Posts Tagged ‘business results’

Time to Take HOLD of Your Business Results

To improve business results, many organizations use the SWOT analysis.  For many years I have used a revised SLOT analysis when it comes to ensuring people secure the desired results.

Today, the word disruption is very much in evidence through the business and even personal worlds. The combination of algorithms and technology continue to disrupt how business has been conducted.  Maybe it is time to move forward and look at business results through a different analysis tool.

HOLD – A New Analysis Tool

When people within organizations start engaging in improving business results, the ultimate goal is to take HOLD of the entire organization.  Individuals within the organization must also take HOLD of their own results.

H Health – What is the health of the organization or individual?  This allows the organization as well as the individual to assess beyond the financial records to other critical elements especially attitudes, emotional intelligence and organizational culture. More and more research confirms emotional intelligence and organizational culture have far greater influence than many executives realize.

OOpportunities – Where are the current and future opportunities for sustainable, profitable growth?  With the qualified labor pool continuing to shrink, now is the time to look at opportunities to keep loyal employees and loyal customers.

LLimitations – What limitations are restricting the health and opportunities of the organization or the individual?

D Disruption –  What disruption has happened in the marketplace and its impact on the organization or individual?  Where is there a possibility for more disruption such as artificial intelligence?

Yes the SWOT analysis is a good tool.  The inherent problem is people are conditioned to the tool and in many instances viable data, facts and information are overlooked.

Change in the marketplace continues to happen at what appears to be the speed of light. To stay at least with the flow and hopefully ahead of the flow demands new ways of thinking for those who wish to change and improve their business results.

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Are You Missing This in Your Sales Performance Appraisals? Part 2

Much of the focus on sales performance appraisals is on the salesperson and his or her results.  Yet, any assessment should be reviewed first from the person conducting the assessment. Let me give you a more concrete example.

Years ago one of my college professors who was exceptionally trained in motivation and assessments would routinely look at the actual questions missed by the students.  If more than 40% of the students missed a question, he would not include that question in the overall scoring of the assessment.  His rationale was he failed to properly teach that key concept. This professor used assessments to gauge how well he taught the learning objectives.

Now fast forward to those in sales management.  What would happen if sales performance appraisals were a reflection not only on how well those in sales management guided their sales team, but how well the overall organization performed.  In today’s terms, we call that the sales culture.

Sales performance appraisals can be a temperature gauge as to the overall performance (think engagement) of the sales culture.  These are tools to improve everyone involved in the sales process and that means everyone in the organization.

Possibly before conducting any individual appraisal, the organization may wish to engage in an appraisal of their own efforts through organizational culture assessments.  These assessments can be quick to not so quick. What is critical is to have alignment to known successful criteria such as Baldrige.

Imagine if your organization could get a quick pulse on your sales culture in these key operational areas:

  • Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Customer & Market Focus
  • Measured Analysis & Knowledge Management
  • Human Resource Development & Management
  • Process Management
  • Business Results

Just by having one question in each of these key areas may reveal far more than those sales performance appraisals. Of course, this may be difficult if you as the sales manager or SMB owner is not willing to see beyond the results of your sales team.

Check out my calendar and let’s talk about how to improve your sales culture as well as those sales performance appraisals.

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2017 New Sales Behaviors Replace Cost with Invest

Buyers are cost driven because the word cost has been in front of them since grade school.  This mindset limits your sales behaviors and your results.  However by replacing the word cost with invest or investment you can redirect and change the tone of the sales conversation.



Sales Coaching Tip:  People hear words, but think in pictures.

Words do matter. Cost has a negative connotation.  People hear or read the word cost and they see money leaving their pocketbooks, their cash flow never to return.

The word invest has a positive connotation.  People hear or read the word invest or investment and they see some money leaving their bank accounts, but with the knowledge some of it will return.

Additionally the word invest creates a greater emotional response.  There is an implied sense of spirituality not in the truly religious sense, but of something positive in the future.

Also when sales behaviors begin to replace the word cost with invest, the salesperson has demonstrated more research and the ability to connect to the value drivers of the sales lead or buyer.  People buy on value unique to them.  Top sales performers know how to discover and then connect to those value drivers.

For example, if selling a solution, the salesperson can demonstrate her solution increases business results by 20%, wouldn’t that have far greater impact on connecting to what the buyer values? Of course, there is a presumption the salesperson has already discovered it is important for the buyer to increase business results.

Our sales behaviors reflect our own personal philosophies, beliefs. I personally believe when we change our words, we can dramatically improve our results especially when we engage in those crucial sales conversations.

You may find these other postings on New Sales Behaviors for 2017 of interest:

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Labor Day Is About Tenacity

Labor Day here in the USA is a day to celebrate the results of daily labor.  Think back to the earlier origins of this country.  Settlers carved farms out of wilderness.  Even into the 20th century and the wave of legal immigration created thousands of small farms that led to the industrial economy. Tenacity is one shared value that all these workers from farmers to steel workers had in common.

Labor-DayTenacity has many definitions. Chuck Norris believes that tenacity is “The ability to stick to it when things get tough.” So, how many times will you stick to it as you labor forth?

From our childhood experiences, we are told to “Count to 10” before allowing our temper to guide our behaviors or taking other types of action before we think. On this special day, this paradigm is a great way to reinforce our own tenacity as we overcome those obstacles that are keeping us from securing personal success to business success.

How many times in our search to improve our businesses, do we seek solutions from the outside and fail to look within ourselves. Have you considered assessing your own tenacity and looking within the word tenacity?  Did you see the word ten – 10 – within tenacity?

The Tenacity Power of 10 automatically creates a self-fulfilling prophecy by strengthening your own personal resolve because now you are in control of your own destiny. Years ago, Henry Ford penned these words: “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

Business success or personal success is a matter of choice.  Being tenacious is also a matter of choice. You can choose to be tenacious towards success or to be tenacious towards failure.  For me, there is only one choice and failure is not an option.

TAKE ACTION and assess your own tenacity and its impact on your business results.  Enjoy this national Day of Labor. Make each day a day filled with peace and abundance.

Note: This posting was from a column published by the then Post Tribune of Northwest Indiana back on September 3, 2007. Due to the multiple mergers, this column is no longer online and I thought it would be a good idea to reflect about this concept of The Tenacity Power of 10.

Happy Labor Day to my fellow Americans!


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Sales, the Unproductive Workforce and Summer – Part 1

Summer is unofficially here. For many SMBs this time of year is when lackluster sales and an unproductive workforce are potentially even more noticeable.  Employees are thinking “What a great day, I’d rather be any place but here selling” or “Boy, the fairways are calling me” or “Vacation is just 4 weeks away!”



Keeping employees engaged appears to be an ongoing challenge if we believe the Gallup Annual Poll on employee engagement. After all the demands by the customers are still the same and may even increase if the solutions (products or services) are more popular during summertime.

Turning around an unproductive workforce is not an easy task. It is much like turning the Queen Mary.

Executive leadership is the Captain of the ship.  The leadership team and especially the CEO or SMB owner are ultimately responsible for the workforce culture which is the anchor that pulls down each employee.

Many SMB executives look to solve symptoms and not the real problems.  They hire consultants and business coaches who also fail to assess what is really happening within the organization’s culture regardless of number of employees or revenue.

For example if sales are down, then what is contributing to these poor results?  Possibly by asking specific questions to each employee may help determine the real problem and stop blaming “lazy sales people.”

One such question might be: “When business results fall short, management searches for the guilty?”

Learn how this very affordable cultural assessment tool can quickly pinpoint the gaps in your SMB or organization.

Yes you can turn an unproductive workforce into a productive one as long as you know where to start and not seek the cheap and quick fix solutions that ultimately are cheap or quick.

CLICK HERE to schedule your time to speak with Leanne

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Eating Workplace Culture One Bite at a Time – Part 11

workplace-cultureNow that all the main bites for eating your workplace culture have been identified, the next step is totally up to you.

Possibly you are still unsure as to where to begin?

Let’s quickly review your workplace culture or your elephant in the room along with a few symptoms that may help you prioritize what bite to eat first:

Leadership Symptoms

  • Gossiping at the water cooler
  • High turnover of employees
  • Complaining about the work efforts of others

 Strategic Planning Symptoms

  • No strategic plan
  • Confusion, chaos
  • Projected targets not achieved

Customer and Market Focus Symptoms

  • High turnover of customers
  • Declining market share
  • Increase in inactive accounts

Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management Symptoms

  • Data collected; never reviewed
  • Reactive behaviors more than proactive
  • Lack of innovative ideas

Human Resource Focus Symptoms

  • Inconsistent to last minute job performance appraisals
  • Dated job descriptions
  • Low employee morale and energy

Process Management Symptoms

  • Status quo mentality
  • Quick fix mentality
  • Increase in rework, product rejection or product returns

Business Results Symptoms

  • Desired results are not achieved
  • Not my fault, blame others mentality
  • Lack of pride by employees in products/services offered

Sustainability Symptoms

  • No effort to recycle, reduce or reuse
  • Ignore issue of sustainability
  • If it ain’t broke, why fix it mentality

Refer a Friend (Customer Loyalty) Symptoms

  • Employees do not refer friends to work or buy from the business
  • Increasing cost of securing new customers
  • Value of existing customers declines

As stated previously,

“Workplace culture eats execution for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and all snacks in between.”

Today’s forward thinking executives who wish to stay ahead of the flow recognize the impact of workplace culture.

Now the smallest firms have an advantage usually only available to the big firms through various cultural assessments including this very affordable cultural assessment tool.    No longer will they have to guess as to what areas are impeding the execution of their business growth strategies.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Eating Workplace Culture One Bite at a Time – Part 08

At the end of the day, the week, the month, the quarter, the year, the workplace culture is responsible for executing the strategies to achieve the business results.  Peter Drucker said “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Since Drucker made that statement, strategy has improved and no longer is the greatest barrier to achieving business results.


“Today workplace culture eats execution for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and all snacks in between.”  

Mid-size to small businesses must stay ahead of the flow of current business trends as well as their competitors.  The realization of business results is one way to measure where their business is in that flow.

For example, do all your employees know where the organization stands respective to projected business results? If they do, then they probably know the top 3 goals of the organization.

Business results are also reflected within innovation and continual process improvement. Is the attitude one of embracing and staying with the status quo or continually pushing the envelope to improve quality and overall productivity?

When the workplace culture owns the business results, there are more engaged employees or the Pareto Principle is at work (20% of the employees deliver 80% of the results).  Personal responsibility respective to achieving the business results is essential in today’s highly competitive market place.

Communicating the numbers from monthly output to return goods to the employees is also a part of the results.  Again, if your people do not know where the organization is going or if they share different desired end results, what ends up are people all rowing in different directions on the same ship.

Finally, the blame game mentality by executive leadership or management is another reflection of the inability to achieve the desired results.  When operations (strategies and tactics) do not go as plan, is there a search for the “guilty” party?  And that guilty party is never executive leadership or management.

Download this FREE Leadership Audit to help you identify the leadership gaps in your organization

Peter Drucker said “Leadership is all about results.”  The results you achieve within your mid-size to small business are a direction reflection of your workforce culture specific to:

If you want to achieve greater business growth, possibly now is the time to determine where there are gaps in your organization.  Those gaps are reflected in your workplace culture and may help to explain why only a few of your employees are actively engaged while far more are just engaged to actively disengaged employees.

P.S. Please feel free to check out this holistic cultural assessment tool that allows even the smallest firms to start identifying the barriers to effective execution of current business growth strategies including business results.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

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Eating Workplace Culture One Bite at a Time – Part 07

Process management by itself is not as an exciting term as leadership or business results.  Possibly you may be wondering what does process management have to do with workplace culture?



Let us digress for a moment to a quote by Peter Drucker who said the purpose of business is two fold:

  • Marketing
  • Innovation

Today, forward thinking leaders understand the relationship between innovation and process management.

How do new ideas come into the business from the workplace culture?

Is it one way, top down?  Or is it two way, top down and bottom up?

Innovation is part of process management along with the business productivity of day to day operations. Process management also encompasses:

  • Communications between the workforce culture as to how the quality of work is perceived by executive leadership or management
  • Identification of silos (departments) that may impact the supply chain
  • Relationships between the business and outside vendors
  • General attitude of the business, quick fix or do it right

Download this FREE Leadership Audit to help identify some of the attitudes in your business

Another area within process management is continuous improvement.  This does require that all processes within the workplace culture first be documented and then a plan put in place to improve each process.

Unfortunately many mid-size to small businesses fail to invest the time to document their processes including:

  • Invoicing
  • Ordering goods (inventory) from vendors
  • Receiving goods from vendors
  • Inspection of return goods
  • Accounts payable
  • Sales process
  • Hiring
  • Recruiting
  • Retaining employees
  • Communicating with existing customers

Yes, process management is essential to having a strong workforce culture which does reflect business productivity.

Yes, it does take an ongoing investment of time.

Yes, it may require some outside assistance.

If your mid-size to small business wants to improve the bottom line (increase profits) including less disengaged employees, then now is the time to start documenting the various processes within your organization (think workplace culture).  As a final word of encouragement, if you are thinking of selling your business, your business will have stronger resale when all processes are documented because your business becomes more of a turnkey operation.

Please feel free to check out this holistic cultural assessment tool that allows even the smallest firms to start identifying the barriers to effective execution of current business growth strategies including process management.

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn


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Do You Really Have Bad Business Strategy?

Are you one of those business executives desperately seeking a new business strategy because this year’s results were pardon the expression “all wet?

business-strategyIs seeking a new business strategy a fairly common end of the year or quarter business behavior?

Are you reaching for some quick fix instead of truly assessing the real problems and not the usual symptoms?

Have you ever considered your business strategy might be OK to even good?  Maybe the problem is something else?

Do you feel right now that I am pointing my finger at you?  Are you feeling a little uncomfortable?

Well, you should because before you hire that next business strategist, small business coach, executive coach or high price consulting firm possibly you may wish consider the following reasons why today’s results will not get you to tomorrow’s goals.



Some business executives believe they know how to assess their business operations and immediately jump into their profit and loss statements. This is one way, but not the only way and such an organizational assessment will miss many other limitations and opportunities.

Imagine for a moment going to the doctor with a headache and your doctor immediately schedules you for brain surgery without ordering any diagnostics or assessments.  Would you have confidence in his or her recommendation?

business-strategySo if your current business strategy is giving you a headache, why are you considering brain surgery before you assess what is really going on?

Additionally, if your current business strategies are not working and new ones are sought year after year because today’s results are not realizing tomorrow’s goals, then investing the time to assess the organization is the first step.  This organizational assessment can be informal to formal. However, employing  a more formal organizational assessment every 3 to 5 years based upon specific criteria such as Baldrige can uncover critical gaps.

One such assessment I recommend is D.I.AL.O.G which looks at an organization from 5 to 10 employees to hundreds of employees through these seven criteria:

  1. Leadership
  2. Strategic Planning
  3. Customer and Market Focus
  4. Measurement, Analysis and Knowledge Management
  5. Human Resource Focus
  6. Process Management
  7. Business Results

As an instructional designer what is so great about this particular assessment is its affordability and speed of delivery. Much larger consulting firms will construct a tailored organizational assessment that will cost your business an arm and a leg.  This Internet driven assessment is affordable; provides relatively quick insight and has the capacity to deliver additional insight through the 20 minute one on one conversations with a selected sample of the employee population.


Business Misalignment

Jay Galbraith developed a simple graphic to illustrate why gaps exist in organizations.  Gaps prevent results from happening. His 5 Star Model for organizational development or what I prefer to call organizational excellence is where I begin with all clients.  I listen for gaps between:

  • Strategy
  • Structure (Organizational and physical)
  • Process/Systems (Operations)
  • Rewards
  • People

Of course many do not know if business misalignment actually exists until a formal assessment is undertaken.



Usually because business misalignment exists, this creates another barrier to effective execution of business strategy. Many organizations fail to consistently communicate their strategies in ways for their people to understand.

Much of this failure is because of the lack of trust in employees or the “We can’t tell them that!” attitude. Unless employees have crystal clear clarity regarding the business strategy from their perspective results will continue to limp along.

In today’s world where so much can be discovered via the Internet, keeping secrets from employees or believing them to be mindless robots is illogical and simply ridiculous. No, you do not need to give them the proprietary, financial information, but you can communicate to them with purpose and illustrate why this or that business strategy is critical to the organization’s success.


business-strategyUltimately the buck stops here or at the door of leadership. The authors of Fail-Safe Leadership were ahead of their times when they published this short read on organizational excellence.

  • Organizations are comprised of people.
  • People lead and manage other people.
  • People are responsible for misdirected results or poor business results.

Unfortunately, the people at the top because of their failure to assess; misalignment and poor communication tend to blame everyone else.  Leadership more often than not is the real enemy for a business strategy not working. And yet leadership continues to blame the customesr, the employees, the competition or the economy.

Captain Wing It and the 4 Letter Dirty Word

Years ago a colleague shared a story about Captain Wing It. To condense that story is there are a lot of business executives who spray their actions (think strategies and tactics) all over the place and then pray something will stick. These folks are the Captain Wing Its.

Also the Captain Wing Its believe the word plan has all the connotation of a four letter dirty word.  I can say with 100% complete confidence that at least 80% of all businesses from 100 employees or less do not have a well thought out written, goal driven strategic plan that is actively revisited on a weekly basis.  Leadership leads with the ever present excuse of “I or we don’t have time.”

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless,planning is everything.”  This is even more true today.  Time must be invested to plan for tomorrow’s goals and to ensure today’s results are being achieved.



Your Next Step

If your business strategy is not working, then before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, consider re-reading this blog. Personally I do not like pointing fingers at people especially my readers, but enough is enough!

Now is the time to take intentional and purposeful action that will stop this yearly insanity of seeking that next quick fix business strategy to cure what ails today’s business results.

My final questions to you are these:

How many opportunities have you lost?

How much have you already invested in solutions that are not sustainable?

Can you afford another year of bad business results?





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The Me, Me, Me in Marketing

marketingHow many times have you experienced the Me, Me, Me in Marketing? You know when you are at a business to business networking event and the other person is talking about:

  • Me as an individual
  • Me as a company
  • Me as a solution

Then when you attempt to share something about yourself, this blowhard continues with more Me, Me and Me.

Or how about when you have that first time meeting with a new vendor or someone you just met at some B2B event?  Does the person start talking about himself, his company and finally his solution?  Usually when the PowerPoint presentation is turned on, this is a very good indicator about Me, Me and Me.

What I have found when I am asked about what I do, I make a very brief explanation, less than 20 words, as my goal is to have the other person talk about herself or himself.  By focusing on the conversation on the other person, I can learn rather quickly is this individual a:

  • Solid sales lead?
  • Potential sales lead?
  • Strategic partner?
  • Center of influence?
  • Professional colleague?
  • Potential friend?

Additionally by having the conversation centered around the other person I discover quite a bit and use this opportunity for informal fact finding.  In many cases, I am able to demonstrate what I do by sharing some tidbit of knowledge or even sending an article after the meeting. Since my goal is to “just be valuable,” I have learned letting others share is a far more conducive marketing strategy for my own business growth.

Yes, in marketing we must share some information about ourselves, our businesses and our solutions. How we share that information is what separates the successful in marketing from the not so successful.

  • Would you like to increase your business results by at least 20% in 60 days?
  • Would you like to discover the problems within your sales process?

Then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601219.759.5601 CST to discover how you can challenge and change your status quo.

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