One of the hottest topics these days is about success. Seems a lot of people are trying to figure out how to be successful at work, at play or at home.
First thing is I admire the people who take a moment in their valuable time space to think about success. The truth is you are hard-wired for success, yet, sometime gets in the way. Distraction is the most common thing getting in our pathway to success – especially those of us who are continuously multi-tasking under the false assumption of being more productive. 🙁
When I began to think more about success I found a ton of information on the topic and got a little overwhelmed with the process of learning about success. Thanks goodness one of my natural strengths is problem solving and another strength is to simplify the complex into usable steps.
Those I discovered the 3 “C’s” to a Successful Life. This includes all the different “at’s” you desire doing for success . 🙂
This weekend I watched parts of several football games – both college level and professional. And, while watching them I had an aha moment regarding how things change without us being aware of the changes.
My aha was regarding the offensive lineman and specifically their technique. What I was playing football, lineman were not allowed to grab the defensive player at any point. In fact, we were taught to grab our own jerseys and basically use our arms as big flippers to hit our opponent. Therefore, it was easier for the defensive players to attack the offense and make plays.
Today the rules of the game have changed. It appears an offensive lineman can grab as much jersey as he wants as long as he does get outside the opponents arms. Therefore, watching these football games was an exercise in watching basically wrestling matches at the line of scrimmage.
My initial thoughts were – wow I could have really good if I could have grabbed hold of the defensive player’s jerseys during a game. With my long arms this would have stopped my opponents dead in their tracks and I would have won even more of these battles.
Okay, so what does my story of football have to do with leadership today?
Even if you still have your job intact you probably have a close friend or relative who is diligently looking for work. It seems almost no one is immune to the stressors of worrying about job security.
Keeping yourself up-to-date in your field always makes good business and personal sense! But it makes extra special sense in the job market today. Human beings are set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom because we are goal-driven. It is in our human nature to enjoy growth of the mind. Learning keeps us active and engaged.
I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
Continuous Development is the seventh C in the twelve part series of the C’s of Success. In part one, we will cover the importance of individual continuous development.
Continuous Development can be considered the catalyst for all current and future growth and improvement. Without it, the status quo would rule the day and very little improvement or growth could occur in both individuals and organizations. There is a strong need for purposeful continuous development at all levels of organizations. Individuals who get ahead in life do so by improving themselves either by improving skills or their wisdom.
What is Continuous Development?
When we first started our company we choose the name “Kaizen Performance Group, Inc.” because of the term Kaizen. Kaizen means to continuously improve in a holistic way. We believed then as we believe today that all improvement begins with continuously developing and improving what and how you do things.We also found the fastest method of gaining experience was to learn from experts, thus shortening the learning curves in life and business.
The Japan adopted the term “Kaizen” to their total quality efforts because they recognized the need for continuous improvement in their organizational work flows and processes. Using Kaizen as the focal point, they looked to improve every process and individual skill within their organizations. Kaizen principles led to their leading the world in total quality of product and services. A simple method leading to major results.
What is Individual Continuous Development?
Just thinking about all the things that leaders worry about as they run their organizations. And several classics come to mind:
- What Strategy should we use?;
- How do we execute our plans effectively?;
- How do we grow our Sales in this economy?;
- How do we get and keep the human talent needed for the competitive future?; and,
- How do we innovate our products and services for the future?
While the above list of issues will keep many executives and leaders up at night worrying about the answers, the real 800 lb. Gorilla comes in an invisible format called the unknown.
In a world that strives for consistently and needed objective data to solve the problems and issues connected to the future, the unknown brings a humbling attitude to this group. The fact that there are unknown problems, issues or challenges – some in the form of “surprise, I’m here now, so what are you going to do now?” – take the spirit away from many of these powerful people.
The fact is there is more “unknown” issues than there are known. So how can you deal with these unknown events? Simple. You explore the unknown areas as often as possible. The more you venture into the areas of the unknown the faster you actually learn about the issues and the faster you can apply the appropriate solution and move forward.
If you are not continuously learning and exploring the unknown, it will overtake you and leave you painted into a corner with no where to go, no options to choose, and no alternative answers for the questions. A continuous learning program will keep you in the forefront of knowledge and information – actually providing the wisdom necessary to succeed.
Use the unknown as a motivator to take action. This habit of taking action will give you a head start when the unknown jumps up and scares everyone else. You will be able to take the lead, take action and get the results before the 800 lb. Gorilla can destroy your organization. Think of the unknown being a good thing that gets us started down the path of continuous improvement and growth.
Interesting thing talking to the leaders, managers and sales people with all sizes of organizations, the number of people who tell me they do not have time for Personal Development is alarming.
How do they think or feel they are going to get better over time? Opps! That’s the real issue – they believe they have all ready arrived. Especially the highly educated left-brained individuals who think they already have all the answers. These people are dangerous to the health of your organization.
Now that is a strong statement – being dangerous to the health of the company – yet, it is true. There are reason for this statement.
I recently learned the importance of Awareness to learning new things. Add a touch of emotional context or personal experience and the learning accelerates. How do I know this to be true. Because of an experience I have had during the month of April.
First, prior to this year, South Africa was just a spot on the world map to me. I had never experienced anything regarding the country and particularly it’s history. And, I am certain that their were TV shows about South Africa and it’s history as well as magazine articles focused on it’s current and past history. But, with no personal involvement it did not register with me.
Second, this month I made a trip to Cape Town, South Africa for the Global Speakers Summit. This was the starting point for awaking my world as to what South Africa was all about – and importance of Nelsen Mandela to the world. My experiences in Cape Town were outstanding.This led to a new understanding of the importance of South Africa and the influence of one man – Nelsen Mandela. A true leader of men, who dealt with more adversity that anyone – yet, survived the ordeal to emerge as a great leader of people.
Third, since going to Cape Town my awareness of South Africa has increased dramatically. And, due to this factor, I am aware of the numerous articles about South Africa, the current election status, the election of a new leader, and a history channel biography on Nelsen Mandela. The cable show detailed the life history of Nelsen Mandela and filled in the blanks that were missing after my trip to Cape Town.
Finally, why would this be important to YOU. Good question with a good answer. There are four key learning points from this story:
- Awareness – is the starting point of new learning. You suddenly become sensitive to new information and experiences you have encountered. Personalized knowledge also leads to the internalization of information which creates new wisdom in your thoughts and actions.
- Adversity – is something that the great leaders learn to deal with during their earlier years. How to overcome the external issues and conditions by remaining true to your internal values and principles. Mandela experienced more adversity than anyone, yet, remained true to his principles of fair play and equal rights. He envisioned a true democracy for South Africa where all people (white and black) were equal and no one had absolute power over others.
- Leadership – is a trait that is earned using personal strength rather than a position or title. True leadership is about having principles that are based upon doing the right things all the time. This focus on the higher good for the country, organization or group is more important than personal gain.
- Learning – is the pathway to new wisdom. Thinking or reflective thought is the key to future growth for an individual or leader. New knowledge leads to an expansion of ideas, thoughts, and most importantly – understanding. Life is a continuous learning process. Take time to study, read and discuss new ideas or information.
Use your life experiences to expand your world view and understanding of your role in life. Great leaders have experienced great adversity at some point in their life and have learned from the experience. Taking complete responsibility for their thoughts and actions, true leaders remain humble and focused upon the greater good of the whole. If more leaders had this trait, we would be a better world.
The seventh and final sales Myth is sales people don’t need any new training or development. Some believe that experienced sales people already know all about selling. The only thing required is more product knowledge! Why do these organizations find sales results less than expected? Because sales people are focused upon products and not the customer.
I am amazed how often “experienced sales managers” tell me that investing in sales training and development is not his or her responsibility. Or the worst excuse is – we have no budget for this activity. Yet, in the same breathe, they talk about how sales will increase this year! How? They have no new products or services, no new sales people, no new territories, and no new sales methods. I call this “growth because I said so!” The old traditional parental approach of having no explanation for change – it’s just going to happen. This does not work for sales or parents.
The final Truth is that sales people need continuous development. The risk of poor selling strategies is a permanent loss of a customer. The excellent salesperson must have skills and knowledge in products, and have mastered effective communication, industry norms, and the ability to manage many different customer’s personalities. These are skills and knowledge that develop relationships with customers. These relationships are based upon rapport, trust and a clear focus upon the needs of the customer.
The understanding of these myths and truths have assisted our customers to successfully increase their bottom lines. The key is learning. A commitment must be made to improve the quality of the sales team. We find that successful companies invest 5-15% of annual sales payroll in development practices. Join the winners today!
Contact us today to join the ranks of the winners in sales growth and profitability. We have assisted our clients to consistently grow. Our office hours are 8-5pm Central Time and our phone number is 901-757-4434.
Okay, one of my favorite topics is sales. Now I’m not one of these blowhards that tell you I started selling as a young boy and became an over night success. No, I missed that fast track! In fact, I had to learn how to sell. At first, I had no clue as to what I was doing, no plan, no guide, and most importantly – no understanding of how selling worked – selling well that is!
Then I attended programs at my first job – the banking industry – and we had a very aggressive business development priority. Now, I’m talking about bankers – some of whom felt selling was beneath them. I attended a required class (singular) and was told that I had to make three customer calls – face to face – every quarter! Talk about pressure – what you don’t know is amazing sometimes. Believe it or not I found my way into the top three for business development for several years. I now know this was a case of luck and really enjoying the customer interaction not selling skills or understanding the sales process.
I really did not understand selling until I went to a four day sales training program. It totally opened my eyes as to what could be and should be in the world of selling. I now had to learn how to sell well if I wanted to survive.
One of the key instructors also talked about the need for continuous learning. He referred to listening to tapes, reading sales books and other business books that related to things I wanted to understand. This was really a turning point in my sales career and professional career as a business advisor.