7 Behaviours That Put Your Leadership At Risk

Leadership often disintegrates through bad habits. Avoid these 7 deadly sins of leadership to get the next promotion.

Everyone wants to climb up the corporate ladder.

It seems the motivations of many lie in earning that next promotion. And after that? The next one.

As a Senior Executive at Dot Coach LLC I have seen many employees attempt to rise in the organization, and fail.

The reason?

I still don’t know.

But if someone knows it’s Monique Daigneault. Her flagship program Executive Influence gets executives promoted in record times by focusing on increasing their impact at work.

I got in contact with Monique and asked her to write a guest post to shed a light on why so many people fail to reach their full leadership potential.

I will leave it to Monique to explain…

Today’s workplace can be challenging, even dysfunctional, and many things may seem outside of your control – like climbing the corporate ladder.  Are you trying to be an effective leader, improve your skills, and get promoted amidst these roadblocks?  Did you know that you might be sabotaging your efforts with seven flawed behaviors?  Not only that, you may be contributing to the challenges and dysfunctions of your organization.  The good news is that not all is lost – you have more control over your career path than you think!

The Seven Deadly Habits

While I shed some light on these dysfunctional behaviors try to see if any of them resonate with you. 

Black or White Thinking: This is an ‘and/or’ mentality that represents inflexible thinking.  Something must be either one way or another and there is no in between.  Thinking in this way makes it difficult to collaborate, brainstorm, give and receive feedback, and think outside of the box.

Thinking the Worst:  If you frequently think the worst you are automatically setting yourself and your team up for failure.  This type of thinking is demotivating and will instantly impact your business goals in a negative way.

Mind Reading:  If you think you know what someone else is thinking, what they will say, or what they will do next you are mind reading.  This causes faulty communication and stifles otherwise productive conversations.

Should / Must Statements:  Here are some examples of this type of dysfunctional behavior: “We have to do it this way, this is how we’ve always done it.”  Or “You should go to the business event otherwise people will think you’re being rude”.  Use caution before using the words “should, must, have to” and the like. 

Emotional Reasoning:  This is the act of justifying – your behavior or the behavior of another.  There is a difference between explaining and justifying.  Explaining is about relaying the facts and taking accountability during the explanation.  Emotional reasoning, or justifying, is about trying to get yourself or someone else off the hook.

Filtering:  The behavior of sifting through all the information and focusing only on the negative is called filtering.  There may be plenty of positive information or feedback but if you are in the habit of landing on the negative then you’re filtering.  This will devastate self-esteem and motivation.

Jumping to Conclusions:  Similar to mind reading, jumping to conclusions is about thinking that you know the future outcome.  However, when you’re mind reading you are focused on someone else and what they might say or do next.  Jumping to conclusions usually happens when you are trying to predict the outcome of a situation. 

The Risk You’re Taking

Many of these dysfunctional behaviors are related and you might be using several within the same situation.  If they aren’t addressed your leadership is at risk and so is your career trajectory – here’s why.  Your behavior is modeled in front of your team, the team inadvertently picks up your subtle cues and starts modeling the same behavior throughout the rest of the organization.  To add to the dysfunction – other teams and leaders start acting the same way and there you have it…. you’ve successfully contributed to the challenges and dysfunction of your own organization.  Here are the final outcomes of that organization-wide behavior:  low self-confidence, defensiveness, poor negotiation skills, high stress, lack of executive presence, low productivity, conflict, bias, customer complaints, poor relationships, lost sales.  And there goes that next promotion.   

Strategies to Get on Track

You can, however, mitigate the risk of this toxicity by improving your cognitive agility.  Cognitive agility is the ability to pay attention to your thoughts and be aware of any sabotaging patterns.  You can successfully derail wasted thoughts, choose your thoughts with a process called selective thinking, and increase emotional discipline. 

As a leader, you can benefit from increased cognitive agility by overcoming automatic responses, being proactive rather than reactive, and having better focus during conversations.  Other benefits include enhanced problem-solving skills, greater executive presence when under pressure, and overall better management of emotions.  Your credibility as a leader will soar and so will your chances to fast track your career.

You can’t go wrong when improving cognitive agility and here are some strategies that will help.

Mindsight: This is an exercise in building awareness of your patterns.  Once you’re aware of your dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors you can then start recognizing them and take further action.

Cognitive Reframing: This is a process to help you shift perspectives and think outside of the box.  You will learn to imagine new outcomes, make subtle shifts in language, and manage your emotions in a healthier way. 

Putting Thoughts on Trial:  You will learn to question your own thoughts before you deem them accurate.  For example, before you say, “We have to do it this way”, you will think “Do we really have to do it this way, why?”  You will catch and question yourself before you act.

There are many challenges and roadblocks that you can’t control in the workplace, but you certainly can control your own thoughts and behaviors.  Improving cognitive agility will help eliminate dysfunctional behaviors that may be sabotaging your leadership and that next promotion. 


Monique Daigneault

Monique has achieved seven industry specific certifications, two business degrees, and a Master of Science in Industrial / Organizational Psychology.  She is a contributing author to the Random House best seller, Ophelia’s Mom.  The depth and breadth of Monique’s knowledge gives her a unique perspective into the development needs of senior leaders. 

Monique Daigneault, founder of MD Consulting, is a seasoned Executive Coach with over three decades of corporate and entrepreneurial experience.  Her flagship coaching and training program, Executive Influence, empowers senior leaders to become highly influential so they can increase team productivity, achieve goals, and fast track their career.

Originally from Michigan, Monique now resides in Arizona.  She has two adult daughters and four grandchildren.  As a former competitive bodybuilder Monique enjoys weightlifting, hiking, yoga, and Pilates.  She has accomplished nine tandem skydiving jumps across the United States.  Monique spends 25% of her time volunteering in Europe and China where she teaches Business English and business protocol to foreign business executives.  To connect with Monique on social media or to join her live webinar exclusively for senior leaders visit her at www.executiveinfluence.coach.

7 Failures of Business Growth

If you want to stand out in today’s marketplace, you must work smarter, not harder. This is easier said than done, however, as despite their best intentions, companies get snarled in the glaring failures that derail business growth and stagnate profits.

In order for you to avoid these failures, you have to be aware of the most common ones and the strategies for combating them. The following will help you turn failure into success.

1. FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE

Most companies react to change as it occurs. You must anticipate and plan for future changes. You can anticipate a great deal in your industry. For example, are automobiles of the future mostly going to be electric instead of gas? Many think so. Could automobiles hover like drones instead of drive on four wheels? Of course!

Instead of being a crisis manager and reacting to change, anticipate changes so you can drive growth from the inside out. Spend one hour a week focusing on predictable opportunities to strategize and become more of an opportunity management organization.

2. FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE
There is a difference between informing and communicating. Informing is one-way and static,  and seldom leads to action. Communicating is two-way and dynamic, and usually leads to action. We have these fantastic Communication Age tools but use them in an Information Age way. If you can’t communicate internally with your staff, how can you communicate externally to customers and shareholders? When you focus on maximizing two-way communication, you can create a Communication Age organization and accelerate positive change.

3. FAILURE TO COLLABORATE
The majority of people tend to cooperate, which is a lower-level function different from collaboration. Even though we often use the word “collaborate,” we frequently really just mean “cooperate.” Cooperation means, “I won’t get in your way if you won’t get in mine.” Such an approach produces results but certainly not outstanding results, because it’s based on a scarcity mentality.

Collaboration is instead based on abundance and gets competitors to work with you rather than against you. It occurs when we put our heads together and ask ourselves, “How can we create a bigger pie for everyone?”

4. FAILURE TO INNOVATE
When asked what their last big innovation was, most companies have to go back five or ten years to cite something meaningful, as the majority of companies innovate once, form a company around the innovation, and then let it ride. They stop innovating and instead spend a great deal of effort asking themselves how they can become more efficient by doing more with less, reducing overhead, and using technology better. You must ask yourself how you can use technology and staff to create new products and services to increase sales all around. Innovation fuels profitability and efficiency.

5. FAILURE TO PRE-SOLVE PROBLEMS
Always remember that a problem isn’t an opportunity in disguise; it is a problem! A problem is only an opportunity before it occurs, and most problems we experience are predictable. If you ask customers what they want and then give it to them, you’re missing the real opportunity. Instead, you need to think at a level higher and ask yourself and your customers, “What problems are we about to have?” Develop new solutions based on those answers and base your product development on your customer’s future problems

6. FAILURE TO DE-COMMODITIZE
Unfortunately, most companies come up with something new and make it their main product. Other companies copy the product, and then market saturation occurs. Try de-commoditizing your offering by taking your product and putting a service wrapper around it. For example, in the electricity industry, the utility provider cannot increase prices without permission from ratepayers. One electric company bypassed this limitation by creating what it calls “digital electricity.” They sold customers a product that, for a higher cost, prevented any fluctuation of voltage from occurring. Many big companies signed up for this more expensive service, and in the near future, homeowners with streaming devices will have a similar interest. This electric utility took a product and wrapped a service around it in order to de-commoditize.

7. FAILURE TO DIFFERENTIATE
Too many companies become just like everyone else. True strategic planning needs to be more than numbers based; it needs to focus on how you can differentiate your company and products from those of the competition. You differentiate by avoiding all the failure modes we’ve discussed that prevent business growth. You anticipate, communicate, collaborate, innovate, pre-problem solve, and de-commoditize. Become what your competition isn’t in order to differentiate.

BUSINESS SUCCESS IS ON YOUR HORIZON

When you know the failures to avoid and the strategies for combating them, you’ll be well on your way to learning from these failures, rethinking the way business is done, and creating an organization that continues to grow despite external factors.

NEXT STEP: Pick up your copy of The Anticipatory Organization to discover proven strategies to accelerate innovation and shape the future–before someone else does it for you!
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Micro Data Center Market : Investment Trends, Growth and Future Market Analysis by Regions!

A microdata center comprises of small and modular data center design that is used for eradicating different types of problems such as compute workload and do not require traditional workload for the completion of a task. It has been observed that the traditional server rooms are expensive and inefficient for the conservation of energy. Additionally, microdata centers are considered to be a cost-effective alternative and are economical that contributes towards rampant growth of micro data center market globally. Moreover, compatibility, flexibility, and portability of micro data centers enable them to promote just-in-time deployment that further paves way for the growth of the micro data center market across the globe.

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There are three types of rack size in the micro data center market that includes less than 25RU, 25RU – 50RU and more than 50RU. Among these segments, more than 50 RU rack size segment occupies the largest share in micro data center market since a large number of energy power savings helps the enterprises to significantly reduce the cost that is unattainable with the inclusion of traditional data center. It has been observed that large enterprises comprise of the data center with rack size above 50RU since they require storing a large amount of data and in a secure manner.

Traditional facilities for simplified workload, physical specifications, cost-effectiveness and self-containment are the key factors driving the growth of micro data center market, globally. It has been observed that the change in the needs of the data center depends upon the size of the enterprise, since large numbers of enterprises are adopting micro data centers because of the traditional facilities provided. Moreover, micro data center helps them to store data even in remote locations and simplifies the work load that cannot be handled by the traditional facilities.

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Geographically, North America dominates the micro data center market due to earlier advancements in the technology in this domain. Increasing adoption of I.T. sector in the region further plays a vital role for its increased adoption of the technology in the region. Furthermore, Asia-Pacific is anticipated to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period due to the newly developed I.T sector in China and India. Moreover, increasing demand for IT convergence and integration among the enterprises to ensure cost-effectiveness is further strengthening the growth of the micro data center market in this region.

Key players in microdata center market are investing towards the development of the latest technologies that are strengthening their position in the market. Furthermore, it has been observed that local players are depending upon new technology to develop cost efficiencies, thus increasing the rivalry in the market and help them in attaining competitive advantage. The key players in the micro data center market, globally include Advanced Facilities, Inc., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Allied Electronics Corporation Limited, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Development LP, Cannon Technologies Ltd., Eaton Corporation Plc, Delta Power Solutions, Hanley Energy, Chillmann, LLC., Hitachi, Ltd., Canovate Group, and Dataracks, Dell Inc. 

Geographical Segmentation
by Region
North America

  • U.S.A
  • Canada

Europe

  • Germany
  • U.K.
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Austria
  • Ukraine
  • Belgium
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Netherlands
  • Hungary
  • Switzerland
  • Russia
  • Rest of Europe

Asia-Pacific

  • China
  • India
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Indonesia
  • Rest of Asia-Pacific

Rest of the World

  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Chile
  • Argentina
  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Saudi Arabia
  • A.E
  • South Africa
  • Uruguay
  • Other Countries

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Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) market Growth | key Industry Players | Analysis | Forecasts to 2024

Global mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) market is anticipated to grow at 11.3% CAGR during the forecast period, reaching USD 113.1 billion by 2024. Extensive utilization of services and data concerning mobile devices that is live-streaming and commerce based is further accentuating the growth of MVNO market across the globe.There are several mobile network operators realizing significant investment from key players in order to progress and maintain prevailing infrastructure,which is the key factor driving the growth of the MVNO market, globally.Furthermore, increasing adoption of advanced devices along with enhancing the speed of the network is another factor that is pertaining towards the growth ofthe global MVNO market.

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Asia Pacific is projected to witness the fastest growth of during the forecast period since various emerging economies such as India, Myanmar, Vietnam, and China are emphasizing efforts towards the enlargement of telecommunication facilities and modernization. The rampant growth of telecommunications segment in this region is the major factor pertaining towards the growth of MVNO market. Increasing benefits of MVNO in healthcare domain along with rigorous provisions provided by MNO and favourable policies of the supervisor are expected to impact the growth of MVNO market in Asia-Pacific.

Key players operating in MNVO market are leveraging market growth through various mergers & acquisitions and collaboration of existing firms with several other enterprises that are helping the key players operating in MVNO industry to gain competitive advantage and hence provide improved services to its clients. 

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The key players operating in the global MVNO market include IBM Corporation, Appsee, Swrve, TUNE, Localytics, Amplitude, AppDynamics, Heap, AppsFlyer, Mixpanel, App Annie, Taplytics, Apptentive, Kochava, MOENGAGE, and CleverTap.

Global MVNO Market Coverage

Type Insight and Forecast 2014-2024

  • Discount
  • Media
  • Business
  • Retail
  • Roaming
  • Migrant
  • M2M
  • Telecom

Operation Model Insight and Forecast 2014-2024

  • Reseller MVNO
  • Full MVNO
  • Service Operator MVNO

End-Use Insight and Forecast 2014-2024

  • Consumer
  • Enterprise

Geographical Segmentation

MVNO Market by Region

North America

  • U.S.
  • Canada

Europe

  • Germany
  • France
  • U.K.
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Rest of Europe

Asia-Pacific

  • China
  • Australia
  • Japan
  • Rest of Asia-Pacific

Rest of the World

  • Brazil
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Other Countries

Gamification Market Size,Future Prospects, Opportunities and Competitive Analysis 2024

Global Gamification market is estimated to contribute revenue of USD 4.3 billion in 2017 and is further anticipated to witness a CAGR of 30.7% during the forecast period (2018 – 2024). Gamification technique is used by individuals for assimilating persistent game design for everyday operation basis in order to encourage and involve people in order to attain their objectives in an effective manner. On the basis of user type, gamification market is segmented into small and medium enterprises and large enterprises. Among these two segments, a small and medium enterprise is expected to witness faster growth of 35.4% during the forecast period. Gamification techniques are enabling the small and medium enterprises to re-evaluated the method that leads to producing results with the help of processes, people and technology.

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Geographically, North America has accounted for the largest share of more than 45% in 2017 and is further anticipated to witness considerable growth during the forecast period. The growth of this market in the region is attributed to the extensive adoption of enterprise-based and customer-based solution in this region. In order to aggravate the marketing activities of their organizations, countries such as the U.S. and Canada are rapidly adopting gamification technique with the use effective branding, advertising and customer interaction. These factors are thereby accentuating the demand for gamification market in this region.

Moreover, Asia-Pacific is expected to witness fastest growth in the gamification market due to increasing penetration of internet in this region along with extensive demand for mobile devices. The growth of this market in the region is expected to at a CAGR of more than 40% during the forecast period.

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The gamification market is consolidated and the key players offering these solutions are Bunchball Inc., Badgeville Inc., Kuato Studios, SAP SE, Cisco Systems Inc., Gigya Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Knewton, BigDoor Inc., and Lithium Technologies Inc.

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Infrared Sensor Market in Asia-Pacific Is Anticipated To Witness the Fastest Growth during the Forecast 2024

Infrared sensor is an electrically powered instrument that senses the characteristics of the surroundings that is done by detecting infrared radiation.  This technology is also capable of measuring heat being emitted from a motion or an object. The advantage of the infrared sensors is lower power requirements and easy portability that is further helping infrared market to obtain significant growth in the near future. There are two types of detection technology in infrared sensors market that include cooled and uncooled sensors. Among these segments, uncooled infrared sensors are expected to generate the largest revenue by 2024 since it helps the system in identifying errors and detecting size, cost, power, and weight as per the requirement of various industries in their business operations. Furthermore, uncooled infrared sensors are used for formulating linear array that is suitable for spacecraft and commercial applications. Moreover, extensive growth of this segment is further strengthening the growth of infrared sensor market across the globe.

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Low power consumption, increasing utility of infrared sensors in defense, increasing adoption of IoT devices, increasing focus towards automobile safety and initiatives for smart homes are the key factors that are pertaining towards the growth of infrared sensors market globally. Low power consumption makes the technology more economical leading to more popularity among possible consumers. Furthermore, increasing initiatives for the safety of passengers in the automobile industry and its utility on defense significantly contributes towards the growth of infrared sensors market at an extensive rate.

Geographically, infrared sensor market in North America is expected to generate the largest revenue by 2024 due to advanced initiatives were taken by the government towards the security concerns in an aspect of defense as well as automobile segments. Moreover, the presence of large players of the infrared sensor in this region is further revamping the growth of infrared sensor market in this region.

Moreover, infrared sensor market in Asia-Pacific is anticipated to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period because of the increasing developments in security standards and the increasing adoption of IoT in this region along with the presence of heavy manufacturing industries that are driving the growth of infrared sensor market in this region.

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Key players in the infrared sensor system market are launching new products in order to gain a competitive edge in the market and entering into mergers & acquisitions in order to improve their existing provider and penetrate deep into the global market. Some of the key players in the infrared sensor system market include Omron Healthcare. Inc., Raytheon, Nippon Avionics, Asahi Kasei, ULIS, Melexis, Teledyne and Hamamatsu Photonics.

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There’s No Such Thing As Overnight Fame

Journalists get so many stories in their inbox. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame…and they want their friendly neighbourhood journalist to give it to them.

After all, a story in the media is the ultimate in third party credibility. You’ve got serious street cred when your story appears in a well-known newspaper or magazine, or you are interviewed on a radio program.

And as much as people bag the media … when you are in business, and looking for free publicity, a journalist is your new BFF.

With these new-fangled dooba hickies called the internet and social media, stories are there for the taking. Look at how many Tweets are used as the basis of a story.

If you are working with a public relations agency, know they are not miracle workers… a modern day magician who could wield control over the media and make them do what they’re told.

PR can make you famous overnight….quite often for all the wrong reasons. But do not expect the media to fall at your feet after ONE media release.

Building credibility and a brand is not going to happen overnight. It will happen … but not overnight.

Like ANYTHING in life and business … true success, real sticky results TAKES TIME!  You have to have a plan (a good marketing plan as your foundations is a great start), patience, a mindset that understands delayed gratification and the value that comes from building relationships and a robust content plan.

Think about when you met your partner. Like most couples, there was an immediate attraction. You liked each other.  Thought the other person had something to offer that would bring benefit to your life. So you dated. Got to know each other. Spent time with each other. Then you took it further.

Getting free publicity, building a brand, becoming famous is so not different to starting a romantic relationship or friendship. It takes time to build something of value.

A house does not go up overnight – it starts with foundations and then each layer is added until a number of weeks/months down the track, you have a solid structure.  Even then, it is still not done; fittings are added, carpet, lights, air con … and then the furniture comes in. Have I said it takes time?

You may get a win or two in the media to start with but expecting astronomical results straight off the bat is unrealistic.

If you truly want your marketing and PR to work – STICK WITH IT.  If you engage a marketing or PR professional to help you, understand they are not a miracle worker, they do not own the media, they cannot guarantee the media will take your story (stop asking, there are no guarantees in life) and they will work to a strategy that will bring results over time.

Here are a few thoughts to manage your expectations around using marketing and PR:

  1. Create a plan and stick to it.  When the going gets tough, go back to your plan, reassess and revise but keep moving forward. Test and measure your results; what doesn’t work, drop, what does, keep doing it. But one month, two months, even three months is not enough time to judge results.
  2. There is such thing as an overnight success or luck.  Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point and Outliers, he has some great insights into this. It takes time to become ‘well known’. Ask anyone who is an overnight success how long it took them to achieve their goals – it took hard work, patience and persistence.
  3. There is no magic stick. PR is not going to save your business, it is not going to suddenly have millions knocking your door down for your product and service.  Marketing and PR is all about relationships – building them with your prospective customers (be helpful) and with journalists (be helpful and available – you may not always get a story run but keep in touch)
  4. Foundations are vital. All good things start with solid foundations – systems and processes in place, marketing plan locked in, etc – and then you are ready to start building up and out.
  5. Success is an inside job. You can have all the above in place but if your mindset is off, all the success in the world means nothing. If you do not understand or accept the trials and tribulations of being in business, you’ll be easily discouraged, give up too soon and blame others. Invest in personal development, read books, get a mentor, go to workshops and seminars, and build resilience. Be in it for the long haul because if you do, then you will see great results.

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Three Ms for Mapping Your Small Business Path

When asked ‘who has a plan – a marketing plan or a business plan?’, you can hear the crickets. So many small businesses have no plan in place.

Some small businesses know exactly who they are and where they are going but the vast majority, while having the best products and service, are stuck in practitioner mode.

Focused on the day-to-day, with no plan or strategies in place, marketing not a priority and often left wondering where the next customer or client will come from. They are brilliant at what they do but trying to do it all alone and without a plan.

When asked ‘who has a plan – a marketing plan or a business plan?’, you can hear the crickets. So many small businesses have no plan in place.

It does make it more challenging to get where you want to be without a plan. It is like getting in a car to go to Melbourne, without looking at a map and keeping your fingers crossed hoping you are heading in the right direction just be relying on your best guess.

Business success, starts and ends, with having a plan. A map that lays out your direction, the tools you need to get there and the people you need to help you achieve your goals. Relying on your natural talents is not enough.

But … before you even get started creating a PR/marketing plan, it is good idea to get your foundations locked in … so when you have finished your plan, you have mapped out EXACTLY where you are going and how you are going to get there.

DETERMINE YOUR MESSAGE, MARKET AND MEDIA

Do your research

Will help you anticipate needs and changes. You can’t plan for everything but you can have strategies and initiatives in place to point you in the right direction. Conduct surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews to get a good idea of what your current customers/ clients like about you, why they do business with you etc. Survey Monkey is a good resource. Also look at your competitors – what are they are doing well, what do their customers say about them?

Know your target audience

Get to know the people and groups you want to hear your message; this also includes who you want to target in the media.

Know what you want to say

Once you know who your audience is, you can then work on your key messages – what is you want them to know about you.

Know other stakeholders

Who else would be interested in what you are doing? If you have employees, shareholders, JV partners etc they will need to understand and know what you are doing. Most importantly, you will need their support.

TIP – Don’t forget to share your PR successes with them.

Know the market

Make sure you check out other companies especially your competitors. Find out where other opportunities are. By exploring the market, you will also uncover other platforms for your products or services, other ways to craft your message and new markets.

Avoid overwhelm

Know what you can do and can’t do. To do this, have a good grasp on your time, budget and who does what. If it is within your budget, hire a PR professional because sometimes you can’t do everything!

Timeline

A visual guide to help you define where and when you are going to implement certain strategies in your plan. Take into account media deadlines and other important events.

Take action

Once your plan is in place, it is time to implement it. Because you have taken the time to plan your PR campaign’s roll out, you can allocate time to action the items in the plan. Continue to monitor your plan – it is not a bookshelf decoration; it is a living document that is meant to be used.

5 Sales Strategies Not Found in How-to Books

How do you break through to the next level of sales and become an anticipatory salesperson? Here are six strategies you won’t find in most how-to sales books.

As a salesperson, you’re trained to ask customers what they want in terms of your product offerings. That’s wise advice but it’s incomplete. If you only ask customers what they want and then give it to them, you’re missing the biggest opportunity that has ever come in front of you – the chance to sell innovation.

Technology allows us to do things that were once thought impossible. While it is important for salespeople to ask customers what they want and then deliver on it, all that will do is keep you in the game – not ahead of it.

Chances are your competitors are asking customers the same questions, they’re getting the same answers, and they’re providing the same solutions.

So how do you break through to the next level of sales and become an anticipatory salesperson? Below are six strategies you won’t find in most how-to sales books.

1. Follow the Golden Rule of Sales

The Golden Rule of Sales is to give people the ability to do something they currently can’t do but would want to do if they knew it was possible. In other words, the Golden Rule is to help your customers be anticipatory. It’s called the Golden Rule because it’s much more profitable than simply giving clients what they ask for.

The key is that you have to look a little bit further into your customers’ predictable needs based on where they’re going. Only then you can see unmet needs and new opportunities.

2. Get Comfortable Around Technology  

One stumbling block in selling technology can be that the end user is awkward with new types of technology and related products. But another stumbling block could be that you, as the salesperson, are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the tech-driven solution you could be selling.

This is where the value of a time travel audit, one of the core components of my Anticipatory Organization Model, can prove essential.

3. Practice Anticipatory Selling

Anticipatory selling offers enormous opportunity for those who recognize that the very nature of sales is shifting and, further, that there are strategies to leverage that change.

One key strategy of anticipatory selling boils down to something I call a pre-mortem. Unlike a postmortem, which is an examination after the fact, a pre-mortem is focused on anticipating objections, problems and issues before they occur – and, from there, presolving them before the sales process even begins.

4. Raise the Bar on Trust  

You need to shift from being a vendor to being a trusted advisor. A vendor simply supplies a product. A trusted advisor supplies true advantage.

When you seek that higher ground and become a trusted advisor, your clients trust you more.

Remember that the future is all about relationships. Relationships are all about trust, and you gain trust by earning it. So never teach people to distrust you by stretching the truth or hiding some pertinent information. To differentiate, you need to raise the bar on trust.

5. Commit to Finding the Customer’s Truest Needs

When you focus on redefining what you already have, you can take your current offering and leverage it to new levels. That’s when you become a sales leader. It’s not because of some fast-talking sales pitch, it’s because of your commitment to your customers and their true needs.

So focus on relationships, trust and truth, and you’ll be able to give your customers tools and solutions they never dreamed possible. As a result, both you and your company will attain new levels of success and realize the profit potential you always knew existed.  

Want more tips for anticipatory selling? Get my book The Anticipatory Organization: Turning Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage, available now at www.TheAOBook.com

Selling Your Ideas Up: How to Overcome Objections and Get Your Ideas Approved

In an era of fiscal and time constraints, is it possible to sell your ideas to company leaders? Yes, but the success depends on how you frame the opportunity.

The first step is to avoid talking about the idea itself. While that may sound strange, it’s the primary sales rule that most people break. You may love your ideas, but the feeling isn’t always mutual. When you’re selling your ideas to others, you shouldn’t focus on your preferences. You must focus on the other person, and here’s how:

  • Understand the pain of the person.

Forget about how excited you are about the idea you want implemented. If you’re going to sell your idea, you have to understand where the other person’s pain is. Maybe they’re dealing with upset stockholders or perhaps sales are down. Do your research and uncover the main challenge they’re presently dealing with.

Once you know the other person’s pain, you can position your idea to sell as a solution to it. Essentially, you have to show the person that there’s a direct payoff to them if they approve your idea. If you know that the CEO’s greatest pain is a lack of communication between departments, then you have to consider your proposal and figure out how it can ease the pain and bring resolve to the situation.

Be sure to state it clearly to avoid guesswork. For example, you could say, “I know you’re dealing with poor internal communications. I’ve come across some things that I believe can help you overcome those challenges so the company can grow.”

Then talk about the new idea in terms of solving the current problem only. Don’t go into all the benefits, functions, features, or costs. Right now, you’re simply getting the decision maker on board with the idea and its problem-solving potential.

  • Solve the predictable problems in advance.

As you have this discussion, you’ll also have to address common objections. Plan for them in advance by figuring out what their objections could be and solve them before the discussion.

For example, if you’re talking to the CEO about your idea and you know budgets are tight, you can deduce that they will say, “This sounds great, but the CFO won’t approve this right now.” However, because you’ve anticipated this objection, you can reply, “I’ve already run this by the CFO because I knew it was important.”

Of course, before going to the CFO, you’ll have identified their greatest pain and presented the idea to solve it. If what you’re proposing is really a solution, and you showed how it benefits the company’s strategic imperatives with a good ROI, you will have a receptive CFO.

The goal is to overcome the potential blocks before they arise.

  • Use the power of certainty to your advantage.

When you’re selling your ideas, the people you’re talking to are thinking risk. Alleviate this fear by remembering that strategies based on uncertainty have high risk, while strategies based on certainty have low risk. Prior to the discussion, ask yourself, “What are the things I’m absolutely certain about regarding this idea? What are the current hard trends? Where is the industry, company, and economy going with or without this solution?”

Make your list the things you’re certain about. For example, mobile devices are quite popular. Is this a trend that you know will continue, or will people eventually trade in their mobile devices for an old flip phone of yesterday? The answer is obvious: people won’t go back. Look at sales trends, customers, the economy, and everything around you. Get clear on what’s a hard trend and what will pass.

Additionally, look at the strategic imperatives of the company and the current plan. Determine if your proposed idea is an accelerator or decelerator of that plan. You want to show how your idea can accelerate the plan and how your solution can help increase sales, innovation, and product development.

Go into your list of certainties by saying, “Here are things I’m certain about in the marketplace and in our company. Based on this certainty, here is why implementing this idea is a low-risk winner.”

An Anticipatory Approach to Selling

It’s important to remind yourself before the meeting that if you haven’t done the groundwork to excite the listener, you’ll lose them. As you’re busy talking about features and benefits, the other person is thinking about costs, risks, and uncertainties. Having a preemptive solution is an anticipatory approach to selling – you’re anticipating the problems, rejections, objections, and concerns so you can overcome them.

Anyone who has worked with C-level executives knows that leaders get excited about many things while carrying the weight of costs, controls, and constraints. Challenge those issues by making what you offer about priority, relevancy, and strategic imperatives to sell your ideas.

Secret Power of Interacting on Social Media

There’s always lots of Facebook posts flying around asking people to support those in small business.

Instead of spending your money with the big multinationals, redirect some of your spend to the little guys.

A glorious sentiment. Helping someone build their dream. Helping someone grow their business to the point where they are earning a profit and can employ others.

Why do we struggle with that?

We have no problem walking into Woolworths to spend $200 on stuff in boxes but when our friend asks us to buy their skin care or other useful product, we are reticent to part with our hard-earned cash.

You see it all the time for those in network marketing – they offer similar if not better products than the big well known chains. Yet their friends run for cover when asked to buy from them.

There is a scientific reason for this (but when Googled this phenomena, there was nothing). The same mindset on Facebook.

For those in small business, the holy grail on Facebook is to get likes and people engaging with our posts. Achieving organic reach is the ultimate but many of us find this hard without spending a few bucks on advertising. Even then, there is no guarantee of post cut through.

You see pages with thousands of people as likers; there is lots of ‘to’ going on but not a lot of ‘for’. No comments being made and hardly any likes.

There’s a few reasons for that:

  • The content sucks – boring and uninspiring
  • The content misses the mark – not understanding the target audience
  • Posting at the wrong time of day
  • Facebook has changed it algorithms AGAIN
  • People do not understand the power of interaction and supporting the business (person)

Let’s say you tick all the other boxes – your content is fresh and interesting, you understand your target audience, you know when to post, you are keeping up with Facebook’s changes, you have lots of people following you.

Maybe what is needed to educating the followers on how to be a good follower, a good supporter. Because most people are happy to sit back and soak up the info but stay quietly in the background.

No.  That does not work. If you took the time to follow a business or a person, get benefit from their content and enjoy their posts, TELL THEM. What does it really cost you to take a minute to write a post and share?

Social media, especially Facebook is about two-way conversation. No one really wants to feel like they are talking to an empty room. I know we are inundated with information and marketing at the rate of 5,000 messages a day but if you have no intention of engaging, do not join a business page for the sake of it.

When the business page you like (you liked it for a reason) ask a question to prompt discussion, engage, answer the question, ask for more info. Don’t be shy.

Give feedback – keep it nice – if you can’t say something nice, do not say anything at all). Give compliments, share posts and answer questions asked in business groups (if you have the expertise to give the answer)

Ask questions – instead of going to Google, ask the expert you have at your fingertips. There is no such thing as a silly question. Just like there is no such thing as perfection or the right time – just ask.

Share – if a business you are connected with is promoting a local workshop or event, has written a great post or an awesome offer – SHARE it with your networks. Don’t just click share, tag people into the post (to keep them on the business’s page) and write a personal message (it seems less like spam if you take the time to say why you think the post is great). Share it with your networks.

Remember the Law of Reciprocity – chances are you have a business and would like more people to share your awesomeness.  Here’s how it works – if someone does something nice for you, you will have an urge to do something nice in return. You may even reciprocate with a gesture far more generous than the original good deed. I call that a win win.

Being in small business can be a lonely place. It can be a hard slog.  There is so much you need to know and do to get ahead. It is no longer as simple as hanging your shingle out. You have to be an expert at everything. Why don’t we commit to making it easy on each other by supporting each other more? Using each other’s services. Helping to spread the word about each other’s business (the power of PR – third party credibility is priceless).

So next time your friend asks you to buy their {insert product}, say yes. The next time a business you support shares info about {insert event/product} on Facebook, share it.

Working On the Business

I suggest making two lists. For the first list, the owner should answer the question, “What are the current business tasks that you most enjoy?” There are no right or wrong answers here. Simply list his/her opinion. Love making widgets? Write it down. Really like dealing with customers? Write it down. And so on.

I meet a lot of business owners that have successful businesses as well as many that are struggling. Whether they are successful or still trying to figure it out, what most of these have in common is that they spend most of their time each day working IN the business. In other words, they are grinding to make sure their product or service is getting performed to their customers’ satisfaction. Being a business owner myself, I can testify to the necessity of doing this. Nobody can articulate the owner’s vision as well as the owner!

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While a business can be successful, i.e., profitable, operating in this manner, the long-term purpose of the business owner should be to sell the business one day. This, along with the inevitable burn out that will occur from the grind, necessitates a change of approach: Working ON the business.

Now one does not make an abrupt change from working IN the business to working ON the business. It’s actually an evolutionary process. You go from working all day, every day IN the business to spending a few hours a week working ON the business and evolve from there. Doing this, naturally, requires the business owner to cede control over certain hour-to-hour tasks within the business. How does one decide where to cede?

I suggest making two lists. For the first list, the owner should answer the question, “What are the current business tasks that you most enjoy?” There are no right or wrong answers here. Simply list his/her opinion. Love making widgets? Write it down. Really like dealing with customers? Write it down. And so on.

On the second list, write down the answers to this question, “At what tasks do you create the most value within the business?” Here, it’s really important that the owner be honest and accurate. Don’t just write down a gut feel (although a gut feel might be correct). Deeply consider which business tasks will help the business grow/reduce costs/improve customer experience/increase cash flow, etc.

Now, let’s juxtapose the lists. Here is where we separate passion (what we love) from what creates value (makes someone want to pay top dollar for the business one day). Compare these two lists and see which tasks drive business value and fuel passion. The owner should absolutely keep doing these tasks. That is an easy call. On the other end of the spectrum, any tasks not on either list should be passed on to someone else in the organization. Another easy call. The challenge comes when tasks that the owner enjoys doing don’t enhance enterprise value if the owner is doing them.

As an example, in my auto repair business, I really like wrenching on cars. However, if I’m honest, I’m not very fast. Any decent technician could blow me away from a quality and efficiency standpoint. So, I quit wrenching and hired another technician. I wasn’t adding enough value. I also love working with clients, vendors and creating processes. I kept doing those things. There, I was adding value. Guess what? The year after stepping out of the shop and handing the wrenches to someone more talented, we grew 17%. I was actually less stressed, clients were happier, I was happier, the technicians were happier (they got their parts faster with me in the office). Winner!

This was just the beginning. Over time, I slowly released more activities to employees. Now we are at the point where the operation is turn-key. I am not integral to its hour-to-hour success. My trusted team handles that. I still set the tone with clear expectations on process, client care, building appearance, etc. But, I trust my team to do it right. I also leave an open channel for clients to reach out to me when their experience isn’t what they are used to. Was it scary to let go? Most definitely! Was it necessary? Also, most definitely.

When the time comes, I feel way more confident that the right buyer can be found so I can to move on to the next chapter in life.

In our book “Start It, Grow It, Sell It:  The Journey of Business” we cover this and many other topics in a “business novel” format.  Follow Nelli and Harvey on their Journey of Business.