Posts Tagged ‘From Values to Action’

Fog Lines and Guard Rails on the Sales Leadership Road

Possibly you may be wondering what do fog lines and guard rails have to do with traveling the sales leadership road?  Probably more than you realize.

sales-leadershipFog lines are the outside white lines that let you know you are close to running off the paved road onto the shoulder if there is a shoulder.  These lines were not always part of the American road system, but started appearing in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Recent court decisions affirm that fog lines are part of the roadway.

For those in sales leadership, fog lines are part of your sales’ behaviors specifically your positive core values (business ethics).  When you cross the fog line, you have crossed or compromised your values. This compromise might be something as simple as a little white lie about:

  • The delivery date of your solution
  • How many people actually have downloaded your app
  • Your total number of new customers or total annual sales

Another simple crossing of the fog line could be gossiping about other employees to your competitors.

Now the guard rails keeps the car on the road especially when there is no shoulder and immediate danger lurks on the other side of the guardrail such as a steep mountain cliff.  Guard rails are the positive core values (think business ethics) each professional business person holds true and will not cross.

How many times have you failed to honor your positive core values? Did this failure impact your ability to lead as well as to increase sales?

Personally I believe one’s positive core values have a direct correlation to one’s sales leadership effectiveness. There are some who agree with me including the author of From Values to Action.

Many in sales leadership roles have not invested the time to commit to writing their positive core values. Maybe the organization’s values statement is enough for them. Yet, when we know what our own guard rails are, then we have much greater clarity when we cross that fog line and begin to compromise our sales leadership.

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Is Your Past Running Your Present and Future Results?

In listening to a colleague, Ray Overdorff of Overdorff and Associates, he made the simple statement about future results:

“Think beyond where we are. What’s right for the people as opposed to hanging onto the past. We live life through the moment, but filter it through the past as well as filter the future through the past.”

When you let Ray’s words truly sink in, many of us use our past and the end result is our past is running our present and our future results.

For example have you had any of these thoughts:

  • What happened yesterday that suddenly has today all in a dither?
  • Did that last unsuccessful conversation creep into your next conversation?
  • Is today a day of exceptional opportunities even thought yesterday bombed?
  • What will tomorrow be like given what happened yesterday?
  • Will my life (fill in with my career, my sales, etc.)ever get better?

Possibly by taking the time to clear the mental decks of the past may help allow each of us to focus on the future.

The author, Harry Kraemer who wrote From Values to Action, provided an fairly simple way to avoid allowing the past to run the future by investing time each night to ask yourself the following simple questions (I am paraphrasing).  The key here is these actions must be taken each night.

  • What went well?
  • What could have gone better?
  • Who did I short change in my interactions?
  • What can I do tomorrow to improve current results?

Also another way to not allow the past to control the present or the future is to remember to focus on what you can control. You cannot control the past and have only limited opportunity to control the present. Most people direct much of their energies on what they cannot control.  This behavior only diminishes the capacity to achieve future results.

So the question again remains for only you to answer and then take action:

If you are tired of your future results, how are you going to change your behavior to secure different results?

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Are We Asking Ourselves the Right Questions?

Questions, human begins are full of them.  From young  to old, there are questions being asked of others to being asked of ones self. What is critical especially for adults is are we asking the right questions of ourselves.



For the last 10 years I have shared this particular African Proverb in some of my keynotes.

Every day in African a gazelle wakes up knowing it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every day in Africa a lion awakens and knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. So come morning, it does not matter whether you are a gazelle or lion. What does matter you best be running when the sun comes up.

The purpose of this proverb is really two-fold:

  • To focus on what really matters each day
  • To ask ourselves where are we running?

Some people when they first hear the first two sentences, you can almost hear them asking themselves “Am I a gazelle or am I a lion?” The last two sentences bring a different clarity into their perspectives because the right question is not am I a gazelle or a lion, but will I be running?

In the book From Values to Actions, the author discussed self reflection as part of leadership or rather self-leadership and individual growth. Every night he reviews the events of the day through a series of  self reflection questions. For him, these are the right questions allowing him to make the next day even better as morning breaks through the clouds and he starts running.

So what would be the right questions to make tomorrow better for you?

Hint: Maybe by returning to your core values, you may find the answer.

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Clarity For Are You Where You Want To Be Requires Reflection

The lack of clarity is probably one of the greatest obstacles preventing success be it sales, professional or personal.


Clarity for are you where you want to be requires  reflection. When one takes the time to ponder, to think, one can begin to change one’s behaviors and even beliefs.

In the book, From Values to Actions, the author Harry Kraemer, devotes considerable time to reflection. He schedules 15 minutes each evening to ask some reflective questions to gain greater clarity so tomorrow’s behaviors could be even more purposeful. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Add this book, From Value to Action, to your top 10 best books.

Yes we are all busy. However that should not be an excuse to avoid reflection. Actually, that is why reflection is needed more now than ever before.

When we reflect, we invest time to calm the turbulent waters residing in our minds. We can begin to recognize:

  • What we did well
  • What we did not so well
  • What else we could do
  • What we failed to do
  • How we can be better tomorrow

Yes clarity for are you where you want to be  requires reflection and only you can schedule that time if you wish to truly get to where you want to be.

If you are having challenges finding that clarity, consider giving Leanne Hoagland-Smith a call at 219.759.5601 to schedule a 30 minute executive coaching clarity session.

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National Evaluate Your Life Day Really?

Today if you did not know it is “National Evaluate Your Life Day” created by Well Cat and not by the good people of Hallmark. So what is the point of this day?


I am not sure what the Well Cat people intended, but for me this should be part of everyone’s day and not just once a year hyperbole.  In the book From Values to Action, the author Karry Kraemer discussed the critical necessity of self-reflection and that it should be practiced on a daily basis.

What would happen if each day you asked yourself these 3 key self reflection questions:

Question #1 – Did I honor my word to myself and to others by doing everything I said I was going to do?

Question #2 – Were any of my behaviors disrespectful in that I failed to honor my word, to demonstrate my positive core values and to be an authentic caring human being?

Question #3 – Where could I have done more for myself, those I care about, my business and my community?

Yes everybody is crazy busy from the person who works to keep the shelves stocked to the C suite executive making those decisions that will allow everyone to keep working. However, unless time is spent in self-reflection, self evaluation, then there is the opportunity for insanity to continue and for all individuals to realize the same results they have been achieving. To secure better results demands time spent in self reflection each day and not just today national evaluate your life day.

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Nice People Finish First in the Sales Marathon Race

Two recent postings about Nice People finishing last in business and sales caught my eye. The first one was entitle Nice Girls Finish Last is the presentation being delivered to women in the workplace here in the Chicagoland area. The second one suggested that nice guys earn 18 Percent less.


Most small business owners to sales professionals want to increase sales. If people buy from people they know and trust and they buy first on emotion justified by logic (the first two sales buying rules), I cannot help but believe that being nice is the path to take.

One of my colleagues, Dan Waldschmidt, said in a roundtable:

We don’t have a sales problem,

we have a caring problem.

Having just read the book From Values to Action by Harry Kraemer and not only recommending it over on Amazon, but writing a book review article at Ezine Articles, I truly believe that nice people finish first in sales especially for those running sales marathon races or the long haul. Maybe if more people demonstrated that they care, they could increase sales. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  From Values to Action is my number one non-spiritual book on leadership and values based leadership is the only path to walk in sales, in business and in life.

Give your druthers, would you buy from grumpy, unfriendly, uncaring sales people?

When sales people are rude, uncivil and appear to be in it only to line their pockets with your hard cash, I cannot imagine these individuals having a sustainable business or sales track record.  Sure they may win the short sprint leg of the sales race, but they will falter in the end.

Having developed sales people both in corporate and now within my own sales coaching practice, one of the first actions I have my clients take is to write a positive core values statement. In my book, Be the Red Jacket, the second chapter is all about values. Sales Coaching Training Tip: If you dislike those people who will do anything to earn the sale, then why wouldn’t you have a written positive core values statement? Of course, this means you must live those words 24/7. No exceptions, no excuses.

Of course, if you measure niceness by the amount of money you have in your bank account or by the sales quotas you made, then this may be the problem.  Many firms talk about living their positive core values, but when push comes to shove to achieve those sales goals or revenues, the wink and the nod behaviors takes over.

Just imagine what would happen if professional sales people stood firm and adopted what Kraemer calls Value Based Leadership?  Organizations are comprised of people and when people stand united they can and do make a difference.  Of course, as Kramer and many others know this may require taking a personal risk, be willing to step up and possibly out of the organization or turn down a sale when your positive core values collide with the organization or the potential client.

More and more as I engage with business professionals, sales people and clients I realize that it is my responsibility to continue to be nice and not to lower my standards or values just to increase sales.  Values based leadership is the path to take and this is why nice people finish first in the sales marathon race.

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