From a leader we expect maturity. Why? Because most of all we need to trust him or her. Maturity instills that trust. Trust inspires us to follow and accept guidance when we sometimes do not have the full and detailed perspective that a leader of necessity must have.
(3) Remains Loyal
A mature leader never feels the need to feed the ego or "kingship". For instance, he or she intuitively remains unscathed when criticised (i.e. when under personal attack), but deals promptly and with empathy by coming to the aid of others (i.e. when others are suffering).
19 years and 6 months ago I witnessed a truly mature leader. During one particular visit he was put straight, almost made fun of, but responded only with another person's interest in mind. The incident may have gone unnoticed by others, but to me his example reassured me the cause and the people were more important than his immediate "image". I then knew I could trust him and I did. It was deeply inspiring, and made me want to follow and become more like him. True leaders create followers.
The luck factor of success is what makes "The Excellent Living Matrix" a useful tool. Can we succeed in spite of circumstance? Yes, you can be successful, depending, of course, on how you measure it. Does it matter how you measure success? It does.
|| Is there a guarantee for success? Of course... the answer is NO! Everybody knows it.
Predict Your Own Success
As a student I was completely fascinated by regression and statistics. I especially enjoyed the part where a prognosis can predict future outcomes, depending on a few significant variables. What's that? Well, put it this way. If you want to lower risk in traffic and stay alive a) low speed and b) your seat belt has a fair impact on the likelihood of your survival. It's math.
The same goes for business outcomes in sales, negotiations, online marketing - any kind of result and causal relationship. A lot of stuff you can simply predict by putting in place certain combinations of behavior and activities. For instance, if you consistently speak with people in your network about referrals you'll increase the likelihood of making an offer by appx 6 times. If you make offers only to clients after checking for price, resources, time and decision criteria you'll more than double the rate of closed contracts. And so it continues. It's statistically predictable.
Measure by Excellence - the Antecedent to Success
Now here's the thing. Regardless what the numbers say, there's always that "stochastic error", or what we call the "noise component". There's always a risk that your prognosis will fail, and in fact, fail completely. I call this "the luck factor of success". The law of the harvest says you will reap the deserved fruits of your labor. But what if there's an unexpected storm, an earthquake or a drought? It happens, you know. Nothing's certain.
Throughout the years I've met many many people who did in fact deserve to see success, but didn't. Some are happy. Some are not. Some stay in the race. Others don't. What is it that makes the difference?
The question therefore is simply this: If there's no guarantee for success, what can we demand from ourselves? And if there's something we can be sure of, how can we measure ourselves by it? The answer lies in "The Excellent Living Matrix". We measure ourselves by what precedes success, which is Excellence. Stay tuned for the next part.
Being content is not the same as being thankful. In fact, in more than one way it's quite the opposite.
|| People who are content have lost their screaming WHY. They forget about purpose and gradually turn on their auto-pilot. How? Content people grow preoccupied with WHAT they have. The more content they are the more they lose sight of the responsibility that having demands.
Contentment Leads to Either Greed or Apathy
There's no constancy in contentment. Content gradually leads to either apathy or greed - it always does. Greed grows from wanting more; apathy from deep self indulgence. In my experience, working with content people only leaves you with two options:
- Try to wake'm up
- Remove them or remove yourself
To provide you with the tools to take action with a content individual or team, I will be posting a bunch of articles on the "Excellent Living Matrix" from 3E in the coming months. Stay tuned!
What's so hard about commitment and action? When a person won't commit, why is that? And when someone has promised to do something, why does it take follow up to get it done? Could it be that these questions somehow summarize the bulk of the problems you're faced with right now?
|| Wouldn't it be nice if we could trigger people just like when shooting a film? "And, action..."
- What YOU do speaks louder than words. YOUR actions communicate YOUR deepest convictions.
- What OTHERS do also speaks louder than words. THEIR actions communicate THEIR deepest convictions.
We Do What We Believe
Sometimes we make life a lot more difficult than it needs to be. Just exactly what is it that makes life challenging? A lot of things, but in general, the people around us. It's what other people do or don't do that frustrates us the most.
Think about it. Except for strictly personal challenges, for every little problem you face, there's one or more people involved. If you took the time to list every problem you feel you have right now, you'll find that every issue comes down to your ability to help others make and keep commitments. Oh sure, some problems may be downright conflicts, but in the end - that too is a matter of them not "behaving" the way you'd like them to.
Ultimately, we cannot move ourselves or others beyond our deepest convictions. So, here's how we get commitment and action:
|People commit when they understand (i.e. believe) the WHY and WHAT.|
|People will execute when they also understand (i.e. believe) the WHO and HOW|
So what does all of this mean? Specifically..? The only person we can change is ourselves. Therefore, the only frustration should be focused on me.
Help Them Commit
If someone does not respond positively to our invitation, we need to change. How? When we change in such a way that we clearly communicate the WHY and WHAT, people around us will begin to commit. (If they don't, we've failed and must try and try again.)
Help Them Execute
If someone says they will do something, but fails doing it, we need to change. How? When we change in such a way that we clearly communicate the WHO and HOW, people around us will begin to execute. (If they don't, we've failed and must try and try again.)
Ultimately, the only way to communicate WHY, WHAT, WHO and HOW is to help the other person discover the answers for themselves. And how does one do this? By asking questions; 3E questions.
It appears that no one can offer a flexible list of international gurus on sales and influence. So we decided to collaborate online and make one together.
|| Together with people across the globe we just launched the first step in an exciting project - building a shared online list of recommended sales literature. This list of literature may have several purposes, for instance:
Once the literature list has become a substantial source of useful information we will use it to set up online events with these gurus. It will allow us to meet and interact with them based on supply and demand.
If you'd like to join this project or merely tag along, please feel free to do so. For updates on the project apply for membership in the LinkedIn group for Elite Sales Professionals together with thousands of others.
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Do you know why you were misunderstood? Was it because of what you said? Or could it be that the misunderstanding(s) occured due to feelings rather than words?
|| Are words more than just sound moderated by our lips? If anything, what should we say, and how could we say it?
There is nothing so hurtful as being totally ignored or misunderstood, is there? And equally devastating, being critized or scolded for something we said or did with the best of intentions. Let me share a quick story to make just that point:
| Thirty-five years ago I was a small boy running around in our garden. Then my friend next door and I made an interesting discovery. My dad had put in some new windows in the basement. We quickly found that if we threw a big enough rock at the windows it made a great sound and took on an interesting new shape. Little did I know that we did something wrong. I just thought it was a lot of fun.
Lesson # 1: Our Internal Conversation Is What Changes Us
What a tragedy it was to me when I discovered what I had done. I had caused my dad pain, and I deeply wanted to make up for it. Now tell me, what would have happened had my dad responded with anger and a lack of respect for his four year old son? Would it have had the same impact on me? Not a chance. Why not? I believe our conscience and feelings are far more effective than words or even physical punishment.
Lesson # 2: Feelings Enhance Memory
I'm pretty sure this lesson would have been quickly forgotten had it not been for the sincere approach of my own father. But because he made me feel the consequences of my actions this experience is still with me today. His words had real meaning to me. Not only do these feelings serve as a reminder of what happened, but today (and forever) also as a constant guide to how I should pay the same kind of respect to my own children.
Lesson # 3: Mutual Respect Changes "Short Term Bad" to "Long Term Good"
What a powerful and long lasting example he set for me that particular day. Even more importantly, he turned a hopeless situation into a memorable teaching moment.
Lesson # 4: Communication Is Felt More Than Heard
Feelings outweigh words in every shape and form. If we do not feel favorable to another person, nothing that person says will ever have an effect on us. When it comes to communication, feelings are on a lower, more significant, level than words. Now ask yourself; could it be that there exists a level of communication that's even more important than feelings?
Asking questions, especially the right question, cannot be overestimated in sales. Pinpointed and effective questions drive the conversation and helps all involved to reflect on the right issues. Reflecting on and narrowing the discussion down to what really matters is the forerunner to getting a bird's eye view.
Did you ever find yourself bogged down in the thick of thin things? Are you at times unable to see the forest for the trees?
||The problem is more common than you might suspect. In my experience, everyone has blind spots. Missing the full perspective and making mistakes may not be very harmful case by case, but when leaders make mistakes it may affect a lot of good people. (BTW, we're all leaders in one way or another.)|
Blind spots will cause even the most sincere leader to make mistakes. If those mistakes are to be avoided, leaders need someone that can help them flap their wings and get a bird's eye perspective. Such a perspective can only be achieved through skillful and persistent questioning.
Decades of research has clarified a large array of types of questions that have great impact depending on how and when they are asked. Why does this matter? It matters in so many ways. Today I'd like to share one basic principle in which you can apply the importance of questions right away in your own life - on your own:
Recently I was digging dirt in our garden. The task seemed overwhelming, but I kept at it. Every so often I would take a few steps back and ask myself: "Is this turning out the way I want it to?" The sight was not encouraging at first, but step by step the entire garden became smooth just like I had it pictured in my mind.
We can do the same in every situation and scenario. "Is this turning out the way I want it to?" is a simple question that will cause us to evaluate whatever it is we do. Surprisingly enough, many people seldom take the time to stop and reflect about the progress they're making. As a result, we lose track of where we are, how we are doing and what results we are getting.
Conscious Conversation with Yourself
How can we get a bird's eye perspective? Take the time to evaluate by asking that simple question. Ask yourself before retiring to bed at night: "Is this turning out the way I want it to?". In one way or another, you'll find issues that need fixing. The question and issues will remain with you throughout your sleep and the morning will present insight provided by your subconscious mind. It never fails.
Another wonderful way to reflect is by talking to yourself while driving the car. Turn off the music and rather have a conversation with yourself about a problem you're faced with. If you're embarrassed to answer your own questions, then ask questions only without answering them out loud. Your mind will begin to search for solutions. Regardless of how you do it, the most important element is to actively seek time to be alone and think. Sometimes it helps to read an inspiring book before you ponder your current situation. A thought provoking article or poem may trigger feelings that can put you in the mode of reflecting on life and the bigger picture.
A person that does not take the time on a regular basis to ask and ponder some tough questions in private has a poor life indeed. Take the time to reflect on your challenges, what you'd like to accomplish together with others or where you'd like to be in a year or two from now. It will make your current problems seem less discouraging when you take a step back and seek a bird's eye perspective.
What is it you want, may be an enticing question. However, one way or the other, it is not the right place to start. Our intentions need a deeper source than merely aiming and gaining. "Intent" makes all the difference. Why? Because our agenda affects our entire style and demeanor. Ultimately intent decides who we will become.
|| Most people are predominantly occupied with self interest. Thus, asking, "what is it you want", has an immediate appeal and most often easily triggers a response. But beware, the answer says a lot about who you are and what it is that dominates your agenda.
Even though there's only one word that makes up the difference, that one word turns everything up-side-down: "Having" focuses on the external and short term gratification. It is driven by selfish purposes. "Becoming" focuses on the internal and long term. It usually drives a greater purpose.
People with a mind set centered on "putting things into the box" (i.e. collecting) gain little from training. Their attention is focused on what it gives them in return for the time they spend sacrificing self interest. Attitude is poor. Results are even worse. How come? They are mainly exploring self interest by asking WHAT; "what's in it for me..?" and "what will I gain from this..?" seeing obstacles everywhere and becoming more and more blind to opportunity.
People focused on "taking things out of the box" (i.e. sharing) gain more from training. Their efforts center around giving and less on immediate return. In the process their attitude is positive. Results take time, but they gradually undergo change. How come? They are mainly challenging deeper altruistic and societal purpose by asking WHY; "why are we involved in this..?" and "why shouldn't we..?" seeing less obstacles and constantly seeking new opportunities.
Ever since I first grasped the concept of "the numbers game" I've been fascinated with statistics and predictable outcomes. Can we apply empirical data to improve ourselves, the teams we're part of and the company or organization we work for? Yes we can.
I still vividly remember a particular math class in primary school. We were assigned the task of observing traffic from a bridge, with cars driving underneath it. From where we were standing we could easily witness whether or not each driver had fastened their seat belt. We also kept track of some other data which quickly revealed some patterns.
The strange thing was, the numbers always came out pretty much the same. I learnt quite a few things that day. Among others, given the right conditions, sufficiently large groups of people (i.e. "populations") are predictable. Just like the weather forecast is able to foresee weather variations, so can also pure observation teach us about people. Even though we're all different, in large numbers, we can act on assumptions that will support us in any collaboration to produce successful results.
Why is this so exciting to me? Let me tell you... in so many ways! Let me highlight two perspectives in which "large numbers" can be applied on a practical level.
Macro Trends (Many People)
Every time I head up a new project that involves a lot of people, I know the best way to succeed is to first know something about pains and gains. If a certain percentage of people have the same pain, I know there's an equivalent need on the reverse side. The people with the need should be listened to. That listening is the essence of what I do all the time. It's the best guarantee for success. I have yet to see a project that fails beginning with and based on listening to the people with a screaming need. (And if you can't find an immediate need, you simply continue by listening more ;-)
Micro Trends (One Person)
Patterns can be found in groups of people, but patterns can also be found in individuals if you observe them over time. In this way, "the large numbers" can reveal and predict habits or trends which can be used to map out behavior. I use this on myself as well as on others in coaching. It's a powerful tool. (If you want help observing yourself, let me know, and I'll help you get started - all depending on what you'd like to accomplish.)
It will surprise you how much --observation with regular intervals-- can do for you to help eliminate and replace dysfunctional behavior. This year I'll be working closely with Knut Vareide on one (or more) research projects. Knut is well known in Norway for measuring societal trends and I thoroughly enjoy both his expertise and friendship. Knut Vareide just recently set up a blog on regional development, which I believe will be interesting to follow.
Is there someone that's really important to you? Do you really need to influence someone? If you really have a desparate need to, I mean, if you really need to influence another person, then I've spent the past nine years exploring HOW this is best done. Here's a quick example.
We have five children. All five are highly active individuals. When all five are in one place, they always have at least two conversations going on at the same time, sometimes more. The chatter is endless. Simply inspiring to watch and behold as a parent ;-)
Now, let's say we're driving in the car. When I bring all our five children with me I easily end up being nothing but the driver of the car. Unless I somehow get involved in the conversation, the situation by default will turn me into a chafeur, "disappearing in the crowd".
|| So if I want to become more influential, what would be a smart move? Three things:
Well, instead of bringing all the kids in the car at the same time, I can (1) strengthen the position by just inviting one of them to come along. Of course, this may not always be possible. Sometimes the whole family needs to go somewhere. But let's say I want to influence one of my daughters. When only the two of us are in the car I automatically make the switch from being the driver to becoming "daddy". The improved position now allows me to (2) build our relationship. How do we best build a relationship? For example, I can (3) improve my behavior in relation to my daughter by listening more attentatively.
What's the difference? I've applied The 3 Energies Behind Sales Success that automatically changed the scenario to one-on-one. I've found that "the one-on-one scenario" often results when we strengthen position, build relationships and improve behavior. Going one-on-one turns me into a dad, a spouse, a friend, a colleague, a leader. In fact, no matter what, going one-on-one always leverages the greatest influence!