A few weeks since our first Fortune Roundup, and a lot more great content out there! Here's the best of the web that we've come across.
Be sure to read the last two articles. What do you think of their conflicting conclusions?
Idea Deficit Disorder - Treating Yourself
By Wally Bock of the Three Star Leadership Blog
From an early age, our educational system teaches us that there's only one correct answer to every problem. As such, we lose the interest to be creative as we get older. But we're all creative; Wally argues that it's "a natural part of being a human being." As leaders, we need to find out how, where and when we're at our most creative, and go out of our way to recreate those situations.
Driving School For Leaders
By Scott Eblin of the Next Level Blog
As a leader, what are your unconscious competencies? Unless you actually sit down to think about them, you probably don't know. In this post, Scott Eblin encourages leaders to do just that, and then pass those tasks off to your staff, because what you may be so proficient at will be challenging to them. This in turn gives you time to concentrate on new tasks that will stretch your comfort zone. As Scott says, "Everybody learns, everybody grows."
Low Hanging Fruit Is Uninspiring
By Jason Seiden of Fail Spectacularly
Jason challenges the commonly accepted notion that "low-hanging fruit" is a good thing. He argues, "Human beings are born looking to the skies. Up makes us wonder. Up inspires us. Up is where our potential lies." So as a manager, it's your responsibility to take care of the low-hanging fruit yourself and allow your people to grow by reaching upwards.
What do we think of Scott's and Jason's differing viewpoints? They both agree that one of your responsibilities as a leader is to foster your people's growth. But while Scott argues that you can do this while supporting your own personal growth, Jason seems to imply that you have to do so at the expense of your personal growth. Can we have our cake and eat it too? Or do we just have to let our people eat the cake?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below, or follow us on Twitter and join the conversation.
Posted: 23/08/2010 8:36:31 PM
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The other week I came across this video interview with Neil Rackham, founder of Huthwaite and creator of SPIN Selling.
Rackham argues that the Internet has fundamentally changed how salespeople need to sell. He says that whereas a salesperson used to be able to sell products or services by simply rattling off their features – what he calls being a "talking brochure" – that will no longer do because prospects can now find all this information on the Internet. In today's world, Rackham advocates, "The new selling is about creating value for customers... and that value isn't just the product or service. It's your skills, your creativity, your problem solving. So successful salespeople today are creative problem solvers, not persuaders, and it's a very big shift."
I have to say, this interview really shocked us. Not that Rackham is wrong, because he's hit the nail on the head. In order to succeed in sales, you must sell value. What really threw us for a loop is that Rackham has apparently just figured this out!
The Internet has nothing to do with this. Nothing. Before the Internet, the most successful salespeople were the ones who knew how to create and sell value. With the Internet today, the same holds true. Perhaps the need for value selling has been magnified, so Rackham and others are more open to embracing the concept, but at the core of this matter, there has been no "very big shift". Maybe it’s the semantics but fundamentally nothing has changed in respect of the need to sell value.
For over 20 years, Steve Brown has been espousing what he calls intelligent persistence, which has similar threads to the more widely-recognised concept of consultative selling. Intelligent persistence says: Don't simply be persistent, as too many salespeople are berated to be. Instead, listen, learn from and understand the prospect, work with them to identify the real (business) problem (often quite different to what they initially think) and then develop a solution that you can provide in terms of the value it will create. It's never been about simply making a sale by rattling off features; it's always been about establishing trust, and creating a relationship. Frankly, if you were to repeat a thousand times 'selling is about establishing relationships of trust and confidence' you would not be over-emphasising its importance!
Whether you're selling to consumers or businesses, the bottom line is you must create and sell value to be successful. This was as true 20 years ago as it is today.
Posted: 16/08/2010 10:04:41 PM
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The 2010 Global Mindset Index, recently released by rogenSI, has found that over the past two years a lack of effective leadership has paved the way for lower employee engagement and a decrease in business performance. According to rogenSI Director and psychologist Dr. Clark Perry:
"Following the GFC, some organisations have been operating at a frenetic pace and have become blinkered and so focused on trying to achieve outcomes or indeed just survive. The result has been much more demand on employees' time with little or no reward or recognition for the effort."
At first glance it seems obvious to say the motivation levels of your employees are having a direct impact on the performance of your business; and your future competitiveness hinges on it. However businesses must be proactive in identifying where managers are disengaging their people and develop better management practices. Improving your managers' skills in how they build staff that are 'connected and committed' to the organisation, the essence of employee engagement, will have a dramatic effect on business results.
Take a step towards increasing employee engagement by requesting a complimentary preview of 'Why We Fail to Lead Part 1', a core module from 'Leadership In Action', Fortune's management training program. It trains managers how to grow their business by engaging people in the cause!
Click here to request your complimentary preview of 'Why We Fail to Lead'.
Posted: 9/08/2010 9:50:42 PM
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Steve Brown recently received a letter from a past corporate customer, one that I just had to share with you because it speaks to the practical nature of Fortune training programs and how they deliver real results. Read how this sales professional improved his close rate from 25% to 90%!
I had the good fortune of getting your training session tapes on Creative Selling Skills [Ed. note: several generations later our sales skills program is now called Solution Based Selling
] when I was a district manager for a life insurance company (Life of Georgia) in 1986. My staff listened to your tapes faithfully and our district office went from dead last in the company to #2. That was 24 years ago. I am now back into personal life insurance production (Final Expense) after spending the last 20 years in a corporate office.
I was miserable, nothing seemed right. I had call reluctance, quit on the first 'no' – you name it. A miracle happened. My wife was cleaning out all of my old brief cases that I had collected over the years and found an old set of tapes in a plastic binder. My set of Creative Selling Skills from The Fortune Group Productions, Inc. (1981).
I listened to the tapes as if it were for the first time. Could I have possibly forgotten all of that? Yes I had.
I wrote my own presentation based on your training; the promise, the product, the bridges, the triggers, the verification and burying of objections, knowing when to close or use a minor close. It all works, I love it!
I am now 64 years old and am having the time of my life talking to people using your Creative Sales Training. Back in 1986, everything was face to face selling. I am using these same principles selling over the telephone and closing about 90% of my contacts instead of 25%.
So this is a sincere and heartfelt thank you, 24 years late!
James R "Pete" Martin
It's great to hear stories like this, ones that not only illustrate how Fortune training programs can increase your sales but are also a testament to their enduring, life-long nature. The proven, time-tested business principles embedded in Fortune programs will always be relevant. So after having so much success with the aid of Solution Based Selling in 1986, it's thrilling to hear that Pete is still getting results with it today!
Would you like to share your own Fortune success story with us? Please feel free to do so in the comments section of this post or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: 4/08/2010 10:24:51 PM
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If you like to keep up with the latest thinking in leadership, management, sales and sales management, the Internet will never leave you wanting for content. In fact, given our busy work schedules, there's probably too much content out there! So we're going to start to use this space every once in a while to feature the best content that we've come across. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section.
Team Conflict? As Long as It's Not Personal, Run With It
By Art Petty of Management Excellence
Art tackles the notion that a team must have "peace and harmony" to be successful. In fact, he says, a team with conflict – when properly managed – might be even more productive! It may feel wrong to some leaders, but he gives five compelling reasons that conflict may be healthy for your team.
5 Ways To Build Trust (Lessons from a Conversation)
By Tanmay Vora of QAspire Blog
Tanmay offers five practical ways for a leader to build trust. Although he created this list specifically for a friend who was entering a new organisation, his suggestions certainly apply to leaders new and old. And as he notes, they also apply to how an organisation in general can develop trust with its customers.
Influencing Creativity and Innovation
By Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire
As a leader, you can't just demand creativity and innovation from your people; you need to be an active advocate of it, and Mary Jo provides some suggestions for how to do that. Two key themes: Give your people the freedom and space to do what they want and be as open as possible.
Learning to Lead Amid Recession
By Garry Kranz of Workforce Management
We've all seen the evidence: Companies that continue to support their training and development initiatives through a recession come out the strongest. This article provides a few more examples of this proven principle, and also addresses how organisations often mistake training as a reactive measure (to fix errors) rather than a proactive one (to support change).
And finally, if you crave more reading on leadership development, be sure to check out this month's Leadership Development Carnival, hosted by Jason Seiden at Fail Spectacularly. You'll find dozens of great articles there from all over the web, including our post on empowering employees.
Hope you enjoy these posts, we'll continue to highlight more in the future.
Posted: 2/08/2010 8:16:28 PM
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