DOUG THORPEDOUG THORPE http://dougthorpe.com Leadership Powered by Common Sense Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://i2.wp.com/dougthorpe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/cropped-h-logo.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 DOUG THORPE http://dougthorpe.com 32 32 114195028 Dealing With Pressure http://dougthorpe.com/dealing-with-pressure/ http://dougthorpe.com/dealing-with-pressure/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://www.dougthorpe.com/?p=4649 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Leaders must know how to handle pressure. Pressure is one of those “not if, but when” factors in life. You will face pressure. The key question is how do you deal with pressure? Is your leadership style changed when pressure comes? When you face the outward forces crashing in on you, the heat rising, or […]

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It's Not If But When

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Leaders must know how to handle pressure. Pressure is one of those “not if, but when” factors in life. You will face pressure. The key question is how do you deal with pressure? Is your leadership style changed when pressure comes?

When you face the outward forces crashing in on you, the heat rising, or the magnitude of consequences growing, you sense the pressure. Will the force of pressure draw you closer to your core or drive you away from it? What do I mean by “core”?

The Foundation

Your core is your foundation for leadership. You must routinely seek to build your foundation. Values, principles, and disciplines make up your foundation or core. Without a strong foundation, no structure can endure. So it is with your ability to lead.

Your foundation gives you the under-girding that is necessary to be an effective leader. You cannot give what you don’t have. So your foundation is also the source of strength to guide and direct your leadership efforts.

When pressure comes around, does it send you back to your core or drive you away from it? The best response is to revert to your core or foundation based principles, practices and beliefs. Be true to yourself.

Ask yourself whether the forces of pressure are testing your core. Respond with core-centered action. Do not take the alternative approach and run to some other system of belief or set of principles. Get back to your basics. Likely you were placed in leadership for a reason. The reputation and character that got you into your position is a function of the foundation you used.

When pressure rises, get back in touch with that foundation. Use the solid experience you know about to guide you through the current challenge.

It Truly Is Inward

If you analyze the situation or circumstance that you view as pressure, you will find that factors or elements that make up the sense of pressure are usually identifiable. The big difference is how you inwardly react to those factors.

Your reaction might be radically different form another leader’s reaction, yet the circumstances are exactly the same. What makes the difference?

The answer is your inward process. The way you choose to react or respond to the pressure is the key. Here are some important questions to consider.

Do you react the same way to pressure or does it matter what the details include?

Do you respond or react?

Think about when the doctor gives you medicine. If you respond to it, you are healing. If you react to it, you have more problems.

The way you handle pressure is much the same. By simply reacting, you may be increasing the consequences of your pressure. An inappropriate reaction may draw others into the battle or the circumstances may get worse before they get better. You may create your own compounding effect.

Instead, think in terms of responding to the pressure. Use your experience, your values, your leadership principles. Craft an emotionally intelligent response, not a reaction.

Unmask the Lone Ranger

There was once a story character called The Lone Ranger. It was set in the wild west. As the name suggests, he did most everything by himself. Yet not really. He had a trusted Indian sidekick named Tonto. The whole story is no longer PC, but that’s not my point right now. Pressure may make you feel like trying to find answers by yourself. That should be the last thing you need to do.

Instead you need to rally your support network. Gather the trusted advisers you have recruited. Oh wait, you don’t have any of those? Well, when you’re between high pressure situations, you should work on finding a few individuals who can serve as this personal Mastermind group for you. Let them come along side to provide encouragement and guidance.

Then, when you face pressure, make your assessment of the situation and turn to your network of advisers to assist with ideas for weathering the storm.

Question: When was the last time you faced pressure? How did you respond? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

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Trouble Staying Positive? http://dougthorpe.com/trouble-staying-positive/ http://dougthorpe.com/trouble-staying-positive/#comments Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:00:38 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4637 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

For many years I worked as a banker in real estate. My clients were hugely successful commercial developers and/or residential mortgage groups. To make a good banking loan, you have to be focused on the property that is being financed. The property becomes the primary collateral for the loan. The borrower must work to maintain the […]

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Take a look at these five ways to help

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

For many years I worked as a banker in real estate. My clients were hugely successful commercial developers and/or residential mortgage groups. To make a good banking loan, you have to be focused on the property that is being financed. The property becomes the primary collateral for the loan. The borrower must work to maintain the value of that property as long as the loan is in force.

FURTURE VISION

In real estate there are ever-present forces, almost gravity-like, that work to decay the property and erode its value as soon as it opens. Here are just a few of the chief concerns:

  • The weather beats down; sun, wind, cold, heat, rain, storms
  • Tenants/occupants can tear up the place
  • Natural wear and tear, so upkeep is required
  • Vandalism; people stealing equipment, fixtures, and trim

Harrison Barnes (noted career coach) writes: “It is like that with people too. There is a constant gravitational-like force challenging you as well. There is an incredible amount of negativity and other forces out there that will destroy you and your dreams if you let them in. These forces are unavoidable, and the number one characteristic of the most successful people is the ability to avoid these negative forces. They succeed despite negativity coming at them from every single direction every minute of every day.”

If you let any of the negative forces around you influence your view of who and what you are, you are destined to a less than fulfilling life. The choices you begin to make only serve to compound the downward spirals that may already be underway.

You need to avoid the negative forces out there – the negative gravity and information that will seek to keep you down. You need to watch your mind: You need to put more positive things in your mind than negative things.

No one who ever achieves any form of greatness is realistic. Instead, they are able to ignore the negative forces and messages coming at them – guard their bodies and minds. Then, they create conditions in their minds and bodies that promote success, happiness and possibility. This is what you need to do as well.

The actions that make good real estate people successful at managing great properties can work in your life too.

  • You do not let anything bad inside (forces that destroy from the inside)
  • You keep everything up-to-date (reduce the effects of forces that cause decay)
  • You make the best of what you are (avoid forces that drag you down)
  • You put nice things inside (prevent bad habits from forcing you down)

Barnes goes on to write: “Most people, however, do not maintain themselves as well as they can. Instead, the elements around them have taken hold and reduced them to something less than they are capable of being. They have long ago given up on their dreams and what is possible for them.

Why do people give up on their dreams? Many people are negative because they are afraid. They have been disappointed so many times that they are now afraid of getting excited about anything. If someone is negative, then the chances are they are fearful. The problem, however, is that we typically get what we look for: If we look for negativity, then that is what we end up finding.

There are all sorts of forces around us that create doubt and hold us back:

  • Things people have said about us in the past
  • Things we have said about ourselves in the past
  • Poor results we have gotten in the past
  • Our current situation and fear of change
  • People around us that give us negative messages
  • People who used to be around us that gave us negative messages
  • Our overall environments and how positive and negative these are
  • Good results others around us have gotten
  • Goals we have not accomplished in the past
  • Information in our environment that frightens us

Scripture says we should renew our minds daily, but that can be so hard. If you watch the news, read the paper, or join the average conversation of most groups (co-workers, friends and others) you are likely to discover that a significant portion of this information is likely to be negative and uninspiring. Why this is the case, I do not know. What I do know is that this sort of information can act like a gravitational force on your life and keep you down.

Since negative information cannot necessarily be avoided, the best solution is often to counteract this with more positive than negative information. You need to pump your mind with positive thoughts daily — or else you will end up being unhappy.

Top-Five-Ways-to-Be-Positive

1. Decide That You Do Not Need to Be Perfect

Most people become very negative because they feel they need to be perfect. They do not participate because they are afraid of losing or of not being the best. They are afraid of what people will say if they screw up or otherwise fail.

Everyone is going to screw up, and you will too. The worst thing you can do is to let the fact that you might screw up stop you from acting or doing anything at all. Far too many people allow the prospect of failure to shut them down or prevent them from acting. They also allow the fact that they are not perfect to make them feel bad about themselves. No one is perfect, and you are not either.

2. Keep Improving

Many people hit a plateau of sorts in their lives and stop there. Or, they fall down to a certain level and stop there. The rare person keeps improving and keeps setting goals for themselves. One of the most important things you can do in your career and life is to constantly set goals for the person you want to become and never stop improving.

Improvement is powerful because when you are always improving and do not stop improving you are sending a message to your mind that tomorrow can be better than it is today. Tomorrow should always be better than today, and when you are constantly setting goals for yourself and improving, you are sending yourself that message.

Whether your idea of improvement is about fitness, mental acuteness, or growing wisdom, there are plenty of opportunities to add these kinds of activities in your life to allow constant improvement.

3. Stop Being Judgmental

Most people are quite judgmental of others. They look at people who are different than them and find all sorts of fault. They find all sorts of fault with others, whether it is how they dress, talk, live, or conduct themselves. In fact, many social groups seem to exist and thrive based on judging others.

The problem with judging others is that as soon as you start judging others, you also start judging yourself. Any person who takes joy in judging others or watching others in pain will also eventually experience a great deal of pain. You need to free yourself from the disease of judging others and making them wrong.

4. Find Things to Appreciate

Everyone needs to find things in their lives that they can appreciate, and every life has things in it that can be appreciated. You can even appreciate things that seem to be negative to you. You need to focus on the things that you have and not things you do not have.

The reason you need to appreciate things is because you will attract into your life what you focus on. If you focus on the negative, then you will attract the negative. If you focus on the good, you will attract more of the good. You need to find the good and what you can appreciate.

The world and the people in it are full of negative thoughts that will eat you up and take hold of you if you let them. The smartest thing you can do to be happy and not negative is to find aspects of your life that you love and focus on these. Be grateful for who you are and what you are.

5. Have Faith in Yourself

The most important power you have in the world is faith. Faith makes everything possible. Being positive is about having faith in yourself and that things will get better than they are today. You have been through a lot and whatever negativity you see in your life today will pass as well.

Your life is controlled by your thoughts and through faith you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. You need to believe in yourself first and do everything within your power to believe in yourself even when that does not always seem like the smartest thing to do. Everyone who has achieved anything worthwhile generally only was able to do this by having faith in themselves.

Barnes concludes:

“There is a tremendous amount of negativity, harm and hurt in the world. These forces are all around us and conspiring to bring us down and reduce us to less than we are capable of being. In order to reach our potential and be the people we are capable of becoming, we need to do everything we can to be positive in the face of overwhelming negativity. This will save us, make us strong and give us the lives we are entitled to and deserve.”

All I can add is AMEN!!! You can be a force in this world. You might not be the next headliner in the Wall Street Journal for a breakthrough invention, but the difference you can make at home, at work, and in your community can have a lasting effect on so many around you.

Question: In what ways will you restore the faith in yourself to be more positive? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Footnote: This piece is a collaborative effort inspired by an article Harrison Barnes first posted on December 16, 2015.

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Leadership: You need to be YOU http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-you-need-to-be-you/ http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-you-need-to-be-you/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 09:00:20 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4623 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Trying to become a better leader? Don’t be someone else. You need to be YOU. If you are trying to be like someone else, forget it. That job is taken. The world needs YOU, not the other guy. I see too many young professionals trying to be like someone else. They identify a role model […]

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Any other job is taken

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Trying to become a better leader? Don’t be someone else. You need to be YOU. If you are trying to be like someone else, forget it. That job is taken. The world needs YOU, not the other guy.

Courtesy 123rf.com

I see too many young professionals trying to be like someone else. They identify a role model and take off copying that person’s style, trappings, mannerisms, and even vocabulary. It comes across phony. To be an effective leader, you must develop your own unique style and approach.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to learn great things from people who have “been there, done that.” That is mentoring and coaching. Yes, let someone show you the ropes, but YOU need to decide how that new knowledge will fit into who and what you are.

My Crazy Little Story

If you follow my writings at all, you know I am the only child of a hard working single Mom. Mom couldn’t provide a lot in a material sense, but she brought me the moon in terms of key and important influences in my life. When I was still at home, she arranged a huge cadre of male role models from which I could learn. I didn’t turn out like any one particular mentor of mine. No, better yet, I became a patchwork quilt of qualities and attributes I gleaned from various others who were offering support and encouragement.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but I guarantee I have been able to do more than a lot of my peers because I had this amazing exposure to men who had a heart for mentoring and helping a young boy grow up. Many of my friends grew up in the shadow of their Dad. Sometimes that worked out well, other times not so much. They had to wait years to realize there were other choices for values and behaviors from which they could have chosen. I had the good fortune of know that before I left for college.

You Can Make a Change Now

It’s never too late to grow. As a leader you should already have a habit of seeking growth and experiencing growth. If you have been slow to do that, there is no better time than now.

  1. Start with feedback from your stakeholders; the people who have the most vested interest in having you grow. Ask your company to perform a 360 assessment for you. Use that feedback as a baseline. If you’re an solopreneur, ask your closest colleagues and clients to rate you. Yes, that might be scary, but it is a good exercise. Plus it shows them you are serious about becoming a better YOU.
  2. Be ready to leverage your strengths (as described in the first step). Make a list of the shortcomings; the areas where you can improve the most.
  3. Surround yourself with quality advisers who can come alongside to share with you their experiences and offer alternative solutions. Build a small, trusted team of experienced professionals who are willing to share their wisdom with you. Join a mastermind group.
  4. Grab some good books on Leadership. I suggest a few here.
  5. Take some courses. There are great ones available online or through some of the business schools. You don’t have to sign up for a full degree program.

Make a Plan

Develop your own leadership development plan. Use the information you gather from my checklist here and work out a plan for growth. Take small steps each and every day to build your personal archive of knowledge, experience and information on leadership. When you get stumped (and you will), seek counsel. Get advice from trusted coaches or mentors.

Need a coach

Stop This One Thing

Stop trying to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Or whoever your X-person is. You fill in the blank with the name of that persona you have been trying to become. Yes, you can adopt some of their principles, skills, and attributes, but own it. Make them yours. You need to be you. All the other jobs are taken.

You will never be as successful as you could be by trying to copy someone else. All you will have done is flatter them and pump them up. Sadly, very famous authorities usually never know about your effort to copy them. Just stop it.

Question: Let me know about ways you have tried to copy someone else. What were the results? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

 

 

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Price of Business Radio Show September 14, 2017 [Media Appearance] http://dougthorpe.com/appearances/price-business-radio-show-september-14-2017/ http://dougthorpe.com/appearances/price-business-radio-show-september-14-2017/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:20:39 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?post_type=mediaappearance&p=4635 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Media Appearance

Join Doug Thorpe as he talks with Kevin Price

Price of Business” radio show.

 

Event: Price of Business Radio Show September 14, 2017

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Procedures? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Procedures http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-procedures/ http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-procedures/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 09:00:17 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4537 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Managers and leaders at all levels rely on process and procedure to execute scalable and sustainable delivery of the work they do. Yet from time to time, you will hear talk of being totally free-form in the operation of a business. Results speak for themselves. When you dive deep into the leadership success story of […]

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Wait, maybe we do.....

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Managers and leaders at all levels rely on process and procedure to execute scalable and sustainable delivery of the work they do. Yet from time to time, you will hear talk of being totally free-form in the operation of a business. Results speak for themselves. When you dive deep into the leadership success story of business, you will find prescribed process that is reliant upon standard procedure to make it hum.

Process and ProcedureOnce, as I was assuming responsibility for an operating unit at the bank were I worked, I was talking to one of the clerks. I asked her to describe the work she did on a daily basis. Her description was, “I take this form out of this drawer, make these entries in the computer, and place the form in the other drawer.” The drawers were right side/left side of her desk. I paused, thought, then asked “Well, who puts the form in the right side drawer and who takes the completed form out of the left side drawer?” She said she didn’t’ know because it happened on another shift. I asked how long she had been with the company. “Three years in this same job.” Wow, I was stunned.

I decided to research the rest of the story. I talked to the people on the other shift and got their version. I then went back to the first lady and explained the whole process. Turns out, her part was an important piece of the overall procedure that allowed my unit to operate at peak performance, yet she had no idea. When I shared with her the significance of what she did, she got very inspired. We arranged a meeting between personnel on both shifts to share their views of the work. The harmony this generated was appreciated by all.

While this seems like an overly simple experience, it happens thousands of times daily with hundreds of operations everywhere. Procedure is something that must be understood by all employees. As the leader of a unit, the responsibility for establishing this understanding is on you. Yes, you may delegate the training and monitoring of the work, but when the final tally is made, it will be on you to be sure procedure has been followed.

Depending on the circumstance and the nature of your work, procedure takes on significance ranging from the mundane to the life saving. Go out on a military firing range and ask whether procedure needs to be followed or not. “Keep your weapons pointed up and down range” is a procedural command that saves lives. With live rounds chambered in a weapon, the participants in target practice cannot be pointing the weapon at other people. Your job may not be as dramatic, but the importance of following procedure is just as important.

At the Beginning

There was an interview where a company representative said “At my company, we see as many as 92% of our job applicants failing to follow the prescribed job posting procedures. We count that as immediate elimination.”

No kidding! Wow, 92% of the job seekers applying to this company’s posted jobs cannot follow enough instructions to pass through the grid and become potential interviewees. What are these people thinking? Ok, maybe the company has some special requirements they have laid out, but so what? I am sure the nature of their business has some unique requirements too (as do most companies). If someone cannot or will not follow the steps, then what kind of worker might they be?

Since the job search process is as much about elimination as it is selection. Candidates cannot give the employer a reason to eliminate them by failing to follow a step in the process. If your company has rigid procedures that must be followed, job candidates must follow procedure in order to be deemed a fit for that environment.

Leadership for the Procedures

Once a process has been defined, procedure must follow. When Henry Ford decided how the assembly line would operate, procedure had to follow to let every worker know the steps they need to perform. Skip a step and a wheel might fall off.

Leaders must introduce, teach, train, monitor and adjust procedure so that maximum execution can be achieved. Management can check the boxes toward completion and delivery, but leadership brings the people into the fold. With effective leadership, you can obtain total buy-in by the work team. Since process, driven by procedure is unavoidable for best execution, the people cannot violate the procedure. Otherwise chaos happens.

Leaders must be able to inspire the team to follow the procedures that have been written. If there is any confusion about the expectation it must be resolved. If there is any inconsistency in following procedures, it must be dealt with. Coaching by the leader to address individual exceptions to the rule is required.

Question: When was the last time you had to enforce a procedure to make your team perform better? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Learn more about executive and business coaching offered by Doug Thorpe

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Link Your Brand to a Story for Greater Success http://dougthorpe.com/brand-to-a-story/ http://dougthorpe.com/brand-to-a-story/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4585 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Your business provides a great product or service, right? What sets you apart from the next guy? Study successful brands, and you’ll see they each link their brand with a story. Doing so generates more than simple interest; it connects with their clients’ unconscious minds. Link your brand with a narrative, and you will increase […]

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Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Your business provides a great product or service, right? What sets you apart from the next guy? Study successful brands, and you’ll see they each link their brand with a story. Doing so generates more than simple interest; it connects with their clients’ unconscious minds.

your brand needs a storyLink your brand with a narrative, and you will increase business success.

Why people love a story

The human brain loves a good story. Stories connect with the subconscious mind, which, incidentally is where beliefs are stored. Potential clients don’t just adopt logical thinking when deciding whether to buy products or employ a firm’s services. Their beliefs influence their choices as well.

The subconscious mind uses metaphors to communicate with the conscious mind.

Its wisdom rises in the form of stories and pictures to guide people’s actions. Thus, it might show you an image of someone carrying a heavy load if you contemplate tackling what you consider a difficult task. Or, your mind might present a picture of you meeting success if you believe doing so is possible.

Create a story for your brand that inspires people, and they will like your business. Their unconscious minds will tap into the story, and it will influence their decision to use your services.

What type of story do people love?

First, on an unconscious level, people adore a story that feeds their need to overcome obstacles. They love narratives about rising from difficult circumstances and accomplishing success. Think about your favorite movies. Usually there is a struggle in the story. Whether it is overcoming evil for good, rags to riches, or the victory for a cause, this dynamic reach for something better grabs our hearts and minds.

Furthermore, the human brain is designed to seek improvement. Tales of starting small and achieving big victories provide a feel-good factor that puts people in a good mood. Connecting with this internal wiring for improvement through a good story line helps lock in the message.

Why authenticity counts

At this point, you might imagine you can simply make up a brilliant story to attract customers, but hold on a moment. Before you get too creative, remember, people love authenticity as much as they love a great story. Winning stories are based on facts. Clients will soon smell a rat if your brand’s narrative isn’t genuine.

We all have our own BS meter. We know when people are not being real. The story you choose to build your brand must originate from sincerity and authenticity.

You cannot be someone else, that job is taken.

—DOUG THORPE

Tweet Quote

Finding a story for your brand

Your brand already has a story; it just needs to be recognized. You’ll uncover the right story if you think of its beginning stemming from how you had a dream. After all, there was a time when your business was a thought rather than a reality. Here lies the part of the tale where you hadn’t yet achieved success.

What were you doing back then? How did you know you wanted your life to change? What did you want to give to the world by starting your business? Answer such questions, and you’ll have the basis for the story.

The tale needs to inspire awe and help your clients believe 

Bear in mind the tale needs to inspire awe and help your clients believe your business has what it takes to improve their lives. Thus, don’t only mention how you were poor but rose from the ashes of poverty like a phoenix to make money. Consider how you discovered you could help others overcome challenges and meet their needs, and weave this element into the story.

12392060 brand story large

Do NOT be afraid

Apart from not thinking of the idea, want to know why some business people never tell their story and link it to their brand? They are scared. Telling their tale involves stepping out of their comfort zone and getting personal. When you reveal your struggles in life, you are vulnerable. However, speaking about how you began your journey will help your clients feel a connection with your brand.

If your story were only about the success of your brand, it wouldn’t be inspiring. Your customers want to be able to relate to the story. Thus, it needs to feed their desire to hear about moving from humble beginnings to achieving a dream.

You might not think you need to link your brand to a story to find success, and you may be right.

You’re more likely to succeed if you uncover the real tale

You are more likely to succeed if you uncover the real tale of your business to tell. Doing so will not only attract clients, but it will also boost your confidence, inspire employees, and make you proud. You’ll love your business even more than you do now, and what you love you nurture.

Footnote: Much of this article was contributed by Austin Tenette, a certified business coach at Focal Point.

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REMEMBERING 9.11 http://dougthorpe.com/remembering-9-11/ http://dougthorpe.com/remembering-9-11/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:00:37 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4603 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

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Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

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Leadership: Closing Is Usually Not the Problem http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-nugget-closing-is-usually-not-the-problem/ http://dougthorpe.com/leadership-nugget-closing-is-usually-not-the-problem/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:00:00 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4520 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

In the sales world, there is a big focus on closing the deal. Tips and techniques for effective closing are taught by sales trainers of all types. Yet closing alone does not win many deals. Opening with the prospective client is a bigger factor on whether you win the deal or not. By taking a […]

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Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

In the sales world, there is a big focus on closing the deal. Tips and techniques for effective closing are taught by sales trainers of all types. Yet closing alone does not win many deals. Opening with the prospective client is a bigger factor on whether you win the deal or not. By taking a look at this essential part of the sales process, you can learn something about being a better leader.

Closing is NOT the problem

Closing is NOT the problem

The inability to close is really a symptom rather than a problem. The true problem may be in the way you open.

From the Sales Point of View

The way you open the relationship determines the likelihood of success. You need to set a vision to establish the right agenda and anchor three key areas to earn the right to close:

  • Establish trust and rapport with your target (by being authentic and transparent).
  • Agree about compelling business value.
  • Understand their sense of priorities (and their process for evaluation and selection).

Once these three things are in place, the date for purchasing commitment becomes clear to both buyer and seller. Contracting or finalizing the purchase becomes a ‘next step’ rather than a white knuckle adventure. For many in sales they feel like they need to lock their customer in a room or go sit in their lobby for days on end until the purchase order is secured… desperation is the worst way to attempt a close. You cannot water board a client to a close.

Closing must be earned. Objections from the buyer usually suggest the seller has made mistakes by pushing before trust and value has been established. It also indicates an absence of the necessary understanding of the buyer’s timing, priorities and processes.

Making the Shift

These same principles hold true in management and leadership. You cannot push an employee to success, at least not for the long term. Some degree of trust must be established before an employee openly follows the guidance of the manager.

For managers; remember that you cannot manage by results; only by activities and actions. Ask the right questions of your people at the beginning of the quarter and help them identify and execute the right actions that create progression throughout the quarter. Firing-up the blow torch with just days to go in the quarter after neglecting the inputs that create success is a sure-fire way to damage relationships and drive-down performance.

Begin with a Strong Opening

As a leader, building a team takes hard work. We are too often “quick to hire and slow to fire”. It should be the other way around. Talent selection must be a well orchestrated effort driven by specific attributes necessary to fill a job. The considerations include:

  • Alignment with company vision and goals
  • Applicable technical skills or experience
  • Cultural fit
  • Personality compatibility
  • And many more…

In Jim Collins’ watershed book “Good to Great”, he introduces the concept of identifying your “hedgehog” focus; the thing your company does best. Then he adds “getting the right people on the bus”.

Hiring and placement is about finding the right souls to fill the right roles.

—DOUG THORPE

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Doing more to achieve better selection and placement can set the stage for better success.

Once a candidate is selected, you must have an effective on-boarding process to begin building that opening argument for why the person is here and what opportunities you have for them. When someone joins your team, they have taken the first step to say “yes, I think I see what can be done here”. As the leader, you must build on that, reinforcing the values and reasons. These steps add to the proper and effective “opening” with a new hire, thus improving the odds for a strong “closing” in their performance.

The Simple But Elegant Solution

For better management and leadership of your team, you need to have an ability to set priorities, assess the “what can I do to help you” factors, and keep momentum gaining steam. There’s an old manager’s line that says:

You must inspect what you expect.

In all my years on the front line, I have seen no better system that the Big 5 Performance Management model. The simplicity of this idea is elegant.

You ask your team to each prepare a monthly report. List five accomplishments for the prior month and add five priorities for the next month; just bulleted lists, no long text/paragraphs.

Once the employee prepares this report, they share it with the manager. The manager can use the report as a coaching moment. Setting alignment and agreement or making slight adjustments to the priorities.

Companies who have adopted Big 5 have eliminated annual employee appraisals. Why would you need them? With Big 5 you have 12 months of actual data. More importantly, if there was a need for slight correction or coaching with an employee, the manager can handle it real-time, thus reducing extended failures and missteps. This improves effectiveness of the team as a whole.

Finally, with Big 5, the employee engagement is improved. As the employee feels more connected with the boss through the routine coaching moments (monthly remember?), there is a greater sense of accomplishment and purpose.

To learn more about Big 5 Performance Management, click the button below.

Closing Is Not the Problem

Getting employees to perform better (closing) is not about cracking a whip near the end of a reporting cycle or as a deadline approaches. Finishing strong is achieved by opening with the employee through more effective means. Better hiring practices, improved on-boarding, and effective leadership nurture the employee to better performance and better results.

Through effective leadership, you can build trust and lead your team toward the right goals.

Question: Let us know how you do more to ‘open’ with your employees. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Dealing with the Pain of Uncertainty http://dougthorpe.com/dealing-with-the-pain-of-uncertainty/ http://dougthorpe.com/dealing-with-the-pain-of-uncertainty/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 14:00:00 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4509 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Uncertainty grips us all at some point in our lives. Perhaps it happens multiple times. It comes in many ways. When circumstances become unclear about “where this is going”, you suffer from doubt, fear, and a whole host of other emotions. I am writing this firsthand as I and my community are experiencing the unfolding […]

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Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

Uncertainty grips us all at some point in our lives. Perhaps it happens multiple times. It comes in many ways. When circumstances become unclear about “where this is going”, you suffer from doubt, fear, and a whole host of other emotions.

Dealing with Uncertainty

Dealing with Uncertainty

I am writing this firsthand as I and my community are experiencing the unfolding uncertainty of Hurricane Harvey. The Houston area has been impacted by what some are calling rain fall of Biblical proportions. The last reading was 52 inches in five days. For most parts of the world, that amount is a couple of years of rainfall. Houston got it in a few days.

The widespread flooding has forced thousands out of cars, homes and apartments. This event has not been partial to age, race, creed, or financial status. Anyone in the path of the flooding has been impacted. Volunteer effort has also been epic in its response. The efforts of local, state and government officials has been amazing. Thankfully the death toll has been very low, relatively speaking. With an area that is home to 6.5 million, the loss of life can be counted on both hands. This could have been much worse.

In my own neighborhood, we have not been impacted as much as the central Houston area flood water. Yet we have had our own uncertainty. My community is inside a levee district. We have the levee because of the Brazos River. The Brazos is a main artery and the largest river that slices across Texas, running from high central Texas all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Its watershed collects a lot of rain when virtually any part of Texas gets downfall. Last year this river flooded at all-time highs. This year, we are forecast to exceed those levels by 3 feet. That’s a record you don’t want to beat.

The uncertainty of what the outcomes of these events may look like is easy to understand, but hard to comprehend. More importantly it is hard to rationalize your decisions about what to do, who to listen to, and how to go forward.

Uncertainty is by no means limited to catastrophic weather events. It can happen in all other aspects of life too. I’ve had coaching clients who are facing great uncertainty at work. The company is getting bought, sold, or reorganized. Pre and post-merger scenarios often create great uncertainty, even for the chief executives driving those changes.

Uncertainty is difficult because you suffer a wide range of possible human emotion and reaction. The list includes these:

  • Fear
  • Doubt
  • Mistrust
  • Faulty information/assumptions
  • Bad conclusions
  • Compounding effects

FEAR

Fear may be the greatest of all reactions to uncertainty. The fear of the unknown. You may have your own reaction to circumstances. Yet the person right next to, perhaps your spouse, may have a totally different response.

FEAR means False Expectations that Appear Real

—DOUG THORPE

Tweet Quote

When we take in the information that is surrounding us, we try to process it against the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Will this thing effect my safety, my security, my well-being, my livelihood, or my sense of self? If you decide YES, it does effect one or all of those things, then fear kicks in.

Fear is often associated with the fight or flight mechanisms we have. If the threat, whether real or perceived, exists, then we ultimately choose to fight to defend ourselves (literally or figuratively) or we flee from danger, running away.

If you are experiencing uncertainty, the first emotion to get in check is your fear. Though it is a natural response, the energy and emotion it consumes is detrimental to successful outcomes in the face of uncertainty.

DOUBT

Uncertainty creates doubt. What you may have believed to be true is now called into question when uncertainty arises. You can doubt the circumstance, the source of information, or the people around you. Worst of all is starting to doubt yourself.

If you are in management and leadership, self-doubt is a killer. You must avoid doubting yourself. When any question about you comes up because of an uncertain situation, dig deep into your soul. Pull on your character. Stay strong in your beliefs about who and what you are.

If you are not yet certain about those elements of your being, then you have an opportunity to do some work to improve. If grabbing onto core values and key principles is hard for you, then perhaps you have not yet accurately identified them. A coach can help build that base.

MISTRUST

Uncertainty can cause a great deal of mistrust between otherwise civil partners. Friends, neighbors, or co-workers can become adversaries when uncertainty raises its ugly head. As people make decisions about the uncertainty they are facing, their conclusions may run contrary to others.

This is especially problematic between partners and co-workers. When the uncertainty causes a rift between parties, the damage in the relationship may become permanent.

There is no good reason to mistrust someone you formerly trusted during a momentary condition. Wait for the actual, final outcomes to pass judgment on the other person. Hopefully, you will find the temporary interruption in the relationship was not about trust at all. Instead it was a difference of opinions and outlooks that can be repaired with some basic collaboration and communication after the fact. Clear the air as it were.

FAULTY INFORMATION OR ASSUMPTIONS

The panic that might happen inside of uncertainty can be hungry for good information. But you have to be careful. The appetite cannot be satisfied with bad information. Check your facts.

As Reagan once said, “Trust but verify”. Check that data.

Within a team setting, information can take strange shapes. There will be those who insist they have the inside track, getting juicy info to explain the situation or even cast further fear and doubt. In my case lately, there have been those who want to yell “the levee has been breached” when in fact it has not.

It is hard to understand the desire some people may have for spreading such bad information, but they do it anyway. As a leader, you must quiet those storms and share as much good information as you can.

Nothing can confuse a situation more than bad information. Prudent people perform best with solid, reliable information and assumptions. Get the facts, then craft your ideas for desirable outcomes.

BAD CONCLUSIONS

Combining all of the pieces above will usually lead to bad conclusions. Fear, doubt, lack of trust, and bad data create the perfect storm for making bad decisions. Whether these decisions are personal or professional, avoid making a bad decision by fixing the other things first.

During uncertainty, you may still make a bad decision, but you can minimize its risk and significance by eliminating the other things we talked about above.

COMPOUNDING EFFECTS

Lastly, be cautious of compounding effects. If you period of uncertainty is prolonged, one bad decisions can compound and create more bad decisions. Stay vigilant when you are facing uncertainty. You will know when you are.

Avoid making rash choices based on fear and doubt. Dig for the truth and as much actual information as you can so that your choices are smarter, more effective ones.

CONCLUSION

As I write this piece, I sit in the midst of uncertainty. A nearby river is rising to an all-time flood level. There are real people already in jeopardy. Some are homeless, some are displaced, most are just very wet. Property damages are yet to be totalled. It may be days if not weeks before we can get accurate information about what has happened.

This is no time to make decisions based on fear and doubt. We must find trusted relationships to lean on. Anyone introducing new, inflammatory information must be questioned or ignored.

Solid leadership is required.

You can eliminate the uncertainty from your job as a manager by hiring a coach to lead you through to the next level of certainty.

 

Learn More

 

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Creating Your Leadership Pledge http://dougthorpe.com/4340-2/ http://dougthorpe.com/4340-2/#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 09:00:41 +0000 Doug Thorpe http://dougthorpe.com/?p=4340 Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag . . .” If you are an American reading this, you likely finished “the pledge” in your head – perhaps before you even read this line. Leadership requires a pledge. Why is that? Partly due to repetition. If you are of a certain age, you recited this daily at school, […]

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Why this makes sense

Here is the latest article from Doug Thorpe

“I pledge allegiance, to the flag . . .” If you are an American reading this, you likely finished “the pledge” in your head – perhaps before you even read this line. Leadership requires a pledge.

leadership-pledgeWhy is that?

Partly due to repetition. If you are of a certain age, you recited this daily at school, and because of that repetition it is ingrained in your mind. But it is also likely remembered because you believe in the words, and they mean something (important) to you. (Before I move on to our pledges, if you want to read an inspiring story about the importance and value of that pledge, read this.)

I’m suggesting that you create a leadership pledge, and am giving you a process to help you start creating it.

Why Have a Leadership Pledge?

Ask people what they want from a leader and consistency and clear principles will always be on the list. People want a leader who knows what is important, and shows that to their team. People want to know where they stand and why the actions being taken and the decisions being made exist. When these are clear, understood and consistent, it is far easier to follow someone.

So what lesson does this hold for us as leaders?

We must know what matters to us, what we believe in and what we value. Only when these things are crystal clear to us can they guide us each day and become clear to our teams too. In short, the most effective and most influential leaders lead from their values.

One way to clarify these important things for ourselves is to put them into a personal leadership pledge. (While I am discussing a personal pledge, a pledge could be created with and for a team or organization, gaining the same benefits more broadly, but that is another article).

A pledge is a solemn promise. Creating your leadership pledge is creating and solidifying a promise to yourself; to lead in the way you believe to be most effective, to lead in a way that is in alignment with your views and beliefs about the world, and to lead based on your values and principles.

Being a leader is hard work, and is even harder when you take it seriously. Creating a leadership pledge pushes you to a higher personal standard, a standard that benefits you, those you lead, the organization you lead in, and ultimately the world.

This is heady stuff, important stuff, and that is why I urge you to consider creating one.

If you are nodding your head in agreement, wanting to be a more effective leader and lead more consistently from your values, you have accepted the challenge. Now, it is time to create your leadership pledge.

How to Write Your Leadership Pledge

Now that you have made the decision, here’s how to get to an actual pledge. Start with some paper, your journal, or if you must, a new word processing document. Free write, brainstorm and capture your ideas on the following questions:

  • What do I believe about people?
  • Why do I want to lead?
  • How do I want to contribute?
  • What are my deepest held values?
  • How do those values connect to my leadership actions?
  • How do I want others to describe me as a leader?

I could give you twice that many questions, but that is enough to get you started. Feel free to add your own once you get started.

Answer the questions, then set it all aside. Let your subconscious start to work on what you wrote and what you thought about. Then, a day or two later, come back to your work and reread it all.

  • What would you add?
  • What needs to be clearer?
  • How would you say it differently?

Now you are starting to edit, but you aren’t creating the pledge itself yet. After reviewing your ideas again, now you can start writing statements.

Take the key ideas from what you wrote, the commonalities that you find across your answers, and begin to create your pledge – your solemn promise to yourself. Give this time too – a couple (or more) passes will likely be needed.

Remember this pledge is for you, not for publication or distribution – these are your words to yourself, a powerful part of your own leadership development. Given this, there are no “right” or “correct” pledges; there are no formats you must follow. The mark of a good leadership pledge is that when you read it, or say it, it creates a feeling, a sense of empowerment and reverence, and perhaps even some goosebumps. When you have a set of statements that gives you that feeling, you have your pledge.

Congratulations

Once it is finished you have done something few leaders have done – you have set out a clear picture of how you want to lead, and how you will commit to leading as your best self. Now that you have this pledge, review it and read it often. Ideally it will become ingrained in your head, like the pledge of allegiance might be to you.

Clearly, this isn’t something you will write today or in an hour – if you are moved to take my suggestion, recognize that it requires some time, thought and reflection. The thought put into it will be as valuable as the words you select when you are finished.

Contributed by Kevin Eikenberry © 2017 All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry and The Kevin Eikenberry Group.  Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services.

 

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