Monday, July 28, 2014

Taking Risks in Leadership

Thanks to the ongoing Values campaign from Foundation for a Better Life, folks across the nation have been supplied with tidbits from the lives of the famous and the not so famous—snippets that, through inspirational messaging, provide motivation to dream, to do, and to hope for what might seem like an impossible success. The billboards, TV commercials, radio spots, and videos remind us of the historic trials—and, in fact, the failures—of arguably rather successful people. Like Abraham Lincoln, whose story was riddled with personal pain, sacrifice, ups, and downs before he achieved the ultimate success of becoming the 16th President of the United States. Or Thomas Edison, who purportedly failed thousands of times before he created a successful light bulb.

In both cases, these men could have done what many human beings do: they could have shied from the risk of trying again. They could have taken the safe route, the well-traveled path, the life of complacency. Instead, both men continuously took both personal and professional risks to keep doing what they believed in. And, ultimately, through all of the risks, they were both remarkably successful. Had either been content to remain in his comfort zone, imagine what might be different for our country or our lifestyles today. Should it be any different for corporations?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Good Corporate Culture Extends Beyond the Walls

Corporate culture is nebulous—different for each company and sometimes hard to develop, especially in the shifting sands of the business world. But the companies that get it right, the companies that not only champion culture but truly cultivate it, and demand the same of their employees, are the ones that stand out and thrive.

Take Southwest Airlines, for example, with an uncompromising focus on its three Ps of culture: Performance, People, Planet. The company’s determination to drive every decision, every sale, and every interaction based on its distinctly defined culture has made the airline a leader in its industry, far surpassing its competitors in consumer satisfaction.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Sales Leadership: It Starts with Feedback and Coaching

In many companies, leaders and managers are promoted to their roles because they have, or appear to have, the foundational characteristics of certain leadership traits. They are good communicators: they share the goals of the company, they listen to and understand their employees, and they don’t shy from the difficult conversations. The good ones are mentors, supporters, and advocates. They surround themselves with talent, and figure out effective ways to develop those staff who lag in performance. Promoting these types of leaders makes sense for many companies.

Unfortunately, in sales organizations, this situation doesn't always exist. Typically, salespeople who are promoted to leadership roles are those who were the best at their trade: sales. They know how to close deals, and as individuals, they brought in the numbers. But the skills that make them good salespeople don’t translate to the same skills needed to be good leaders, and if they don’t change their mindset from that of “best closer” to “best talent developer,” they’re missing out on ways to build an entire team of sales closers for the company, because "coffee is for closers only" - Glengarry Glenn Ross.