Emotional Intelligence Of Leaders

What are the keys to EQ?  This post from TTI provides great insight into the entire topic.  A couple traits to consider: 1. Possess self-awareness Before someone can be effective interacting with others, they need to have a conscious knowledge of their own character, feelings, motives, and desires. The “feelings” part of this equation is very important. When those feelings are not positive, having the ability to control emotions is paramount to managing interactions successfully. When a person is self-aware and able to employ self-regulation under stress, they tend to have more successful outcomes (and less regret). Personally, I believe all EQ flows out of self-awareness; without it, the person is unable to… Read More

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The Creativity of Sarcasm

Sarcasm leads to creativity.  Creativity is a needed trait in most leadership positions today. From INC.com: What did the researchers find?  Sarcasm, it turns out, is a pretty good mental workout. “To create or decode sarcasm, both the  expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking. … The result was “those in the sarcasm conditions subsequently performed better on creativity tasks than those in the sincere conditions or the control condition. I have had the opportunity to assess… Read More

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The Leadership Revolution of Gen X

We’re at an interesting place in our country’s generational gap. The large Baby Boomer generation is flowing out of the workplace daily while the largest generation, Millennials, are ascendant.  However, before we turn the leadership keys over to the Millennials, there is a generation with something to say…Gen X. Gen X now accounts for 51% of leadership roles globally according to this CNBC article.  In fact: With an average of 20 years of workplace experience, they (Gen X) are primed to quickly assume nearly all top executive roles. Now isn’t that interesting?  The forgotten generation will be in charge so what does that mean for everyone?  Here are some highlights… Read More

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One Third Of CEO’s Are Worthless In Sales

Those aren’t my words but rather the findings from a Selling Power survey.  From the article: A recent Selling Power online survey found that 29 percent of sales leaders judged their CEO useless when it comes to creating a sale. Almost one third and I think I have worked for all of them!  The savvy sales CEO is a rare bird indeed.  Of course there is more to the article than just this survey.  The author focuses on the customer experience as seen through your salesperson representing your company in the market.  This representation is critical in making a successful sales hire – you have to envision the salesperson selling… Read More

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Does Job Jumping Matter Anymore?

I would answer no.  I have the opportunity to look at many resumes on any given day and there is a definite sea-change in the job jumping area.  Millennials are far less loyal to their employers than any generation before them.  In fact, I would say “job” jumping isn’t accurate, they are actually “skill” jumping.  These employees are often looking for personal skill development and once they sense they have tapped out their growth curve in their current role, they leave. I spend a fair amount of time explaining this skill jumping behavior to old-school hiring managers.  Companies must have a plan for ongoing development of their Millennial workforce otherwise… Read More

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Forming, Storming And Norming Teams

That is how teambuilding occurs according to the Tuckman model and I agree.  Assessing entire sales teams provides me an inside view at teams and how they function and this model plays out consistently. This article covers many interesting topics with a focus on creativity killers.  Creativity is difficult to measure or assess, but there are things a sales leader can do to help foster creativity.  From the article (emphasis mine): It’s easy to look at models like that and think that cohesion and friendliness should be the ultimate goal. But surprisingly, when it comes to creativity, the best teams fight a little (or even a lot). Structured, task-oriented conflict… Read More

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Cultural Qualifying

I ran into an old coworker, whom I consider a good friend, at a coffee shop this Friday morning.  He is the VP of Sales with 75 or so direct reports.  His company is international with a majority of their revenue occurring in Asia. He was telling me about sales training he held for the entire sales team.  The focus was on negotiating and, more specifically, how to ask the right questions to qualify the opportunity.  The Asian sales reps balked at some of the questions based solely on their approach to qualifying.  Let’s just say they prefer to take a more passive, unquestioning approach which leads to prayer rug… Read More

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Leadership During Uncertain Times

“Strong opinions, weakly held” is the mantra from this Harvard Business Review article.  Actually, the article provides 3 excellent leadership suggestions: Get emotional. Be whimsical. Express doubt. Now those 3 items, in terms of leadership, should pique your interest.  In case not, here is an excerpt from each topic: Get emotional – More than purpose or perks, employees value heartfelt moments of connection that meet their needs as social beings. Be whimsical – By exposing their idiosyncrasies, passions, and whims, bosses can make themselves more human. Express doubt – “Employees, more than ever, are individualists. Leaders, in response, are learning to be less the visionary, less the sage, less the… Read More

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The Importance Of Accountability

I harp on this topic frequently, but it is a foundational need for all strong sales leaders.  You must hold your people accountable to reach goals, close deals and follow your system (a broad word that entails your requirements for performance).  The key is to simply do it…you don’t have to be “good” at it, but you do have to do it.  Many sales leaders miss this important point. So I give you this Selling Power article with a comprehensive view of this accountability need for all sales leaders.  The author makes a significant point that often gets overlooked by sales leaders who like to use the stick before the… Read More

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6 Practices of Innovative Companies

From the Herman Trend Newsletter: BCG also highlights six practices of the most innovative companies and explores how those practices have played out at innovation leaders across a range of industries: 1) Get the customer involved early. 2) Use data to drive tough decision-making. 3) Think strategically about tradeoffs. 4) Ensure senior leadership commitment. 5) Envision innovation as a holistic system. 6) Optimize intellectual property to create value. I think that is a spot-on list.  I was drawn to number 3 – think strategically about tradeoffs.  In dealing with smaller, entrepreneurial companies, I see the founders often fail in this area (fail to the point of liquidating).  It is critical… Read More

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