2020: A Year of Building (Or Breaking) Company Culture

2020: A Year of Building (Or Breaking) Company Culture

In the book Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath, he identifies four crucial areas that followers need. 

They are:

  • TRUST
  • STABILITY
  • COMPASSION
  • HOPE

Get his book here and read about his findings.

While the book discusses business and leadership, these four areas can be applied to basically any area of your life, and if any of these are lacking, you lose your mojo. 

Trust

What happens when you lose trust in a person you have a relationship with? It’s easy to get cautious and you may start questioning their motives, actions, or have a fear of speaking up.

Does this inspire you to work harder? Be a better co-worker, partner, or friend?

For some, it may. For most, it leads to disaster. You may end up leaving a job you love or a person you were close to. That is if you don’t have a heart to heart and resolve the issue.

Stability

Like trust, when there’s no stability it’s easy to trigger insecurities. Unless you’re someone that thrives on living on the edge, some of us do after all. 

Let’s say your business merges with another, one of the first things it often triggers is “what does this mean for me?”

When you start wondering how your day-to-day business will change and what your role will look like in the new reality, mind chatter can easily take over.

When mind chatter rules, you lose focus and your productivity suffers.

Compassion

Having leaders, partners, co-workers that care about you and show compassion, it builds trust and creates stability, right?

When you’re in an unhealthy environment, where every action is questioned one way or another, you start questioning yourself.

Hope

When you’re surrounded by people that have your best interests in mind, that see and acknowledge what you bring as a person and professional you get energized.

When there are conversations about the future, with leaders that inspire and share their vision you create hope. When you’re in a downturn it provides others with a light at the end of the tunnel.

When you build a work culture where this feel good is nurtured, you trust that person or business, it creates stability, you feel cared for [compassion] and that creates hope even in the direst situations.

What’s the mood of your company culture?

Take 2020 for example. How did your company nurture trust, stability, compassion, and hope? And what have you done to nurture yourself, your customers, your friends, and your family during this time?

My workplace stood by their employees and as a result, we have a company and sales team that is stronger and more bonded than ever. We have gratitude for the choice the company and leadership team made and were able to skyrocket our sales as soon as we could reopen the business.

Many people and businesses didn’t have that option and either furloughed or fired employees. The impact of these choices remains to be seen. Building trust, stability, compassion, and hope will take strong and inspired leadership.

What are your takeaways?

At this particular juncture in time, we have been experiencing a massive global wakeup call. It has brought us all an invitation to really take a look at our lives, at what’s working and not working.

What are your priorities now with business and life? Has anything changed?

If you’re amongst the people who lost business and had to let people go or were fired/furloughed, what actions are you taking now that you didn’t think about before?

Maybe you’re setting aside more money to your savings to ensure that you’re not vulnerable when a job is no longer there. Maybe you’ve committed to spending more time with your friends & family?

No matter what your experience has been to date though it starts with making a choice one moment at the time.

What is ONE action that you can take today to create more trust, stability, compassion, and hope in your life? Start there. With you. Your family. Your friends. Your co-workers. Your customers.

What NOT Working in Your Zone Can Look Like

What NOT Working in Your Zone Can Look Like

When you first get your CliftonStrengths® report, there’s a lot to take in, and it’s all great stuff. Diving into how each talent plays out for you takes time.

One of the first things most coaches will guide you to do is establish where your dominant talent range is. It’s up to each person to determine where that “line” goes.

Sometimes you have an attachment to a specific talent in the #10-16 range. Where do you draw the line?

#1 If I told you that you could no longer have that talent, what would your internal reaction be? Hint if you would fight me, it’s a dominant talent

#2 If you had to use said talent 24/7/365, how would you feel at the end of the day? If you’re drained, it’s a supporting talent

For most of you, your Top 10-12 are the strongest = holds the most potential for success for you.

Remember when you’re operating in your dominant talent zone, you’re energized, time flies, you’re in the zone, you create results that blow you away and continue upping your performance.

Some talents can occur similarly, but the approach is still different. The different domains illustrate the part you access.

Say you think you’re strategic and don’t have it in your top, what if what you or others interpret as strategic is coming from doing, feeling or energy and not the thinking head?

What is not a dominant talent? When you feel drained, overwhelmed, stressed out.

I used to claim my Top 14 as dominant, and then I had a period where I used #13 and 14 a lot and quickly realized that I was drained by the end of the day.

I now claim my Top 12, and tap into my supporting talents when needed.

The other day I was reminded of how my #13 of Input has a tendency to stress me out. To be specific, it’s the notes I make of various nuggets of information.

Once I’ve digitized the learnings I can move on knowing where I can find the info when needed. And other times, the trash is a better solution.

In this case, it’s not the learning overwhelm aspect, it’s the cleanup/completion aspect that I can’t let go of until it’s done, Achiever happens to be my #14.

I’m happy to say that this pile is now gone (see picture).

I’m way better and more energized when I can get things started (#5 Activator) yet have found myself in roles where I both start, maintain, and close, and that drains my energy.

Your unique combo

See the thing is that your unique combination of strengths in your top 10-12 often creates something that could look similar to a talent you may feel should be ranked higher up.

When you take the assessment there are often several questions where you think both options are totally you or not you at all, so you select neutral… neutrals don’t count… at all.

Bottom line is to go on your instincts and trust that choosing neutral is in itself a choice that creates a result that is correct for you.

And if all else fails, retake the assessment.

What to do when you’re drained

So back to the dominant talents and what to do when you find yourself operating more in the supporting or lesser talent range than your dominant zone:

Unless it’s a temporary, limited period type of a project that you have to do – delegate or partner up with someone that can help you that has a talent for it.

And if you can’t delegate this, ask yourself if this really is something that you need to do?

What you can add to your project to make it more [insert your word] and take frequent breaks where you focus on something that inspires you in between.

Suffering is optional after all!

What Are You Passionate About?

What Are You Passionate About?

Let’s face it; our current reality is a bit drab with its restrictions and closures. Depending on your industry, company, or where you live many of you are in moods ranging from boredom to tragedy. 

Some businesses are booming with products that are in demand, and others are closing their doors for good with the forced restrictions.

We’re in the midst of a global shift into something completely new. No matter what the collective narrative ends up being or when the conversation shifts into a more empowering one, you can still create your own.

While you may be distracted or hooked into all the noise around you, what if you tuned out long enough to focus on what’s important to you?

What gets you really excited?

We’re all called to take action in different areas of life, and your natural talents and strengths help you understand how you approach it instinctively.

When was the last time you explored your passions?

What did you love to do as a kid? Were you outside rain or shine, playing sports, out in nature creating adventures and maybe even climbing trees? Or did you prefer to be indoors drawing, putting together puzzles, crafting something, reading, or a mix of all?

What were your favorite TV shows? Games? Things to do?

While your adult version may look different, remember that kid inside is still very much alive, filled with hopes and dreams?

Now, you don’t need to take a deep dive into your childhood, simply think back to the activities that were fun and write them down

Are you still dreaming as boldly as you did as a kid?

15 years ago or so, I got this book called the Passion Test. I remember being on fire, on a natural high while doing each of the exercises in the book. I got so many new insights about dreams and desires I had that were previously hidden from my view. I ended up sharing it with many friends in my community, guiding them through the book’s processes. Helping them connect to their passions was so much fun, and is what has become my passion in life as a coach via a variety of teachings.

Today, I was reminded about it again via GeniusU which is a global entrepreneurial platform with more than 1.1 million people engaged and counting. Via this platform, you have access to a bunch of micro degrees that are free to get you started. 

One of the mini-courses included for free at GeniusU is – Your Passions. Turns out that The Passion Test partnered with GeniusU, how cool is that?

This course helps you identify your top 5 passions and then takes you through the steps of what’s important to you and how you focus on your priorities. Check it out. 

You can also find out more via The Passion Test website.

Strengths – Passions – Purpose

As a strengths coach, I look at how passions play with strengths. As you dive deep into your strengths you find guidance on your purpose, the same goes for your passions.

Going back to the activities that energized you as a kid, are you still doing some of them? If not, did you find something that evoked a similar feeling?

Look at what you’re currently energized by and see how many of your dominant talents are engaged when you do this activity. Cool huh?

Whether you’re a salesperson working for someone else, or simply see life as a game of sales, there are drivers behind many of our actions that stem from our passions.

Why does this matter? When you’re tuned into your passions and purpose and use your natural talents you’ll feel fantastic no matter what the circumstances look like around you. 

When you feel fantastic and take the actions that come naturally, you’ll create a life you may have never thought was possible.

How do you create it? 

Use your dominant strengths, identify what activities nurture and ignite each of them. Your dominant talents tend to be your top 10-14 which you can explore on your own after taking the CliftonStrengths® assessment or hire a coach to guide you.

What do you focus on? 

Focus on your big picture purpose and passion.

There are many assessments and books on the topic, your strengths offer you personalized guidance that focuses on your greatness.

Feeling connected to who you are at your best brings hope. When you have hope you can more easily stay connected to your passions even when there are distractions or like now, a global pandemic.

Why not feel great and spread the love and good vibes as kitschy as it may sound. It beats listening to the news for one!

Are You Connecting With, or Spamming Your Prospects?

Are You Connecting With, or Spamming Your Prospects?

Maybe you’re pivoting your businesses into a digital reality using LinkedIn and other platforms to connect with your prospects. As you take your sales strategy online there are some things to consider. 

When you connect with new people online, what is your game plan? 

Think about who you want to connect with and why you’re reaching out. You can use the instant messaging (IM) feature to write a short intro with your connection request on LinkedIn to make it more personal if you so desire. 

Here are some things to consider as you dive-in:

  • Connect with people you’re genuinely interested in – think quality not quantity
  • Build a network of people who want what you have – they’ll read your posts
  • Partner with people where you can create a win-win situation and leverage your networks
  • Allow the relationship with each person you connect with to blossom naturally.  Just as when you meet someone in person there’s no rush to cram everything in the first hour of meeting. Let them breathe!
  • Be brief and honest as to why you want to connect, don’t pretend, they’ll know 
  • When a new contact accepts, think of this person as a cold lead where you can invite them into a conversation without making any assumptions. A brief “Hi, thank you for connecting,” can actually be a way better start than asking someone to check out your products or downloading a free offer. 
Stay away from auto-responders

Getting flooded with auto-responder messages the second you say “yes” is the best way to turn your prospects against you or put a bad taste in their mouth. Don’t be that person.

 

You know how much it irks you when people want to connect with you under false pretenses. Be the person who qualifies your lead before pitching a prospect that isn’t asking for it in the first place.

It’s a fine line between asking questions and initiating a fishing expedition. Take it easy and don’t go deep sea fishing asking unsolicited questions with an agenda immediately.

Since you already researched the prospect’s profile before sending your connection request you’ll have an idea of why you want to connect, start there, and don’t forget to share about who you are. Friendships are a two-way street after all.

You’ve been there before with people approaching you with an agenda you can smell from miles away, again, your intent is what it’s all about. 

When people attempt to sell you without any true interest in connecting with you, you walk away, or in this case, hit the “unfriend” button. And you know the effort it takes to cold-start a lost lead.

Sales is a dance

Be the salesperson people remember for your genuine interest in your prospects AND clients. Be interested and pay attention to details. Take the time to build trust and get to know the person — it’ll pay off in the long run. Promise. 

And just like you don’t force someone to dance with you in real life, at least not without consequences, the same goes for sales. 

If you’re a pro at sales you know how fun and playful the game can be. What dance are you inviting people to?

Add your personality and think of ways you can contribute without asking for a thing. Warm them up just like you would with a live person.

Consider the questions you’re already using when connecting with people, what gets them talking? Start jotting them down as you identify your sales mojo flow. 

Start there.

I’d love to hear what YOUR favorite questions are AND what you create with your new friends.

What Are You Excited About Today?

What Are You Excited About Today?

Did you close a big account or convert someone you’ve been working on for a while? Or are you lagging behind and worried about the future?

We live in contrasting times, for some, business is thriving, for others, not.

With a consumer-facing product, you have prospects walking around in masses yet also more competition.

With more specialized products sold to professionals, it may come down to how the industry is doing currently.

Either way, even in a downturn, people become millionaires. With that what CAN you do to generate new possibilities?

It starts with you. Always.

First, how you feel about yourself and your abilities affects how other people perceive you. Now, some may not be able to pinpoint what it is — it could simply be they are hesitant to say yes.

Secondly, don’t take things personally. When you’re in sales you develop a thick skin to rejection and can shift it into a fun game where you simply focus on how many “no’s” it’ll take to get your next yes.

Where is your excitement?

How and where do you experience the feeling of success in your body? You know when you’re so excited about life or that big sale?

Now, when you don’t hit your number, does it hit the same spot, or is it in a different spot?

When you tap into how you feel in your body, especially focusing on what makes you feel good, excited, stoked – where do you feel it in your body?

Once you’ve identified the feeling, then you can tune in to your body and ask yourself “How or what actions you can take to create more of this yummy feeling?” It may feel awkward in the beginning as it’s something you often do on autopilot.

By simply adding the question of “How can I create more of this?” while thinking about the spot and feeling in your body when you’re stoked, you’re simply asking your body for guidance on where to find more of that.

Follow the impulses you receive if they feel good, don’t if they have a sinking feeling to them. It’s that simple.

Self-reflection is an important component of success. How you do that will vary just as much as your talents, needs, experiences, skills, and more.

Do you spend it listening to podcasts or music that inspires you or making calls? 

If you have a lot of windshield time, there’s plenty of time in between appointments to strategize on your next steps. 

Using quiet time or down-time may be part of your success formula to help you reach your next success. 

When working from home via phone or video calls it becomes even more important to stay focused on your tasks whether you write it down or not to achieve what you consider success on a daily basis.

Being visible so that people keep you in mind for when they’re ready to buy and for your existing customers to know that you’re there for them.

And remember, tune into that body of yours and follow its guidance. Try it, you’ve got nothing to lose by connecting, do you?

Riding the Wave of Success

Riding the Wave of Success

You’ve had some success, in one or more areas of your life and know what it takes to create it. Maybe it was hitting and exceeding your monthly, quarterly, or annual target while still enjoying life. 

Either way, you’re riding high, feeling great, and like a winner. Then the next morning it’s reset time and the sales cycle starts all over again.

While sales come easy for you, you have your days when you’re all over the place not getting anything done and that’s OK ’cause you know you’ll bring more focused energy to your game tomorrow.

There are some talents that successful salespeople tend to have in common.

Looking at your current reality as a salesperson, what general skills and talents would you say are necessary to be successful in selling your products in your industry?

The game will of course vary slightly depending on the sales cycle for your product. A one-time sale requires different talents and skills vs. long-term and repeat sales cycles and your industry.

While the 10 Builder Talents (BP10™) as defined by Gallup® are focused on individuals that have the ability to build large organizations and contribute to our economy as a whole, they also offer insight into what makes you successful as a salesperson. 

They can also help you identify why you’re not clicking with a company vibe or hitting your numbers.

Now, comparing the skills and talents that you feel are important to your industry, how do they fit into the categories below, and in what order would you rank these for yourself, if you haven’t already taken the assessment?

“Gallup’s research proves that the best business builders use some mix of these 10 talents to start or grow a business:

  • Confidence: You accurately know yourself and understand others.
  • Delegator: You recognize that you cannot do everything and are willing to contemplate a shift in style and control.
  • Determination: You persevere through difficult, even seemingly insurmountable, obstacles.
  • Disruptor: You exhibit creativity in taking an existing idea or product and turning it into something better.
  • Independent: You are prepared to do whatever needs to be done to build a successful venture.
  • Knowledge: You constantly search for information that is relevant to growing your business.
  • Profitability: You make decisions based on observed or anticipated effect on profit.
  • Relationship: You have high social awareness and an ability to build relationships that are beneficial for the firm’s survival and growth.
  • Risk: You instinctively know how to manage high-risk situations.
  • Selling: You are the best spokesperson for the business.”

Source: The 10 Builder Talents (BP10™) as defined by Gallup®

What do you do if you find that your Top 4 doesn’t include the talents you determined you need for success?

The answer is to partner with someone who does and leverage both parties’ strengths.

In addition, you have your unique CliftonStrengths® lineup that predicts how you’ll apply your talents. Let’s say you have Selling™ as your #1, and Woo® in your Top 10 then you already know you’re an influencer and charmer on a big scale with a big network of contacts and prospects.

On the other hand, if you have Determination™ as your #1, and Achiever® and Focus® in your Top 10, getting things done will be your focus and priority, and how you go about building will be very different than the previous example.

Whether you have all the talents mentioned above or not, you can create success in different ways. 

For many successful reps, it comes down to simply taking focused action every day and making sure you’re continually adding plenty of prospects to your pipeline.

The effort you have to put in to create success and how you experience that journey will vary. When you have a natural talent to sell, it may seem like little effort to an outsider but you know what it takes and enjoy riding that wave of success.

To find out how your builder talents rank CLICK HERE to take the assessment and if you’re interested in coaching CLICK HERE to schedule a call.