Posts Tagged ‘positive core values’

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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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #17 Humility

Sales success today definitely requires leaving your ego at the door.  Being humble, demonstrating humility is essential. This does not mean you as the salesperson is a doormat. No what it means is you are authentic because you are more focus on the potential ideal customer or sales lead than yourself.

sales-successThe word humility comes from the Latin word humilitas, This word can be translated as humble. Another translation is “grounded” or “coming from the earth.”

Many of the top sales performers I personally know are grounded. This sense of being grounded is consistently displayed in how they collaborate with other colleagues. They are always focused on the wants and needs of their ideal customers or current customers. This focus generates sustainable sales success.

Being grounded requires strong internal positive core values or business ethics.  Grounded individuals are not the “snake oil” salespeople.

Grounded also extends to having a sense of intentional balance between one’s personal and one’s professional worlds. Individuals who are unintentionally off balance appear not to be as grounded as those who have more balance.

Also I believe top sales performers do come from the earth. For me what this means they are people first and understand people buy from people.

Yes humility is not something that can be easily faked.  Eventually, a strong ego will surface and crack the facade of humility.

Believe it or not, one’s internal temperamental bias can reveal one’s ego and therefore suggest one’s humility.  A negative bias toward one’s self esteem reflects a good ego and suggests this person is open to criticism, another sign of being humble.  Conversely, a positive internal bias suggests the individual is self-centered and dislikes any criticism.

Sales success has many factors and varies between individuals.  The goal is to apply some or all of these tips to your own sales behavior and then monitor the results.

If you want to learn more about how to determine your own ego, CLICK HERE to schedule a time to speak with Leanne Hoagland-Smith.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip 08 – The Want

Talk to or listen to most top sales performers and you will here “The Want.” They realize sustainable sales success is directly tied to their want to increase sales.

sales-successThese individuals not only are fanatical prospectors as Jeb Blount writes, but realize people buy from other people just like them. They continually work to improve their own revenue as well as to improve themselves.

You will not find these top sales performers mailing out marketing materials saying, for example, they “want to sell your home” and not really meaning it. No their Want drives then to take advantage of every viable sales opportunity. They see opportunity where others see hard work.

The harder I work, the luckier I get. (Source: Many)

Many salespeople say they want to increase sales, say they want your business, but what they really want is an easy path, not a path of hard work.

The Want is an attitude, a desire, an intrinsic motivation all rolled into one desire.  Additionally the Want for top sales performers is infused with positive core values. I have been privileged to be associated with many top sales performers and they all, to a single person, are highly ethical and caring.

To have this Want also suggests the salesperson has good to great clarity as to where he or she is going; what his or her talents are; and what actions must be taken to ensure sustainable sales success. I have yet to meet a top sales performers who has fair to poor clarity.

As noted in the Attribute Index, “The more clearly we see a dimension of thought, the more able we are to use it; therefore the better we are at it.”

Yes for sustainable sales success, the Want, you want to be the best in supporting your customers, your colleagues, your sales leads, your friends and your family.

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Sometimes It Makes Sense to Cut Off One’s Nose to Spite One’s Face

Most of us have heard the old adage about “cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face.”  This is statement is used to describe needlessly selfish behavior.

cut-off-one's-nose-to-spite-one's-faceA conversation yesterday had me realize that sometimes this behavior is not necessarily needlessly selfish and makes sense.

For example, I have very strong beliefs about the word leadership.  When local communities create “leadership institutes” or “leadership universities” they are for the most part business to business networking opportunities for local leaders (B2B owners, salespeople) to meet other local leaders.  From my perspective this is not leadership.

In the book Fail-Safe Leadership, I was exposed to Drucker’s definition of leadership “is all about results.”   Since that time, I have amended leadership to be the “ability to secure sustainable results through the demonstration of positive core values.”  

Since I have this very strong belief about leadership, I have avoided joining several local leadership groups because for me it is glorified business to business networking.  By becoming a graduate of these groups, I believe I am violating my own personal and positive core values.  Of course I probably could have earned some business and I accept that loss of business.

Personal Note:  My Values Index has being independent at the top of the scale and this might also help to explain my aversion to these groups.  I truly do not like following the crowd.

However is sacrificing one’s positive core values just to increase sales a valid reason to join these types of leadership groups?  I think not.

Maybe that is part of the problem with business today, the wink and the nod behavior respective to our ethics.  People join groups knowingly not liking the organizer or the purpose, but justify it because they will increase sales.

I do believe in creating authentic relationships and not just schmoozing or becoming another business lemming.  Some have asked me why I haven’t joined these groups? My response is “they do not fit into my strategic plan.”

Yes sometimes it makes sense “to cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face” when non-negotiable business ethics or positive core values are in place.

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What Really is Leadership?

Read any business magazine, professional journal or popular business websites and you will discover numerous articles devoted to the topic of leadership. With thousands of articles and hundreds of books, leadership still appears to be illusive in its definition.



So how does one define this illusive word? Peter Drucker has stated that “leadership is all about results.” In building a business, results are the bottom line. However, Drucker’s definition does not truly encompass the full breath of leadership especially if you wish to take your business to that next level.

Here in Northwest Indiana as with many other communities, we have some leaders who have achieved the results, but their methods have gained them notoriety as corrupt and unethical individuals. History has revealed countless leaders who achieved results but at the expense of others such as Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin not too mention current heads of state in North Korea and China along with the Middle East. Without solid, positive core values or what I call non-negotiable behaviors, businesses will ultimately fail and created economic havoc for their employees and their communities.

Beyond the core values, Drucker’s definition may suggest leadership begins from within each individual, but the definition must clearly start at the source. By using the word desired implies that some planning, strategy and critical thinking skills have taken place. Business results are not achieved “willy-nilly” or haphazardly, but with purpose and clarity.

President Dwight Eisenhower said “Plans are worthless; planning is everything.” For it is that planning, the application of critical thinking skills that separate truly effective leaders from less than effective ones.

By more clearly defining leadership as being individuals who consistently deliver the desired results while demonstrating positive core values, we begin to change our beliefs about leadership. No longer do we confuse leadership with management; that leadership is only for the business owner or the executive team; or that leadership is community service. Nor will we accept any results, but rather results than can be directly tied to specific strategies and tactics. Now, we can begin to look at the strengths of each individual and how those strengths can be further developed.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership 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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What Makes for Ethical Leadership?

There have been many leaders who have demonstrated less than ethical leadership.  Yesterday I received an email and it started my brain thinking about what really makes for ethical leadership.

ethical-leadershipDoes the recipe for ethical leadership begin with the leader of any group or organization?  Maybe it starts with each individual within that group or organization?  Possibly it is a combination of both?

If an individual believes he or she is ethical and others believe the leader of the group is not ethical, what does that really mean? By participating in that group are you as an individual contributor supporting unethical leadership?

Being ethical goes far deeper than saying you are ethical.  All of your behaviors must be in alignment with your personal and professional ethics. For some this is called being congruent.

When the leadership of any organization is questioned, then each member must reflect and determine if that criticism is valid or not valid. However if the member believes the leadership of the organization has sometimes crossed the ethical boundary lines, then continuing support of that organization suggests someone who is more self-serving in nature.  What then happens is the “wink and the nod” behavior takes over.

Yes it is difficult to sit on the sidelines and not join the chorus clapping their heads in gleeful joy.  No one wants to be intentionally disliked. However, when does “walking the talk; talking the walk” kick in?

I am reminded of two quotes that directly reflect what it makes for ethical leadership (positive core values).

“You have enemies? Good. That means you‘ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Sir Winston Churchill

“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

P.S. I don’t pretend to have the answer. I thought the question required awareness and possible discussion. Please feel free to leave your comments.

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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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Leadership Legacy Is More Than What You Believe It To Be

Leadership legacy seems to be a very popular term especially among noted business and political leaders.  Yet, what does this two word phrase really mean?

leadership-legacyNow some believe their leadership legacy is all of their accomplishments. One high ranking politician in Illinois has built a mausoleum listing all of his accomplishments, a CV carved in granite. As I listened to him explain his litany of his “results,” I never heard him say “friend to all” or even “dedicated public servant.” No what was driving his legacy was three letters “EGO!”

For me, ” leadership is results” (Peter Drucker) through the “consistent demonstration of positive core values” (Leanne Hoagland-Smith).  Legacy is being remembered beyond your results for it is the summation of all of experiences held by others about you as well as your own experiences. Your legacy is often revealed by the stories told about you and how people tell those stories.

Those experiences and stories are based upon your behaviors.  How did you interact with those you in your life? After you pass on, what will others say about you?

We are remembered by how we touch the lives of others.  When our name is mentioned, what are the first words spoken or what does the body language reveal? These are indicators to our real leadership legacy.

If you want a leadership legacy that inspires others, that brings smiles to those who knew you and never knew you, then focus on being a forward thinking leader who gets results through the consistent demonstration of positive core values reflected by your daily behaviors.  You may not be remembered by thousands or millions, but those who do remember you will smile and tell stories about how you helped them and made their lives better just by knowing you.

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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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Compromise the Achilles’ Heel to Authentic Leadership

Do you believe in compromise?  How do you define compromise?  For those in authentic leadership roles, this word may potentially become their Achilles’ Heel.

authentic-leadershipWhen we simply look at the word compromise, we see the word promise.  When we promise something to someone, we are giving our word, our bond.  Behind that word are the positive core values (ethics or business ethics) and respective behaviors.

By placing the “com,” before promise, the meaning has now changed to coming together.  Yet when those in authentic leadership roles come together, in many instances they sacrifice their promises because they do not share the same positive core values.

This sacrifice is often witnessed in all aspects of our lives from family, school, church, business and government.  Sometimes that sacrifice may be something minor and yet for the most part, the sacrifice is something major.

When individuals lack clarity specific to their positive core values, they are more likely to compromise.  Additionally those who consistently compromise may have very fluid values that change like the direction of the wind.  Their end game is always winning for themselves.  Compromise for them is a code word for I win, you lose.

Personally for me, I prefer the word collaboration when discussing authentic leadership strategies and tactics. When collaboration happens for forward thinking leaders, no one starts out accepting the fact that one of more of his or her positive core values may or will be sacrificed.  Instead everyone looks for areas of mutual agreement and how to work within their established positive core values.

Authentic leadership will always face challenges. Many of those challenges will be people searching for the Achilles’ Heel to leverage their own unauthentic leadership behaviors.

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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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To Thine Own Self Be True Rings True Each Day

Each of us has a song inside of us that has different words, a different melody, but the title is the same – To Thine Own Self Be True.  Unfortunately over time many of us may lack clarity that dims the words and the melody of this song.



We get caught up in the day to day happenings, our own goals, our own egos.  Consciously ignoring the song becomes easier. yet subconsciously we can’t. Our stress levels may increase, our own temperaments may wildly swing between optimism and pessimism. We appear edgy to short temper to those around us. Inside we may feel very alone, very vulnerable.

To Thine Own Self Be True is the song of our purpose along with the positive core values we will demonstrate in working toward that purpose.  The Self Determination Theory of human motivation reveals that purpose (relatedness to others) is essential in our own motivation.  When we veer away from our purpose, we lose our internal, intrinsic motivation to move forward.

How many times do we feel that little tug or even a big yank inside when we start walking away from our purpose?  We know better; yet we rationalize our intentions, our behaviors to justify the desired end result.

Or how about those times when we sense something is not right?  We just can’t put a finger on it, but we know.

Living our song To Thine Own Self Be True is not easy.  Playing it daily does come with consequences because others may not like our song.  We must be courageous during those times because when we do live our song we are in the long run much happier than in the short term.

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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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Must Leaders Be Liked to Be Effective?

Do leaders have to be liked to be effective?  Many may probably think right away absolutely! Yet, is this a fallacy for good leadership?

leadersBeing an effective leader is very similar to being an effective salesperson.  People must know you first before they can buy from you.  From knowing you they begin to trust you.  Liking you is probably third on the leadership characteristics’ checklist.

Leaders, effective ones, are not in popularity contests for high school president.  They must make hard choices and tough decisions.  In that process, they will not be liked.

President Reagan was not liked by many including other foreign leaders, but he was trusted by his adversaries to do what was right for America.  That trust delivered to him incredible respect.

Of course leaders who accept not being like must have strong internal convictions. They must be resilient along with having a good ego. These individuals do not bend and do not sacrifice their positive core values to be liked by others.

For some who want to be liked, they believe they must like their leaders and that may be a determent to finding the correct leader. Leadership is not about how many people like you.

No, leadership is about achieving predetermined results while demonstrating positive core values.

Right now in the American culture (as I cannot write about other cultures), the “everyone must win a trophy attitude” has further ingrained this belief that leaders must be liked. This transition has weakened  leadership development within the U.S.

Today’s employers are not finding the future leaders they need to take their organizations down the succession leadership path.  Leadership is not easy.  Effective leaders realize they cannot be liked by everyone and that is one reason why they are effective.

Think about the type of leadership you want.  Usually in life we do not get everything we want.  If we are fortunate, we may get two out of three criteria.

Do you want a leader who has knowledge?

Do you want a leader who you can trust?

Do you want a leader who you like?

If you can only have two of the above three criteria, what one are you willing to give up?

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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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