Posts Tagged ‘status quo’

Challenging the Sales Leadership of “We’ve Always Done It that Way”

How many times have you heard those in sales leadership roles when given a new way of thinking state something like “We’ve always done it that way?”  This tunnel vision thinking fails to move the individual, the team, the organization and even the customers forward toward even greater success.

Those involved in continuous improvement hear this statement or something similar to this statement numerous times.  For example, a chair is in the corner of a room and has been there for years.  When asked why is the chair there, the answer is “because it has always been there.” The chair serves no purpose except requiring cleaning people to move it to dust and clean around it.

I remember a story about a young woman who questioned her mother why her mother cut the ends off a roast. The response was because that was what grandmother did.  The young woman asked her grandmother the same question.  Grandmother’s answer was to get the roast to fit into the pan.

“We’ve always done it that way” is being heard more in SMB sales leadership than ever before. This statement becomes a fallback position of complacency.

With greater emphasis on content marketing, social media marketing and changes in the buying decision making process, how the sales process is implemented may require minor as well as some major tweaks.  Yet, reluctance to let go of the status quo by many in sales leadership roles is still very much present.

Last night I heard a compelling presentation about how a local airport could be a dazzling economic gem. Beyond what appears to be considerable mismanagement, there also appeared to be an attitude of “we’ve always done it that way.”

For anyone in any sales leadership role including those on the sales team as well as all employees within the organization to be satisfied with the status quo of “We’ve always done it that way,” limits everyone within that organization. Human beings are designed to change.  Organizations are created by human beings.  Efficient and effective change is required to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business marketplace.

The questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you willing to be that change? – Your decision
  • What do you need to do to be that change? – Your critical thinking skills
  • How will you go about to ensure the change is positive and sustainable? – Your ability to execute
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A Human Malady: The Status Quo of Achievement

Many people continually strive to change the status quo.  Then once they reach whatever they want to achieve, receive their accolades, they stop.  I was reminded of this when listening to Coach Lou Holtz give a commencement speech and he shared his greatest mistake.

Listen to Lou Holtz speech

Status Quo  of Satisfaction

We observe this in sales.  For those who meet sales goals, they suddenly become satisfied and stop prospecting.  Coasting now becomes the observable behavior and translates into complacency.”Why sell more?” becomes the rationale question to justify this coasting behavior. Continued achievement will give them no more in sales compensation.

How about with personal or professional development?  People reach a level of achievement and stop learning.

status-quoWe see this by the number of books people read or don’t read. Are you one of the 42% of U.S. college grads who never read another book after graduation?

The world is changing minute by minute because of technology through connectivity and innovation.  Artificial intelligence (AI) along with robots are here not to mention all the other scientific inroads.

When we find satisfaction with the status quo, we are not growing. We are not moving forward.

My father and his family were immigrants into this country.  All three of his brothers until they died had a tower of books to read.  The older two brothers along with my father died before computers became part of every day life. However the third brother used the Internet on a daily basis to find answers to his questions.

Each year I draft a personal improvement plan that includes 100 hours of off site professional development.  This year I will be learning about real estate as a recent move has made me realize I know very little about land and real estate.

My own personal and professional development includes reading at least 1 hour every day.  This is not difficult to do given how many articles I read along with professional publications, blogs, newspapers, etc.

The status quo of achievement is indeed a human malady and translates into a barrier to continued any success be it sales, leadership or even health. Once we realize we must look to always challenge the status quo, we can indeed understand life is truly about moving forward, seeking that next level of achievement.

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Forward Thinking Leaders Are Not Satisfied with the Status Quo

What separates good from great small businesses?  I think the answer is fairly simple – Forward Thinking Leaders.

forward-thinking-leadersMany business consultants write volumes and volumes about what makes a great business.  However at the end of the day, those companies that are ahead of the flow are led by forward thinking leaders.  Steve Jobs was one such person.

Many mid-size to small businesses that drive the daily local to state economies are also headed by individuals who think ahead, who are not satisfied with the status quo. These entrepreneurs continually ask themselves “How can we be better?” to “What more can we do with the resources we have?”

These forward thinking leaders push everyone around them to be better. They create environments that encourage risk taking because they know with change happening at the speed of light staying with the status quo may mean financial doom.

Possibly, another reason why these individuals push the status quo is because the Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is very evident.  By having mastery, autonomy and purpose, these individuals know how to motivate themselves and then motivate others.

Of course some small business owners start out as forward thinking and then the daily grind bogs them down. They become meshed IN the day to day operations of their small businesses and fail to invest the time to work ON the business.  Over time, their once abundance mindset has evolved into a scarcity mindset that allows the status quo to remain unchallenged.

Being satisfied is the human condition, the fallback position.  Wanting more for one’s self, for others, is where forward thinking leaders excel. And the very best part, is each of us can be satisfied with the status quo or decide we want more.  History has shown those who want more bring new innovation into the workplace and into the economy.

Yes Margaret there will always be a better way to build a mousetrap.

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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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Challenging Windmills Should We or Should We Not as Leaders?

People are strange creatures.  We are told to mind our own business and yet if embrace this attitude are we losing opportunities to challenge the status quo?  Yes sometimes challenging windmills (the status quo) is foolish and yet at other times maybe worth the involvement.

challenging-windmillsYesterday I challenged a woman who left her shopping cart in a disable parking space and she was only two parking spaces from the cart corral.  She was physically able as she brought the cart to her car.

So in returning my cart, I grabbed hers and made a comment (somewhat sarcastically yet with a smile) about how she obviously could not return the cart and apparently had no respect for disabled people. I then told her I would take her cart and return it to where it belonged.

This woman (I will not use the term lady) who was anywhere from 15 to 20 years younger than myself immediately jumped out of the car and hurried toward me screaming “no one talks to me like that and I can leave my cart any damn place I want.”  So I said “What are you going to do hit me?” She then continued on a tirade of profanities and insults with one including I was uneducated.  My reply was “Obviously better educated than you given your vocabulary and grammar.”

Then she returned to her car, pulled her car behind my car and continued with her diatribe. I smiled at her and told her to have a great day.  Did you ever notice that when you are nice to unhappy people they become even more unhappy?

I am reminded of Edmund Burke’s quote about “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Possibly challenging windmills be it leaving carts in parking spaces to other daily bad behaviors is our responsibility as leaders. 

Growing up whether it was in our local neighborhood or when I visited the family farm in Northern Wisconsin, I was always reminded about my bad behavior because people were not afraid to tell my parents or grandparents if I misbehaved.  Even in our local neighborhood, my daughter knew the neighbors would tell if she was misbehaving.

Have we become so fearful of being judgmental that we fail to take on challenging windmills we see around us?  Of course, we must still be respectful.  I did not yell at the lazy woman nor indicated any violence other than a rather sharp verbal comment.

My sense is as leaders we have an obligation to challenge the status quo, to respectfully call people out when they misbehave.  Of course our interactions may only change one person’s behavior out of 100 and maybe that one person may later change another’s.

Challenging windmills can be risky and we must balance the pros with the cons for our own safety. Yet to take no action reflects our own leadership skills and suggests we are content with the status quo.

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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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Courage Required to Buck the Status Quo

Funny thing about business and life, so many want to buck the status quo and yet far fewer appear to have the courage. One of my colleagues in a community discussion about the proliferation of self promotion within LinkedIn discussion groups asked this two-fold question:

buck-the-status-quo

  1.  Why don’t they (those who are bemoaning all the self promotion)  make their opinions known by commenting their displeasure?
  2. Why aren’t they (those who are bemoaning all the self promotion) commenting on those posts they like?

For question #1, my answer is it takes courage to buck the status quo. By putting oneself out there in social media especially on well traveled sites such as LinkedIn, potentially sets people up as targets.

For question #2, it takes a commitment to the consequences to turn the tide of the status quo. This commitment is a direct reflection of one’s consistency to his or her business ethics.

In business, people remain silent because they do not want to offend any potential customers or clients. Talking about politics, religion or calling people out professionally (and with emotional intelligence) “on the carpet” is “bad for business.” We are told not to judge and not to be judgmental because that is “bad.” And then we as business people scratch our heads when “things go south.”

In another discussion group I was called insane (and not in a nice, humorous way) because I wrote the use profanity suggested a lack of professionalism and a limited vocabulary. The limited vocabulary might also suggest limited critical thinking skills. The English language is deep with words that can be easily substituted for “foul” language especially in a public forum.

What was interesting to observe was all the “likes” I received for my comment.  My response to the person who called me insane was “Interesting, you may be right.”

One of my favorite stories is the Emperor’s New Clothes. The Emperor is the status quo and until we as citizens, business professionals and small business owners  have the courage to shout out “The emperor is naked!” we will continue to be mired in the same status quo.

buck-the-status-quo

The question we must ask ourselves is also two-fold:

  1. Do I have the initial courage to buck the status quo?

  2. Am I willing to suffer the consequences from bucking the status quo?

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Inspiration Challenges Our Status Quo

Sundays are considered by some a day of solitude, of self- reflection, of inspiration. This is a day to unwind and take time to think about one’s life, the current status quo.

inspirationFor some including myself that self-reflection comes from attending church.  Each Sunday, my pastor in his 10-12 minute homily makes the Gospel relevant to today’s events. His words frequently inspire me to think differently about my current status quo as a Lutheran as well as an individual.

Inspiration is not as illusive as some may think.  What is required is allowing our minds to be quiet and open to new thoughts.

These new thoughts in many instances challenge the current status quo of our lives.  Of course, we must decide if we are going to take action. Then we may be left with these questions:

  • Are the efforts we are about to undertake worth the perceived risk and uncertainty?
  • What happens if I fail?
  • Is this the right course of action?

Sometimes the status quo must be left in its current state for a variety of reasons. Other times we have the ability through some inspiring thought or with the assistance of another to challenge the status quo and to move forward in our lives.

Our minds with their thousands of daily thoughts can find daily inspiration. All we must do is to be willing to listen and then determine if we truly want that desirable yet unknown change.

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To Change How Much Risk Are You Willing to Take?

Changing our behaviors, our beliefs, requires us to take risks.  Some of those risks are minimal while other push us to our own personal endurance.

riskWe hear about extreme athletes who challenge their own physical limits. They are in a continued state of risk taking between the environment and knowing what their bodies and minds can endure.

Risks go beyond the physical dangers and extend into mental, emotional, financial  and even spiritual areas of individuals.

With the passing of the 4th of July here in the US, we are reminded of our Founding Fathers, 56 men,  who signed the Declaration of Independence.  All of these individuals put their lives on the line along with the lives of their families and probably some of their friends.

Weekly we hear about men and women who place themselves in danger to help others.  Sometimes we are not surprised because these individuals are in the military or in civil roles such as policemen or firemen. Then at other times, these risk-takers are average citizens who are just helping out other average citizens.

The challenge we all face is our brains fight change because change requires additional energy consumption and it is much easier to stay the status quo.  Human beings are creatures of conditioning. This conditioned behavior works to allow us to be more efficient yet works against use when we realize we want something else.

To leave the current status quo requires asking this question:

To change how much risk are you willing to take?

No one else can answer that question, only you and you alone.

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The I Don’t Have Time Road to Mediocrity

Can we agree on these two facts?I don't have time

  1. Being busy has always been part of human progression
  2. Time has always been the same constant of  60 minutes per hour; 24 hours per day

So then how did mankind get to where mankind is if everyone was always so busy?

The answer is those individuals did not use the excuse of “I don’t have time.”

What those forward thinking individuals did was to better utilize their talents, skills and experiences to do what they needed to do.

The invested the time for reflection, for thinking of a better way to do something, to get to where they wanted to be.

If you are unhappy with the status quo, the current road you are traveling, you have 100% control over changing the direction of that road.

You will carve out the time you need because you do not want to continue with the current mediocrity.

If you know you can do better, why aren’t you doing it?

And if you think your fellow co-workers, colleagues, friends and families have any sympathy for you think again.

They are probably turned off by your complaining about “I don’t have time” and wishing you would do what you need to do.

 

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How Can You Challenge the Status Quo?

To challenge the status quo means understanding everything involved with the word “challenge.”  In this context, the word challenge means to dare or better yet to defy something and in this case that something is the status quo.

status-quoThen of course your status quo must be also defined because each of us have a different status quo.

Sometimes it helps to answer this simple and not easy question:

Are you where you want to be?

If you are not where you want to be, then where are you?

Looking are the different aspects of your personal life, where are you right now respective to the 8 areas of life balance:

  • Purpose and Ethics & Beliefs (Spirituality)
  • Mental and Physical
  • Family and Social
  • Career and Financial

Through a self assessment of the 8 areas of life balance you begin to define your own status quo through your own emotional happiness and satisfaction. This process brings greater clarity to how you challenge the status quo.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  These Personal-Sales-Wheels may help you.

Having a written action plan supported by SMART goals also supports your defiance of the status quo. Through this process you will be applying critical thinking skills that your brain may internally fight because the brain wants conditioned behavior.  Thinking requires energy and our brains want to conserve all energy for those flight or fight moments.

Then again another behavior change or personal growth strategy is to think about what you do well and then apply what you do well to defying the status quo. Unfortunately most people from my experience do not know what they do well and waste precious resources of time, energy, money and emotions by focusing on weaknesses or turning non-talents into weaknesses. Sales Training  Coaching Tip: This talent assessment may also be of some assistance to you in your efforts to challenge the status quo.

Challenging the status quo can be achieved provided you have the correct mindset reinforced by proven tools.  In the words of Henry Ford:

If you think you can or you think you cannot, either way you are right.

 

 

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So What’s Your Status Quo?

The status quo is for many a comfortable place to be much like wearing that 20 year old, frayed sweater or sitting in that favorite chair.

status-quoFor it doesn’t require any critical thinking, any reflection, really any doing.

You know every time you wear or sit in the status quo it provides feelings of comfort and security.

Yet in reality the status quo provides false feelings and puts you in the land of nothingness where behavior change never happens.

This state of being works with the human brain because less energy is consumed allowing the brain to conserve all that that extra energy for fight or flight moments.

So, what’s you status quo?

  • Your current job even though 83% of American employees will be actively pursuing new jobs in 2014 (Source: Right Management)
  • Your current financial debt position (Credit card = $15,279; Mortgage debt = $149,456; Student loan debt = $32,140; Source: Federal Reserve)
  • Your current health  where only one in three on average US citizens are within normal BMI range (Source: Gallup)

Do you really want to be in the same place you are right now next year?

What do you need to do to change the status quo?

  • If you are thinking, what I have tried hasn’t worked then did you try 1,000 times? 3000 times? 10,000 times? (Edison failed 10,000 times before his success with the light bulb.)
  • If you are thinking, I’m too busy then is your time different than everyone else who has 24 hours in every day?
  • If you are thinking, I don’t have time, then are you living with the child’s excuse of the “dog ate my homework?”

Of course you may not be thinking at all because those who continually live in the status quo do not invest the time to really think, but continue on their comfortable, well beaten path of daily, automatic behaviors, with only a very tiny light that burns a tiny fire to someday change the status quo.

Tomorrow’s posting may provide some suggestions for you to consider.

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