Posts Tagged ‘communication skills’

Why Go Along to Get Along Isn’t Effective Leadership

Regardless of organization, many in leadership roles embrace the “go along to get along” philosophy.  The problem with this belief is it demonstrates a lack of effective leadership.

Effective is doing the right thing.  In doing the right thing, leaders must first know what the right thing is. This knowing suggests the leader has strong personal ethics and is not willing to concede those basic core principles.

The Hollywood movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was all about the “go along to get along” philosophy. This fictional story though really non-fictional revealed how basic core principles take a dramatic hit when the “go along to get along” belief is embraced.

Lately I have witnessed a lot of “go along to get along” behaviors by local government leaders especially.  No one wants to rock the boat, to challenge the status quo.  So they sit like little bobble head dolls nodding their heads in agreement (go along) because they want to get along.

Some may remember one actress who won an academy award state “you really like me.”  The desire to be liked is inherent in most individuals as human beings are social creatures.

However real progress does not happen when everyone thinks the same way. Disruption is needed. Disruption will upset some people.  Leaders must have the fortitude to handle those upset people.

One impediment to effective leadership is a misplaced sense of loyalty.  Leaders sometimes are loyal to an organization or to one or two people.  They fail to understand where they should place their loyalty.

We witness this misplaced loyalty among politicians who are loyal to each other or to special interests. Then there are business leaders who are loyal to their shareholders at the expense of their customers.

Another impediment is the inability by those in leadership roles to provide constructive criticism without personally attacking others.  If some leaders had greater emotional intelligence, improved negotiation and communication skills, they could effectively communicate a “disruptive idea” without others being offended.

Effective leadership always returns to doing the right thing.  So the next time you are in a position where you as a leader (and we are all leaders) are considering “Go along to get along,”  remember to ask yourself what are the “right things” you are sacrificing? 


Share on Facebook

Where to Begin Developing Workplace Talent

Americans by an over whelming majority believe to stay competitive workplace talent must be developed. Many are also in agreement this action must take place at institutions of higher education.  Yet, is there where the emphasis should be?

workplace-talentWhen we look at what employers are seeking, even college graduates fail to meet what is needed in the workplace such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Decision making skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Team collaboration skills
  • Technology skills

Many of these skills are not necessarily learned in the classroom and probably should have already been learned through the past 12 years of education.  Unfortunately, these skills are not being learned unless someone is involved in athletics (team collaboration skills) or debate (communication skills).

Workplace talent should have been developed by the time young people leave high school.  They have 12 years to learn and hone the necessary workplace talent skills.

When we look at those who graduated before the early 1970s and those who graduated after, there appears to be a noticeable difference for many.  Beyond the curriculum being “watered down,” there exists a different mentality about work ethics and even self worth.

As a sales manager I saw this difference.  There were those few employees who gave more by working harder and far more employees who expected a paycheck for less work.  The old adage of giving 8 for 8 was true back then in the 1970 and 1980s.

Being an elected school board trustee in the late 1980’s and early 1990s, one observation that was pretty consistent was I could not tell some of the teachers from the students. Gone were the days of being professionally dressed.  Now the goal appeared to be like a student instead of a professional leader.

Possibly if we want to develop workplace talent, then maybe the starting place is with developing teachers.  What this means is teachers must leave any preconceived ideas about politics, social justice, etc. and start without bias to truly opening up the capacity to learn and to grow.

Our country needs competitive workforce talent.  And probably the first place is to deep six the idea “everyone wins a trophy” because in the workplace there are no trophies.

* * * * *

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.

Share on Facebook

Realtors – Your Marketing Message Sucks – Part 04

The marketing message for any realtor goes beyond the direct mail piece or even social media contact.  Good to great realtors understand specific marketing skills that others choose not to employ.



Of the six real estate agents who have contacted me regarding selling my home, only one sent me a follow-up thank you note for allowing her to visit my home.  This note was sent within 48 hours after touring my home. Additionally this real estate agent has called several times to let me know she has shared the listing with some of her sales leads.

Another realtor did call and asked to see the home. Her marketing material was professional as was her overall sales presence.  However, she has not followed up since touring the home.

The other four real estate agents who contacted me by direct mail, phone calls or social media never followed up.  Sales research suggest the majority of sales are made after the third contact.

Communication Skills

Good salespeople know how to communicate.  One of the realtors who called and spoke to my husband spoke so fast he had to ask her three times to slow down. Spewing your sales pitch as a marketing message  is not a good communication skill or sales skill.  And when I shared this experience on social media, a realtor attempted to justify this truly bad marketing as well as overall ineffective sales behavior.


Knowing the local market and industry is essential to any sales professional.  Realtors who demonstrate market knowledge are ahead of the flow.  In many instance, only two real estate agents demonstrated to me they knew the local market specific to my school district, subdivision and price point.

Also the research must be honest.  After speaking with one realtor, I verified some of the information with a neighbor who sits on the homeowner’s association board.

Marketing Is Not Selling

In the final analysis, many realtors along with quite a few other sales professionals believe that marketing is selling. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your marketing message is about attracting attention and beginning to build a relationship. Selling is about earning the sale and to do that require continued building of the relationship and ongoing attracting attention.  For example, during a sales conversation (selling)  sharing knowledge about local housing marketing further attracts attention.

If you are a realtor or real estate agent and are not satisfied with your sales results, then maybe it is time to review your marketing message.

The final part of this series will bring forth some statistics as to real estate industry and why the marketing message must be improved.

* * * * *

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 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

Share on Facebook

Active Listening Goes Beyond Silence

“You could hear a pin drop.” Ah, silence, the time in between two or more people speaking.  Yet, that absence of sound does not mean active listening is taking place.


Credit: Gratisography

Usually what that silence means is someone is thinking about how to respond while the other person is still talking.  To actively listen requires the ability to hear what the other person is saying and then process those comments within the decision making process such as “Should I respond?”; “What should I say?”; “Could I wait to hear more?”.

Silence is for some is an uncomfortable state. People have an internal bias that their silence may have them condoning another’s remarks or if they do not speak up, people may view them as not listening to worse yet not understanding.

Mark Twain among others is quoted as “If the good Lord wanted us to speak more than to listen, he would have given us two mouths instead of two ears.”

Listening is natural. Active listening is a learned and developed skill for everyone especially small business leaders and those particularly engaged in sales. (Small Business Coaching Tip:  Everyone is engaged in sales. It’s just some get paid to actually do it.)

Years ago I developed this acronym, CLEAR,  to help me improve my own communication skills so I would be more proactive in my listening instead of reactive.

C = CLARITY – Listen for clarity to separate the tangible from the intangibles and the knowns from the unknowns.

L = LEGITIMIZE – Listen to legitimize the real issues; not the perceived symptoms posing as problems.

E = EMOTION – Listen for emotions. Here is where the verbal words and the non-verbal gestures along with the syntax (speed, pitch, volume and emphasis) are important.

A = AGREEMENT – Listen for agreement to find common ground from which to build ongoing trust.

R = RETENTION – Listen for retention because what you may be hearing has not been heard by others.

Active listening goes beyond silence and is all about truly hearing and remembering what the other person has just said. Possibly consider rethinking the “Silence is golden” proverb to “Silence is green” because for many in small business your silence may give you considerable more dollars.

If you like the CLEAR small business coaching tip, you may find some other ideas for your small business in my book, Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits, the Keys to Unlocking Sales Success.


Share on Facebook
RSS Subscribe!
Coaching Tip

People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

What’s Happening?

Internal Results interviews
Leanne Hoagland-Smith
. Some of her answers may surprise you.

Check out this podcast on value creation between David Brock and Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Listen to Leanne Hoagland-Smith at Sales Scenario podcasts

Another list of top sales bloggers

Pre-order this great book How to Get a Meeting with Anyone. You may recognize a familiar name.

Top 100 Most Innovative Sales Bloggers Honored this blog is included in this impressive list.

Best Sales Blogger Award for 2014 Third place awarded to Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

NWI SBDC awarded Small Business Journalist of 2014 to Leanne Hoagland-Smith. Awards.

Expand Your Business Horizons
Sign up to receive monthly newsletter devoted to small businesses and busy sales professionals Beyond the Black
Be the Red Jacket
Seeking an easy and practical book on marketing, selling and sales? Read the reviews at Amazon and then order your hard copy or eBook.
Sustainability Expert
The Institute for Sustainability
Ezine Expert
Blogroll – Leadership, OD
Contact Coach Lee

Leanne Hoagland-Smith
219.759.5601 Main Office CDT
219.508.2859 Mobile CDT

Office located near Chicago, IL Main Website

Sales Corner

Tracking by The Sales Corner
Blog Rankings
Business Blogs - Blog Rankings
Blog Top Sites
RSS Search
Blog Log