Selling and Change

Selling and Change
Posted by   | April 21st, 2015 | No Comments

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Here are insights from Dan Pink’s keynote presentation at Change Management 2015.


When you are facilitating others to change, you must “sell them” on the new process, system, idea (mindset) or behaviors. Change is about persuasion which essential is selling.


The ABC’s of successful selling:

  • Attunement – tune in to others and get out of your own head. When you are persuading someone else you need to understand his or her point of view. Dan’s research shows that when people feel powerful they are much worse at seeing things from another person’s perspective. Humility is the key here. When you lessen your power and “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” you do a better job of responding to concerns and anticipating problems.
  • Buoyancy – this is about resilience. There is a lot of rejection that will take place when leading change. An expected part of change is resistance. It’s not good or bad, it just is. So how you handle this inevitable part of selling (or change) is a very important skill.
  •  Clarity – you must be clear about how the change will solve a problem. Dan talked about how there is less value in problem solving than in problem finding. If you think about it, anyone can find a solution on the internet. We need to improve our ability to create clarity about problems versus being a fantastic problem solvers. Solving the wrong problem is a common corporate malady. We call this solving symptoms rather than finding the root cause and solving the real problem.


Another interesting insight from Dan’s presentation was about the ideal salesperson. We are led to believe that outgoing extroverts make the best sales people. Research from Wharton’s Adam Grant finds that the link between extroversion and actual performance has no correlation. The most effective sales people are in the middle of the scale between extroversion and introversion. They’re what he calls “ambiverts.”


One final insight is that the most effective messages don’t try to convert people or convince them. Effective messages or pitches bring others into a conversation as a co-creator. How can you involve your change targets in a conversation about the change?


For additional insights from Dan, check out his website, the 15 minute summary or read To Sell is Human.

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    Make Your Own Weather *

    Make Your Own Weather *
    Posted by   | April 7th, 2015 | No Comments

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    While it makes sense to check the weather so you know whether to grab your sunglasses or umbrella when you walk out the door, it is not useful to allow the weather to dictate your day.

    Autonomy is the state of functioning independently without extraneous influence. This is one of three motivating components that Dan Pink talks about in his book, Drive.

    The interesting thing about autonomy is that it has a lot to do with personal choice and perception. You have a choice in the way that you respond to anything that happens. While you can’t change the facts you can change the way you perceive things.



    Tips for changing your weather forecast:

    Decide - when you get up in the morning, decide that you are going to have a great day. When life tries to convince you otherwise, find the blessing in the bad news.

    Change your vantage point – when you are always looking into the horizon, you will never arrive at your destination. Take a moment and celebrate what’s been accomplished. Rejoice in what is rather than what isn’t.

    You decide how to experience your life. So make your own mental weather. We wish you a balmy seventy plus degree day with a warm breeze and abundant sunshine.

    * inspired by a conversation today with one of our favorite CEO’s

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      Value Outcomes

      Value Outcomes
      Posted by   | March 31st, 2015 | No Comments


      The purpose of organizational values is NOT to decorate the walls or to create new trinkets to hand out to employees. Clear and well-understood values create a framework that enhances personal and organizational performance by encouraging positive organizational behaviors.

      The value of values is multifold. First, they improve consistency in decision making. Second, they provide boundaries and set expectations about behavior and what is or is not acceptable. Finally, values serve as guideposts along the journey, reminding people how to behave as they move forward to the future.

      Three Steps to Values

      1. Define  – keep it simple and identify the behaviors you want from the members in your organization. Your values should encourage members to interact with people and approach tasks ways that produce positive outcomes for themselves and the organization.
      2. Align  – stated values (what you say) must match operating values (what you do.) We’ve observed many organizations that are out of alignment and do not receive the benefits from the values they invested time in defining.
      3. Reinforce  – stories and examples are essential to proactively reinforce the meaning of values. If an employee acts in a manner contrary to the intent of the value, the behavior must be addressed. Overlooking violations, even small infractions, begins to blur the true definition of the value and diminishes the value of values. Recognize and reward behaviors that support the values of the organization. You get more of what you celebrate, so intentionally reinforce the demonstration of values.


      High performing organizations (and people) know what they believe and incorporate it into everything they do. Everyone, from top to bottom understands and acts according to these core values. 


      If you do not have well defined, operational values we encourage you to make the time to define them. If you have values in place, do an annual assessment to determine whether they are producing the outcomes you intended.

      Contact Scott or Donna if you are interested in comparing your ideal culture to your current culture. You will see where your values gaps are and get strategies to address the gaps.


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        Make it Right

        Make it Right
        Posted by   | March 24th, 2015 | No Comments

        The Story:


        On the way to a meeting yesterday, the tire pressure light appeared on the dashboard. The meeting was immediately followed by a visit to Just Tires. They took a look at the tire and found the cause, there was a nail embedded in the tread of the tire. They quoted a price and I settled in for a wait. Fifteen minutes later a crest fallen employee came out and told me that the tire had been irreparably damaged while removing it from the rim.


        My tire was damaged and there was nothing they could do but replace it with a new one. A replacement required one of their technicians to drive to a tire supplier 40 minutes away.  I asked about the safety of one new tire and three worn tires. They decided to make it right and provide two new tires.


        The manager was apologetic about the four hour wait. He charged me nothing, apologized profusely and gave me a three year warranty on my two brand new tires.


        Thank you Just Tires, that was making it right.


        The Lesson:


        Everyone makes mistakes. It’s taking responsibility and making it right, that makes a difference.

        • Taking responsibility means that “the buck stops here.”
        • Taking responsibility means, no excuses and no explanations.
        • Taking responsibility means making it right.


        When you make a mistake:


        ACKNOWLEDGE – you start by recognizing that you made a mistake. This doesn’t mean YOU are a bad person. You are not a failed human being. Life happens but when mistakes are made, it’s critical to recognize them.


        APOLOGIZE – Too many times, people make a mistake and believe that “I’m sorry” is sufficient. While it’s not sufficient, it’s important to acknowledge the mistake to anyone impacted.


        Make AMMENDS – quite simple, this is about fixing the mistake. You make it right when you make amends.

        Everyone is human. When the tire technician came to tell me what happened, he acknowledged what happened and apologized. Then Just Tires made it right by making amends and providing two new tires.

        When you make a mistake, make it right; acknowledge, apologize and make amends.

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          Getting Lucky

          Getting Lucky
          Posted by   | March 17th, 2015 | No Comments

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          Have you heard the quote, “luck is where preparation meets opportunity?” This is a fantastic perspective to understand how to increase your luck. We want you to get lucky, so increase your preparation in order to be ready for the opportunities that are coming your way.


          This perspective was reinforced in a chapter toward the end of Great by Choice called “Return on Luck.” There were a lot of different variables studied by Collins and his team as they investigated the phenomenon of luck.  They concluded that luck does not account for success.


          Both successful and less than successful organizations have similar amounts of luck.  The research showed that it is how you take advantage of good luck and are prepared for bad luck that accounts for great success.


          The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman presents four principles that are foundational to getting lucky.


          1. See it. When you believe you are lucky, you create, notice and act upon opportunities.


          2. Pay Attention. Use your internal guidance system of intuition and gut feelings.


          3.  Expect it. Never let go of the belief that you are lucky as you persevere in achieving your goals.


          4. Believe it. This could also be the silver lining principle. While some people would consider something “bad luck,” a lucky person figures out how to make it good luck. A lucky person knows that everything will work out for the best.


          If you believe you are lucky or believe you are unlucky, you are right. You get to choose! We hope you decide to be lucky.

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            A Person of Interest

            A Person of Interest
            Posted by   | March 11th, 2015 | No Comments

            Networking Doesn’t Work…but connecting does.

            The tradition of networking at events usually involves asking the other person “what do you do?” and exchanging business cards. Then of course you follow up with a connection on LinkedIn. The definition of success for these types of events is the number of meaningful connections not the number of people you collect cards from.

            We suggest you focus on connecting instead of card collecting.

            Connecting with others is invaluable if you think about the benefits of having wide connections (lots of people in your network) versus narrow connections (few people in your network.) Wide connections can help you open doors to new opportunities or new relationships. It’s who you know not just what you know or what you can do that will enable you to be successful in business.

            Tips for Connecting:

            Be a Person of Interest. People like to spend time with other people who are fun, friendly, interesting and potentially valuable to their career. You become a person of interest by being authentically who you are, being well read and having thoughtful positions on a variety of topics.

            Add Value. You have tremendous value to share. You must believe this yourself before other people will believe you. As our mentor says, the first sale is to yourself. Through meaningful connections you can help others succeed. Lead with the value you offer and others will be magnetically attracted to you.

            Focus (be intentional.) If you believe in the power of connecting then you understand that there are some people who are more appropriate to be connected to than others. Prepare in advance by thinking about who you want to meet and focus on getting connected with them rather than making accidental connections at an event or through colleagues.

            Ask Great Questions. Recently a friend shared the most fabulous redirect question to use during the traditional networking event. When someone asks what you do, say “I’d be happy to answer that but I have a really important question I’d like to ask first.” Proceed to ask, “what is the most challenging thing you’ve experienced this past _____ (week, day, month, you decide the time frame.)” Once they’ve answered then follow up with, “what did you do about that.” This changes the nature of the conversation and allows you to get to a deeper conversation.

            Networking is a great concept but it needs to be put into action as connecting with purpose. There are benefits to having meaningful connections in your life and when you are a person of interest, you add value in every conversation, you are intentional and you ask great questions…you will build wide connections that open doors in your life and your career.



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              Leaders Who Inspire Change

              Leaders Who Inspire Change
              Posted by   | March 4th, 2015 | No Comments

              A recent article about Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management highlighted some of the critical ways that leaders inspire change.

              The story, Aiming at Glass Ceilings shares that she is inspiring change; increasing the representation of women on boards in the UK. This isn’t a novel change. There are mandated legal quotas in France and Norway. The US has multiple organizations and lots of grassroots efforts to increase the representation of women on boards. However, neither the grass roots approach nor the legal mandate has resulted in increased representation. Morrissey’s approach is getting real results, inspiring real change.

              Tips to Inspire Real Change
              Clear Vision. Although many people suggested she broaden her vision to women’s empowerment, like Sheryl Sandberg, Morrissey did not get distracted. You cannot inspire change unless you are clear about what needs changed and remain focused on that vision.
              Start at the Top. Helena focused on the chairmen of the boards. They have the authority and influence to make change happen. When change matters, you need to start with the change makers not the change wishers or change hopefuls.
              The Right Approach. Using research data, Morrissey framed this as a business issue and made the case that more diverse boards provide better shareholder returns. There is a popular change acronym, WIIFM, which means what’s in it for me. Find the change maker and frame the change in a way that appeals to them.
              Build a Coalition. This is a key step highlighted in John Kotter’s Leading Change. Essentially, this means that you need to enlist the support of other leaders. Early in her campaign, Morrissey sent personal notes to each of the chairman suggesting that they add women to their board. That was not favorably received. So she quickly changed her strategy to get a few chairman to support the change and then reach out to their colleagues.

              Since 2010 the percentage of women on top boards in Britain has doubled from 12.5% to 23%. In the United States the percentage is stagnate at 17% with very little increase in the number of women represented on top boards.

              Mandates and grass roots efforts are less effective than inspiring change by having a clear vision, starting at the top, using the right approach and building a coalition of other supportive leaders.

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                Who Has The Right?

                Who Has The Right?
                Posted by   | February 25th, 2015 | No Comments

                Last week we talked about HOW to make decisions. Today we are addressing WHO makes decisions. Lack of clarity around this seemingly simple concept derails teams and destroys organizations.

                Organizational effectiveness, bottom line results and competitive position in the marketplace are linked to each employee’s ability to make high-quality decisions consistent with the organizational mission and objectives.

                Leaders must be clear about the span of their decision making. While there is often a desire to push down decision making into an organization, they must be specific and intentional. This occurs when people know when to provide input, who should follow through and what is beyond their scope.

                Tips for decision making rights assignment

                Define Boundaries and Roles Up Front. It’s unfair to hold people accountable for something that hasn’t been clearly defined or communicated. We worked with an Executive Team who struggled with a leader who didn’t define decisions rights. She made them believe they were responsible for making a decision and then overrode their decision with her own decision. This created chaos and after a few months no one was willing to make decisions because they knew the leader could change her mind and invalidate their decision.
                Be Clear about the rights of each role. For example, there are people who provide input, people who need to agree with the decision, someone who makes the decision (this must always be a single person, decision by committee is a myth) and people who implement the decision. Meetings and discussions quickly get derailed when the roles of the participants are not clear. You will increase everyone’s participation and satisfaction when they know their role.
                Eliminate Fault and Blame. By eliminating the witch hunt to fault or blame someone, team members will work together to solve issues more quickly and efficiently. This does not abolish responsibility for consequences. The goal is to quickly focus on the information that is presented and take action based on the new information. Take out the faultfinding and the blame game to prevent decisions from being trapped in analysis paralysis.

                Whether you are leading an organization, a team or a family it’s critical to set clear roles and accountabilities and give everyone involved a sense of ownership of the decision. Clear decision rights ensure that critical decisions are made promptly and result in effective actions.

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                  How Do You Make Decisions?

                  How Do You Make Decisions?
                  Posted by   | February 18th, 2015 | No Comments

                  Good decision making is a critical skill. While many people use the pro versus con method of deciding we’ve found that the Kepner Tregoe rational model for decision making is superior. It includes risk analysis which is an overlooked component that is missing in the pro/con analysis.

                  The rational model includes clearly describing the decision and then developing decision criteria called objectives. Categorize the objectives as either required (must) or optional (want.) Develop a list of alternatives and then evaluate the alternatives against the objectives. The missing step is to analyze the potential risks of your final choice.

                  Tips to enhance your decision making process:

                  • Get to the point – Focus on the most important piece of the decision. Don’t overload the decision with superfluous details and extraneous facts.

                  • Discipline – Good decisions come from disciplined thinking. Use a process and allow adequate time to make a good decision. There are times that an immediate response is required. However, if you need time for contemplation, don’t shortchange yourself.

                  • Record – Track your decisions and the outcomes. This will give you statistical data about your decision making process. Use the data to refine and improve your decision making.

                  If you are random in your application of a decision process you will get random outcomes. We encourage you to develop an intentional approach to decision making that you consistently apply. The more consistent you are the better your decision skills become.

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                    Honor the Past

                    Honor the Past
                    Posted by   | February 10th, 2015 | No Comments

                    A mistake that many newly hired or promoted leaders make is to overlook, disrespect or not take the time to understand the past.

                    When a leader honors and respects the people or changes that have been part of the past they can accelerate their own change agenda for the future. Exciting new ideas risk alienating people who have been with an organization when the new leader doesn’t take time to “listen before leading change.”

                    Tips for honoring the past while in the midst of change:

                    1. Acknowledge Strength – Remind people of past successes. (If you can’t identify any then you need to investigate before you assume that everything is broken.) Talk about the value of what was learned and acknowledge the strengths that are being built upon rather than dismissing and replacing with the new.
                    2. Be Clear about the Beginning and the End – change is the journey in the middle

                    When making a case for change there is a risk of two extremes. The first extreme is that a leader can create a threat response by talking about the current state as an impending disaster which dismisses the value of past accomplishments.

                    In the other extreme, a leader can focus solely on the vision for the future. They risk losing credibility with their followers when they don’t acknowledge the challenges of getting from where they are to the rosy future.

                    To make a change you need to be clear on where you are and why it’s not working. However, you must also be clear about where you are going so that everyone understands the path or the journey of change.

                    Connecting the old and the new creates continuity and supports productivity throughout a change. Disconnecting past, present and future creates dissonance and resistance.

                    As you lead through change, you must begin by meeting people where they are at. Acknowledge the strengths of the people and the organization, be clear about the beginning and end of the journey and you will honor the past which gives freedom for the future.

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