Posts Tagged ‘values statement’
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.
Fog 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.Share on Facebook
Why are we here right now?
What makes us unique as individuals?
Our purpose changes because our lives change.
The purpose of a baby is to:
- And dirty diapers
As the child grows, her or his purpose changes with age.
Young people have the purpose to explore their individuality while later on its to find a career.
Then objective changes again with having a family to sending children off on their own success path.
Finally, for many in their later years, their reason to exist revolves around their grandchildren to great grandchildren.
What I have discovered is until individuals have invested the time to answer “Why am I here?” answering other equally important questions becomes even more difficult. Questions such as:
- Where am I going? – Vision statement
- How will I get there? – Mission statement (current)
- What behaviors will I demonstrate 24/7? – Values statement
To understand who we are requires knowing our:
- Decision making styles
- Levels of temperament
- Attributes or talents
By having clarity, we then can begin to craft our purpose hiding behind all the experiences of our lifetime.
Our purpose has always been there.
It is like a fine thread weaving its self through the tapestries of our lives.
The challenge is the lack of clarity has obscured why we are where are right here and now.
We get so caught up in the day to day activities of life we fail to reflect, to invest the time to think about ourselves and what we truly bring to the table of life.
We unfortunately sometimes embrace what others have told us and not what is necessarily true.
When we can identify those unique gifts, we just may be surprised that many of those gifts really are our core values such as:
Crafting our own purpose statement is not an easy or quick activity. I reflected many hours as to a common link or theme that was present in the past years of my life. Taking up this challenge and completing it was probably one of the most fulfilling experiences I had ever experienced.
“My purpose on this earth is to be a trailblazer (a.k.a. heurist). One who unites the gifts of caring, creativity, curiosity, determination, faith, intelligence, intuition, patience, reflection, risk taker and thoughtfulness.”
April 28, 2002
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Our behaviors are what others see. Those behaviors begin with thought leadership where we have intentional thoughts about how to behave. Those intentional thoughts are directly connected to our own accountability because thought leadership unites self leadership with leadership.
Accountability or better yet personal accountability is:
The ability to be responsible for the consequences of one’s own decisions and actions; taking responsibility for these decisions, and not shifting focus on blame or poor performance somewhere else, or on others. (Source Innermetrix Attribute Index)
One of the most common thought leadership and accountability challenges is to not allow unintentional thoughts or those thoughts that drive conditioned behavior. This challenge is difficult because we are literally working against ourselves, our own minds. Conditioned behavior is an automatic, unconscious decision where no conscious thinking is involved.
Proactive thinking (conscious thinking) is not easy as our existing conditioned behaviors have created reactive thinking. Then place some emotions into the behavior bag and potentially watch a fireworks explosion.
As human behavior can be inconsistent, by having invested the time to create and commit one’s personal values to writing may help to overcome inconsistent behaviors while reinforcing thought leadership and accountability. Many businesses have values statement and yet doesn’t not make sense for individuals to also have their own?
Additionally, a values statement can replace some of the reactive, restrictive unconscious behavior with proactive habits of thoughts. If an individual has a key value of respect within his or her value statement and repeats that value statement daily, a new behavior will be created. Eventually it will drive unconscious proactive conditioned behavior.
Emotional intelligence also works with thought leadership and accountability. Since emotional intelligence is recognizing and understanding our own emotions, this allows us to become more intentional and less ego driven. We cannot blame others for when things do not go well.
In business leadership, the ability to lead one’s self and then lead others is an ongoing 24/7 process. Understanding how to connect internal thoughts and decisions (self leadership) with external thoughts and the results of those decisions (leadership) will always separate the exceptional leaders in business and in life from the less than exceptional ones.Share on Facebook
Small business people never cease to amaze me with their “Red, Red, Whine” melodies. From not having enough sales to having difficult employees to demanding clients, the melodious notes fill the air. So much time is wasted whining and not taking positive, forward action because whining is so much more productive.
I Can’t Get No Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones with the familiar line of “‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.” Well stop trying and start doing.
- Get out of your office
- Pick up the phone
- Stop hiding behind your keyboard wishing for sales leads to magically end up at your front door.
Respect by Aretha Franklin sang about just wanting “a little respect.”
- Respect is earned and not given
- Your employees and clients must believe you respect them first before you can ask for their respect
- Revisit your values statement and make sure everyone understand your business ethics
Red, Red Wine by Neil Diamond is a song about forgetting and clearing up the mind with a little help from a fermented spirit.
- Small business owners need to let go of what may have worked in the past and does not work today
- Expecting new results from doing old behaviors in an every changing world is just plain ridiculous
Shout by the Beatles is about taking jumping up and taking action.
- Shout about the good instead of the bad
- Shout out about your clients, colleagues (a.k.a. make sales referrals) instead of continually shouting or pitching your own small business
Maybe now is the time to find your own small business melody that does not reflect whining, but rather sends an uplifting message to you and your shareholders. By the way, as you read these melodies, please feel free to add your own in the comment section.Share on Facebook
Many look to various ways to be inspired such as a Ted Talk, a motivational quote or a compelling human story. The thought of ethics especially business ethics or corporate ethics to be inspiring might be considered just the opposite.
We witness all the less than honest organizations by this indictment or investigation.
We hear and see all the bad business ethics or corporate ethics and this dims the ability to be inspired by all the good.
Let us not forget the word ethics is Greek in its origin and is from the word “ethos” meaning character.
The majority of our small businesses to large organizations are lead by individuals with good character.
However, good character does not make the 6 o’clock news or for a compelling media headline.
For me having a strong values statement inspires me far more than my personal or business vision statement or current mission statement.
By living in congruency with my values statement, it is far easier to be inspired by doing the right thing than doing the wrong thing or taking a short cut just to earn a few extra bucks to get closer to that vision statement and mission statement.
Yes, business ethics or corporate ethics are indeed quite inspirational for forward thinking leaders who see beyond what others see.
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With much of today’s small business especially marketing being conducted through inbound channels, there is now greater movement toward social media and emotional intelligence. The challenge is many in small business are stumbling because they lack awareness of both social media and emotional intelligence.
Social media is an inbound marketing channel that drives sales leads as well as customers to your website. This marketing activity builds your own credibility in your marketplace. The good news is social media is essentially free except for the time invested as well as the cost of having and maintaining a website.
A simple definition of emotional intelligence is:
- Recognizing the emotions of others and yourself
- Understanding those separate emotions
- Managing all of those emotions
The more successful you are in recognizing, understand and managing the higher your emotional intelligence is.
Social media by its very nature involves people because robots are not making those postings. There are emotions present in the various social media streams or channels such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
How you as a small business person or sales professional react to this new way of marketing for business growth starts with small steps.
First, step is observation. Before jumping into social media and emotional intelligence, observe what is being said to being written.
Next, identify words that may create unnecessary friction such as name calling or making any presumptions about the other person. Also words like “need” may be considered judgmental by your target audience.
Third, review your own business ethics or values statement within your strategic action plan. If you do not have one, then your first step is to construct one. All social media interactions should reflect the business ethics within your values statement.
Fourth, embrace the 3 filter test as suggested by Socrates:
- Is what I say or write kind?
- Is what I say or write truthful?
- Is what I say or write necessary?
Fifth, after your social interaction, actively listen with your eyes to the response.
Sixth, respond accordingly while acknowledging and appreciating the emotional intelligence interaction. Thanking people for sharing posts and making comments on your posts are small behaviors that are quite noticeable by others.
Finally, if the social media interaction is headed down a deep black hole, leave that particular stream.
These seven small steps will help you in your social media and emotional intelligence efforts.
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Maybe I am the Lone Ranger, but I do occasionally receive those LinkedIn invitations that generate a very loud, internal “what do I do?” groan.
“Oh hell, not him or her.
I knew eventually he or she would make outreach to me, it was just a matter of time.”
Then my brain continues:
“If I accept this LinkedIn invitation, I just gave him or her access to my extensive list of contacts (over 1,800).
The last time we spoke, he or she did not even give me the time of day and now wants to be connected to my network.
This individual is arrogant and this is why I have not asked him or her to be part of my LinkedIn community.”
Next I hear my heart questioning my business ethics and values statement:
“Are you being true to your positive core values?
By not accepting this LinkedIn invitation, will you be in violation of your values statement?
By accepting this invitation are you giving approval to this person’s professionalism?”
Finally my hand takes action.
His or her name is recorded on my LinkedIn activity excel file with the words “Ignore” and the date.
Then I move the cursor over the LinkedIn invitation and click on “Ignore.”
Now the brain returns:
“Anyway, the individual did not even have enough marketing sense to issue a personal invitation and instead sent the generic one.”
The heart chimes in one last time:
“Hmm, good decision and good riddance!”
The hand ends the conversation:
“Time to move onto the next task.”
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For the last several years I have captured a lot of data from people regarding their greatest leadership challenge. From their responses, the number one problem continues to be execution.
For example, employees may not want to execute because the specific actions may violate the organization’s values statement to their own personal ethics and beliefs.
Or possibly being associated with one or more than one employees in leadership roles could be considered guilt by association or toxic to that employee’s future within the organization.
Then again, maybe the execution is flawed and no one wants to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Again, this does suggest a high level of toxicity.
After surveying thousands of people including small business owners and salespeople, I know that business action plans (strategic plans) are toxic compared to written grocery lists. People employ written grocery lists all the time and know what happens to execution when they fail to bring those delineated lists to the grocery store.
Yet 95% or more of these same individuals do not have written action plans for their small businesses, their professional or personal lives. These folks understand the inherent value within making a list and so this does suggest business action plans are toxic because small business owners to sales professionals appear to avoid them like the plague.
Flawless execution begins with the basics of knowing:
- Why you are in business?
- What do you do in business
- Who do you do business with?
- How do you do what you do and with whom?
- When do you do what you do and with whom?
- Where do you do what you do?
If you want to remove this leadership challenge of execution, then begin by answering with complete crystal clarity the previous six questions. By taking this action should begin to remove some of the toxicity associated with execution.
Fail Safe Leadership is a great book and in under 150 pages may help you turn execution from being toxic to being flawless.Share on Facebook
Many when thinking of the word congruency return to their days of geometry and congruent triangles where both triangles have exactly the same 3 angles and the same 3 sides. Yet for those in business leaders, the answer to the question of “what does congruency mean?” is somewhat different. The word congruent is an adjective and is from the world congruence. Further discovery leads us to the word congruous meaning “being in agreement or harmony.” (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary)
“What does congruency mean?” for me the answer returns to one’s overall ethics and character. When those in business leadership roles (meaning everyone) are in agreement with their core positive values, then there is congruency. Of course, when business leaders are not behaving in alignment with their own internal moral codes and accepted business ethics there is a lack of said agreement.
Every day we can observe the answer to this question of “what does congruency mean?” by watching the news or reading the newspapers. This politician or that business leader is being charged with breaking the law. And most importantly their greatest crime is breaking the trust of those around them along with creating much disharmony and disagreement.
Business ethics are critically important for any who wish to have sustainable business growth. And being able to answer this question of “What does congruency mean?” is essential to maintaining high and consistent business leadership.
So what are your business ethics? If you have not invested the time to create a shared values statement for your business be it a small business or large one, that is probably your first step to discovering harmony within your organization.
P.S. For additional reading about business ethics, my weekly business columns for the Sun Times/Post Tribune during the month of November, 2013 have focused on this essential business leadership trait.Share on Facebook
Do you have personal sales ethics?
Can you quickly state those core sales ethics when asked?
What happens when your personal sales ethics collide with your employer’s business ethics?
To answer the last question requires you as a professional salesperson to take action on the first three questions.
Personal sales ethics may differ from the organization’s business ethics or what is consider by some to be a “Values Statement.”
Three of my core personal sales ethics are:
- Strategic thinking
- Proven processes and tools
These three core ethics or positive values along with my other values allow me to “just be valuable.” By demonstrating this “just be valuable” behavior to all I meet consistently reinforces my personal sales ethics. And yes I can quickly articulate these three personal sales ethics when asked.
As to answering that fourth question, personally for me working for a firm that is unethical or where there are ethical disagreements is not a viable way to earn a living especially in a world built upon personal relationships. I would be actively seeking a new position where my personal sales ethics and my future employer’s business ethics are in greater alignment.
P.S. This one page sales growth action plan includes a place for your personal sales ethics.
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