As a leader, are you really effectively coaching?

Belief building is a major part of being an effective coach and perhaps the most important part. When an employee is asked to perform a new task, they evaluate it based on their personal strength. Essentially they ask themselves 2 questions.

1. What are my chances of success?

2. Where is the value to me? (self esteem, not money)

If they answer the first question with something like, ”I don’t think I can do it,” they will not try for they gain no self esteem in failing. It makes no difference what you as their leader or what other people think, only what they think that counts.

I have found so many managers are ineffective in dealing with this. Why? Because the manager uses the old motivation routine of saying things like, “You can do it”. Bob does it, Mary does it, Joe does it, and you can too. It’s not that hard. The motivational approach does not work!
Trying to motivate someone is a waste of time. Motivation is internal and personal. A person either has it or they don’t and if they don’t, we cannot synthetically put it there.

What we must do is insure the person has the plan and skills to do the task. This is where true coaching comes into play. We should help them develop a plan. Then, depending on the task, question the person to determine why the feel they can’t succeed? Help them develop a plan is a part of coaching and then follow up on how they are working it.

If it’s a skill deficiency, a leader coaches them by training them in the proper skills to accomplish it. Role-play with them. Praise their progress. Build their belief in themselves.

As a leader/coach, if you feel their lack of belief is the issue, talk with them, question them, help them see the personal benefits to them in succeeding. They don’t care about benefits to you or the team only themselves. People will try almost anything if they understand the purpose, have the skills and see the benefits to themselves. Insure they do!

We provide internally facilitated DVD video systems to companies and organizations. Training systems that are a process not an event because you need a process to change behavior. To learn more about how we can assistance in helping your mangers become more effective leaders. Look at the session objectives of “Practical Sales Management Strategies For Today and/or Leadership in Action. They not only cover the topic above but much much more.

You will also find a video preview of these result oriented training system under the drop down menu of each. I would be happy to email you a pdf overview to help you gain a greater understanding of the course if you simply contact us.

If you are not the correct person to evaluate this, please email it to the person who is. Thank you for your consideration. All our best to your success! Please feel free to leave a comment.

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
7565 Saddle Creek Trail
Gainesville, GA 30506-5720
770-205-4147 (Fax)
770-235-0682 (Cell)

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The importance of training managers

Let us first explore how people become managers. Usually they are very good employees, salespeople, etc. Does being a good employee or salesperson qualify a person to be an effective Leader? In my opinion, it does not. I have worked with companies for over 30 years; I have seen a wide range of management skills- from very poor to outstanding.

The effective Leaders understand they are not effective based on how badly their people need them but what can the people do without them? When we promote a productive employee to a manager, they have the tendency to believe their way is the right way and use their personal views to drive their management style. These managers tend to micro manage and be over controlling of their employees. They second guess them and do not listen, train or coach, however, they are good at offering criticism under the premise that constructive criticism is effective. I firmly believe Constructive Criticism is an oxymoron.

Some managers feel because they are strong enough to handle criticism, everyone can. This is simply not true! When criticized so many people feel belittled and embarrassed. The worst case is when managers criticize an employee in front of their peers. It does not help the employee and puts others in a potentially awkward position with the manager. They may even loose belief or respect for the manager and in turn the company.

Belief is the key to success in business and in life. In business we need people who believe strongly in three things. The company they represent and what is stands for as an institution, the products and services (internal or external) that they provide and they must believe in themselves. If a manager does anything to destroy belief in any of those areas, he or she has possibly made a potentially great performer into one who doesn’t care anymore. With belief comes passion and drive. When belief is destroyed – passion and drive will likely follow.

Leaders understand there are three causes of failure. People don’t know specifically what their job is, they don’t know how to perform their job, or someone or something interferes with their desire and ability to perform. So the effective Leaders treat those three causes of failure by explicitly defining what is expected of the person, not just a catchall job description. The Leader questions the person about how they feel about their position while defining strengths and weaknesses. The Leader should then train the people on what is expected and the specific skills needed to perform. In doing so, the Leader should always build the employees belief that they can effectively do what’s expected. Also, Leaders follow up and recognize specifically what people have done to attain the good performance. This really helps the person believe in themselves.

To learn more, go to the top of this page and use the Leadership in Action or the Practical Sales Management drop-down buttons to see how we can be of assistance in helping your mangers become more effective Leaders. You will also find a video preview of these result oriented training system. I’ll be happy to help you gain a greater understanding of the course by emailing you a PDF overview if you simply click here. Thank you for your consideration. All our best to your success!

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
7565 Saddle Creek Trail
Gainesville, GA 30506-5720
770-205-4147 (Fax)
770-235-0682 (Cell)

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Three Management Styles

Management style greatly affects employees’ motivation and capacity to learn. The most effective managers vary their styles depending on the employee’s knowledge and skills, the nature of the task, time constraints, and other factors. By so doing, they encourage and inspire employees to do their best at all times.

The Three Ds

It is helpful to think of management styles according to the three Ds: Directing, Discussing, and Delegating. In essence, the three management styles boil down to this.

· Direct — Tell employees what to do

· Discuss — Ask questions and listen

· Delegate — Empower employees

Using an appropriate management style helps the employee learn, grow, and become more independent.

Managers need to consider how much experience their employee has had in doing a particular task. Does the employee have the required knowledge and skills to do the task? If the employee has little or no experience a directing style is appropriate. As employees gain experience and know-how, managers need to move to a discussing style and then a delegating style. The goal is to use a management style that fits the needs of the employee relative to the task he or she is assigned.

The Directing Style
Start with the big picture. Provide the context before launching into specifics. State clearly what you expect, how you expect it to be done, and when it’s due. Wordy and poorly organized directions confuse, overwhelm, and frustrate employees. It’s important to provide the right amount of detail. Communication breakdowns occur when important details are omitted.

· Communication in the directing style is predominantly one-way, from manager to employee. The manager imparts information to the employee via verbal or written instructions. The only feedback the manager looks for is “Do you understand the instructions?”

· Coaching occurs as the manager tells the employees what they need to do or change. In addition, the manager may demonstrate desired behaviors.

· Decision making occurs when the manager defines the problem, evaluates options, and makes a decision. Employees learn how to frame problems, evaluate alternatives, and make effective decisions by understanding the process the manager follows.

· Recognition happens spontaneously when the manager praises employees who follow directions and complete assignments correctly. It can be accomplished on a more formal basis through company reward/recognition programs and feedback provided in private manager-employee conferences.

The Discussing Style
Prepare questions in advance. Great discussions don’t just happen. Ask one question at a time. Be open, curious, and interested in learning what your employees think and why they think that way.

· Communication in the discussing style is two-way (between manager and employee) or multi-way (among employees, or among employees and manager). The manager asks challenging questions and listens carefully to the employees’ comments. Follow-up questions help uncover underlying assumptions, reasoning, and feelings. Employees learn to have opinions and be able to back them up with facts and data.

· Coaching occurs when the manager asks questions that require employees to evaluate their own performance. “How do you think you did? What could you have done better? The goal is to encourage employees to examine what they did, why they did it, and what they can do to improve.

· Decision making occurs as the manager and employees collaborate and work together to define problems, identify and evaluate alternative solutions, and make sound decisions. Employees learn as they respond to the manager’s questions, offer their own ideas, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

· Recognition may be given to employees who express their ideas clearly and succinctly. In addition, employees should be praised for thoughtful observations, creative ideas, building on the ideas of others, and helping the group reach a logical conclusion.

In meetings don’t allow one or two employees to dominate the discussion. Solicit everyone’s ideas and opinions. Promote broad participation by engaging all employees. After a good discussion it’s important to get closure on who is going to do what tasks by when.

The Delegating Style
Assign tasks that are challenging, but not overwhelming. Increase the probability of success for each employee by expressing confidence in his or her ability to get the job done.

· Communication occurs as the manager assigns tasks for employees to tackle independently or in small groups. Employees listen and ask follow-up questions until they fully understand what they need to deliver. Managers need to get periodic updates from employees to insure appropriate progress is being made.

· Coaching is accomplished primarily through self-coaching. Employees gain the most maturity and confidence when they are able to critique their own performance.

· Decision making happens as employees establish goals, implement plans, and work through issues on their own. They make the decisions.

· Recognition most often takes the form of praise and other rewards given to employees who work well independently, meet deadlines, and produce quality work.

As employees grow and develop they want the freedom to make their own decisions and solve their own problems. Such independence promotes maturity and increases motivation.


Effective managers use a variety of styles. They know how and when to choose the most appropriate one for the specific situation. At the end of each week, managers should assess their own performance with questions like the following:

· Did I use the most appropriate management style for each task?

· Am I asking the right questions?

· What else can I delegate?

· Who’s ready to take on a bigger task?

· Are employees becoming more capable and independent?

I have seen many companies lose good people because they promote strong workers into leadership roles without giving them the skills necessary to lead effectively. The graveyards are full of outstanding workers/salespeople who died as leaders just for that very reason.

Because of this, 33 years ago I began a quest to help companies build great leaders through to very effective multi-media training systems entitled Practical Sales Management and Leadership in Action, both produced by Steve Brown, Chairman of The Fortune Group! Over the years we have produced several different versions to keep up with the changing times but never have we lost the foundation of what it takes to build and lead a strong team!

Please move to the top of the page to the dropdowns of each and invest the time to explore them, look at the previews, the expected outcomes and session objectives at the top of this page. Learn more by clicking the info button to receive a PDF sharing a complete overview. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

If you feel you are not the correct person to evaluate this, please share it with the one in your company who is. Thank you!

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
7565 Saddle Creek Trail
Gainesville, GA 30506-5720
770-205-4147 (Fax)
770-235-0682 (Cell)

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What is the purpose of Leadership?

I have been asking that question of managers for over 30 years and the answers I get are all about the same.

Motivation of the team

Insuring the goals are attained

Fixing problems

Producing profits

Ensuring the work is done correctly

All those might in someway be descriptive of a leader but none share the true purpose of Leadership. The purpose of leadership is:

To provide for the continuation of the business! It’s just that simple. Yet, it is so hard to do because most leaders become leaders because they are good at doing their job. Someone recognizes that talent and promotes them to a leader/manager. The problem is the vast majority of managers I have worked with over my career have no clue how much their job has changed.

They are no longer superstars who get recognized all the time. They now take a back seat and help other become superstars and get the credit. A true leader builds a team that is so strong they don’t need the leader in order to perform. Leaders help people become independent of them not dependent upon them. Leaders challenge growth through questions and not just give answers.

I have seen many companies lose good people because they promote strong workers into leadership roles without giving them the skills necessary to lead effectively. The graveyards are full of outstanding workers/salespeople who died as leaders just for that very reason.

Because of this, 31 years ago I began a quest to help companies build great leaders through to very effective multi-media training systems entitled Practical Sales Management and Leadership in Action, both produced by Steve Brown, Chairman of The Fortune Group! Over the years we have produced several different versions to keep up with the changing times but never have we lost the foundation of what it takes to build and lead a strong team!

Please invest the time to explore them, look at the previews, the expected outcomes and session objectives. Learn more by clicking here to receive a PDF sharing an overview. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

If you feel you are not the correct person to evaluate this, please share it with the one in your company who is. Thank you!

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
7565 Saddle Creek Trail
Gainesville, GA 30506-5720
770-205-4147 (Fax)
770-235-0682 (Cell)

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Personal Accountability – A Requirement for Life Advancement

Accountability is normally viewed as being responsible—giving an explanation of your actions—to somebody for something. However, today’s lesson is not about someone holding you accountable. It’s about you holding yourself accountable.

When you take 100 percent responsibility for holding yourself accountable, your performance will improve, your relationships will flourish, your market value will soar, people’s respect for you will skyrocket, you will be a great example for others to follow, and your self-esteem will grow.

How is it that in all these areas of your life you can see such dramatic improvement? Because when you hold yourself accountable to doing the things you know you should do, you will distinguish yourself from the crowd.

I am convinced if you want to advance your life personally or professionally, you must hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and goals. Think about it. Why should it be someone else’s job to make sure you are doing the things that you know you should to be doing?

The mindset I adopted more than 25 years ago is this: it is up to me and no one else to make sure I am doing what I know I should be doing. When someone has to hold me accountable, because I failed to do what I should have done, I have a serious conversation with myself. My belief is that no one should have to hold me accountable for my actions, responsibilities and goals. While I appreciate others helping me get better, I am the one that must hold myself to a high standard.

Three Types of Accountability

1. Your actions and choices—This would include such things as:

• The way in which you communicate with others
• How you spend your time
• Your behavior and manners
• The consideration and respect you show others
• Your eating habits and exercising routine
• Your attitude and thoughts
• The way you respond to challenges

2. Your responsibilities—This would include these types of things:

• Returning calls, emails, and texts in a timely manner
• Being on time for business and personal appointments
• Keeping your home, car, and workplace clean
• Spending less than you earn
• Doing the things you agreed to do when you agreed to do them
• Executing your job description to the best of your ability
• Writing things down on a “To Do” list so you don’t forget

3. Your goals—This would include your:

• Fitness and health targets
• Financial goals
• Family objectives
• Career ambitions
• Personal goals
• Marital enhancement
• Any other goals you have set for yourself

Make no mistake about it. You cannot achieve any worthwhile personal or professional goal, if you don’t hold yourself accountable. The reason is simple. It’s your life! If you have to be held accountable at work, don’t expect to be promoted or to experience any type of significant career advancement. If you have to be held accountable at home by your parents, roommate or spouse, it will grow old fast and your relationships will deteriorate.

Holding yourself accountable is nothing more than following through with YOUR commitments and responsibilities. It’s doing what YOU know YOU should do, when YOU should it.
Whether you are 15 years old or 60 years old, let today be the day that you make the commitment to yourself that you will NEVER again require anyone else to hold you accountable. Let me also encourage you to start keeping a prioritized “To Do” list and focus on holding yourself accountable to working through your tasks in a prioritized sequence.
This is your life! Take control. Be responsible for it.

Like many of my posts, there will be exceptions. If you are struggling with personal accountability and need the help of others, then I encourage you to seek it.
If you will hold yourself accountable for your actions, responsibilities, and goals, you can achieve anything that is important to you.

I hope this helps and for more information on our very effective Personal Accountability training system just email me, and I will send you a PDF overview.

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

Please forward this URL or email to anyone you feel needs to read it.

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10 Things You Can Learn From The Apple Store

I recently read a post written based on a book entitled “The Apple Experience: Secrets To Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty” written by Carmine Gallo. I thought it was an excellent post from which we could all could benefit.

The Apple Store is the most profitable retailer in America, generating an average of $5,600 per square foot and attracting more than 20,000 visitors a week.

In the decade since Steve Jobs and former head of retail, Ron Johnson, decided to re-imagine the retail experience, the Apple Store not only re-imagined and re-invented retail, it blew up the model entirely and started from scratch. By researching The Apple Experience, you can find ten things that the Apple Store did that can teach any business in any industry to be more successful:

1. Stop selling stuff. When Steve Jobs first started the Apple Store he did not ask the question, “How will we grow our market share from 5 to 10 percent?” Instead he asked, “How do we enrich people’s lives?” Think about your vision. If you were to examine the business model for most brands and retailers and develop a vision around it, the vision would be to “sell more stuff.” A vision based on selling stuff isn’t very inspiring and leads to a very different experience than the Apple Retail Store created.

2. Enrich lives. The vision behind the Apple Store is “enrich lives,” the first two words on a wallet-sized credo card employees are encouraged to carry. When you enrich lives magical things start to happen. For example, enriching lives convinced Apple to have a non-commissioned sales floor where employees feel comfortable spending as much time with a customer as the customer desires. Enriching lives led Apple to build play areas (the “family room”) where kids could see, touch and play on computers. Enriching lives led to the creation of a “Genius Bar” where trained experts are focused on “rebuilding relationships” as much as fixing problems.

3. Hire for smiles. The soul of the Apple Store is in its people. They are hired, trained, motivated and taught to create magical and memorable moments for their customers. The Apple Store values a magnetic personality as much, if not more so, than technical proficiency. The Apple Store cares less about what you know than it cares about how much you love people.

4. Celebrate diversity. Mohawks, tattoos, piercings are all acceptable among Apple Store employees. Apple hires people who reflect the diversity of their customers. Since they are more interested in how passionate you are, your hairstyle doesn’t matter. Early in the Apple Store history, they also learned that former teachers make the best salespeople because they ask a lot of questions. It’s not uncommon to find former teachers, engineers, and artists at an Apple Store. Apple doesn’t look for someone who fits a mold.

5. Unleash inner genius. Teach your customers something they never knew they could do before, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. For example, the Apple Store offers a unique program to help people understand and enjoy their computers: One to One. The $99 one-year membership program is available with the purchase of a Mac. Apple Store instructors called “creatives” offer personalized instruction inside the Apple Store. Customers can learn just about anything: basics about the Mac operating system; how to design a website; enjoying, sharing, and editing photos or movies; creating a presentation; and much more. The One to One program was created to help build customers for life. It was designed on the premise that the more you understand a product, the more you enjoy it, and the more likely you are to build a long-term relationship with the company. Instructors are trained to provide guidance and instruction, but also to inspire customers, giving them the tools to make them more creative than they ever imagined.

6. Empower employees. I spent one hour talking to an Apple Store specialist about kids, golf, and my business. We spent about ten minutes talking about the product (a MacBook Air). I asked the employee whether he would be reprimanded for spending so much time with one customer. “Not at all,” he replied. “If you have a great experience, that’s all that matters.” Apple has a non-commissioned sales floor for a reason—employees are not pressured to “make a sale.” Instead they are empowered to do what they believe is the right thing to do.

7. Sell the benefit. Apple Store specialists are taught to sell the benefit behind products and to customize those benefits for the customer. For example, I walked to the iPad table with my two young daughters and told the specialist I was considering my first iPad. In a brilliant move, the specialist focused on my two daughters, the ‘secondary’ customer who can influence a purchase. He let the girls play on separate devices. On one device he played the movie, Tangled, and on the other device he brought up a Disney Princess coloring app. My girls were thrilled and, in one memorable moment, my 6-year-old turned me to and said, “I love this store!” It’s easy to see why. Instead of touting “speeds and feeds,” the specialist taught us how the device could improve our lives.

8. Follow the steps of service. The Apple Store teaches its employees to follow five steps in each and every interaction. These are called the Apple five steps of service. They are outlined by the acronym A-P-P-L-E. They are: Approach with a customized, warm greeting. Probe politely to understand the customer’s needs. Present a solution the customer can take home today. Listen for and address unresolved questions. End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

9. Create multi-sensory experiences. The brain loves multi-sensory experiences. In other words, people enjoy being able to see, touch, and play with products. Walk into an Apple Store upon opening and you’ll see all the notebook computer screens perfectly positioned slightly beyond 90-degree angles. The position of the computer lets you see the screen (which is on and loaded with content) but forces you to touch the computer in order to adjust it. Every device in the store is working and connected to the Internet. Spend as much time as you’d like playing with the products—nobody will kick you out. Creatives who give One-to-One workshops do not touch the computer without asking for permission. They want you to do it. The sense of touch helps create an emotional connection with a product.

10. Appeal to the buying brain. Clutter forces the brain to consume energy. Create uncluttered environments instead. The Apple Store is spacious, clean, well-lit, and uncluttered. Cables are hidden from view and no posters on placed on the iconic glass entrances. Computer screens are cleaned constantly. Keep the environment clean, open, and uncluttered.

The three pillars of enchantment are likability, trustworthiness, and quality. Apple’s engineers take care of quality, and the Apple Store experience personifies likability and trustworthiness. I’ve never left an Apple store without being enchanted.

As I read this post, I remembered my personal experiences in Apple Stores with excitement and hope you can extract things form this post that you can apply to your business. Please feel free to explore all the training systems we offer because each and everyone supports putting the customer and your people first. If you desire more information regarding any of our systems please email me, and I will send you a PDF overview. Thank you!

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

Please forward this URL to anyone you feel needs to read it.

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The Myth of Potential: 5 Ways To Develop Talent

In high school, I was a better than average athlete, but one of my closest friends was amazing. Most people didn’t know it, though. He was quiet, even shy, and spent most of his time either practicing or studying. Nothing he did off the court—not the way he acted, how he dressed, or who he talked to—shouted “jock!” But he handled a basketball as if he’d been born with one in each hand. According to our school’s coach, one of the best in the region, my friend had “real potential.” Our coach even talked about him going pro.

But what is potential? When most people say “potential,” what they really mean is “proven success.” After all, no one mentioned my friend’s potential when he was an awkward third grader learning how to dribble. It wasn’t until he already established himself as a local superstar that people started talking about his potential.

The truth is everyone has potential, and nearly every employee has some talent of great potential value. But developing that talent takes serious work, both from employees and their managers—just like the thousands of hours my friend put in every day after school, along with the encouragement and instruction from his dad and his coach.

Developing talent—that is, helping every employee reach their potential—should be a goal of every leader. In fact, at GE top executives spend as much as 40% of their time identifying and mentoring their replacements. Leaders at other companies would be wise to follow suit. Here’s how to start:

1. Give employees time to focus. With the frenetic pace of business, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of deadlines and shifting priorities. The best leaders encourage employees to spend time absorbed in a single project or area of focus—especially when it’s a stretch assignment that will challenge their abilities.

Some of the most innovative companies in the country put a priority on free or flexible time. For example, Google developers and engineers receive “20 percent time”—eight hours a week they can devote solely to projects of their choice. Likewise, Bell Labs—one of the biggest American innovators of all time—gave scientists and engineers the opportunity to spend years researching a single product.

2. Promote the value of learning. Leaders should be on a constant lookout for professional development opportunities. Taking time to focus on learning helps employees crystallize their goals and determine what skills and areas of growth are most important to them.

As I mentioned, General Electric is one example of a company that places a premium on promoting the value of professional development and learning. The company has a Chief Learning Officer and spends $1 billion a year in training its employees through the GE Global Learning initiative. That’s about $3,500 per year for each of their 290,000 employees.

3. Ask lots of questions. It’s no secret that leadership requires clear and effective communication. When it comes to developing talent, leaders should focus on the listening side of the communication equation. Find out what’s important to employees, what experience they have, where they see themselves in the future, and what excites them about the company.

Colin Powell nicely sums up the importance of listening and effective communication: “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.” The key in business is to allow them to solve their own problems by asking them questions and not just giving them the solutions. By doing this leaders will find they will have more creative time.

4. Give frequent, specific feedback. It’s far too easy for managers to only give feedback during performance reviews or to offer vague platitudes. The best mentors provide quality feedback that’s timely, genuine, and focused on desired behaviors that can be repeated. It’s also important to be positive and forgo any personal judgments. One of the greatest leaders in my life was my father. He did not wait 6 months to give me a performance review. I knew where I stood with him everyday.

5. Treat failure as an opportunity for improvement. Nobody likes failure, but everybody enjoys saving face. When employees fail, they’re often at their most vulnerable. And that’s a good thing. It means they’re open to receiving feedback, trying new approaches, and improving areas of weakness. Stay positive as you help your team members take advantage of these opportunities.

As Vince Lombardi said: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will to learn from their mistakes.”

Remember: Everyone has potential, but that potential may remain hidden without skilled mentoring and effective leadership. Take time to help employees discover their talents, learn from failures, and build on their successes. It may just save your company some major recruitment dollars.

I hope this helps and for more information on our very effective Leadership and Sales Management training systems just click here and I will send you a PDF overview.

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

Please forward this URL to anyone you feel needs to read it.

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QBQ! Quicknote: Redefining “Victim”

QBQ!: Redefining “Victim”

As a salesperson, trainer, speaker, and author since 1986, I know how easy it is to complicate a message. I’ve done it.

I also know, as I’m sure you do, that when it comes to “free speech” and a democratic system, it can get messy. Opinions, theories, ideas, and “political positions” can become confused, twisted—and self-serving. We have media that will do just about anything to pull in one more viewer, set of eyeballs, or long-term subscriber. But, let’s give the media the benefit of the doubt by admitting truth: It’s our human nature that makes us want to turn to watch the “car crash of human life” that’s within our sight. In other words, we are both fascinated by and feel compassion for … The Victim.

But now it’s time to unwind and uncomplicate this whole “I’m a victim!” mantra that has crept insidiously, dangerously, and destructively into our society. Here we go:
• If I am mugged on the street, I am a victim. If my employer reduces my benefits, I am not a victim.
• If a tornado knocks my house down, I am a victim. If someone makes more money than I do, I am not a victim
• If the nearby river rises and my home now sits under water, I am a victim. If my bank charges ATM fees, I am not a victim.
• If a thief steals my 60″ flat screen, I am a victim. If I cannot afford a 60″ flat screen but my neighbor can, I am not a victim.
• If “the plague” strikes my family, I am a victim. If my employer won’t pay for my continuing education, I am not a victim.
• If a Black Mamba escapes from the zoo and enters my home, biting me on the ankle and I am sick for months—I am a victim!!! But, if I am a new college grad with large school loans—I am not a victim.

To be blunt, there isn’t much in life that justifies me throwing a Pity Party for One. What is justified is working hard to eradicate this “everybody’s a victim” mentality that abounds, because when I play victim I serve no one.

Not even myself.

The cure for victim thinking is simple: Personal Accountability.

Just ask QBQ’s such as, “What can I do to contribute?” “How can I be my best today?” and “What can I do to own my decisions?” These powerful questions will move me forward. And when I move forward, I stay out of the unproductive and wasteful trap of victim thinking.

John G. Miller
For more information on the QBQ! training system, a QBQ! Speaker or a QBQ! books please visit Accountability Plus or contact us here.

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Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus

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Four Common Destructive Sales Management Styles

I’ve had the privilege of working with many new managers whose company hired me to help them transition from seller to manager or to work with existing managers to become more effective. One of the recurring issues I’ve discovered is a misunderstanding of what a sales manager is.

Whether I’m working with a newly promoted seller into a frontline sales management position or an established sales leader, I often find someone with a warped and destructive idea of what a sales manager’s work is.

Generally I find these misguided managers have adopted one of these four destructive management styles:

The Clone Coach: A common tendency of great salespeople when promoted to manager is to believe that if they could just train all of their salespeople to be mini-me’s of themselves then everything will be great—the salespeople will be happy, they’ll make their numbers, management will be thrilled, customers will be loyal forever, and the new manager will be promoted again in no time. Thus, the new manager sets out to coach every seller on his or her team to do exactly what they did to be successful without regard to the individual salesperson’s experience level, knowledge, personality, or skills.

Typically the harder the manager tries to “coach” each of their salespeople to mimic the way they sold, the more frustrated each seller becomes and the more resistant to being “coached.”

Although the manager may succeed in creating one or two clones, they will alienate the majority of their team and eventually there will be a breakdown of trust and cooperation.

The Super Seller: The Super Seller is the star salesperson who when promoted to manager tells his or her salespeople to forget about selling, “you get the prospects, I’ll sell ‘em” is the crux of their management style. They haven’t the slightest interest in seeing their salespeople grow as sellers; their only interest is making THEIR numbers because it’s all about them.

Salespeople languish and eventually wither and die under a Super Seller for they not only have no chance to grow, if they do decide to exercise selling skills they are typically scolded for the perceived sin of costing the manager potential scalps on his or her lodge pole.

Although the manager may appear successful to upper management if judged only by the numbers, she is judged a complete failure and is resented by her team which typically suffers large turnover and discontent.

The Disciplinarian: Less prevalent that the two previous management styles but equally dangerous is the manager who comes in with the attitude of “I’m going to whip these lazy good for nothings into shape if it kills me.” Most typically it does kill—both the team members and the manager.

The Disciplinarian usually has a chip on their shoulder and disrespect for those they “manage.” This manager views himself as being not only a superior seller to his team members but also more dedicated to the company and his job than they are.

Sales teams under the thumb of the Disciplinarian suffer from morale issues that eventually result in high turnover and often outright rebellion.

The Pal: The Pal manager has most often been promoted from within the team and is friends with the majority of team members. The Pal’s transition from peer to manager changes virtually nothing in the team’s relationships as the salespeople have a difficult time making the transition to viewing their old friend as their manager and the new manager has a difficult time now having to hold her former team peers accountable for their actions.

Instead of making the transition from peer to manager, the new manager makes a transition from peer to Super Friend, becoming the advocate extraordinaire for her team mates, protecting them and covering for them no matter what. The Pal is committed to her friends and is most concerned about how they feel about her rather than managing them.

Unfortunately for most managers who take on the role of The Pal, the lack of discipline and accountability results in the team members taking gross advantage of them—to the point that often their tenure as manager is very short lived.

The common denominator that binds all four of these management styles together is a focus by the manager on themselves and their wants and needs.

Certainly managing entails coaching, and disciplining when necessary, as well as helping close a sale here and there; and needless to say making the numbers is important. But managing involves far more than these few traits and it becomes destructive when the manager becomes completely focused on their own needs and their perceived success rather than their team’s growth and performance.

One of the keys to being a successful sales manager is having a solid understanding of human nature and in particular understanding what makes each team member tick. More than anything else, sales management is about leadership, not about control or being the big shot or even just making the numbers.

Manager, if you see yourself locked into any of these management styles, by all means seek out a quality coach or find a quality management training company and start the process of becoming a strong manager.

Seller, if you find that you are working for one of the above managers, consider your situation carefully and make a conscious decision as to whether you want to continue in such a situation where your growth as a salesperson may be stymied and you may live in a constant state of frustration.

I hope this helps and for more information on our very effective Sales Management training system just click here, and I will send you a PDF overview.

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

Please forward this URL or email to anyone you feel needs to read it.

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What is Management/Leadership

Every organization must have its own philosophy for Management/Leadership. We can’t give you a philosophy but we can help you develop one by first determining a solid definition of Leadership?

What would your definition be? Quickly write it down and then continue.

The best definition I have personally ever heard came from W. Steven Brown, author of the 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make…and How You Can Avoid Them. The definition is:

Leadership is the SKILL of ATTAINING PREDETERMINED objectives with and through the VOLUNTARY cooperation and effort of other people.

We feel this definition is so strong because of the words that make it up.

Leadership is the SKILL: Being a skill, Leadership techniques can be learned and with practice they can be perfected. All managers should be committed to improving their Leadership Skills on a daily basis.

The next key word is ATTAINING. Leadership by necessity must be results oriented. It’s not about working hard, giving it the old college try or your best effort but ATTAINING. It’s also not about ATTAINING just anything but ATTAINING…

…PREDETERMINED objectives. That is doing what you say you will do and being accountable for your team’s performance. Effective Leaders can effectively PREDETERMINE what the objectives will be. The best way to PREDETERMINE the future is by knowing the past, studying you company history and knowing your team members.

Knowing your team members leads us to the fourth word of VOLUNTARY cooperation and effort of others. We can’t push people, we must lead them. That does not mean we must be doing more of their work than them but building an environment that communicates to our people that they really count.

Sharing a common definition will help any organization develop a well founded philosophy!

The major problem I find in working with managers for over 30 years is you can ask 12 managers to define it and end up with 12 different definitions. That is not good because the success or failure of any business is determined based on five prerequisites and they are:

A Quality and/or unique product

Proper timing of our ideas being introduced into the market

Sufficient Capital and the ability to manage it effectively

A Productive workforce

Quality Management/Leadership

You will note I placed Quality Management/Leadership at the bottom of the list because it forms the foundation for the other four. I did because effective Leaders contribute to the other four. For more information on these ideas and more, I would encourage you to explore our Leadership in Action and/or Practical Sales Management development systems as they are build upon the principles.

As always, I hope this has helped and please contact me if you desire more information, I’ll be happy to email you a PDF overview!

Best regards,

Jim Strutton, CEO
Accountability Plus, Inc.
[email protected]

You have our permission to forward this URL of email to anyone you feel needs to read it.

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