Posts Tagged ‘leadership training’

Why SMART Goals in Sales Fail


Credit: Gratisography

Most sales professionals have sales goals and in many instances these are mandated to be SMART goals. By the way did you know that Zig Ziglar was the first salesperson I found to talk about SMART goal setting?

Just as a fresher the acronym SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistically set high (Stretch)
  • Time driven or target date

Daniel Pink in his book Drive mentions these criteria and why they fail.  Anyone who understands the Theory of Self Determination from the 1970s long before Pink know why these criteria are not enough.

Years ago when entering in some sales training and leadership training from Resource Associates Corporation, the curriculum included the SMART criteria.  Then with the advent of the youth leadership Rising Stars curriculum, the criteria changed to SMARTY. Now the executive leadership, sales, management, team leadership, customer service and even time strategies curriculums all have been updated to include this key “Y” criterion of Yours.

I had adjusted this known criteria after I realized many in sales and business knew about SMART goals yet still could not achieve their goals.  The reason was because the ownership of the goal was by someone else not by the salesperson or business leader.

The Theory of Self Determination by Deci and Ryan explains this ownership through the second intrinsic motivating factor of autonomy which is defined simply as the ability to make a choice.  When goals are forced onto people, the outcome is reluctant participation.

smart-goalsBy adding this one word, WAY,  in front of SMART, there is more consistent goal achievement.

  • Written – Goals really must be written done. If you disagree think about going to the grocery store without your written grocery list.
  • Actionable – Goals that begin with action verbs such as achieve, increase, sell, secure, etc. prompt the individual to greater achievement.
  • Yours – Goals must be yours. You must own the goal to be able to see the WIIFM. This ownership is directly connected to your own autonomy.

To determine goal failure is not rocket science.  To achieve more goal success is also not rocket science.

If you want a proven goal setting and goal achievement tool, the Results Tool™ may help you.

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Leadership Is a Developmental Process, Not a Training Program

Yesterday in speaking with an executive coaching client, he mentioned how his firm was looking into a leadership training program, I suggested to him sustainable leadership happens through a developmental process not through a training program.  Let me explain.

leadershipThe word “program” suggests a beginning, a middle and an end.  Our business, education, health and live worlds are awash in a bunch of programs.

Each year a new program is added to replace its usually failed or ineffective predecessor.  In education, this happens ever three years to coincide with new grants.  The existing program is shoved to the side and new monies make the new program far more attractive.

I did a quick search on this keyword phrase “developmental process” and came upon this definition:

“A biological process whose specific outcome is the progression of an integrated living unit: an anatomical structure (which may be a subcellular structure, cell, tissue, or organ), or organism over time from an initial condition to a later condition.” Source: “

Think about these words “specific outcome is the progression of an integrated living unit.” These words reflect leadership is an outcome of progression.  I would add the word “continued” before progression.  People are living units with an intrinsic motivation to master their worlds; be autonomous and have purpose by being connected to other human beings. (The Theory of Self-Determination)

Additionally a developmental process is based upon proven known facts and can be consistently applied throughout the organization.  Here is an example of the difference.

Diversity training is included in many leadership programs or is a stand alone training program.  This issue has been around for over 40 years from my experience.  Employees attend mandated diversity training on a regular schedule.  My question is with the majority of people being exposed to diversity training why do we still need it? Haven’t we learned to be more accepting, more tolerant after all these training programs?

The answer is because a program does not address the underlying issues within a biological unit.  How many diversity programs look to the attitudes, the beliefs that drive the behaviors?  Then how many diversity programs invest the time to explore those beliefs which according to most research are probably 80%-90% subconscious? No instead a fact is given and people are expected to embrace it.  Piaget revealed this is a false understanding of how people actually learn.

Let me further explain.  So I attend a diversity training program here in Northwest Indiana and jump into my car. At a stoplight, a used pickup truck pulls up next to me.  The driver is a white male, somewhat unkempt.  Potentially my first thought is “there is another hillbilly.”  So how well did that diversity training stick?

Or if you are older, did you ever hear your parents tell you “those kids standing on the corner are up to no good?” We all have beliefs that have been repeated through years of conditioning as well as our own experiences. They have become habits of thought and a one day annual training program will not change them.

A true leadership developmental process begins with beliefs and attitudes.  Then works with those existing beliefs and attitudes along with habits to effect continued progression toward the desired outcome. This also demands a mechanism to further impact this change to ensure its sustainability.  That mechanism is a proven goal setting and goal achievement process.  Then and only then can positive and sustainable behavioral change happen.

If you or your organization wants forward thinking leaders, then consider embracing a leadership developmental process and leave those quick fix leadership programs on the shelf where they belong.

 CLICK HERE to select a time to visit with Leanne to understand this developmental formula

(b) • [(a + s + k) + (mmwG)] = PBC = IP = IR

If you enjoyed this posting, you may find this one Words Do Matter to your liking.

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Why Off Site Leadership and Sales Training Misses the Mark

At least once or twice monthly,  I receive catalogs from organizations that deliver very expensive two to three day  off site leadership and sales training. These learning engagements are directed to much larger organizations that can afford the $2,000 plus fees for these classes and seminars.


The problem with these off site leadership and sales training events is they fail to leverage the HOW and WHY behind learning engagement. This is also the same why for employee engagement.


The HOW is 100% about application.  If the knowledge gained is never applied, then it is lost as learning research suggests. Think back to taking those college finals (when they did college finals).  You may have studied all night and by the time of the actual final, you probably remembered 50%.  Two plus weeks down the road, your cognitive retention dropped to under 10% and by some research reports to 2%.

People need to practice and apply what they have learned to make it stick in long term memory.  Also this allows for them to experience some time of “disequilibrium” between what they learned and what they already know.

The Why

As to the WHY, this returns to individual motivation.  According to the Theory of Self Determination, all human beings have three (3) internal motivational drivers:

  1. Mastery
  2. Autonomy (choice)
  3. Purpose/Relatedness (people)

If any of these three motivational drivers encounter an obstacle, then the individual is less likely to be motivated.  How many times do salespeople go to sales training and then return back to learn their sales manager wants them to sell like how he or she sold?  This sales management attitude is a barrier for mastery (what you learned is foolish), for autonomy (you now have no choice) and purpose (conflict with sales manager).

The majority of off site learning engagements whether they are leadership training, sales training or some other type of training by their structure do not allow for practice and feedback.  This explains in many instances the low return on investment as well as a disengaged sales culture.

Want sales training that hits the mark?

  CLICK HERE to reserve your time to speak with Leanne


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How Personal Business Ethics Quietly Inspires Me

Inspiration comes from many sources.  Over time I have come to realize how my own personal business ethics have become a source of quiet inspiration.

personal-business-ethicsOne of my core values within my guiding principle of “Just Be Valuable” is thoughtfulness.  To be thoughtful means I must think of others first and then demonstrate what that means.  This value inspires me to continually learn, to capture information that my clients, would be clients or even colleagues might appreciate.

This value of thoughtfulness works with others such as creativity, faith, gratitude, intelligence, innovation, learning, patience, quality work, reflection, respect and risk taking. All continually work together so I am indeed valuable to those around me and not just during the work week.

As a small business owners, my personal business ethics are with me 24/7.

Today is Sunday and for me a day to demonstrate my faith. In that process, I have already printed out my weekly business column for a church member who likes to read it, but lacks a computer as the column is100% online. his church member who is older and retired. He truly enjoys reading the column and taking a few moments to share with me his thoughts.

I belong to several communities where we re-post the blogs to social media postings of others. When I see the efforts of this individuals, I am truly grateful and in turn I demonstrate gratitude by sharing their updates. Since this exchanging happens without any compensation, I am continually inspired by the gratitude of others.

This past week I had an opportunity to talk with a potential client.  The client wanted one 8 hour work shop and I knew from both past experiences and from what the client had shared, the one 8 hour leadership training workshop would not deliver the short term results he was seeking.  I took a risk and suggested 2 – 4 hour leade4rship training work shop. I told the potential client I would do what he wanted, however from a retention and engagement experience I have found the “brain will only absorb what the butt will endure.”

Yes inspiration does come from many sources. And my sense is personal business ethics probably inspires more individuals than they realize.

Leanne is available to inspire your people during an annual meeting or for an onsite training session. She can be reached as 219.759.5601 (CDT) main.

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The Surprisingly New, Yet Very Old Leadership Skill

Possibly as you read this title, you may be thinking of one of the current fads moving through leadership training and coaching such as agile leadership? If so, you may be disappointed because this leadership skill is one that is very old and yet never really discussed in any detail. Maybe there is a presumption that leaders already have this skill?

leadership-skillThink for a moment of past leaders and all of their leadership skills.  What one skill has stood the test of time?

From my perspective, that one skill has been the ability to write. If we look to history, we see Moses writing the 10 Commandments to George Washington’s Farewell Address to Congress to contemporary leaders.  The ability to communicate through the written word is essential to all of these leaders and the millions of  other unsung leaders.

Technology has further embolden this very old leadership skill.  This newer communication channel of technology started with email and now has spread through social media and content marketing.

More and more communication is being channeled through electronic mediums. Forward thinking leaders must learn how to communicate succinctly as in 140 characters in Twitter to emails to sharing organizational initiatives through the company’s newsletter or blog. Given that the super majority (97.75) of businesses here in the US have under 20 employees, the ability to hire out copy writers is dramatically reduced. Business leaders will need to be able to communicate even more frequently through the written word than ever before.

Effective writing that is emotionally compelling  and engaging is not new.  We only have to go back to the US Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution. The gentlemen who wrote these words agonized over the right word to convey the right, emotional message.  Each word was scrutinized to ensure the reader would have absolute clarity.

The other reason this old skill is a new skill has to do with the ability to have clarity of thought.  During a radio broadcast, Sales Coaching Over Coffee,  hosted by Lynn Hidy of Up Your TeleSales, the panel of Dan Waldschmidt, Fred McMurray and myself invested over 30 minutes of the 60 minutes radio show discussing the lack of critical thinking. There appeared to be agreement that solid, reflective, critical thinking was absent because there was too much energy being devoted to the current minute as well as a general reluctance to think.  “Thinking is hard work” as Henry Ford observed years ago.

What I know to be true is those who have honed this leadership skill of writing are for the most part far better thinkers. The more one writes, the better one thinks. The better one thinks the more one writes.  Something magical happens when the pen or even the keyboard is touched.  A connection is made between the fingers and the brain.  Thoughts flow like water provided the brain is continually being pumped.

If you are considering investing in a leadership development program be it through training or executive coaching, you may wish to confirm there will be some writing happening during this learning engagement. Failure to develop writing as a critical leadership skill may become the next Achilles Heel in your small business.



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Why Must Leadership Training Programs Now Include An Adjective?

Is it just me or are there a plethora of individual or  business leadership training programs that now have an adjective or some other description in front of the word leadership?


Here are a few that quickly come to mind:

  • Servant leadership
  • Transformational leadership
  • Values based leadership

Maybe it is me, but leadership by its very essence implies servitude, values and the end result is transforming the individual by allowing him or her to reach that next level of success.

Is the real issue someone wanting to sell another self improvement book or business leadership training program?

Years ago I become affiliated with this firm Resource Associates Corporation because their talent management training programs had the same process embedded in their executive leadership, leadership, management, customer service, sales and supervision (now team leadership).

The leadership training curriculum included;

  • Understanding leadership
  • Goal setting
  • Decision making
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Continuing leadership growth

Having worked with hundreds of individuals using this solid curriculum there was never a reason to publicize it with a new adjective. The publishers recognized that leadership is positive in its construction and implication.

What many of these leadership training programs lack is reinforcement (usually audio), an action plan and being processed centered. As a trained instructional designer (thank you Purdue University), I have not come across any individual or  business leadership training programs that are as solidly constructed from an instructional design and learning perspective as what is published by Resource Associates Corporation.

What is interesting is the founder, Linda Martin (co-author of Fail-Safe Leadership) established this curriculum over 30 years ago and the essence of material has not changed. Yes it continues to be updated to reflect new trends in the marketplace such as social media, but the process and the key learning objectives are still the same.

Leadership is critical to individuals in any role.

So do we really need an adjective or is the adjective another way to sell a new leadership training program with no proven track record of working with thousands of individuals?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is a heurist who looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees as well as executives in chaos.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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Friday’s Favoriates – To Sell Is Human A Critical Book Review

Believing that people buy from people and everyone sells something to someone else, I was anxious to read To Sell Is Human and then write a critical book review.  This book delivered a more qualitative perspective than a quantitative one such as in the Challenger Sale respective to sales and selling.


What Pink stated was the obvious. And how often is the obvious ignored?

Additionally he brings in some research from the social sciences such as reaction to words as well as:

  • Attitudes
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Positive self talk

Another perspective he offered was the middle ground between extrovert sales style and introvert that being the ambivert.  In the book, there is a link to an 18 questions survey to determine your preferential sales style.

Pink also introduced the concept of Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity to replace the Always Be Closing. Now doesn’t that sound better than the pushy ABC you may have heard in the past?

Actually within my practice I include Clarity as the second step.  For without clarity, sustainable execution cannot be achieved.

From my perspective he placed sales back where it should be on the human side, the people side and de-emphasized the technical side.  Yes there are some technical or sales skills to be learned. Yet being a great salesperson is far more about being a great person who has empathy, who can bounce back during adversity and chaos and who has clarity.  These attitudes or better yet behaviors of attunement, buoyancy and clarity work for all and not just those who make a living by selling solutions.

Overall, this book, To Sell Is Human, will probably make it to my top 10 books because it makes perfect, common sense.  As someone who works using a people approach first instead of a technical one, I find it to be far more in alignment with the business growth solutions I employ with my clients. Who knows maybe some of the sales training and leadership training firms might take some lessons from Pink’s book and start thinking differently about marketing, leadership and sales.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith by being a heurist looks to discover new ways to guide and support rapidly growing small businesses or those who wish to grow beyond their current employees.  She can be reached at 219.759.5601 CST.

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How a People Friendly Web Presence Will Increase Sales

Having a web presence is critical to increase sales. How your site is constructed is part of being people friendly. Yet one missing and key puzzle from many websites is the person’s name. The reason for this missing piece is that many websites are owned by non-employed businesses (businesses without employees) or what is called “Single Office Home Office” (SOHO). These dedicated entrepreneurs in their desire to appear bigger than they actually are will talk in generic terms about their team, but do not provide specifics such as their real names.  Unfortunately, this mindset violates the first two of the three sales buying rules and immediately begins to create sales objections.

For example, today I received a Twitter follower notice.  I clicked on the website and was taken to a site that had very little traffic (presuming this from ranking). Then I attempted to learn who the actual person was behind the Twitter handle.  I had to go to to find the book that was being promoted to learn the author’s name. (The graphic of the book was so small I could not read the name.)  Then I did a quick “Google” search and very little appeared.  Even though the website had social media links, in the first 10 hits, 7 hits were about the book with one being social media, Facebook. LinkedIn, GooglePlus and the primary website did not show up on page one. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  To be the Red jacket requires 100% alignment between all marketing mediums.

If I was searching for leadership training or leadership development, this site leaves out the Who and Where on its primary website even though its Twitter ID indicates Washington, D.C.  In a few quick strokes of the key I did manage to locate the individual on LinkedIn and possibly he does not need to have alignment between his marketing messages.  His LinkedIn profile shows his corporate logo and not a face which is a big No No for LinkedIn. (I am surprised he has not been reported.)  And again, if people buy from people they know and trust, not having a real picture is like waving a the Red No Trust Flag. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  If your name cannot be easily found, most people will not make any additional attempts to learn more about you.

In this age when people can write anything on their blogs and websites, establishing first glance credibility through your web presence is critical and must include your name.  From a quick review of this particular business, it appears this individual is leveraging existing government relationships and does not need to actively market his services.   His website is more of a billboard than an inbound marketing channel. This reminds me of the old story about putting all your eggs in one basket as well as build it and they will come.

Yes, your web presence must be people friendly to increase sales.  What that means is to make sure you include your real name in your site whether it is under the tag “about” or “about us” some other descriptor such as internal hot links.  Remember people friendly means first people and second friendly. People from my observations and own personal behaviors do not buy from robots or vague businesses.


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Time to Dump Old School Training for Sales Professionals


Now more than ever before is the time to dump old school training for sales professionals especially if the goal is to increase sales.  For the last 10 plus years, I have been attempting to educate potential clients, my current clients as well as many of my peers that the key to organizational success especially if the goal is increase sales is development.

We train dogs.

We develop people be them CEOs small business owners and even those crazy business sales professionals.

A posting by Mike Myatt provides a well thought out rationale why old school training isn’t dead but it should be regardless if  it sales training, leadership training, etc. should die a quick death. Another colleague, Dan Waldschmidt, also agrees that fresh eyes are required to look at how to improve the performance of sales professionals to CEO’s.

Part of the reason why HR people to sales management continue to hang onto old school training is because it is the way it has always been done. Where have we heard that before?

I am reminded of those infamous high school biology classes where students dissected frogs.  How many frogs will be dissected to increase sales?

Of course, if old school training really worked then it would:

  • Not have to be repeated
  • Deliver a positive return on investment
  • Create a culture of sustainability and high performance

Of course, sales gurus and sales training professionals who make lots of money with the old school training of people would argue differently. Development is not at the exclusion of old school training, but it should be primary with training and teaching in secondary roles.

When we invest in our greatest asset our people we move them from a state of transition to a true state of transformation.  This may take a little more time and it may be a greater investment initially, but the results are far more impressive.

Remember, we train dogs; we develop people.

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