The training your company needs and who should actually provide it

After doing training and development for ten plus years, my experience tells me that most companies are not doing enough training in the areas where people need the training.  In many cases, they are spending more time on training people in the areas that don’t necessarily give that person or the organization its best return on investment.

I have created a list of the different kinds of training and development a company must provide and who should be providing it, in my opinion.  And at the end of this article I suggest the amount of time that a company should be training in each of the training areas I have described.

In this article, I use the terms inside trainers and outside or external trainers.  Whenever I use the terms outside or external trainers, I mean the same thing.  It means either bring a training company in from the outside of your organization or send your employees to a conference, or some kind of training being provided by an outside or external company.

Soft Skills (foundational skills):  These are commonly called the soft skills.  Communication, interpersonal relationships, managing stress, small talk, listening skills, etc.

These skills are the most important skills of all in my opinion.  I don’t care who you are and what you do.  The chances are, sometime between five years old and who you are today, you have lost knowledge of how to be nice to others.  It isn’t totally your fault, in the hyper crazy world you are just busy.  You have been conditioned to respond to someone before they are finished talking.  You have learned to cut people off in mid sentence. You have lost the ability to disagree agreeably, if you actually ever learned it in the first place.

The foundational/soft skills are the basics of human interaction.  And for whatever reason, today, because of technology, we just don’t communicate face to face enough that when we are asked to do so, we just aren’t very good at it.

Who should provide this training? In my opinion most training departments within a company aren’t equipped to handle this kind of training.  Hiring an outside company is the best way to deliver this training.  The reason I say this, is because the outside company is working with lots of other companies, their material is very specific to this area, but it is very applicable to all organizations.  Because the challenges that come up, in the area of soft skills, are universal to all people.  Someone within company can get certified in a specific training program that delivers these kinds of skills.  But even then, unless they have many years of delivering this kind of training, I would suggest a company still hire an outside company to deliver the training to get the most out of the dollars spent on it.

Skills Training: Includes proficiencies needed to actually perform the job.  This kind of training is very specific to an individual job description or category.  It could be sales, customer service, engineer, project management, leadership, etc.  Skills training is the kind of training that helps someone get better at their job.

Skills training is ongoing and never ends.  Unfortunately, we as humans can learn anything we want, but what we learn and what we actually retain are terribly opposite at times.  To ensure a person gets and keeps the information that they need to be successful on the job.  Repetition is critical.  How often do they need it?  Everyday is what I say. To really learn, retain, and actually apply the skills.  A person must constantly be practicing and learning. Period.

Who should be delivering this kind of training? Obviously some of this training is going to be very specific for certain jobs in the company. I would suggest maybe a person who is doing the job, but also has the ability and the time to train others.  Not everyone can train someone else to do what they do.  The chances are the manager isn’t proficient enough or fresh enough to teach these specific skills either.  By the way, that is okay.

Sometimes this training may land within a human resources department as well. Again, I caution this because unless the person has actually done the job, they may not have the credibility or the depth of knowledge necessary to train the skills required effectively.

Again, depending on the job, hiring an outside company might be best.  Especially once everyone on the team has gone through initial skills training that is provided.  Having an outside person come in that has a different voice, a different perspective, and delivery methods that reinforces what the company has already trained the employee on.  This only enhances the employees skills and helps them buy-in to the philosophies even more.

Leadership Training: I had to create a separate category for leadership training. You could easily put it under skills training or soft skills/foundational skills training.  However, because I believe, and it has been validated over and over.  Leaders drive the effectiveness, the engagement of employees, and the overall success of an organization.  This kind of training should not be taken lightly and should be a significant investment made by all companies and organizations.  Equipping leaders with the skills to problem solve, lead people, have empathy, coaching, delegation, project management, celebration, etc. should be one of the primary focuses of all companies and organizations. All companies rise or fall on the ability of the leaders within that organization.

Who should provide this training? From my experience working inside a company, I have always found that a good external training company is always best when it comes to delivering leadership training.  The reason I say this, is because the chances are you have already heard and learned the leadership practices within your organization.  To get new ideas and ways to approach things, the best way is to bring an outside company in who will have a different perspective and different insights.  This will allow your leadership team to grow and add more tools and skills in the area of leadership to their toolkit. Or you can send leaders to a training program.

Professional training and legal training: This is the kind of training that is very specific to a job classification or specific job task.  For example, it could be accounting.  They must keep up with all of the current tax laws. Lawyers need specific training as laws change.  Human Resources must be kept up to speed on the current employment laws. Leadership must be kept up on the current hiring and firing laws if they are the ones interviewing candidates.

Who should provide this training?  Well, some of this training can be purchased from outside companies that focus on this.  Training such as sexual harassment, discrimination laws, certain health and safety mandatory practices, safe driving, etc.  Since most of this kind of training is driven by laws, codes, mandates, requirements, etc. It is pretty straight forward.  The key is delivering it in a way that isn’t mind numbing to the people who have to attend.

A company may have someone in human resources deliver it.  Or there are many companies out there such as skillsoft and other learning management systems that provide    online courses to deliver this training.  Again, this is more of a check the box kind of training, however, it is important.  So delivering it in a way that makes it memorable is very important.

Team Training: Everybody is part of a team.  If you have more than one employee in your company, than you are working as a team.  The challenges with the teams is that it is comprised of people who have different agendas and sometimes even different priorities. The goal with team training is to get the team working together as a team.  It could be breaking down barriers, improving productivity within the team, or just getting the team to know each other better.

Team training is very important.  The more a team knows each individual and who they are, they are more willing to give people respect and encouragement when things aren’t going well.

Who should provide this training? It depends on how bad the team dynamics are.  If it is very bad, then my suggestion would be to have an outside firm come in and do the training.  The reason for this, is when someone internally does it, the team looks at it as being pushed on them, and unfortunately, no matter how objective the trainer is, the people involved will think that the trainer has a bias in how they interact with the group and the individuals.

If it is just normal team building stuff and the team just needs a boost or the manager just wants to continue to build upon the team engagement.  Then a manager could do it, or someone from human resources.  Again, it must be someone who is skilled in facilitating and getting a group involved. My suggestion is to always go outside of the four walls of the company as well.  There is something about getting outside the four walls that creates a better training environment for the team, especially in these kinds of trainings.

Safety training Is a type of training that occurs to ensure employees are protected from injuries caused by work-related accidents. Safety training is especially important for organizations that use chemicals or other types of hazardous materials in their production. Safety training can also include evacuation plans, fire drills, and workplace violence procedures. Safety training can also include the following:

  • Eye safety
  • First aid
  • Food service safety
  • Hearing protection
  • Asbestos
  • Construction safety
  • Hazmat safety

Who should provide this training: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is the main federal agency charged with enforcement of safety and health regulation in the United States. OSHA provides external training to companies on OSHA standards.  Also, someone in-house could deliver this training as well.  A safety director or someone from human resources. Again the key is to make it fun, and this requires a skilled facilitator to do so.

Technical or Technology training: All jobs have some kind of technical training involved.  It could be something like teaching a server how to input food into the system, to showing a sales person how to use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) to prospect for clients.  Most companies (I hesitate to say all) have some kind of computer system that helps them manage they work and their business.  It could be something very universal such as Microsoft products, to something very specific and tailored to their industry.  Whatever the technical training is, a company must invest in it to make sure people know how to manage the business.

Who should provide this training? Most companies are using something very specific that is being provided by another company.  For example: Salesforce which is a CRM for sales people, or WordPress which is a website developer.  Whatever the software is, the chances are the company providing it will have a team that delivers training.  I always suggest using that team as much as possible to deliver the training for your employees.

Now some companies may have little nuances that the company that they are buying from may not be familiar with.  In that case, you may have someone within the department deliver the training or human resources. But for the most part, the company that is providing the software or the system should have some training that you either get when you buy the product as well as ongoing training.

Quality Training:  Refers to equipping the employees with the means and expertise of preventing, detecting, and eliminating non-quality items, usually in an organization that produces a product.  Many companies use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help develop what the quality standards are. But equipping the employees within the company to administer these standards is what is most important.

Who should provide this training: Just like technical or technology training this kind of training can be administered from an outside company like ISO.  But most companies usually have someone within their company that oversees quality.  In this case, this person must become skilled at training and delivering quality training to the people who need to know it.  Again, the people who are receiving this training must understand the quality standards and be able to actually point it out when the standards are not being met.  So teaching the people who are managing quality is a job that requires someone who is very technical, but also very creative in their training and delivery methods.

In addition, I want to point out that some companies hire someone from within to oversee the quality.  If that person has never been exposed to any outside training or outside quality metrics, then a goal of their development should be to expose them to outside best practices.  I have seen too many times where a person has been promoted up to oversee quality, and unfortunately with their very limited experience, fail to develop a world-class quality system.

My hope after reading this is that you have a better understanding of the different kinds of training that is important to deliver within your company.  As I stated before, many companies are simply not doing enough training in the areas where the employees need to be trained.  Or they are not getting the right kind of training that really helps an employee develop new skills or enhance their current skills to provide a better return to the company.

A company should be spending no less than 50% of an employees training time in enhancing that employees skills in the job they are required to do.  Another 20% of the allotted training time should be in soft skills development.  And the remaining 30% should include technical training as needed.  Professional training as needed. Safety and Quality as needed.

All of these percentages are based upon what a person job is.  It will vary significantly, depending on your role within the organization.  The key point though is ensuring that the employee is getting the training that will allow them to deliver better results in their position. When a person has the skills to deliver better results in their position, because of the training they are getting, this is how companies grow and so does the employee.

Again, I have learned through my experiences that everyone thinks they can train.  Just because you know something, it doesn’t mean you can train someone on it.  Highly skilled trainers and facilitators know how to engage an audience.  They know the right practices and methods to get participation and make the learning and training experience enjoyable.

When is the last time you had an external company come in and provide training for your organization?  If it has been a while, I would suggest trying it out and seeing what kind of result you get.

I hope you found this information to be useful.  If you did please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

Posted in leadership, lessons learned, training | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The 6 most important fundamentals great leaders demonstrate

Many people talk about the characteristics that leaders must have to be considered great leaders.  Words such as vision, character, empathy, charisma, outgoing, sympathetic, fair, ability to communicate, persuasive, etc. are just some the words most people use. I agree that all of these are important.  But there are things that leaders must do that are even more important.

Most of the lists people have created describe what leaders must be.  Meaning they must possess these characteristics and skills to be a great leader.  What I am describing in this article is what leaders must do.  There is a big GAP in what people do and what they say they do.

This list provides leaders a great outline on how to lead in todays workforce and get people to buy in to their vision.  Vision, charisma, persuasive, and all of the other traits are important, but doing these six things are more important.

Time:  Time is the one of our most precious commodities.  No matter who you are and what you do, you don’t have any more than anyone else.  And in this hyper busy and noisy world, it seems like we all have less of it than ever before. So when a leader spends some of their time with the people they lead, it demonstrates and communicates to the person or persons, that they are important enough that the leader is willing to take some of their precious time and spend some of it with them.

I know spending time with the people seems like a simple thing to do.   However, as I work with leaders around the country, I find that most leaders are spending less time with their team. Instead they are going from meeting to meeting, running reports, and putting out fires and not actually spending enough time with the people they lead.

If you want to become a better leader and get engagement from your team, you have to make time for the people on your team.  This must be a priority.

Recognition: Being recognized is probably one of the most inherent qualities that we as humans have.  We love to stand out or be pointed out in a crowd as someone who is doing something different.  I have worked with thousands of individuals in my training sessions and I have yet to find a person that says they don’t like to be recognized.  Great leaders find ways to recognize employees in everyday interactions.

Appreciation: Being a trainer for many years now, one of my favorite sessions in my training classes is something we do called “strength centered comments”. A strength centered comment is where the people in the training recognize each other for the strengths they have observed while they have been in the training together. Most of the training I do is spending a day with a group, many days with a group, or many sessions with a group.  The group has the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the other participants in the training.  At the end of the training, they have to get in to group of three-five and write out strengths they have witnessed in the other participants in their group throughout the training.

The way it sounds is like this “Laura, one of the strengths I have observed and appreciate about you, is your willingness to ask very thought-provoking questions.  This tells me that you are really listening to the other person and really care about what they are saying.  I watched you do this throughout the training in all of the interactions you have been a part of.

Everyone loves this session in my training courses. Leaders have the opportunity to do this every single day.  They can show appreciation for their teams strengths daily, and good leaders do this consistently.

Forgiveness: You and I both have done things that we wanted forgiveness for. It is just a part of life.  If you aren’t doing things that require forgiveness from time to time, then the chances are you aren’t taking any risks, especially in the work environment. Forgiveness is something that we all want when we do something that we shouldn’t have done.  It may not have been maliciously done, but it was done nonetheless.  And we as humans want affirmation that the person impacted by whatever we did, has forgiven us and put it to the past.

In leadership, you want employees taking risks, you want employees pushing the boundaries to ensure success.  You don’t want them to do anything that is unethical, illegal, or unmoral, however, you do want them to be creative and look for new ways to solve problems that impact business.

If a person feels like a leader is resenting them or holding a grudge on a decision they made.  This creates animosity and lack of engagement on the part of the employee. A leader must communicate to this person that it wasn’t a big deal, that is was okay, and it is in the past.  Now I know this seems like an easy thing to do, and it may be a little overstated.  However, I have been the person that needed forgiveness and affirmation from a leader that what I did was in the past and it wasn’t impacting any thing going forward.  We all seek this in our personal lives, so leaders must also give this to people in the business environment.

Attention:  Spending time with someone is very important, but when you spend that time with someone giving them your full attention and being fully present is just as important. They way you show that you are fully attentive and present is by engaging with the individual to show that you are hearing what they want you to hear. Leaders today may be willing to give some time to their team, but they may not be fully attentive.  Great leaders clear off the desk and put their phones down and give their employees all of their attention and not part of it.

Credit:  I don’t care who you are and what you say, my experience tells me that all of us want credit for anything and everything that has a positive outcome.  Whether it is an opinion on a football game, a thought on a project, or we guess on the right directions on a road trip, all of us love to get credit for something.  My guess is some of the mostly used words together in the human language are “I told you”, “That is what I said”, or the passive aggressive way to say this is “Didn’t I say that?”.   All of these statements are examples of all of us wanting to get credit for are efforts and being right.

As a leader, especially a good leader, you should be listening more than talking. Which means most of the good ideas that solve problems in your organization are coming from the people on your team. Most of us have had leaders take credit for our ideas.  You know they did.  This is one of the most demoralizing and infuriating things you can do to someone on your team.  If you are a leader, you have to give public credit to people on your team for their contributions.  I would say that you have to go out of your way to ensure the people on your team know that in the board room and in other meetings, that their leader is giving the proper credit.

Here is your challenge:  Write these six words down on a piece of paper. Next to the words also write down the numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.  Now circle the number you feel like represents how well you do these six things. 10 being you do it really well. 1 meaning you don’t do it well at all. After you rank yourself in each of these areas. Write down a specific goal you would like to work on accomplishing in this area?

Is it giving more public credit? Is it recognizing people more?  Whatever it is, you have to commit to a goal and then implement ways to accomplish the goal.

To your success and your future.

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5 books on sales that everybody should read, especially sales professionals

Sometimes a new book isn’t what you need.  Instead you need to go back and reread a book you have already purchased and read.  I can never get it all the first time around.  So going back and reading it again, and again, I can get closer to really understanding the material and ultimately practicing what I learned.

This year I have read about eight new sales books.  This doesn’t count the number of sales books that I have reread this year.  I have read 58 books in total for the year thus far.

The five books I included on this list are books that I have read and reread several times. The reason for this, is I have found these books to be the most significant books to really understanding sales, people, and ultimately why people buy.

Are they the best sales books ever?  I don’t know.  It just really depends on what you are looking for.

What I do know, is this list is a great start for anyone who is in sales and for anyone who may want to do one of the things below:

  • to learn a process to sell more effectively
  • understand some of the reasons why people buy
  • learn a technique on how to overcome fear
  • how to differentiate yourself from your competition
  • learn techniques to be more persuasive.
  • understand people’s motives, understand your motives for that matter.

title: Rejection Proof; How to Beat Fear and Become Invincible
author: Jia Jiang
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jia-Jiang-Rejection-Invincible-2015-04-24/dp/B016KX651S/

What I liked most about the book: This guy was on a mission, or is on a mission, to overcome fear.  And some of the things that we are most fearful of.  Such as talking to people, doing things that could be humiliating, making yourself really, really uncomfortable. The author does it all.  And he tells you how it worked for him. You may have heard of some of his crazy ideas and stories already. I hadn’t, but I really enjoyed his strategy and his commitment.

Why you should read it: After I read this book, I immediately was more motivated to go out and do some of the things I was most fearful of.  I picked up the phone and called a CEO that had been putting me off.  I wasn’t scared of the CEO, or at least, I would have told you I wasn’t.  However, what is the worst that can happen.  There is no growth without a little fear, hesitation, and some discomfort, but that is also where the growth and success exists as well.

title: Spin Selling; Situation-Problem-Implication-Need-Payoff
author: Neil Rackham
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

What I liked most about the book: First of all, this book was first published in 1988. At the time, it claimed to be the most well researched book on sales to ever be written.  Matter of fact, the book cover says that 35,000 sales calls, used by the top Sales Forces across the world, are included in the research for the book.  That alone gives it a lot of credibility.  Plus the examples included in the book gives you a word for word account of actual sales calls that were either successful or not successful.  So you learn a lot by reading this book.

Why you should read it: All sales people should read this book no matter what.  You will learn something that you didn’t know before. To pick one thing that I thought was most interesting, was the part on objections. As a sales trainer, this is a topic that is brought up the most in my training courses.  This book was the first that I have read that actually took a different approach on why sales people get objections.  And the way they write about why we get objections and how to overcome them. This is a process that sales people, as well as people who just want to get people to do things, such as employees or children, can also use.

title: The Challenger Sale; Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
author(s): Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/B0073TG3LQ/

What I liked most about this book: Similarly to SPIN selling, this book was well researched.  I believe the sample size was something like 6,000 sales professionals were analyzed and researched.  I am not saying that I am research snob, however, the way it is researched and how the conclusions are come to, you can see how.  Many books, are just one persons opinion on how something should be done or sold.  A well researched book, is validated by more than one person.

Why you should read it: Everybody is looking for the one thing to separate themselves when selling their product or themselves. This books tells you, based on research, how the most successful sales people do this effectively. And it is most likely not the thing you are thinking.  I’ll give it away a little here.  The title of the book, is also what differentiates successful salespeople from every one else.  The sales person who is willing to challenge the thinking of the buyer, is the sales person who is most successful.  And that theory is validated in the research.

title: Hot Button Marketing; Push the Emotional Buttons that get people to buy
author: Barry Feig
Link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What I liked most about this book: This was the first book that I had read, and still have read, that actually broke down the reasons people buy, and the reasons why we as human beings make decisions.  That is why this is a book that I think everyone should read. The sixteen motives are broken down with such great examples, that you will instantly start looking at your prospects in a new light that will help you achieve better sales results.

Why you should read it: Most of us look at purchasing decisions, and if you are in sales, you look at the buyer and try to sell to them logically.  We all know that human beings are more emotional than they are logical.  This book breaks down the reasons why we do what we do, and the true emotions and reasons behind it.  This information is critical to anyone who wants to be more persuasive in getting people to take action.  Whether you are in leadership, a parent, or in sales, this book will help you become more persuasive.

title: The Five Great Rules of Selling
author: Percy Whiting
Link to amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Great-Rules-Selling-Revised-Enlarged/dp/B00005VA8T/

What I liked most about this book: Years ago, I had a trainer who was training me to become a trainer.  He asked me to read this book.  I looked at the year it was published, 1957.  And I thought why should I be reading such an old school book.  How does this information even apply today?  Here is what I learned.  Selling hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time.  I never thought about how reading these old school books, and learning the techniques they taught back then could apply today.  After reading this book, I then set a new goal of reading more and more books by dead people.  You know what I mean here.  Old books. And by doing so, I have become a better sales person and communicator.

Why you should read this book: In today’s technology driven world we all have lost are ability to communicate as well as we used to face to face.  It is no ones fault.  It is what it is.  Technology has allowed us to not have to do it as frequently.  Because of this, it is more important than ever for all of us, especially sales people, to learn techniques, language, and style when communicating face to face.  This book provides language and processes on how to get in front of more people, and then what to say when you do.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I did. If you do, please share it with others.

To your success and your future.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Sales, sales training, Books | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Man in the Mirror”

Growing up in the 1980’s there was only one music star that was above all other music artists.  And that was Michael Jackson.  The music he was making in the eighties was the best and is timeless.  You can turn on the radio today and his music fits right in, as if it were created today.

Yes I had the black and red thriller jacket and the white sparkling glove.  And I wore it everywhere.  No shame here.  My first album was the “Thriller” album.  Yes millennial’s and generation “Z”. An album.  Those large circle disk things.  It required a needle to scroll across the disk and the music would play. That is how we listened to music back then. By the way.  I am thankful for todays technology.  A much better listening experience.

A song that had, and still has a strong message that he came out with in 1987 was “Man in the Mirror”.   I am not sure if I really understood the message at the time.  I was only eight or nine years old.  I do remember watching the music video.  Even at the young age, it evoked a response in my heart and in my head.  It really drew on the emotions of anyone who watched it.

It showed racism, it showed death of some of our countries best leaders and presidents, it showed homelessness, oppression, etc.  It also showed, great leaders men and women, who were interested in making a change.  It showed Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, and numerous other people like Mother Theresa, who made it their cause to make it a change in whatever the cause was.

The music video, the lyrics to the song, and how Michael Jackson put all of his heart and soul into singing the song pulls a lot of emotion out of anyone who listens to it. What I appreciate most about the song is the message that is contained within it as well as the title.  It is a simple, but a very clear one.

The lyrics are below as well as a link to the actual music video.

Here is what I want to say though.  The song and the video are tackling a lot of the bigger worldwide issues that are very important.  Many of those issues that are in the video are still around thirty years later and were around before the video as well.

But remember, that every change starts with the man or woman in the mirror.  No matter how big or small the issue is.  One person can make a change if they decide to.

You can decide today to change your personal life.  You can decide today to make a career change.  You can decide today to make a life changing decision.  You can decide today to serve others.  You can decide today to give to the homeless. Give blood.  You name it.

Everything begins and ends with the man or woman in the mirror.

So as you look at yourself in the mirror today ask yourself “What are you going to do to make a difference in your life, someone else’s life, or make the world a better place?”  You can’t make changes with anything else or someone else until you are willing to make a change with yourself first.

You can watch the official music video here

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…

As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel
to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re
not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern on the wind, ya’ see
’Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways – ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make that…
(Take a look at yourself and then make that…)
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror – Oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
(You gotta get it right, while you got the time)
(’Cause when you close your heart)
You can’t close your…your mind!
(Then you close your…mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With that man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know…that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself and then make a change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Oh yeah!)
Gonna feel real good now!
Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah! Yeah yeah!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooooh…)
Oh no, no no…
I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good! Come on!
(Change…)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve gotta stop it. Yourself!
(Yeah! – Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself… brother…
Hoo!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
You know – I’ve got to get that man, that man…
(Man in the mirror)
You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on! Come on!
You got to…
Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aaow!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
Gonna make that change…come on!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know…
(Change…)
Make that change. 

Written by Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

To your success and your future.

 

 

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The number one reason you haven’t made any progress

For the last four or five years I have been involved in a lot of different businesses.  I started a business and I worked within a company.  Inside that company, I also had some other business ventures.  All of the things I was involved in I could say they were interrelated.  However, the fact that I had so many things going on, I couldn’t really focus on any one of them, and do it well.

You really can’t be good at multiple things.  You have to pick one thing and try to be great at it.  Once you become great at it, then you can try to diversify.

So about a year ago I turned to a colleague of mine who I seek information from on some of my business dealings. I went to them and was asking for some advice. At the time, I don’t think what they said was what I was expecting them to say.  However, it proved to be great advice and I remind myself of it daily.

They said to me, “Brian you can be successful at anything you want.  You are good at this, that, and this. However, you haven’t committed to any of them fully. You haven’t sold yourself out to one thing.  And until you totally sell yourself out, and fully commit to one thing, you will never have success.”

Honestly, I believe I may have softened it up a little.  However, you get the point of the message.  Here I was thinking I was doing the right things.  I was diversifying and exploring different options.  However, I never fully committed to any of them.  I was having marginal success at a lot of different things.  Marginal commitment will only get you marginal successes.

In my case this was the wake up call that I needed.  I needed to fully commit to one thing, and quit using the excuse of all of the things, to not accomplish any one thing. And that is what I have done.  And they were right.  As soon as I fully committed to one thing, I have had some huge successes with it.

Let me ask you.  Have you fully committed yet?  The answer is probably no.  You haven’t fully committed to losing that 20 or 30 lbs. If you have been working on it for longer than six months, you would have already lost it by now.

If it is saving more money that you committed to.  Let me ask you.  Have you saved any reasonable amount of money?  I mean reasonable to you.  Since I don’t know what that is.  Let me just say this.  Have you saved $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 dollars yet?  If not, you haven’t fully committed to saving.

What about cutting your debt.  How much have you cut?  If you have been working on this for six months or so.  You should easily have cut several thousand dollars. Easily.  Why haven’t you?  You are still eating out and spending on unnecessary things.

Regardless of your what the commitment is.  Have you made any progress?  Here it is August, well, three days from September.  You are nine months in to the new year.  How much progress have you made towards you goals?  If it is marginal.  Then let me just tell you.  You have had a marginal commitment to your goals.

If you want success in anything, a half commitment will only get you, at best a marginal result.  Lets face it.  Things are hard to accomplish.  You can put all of your effort in to something and only get a little bit of return.  So you can only imagine.  Well, you don’t have to imagine, because this is what you are doing.  But a half commitment will get you very little, if any, results.

My challenge for you is this.  Sell out.  Just like my colleague told me.  You have to fully commit to something and go all in on it.  You can’t take days off from it.  You have to be all in, all of the time.  This is the only way to success.  This is the only way to accomplish something you have never accomplished before.

Lastly, if you say you have been fully committed you are wrong.  You need to look again at your plan and say. Where have a I not been fully committed. I know it is hard, but you have to be honest with yourself.  Something has to be changed.

To your success and your future.

 

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The sh*t sandwich method leaders use and should stop, use this instead.

If you are like most leaders you are making your way in to work today and there is someone on your team that you need to give some hard feedback to at this very moment.  The chances are you have been delaying it for days at least, probably months, and some of you have been delaying it for years.

Why haven’t you done it yet?  There are a lot of reasons, maybe one of these are yours.

  • Because you are fearful of how they might respond.
  • You don’t want to hurt their feelings.
  • You just never do the hard things.
  • You are afraid that they will quit.
  • You keep telling yourself it really isn’t a big deal, but it keeps happening.
  • You say that they do so many other things well.
  • You are about to get promoted or quit so you are passing the buck.
  • You are waiting for it to resolve itself. (it won’t)
  • You don’t know how.

I am sure there are other reasons as well, but from my experience these are usually the reasons.

If you don’t know how, I am going to give you a process that you can apply today that will make this easy.  Now, unfortunately, courage doesn’t come with the process.  However, if you practice the process enough, overtime you will gain more courage because it will get easier and you will become more comfortable at doing it.

As the title states. A lot of leaders have been taught the shit sandwich approach.  I am not saying it is a horrible process, but it doesn’t always feel right.  This is where you give them some praise for something that they have done.  Then you tell them something that you want them to work on (feedback), and then you give them some more praise on something that they do. From my experience, this process can sometimes water down the feedback you are trying to provide.  I am not saying leaders should stop this altogether, I would just use caution when applying it especially with some of the bigger issues.

Now keep in mind, I don’t want you to only use the process below when you are giving what could be viewed as negative feedback only. You should also use this process, and do it quite frequently, to provide good feedback as well.

I have used this process and others for many years with great results. You can apply it to a subordinate, a peer, a child, etc.  This process has been credited to the Center for Creative Leadership, but everyone has their own spin on it.  You can see the framework below, but I would encourage you to modify it to make it work for you.

The process goes like this:  You want to tell the person about a situation that you recently witnessed that they did something.  I will give you an example here in a minute.  So you remind them of the recent situation.  You then tell them the behavior that you witnessed.  And then lastly, the impact that the behavior had on that situation.  Lastly, ask them their thought on the situation and then ask “what would we do differently the next time we are in that situation.

  • Situation
  • Behavior
  • Impact it has/had
  • What will you do differently next time.

Here is an example:

“Joe in our last meeting I noticed that when Joan was talking you cut her off several times, not allowing her to finish her thoughts on the project. (situation) By cutting her off (behavior) it doesn’t allow her to make her contribution to the project and we want everyones buy in on this project(impact). Did you realize you were doing that Joe?”  Joe responds. “In future meetings lets be sure we get everyones contribution to this project.

Maybe it is something a little more simple as showing up on time.

“Frank I have noticed that about every few days or so you have been coming in later and later to the office. Being late doesn’t allow you to plan accordingly for your day.  This impacts your productivity as well as the teams productivity. ”  I would then ask if something is going on that is causing this.  And then move to resolving the issue and discussing the consequences if this behavior continues.

Look, giving hard feedback is never easy, by using a process it will allow you to give it to them the way they need to hear it.

Apply this process today and let me know how it works for you.

To your success and your future.

 

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Why you and I have to quit relying on this one person

The chances are that at some time in your life you had to rely on the approval of one person, one individual, one decision maker that held YOUR fate in their hands.  Is this not the worse feeling in the world?

Lets go way back.  I was not the popular kid.  No, I was the kid that could get a long with just about everyone.  Sure, people naturally gravitated to me in some circles, while in others, I was nothing more than an outsider.   However, the playground is tough and children make it so.  And like every neighborhood, there are always a few kids that are more popular than the rest. Depending on how the wind is blowing any particular day your connection to the rest of the kids can rest on whether or not a very select few other kids want you to be part of the group or not.

I can remember many times, that I went home because I wasn’t chosen or included.  Luckily, as a kid the wind always can blow differently the next day.  So one day you are out, and the next day you are in.  However, there are always a few chosen kids that help decide this.

Then you grow up and you go to work. You are working at the local grocery store, fast-food restaurant, or retail store.  Mine was the fast food restaurant, McDonald’s, and the grocery store.

I was the hard worker, I did the right things, I always showed up early and stayed late.  However, none of that seemed to matter when you really wanted that day off to go to the football game, the concert, or the local state fair.  Nope.  When you asked for that day off, all of your hopes and dreams of seeing that awesome concert, or hanging out with your friends rested on one individual on whether you were going to get to do whatever it is you wanted to do.  Your immediate manager or some general manager of the store.

In many cases, the immediate manager would be a little bitch and say that the general manager said you couldn’t have the day off.  But you know and I know that many times, they were just scared to tell you themselves.

Then we get our first professional job and we think everything is going to be different. We have our credentials and we are now working in a company that values people and values our contributions.

After several years of commitment, dedication and hard work.  We finally have an opportunity to be promoted and make more money.  We know who the people are that will be interviewing us.  We know that we are the right person for the job.

Whether we get the job or we don’t.  We later find out that one person had the power in their hands to either give us the job that we wanted and we felt like we deserved.  Or this same person could crush us with one swoop by giving the job to someone else in our company or on our team.  Or even worse, hire someone from the outside.

All of these stories may be something you have experienced.  If not, I am sure you experienced something similar.  At one time or another, we have all had our fate resting in the hands of one person.

If you are in sales, I am sure the final decision on whether the sale was made or not made.  Or the consulting agreement signed or not signed, came down to one persons signature.

Or if you have ever interviewed for a job with a company.  Which is probably one of the most difficult.  Because many times you don’t even know who that one person is that will  either get you hired or prevent you from being hired.

So you go in blind trying to figure it out.  And in the end you either get the job, and later discover who that person was.  Or if you don’t get the position, you just go on wondering “Who was it” and what could you have done differently during the interview process.

Again, all of these scenarios are the same.  They have one person tied to the final decision. They are the final voice.  They are the make it or break it people.  That can either say “yes” and you get to go to the concert with the hot girl you have tried to take out for the last three years in high school.

If they say yes.  You get to play the game with all of your other friends that day.

They say yes.  And you get the promotion, the sale, the contract.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of relying on one person to control my destiny.  I am sick of one person deciding whether my family gets to go on the vacation, or this year, it is another staycation.

I made the commitment years ago, that I will have freedom.  Freedom from all financial obligations that I don’t control.  Freedom from having to be around idiots.  You know who they are and what I mean.  No explanation is needed.

To get there we have to make the decision today and everyday that we will no longer rely on this one person to control anything in our life.  We will create a life with endless opportunities and possibilities and ultimate freedom and control.

Don’t put your hands in a select few any longer.  Create an abundance of opportunities for yourself and for your family.  You are in control, so take it.

I am committed to it, are you?

To your success and your future.

 

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The easiest way to create mental toughness

Do you talk to yourself?  Yes we all do.  Research shows that on average that we say 300-1000 words every minute to ourselves.  That is a lot of words.  The big question is what the heck are we saying?

I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I don’t think too much about what I am saying.  Since most of what we do on a daily basis is habitual.  According to Charles Duhigg in his best-selling book, “The Power Of Habit”.  He says that close to 40% of what we do every single day is driven by habit.  Meaning, we don’t have to think too much about it, if at all.  If this is the case, then we don’t do too much talking to ourselves to get us through those daily actions.

The actions that require us to think are the ones that we must talk ourselves through.  The actions that are hard, the actions that are different, the actions that push us more, the actions that are challenging.  The conversations we have with ourselves during these daily activities are what require us to have mental toughness.

The Navy Seals.  We all know them.  We all know they are badass.  In an effort to increase graduation rate amongst Navy Seal trainees the United States government commissioned a group of psychologist and neuroscientists to study what do successful graduates of the Navy Seals Academy do versus the ones who drop out?

It has been well documented that most trainees drop out in the academy during the drowning test.  This is where the trainees are put underwater with their oxygen equipment on and the instructors then mess with them and create obstacles for the trainees, by turning off their air.  By flipping their face masks off.  Most of the time spent in the water, the trainees are without air.  Their natural instincts are to come up for air, but this would disqualify them.  Psychologists state that we as humans have developed a very primal instinct to be fearful of water, because the loss of breath and air, as you know, feels very scary and our natural instinct is to get air.

One of the things that they psychologists and neuroscientists found, was that the Navy Seals who were really good at talking to themselves positively were the ones who could get through the water test as well as the other mental and physical activities.  Those trainees that tell themselves that this is only temporary and will be over soon.  Those who tell themselves to keep going, you can do it.  As I stated earlier, what you are saying to yourself during these moments when you are being pushed and challenged is what makes a great Navy Seal, or someone who has dropped out.

I can speak from my own experience as well.  As a runner who has run several half-marathons and other distance races.  I have found that a majority of the time when I don’t finish the race in the time I wanted to, it wasn’t because my legs gave out or the conditions weren’t right.  No. Instead, it was my brain telling my to quit.

I would tell myself, things like, “Who cares if you hit that time now”, “The conditions today were bad, that can be your excuse”, “You have already accomplished more than most.”.  When all of this chatting starts happening in my head there have been times I would push through and have a great race, and there has been other times were I have succumbed to the chatter and didn’t accomplish what I had wanted to accomplish.

Do you want to have more mental toughness?  If you have read this far, my guess is you do.  Here is what you have to do, to get it.

Whatever it is you are wanting to pursue that will challenge you, you have to start practicing for it.  You have to start challenging yourself and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and get to that point where it is uncomfortable for you.

Once you are there, listen to yourself.  How are you talking to yourself once you are in this state of discomfort? What are you telling yourself?  You have to start creating this scenario for yourself and see how you respond. At the start you will most likely not respond very well. You will shut down sooner than you want to.  However, if you keep doing it over and over you will eventually start to build some mental toughness and push through.

Just remember being uncomfortable for a little while is necessary, it isn’t going to be forever.  As the great Muhammad Ali said: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Practice makes permanent.  If you want to create a scenario of success for yourself, get in the habit of practicing something to create the mental toughness for yourself.  We know that things will be hard.  Especially when you are doing something you have never done, before.  Start preparing yourself today by talking to yourself in a way that helps you push through when things get hard.  The key to your success is how you talk to your self when you are being stretched outside the comfort zone.  Get ready for it now, so you will be prepared.

To your success and your future.

 

 

 

 

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The one tool most leaders are missing from their toolbox

Most leaders are lying to their employees everyday.  Some of the them are doing deliberately, while others don’t even realize it.  And it all comes down to the fact that some..

Well, based off my observations…Most leaders…

Aren’t willing to do the one thing that all leaders must be willing to do, and that is be very candid with their employees.

They lie by telling their employees they are doing a great job and the employee is really not.  Or, they are not telling them anything at all and just ignoring them. By ignoring them they are lying as well.  By saying nothing to the employee the leader is communicating through their actions that they are pleased with the performance.

In both cases the leader is hurting three parties by not telling the employees the truth.  They are hurting the organization, because the organization is paying for an employee that is not meeting expectations.  The leader is hurting themselves, because they are not getting the work that needs to be done, done. More than likely the leader that is unwilling to give the necessary feedback is doing more work and dealing with more headaches, all because they are unwilling to coach the employee the way they need to be coached. And lastly, they are hurting the employee.

In my leadership training and coaching business I ask business owners, managers, executives, leaders, etc., about the behaviors they are seeing or not seeing from employees. Many times, the reason I am meeting with the business owners or leader is because they have some kind of gap in the skills of the people they are looking to get training for.  Hey, I am thankful for this.

However, what I must remind them of is this. Most of the challenges that they are facing is because some leader in the organization, or they themselves are the ones that are unwilling to have the hard conversations to deal with the issues the employee is causing.

The phrase that I use most often with leaders and business owners is “Are you being candid with your employees” or “Are your managers being candid” with their employees.

Many leaders unfortunately tend to ignore bad behaviors altogether and hope that if they ignore an employee long enough they will quit. You also have leaders who are not straightforward enough or candid enough, with the shortcomings of where someone is not meeting expectations. When they speak to the employee about their shortcomings, they do so by watering down what it is that the employee needs to hear. Many times what needs to be said goes unsaid.  Some watered down version of the truth gets communicated and what needs to be heard is rarely said.

The tool that leaders must include in their toolbox is the willingness to be candid with their employees. From business owners to senior leadership, all the way down the line to front line supervisors.  Everyone must be willing to provide the hard feedback when employees or managers are not meeting the expectations.  Until the person understands clearly where they are not meeting expectations, they can never improve their work performance.

I tell business owners all of the time this.  “To be unclear is to be unkind.”  When we are not straightforward and speak with candor with our team members.  We are being unkind. Because they don’t know where they are falling short, which means they don’t know where to improve.  Which means they can’t improve.  You as a leader must be truthful, straightforward, and direct when communicating with employees.  You don’t have to be an ass about it.  That is another blog for another day.  However, we do have to be truthful and candid.

Are you being candid with your team?  Or are you ignoring the shortcomings and just staying frustrated with certain team members on your team or management staff?

The way you fix this is easy.  If you want to learn how to provide the candid feedback that is necessary, contact me at bwillett555@gmail.com and I will share with you the playbook that I use.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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Thankfully, I was saved from myself, and here is how to do it

Unfortunately, we don’t get the luxury of benefiting or learning from something until we have actually fully committed to doing whatever it is we are pursuing.

How often do you really get to try something out to see if it works?  See if it is what you thought it would be?  Or if it is what it was advertised as? Or see if you like it?

Sure there are some things you have the opportunity to do this with, but not every many. Especially not big things or big decisions.  Sure you can take a car overnight to see if you like it.  But you don’t get to keep it for a month.  Sure you could go and rent one for a month, but who really does that.

What about taking a new job with a new company.  You don’t get the luxury of  keeping your current job for a period of time while checking out the new job.  No, you have to gather enough information about the people, the company, the culture, etc., in those few interactions you have during the hiring process.  You then have to make a decision to take the job or not, if you get the job offer.

What about buying a new home or renting a place. You do everything you are supposed to do.  You check out the neighborhood.  You run a check online to see if there are any sex predators that live in the area.  You get the home inspected.  You may even go as far as asking neighbors around the place you are seeking to buy or rent, to see what they think about the neighborhood or place.  No matter what you do, you eventually have to make a decision to purchase or rent the place based on the limited knowledge you have.

You don’t get the opportunity to check the place out for a period of time before you commit to it.  No, instead you have to take your limited knowledge and act and it is usually rushed. The process may not be rushed, but whether or not you want to act, and the final decision is usually rushed.

Let me ask you this:  Have you ever acted, made the decision, and regretted it?

If you answered no.  You are a liar. We all have.  We all have made a decision and once we got in to it we wished we hadn’t.

Have you ever not acted, and then later your decision was confirmed that you made the right decision?

Yes.  We all have.  Sure there is a certain bias that helps you answer yes here today.  You look back on the home, the car, the job, etc., and say.  I knew that it was a bad thing.  I knew I was making the right decision. But did you really know it at the time you had to make the decision?  In some cases you do, but in many cases you have to go with your gut (which is usually right) and make the decision on the limited information you have.

In these scenarios, job, house, car, etc. have you ever known that it wasn’t the right decision or right thing, but you talked yourself into it anyway?

Again, if you answered no.  You are a liar.  Lets be honest you can talk yourself in to anything.  It is really easy to create more reasons to do something that you want to do, buy, have, etc. then create reasons you don’t want to do it. Especially when your heart is set on it.  In your mind you are already in the house, or driving the car, or making more money on the new job.

However, if you really look at it objectively you know that you can’t afford that car payment.  You really aren’t willing to cut out eating out for lunch everyday.  Or you really aren’t willing to cut out your two lattes or pack of cigarettes.  But at the time you tell yourself you are, because you are so emotionally connected to the new car, you are already driving it in your mind.

What about the house.  This is the house you always wanted.  It has the right amount of bedrooms, baths, square feet, etc. However, you talked yourself into the neighborhood.  You talked yourself into the fact that it is really a longer commute to work than you really want.  You tell yourself that you will renovate the kitchen at a later date.

It is amazing how when we really want something to happen we can talk ourselves in to it.  I have done it and you have done it as well. My hope is that I get wiser as I get older and I make better decisions.

However, I was recently in a very expensive, large and lengthy purchase where I originally didn’t think it was the right thing for me, then I talked myself in to it.  Thankfully, through wise counsel and divine intervention the purchase was halted.

The challenge we all face when making these decisions is knowing when to stop pursuing it.  Which sign is the final sign that says to us “walk away” this deal is not for you?

I am not sure I know the answer to this.  Maybe you do, please share if you do.

If it is the house, the car, the new job, or in my case a business.  You have to determine what your absolutes are.  Absolutes are those things that must absolutely exist for you to purchase or take the new job or business.

Absolutes are exactly what you think.  For example:  This house must be in a neighborhood that is within a twenty-minute drive for both my wife and I.  If it is set as an absolute, then you won’t go down any rabbit holes and get yourself in a house that is forty minutes away.

If it is a new job.  An absolute for you may be flexible hours.  When you ask if the job has flexible hours and they tell you. “Well, we can make arrangements as needed”.  Then you have to ask yourself will this job be what you are looking for.

By setting some absolutes for yourself you give yourself guard rails that help you make the right decision and you don’t get in to a situation that you will regret later.

Once you set these absolutes, these guard rails, you have to stay committed to them.  You can’t waiver.  If you waiver on them, this is where you run into trouble. That is where bad decisions are made.

In my recent situation. I had some guard rails, I had some absolutes.  Luckily, I was dealing with people who were more interested in making a process difficult, that it provided me an opportunity to talk myself back out of something that I had talked myself in to.

Think about your next major decision or purchase.  Define your absolutes that must exist for you to make the decision or purchase.  This will set those guard rails in place and hopefully you stay within them and make the best decision.

To your success and your future.

 

 

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