Posts Tagged ‘challenge the status quo’

Sales Leadership, Bag Phone or Smart Phone?

Funny thing about sales leadership is some past sales leaders sometimes fail to continue to be forward thinking as new ideas or technologies evolve.

sales-leadershipNow younger sales professionals may not remember the first mobile phones that were literally in a bag.  These bag phones started the trend of being connected 24/7.

Over time technology reduced the size of the mobile phone and increased its power.  Today we have all those smart phones and other smart devices that allow those in sales leadership to reach out and touch someone instantaneously.

Many of the early adopters of bag phones saw the value in them.  They found them to be beneficial to achieving the goal to increase sales. Yet some of these same forward thinking leaders decided to hold onto their bag phones because they were familiar with them, they did not have to learn a new device and it worked for them.

They believed in “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Yesterday’s old bag phones is an analogy respective to  those in sales leadership who do not want change.  They want to hold onto their authority, their knowledge and their comfortableness.

Those who adopt new technology, new marketing channels, new ways of thinking are more willing to accept change and challenge the status quo. They accept the possibility their authority may be challenged, their knowledge will change and they will be uncomfortable during this process.

Of course to change for the sake of change is not good.  Yet to hold onto the past without looking to the future is equally not good.

Sales leadership in the 21st century must face its greatest challenge – change.  This is quite difficult given how fast change is happening and why additional resources must be hired or contracted to effectively deal with all of these changes in sales, in business and in people. Now is not the time to hold onto that old bag phone.

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Find Your Joy; Find Your Success in Doing

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Your joy is found not in finishing an activity, but doing it.” Greg Anderson. How often do we fail to find joy?  What would happen if our joy was directly connected to our doing something, whatever?  Would we be more motivated; have more enjoyment and ultimately experience more success?

All human being shared the same destination, that being death. Our journeys to that final end of the road are indeed different and unique as we are all different and unique individuals.

Far too long people have been lead to believe that knowledge is power and ultimately success. That is not true.

Only when we apply knowledge, do something, do we gain power. We now know what we know and know what we don’t know. We learn through our mistakes of doing and gain additional even more more knowledge and continued success. As John Maxwell wrote years ago “We fail forward.”

Our joy and consequently our success is directly connected to our purpose:

Why are we here right now in this moment of time?

After reading the On Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy, I wrote my purpose statement and it hasn’t really changed much during the last 20 years.

I am a trailblazer.

For those who read this blog and some of my other writings, they will recognize how I challenge the status quo by blazing a trail that others have chosen not to take.  For example, many of my contemporaries believe salespeople create value.  I don’t and continue to write about how value is unique to each person or buyer.

Then there are my thoughts about public education, college debt and an ill equipped workforce.  Until we dismantle the current system and construct a new system based on what motivates people to learn we will still have a poorly educated and unmotivated workforce.

So what do you truly enjoy doing?

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The Leadership Fallacy of Wanting to Be Liked

People buy into leadership for the same reason they buy anything else – knowing and trusting. The idea of wanting to be liked as a leader is a fallacy. Authentic leaders accept from day one that not everyone will like them because down the road the they know they may ask for what seems to be the impossible.



Merrill’s Marauders

Major General Frank Merrill asked his men to do the impossible.  He was not liked by many of those under his command because he pushed them beyond what was viewed as possible.  From his leadership efforts and those of his men (3,000 volunteers) the U.S. Army disrupted the Japanese lines in Burma to even capturing an airfield.  At the end of his engagement, the men who survived the mission had to be hospitalized with everything from malnutrition to A.O.E. (Accumulation of Everything).

When leaders want to be liked, they may make decisions that will harm some members of the team if not the entire the organization.  By demonstrating knowledge and building trust, those in leadership roles realize liking is a benefit, but not the desired end result.

Returning to General Merrill, he trained his 3,000 Army volunteers in India as not to tip off the Japanese. His men learned through him various guerrilla warfare skills. Through the difficult training, his men began to know him and to trust him and in some instances dislike him.  They were conditioned to carry their own field gear as they trekked through the 1,000 mile walk into Burma from India.  Their efforts earned them the name of Merrill’s Marauders, the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Bronze Star.

The Human Condition

Of course for many, the human condition of wanting to be liked is ever present.  Those in authentic leadership roles do not intentionally want their team members to dislike them.  However, they realize the mission, the goal, the purpose must not be sacrificed because some in the team may come to dislike them. Possibly this is reasoning behind Margaret Thatcher’s quote about “consensus is the absence of leadership.”

Why do so many leaders seek consensus?  Probably because they want everyone to like their decision.

Being an authentic leader is not easy.  Many decisions will challenge the status quo and potentially change it.

For those in leadership roles or those seeking to be leaders, they understand and accept these three facts:

  • They must demonstrate knowledge
  • They must build trust
  • They will not be liked by everyone

When they embrace these three facts, then their team will be able to do what is viewed by many as the impossible.

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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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Challenging Windmills Should We or Should We Not as Leaders?

People are strange creatures.  We are told to mind our own business and yet if embrace this attitude are we losing opportunities to challenge the status quo?  Yes sometimes challenging windmills (the status quo) is foolish and yet at other times maybe worth the involvement.

challenging-windmillsYesterday I challenged a woman who left her shopping cart in a disable parking space and she was only two parking spaces from the cart corral.  She was physically able as she brought the cart to her car.

So in returning my cart, I grabbed hers and made a comment (somewhat sarcastically yet with a smile) about how she obviously could not return the cart and apparently had no respect for disabled people. I then told her I would take her cart and return it to where it belonged.

This woman (I will not use the term lady) who was anywhere from 15 to 20 years younger than myself immediately jumped out of the car and hurried toward me screaming “no one talks to me like that and I can leave my cart any damn place I want.”  So I said “What are you going to do hit me?” She then continued on a tirade of profanities and insults with one including I was uneducated.  My reply was “Obviously better educated than you given your vocabulary and grammar.”

Then she returned to her car, pulled her car behind my car and continued with her diatribe. I smiled at her and told her to have a great day.  Did you ever notice that when you are nice to unhappy people they become even more unhappy?

I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s quote about “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Possibly challenging windmills be it leaving carts in parking spaces to other daily bad behaviors is our responsibility as leaders. 

Growing up whether it was in our local neighborhood or when I visited the family farm in Northern Wisconsin, I was always reminded about my bad behavior because people were not afraid to tell my parents or grandparents if I misbehaved.  Even in our local neighborhood, my daughter knew the neighbors would tell if she was misbehaving.

Have we become so fearful of being judgmental that we fail to take on challenging windmills we see around us?  Of course, we must still be respectful.  I did not yell at the lazy woman nor indicated any violence other than a rather sharp verbal comment.

My sense is as leaders we have an obligation to challenge the status quo, to respectfully call people out when they misbehave.  Of course our interactions may only change one person’s behavior out of 100 and maybe that one person may later change another’s.

Challenging windmills can be risky and we must balance the pros with the cons for our own safety. Yet to take no action reflects our own leadership skills and suggests we are content with the status quo.

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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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How to Challenge the Status Quo? Accept Being Alone

Being ahead of the flow requires forward thinking leaders to accept being alone.  This is one of many tactics in how to challenge the status quo as illustrated through the Law of Diffusion or the Diffusion Curve.


These individuals, the 2.5%,  realize how they think and what they do will not be appreciated by all.  They have come to accept their way of thinking challenges the status quo and that is okay. From their thinking and doing activities, they are recognized as the innovators.

In many instances the continued effort in how to challenge the status quo restrains these innovators from being considered experts or gurus.  The results of their efforts are not appreciated until they have passed on.  We see this especially in the world of art where so many artists reached success only after their deaths.

Being alone is a testimony to one’s own self esteem, self confidence and being comfortable as they say in one’s own skin. Human beings are social creatures and being alone is contrary to standard human behavior for the majority of the population.

Forward thinkers can be sociable. However, they do need down time, alone time to re-energize and to re-think. This down time may be anything from physical activity such as running or walking to reading to writing to engaging in the arts such as painting.

Accepting this status of being alone also means these forward thinkers do not need the approval of their peers. They are willing to challenge the status quo and potentially receive “push back” from the experts in their industry.  After all, if the majority believe this, whatever this is, then you as the forward thinker must be wrong. Being alone is not easy.

There are many tactics in how to challenge the status quo.  Being alone is just one of them.

If you think of any other ways in which forward thinkers challenge the status quo, please share them below.




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