Theories about leadership come and go, but despite the trends your
Today let's talk about leadership fundamental #2: how effectively you build solid performance in your workforce. It all starts with your basic assumptions about your employees and how they view their work.
The McGregor Theory, developed by Douglas McGregor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, talks about two contrasting views of employee motivation: Theory X and Theory Y. Each of these theories is going to influence the methods you use to lead.
Theory X - Assumes that people will do only the work that is necessary. The Theory X manager uses methods of heavy oversight and control mechanisms, and might even use fear motivation (threat and coercion) to make sure that employees follow through on instructions. Since the Theory X manager's assumption is that the employee is out to get something (a paycheck) for as little effort as possible, when something goes wrong the manager assumes that an employee is at fault. He or she will overlook the impact of work processes and/or training when problems occur and go in search of a person to blame.
Theory Y - Assumes that people are self-motivated and have self-control. A Theory Y manager will outline the expectations and then get out of the way for the employee to do what is necessary to successfully complete the job. In contrast to Theory X, which relies on external means to motivate employees, Theory Y sees motivation as intrinsic to each individual.
Which is "better"? The answer to this question is not as black-and-white as it might appear at first. Culturally many workplaces are moving more toward Theory Y-based management methods. When companies are focused on increasing employee engagement, work teams are being given more authority to solve problems or initiate improvements to work processes.
The use of Theory Y in management methodology doesn't mean that management is absent - only that it focuses more on making sure that effective training is providing a sound foundation for daily functioning and problem solving. Management provides the resources through which teams and individual contributors satisfy customers.
A discussion of Theory X and Theory Y in general concept, though, does not take into consideration the unique personalities and needs of individuals in the workforce. Effective management is situational, and there are times when employee experience and/or performance track record call for more (or less) external intervention and control.
If you look around at employee performance in your workplace and the accepted procedures for managing them you'll see evidence of Theory X or Theory Y, regardless of whether they have been applied intentionally or not. If you see a gap between desired results and actual performance, your underlying assumption about employees and their motivation may be one contributing factor that you want to change.
Temptation might take the form of a "deal" in the window of your favorite store, or a large slice of pie that your grandmother made just for you, or an online game of solitaire that you have found to be quite addicting. You already used your willpower to resist temptations today, and you're not sure you're strong enough to say no again, even though you know that your goal will be compromised if you succumb.
There is an assumption that lies behind the concept of willpower. It assumes that these other things have control over you, and that they hold such sway over your choices that you have to fight back. Is that accurate in your case? Or is the strength of your goal such that it overpowers anything that is in your way?
The purpose behind setting goals is to help you focus your energy and your actions toward a predetermined end. If you are setting a goal only because you think you should, or because someone else has told you to do so, you're probably not engaging the level of commitment that can withstand temptations. You haven't fully built the case for it in your mind. Your willpower will be tested because you don't want the goal enough to not want this other thing that's luring you off course. The fight is on.
The answer to the willpower problem is in the why. Why do you want to save $5000, or to lose 20 pounds, or to complete that project on or before deadline? If you are not convinced by the reasons behind your goals - really convinced - you will be vulnerable to temptation. If, on the other hand, your reasons are compelling enough, everyone and everything else had better get out of the way because you're doing it come Hell or high water.
This post is an excerpt from Changing Results by Changing Behavior, a leadership field guide by Julie Poland:
You might think that measurement of results would be a foregone conclusion ─ everyone does it, right? That’s not been our experience. Sure, leaders take a look at certain numbers like gross revenue, gross profit, cash balances and the like, but far fewer have a grip on measurement beyond that.
When there are hard dollar reasons to pursue behavior change it’s natural that hard dollar measurements should result. If you engage someone to work with your sales staff you would expect to see movement in sales per rep, perhaps an increase in the number of presentations, or in their closing percentages. Where you set concrete financial benchmarks at the beginning of your process you’ve set the stage for measuring the downstream effectiveness of your change efforts.
For readers who can't remember a time prior to smart phones, this is what phones looked like when your parents - or grandparents - were chatting with their high school friends. You don't know what real dialing is, or how long it takes for the 9 to return to its position so you can dial the next number. You could probably send ten texts in the time frame needed to dial one number the old fashioned way.
The old phone was certainly too heavy to carry in a pants pocket, even if you had a pocket the size of Bozo the clown's. But the heaviness we're talking about today is the weight of your reluctance to pick up your smart phone and dial a prospective client to set up a get-acquainted meeting.
The phone isn't your only tool for prospecting, and some would say that they will never, ever cold call. They will admit that it's too torturous for them with too few positive results. But networking (one of the preferred marketing modes right now) is relatively slow when done right. The object in networking is the relationship first, sometimes long before a prospective business relationship is on the agenda. The phone, on the other hand, is your direct line to the in-person meeting, and most sales don't happen without that critical mid-process step.
So why is the phone so heavy? Here are five reasons shared with us - see whether any of them resonate with you:
Who do you call?
It's best if you disconnect the generation of your call list from your calling process. It's a great activity for non-peak hours. Make a list, include the phone numbers, and leave room for taking notes once the calling begins. The length of your list should be determined by the number of appointments you want to make. Use your prior success rate to work backwards; if you want your result to be eight scheduled appointments and about 50% of the people you talk to say yes you'll need 16 names on your list. If only a third of the people that you try to talk to are actually reachable you'll need to have three times that many - 48 - ready to go if you want to be uninterrupted in your calling process once you start.
What are you going to say?
You need to have an agenda for the call so you don't fall subject to a brain cramp. You can create a script, or a more outline-formed call guide with the key points in a few bullets. It's important to keep you on track, to enable you to stay focused on the other person rather than on your own thought formulation. When creating a script it's important to remember that while nothing works 100% of the time, the more consistency you use in your approach the better you are able to evaluate and improve your methods. Test and measure. This, of course, means that if you want to improve you need to track your phone activities (#attempts, #contacts #appointments, etc.) and analyze your results.
Voice mail hell
You need to incorporate a plan for voice mail into your calling. Do you want them to call you back? Think carefully about this, because if you are calling 150 people today and a Mr. Smith comes through on your line out of context later today it might take you a few minutes to figure out that it's the same Mr. Smith that you tried to reach this morning. And if you're not going to be in the office later anyway their return call will only be an exercise in frustration. Some people leave only their name - so it becomes familiar - on voice mail. Others leave a short commercial. Just beware of giving so much information that the prospect makes a buy or no-buy decision based upon your message. You aren't even close to that point in a valid sales process. If you're presenting over voice mail you're jumping the gun - by a long shot.
I'm an interruption and an annoyance
It's easier when you are not calling completely cold. This IS where it's beneficial to gather names of prospective clients through in-person contacts, provided that you're not irritating in person! When you have met someone recently and you follow up promptly you already have a shared experience through which you can develop rapport on the phone. Whether you already know this person or not, though, you want to ask whether you're calling at an OK time, you want to be brief and to the point, and you want to remember that you have only one goal for this call - to establish an appointment. If they don't want to meet, politely thank them and say "Next!" inside your head. On-the-phone arm-twisting or pleading places you at a strategic disadvantage, and it doesn't create the foundation for a client-centered meeting. When you pressure you're making it all about you and your need to have a meeting, and that's not the proper focus if you want to create the foundation for a long, mutually beneficial relationship with them.
The last guy I talked to was downright rude
When you call you ARE an interruption in the sense that you are an unplanned part of their day. Some people deal well with that and some people don't, so you are likely to run across somebody that's a bit testy. You can help yourself here through a few simple strategies:
An objection is not necessarily a stop sign - it is often a request for more information. When you are prepared to handle certain objections you improve your confidence for the call, meaning that the person on the other end is less likely to shake you. An objection might be a sincere misunderstanding about your company, what you do, and the purpose of your request for a meeting. Once you answer the objection(s) you may wind up with the desired appointment. But if they come in an unending stream, cut bait and say "Next!" inside your head. There's somebody else out there who is open to you, and your job is to find him or her.
The phone need not weigh fifty pounds. Preparation is huge in winning this internal battle. But so is building time for it into your daily or weekly routine. When you are trying to improve, higher frequency is better than lower frequency. When you call a lot you can more readily remember the mistakes you made the last time and avoid them. You can more easily repeat the strategies that worked on the last call until you make them second nature. And you won't allow enough time for the inner voices to psych you out.
Track your numbers. This helps you measure your success, identify your best practices, and improve. It also takes the process from an emotionally-charged one to a data-collection project. Once you know your numbers you can manage tomorrow's activities based upon results-based information. And that makes the phone a whole lot lighter.
The first time I heard of the term blog (short for weblog,) was when a website designer recommended it about nine years ago as a way to keep the website for my coaching company fresh. She explained that when website content changes, search engine spiders find the site more easily. Even though most new clients find my business through personal contact and not through a web search, I was game to try it to see whether it would improve my visibility in a Google search. I finally wrote and posted my first blog entry in September of 2005, and by now blogging has become an integral part of my marketing mix.
Why a blog may be good for your business
Beyond boosting your search engine ranking, you can achieve a number of additional goals by writing a blog:
Getting started with blogging
The simplest method to get a blog going is to use one of the online platforms. Blogger (a Google product) and Wordpress are two of the most commonly used blog platforms. You establish an account, name your blog and select a template for the appearance of your blog. Your blog will have its own URL (for example, thefriendlyplumber.blogspot.com) that you can link to your main company website so that every blog update you do will automatically show up there.
Content and blog frequency
Your selection of content will be one of the chief determiners of the frequency at which you post to your blog. If you are a news blogger, for instance, a once daily post will leave you in the dust behind bloggers who are online the moment after a story develops. Most likely, however, your posts will either be informational and educational or commentary and opinion. If there is not time sensitivity in your content you will determine your own posting frequency: daily, biweekly, weekly, etc. The goal is enough frequency to attract regular readers and search engines, but only enough that it is sustainable for you to do.
Knowing your audience
When you know the audience to whom you are targeting your posts it is much easier to select content, and to determine the tone of your writing. For instance, if you are addressing teenaged skateboarders in your blog you’ll choose different language than if you are blogging to middle-aged businesspersons. What does your target audience want to know, and what is it that you’d like to know from them?
If you’re going to the effort of producing blog posts you want it to be read by more than you, your spouse and your mother. So how do you spread the reach of your blog?
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