Posts Tagged ‘self leadership’

When Catch-Up Time Becomes Ketch-Up Time

Weekends for many have become catch-up time for all those weekly things you didn’t have time to finish stuff.  Sound familiar?

catch-upYet how many times does this catch-up time becomes truly red much like ketchup.  The emotions overtake logic.  Hands go up in frustration and sometimes in despair. At the end of Sunday night you are exhausted and wondering where did the time go?

Imagine for a moment what would happen if twice each day, you would look at your calendar, your schedule for less than 30 minutes. Review in the morning in 5-10 minutes what needs to be accomplished that day.  Make sure you have entered all of your commitments including travel times.

Then before you leave your office, you take another 10-20 minutes to not only look to the next day, but to reflect upon what happened in the last 8-10 hours.

What went well today?’

What could have gone better?

Did you accomplish those “Must Do” tasks where you gave your word?

Did you achieve any short or long terms goals based upon your goals in progress summary?

How many people did you support or help?

How many people did you fail to support or help?

Were your behaviors respectful and reflected a high degree of emotionally intelligent leadership?

What can you do better tomorrow?

Who must you reach out tomorrow that you may have slighted today?

Possibly you may be thinking, I don’t have time for all of these questions?  Yet upon further reflection you probably sometime in the past had the answers to these questions, momentarily because your day went well or went poorly. Possibly these thoughts were repetitive because of internal emotional angst for not getting something done?

By consistently demonstrating this behavior of investing time to avoid “catch up time,” you may avoid ketchup time.

P.S. A word to the wise, time management is an oxymoron. No one can manage a constant. What you can do, is better manage yourself.  This self-management is what is call self-leadership.

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What Is the Purpose of Sales Skills?

Good sales skills are essential.  Yet with all the emphasis on the more technical skills like discovering wants and needs; asking open ended questions or turning stalls into objections, I sometimes believe we are forgetting the two fold purpose of these skills:

  • Communication
  • Engagement

I just finished reading a well written and very results driven article by Tony Hughes about the secrets in how to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator more effectively.  The key takeaways reaffirmed the incredible power of communication and engagement for those within sales leadership roles.

sales-skillsSales research also reveals how much of today’s sales skills return to communication and engagement.

  • 44% of salespeople give up after one contact (Source: Scripted)
  • The average salesperson makes only two attempts to reach a prospect (Source: Sirius Decisions)
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the first meeting (Source: The Marketing Donut)

Yet when most of the sales training is reviewed, how much time is actually spent on communication from phone calls, to voice mails to emails to other forms?

Check out Mark Hunter’s book – High Profit Prospecting. He provides some great communication and engagement templates.

Then when we examine engagement, the focus again returns to technical sales skills and yet skills associated with engagement are either ignored or briefly discussed.

21st Century Selling Goes Beyond Typical Sales Skills

Possibly part of the reason communication and engagement are not considered priorities within sales training is because most sales training focuses on selling and not on marketing.  Herein lies the problem.

Peter Drucker said a “…business has two basic functions, marketing and innovation. Everything else is a cost.”

Marketing is rarely ever included within sales training because most sales training is model on what works for the big firms with over 500 employees. Unfortunately in today’s marketplace, 97.7% of all U.S. businesses have under 20 employees. These firms do not have the luxury of having departments devoted to marketing. No it is the salespeople who are the first contact with potential sales leads. This is why communication and engagement are the first sales skills salespeople demonstrate.

If you missed the reason for the this new sales leadership model and an explanation of the other four points,  you can learn more through these posting:

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Self Leadership Is Required in Sales

In business there has always been a lot of attention directed to leadership.  Yet far lesser attention to this idea of self leadership.  As has been noted earlier, many presume people know how to lead themselves through earlier educational experiences.  However, research shows self leadership which falls into that bucket of people or soft skills is sorely lacking.

self-leadershipPeter Drucker said leadership is all about results.

Self leadership is about the individual getting results.

To secure the desired results begins with these two mindsets:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Motivation

Continuous improvement is a mindset where one is always challenging the status quo; looking toward the future and making changes if and when necessary. Sometimes the status quo is working and to make a change for the sake of making a change is simply ridiculous.

Motivation is also a mindset because the mind is what controls all behavior.  Using the Theory of Self Determination allows individuals to identify what is limiting their motivation:

  • Mastery
  • Autonomy
  • Purpose (as it relates to people)

In some sales training or business leadership programs, self leadership is included as a subset of sales skills or even talent development. Again there is a presumption people have the capacity and consistently demonstrate this capacity.

If this was true,

  • why do 44% of salespeople give up after making one call? (Source: Scripted)
  • why do the average salespeople make only two attempts to contact a sales lead or prospect? (Source: Sirius Decisions)

Continuous improvement and motivation are essential in securing results and working with the other aspects within the 5 Star Sales Leadership Model. Top sales performers do not rely on the business in providing the incentive for ongoing learning or motivation through recognition or rewards.

In today’s world with so many solo entrepreneurs as well as businesses with under 20 employees, business leadership and sales leadership are partners. These two roles must work together to achieve sustainable business growth.

Until 2/28/2017, learn what motivates you as well as how your behave and what is driving your decision making process through this special opportunity.


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Where We Are Missing the Boat in Leadership Development

Leadership development is wanted, no demanded, according to this article in Business Insider.  Two thirds of the college educated millennials surveyed by Deloitte are looking to leave their current employers in the next four years.  The main reason is a lack of leadership development.

Boats-TwoThis research confirms what employers want – employees with leadership skills and yet they are not getting college graduates with the necessary skills to be effective leaders.  Hint: If you want a great book on effective leadership, read Drucker’s The Effective Executive.

Now think about what this survey has actually revealed.  After 16 years of education young people know:

  • They lack the necessary self-leadership skills required in the workplace
  • Leadership skills are necessary for employment mobility

Very few high schools develop self-leadership skills. There are exceptions such as Culver Military Academy located in Culver, IN.

Leadership for many schools is oriented to community service projects with the hope the leadership skills or rather self-leadership skills will transfer through an osmosis process.

Self leadership is the ability to lead yourself first before you can lead others. 

Even though there are many good to great teachers, they never developed all the leadership skills demanded in a knowledge economy.  Therefore, teachers are limited in the skills they model or even teach.

The best example to demonstrate this lack of leadership development is through “goal setting.”  Years ago in giving a keynote graduation speech to high school seniors I shared this interactive story.

How many of you or your parents, caregivers have ever shopped at the local grocery store?  Please raise your hands. Now how many of you or your parents had a written grocer list in hand?  Please raise your hands.  Have any of you observed that written grocery list being left at home, forgotten?  Again, please raise your hands?  What happened? (I called on those with raised hands.) And by the way, when you forget that written grocery list, whose plan are you now on, yours or the owner of the store?

May we have agreement that from forgetting something, wasting more time, buying things not needed, spending more money, having to go back to get want was forgotten and feeling upset all have importance, significant importance. (Please raise your hands).  So if a written grocery list has significant importance because of the wasted resources of time, energy, money and emotions, where is the written plan for the rest of your life? If you don’t have that written plan, then you are somebody’s else’s plan.  Personally for me that is not an option.  Do you want someone else to be controlling your future?

Leadership development should begin in junior high and continue through out high school.  By the time young people decide on their post secondary education path, they should have a solid foundation of leadership skills including:

  • Communication (listening, speaking and writing)
  • Critical thinking
  • Decision making
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Financial
  • Goal setting and goal achievement
  • Positive attitude development
  • Social
  • Team collaboration
  • Time management (Really self-management as no one can manage a constant)

When our society recognizes that leadership development is an investment in the future of our young people and more importantly in our economic growth, then everyone wins.

The Career and College Success Boot Camp is all about leadership development. Classes are forming now for the summer of 2016. Call Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.508.2859 to learn more.

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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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Success Today Is Embracing What Is Not Taught

One the extreme benefits of being an entrepreneur is making connections to other forward thinking entrepreneurs.  One of my colleagues, Jim Keenan, just published a book entitled Not Taught. What is so great about this book is Keenan must have been a fly on the wall when I have conducted one on one executive coaching or group sales or leadership development training. Humans love to be validated by another person.



Keenan’s book reflects what research continues to tell us about what employers want and what colleges along with high schools are not delivering. Today’s young high school and college graduates are not taught what it takes to be successful.  They have been unfortunately led down some primrose path of enablement and entitlement.

What happens is in many cases they look like ‘Jack Asses” so full of themselves and totally clueless.

This book blends what is not taught about practical applications specific to achieving professional success with what is not taught about personal success (self-leadership: leading yourself).  For example, the first chapter is all about your reach and the value of your reach. Making connections through your professional network such as LinkedIn or through the establishment of communities with like minded individuals is extremely important.  Who you know and more importantly who knows you will have a significant impact on your professional success. I connected with Keenan because of my reach.

Another reason I find this book to be particularly helpful is it works with the Theory of Self Determination. This is an intrinsic motivational theory built upon 3 elements of Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose (Relatedness).  When all 3 elements are engaged, there is a high level of internal motivation. However if any of these elements face barriers both external and internal without the right Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Habits (KASH-Box-for-Sustainable-Change), then motivation decreases.

Keenan also recognizes the importance of critical thinking skills and results.  Without the ability to think critically, sustainable results are much more difficult to achieve.  He also makes some other great points including “Everyone is in sales.” (I have been saying that for years!)

If you want to achieve both personal and professional success, then grab this book and read it.  Then re-read it. After each chapter invest some time for self-reflection. Your next step would be to close the gaps between what is not taught and what you need to know to be the successful person you want to be.

P.S. Remember knowledge is power was never true because applied knowledge has always been more powerful.

If you want your daughter or son to get ahead of the flow, then check out this 2015-ADVSYS-Boot-Camp where your student will learn more about what is “not taught” to be successful.

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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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Sales Leadership Is Self Leadership

For those who make a living selling something to someone, sales leadership is essential. How you lead yourself first and foremost, that being self leadership, will determine your ability to increase sales.



Self leadership is necessary for any professional role. However in sales, it is far more essential and evident.
From my executive coaching results, 100% of all top sales performers (those earning $100,000 plus or those wanting to earn $100,000 plus share one common self leadership characteristic:

They are all driven to achieve!

Sales leadership is probably 60% internal personal skills such as self-starting ability, 20% people skills (soft skills) as in empathy and 20% sales skills such as asking open ended questions or follow-up by evaluating what is said. Self leadership is a combination of internal talents and people skills.

One of the obstacles to understanding the connection between sales leadership and self leadership is the word leadership.  For some it means seeing other people leading other people.  These individuals do not see themselves leading others.

In sales, top sales performers understand they must lead their ideal customers through encouragement, empathy and experience to making a favorable buying decision.  This leading again may be subtle or sometimes a little more direct.

However first they know they must lead themselves by having crystal clear goals supported by clearly articulated positive core values.  They know themselves, their talents and how to work with this knowledge toward where they see themselves in 1, 2 to even 10 years down the road.

Want to learn if you have this sales leadership characteristic or if your team does?

Take advantage of special pricing until 12/31/2015 for this quick, under 10 minutes,  talent assessment.

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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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When Planning Becomes Leadership Procrastination

Planning is essential to any endeavor be it a personal, professional or business one. By engaging in planning through the application of critical thinking skills and self leadership, resources are allocated in the most efficient and effective manner. Yet there comes a time to stop with the planning and take action.  Unfortunately what happens all too often is planning becomes leadership procrastination.

leadership-procrastinationThis turn of event is quite evident within larger organizations and especially government or not for profits.  How often do we read of leadership forming another committee to address a particular issue and plan in how to turn that usually negative issue around?

Here in Northwest IN, I have lost count of the committees formed during the last 20 years and the plans drawn up to address education, lack of qualified workers to economic growth.  Yet our region still lacks quality education based on graduation rates and post secondary attendance.  This continues to create a lack of qualified and skilled workers.  As to economic growth, last year the U.S. economy grew around 3.2%, Indiana at a higher rate of 4.7% and Northwest IN at a dismal rate of .3%.  (Source: IU Kelly School of Business Annual Round Table). So how is all that planning working for at least Northwest Indiana?

Here is where leadership continues through planning aka procrastination “to kick the can down the road.”  We will have the “dog and pony shows” of committees being formed recommendations being made and wait for the next group of leaders to take real action. Of course, the next group of real leaders are just the leaders in waiting trained by the existing leaders.

In business, leadership procrastination is one of the major obstacles to just getting things done.  How often have I heard “Yes it’s on my to do list (plan), but I need to take care of this stuff first.”  And the to do list continues to grow along with the procrastination.

Another symptom of leadership procrastination is consensus.  Have you heard or read about during a planning session of “We must get everyone on board. This will take time.”

Really?  What about finding those who don’t want to be on board, learning why and if it their reasons are personal and selfish, then get rid of them. Margaret Thatcher said “Consensus is the absence of leadership.”  She was right because authentic leaders know not everyone will agree.

Leadership procrastination hides behind planning and other false leadership behaviors.  Believe it or not, someone must take action even if it is the wrong action and requires a revision to the plan.  Things happen as they say that are beyond even the best thought out personal to strategic plans.

Ask yourself today are you really committed to taking action or are you hiding behind planning as inexcusable leadership procrastination?

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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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Self Leadership Thrives on Autonomy Not Control

Have you heard about the Self-Determination Theory (SDT)?  This theory is about an intrinsic psychological motivation need that all humans have.  When we begin to peel away this theory, we can see autonomy is inherent to self leadership.

self-leadershipThe SDT defines autonomy as being able to make a choice.  I disagree with a recent posting by Seth Godin in which he stated “Human beings thrive on the quest for total control.”  No human beings thrive on being able to make a choice which is quite different than being in control.

Self leadership is all about making choices because if you cannot make good choices for yourself, then how can you expect others to follow the choices you made?  This is like if you jumped off a bridge do you expect those behind you to follow? Control is the end result of that choice we made through our decision making process.

As leaders we can selectively choose to be independent, go our own way, to choose to be dependent, go with others.  This choice is based upon our own feelings, our own experiences, our own critical thinking skills, our own knowledge and our existing relationships with those around us. Risk taking is the opposite of being in control and is another outcome of autonomy.

Until we can appreciate this strong innate motivational drive of being autonomous, we may become easily mislead when other experts make statements such as what Godin made.  The key word here is thrive.  We thrive on choices and control is the result of a choice we make.


There is very little in life we can control.  In fact most people invest far more of their time focusing on what they cannot control than what they can control or influence.

Those with high self leadership talents understand how to use their talents to thrive by making choices to better themselves (Mastery within the SDT) and to relate to others (Purpose within the SDT).  When we boil everything down, the ability to make a choice is far more related to the clarity of our decision making process than attempting to be in control.

In life there is a lot of we cannot control.  Sometimes we allow our egos to think we are in control.  Yet, an unexpected event happens for good or for bad and we are caught off guard.  Maybe this is why some think we thrive on being in control.

Yes the ability to be autonomous, to make a choice can be very intimidating.  This intimidation may be restrict the potential self leadership that resides within all of us. We cannot allow that intimidation that may be viewed as fear from keeping our innate motivational drivers from moving us forward. S

Self leadership is behind most of today’s advances in business and in life.  By understanding each of us thrives on autonomy, making a choice, will allow us to continue the advances we have seen in the last 100 plus years.

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

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The Inherent Value of a Simple Action Plan to Increase Sales

Most people understand the value of a simple written grocery list.  Just imagine if those who make a living selling would adopt the same attitude by having a simple written action plan to increase sales?

action-plan-to-increase-salesThe question then is what would be included in such a written list?

Given that individuals can be quickly pulled in many different directions, my sense is this simple action plan to increase sales include:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Current yearly mission
  • Tag line

By having these focus on these four areas reaffirms crystal clarity and consistency as to how the salesperson will behave; where the sales person is going; what will measure current efforts and what will be said to quickly attract attention.

Now the rest of the action plan to increase sales is probably up to each salesperson.  For me, since I believe in balance, I would construct the action plan to reflect the 6 areas within sales leadership success.

  • Time Management
  • Productivity
  • Self Leadership
  • Self Directed Learning
  • Mentor/Coaches
  • Sales Skills

When salespeople only focus on sales goals or productivity, they may create an internal unbalance specific to the other areas of sales.  For example, the real estate industry commissioned a report, The Danger Report, which discussed critical dangerous trends facing realtors both residential and commercial. Yet, I have yet to find one residential real estate agent who has read it. Staying ahead of the any industry is necessary for those in self-leadership roles (one must first lead one’s self before leading others).

Self directed learning is also part of consistent sales growth.  Each day I quickly review close to 25 news sources/feeds.  From these I have the ability to forward them, if relevant,  to clients or even sales leads. This self-directed learning is not only beneficial for my professional growth, it has grown sales both directly and indirectly.

No action plan to increase sales will work without written goals and a proven goal setting worksheet. The action plan just captures the goals for the current month, quarter or year depending upon the salesperson.

Some in sales fail to understand the importance of adopting a proven goal setting process reinforced by a proven goal setting worksheet or tool. Then what happens is they may give up the action plan to increase sales to worse yet believing any action plan won’t work.

After 18 years in small business coaching, sales consulting and talent management executive coaching along with over 30 years in corporate sales, not having a written action plan to increase sales is foolhardy.  If you disagree, just remember the last time you went to the grocery store without that written list, what happened?

P.S. Take a look at this one page action plan to increase sales.

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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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There Is More to Empowerment than Many Realize

For the last 10 years or so, the word empowerment has received a lot of attention. This morning I read this quote:

empowerment“The  leader is a team builder who empowers individuals in the organization and passionately “lives the vision”--Burt Nanus

Yet how can a forward thinking leader empower anyone secure with the knowledge he or she will passionately live the vision?

What would happen if we as Marcel Proust said “look at the same landscape with different eyes?”

To empower someone suggests the person has the capacity to take whatever action necessary.  Business research continues to suggest the lack of leadership or better yer the lack of self leadership (leading ones self) is missing in many employees.

True empowerment comes after the development of self leadership skills.  When individuals can lead themselves, then and only then can they lead others as well as live the vision.

Leadership development is essential and should begin in junior high.  Here is where young people can learn and practice the skills of:

Even if beginning in junior high is not possible, then no later at the senior level in high school or for sure by college.

Years ago self leadership developed almost effortlessly because the agrarian culture demanded it.  As the country transitioned to industrial and now a technology economy, those “natural leadership traits” began to vanish.

Empowerment is a great word and makes a good organization better provided the individuals truly have the necessary self leadership development.


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