5 Strategies for Successful Sales

January 10, 2019 by  

Making a sale should be easy, especially when you have the right product or service. However, many people make it more complicated than necessary so lose the prospective client in the process. First of all, you must do your homework and determine what the prospect actually needs and then in your “pitch” focus on how your service or product is going to make their life easier or their business more successful.

Here five “make it happen” steps to get the green light rather than be rejected:

1. Cut to the chase.
A good salesperson doesn’t waste time with long anecdotal introductions. Rather you need to start describing the product attributes that will resonate with the prospect right away. For example, if you have determined that this prospect will benefit from your product or service, be sure to demonstrate the benefits right off the top and begin by saying that you understand whatever it is that they do and here is how our product or service will enhance your productivity or outcomes. Never waste the prospect’s time with unnecessary information that they will not relate to because they will tune you out and you will not be able to close the sale.

2. Skip the industry jargon.
Whether your product or service is technical in nature or not, be sure to use language that the prospect understands so that they will see right away why they should consider what you are offering to them. If you get into a long-winded technical explanation, again you will likely lose them as their interest will wane and again, you will not likely be able to close the sale.

3. Paint a picture.
Sometimes we do not get to meet the new prospect face to face. In that situation, you need to be able to describe your product or service in a way that they can clearly picture how the features you are offering them will enhance their business processes and outcomes. If you can send them something via email, maybe before the talk, that might also be helpful. However, again, it should not be anything lengthy as they will not likely read it if it is not short and to the point. Even if you are fortunate enough to arrange a face to face meeting, being able to demonstrate just how your product or service will be of great benefit to this new prospect will go a long way toward you being able to close the sale.

4. Be truly interested in the prospect.
When you speak to a new potential customer, concentrate on finding out about the customer and their business instead of just making your pitch. Ask open-ended questions and listen very carefully to the answers offered will give you more insights on how to interest this person in your product or service. In addition, you may discover some common areas of interest and this could certainly enhance your relationship right off the bat.

5. Make it matter.
Your product may have many benefits, however, they are worthless if the prospect doesn’t need them. Be able to constantly reframe those product benefits so that each prospect will understand the specific impact the product or service could have on his business. This can be determined by doing that so important homework before your meeting so that you better understand the needs of the prospect’s business and then can highlight those aspects of what you have to offer so that you will grab their interest and be more likely to make the sale.

Here is a unique way to think of selling: it is like a journey on which you are leading your customer like a tour guide. If the customer does not understand where you are headed or why he should come along, they will either choose not to take the trip or wander off in a different direction before you are through. All you have to do is get them excited about the destination, describe all the beautiful things to be observed along the way, and then be prepared to answer any questions they have so they feel safe and can enjoy the route. Again, a main key is learning what would enhance the prospect’s business so that you can adjust your “pitch” to suit their specific needs. If you do this you will be much more likely to close more sales.

Five Suggestions for Leadership Development

December 28, 2018 by  

Sometimes, leaders do not realize that their style of leadership can be perceived as flawed or ineffective. If you do not get some feedback about how you are doing, the perception becomes the reality! One of the most difficult tasks of leadership is gaining an understanding of that perception and then taking appropriate steps to improve and remedy the issues that are preventing you from being an excellent leader.
In today’s business world, the development of excellent leaders is extremely important for the success of an organization. Sadly, many companies are not addressing this necessity while others are providing their leaders with training that teaches them the skills necessary to make them into effective, excellent leaders. What is your organization doing?

Here are 4 factors to consider:
1. Is the job a good fit for this person?
This is the most important question as job fit has everything to do with whether a potential leader is going to succeed or fail. If you put a person into a leadership position who is afraid to delegate work, cannot make decisions or is not seen as competent in a position as a leader, they will be unlikely to succeed. It is better to make sure that the person being offered the leadership role has the necessary qualifications and skills to be an effective leader.

2. Accepting constructive feedback.
Getting feedback is one of the most effective ways to help in the development of leaders as this gives them an opportunity to find out how their actions are being perceived by the people they are leading. Often times a person may not realize that they are not being as effective as they think and if they accept constructive feedback they can learn how to become a better leader. In this way, they can learn more about themselves and the skills needed to be good in their job. Self-awareness is key to their success.

3. Providing appropriate coaching and training.
People develop best with on-the-job coaching and training. You need to define exactly what you expect from a leader in your company and clearly articulate that to your leadership prospects. Next, you need to make sure that the leader fully understands your company’s culture, processes, and systems. You can first evaluate the person’s current skills and then you will know what sort of coaching and training they require in order to fulfill the position as you have outlined it. You can also create a project or the person or a team project to see how they manage the assignment. Coaching is a consistent and reliable management style that creates an open line of communication, trust, respect, and rapport as well as an opportunity for growth.

4. Motivation for high performance.
You can create a specific development plan for your leaders so they can visualize their future with your company. Offering new challenges keeps them engaged and interested and builds motivation for high performance as they will likely work harder if they have a clear goal in mind. Recognize and acknowledge your leaders for significant achievements as this shows that you value their contributions to your organization.

5. Effective communication skills.
In a study done a few years ago by Global Knowledge it was learned that the most important skill for any successful leader is effective communication. This is because it is necessary for a leader to be able to clearly articulate their vision, deliver clear, honest, influential and impactful messages to their people. In addition, they need to employ active listening in order to learn about their people and recognize their potential and then help them to fulfill that potential. Also, they need to encourage input, creativity and innovation and that can only be done if they listen well and espouse an “open door” policy for their people. If not, opportunities can be missed.

Leaders do not just appear overnight. Rather they need to be continually trained and developed in order to succeed in a company. Many times, employees are afraid to speak up when they see something a leader may be doing incorrectly; then the leader goes on making the same mistake because they are not aware of the problem. Remember it is so important to open up those lines of honest communication, to continuously coach your team, and to motivate your leaders to be the best they can! The better the leader is, the better your organization will be as they set the tone and commitment to your company’s culture, aims and goals!

5 Ways to Improve Team Accountability

December 6, 2018 by  

Personal responsibility and accountability can certainly put an end to the blame game, save your business thousands if not millions of dollars, increase overall job satisfaction and ultimately, ensure customer satisfaction. 

The following five basic approaches can help to provide you with increasing accountability from your team members and will build you a culture of consistent accountability for your organization.

1. Clearly state your expectations– If even one person on your team does not meet your expectations it could affect the entire team’s results. Therefore, it is extremely important right from the beginning of any new project to clearly outline the expectations and get feedback from your team to be sure they truly understand what is expected of them. Expectations, if they are to be fulfilled, need to be crystal clear and include deadlines, specific responsibilities, task details, and exactly how the completed project/product is to be delivered. If those instructions are not crystal clear important parts could be omitted or missed which would greatly affect the outcome negatively.

2. Clearly communicate the big pictureAccountability will be more likely to occur if everyone on the team understands the “big picture” and exactly how they fit into it. It is very important to spend time speaking individually with the team members to explain their specific part in the vision and mission of your business. When you effectively communication this with clarity, impact and influence, your employees will be able to make wiser decisions and fulfill their individual roles fully and at a high level of performance creating a win/win outcome for everyone.

3. Create accountability groups-One of the best ways to achieve full team accountability is to develop a shared accountability among the team members. This can be accomplished with groups who carefully listen to each other in a respectful manner and keep conversations honest and open. Each accountability group can be made up of 2-5 people and can then become a team small unit working together to share difficulties, weaknesses, and insecurities. Using a team approach they can then find creative strategies to work together and achieve their goals.

4. Take appropriate action-In order for accountability to occur, the team members have to know that failure to complete their parts will result in certain consequences. Such as: written warnings, a loss of a bonus or even extra hours served on a week-end to complete the project. Without consequences, your employees will not care if they do not fulfill their roles. In fact they may even think that they can use blame, justification, and rationalization as a way to deviate from being responsible and this will not result in an accountable attitude or the outcome you are expecting.

5. Establish a reward and recognition program-Employees need to know that their efforts are indeed driving the company forward and should be reinforced and encouraged with some sort of tangible reward or recognition system. An offer of increased pay and other benefits can help to keep accountability and morale high as well as pushing team members toward higher levels of performance……again a win/win for everyone!

Conflict Does Not Occur on Its Own

November 22, 2018 by  

Conflict and problems do not typically occur by themselves. Rather, the roots of existing conflict reside within each organization and its individual members. These potential conflicts can undermine a manager’s ability to effectively lead the group and to make sound decisions that will result in a positive outcomes.
Managers are often confronted with a dilemma when it comes to conflict resolution. If they are unable to find the most workable fit between the problems that result in conflict and the group they direct, their ability to lead their employees will be greatly hampered.
Many of the factors that contribute to conflict and undermine a manager’s ability to lead can be treated independently. Conflict resolution is complex, and managers must identify all the contributing factors and then adjust their approach accordingly in order to arrive at the best solution for everyone involved. This takes time, needs great attention to detail, and a careful assessment of the most critical elements and surrounding circumstances within each specific conflict situation.
Not all managers are in situations where their people possess sophisticated interpersonal skills and have an open mind toward the resolution of conflict. In fact, many manage and direct groups whose makeup creates additional conflict rather than proactive solutions to already existing situations. This places managers at a severe disadvantage and creates situations where their ability to lead may be undermined.
Managers should be very aware of the following workplace factors and circumstances that can lead to the reduction of their management success.

I Necessary Knowledge and Effective Analytical Skills:
Conflict takes many forms, it can be just a simple argument between employees over minor issues to much more sophisticated discussions and negotiations regarding issues of unit efficiency and productivity. However, no matter what the sort of conflict needs to be dealt with, without the necessary group knowledge and effective analytical skills to assess the particular problem and arrive at an objective assessment, those problems will occur.
Groups often assume that taking a predominantly smoothing and avoiding approach to maintain the status quo will work but sometimes they resort to a bargaining and forcing mode that is destructive to the cohesiveness of the group and the organization. Both modes consistently applied in all circumstances will erode the manager’s ability to lead and direct the organization.
If managers observe that some of their people are lacking the requisite skills and knowledge to effectively deal with conflict within the group, they must then determine whether they have the capacity to deal with it effectively, and if so, take the necessary action to ensure these necessary skills are acquired. In this way, managers will then be able to transform a potentially dangerous situation into one that enhances their ability to lead the team.

II Changing Workloads:
Groups can actually have the required knowledge and analytical skills to effectively handle internal conflict, but may be so overburdened with various other tasks and responsibilities that their ability to work through the problem is greatly reduced. The constraints of other higher priority assignments lessen both the desire and the ability of members to actually manage their conflicts. As such clashes are viewed as an unnecessary interruption in more important work, they defer resolution to the manager.
High levels of stress generally characterize overloaded workers. High stress impairs a person’s ability to think rationally and clearly so can then lead to a shallow and incomplete diagnosis of the situation and their ability to find a simple solution can end up being more inflexible and less creative and effective, which are not good outcomes for the well-being of the team.

III Undetermined Expectations:
Each individual on the team has an established idea regarding the degree to which they will become involved in conflict resolution. While approaches vary according to participants’ makeup and personality styles, the predominant mode of conflict resolution is smoothing and avoiding, where peace and the status quo are maintained. In other situations, depending upon company culture, some teams may feel very strongly about their right to be involved in a decision.
Research has shown that many of the tensions that develop between managers and their team may stem from differing assumptions regarding the appropriate degree of group participation in certain types of decisions.
Managers must account for members’ individual personality styles and expectations since reactions and expectations will vary from group to group. Perhaps exploring what the expectations actually are might be a good way to prevent outcomes that are not satisfactory.

IV Conflict Resolution Approaches:
Group conflict resolution is often especially difficult when individual members have different and/or conflicting goals and needs. The most critical aspect of a group’s problem solving ability is its capacity to handle internal conflict.
Managers must ensure that the groups they direct have developed positive and healthy approaches that are consistent. Only when this is achieved is an appropriate forum created in which to work out problems and resolve conflict. Without these resolution parameters, serious and heated group controversy could end up being very divisive and therefore result in ineffective and potentially very harmful solutions.

Conflict is a natural part of human interaction therefore managers must employ appropriate and consistent approaches when helping to resolve issues that arise in their teams. Conflict does not resolve itself, so needs the guidance, honesty, and effective means of communication in order to come to a satisfactory conclusion for all involved.

5 Keys to Effective Communication

November 7, 2018 by  

Do you speak with clarity, impact and influence?
When you speak and write, do you have the ability to convince people to do what you want or to believe what you want?
Those with the power to achieve those results are in demand. People want to be on their teams, want to follow their lead and trust what they say. Effective communicators tend to get noticed, heard, remembered, and, eventually, promoted.
Effective communication is not easy. It takes depth of thought, planning, and practice. The concepts that lead to persuasive communication are very straight forward; they begin with personal authenticity and open, honest, clear communication skills.

Here are five of the important aspects. If you put these into practice, you will enjoy much more success.
1. Have a clear goal every time you speak. If you start with a specific goal for your communication opportunity, your preparation will be quicker, of better quality, and more focused. Only when you are clear of your desired outcome can you realize that goal and articulate it well so that your followers will be able to grasp your vision.

2. Spend time thinking about the needs and desires of your audience. Before designing the outline for a presentation or a meeting, spend some time thinking about the current mindset of your audience. Don’t spend all your time thinking about what you want to say; instead, consider the issues your audience cares about. What will encourage them to say “yes” or “no” to your requests? How can you deliver what they would want? How can you persuade them to your beliefs and ideals? Be sure to discover those needs through active listening and the encouragement of collaborative input.

3. Make the benefits to your audience the common denominator to every aspect of your message. Do you want to persuade your listeners? Then make the benefits to them the highlight of your message. If your message lacks clear benefits, you will struggle to persuade the audience. People want to know: “what’s in it for me?” Filling needs, answering concerns, and providing solutions for issues faced will usually foster agreement.

4. Be authentic and sincere. When you deliver your message, speak honestly and openly. Do it in your own personal style, as if you were merely speaking to a friend. Be sincere. When you speak, demonstrate to the audience your passion about the topic. Be inspirational with true stories as examples.

5. Practice. Acquiring any new skill requires coaching and instruction, research and dedication. However, without sufficient practice, all the books and learning won’t make you better. This is especially true for communication. The amount of effort you exert by practicing until you are familiar with your topic, know it as best you can frontwards; backwards, inside out, upside down, and in your sleep, will determine your success and your own confidence in your ability to do this well! When you are capable of clearly, authentically, and honestly sharing your expertise for the benefit of your audience, you will know that your communication skills have become effective.

When you employ all these elements, you are greatly increasing the chances that you will connect with your audience, making your discussion more valuable, engaging and fun for them….. meaning you will be more likely to enjoy a successful meeting, phone call, conversation, or presentation.
Effective communication is necessary for any business person to achieve the outcomes they desire with their team, their customers/clients, their subcontractors and their suppliers. Your brand is you, you represent your company, do it with authenticity, clarity, impact, and influence!

3 Time Wasters that Can Impede your Success

October 19, 2018 by  

We seem to live in very busy times where everything and everybody seems to be screaming for our attention and everything is moving very fast. It seems that no matter where we turn, there is always someone or something requiring our input, our opinion, our presence, or an action we are expected to take which only adds to our already painfully full plate. It seems to be getting more and more difficult than ever before to choose between what is absolutely necessary, important and just something extra. Yet, these are the choices we need to be making to stay ahead of the game.

Here are some issues to examine and try to avoid so that you do not constantly run into trouble.
1. Lack of decisiveness: You might have an inspiring vision and be excited to make it happen. However, if you lack decisiveness, you will waste loads of time and never bring that dream into reality. Therefore, weighing the pros and cons, then making decisions that you doubt right after creating them, and never taking action becomes a vicious circle that will keep you unproductive and unable to achieve your vision. Many people seem to freeze up when it comes to decision making. In order to avoid that situation the best choice is to just take a step, if you fall, just get up and take another step. If you fall again then, get up again and keep trying until you get it right. Mistakes are just opportunities to learn so do not let them defeat you. Instead, just make a decision and give yourself permission to fail. In any event, just continue to move forward!

2. Reactive living: Reactive living means going through life reacting to situations that happen as opposed to creating and planning the outcomes you wish to accomplish. It is very sad and concerning how many people live their lives without purpose, direction, and vision. Because, without a vision you will have no clear idea of where you are heading, and that makes it very difficult to be proactive and ultimately achieve your desired goals. If you end up doing what you enjoy in life, it could then be more often a coincidence or “luck” rather than part of your plan. If you live life without purpose and direction it will leave you unprepared to deal appropriately with everyday life situations. Therefore, the problem with reactive living is that you can never accomplish anything except by chance. Reactive living keeps you busy, yet you will be underachieving, concerned about what might be happening next, and possibly stressed about life situations. Reactive living will definitely unnecessarily waste a lot of your time.

3. Disorganization: Have you ever wasted a lot of time searching for something you could not find? Finding yourself scrambling the day before a project is due is really not much fun. It likely means that we will be stressed out and might not finish that project on schedule or if we do, it may not be done as well as we could have done it, had we managed our time more effectively Disorganization can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and usually lowers performance levels. You can fool yourself about how good things are, but if you are not accomplishing the key elements required to move you closer to your goals, you will not be successful. There are certainly systems and structures you can implement to make you better organized. It would be a good idea to get the help you need, to create a prioritized plan, and to begin to execute that plan. If you do that, your life will greatly improve, your success will be more likely and your stress levels will certainly be reduced.

I believe that human beings are very remarkable and can actually do whatever they set their minds to. However, those who are only interested in doing things rarely get much done, whereas those who commit to accomplishing laid out goals will move mountains to achieve their desired outcomes.
So, if you wish to become more successful, productive, efficient, and creative you need to learn to self-manage more effectively!

Great Tips for Leading Effective Results-Oriented Meetings

September 28, 2018 by  

Most people really hate meetings because so few are well run. Many times you arrive feeling that either everything was decided by other before the meeting, or that the meeting just drags on and on and nothing appears to be accomplished and finally that the meeting was just a waste of your time.
In addition, people think that just because a person has attended lots of meetings that they know how to run one. This is a complete fallacy and we have all been at meetings that were obviously not well run.

If this is how you feel about meetings, here are some ideas you might want to use or teach to others so that meetings can be well run, achieve great outcomes and not be a complete drag or waste of time.

1. Be Prepared! Effective meetings require a well structure agenda. Make sure you and your employees are fully prepared for the meeting. It is helpful to create and send out a meeting agenda ahead of the meeting and also to let anyone you wish to have speak at the gathering understand how much time they have and what you expect them to cover. In fact, a template for the report would put consistency into those reports and help those who have to give them to do it well. The early agenda allows your employees to know what will be covered, what will be shared, and what the purpose and goals of the meeting are. When employees walk into a meeting prepared and ready to share ideas, they are more confident, more engaged, and less likely to feel like you wasted their time. As the meeting chair, time each item on the agenda and do this from the end time to the beginning. Your agenda can have that time schedule on it and you should try your best to keep to it. Long meetings just get boring, and people get tired so results will not be as good. So try your best to keep the meetings under an hour if possible, but certainly not longer than 90 minutes maximum.

2. Engage Everyone! When leading a meeting, make sure to involve and engage everyone in attendance, if possible. How do you do this? Make eye contact with everyone in the room and speak with passion, honest, clarity, and influence. When appropriate, it might be effective to start the meeting off with a relevant challenge or trivia questions to get everyone thinking on their feet. Encourage everyone to participate and share, especially in brainstorming sessions. Don’t let employees feel neglected! Keeping employees engaged not only makes meetings more productive, but also keeps the sleeping and daydreaming to a minimum. And again, if you are looking for direct reports be sure to let them know ahead of time.

3. Keep It Fresh! It is certainly important to accomplish the goals and purpose of the meeting, however, that doesn’t mean every meeting should feel like déjà vu. Keep your meetings interesting, informative, and encouraging. It is not a bad idea to offer recognition and praise for accomplishments; provide additional resources; and be sure to enjoy your meeting! Sometimes it might even be appropriate to have the meeting in a different location and offering refreshments is always a good inducement.

4. Start on time! You have already made the decision of incorporating everybody in your meeting. So as not to waste your time and theirs, your best move is to start your meeting exactly at the given time. No waiting for any late comers, practice punctuality, because if you do not, people will start coming late because you have set that precedent. Information will eventually get handed down to everybody anyway so why punish those who arrive on time? Know that when you hold a meeting, you hold everybody’s time in exchange for the important information to be discussed.

5. Record and distribute! Be sure to appoint someone to record the minutes of the meeting so that an accurate record of the proceedings can be kept for future review. In addition, you could post the minutes in a common place for all to see or better still, send them out to all the attendees. In addition, in this record will be how was assigned to do what and when the results of those tasks need to be brought back to the group. This is part of what results-oriented meetings look like.

Meetings can truly be productive and can contribute largely to the success of your team and your business. All it takes is just a few key elements to make them that work way!

5 Tips for Preparing an Engaging Presentation

September 13, 2018 by  

Here are 5 tips for preparing your presentation so that you can enjoy better audience engagement and even get more enjoyment yourself from presenting to your audience.  If you are having fun and passionate about your material, your audience will feel that and it can be contagious!

1. Start with the end in mind. To end your session try to define the key messages or concepts you want your audience to take away. By reinforcing those keys you will more likely to help your attendees remember them. Also, try to keep those key messages at 3-5, especially if your presentation is short. If you are giving a longer presentation you can increase the number but do not expect your audience to recall a large number of new ideas.

2. Limit the amount of detail to only what the audience truly needs to know….”less is more”. This is particularly true of technical material. Understand the level of information necessary for the audience and try to keep it simple, to the point, and well-illustrated with stories, pictures and or examples that will resonate with your audience.

3. Never memorize your presentation because, as many people are somewhat nervous when starting to speak to a new audience you could simply forget what you learned and then you will be in real trouble. Besides, memorized material tends to sound robotic in delivery which will not engage your audience and once you lose them you will be done! Better to truly know your material deeply, be comfortable with it, and truly understand clearly everything you plan on sharing with your attendees. You can use PowerPoint, a flip chart, cue cards, or other tools to support your presentation and help you to remember which points you wish to make. However, be careful not to put too much text up for your audience as they will be able to read it faster than you can speak it so again will disengage. In addition, you want to be natural and authentic in your presentation style and that can only be achieved when you are passionate and deeply knowledgeable about your topic.

4. Develop stories and examples that are interesting around each point you wish to make. The stories will help to anchor the key messages in your presentation and because everyone likes stories, it will help them to remember the key concepts you are sharing with them. Just be sure that the anecdotes and examples you use resonate with your audience as this aids retentive learning. Also remember that most people are visual learners so pictures that help to tell the story and illustrate the point will also be more memorable for your audience.

5. Whenever possible, know your audience and what their needs are. Speak to those specific needs whenever possible, in other words, it is best to tailor your delivery and content to their expectations and for their benefit. This will also increase the chance for better retention.

If you follow these tips you will enjoy more success with your presentations and even find you enjoy making them more, as well.  Remember, you set the tone for the audience, so if you are enjoying yourself, they will likely feel the same way…..have fun!!

Self-Efficacy as a Key to Your Success

August 25, 2018 by  

Self-efficacy relates to a person’s ability to have optimistic beliefs, but it’s more than just optimism, perceived self-efficacy explicitly refers to the belief in our ability to deal with challenging encounters. Thus it is one’s belief that they have the capacity to organize and execute the necessary course of action in order to manage situations as they occur.

Self perceptions of self-efficacy affect us in many ways: in our thought patterns, our actions and our physical and emotional states of arousal. People with low self- efficacy experience anxiety, hopelessness, and anger. They find it harder to bounce back after adversity. Those with high self-efficacy experience fulfillment and feelings of calmness that accompany decisiveness and certainty. They are resilient with stressful situations, self-starters, and self-motivating.

Here is how it affects our rate of success:
Self-efficacy provides the foundation for human motivation, well being and personal accomplishments. The more we believe we can do, the more we invest, and thus the greater likelihood we will accomplish what we set out to do.
Empirical research has shown that a belief in one’s ability to cope is a stronger predictor of success than objectively possessing the knowledge and operations skills necessary to get the task done. This is because how we perceive our abilities impacts how we choose to utilize those tools in such a significant way, that it’s more valuable to the outcome than the quality and quantity of the tools themselves.
In our daily lives we make decisions about not only what course of action to pursue but how long to continue the behaviors we have undertaken. Self-efficacy affects how much effort and energy we invest in the decisions we make.
Therefore a positive outcome is not necessarily a matter of what is objectively true regarding the knowledge or the skills possessed at the time of the dilemma, but rather a matter of one’s attitude since self-perception is more likely to influence behaviour.
That is why talented people can be plagued with self doubt while someone who is less talented will put themselves out there and get the task done. Along the way, the less talented person may experience some setbacks but they generally just ignore or discount them and maintain their perseverance toward their goal.

How to build self-efficacy:
As humans we have self regulatory mechanisms that provide us with the potential for self directed changes in our behaviour.
The manner and degree to which people self-regulate their actions are based on the ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY of self observation. The ability to appropriately self-monitor and make judgments regarding one’s own choices needs to be developed and sustained.

Here is how to start:
1. Be mindful of your own emotions– Ask yourself what primary emotions you are feeling and how likely they are to influence your behaviour.
2. An Assumption Detective– Get in touch with your underlying attitudes and the assumptions of individual decisions or hesitations (things you are avoiding) and investigate how truthful they are. Use simple tasks to help develop the necessary skill. For example, if you decide to take a cab versus the train, the assumption may be that you will arrive sooner. But is that necessarily true? Ask yourself what could have happened if you had done the opposite? Then apply that approach to the things you are avoiding: if you don’t ask your boss for a raise is it because the assumption is that he will definitely say “No”. If you are not certain, then investigate before you let assumptions rule your actions.
3. Challenge your attributions: Attributions are the judgments we make about our own or the behaviors of others. Look for specific, situational causes to events rather than global or personal points of view to explain things. This will give you a better blue print for how to change your behavior.
4. Focus on Intent Vs Outcome: Set Tangible & Measurable Behaviour Goals vs Subjective/ Outcome goals: Self-motivators set personal behaviour goals that encourage them to work in self directed ways. This involves measuring success by an objective means that focuses on intent versus outcome. For example, setting a goal of eating 1500 calories a day versus losing 5lbs or “trying to stay on your diet”. This is especially important since the most influential source of one’s self-efficacy is the interpreted results of one’s previous performance.
5. Watch & Mimic an Expert Model: Through vicarious learning opportunities we can feel confident that we are making the right decision simply because we have witnessed others being successful using similar strategies.
6. Avoid too much negative feedback & Surround yourself with Positivity: Social persuasion through feedback from others, including verbal judgments, constructive criticism, and praise, has a significant impact on how we rate our efforts. For the most part, negative feedback can have a stronger impact than positive ones, therefore try to focus your attention on strategies that utilize your strengths, cope with your weaknesses, and avoid conversations or mental thoughts that involve berating yourself.
7. Meditate & Breath: Learn to calm Body Sensations and Emotional States- People have a tendency to gauge the degree of confidence by their emotional state when they contemplate a particular action. Thus, when we are anxious and hopeless we look to escape, convincing ourselves we should throw in the towel sooner, because we think ” Why bother it is not going to work, so what is the point? Such a defeatist attitude will not help you to succeed, better to take a more positive approach and figure you can do it!

The famous Roman poet Virgil wrote:
“We are who we think we are-”. And one thing is certain, if we give up we definitely won’t win!
So, if you adopt a positive attitude, decide, no matter what you are not going to give up until you accomplish your goals no matter what, you will certainly be more successful in all aspects of your life.

5 Lessons to Align Your Team and Achieve Incredible Results

August 1, 2018 by  

Imagine a flock of birds flying in a V-formation, travelling thousands of miles together against the resistance of the wind. Have you ever wondered why they do this and how this could possibly be relevant to your business?
Alignment is the most efficient way to fly, and a strategy your team can also employ as it tackles challenges. However, unfortunately, teams sometimes get out of alignment; infighting develops, frustrations flare, and projects get derailed.
The brilliance of the V-formation is that synchronized movements allow each bird to ride the windbreak of the other birds in front of them. Or in the case of your team, people work together, leveraging each individual’s unique skills, to move efficiently towards a common goal.

Here are five strategies you can learn from the birds to get your disgruntled teams back in alignment.
1) Find each person’s sweet spot.
When birds fly in formation, they intrinsically know the sweet spot to occupy behind another bird as it flaps its wings. They use this uplift to travel more efficiently, and exponentially increase their flying range while using less energy than if each bird flew alone.
To do our most effective work, we must uplift each other by offering encouragement. This happens when managers empower employees to live in their zones of genius, using their unique talents, strengths, and skills. Just as an individual bird flying out of formation gets exhausted, employees that try to “do it all” will struggle and eventually fail. Take stock of each person’s individual strengths, then create a plan to leverage these strengths to help the entire team reach their common goals.
Maybe one person is great at big picture thinking, while someone else is more comfortable creating deliverables, and another person is great at keeping people on task in meetings. When individuals are working doing the work for which they are best suited, teams definitely achieve more and are more efficient and productive.

2) Share leadership responsibilities.
In a 5,000 mile round-trip migration, every bird takes its turn leading the front of the V to take the brunt of the wind and carry the flock towards their destination so no one burns out. And so every member of a team should have the opportunity to take a leadership role when it is appropriate to their skills and that particular point in the project.
People often confuse titles with leadership, but the qualities of true leadership can be found anywhere in an organization. Managers should take stock of their employees and spot the leaders among their teams. These key employees take initiative, inspire and encourage others, and positively impact productivity and morale.
Take time to acknowledge the leadership skills of these employees, asking how you can support them. Also, make sure their leadership skills don’t come across as bossy or top-down, because that will have a negative impact on the team. In addition, remember to encourage everyone to lead in the areas they are most successful. The birds figured out shared leadership a long time ago. Adopting a similar culture in the office creates a positive enthusiasm among teams that leads to solid results.

3) Clearly communicate objectives.
Humans, of course, don’t understand what birds are saying to each other when they squawk and chirp in flight, but we know these sounds help them to remain in communication with one another throughout the trip. To choreograph their movements and to fly efficiently as a group, each bird must monitor subtle changes in their wing-mates’ flight patterns, altering their own strokes accordingly. Making sounds likely helps birds with these continual adjustments.
To assimilate this tip from the birds, teams need to communicate effectively and constantly to stay on course, not just once a quarter during ‘reviews’. Checking in with each other via email, an employee feedback platform, and/or in person, is paramount to staying aligned on goals. Continual communications helps individuals understand where they fit into the big picture, and helps them to prioritize tasks that line up with the company’s greater mission.
Of course, communication is also essential to deliver encouragement and coaching. Positive reinforcement inspires everyone to work towards a common goal such as delivering a product, solving a sticky customer issue, or finalizing a plan. Who knows, maybe all those birds are calling out the equivalent of: “I believe in you! We can do this!”

4) Build trust when times get tough.
Something beautiful happens in a migrating flock when a bird is sick or wounded: two of the birds drop out of formation to assist, aid, and protect their fellow member until the bird can fly again. They are a team, all in it together. A team is a formation of trusted relationships, fostering natural accountability. This is the basis of success.
Unfortunately, many work teams don’t function like this. If one person is struggling, people sometimes gang up on that person because they feel “let down” that he/she is not pulling their weight. They complain about this person to management, and feel burdened to have to take on more of their work.
Instead, when situations arise when one team member is struggling, managers should take time to find out what is happening and why. When people fall short, think of it as an opportunity to build trust and inspire better work. Ask the person what is going on and together discover ways to improve performance. That might mean shifting the person’s role or inspiring that person to take on more of a leadership role. Working through hardships together builds stronger teams.

5) Rally around shared values.
One thing perfectly clear about migrating birds is they are all flying in the same direction. Teams are most effective when people are purpose-driven and feel they share a common mission. Beyond this shared end-goal, the best teams have the same vision of how to get to this end-point. In other words, they are aligned at every step of the way.
To align your team around common goals, it helps to create core values for your company. For example, our core values include supporting health and vitality; a commitment to customer success and delight; keeping things simple; embracing freedom and flexibility; holding one another accountable; and committing to constant learning and growth.

This might seem like overkill, but every value flows together into one main premise: we believe in supporting each individual to achieve his or her unique greatness. Embracing this approach, our teams are aligned on not just their goals, but on how to achieve them.
Productive teams work together through effective communication, alignment, and trust. They leverage the power of the collective to be greater than the sum of their parts. These strategies aren’t just for the birds, so the next time your teams get stuck, take a lesson from the experts in flight and create alignment for long-term success.

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