VIDEO: You Oughta Be in Sales

Is there any business process more despised than sales?

But if sales is held in such low esteem, then how are customers supposed to come to us? Do they magically appear like Christmas presents under the tree?

Sales is that five-letter word no one wants to mention. Too bad. All of us need to be in sales. What you are selling is YOU.

So if are not selling, it means you lack faith in self and faith in what you can do to help others.

Re-framing sales then means re-thinking what you do. Very basically, consider sales as everything you do for a client — service, execution, follow up and re-engaging the process.

Selling your commitment is something that anyone with whom you work with can appreciate. Ultimately, sales is a reflection of your and your work. Use it to your best advantage.

First posted on on 7/14/2017

VIDEO: 3 Ways to Turn Pain into Laughs

Humor emerging from pain is man’s way of coping with something that hurt you. Some people would turn that pain into rage; others turn it into a catalyst for self-improvement. Comedians turn that pain into gold.

Humor is one way to deal with the challenges facing you. So here are some ideas you can employ to laugh at the world around you and, in the process, feel better about what you do and the people you work with.

As you build your humorous story follow these three steps.

  1. Choose your pain. Think about a situation in which you made a mistake. Employing the Lenny Bruce rule (“Pain plus time equals humor.”), allow some time to have passed. Think about what went wrong and why.
  2. Make yourself a target. Focus on what you did. What were you thinking? Why were you thinking it? And most important don’t forget to mention what you did that was so mistaken.
  3. Go for the laugh. Exaggerate the aspects of yourself — looks, habits, and behaviors. Could these be sources of humor when played to extreme. For example, are you someone who ignores details or do you like to dive into the weeds? Pick your type and play it up.

Take a moment to reflect on the past and turning it into a source of laughter can be therapeutic. You may help you and your team feel better about the work you do.

First posted on SmartBrief on 6/30/2017

How Good Leaders Correct Mistakes (HBR)

Carlos Gomez, the rookie centerfielder for the Minnesota Twins in 2008, scooped up the ball and threw so hard to second base that the throw ended up being fielded in the dugout by Ron Gardenhire, his manager. So what did Gardenhire do when the rookie returned to the dugout? He asked him to autograph the ball. Gomez “is a kid who plays with a lot of emotion,” Gardenhire told the New York Times, “If I kick him there, I might lose him for the rest of the game.” Gomez appreciated his manager’s gesture, but “knew what he did wrong, and it didn’t affect him the rest of the game.” Indeed not. Gomez later homered.

Pick your moments! That’s what good coaches do when they want to correct a player’s mistake. It is also good advice for anyone in a leadership position. Flying off at the handle when someone makes a mistake might be theatrical but it’s not really practical. It may make the manager feel good to vent, but the effect on the employee may be counter-productive. So the next time your employee makes a mistake, consider three things:

Why did the mistake occur? New employees often make mistakes because they don’t know better; veterans make mistakes because they’re not paying attention. Neither is acceptable. Managers need to make certain their employees know their jobs and keep work relevant for others so that they maintain focus.

How can the employee correct the mistake? If the employee knows he’s made a mistake, just let it sink in. If the manager shows he’s upset, the opportunity to teach is lost. If the employee doesn’t know he’s made a mistake, then let him know sooner than later. Have discussions with the employee about what went wrong and how he will correct things the next time.

How can you turn this mistake into a learning lesson? Sweeping the mistake under the rug increases the likelihood it will happen again; shining light on the problem may illuminate new solutions. One mistake can open the door to dialogue. Invite the employee to discuss her needs for more development. Perhaps she can design an improvement plan. Also, the manager may need to become more involved in the employee’s development, either personally or by assigning another employee to help. 

Let’s be realistic. When things go wrong, the manager is responsible regardless of why the mistake happened. So when the mistake occurs, it’s understandable he might be upset. Showing emotion is acceptable. In fact it can be used to make a point. Employees need to know that mistakes can be tolerated but must be fixed; failure to acknowledge them will lead to mediocrity.

Waiting for the heat of the moment to pass allows for reflection, giving the employee time to consider what he’s done and how he can make it better. The manager demonstrates trust and that trust gives the employee the confidence to know he can succeed next time.

First posted on 7/24/2008