Friday, April 29, 2011

Stop Chasing Too Many Priorities

Why do we allow ourselves to have so many priorities? Why do these priorities often conflict with one another? What can we do about this? In a recent study, it was found that 64% of executives report they have too many conflicting priorities. This came from a HBR article.

This same study followed different companies and found that companies with only 1 to 3 priorities had more instances of performing ABOVE industry average.

This study argues that companies, or individuals, with a more focused set of priorities perform better than companies with long lists of priorities. I think this is because humans perform better when there are fewer things to think about. When I discipline myself to a few focused goals - I always know what to work on. When the list gets too long then I have to remind myself to read the list which means the goals are not in my head. The subconscious mind can work on goals that are in your head even when you're not aware that's what is going on. 

Keep your priorities and goals on a short list and you'll find that you can get more done and be more successful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why Blame?

It seems that every day I hear someone blame the economy or the price of gas for his or her bad results. Without thinking about it, to look for someone or something to blame for poor sales is the easy way out.

Then I look at a salesperson that is doing well and I hear the same things. "I'm making more calls." "I'm setting up more appointments." "I'm reading a new book on sales." "I'm listening to a set of CD's on improving my mental outlook." These are the activities that the winners do on a regular basis.

Everyone has the opportunity to improve. It doesn't even cost money. Books and CD's are available at public libraries and almost every car has a CD player. With the slowdown we are experiencing, there may even be more opportunity. The excuse makers are sitting in the office waiting for the phones to ring. What the winner is doing is going out and making something happen. We owe it to ourselves to be part of the group that is called winners.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Post on Rejection by Katlyn Kugler

hopkins printing 

Monopoly & Rejection: The Real Game of Life

monopoly car 

Stop. Go directly to jail. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. When you were a kid, how bummed were you when you landed on that ONE space out of all FORTY? Pretty bummed, especially if that $200 was what was going to enable you to purchase Park Avenue on the next go around. Similar to the 'Stop Space' on the Monopoly board, there are forms of rejection people readily acknowledge when they experience them. However, there are also daily interactions with rejection that individuals do not consciously register. Consider the following:

Your roommate drank the last of the milk
You hit every red light on the way to work
Your professor does not call on you in class
The parking meter does not accept bills
Maniac in the minivan won't let you merge onto 270

These items are usually grouped together and labeled as a bad day, but they are all forms of rejection. The forms of rejection people consciously recognize in their personal and professional lives are associated with experiences that carry greater consequences. Whether you are a sales rep at a B2B company making cold calls, or an account manager at an advertising agency pitching new campaigns, every professional faces rejection. We went around the office at Hopkins and asked some employees to recall a few of their bigger moments of rejection and how they dealt with them. After speaking with everyone two things were obvious. 1: Everybody has had a bad high school dance experience and 2: Sales reps encounter rejection far more than anyone else.

The responsibility of generating all of the company's cash inflows creates a great deal of pressure. In order for the company to grow, sales reps must actively strive to acquire new clients, often through cold calling, meetings, networking, and scheduling appointments. On average, for every 100 calls a sales rep makes, one will produce a new account.

With a 1% success rate how do sales representatives go seemingly unaffected by rejection? What runs through their minds when they've made 99 calls and have no new accounts?  "Some days you know it's all part of the equation, other days it starts to get under your skin a little bit. You do what you've got to do" commented Hopkins Sales Representative Ed Nikodem.

"You do what you've got to do." What Nikodem touched on is resiliency. In business resiliency separates the red from the black and in life resiliency separates the winners from the losers.
Let me throw some numbers your way:

9,000+: shots Michael Jordan missed in his career
1,000+: attempts Thomas Edison made before inventing the light bulb
600+: times Jack London was rejected before selling his first short story
7: times R.H. Macy failed before his store in NYC was accepted
5: times Henry Ford failed & went broke before Ford Motor Company

We can all learn a lesson from the above icons as well as sales reps; they know that rejection is a necessity in obtaining victory. The trick is to treat more recognizable forms of rejection as if they were as inconsequential as hitting a red light. The next time you can't pass go and collect $200.00, in any area of life, don't give up, because if you want the monopoly, you have to stay in the game. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

America’s Toughest CEO Coach

How would you like to train with the toughest CEO coach in America? What type of person is this and what does he do to get such a title? Rob Roy is a former Navy Seal and the self proclaimed "Hammer" to his clients. I learned about Rob when reading an Inc magazine article entitles America's Toughest CEO Coach. One day I plan to be a CEO so these types of articles always attract my attention. Even if your goals don't include being a CEO, the article is worth reading because anyone can improve.

If you have every read about Navy Seals and the training they endure, then Rob's training won't seem so different. His training includes night swims in 57 degree water and that's just the beginning of the 72 hour intense session of training. Rob said "the purpose is to tell them that they can walk into any situation and come out ahead". He philosophy is that if you can endure what he puts you though physically, then you can endure much more emotionally in the workplace. Rob puts people in situations where they are wet, cold and tired and then pushes them to make leadership decisions. Then when the person is back in a dry, warm office - the decisions come quicker and better.

Not everyone can spend $6,000 and take three days to get training like this but it's still possible to get some of the results. Just doing something, pushing the limits and seeing how you react can bring some of the same benefits. In the last couple of years I have done two triathlons. I in no way was a competitors to win any group but I was able to do something more than I had ever done before. This opened me up to a stronger belief that I can do more. Anytime you push yourself and learn more and can then do more - you are better off.