There are two types of people in this world, each of whom perceive the interplay between their actions and environment in stark contrast: internalists and externalists. Internalists accept that regardless of outside forces exerted on them, only their actions determine ultimate success or failure. Externalists believe their success or failure is often due directly to those outside forces and thus outside of their control.
We all appear to begin life as externalists. Imagine the young child who claims it wasn't them who ate the cake, it was their brother; they don't hesitate to blame others when things go wrong. But as we grow we develop emotional maturity, one of the characteristics of a good leader. And a key manifestation of this, essential to effective leadership, is the ability to internalise and embrace personal accountability – a concept that requires you to accept full responsibility for the outcomes of work performed by you and your people.
Unfortunately, not all leaders accept this responsibility. And this lack of accountability can be like a disease in the way it infects some organisations. We've all encountered leaders who blame anyone but themselves when things go wrong, whether it be the market, the region, the conditions or even customers! However because of the example they set, externalist leaders induce employees into producing an atmosphere of self-defeatism and finger pointing, one in which the smallest of hurdles is too big to overcome and fault is always assumed to lie anywhere but within.
This isn't to suggest that external factors don't affect performance – they do. But rarely must they be the reason for failure, and it's with this view that internalist leaders embrace personal accountability. Through their example, internalist leaders create an environment for employees of confidence and teamwork, one in which even the largest of hurdles can be viewed as a stepping stone on the road to success because everyone is working towards common goals.
How do you live your life, both at home and at work? How much accountability do you accept for your successes (this is the easy bit) or failures? Failure to accept personal accountability is the first of 13 fatal leadership errors presented in our management training program, Leadership In Action. Contact us to learn more about how your management team can develop personal accountability or request a preview CD of module 2 'Why We Fail to Lead (Part 1)'.
It's been a while since our last Fortune Roundup, but we're back with our first one for the New Year. Enjoy!
Smiles, Sales and Leadership
By Art Petty of Management Excellence
By way of personal experience, Art offers some examples of salespeople gone bad, some examples of salespeople gone good, and the consequences of each scenario. For any sales manager, this is a must read. The key takeaway? "One of the unarguable rules of the universe is that happy employees make happy customers."
That's not the way we do things around here
By Seth Godin
"That's not the way we do things around here." As only Seth can, he succinctly illustrates why speaking that sentence in a work environment absolutely stifles innovation.
Making the Right Difference
By Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership Blog
As we covered in September, offering rewards/money as an incentive is not the best way to motivate employees. Citing another article with similar conclusions, Wally offers some practical and actionable thoughts for how managers can contribute to the four core needs (beyond survival) that humans share, each of which can contribute to engagement levels: sustainability (ie, physical environment), emotional security, self-expression and significance. Managers at just about any level can take Wally's advice to positively influence these needs.
Don't Just Punish Them If They Don't Comply
By Tanmay Vora of QAspire Blog
When your people aren't following a process that you've implemented, don't immediately assume they're at fault. Instead, ask yourself WHY it isn't being followed. Usually, Tanmay argues, "it only means that either they don't know how to use the process or the defined process simply doesn't work for them. In either case, it is an opportunity to improve."
Less Courage more Preparation
By Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak
When managing change, Dan argues that there's an inverse correlation between preparation and courage: "If you're always going around like a lion, perhaps you need more preparation." He offers four straightforward steps that leaders can take to prepare their people for change, thus eliminating the need for courage.
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Welcome to a new year! We hope you've had a good, restful holiday season and are back reenergised for the year ahead.
With each passing year we often feel compelled to exhibit tangible forward progress, in both our personal and professional lives. It's human nature. But sometimes this race to embrace the new can work against us. In training, for example, the core fundamentals that improve sales and leadership effectiveness are actually the same today as they were last year... as they were last decade... and as they were last century!
Positive and permanent behaviour change is achieved through relevant training that is continuously revisited and reinforced. Whilst there will be new approaches to achieving that end, it's an eternal truth that adhering to a set of core principles can achieve lasting change and growth.
And timeless principles do not just relate to the how of training, but also to the what and the why, because the core concepts that guide leadership and sales effectiveness haven't changed either.
With this in mind, we'd like to reaffirm a few of the timeless skills and tactics featured on our site.
- Diminishing price pressure – Price pressure is a serious roadblock faced during the sales process, but the best approach isn't about responding to it after it becomes a problem – it's about preempting it
- Building customer relationships – Solidifying the relationship is the most important purpose salespeople must master
- Creating value for customers – We offer a few ways to create value for customers, but it's important they're used within a larger framework of understanding the customer
- Identifying task interference – When a salesperson is performing poorly and not hitting sales targets, it's essential that sales managers identify the true cause of the performance problem
- Increasing employee engagement – How managers can increase employee engagement and improve overall productivity
- Managing poor performance – Every manager must know how to deal effectively with poor performers
- Motivating employees – Using rewards as a motivational tactic with employees generally nets only short-term results. Building belief however produces long-term productivity gains!
This is a small selection of relevant business content on our site – and we're always adding more!
Here's to a great 2011!