How can you create your destiny? How do you live an inspired life? How do you do the things that only you can do to help change the world? For many founding entrepreneurs selling their businesses or bringing in new leadership struggle to reconnect with the strengths, gifts, and life experiences that made them successful in the first half of their lives.
For serving leaders, the gap may be even larger since many founded their organizations to serve a need they saw in the world. It’s interesting to me because many of the entrepreneurs I work with spend more time planning their next big vacation adventure than they do planning the rest of their lives. Continue reading
How do you create the future you want? As your business grows and transforms, you find new challenges to deal with. Many leaders struggle with their futures. For the serving leader, it is critical to get beyond the day to day activities and begin to develop your plans for the future. Many business owners have a difficult time determining what’s next for them beyond their business. Over 80% of entrepreneurs claim they built their businesses to be sold. Then why do so many struggle to disconnect from their business? Having interviewed many founders of high growth businesses, I have discovered how difficult it is for these leaders to create a great second act for their lives beyond their businesses.
I thought it might be helpful to share a process I use when working with these business leaders. I use a four step process that helps them reconnect with the things they enjoyed when they started their businesses while applying the knowledge they gained through growing it. Continue reading
How would you like a process that can help your people deal with changes faster and easier than you ever thought possible? What if the process not only opened you and your team to endless possibilities but also ensured faster buy-in from all the various stakeholders you impact. I’ve been guiding serving leaders through change for over 20 years, from small startup businesses to family businesses over 100 years old continuing to change to keep up with the many challenges businesses face as they grow and prosper. In one client engagement, I was dealing with a large medical practice. I was assigned a psychiatrist to work with to determine how medical professionals deal with change in high stress specialties. I asked several of my better clients to be involved in the pilot program. This allowed me to explore the topic further and it gave me access to a great team of people who deal with high stress on a regular basis.
I can’t imagine a much more stressful job than running a small or mid-market privately-held business today. I share the best process I found and help you apply it to your life starting today. I use this four step process when dealing with my clients to help them see the possibilities in their life and organizations. The process is called Appreciative Inquiry Method and was originally developed by David Cooperrider, PhD. He has continued developing and evolving the process over the years. Continue reading
After the events in Boston last week and several calls from friends in the Boston area, I’m reminded again of how fragile our lives are. When you spend time around first responders, you learn how quickly things can change our lives. Over the years, I’ve had many friends in the military and in first responder units and still spend time working out with many of these fine men and women. After the events of last week, one reminded me of what he learned in the Navy SEALs, “the only easy day was yesterday.” It seemed to me that might be an interesting topic to share for this week’s blog. How can you apply what our finest in the military and first responders already know to your life and your business? But first, let me thank all of the people who help keep us safe. Thank you for all you do and all you’ve taught me over my lifetime about being serving leaders.
Here are four strategies I’ve learned from first responders that you can use in your life and business today. The first strategy the military and first responders embrace is they are constantly training. These men and women work day in and day out to improve their performances. They constantly train at high levels and are always getting immediate feedback on their performances. They practice constantly so that in an emergency they can instantly react. In many corporations, training is not a way of life. When I taught at Fort McNair, I shared that too many small and midmarket businesses spend little time on training their people. Because of this, they allow the business environment to control their destinies. They see training as a waste of time and their results show it. If you want great predictable results, consider adding regular training to your team’s schedule. When I add training to my clients’ businesses we achieve record sales months in less than 60 days, month in and month out. Continue reading
Two weeks ago I asked you three big questions to get you restarted on seeking the life you want. I asked you to think about what it is you really want in life and, as importantly, what you don’t want. How will you know when you’re successful? I promised this week to help you begin the changes required to live the life of your dreams. To do this you have to answer several more questions, to keep moving forward.
Before we begin this journey together, I have to ask, “Are you committed to making the changes you need to succeed?” Let’s face it, it’s very difficult to change. By nature, many of us feel that we are right and, to be honest, we see change as a painful event. At worst, it is an experience that should be avoided, if possible, and, at best, something that happens once a year, needed or not. So, before we take another step, are you ready to change? If you’re not, that’s okay, but understand the cost if you don’t change. You can hide behind all the crazy ideas in the world. You have everything you need, all you have to do is wait and the world will come to your door. I have another question for you. How’s that working for you? If life was working out the way you wanted, you wouldn’t be reading this blog today, would you? You would be out taking positive action towards the change you want to be in the world. Continue reading
On Monday, April 8, 2013, we lost a truly remarkable lady and leader. Before there was Condi or Hillary, there was a woman who could stand up to men and lead their country to greatness. To paraphrase Churchill, I would say Prime Minister Thatcher was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. When Prime Minister Thatcher spoke, the world listened. After the she left the world stage we heard very little from her again. She was a paradoxical leader at a time when world freedom was at stake. She was a conservative feminist. She chose to lead in difficult times. What can we learn from this unique woman who helped create the world we live in today? Continue reading
How do you decide what you want in life? I find many of my clients are facing changes they couldn’t imagine in their careers. It doesn’t matter how old they are or what they are involved in, many are going through major life transitions. Some are as young as 30 and some are older, in their mid 60’s, but this extended, uncertain economy has given them a chance to reexamine what they do with their lives. I thought it might be helpful to share several questions I use to help these people reconnect with their passion and purpose in new ways. I use these three questions as an assessment with people to see what’s going on in their lives when they seem listless or just don’t seem like themselves. I use many different assessments in my role as strategic advisor. Most people enjoy them and I find they increase learning velocity versus more traditional methods used in the coaching and counseling profession. Continue reading
Why do so few entrepreneurs reach financial independence? I believe it’s because many entrepreneurs are willing to settle for less. They build an organization that will not grow without their involvement. Previously, we talked about the first three reasons why entrepreneurs start their businesses. To build an organization that people want to buy, you must be willing to work outside of your organization. Today’s blog talks about my favorite kind of entrepreneur, the serving leader. Let’s talk about what happens when you do everything right and achieve your goals that take your business from good to great. By thinking about how you’re going to leave the business early and often, you begin to create the future of your dreams. The difference in your results is staggering. The quality of your life changes in ways you can’t even imagine today. So, let me share with you how we can work together to change the world.
The fourth reason entrepreneurs start their businesses is to change the world. I find most of my better known clients have an incredible drive to change the world. They are passionate about what they do and they never tire of working with people and their key ideas. These people are visionaries and serving leaders. During the early stages of their business, they are able to woo people to their ideas and their business. They reach out to many different stakeholders in their communities.You can feel the energy coming off them when you sit down to talk with them or if they are in a room full of people. Continue reading
In the course of daily business activities, I spend time at various meetings, conferences, and other organized functions where I meet a lot of entrepreneurs. Inevitably, the conversation turns to, “So, what do you do?” I explain that I help entrepreneurs plan and get their businesses ready for sale. I’m amazed how often I get the response, “Oh, I’d never sell my business. My business is my life!” Really? Are you one of those entrepreneurs that started a business because you don’t have a life and this was how to get one? I didn’t think so, either. Entrepreneurs start their businesses for a wide variety of reasons, but here are the four most common ones and how planning to sell your business can help you accomplish them. Continue reading
I have several ideas and questions I’ve used to help my clients find the right professional for their sales teams. There are several intangibles that most successful sales professionals possess and you can uncover them by interviewing candidates several times and by asking specific questions during the interview process.
When I’m hiring sales professionals, I make sure that they’re interviewed at least three separate times by the sales manager. Each interview serves three purposes. First, I want this person to be honest with me during the process. Second, I want to know what I’m getting when I hire this person. And finally, I want them to know what I expect from them before they make the decision to come work for me. During these separate interviews, I may also use an assessment tool to better understand who they are and what they do best. There are many great assessment tools available but we can talk about them in a future blog.
There are several kinds of questions I love to ask during my interviewing process to help me understand with whom I’m interviewing. They are very simple to incorporate into your interviews and they give you a clear understanding of the type of person to whom you’re talking.
The first question is what type of sacrifices have you made to be successful? This is a great question, so wait for an answer. There is no right or wrong answer but listen to what they say. Selling today is a tough job. It requires emotional resilience and sacrifice if you hope to excel. So what have they given up in the past to be successful? Are they still capable of this today?
The second type of question revolves around goals. I like to ask, what is the toughest goal you’ve ever set for yourself? Stop, listen, and then begin asking follow up questions. My favorite follow up question is why did you set such a tough goal? This gives you a clear indication of who you are dealing with. I find that winning sales professionals set tough goals. You want people who set tough goals but also why they set them. Look for a complete response. And be sure to ask if they achieved the results they wanted. Don’t let them give you a preplanned answer. It may take time to understand their goal setting process. Some younger sales professionals may not set goals for themselves. Remember, reaching the goal is only so important. What you become to achieve it is critical to future success. Keep in mind that people frequently grow more through setbacks than success.
The third question is about how they respond to a competitive environment. Ask them to tell you the details about a tough deal they worked on. Listen closely for the specifics and how they responded. How would you expect them to deal with a similar situation? During this question look for a competitive drive in this person and how far they will go to win a deal. Do you feel they went too far or not far enough? Ask them why they did this. What drives them toward success? Look for clues on what success looks like for them. How do they see a competitive market and their role in it?
The final question I ask is simple. What are you driven to prove? This question gives you incredible insight into what you should expect from them if they are on your team. Most great leaders and sales professionals are driven to succeed by many different reasons. Reasons are what drive people to succeed in life. Don’t judge the reasons; just make sure that you understand them. Many sales hiring failures come from the breakdown between the employee’s reasons and the organization’s results.
If you ask these questions and help the person you are interviewing to answer them, you will be 90% home in finding the right sales professional. Try these questions out and you’ll be amazed at how much better you become at hiring sales professionals.