From our Vision Forward stand point, we discuss the value of setting the right goals regularly. Especially at the start of a new year, like right now. Goals that are taken a step further than the (bi-)annual goals, and truly give a magnificent vision for an amazing future. The benefit of setting goals like this, is that your brain can apply itself maximally on such goals. However, there is a disadvantage. Such goals can be terrifying in magnitude or ambition. Which is exactly why it’s important to get others involved! But how do you do that? By ensuring that all goals are aligned with each other.
What are aligned goals?
Aligned goals – what does that mean? Well, when your goals and the goals of someone else are aligned with each other, it has a compounding effect. Which can present itself in many forms. An example:
Imagine you’re a new business account manager. Together with your team, you’ve been presented with a team target. Obviously, you have been given your own targets. So far, so good. This is not exceptional. When everybody reaches their own, individual targets, it usually means that the team target is also realized. Oftentimes, the realization of the team target comes with monetary bonus, which is nice.
Let’s say you’re the same new business account manager as from the example above. However, this time, you find yourself talking to your Sales Director, who looks beyond the traditional bonus set up of the department. He starts to ask you questions, and makes you think about what you really want. What your goals are. “Wow,” you think, “nobody has ever asked me that!” You tell him that in 5 years, you want to become a Sales Director yourself. A worthy goal!
Your Sales Director goes deeper: “What is it that attracts you to that role? What will you get out of it, personally ánd professionally? What is the impact you’ll have on your team? Your other colleagues? Your organization? Your clients and customers?”
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
He really puts your brain to work and lets you think about what that role contains, and what you can get out of it. You agree on a goal: If you perform 10% above your individual target, each quarter, you will be presented with structural training and development to enable you to reach your goal, and to prepare you for the role of Sales Director in 5 years. Within the organization, or beyond it.
Herein lies the power of aligned Goals: When you set a Goal for yourself, and others connect to that, it results in a compounding effect. The one strengthens the other. 1+1=3. The benefit is, obviously, that the organization has an energetic, proactive, motivated and happy employee who will do anything to perform above target. With all the short- and long term benefits that come with that. But: You’ll have to invest in his/her future as well.
Aligned Goals: 1+1 = 3
Another great example: A project coordinator for a construction company, 55 years of age, has indicated to his manager that he would like to retire soon. Preferably a few years before reaching the usual retiring date, set by the collective labor agreement.
How do you effectively deal with this? You do not want this colleague to become unmotivated, or working with clients and projects in an indifferent manner. The CEO of this organization found a great solution: He agreed to an earlier retirement for this colleague, but not before he asked him what the financial consequences were going to be for this colleague, should he retire before the official date.
It makes sense that the monthly income, whilst retired, would become less if the colleague would retire early. Yes, that was going to be a challenge, and present the employee with a less-than-desirable situation. So what did the CEO suggest? Yes – the employee would be allowed to retire early. And yes, that would have negative financial consequences for him personally, regarding his income. Obviously, it would also entail some negative consequences for the organization: A replacement employee has to be found, hired and onboarded. So: A compromise!
To ensure that this employee would remain motivated to be as enthusiastic, customer friendly, and qualitative as before, the CEO suggested to supplement the retirement account of the employee. However, not for nothing. This colleague would receive a percentage of every new account or project that he would reel in, from that point forward. And that percentage would be deposited straight to his retirement account.
What effects did this cause? Well, that employee has gone to extreme lengths to seize every opportunity that would bring projects, new accounts, and new projects into the organization. And it worked. In those last few years, he has worked so hard that it not only ensured praise from his co-workers, but it also ensured that his retirement account was supplemented. When he retires, he will be financially very stable.
Of course, it was beneficial to the organization as well. New projects and accounts came in, who otherwise may not have been signed. New clients, new projects. 1+1=3.
What can you learn from these examples?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an Executive, a manager, or an employee. Think about what YOU want, and how can you aligned others to your goals. Ask about the goals of the people in your vicinity. Yes, both personal ánd professional goals. Then – get to work and create situations when 1+1 becomes 3. It will require an investment of time and energy, but you’ll see some extreme fantastic results.
Need support? Feel free to get in touch with Vision Forward, or click here to send us an e-mail. We’ll help you and your team. We love to do it, and luckily, we’re good at it.
How did one man understand what so many different consumers wanted? In what manner did he use psychology to sell his ideas and designs? What can you do, to sell anything to anyone?
Raymond Loewy, the father of industrial design, had a theory. He was the all-star 20th-century designer of the Coca-Cola fountain and Lucky Strike pack. Furthermore, he designed the modern sports car, locomotive, Greyhound bus and tractor. Additionally, he designed the interior of the first NASA spaceship and the egg-shaped pencil sharpener. Ergo: What is popular, and when? And how you can sell anything to anyone?
If you’re in sales, you have got a lot of things going on. Following up on leads, calling prospects, managing customer experience. Depending on the size of your organization, you’re also setting meetings, creating proposals, and checking up on delivery. We all know it’s a lot. So what should sales leaders focus on?
Imagine you manage a group of sales executives. You’ve got all of the above ánd checking up on your people to make sure they’re on target. Meetings with the people ‘above’ you, meetings with the people ‘below’ you, and meetings with all other stakeholders.
Because you’re all so busy with the day to day operational side of the job, it’s easy to get stuck in that. You’ll keep on managing dissatisfiers, and you’re focus won’t be providing extra value or differentiating from your competitors.
Aside from the operational dealings, which have to happen, what should you focus on? It doesn’t matter if you’re an account manager, sales executive, or sales manager. We mention 5 resolutions that will enable any forward-thinking sales leader to hit target easier than before.
Have strategic conversations with your clients. Not just tactical conversations.
The world is changing daily. Technological innovations, new legislature, or key economic events. Mike Houghton says: “Understanding your customer’s mindset can help you have a strategic conversation about or guide the conversation towards one focused on business outcomes. In fact, it’s useful to think of yourself as a consultant rather than a salesperson. When you start to think of it [your conversations with the customer] that way, talking about type, brand, feeds and speeds will often be irrelevant.”
Spend time daily developing your skills and mindset.
If you’re not on top of your game, you will lose to one (or several) of your competitors. As a result, it is important that you spend time daily to develop yourself. For instance: Develop your skills. Develop your mindset. Develop your knowledge. If you’re a manager, enable your sales people to develop themselves. Provide training, books, and courses.
Focus on what you do best, not what everybody else is doing.
At Vision Forward, we know what we do best. We enable people and companies to be highly successful. That means we’re narrowing our focus to ensure that our resources are well spent on providing that value to our people, our clients, and their clients.
Help your customer act, not just react. Think proactively.
Mike Houghton states: “Addressing your customer’s desired business outcomes – whether those include reducing costs, increasing efficiency, or improving safety – means that a 30,000-foot approach to their environment.” That’s your only job as a sales person or consultant. So make sure that you enable your clients to reach their goals faster.
Look to the future – not the past.
If your focus on the things that happened in the past, you won’t be able to step forward into the future. It sounds cliché, but that is because it’s true. When you do the things you’ve always done in the past, you will not get different results in the future. It’s that simple. That does mean, however, stepping out of your subconscious patterns. Look out for the innovations that might change your business, or the businesses of your clients, and anticipate. Where are the opportunities? Where do possible risks lie? If you’re providing value to your clients based on what you know and they don’t, you’re one up.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply
Everybody has heard this cliché. It’s not new. But somehow, most people don’t practice the art of active listening – which is listening to understand. To really comprehend. To be emphatically engaged in a conversation, and trying your best to understand the other person’s point of view, and digging deeper if you need to.
The people who do practice the art of active listening, radiate something special. And why? Because they have put aside their ego and are really involved in your story. They have set aside their subconscious, automatic patterns.
These people are the leaders that truly inspire. Or the team members that can bring order in a team that was chaotic before. The sales rep that gets new business deals again and again, because (s)he is actually trying to create win-win situations with clients.
Glenna Fulks gives a practical trick to improve your active listening: “Count to eight before you reciprocate. I have been guilty of hi-jacking a conversation and realizing that I spoke too soon and cut off the other individual’s response. It will seem like an eternity, but be smart and give the person with whom you are communicating the time to acknowledge your comment or statement. It builds respect and credibility. Not only does this expand the opportunities for communication, but you also allow yourself time to hear and take notice of their cerebral nuances.”
Takedowns and clever quips are easy, but empathy and persuasion are better
Ryan Holiday writes about the difference between being right and stating blunt facts to prove your point, and being kind and persuading others to come and share your point of view.
Pushing your opinions, facts, and studies might be ‘true’, but that doesn’t mean that others will accept it, act on it, or even believe you (on a subconscious level). If you work with others, and you’ve pushed your point of view on them, you’ll probably experience the backfire that comes from that.
If you’re in a leadership position, and you push your ideas on others, what happens? How intrinsically motivated will they be to pursue the goals you’ve set together?
If you’re in sales, and you push your ideas on your prospects, will they leave every experience they’ve ever had behind and pursue your vision on their company and results? Chances are slim.
Don’t try to persuade others. It doesn’t work. The best you can do is guide them into new insights that they ‘come up with’ themselves. We can help with that.
Holiday ends his excellent article, which can be read here, with this thought: “If you can’t be kind, if you won’t empathize, then you’re not on the team. That team is Team Humanity, where we are all in this thing together. Where we are all flawed and imperfect. Where we treat other people’s point of view as charitably as we treat our own.”
The term “personal development” is very much a part of today’s lexicon, but have you ever thought about what it really means?
Svetlana Whitener describes personal development “as a transformational journey, and improving your emotional intelligence (EI) can be a major part of that journey. This is because EI develops your self-awareness and gives you the tools to understand your own needs and the needs of others. EI also elevates your self-actualization by allowing you to honor those needs as well as understand them.”
Personal development, according to us, is very much linked to improving your emotional intelligence on the one hand. On the other hand, what new beliefs can you adapt and make your own? What skills do you need to learn in order to achieve what you want to achieve? How can you increase your sphere of influence? With yourself, and with others?
Whitener also states a number of steps she deems necessary in your lifelong journey of personal development:
Be an internal light
We know, of course, that personal development (and professional development) is also predicated on the goal you tie it to. WHY do you want to develop yourself? WHY is it important? What Goal are you trying to achieve? Without a Goal, without that point on the horizon, the ease with which you develop yourself will be much less – all because of the way our brains are wired.
Need to take the next steps in developing yourself, personally or professionally? Need to improve yourself? Your team? Your sales? Your leadership? The way customers perceive you? Let’s get in touch.
People tend to have a natural aversion to those who make it all about themselves. But wait, is that person you?
Inc. states: “Almost every workplace has at least one toxic employee. You know the type — always negative, tends to bully others, distracts much of the team … the “bad apple” that ruins the barrel. But what if someone were to tell you that you were that person?”
What are the signs that you are the “toxic person”? And what effects does that have on your workplace satisfaction? The relationships you have with your colleagues? With your customers and clients? Your prospects?
Try and look as objectively as possible. If you tick the boxes, it’s time to look at how you can change your behavior, as well as influence how people perceive you. And what lies underneath, on a subconscious level, that you behave like you do?
Do you: – Make everything about you? – Say and do passive-aggressive things? – Feel and show jealousy of other’s successes?
You might be the toxic person in your environment. How does that affect your success? Lead yourself to a better place.
Companies that make superior customer experience a priority reap the benefits of repeat business, ultimately developing a loyal and concrete customer base.
ManagementEvents states: “Customer experience is perhaps the most important aspect of a successful business. If a business manufactures a product that is of great quality and captures a niche in the market with the most amazing features but fails to provide its customers with an environment where they feel comfortable, that business can never be successful.”
And we agree. In the article, you’ll find a number of techniques and strategies that’ll allow you and your people to take the next step in positively influencing the customer experience.
However, if you look critically at your team – do they have the skills to take that step? And if so, do they believe that it’s worth it? Which member of your team might not care as much as you do? Is that a problem? And if so, how to fix it?
This is why Vision Forward know for a fact that an intervention on a deeper level is needed, for every individual, every team, and every organization. The subconscious level. If you don’t tackle someone’s subconscious belief system first, most of the taught skills and knowledge won’t ever be put into practice.