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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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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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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Tracking Sales Reps 24/7

A sales executive was fired for deleting an app on her cell phone.  The details from the Fox News story: A sales executive was fired after she deleted an app on her phone that tracked her every move, allowing her employer to know where she was 24/7. It was only a matter of time until this type of issue surfaced.  My personal take is that tracking her 24/7 is an incredible invasion of privacy and her actions were the same ones I would have chosen in that situation.  However, let me throw this at you from the former Judge quoted in the article: Judge Andrew Napolitano said that in the… Read More

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Bad Habits Are Good?

I am struggling with this Salary.com article – 12 Bad Habits That Can Actually Help Your Career.  Here is one example: Procrastinating Today’s work culture expects us to multitask, run from one project to the next, and constantly be on the go. The urge to procrastinate indicates your brain is overtired, overstressed, and needs to slow down. Indulge and take a time out. You’ll come back refreshed, and better able to focus on the tasks at hand. What?  Indulge and take a time out?  As a manager, procrastination from my direct reports was…discouraged.  I never recall telling them to indulge and take a time out.  To me it seems like… Read More

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Failure

Here is a great Nike commercial via the JustSell.com website:  http://www.justsell.com/michael-jordan-on-failure/ The point of the commercial walks right over to the sales world.  Michael Jordan’s closing statement from the commercial: I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Here is what sales managers need to understand, some times you need to let a salesperson fail.  Now, I’m not talking about a large, important prospect, but rather a prospect that you may know is not going to close or is misaligned in some other way.  I’ve come across many sales managers who want to consistently step in and help a struggling salesperson. … Read More

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Conventional Wisdom About Sales Managers

Here is an article from Eye on Sales that addresses a common sales management topic – should you promote your top salesperson into the sales manager role?  I would argue that the conventional wisdom is to avoid making this mistake. From the article: Sales management mistake #1: Promoting top performers to sales managers Top-performing salespeople are not necessarily top managers. Leaders often fail to evaluate their best sales professionals for their ability and aptitude to manage before placing them in a leadership position. It seems like an easy decision to promote the best, but in reality you might be taking one of your most potent weapons out of the game… Read More

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The President’s Club

This is a funny story from Yahoo: The company that makes Hot Tamales candy offered its sales team an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii if it met its annual goals, and a trip to the nation’s arctic tundra if it didn’t. The Just Born team did not meet its target and, on Tuesday, about two dozen salespeople gathered inside the 19-story Radisson hotel — the tallest building in frozen Fargo. Outside, the temperature was 7 degrees. The ground had 2 feet of snow. It gets better: They are trying to make the best of it, with a little humor. They planned tours of two North Dakota wineries and a winter extravaganza… Read More

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Creative Resume Writing

I have a friend who is a Director of Sales for a medium-sized company.  A few months ago, he had a major issue with one of his salespeople in another Midwestern state.  The salesperson cursed out a customer on the phone (the customer was “pestering” him by calling his cell phone more than 1 time in the same day).  He was let go by my friend. Now it turns out that this salesperson is pushing his resume out to prospective employers.  One of them called to verify his employment and had some interesting facts. Salesperson claimed to be a Sales Manager (he wasn’t) Salesperson claimed to win the President’s Award… Read More

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