates your team? Here’s a hint: chances are, it’s not just money!

Many leaders make the mistake of assuming that their team is only working for monetary reward. However, it’s unlikely that this will be the only thing that motivates them.

For example, people seeking a greater work/life balance might be motivated by telecommuting days or flexible working.

Others will be motivated by factors such as achievement, extra responsibility, praise, or a sense of camaraderie.

  1. Hurrying Recruitment

When your team has a large workload, it’s important to have enough people “on board” to cope with it. But filling a vacant role too quickly can be a disastrous mistake.

Hurrying recruitment can lead to recruiting the wrong people for your team: people who are uncooperative, ineffective or unproductive.

They might also require additional training, and slow down others on your team. With the wrong person, you’ll have wasted valuable time and resources if things don’t work out and they leave.

What’s worse, other team members will be stressed and frustrated by having to “carry” the under-performer.

You can avoid this mistake by learning how to recruit effectively, and by being particularly picky about the people you bring into your team.

  1. Not “Walking the Walk”

If you make personal telephone calls during work time, or speak negatively about your CEO, can you expect people on your team not to do this too? Probably not!

As a leader, you need to be a role model for your team. This means that if they need to stay late, you should also stay late to help them.

Or, if your organization has a rule that no one eats at their desk, then set the example and head to the break room every day for lunch.

The same goes for your attitude – if you’re negative some of the time, you can’t expect your people not to be negative.

So remember, your team is watching you all the time. If you want to shape their behavior, start with your own. They’ll follow suit.

  1. Not Delegating

Some managers don’t delegate, because they feel that no-one apart from themselves can do key jobs properly.

This can cause huge problems as work bottlenecks around them, and as they become stressed and burned out.

Delegation does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly.

But unless you delegate tasks, you’re never going to have time to focus on the “broader-view” that most leaders and managers are responsible for. What’s more, you’ll fail to develop your people so that they can take the pressure off you.

  1. Misunderstanding Your Role

Once you become a leader or manager, your responsibilities are very different from those you had before.

However, it’s easy to forget that your job has changed, and that you now have to use a different set of skills to be effective. This leads to you not doing what you’ve been hired to do – leading and managing.

I hope you found value in this article.  Be on the lookout for more management tips!

Thanks for reading,

-Tom

Create Raving Fans

A few years ago I was in a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Chicago on Dearborn St. I was sitting with my friend Chris Shefts, and we ordered the usual steak, garlic mash, asparagus, lobster bisque… you know, the works.

It came time for dessert and our server hands me the dessert menu.  I see many things on the menu that I didn’t want.  What I did want was chocolate chip cookies.  So I asked the gentlemen if he had any chocolate chip cookies.  He, of course, said, “I’m sorry Mr. Nestor, we do not.”

So I kindly handed him back the menu, and said, “The only thing I’m in the mood for is cookies so I’ll just have the check.”  The server leaves the table.

As we were sitting along the glass I see my server crossing the street outside running into the convenient store.  A few moments later, he comes running back.  A few moments after that, he comes to the table with two giant chocolate chip cookies, chocolate syrup drizzled on the top, and a large glass of ice cold milk.

I was wowed.  I was shocked.  I thought, “did this guy really just go completely out of his way, spend his own money, just to create a moment for me?”

I went back home, and thought about what that server did that night, and that’s when I had the moment, the Constanza moment.  If you don’t know who Constanza is just look at somebody over 30 and they’ll tell you who Constanza is.

There’s an episode where George and Jerry are trying to figure something out, and then George screams… “I GOT IT!!!!”

I realized that the reason Ruth’s Chris is such a phenomenal steak house with locations all over the world is Ruth’s Chris understands one thing.  Moments…

Ruth’s Chris didn’t train the server so they could send him out into the restaurant to serve me a steak.  They trained him and sent him out into the restaurant to meet a family that has worked their butt off all month and saved some of their discretionary income to come to Ruth’s Chris for possibly once in their lifetime.

(And a family of four, if they had steaks, sides, appetizers, dessert, drinks, and tip would be well over $700.)

They trained and hired him to look for opportunities to create a moment.

You hire for attitude, you train for success.

Training does not fix what HR does not catch.

And when I understood that I understood that Ruth’s Chris didn’t hire him to do a job, they hired him to create a moment, and when you get that understanding, and I mean this figuratively not literally, you can quit your job and go to work because you are in the business of moments, it’s all about making emotional deposits into the emotional bank account of everyone that you serve.

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