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How closely is your strategy aligned with your values and beliefs?

28 Dec

Your values and beliefs are the foundation on which your insights, perceptions, and resulting decisions are based.

It has often been said that once you know “Why,”… “What,” and “How,”  become much easier to determine and decide.

At any point have you found yourself feeling that you need to violate your principles?

Some values and beliefs are learned and others may be inborn; in either case they do not change quickly or easily.  It is imperative that your strategy is congruent with your fundamental values and beliefs.

Strategy does not usually change quickly or easily.  Tactics however, can be changed with relative ease.  If your strategy is in poor alignment with your values and beliefs, your tactics won’t produce the results you desire.  You can always  modify your tactical activities but you shouldn’t be quick to alter your strategy (unless it needs to become better aligned with your values).

Do you proactively map your strategy and tactics against your values?

Begin with the end in mind, form your strategy, plan yourtactics, and allow yourself the opportunity to make sure that your strategy is in close alignment with your core values and beliefs.  Otherwise, everything is much harder than necessary and no matter how much you accomplish you will not feel satisfied or fulfilled.

What should you consider changing?  Where should you begin?  

7 Simple Tips That Will Turn You Into a Powerful Leader

10 Nov The Hollow Men #5

The Hollow Men #5

You don’t have to be in a position of authority to be a leader. Conversely, just because you have authority doesn’t mean that people will follow you. You must be a leader to get others to follow you.

There are many books on leadership. They can have lots of great examples and in-depth explanations, but sometimes you just need something simple to help you focus on the essentials. This article intends to do just that. These are the habits that will help you and your team achieve great things if you focus on them.

Illustration: Howard Penning
Creative Commons License

  1. Goals
    Make it simple and easy for your team to understand the mission and to understand their part in achieving it.

    • Concise Goals. Keep them simple and easy to understand.
    • Focus your team on as few goals as possible.
    • Communicate the team’s goals often and through various means (team meetings, individual meetings, emails, posters, slogans). And then do it some more.
    • Track progress on goals.
    • Involve team players in tracking the goals so that they own the results.
  2. Motivating People
    What you reward gets done. It’s that simple.

    • Incent team players to do the tasks that are most critical for reaching the team’s goals. Make sure the rewards are meaningful to people. Understand each player and what they want from their job and in life. That’s how you’ll know how to reward them.
    • Praise, Thank, and Recognize big and small contributions by individuals. Do this often and then do it some more.
    • Set High Expectations. People will live UP to or DOWN to the expectations you set. Set them high and you’re saying, “I believe in your ability to do great things!”
    • Empower people by delegating responsibility.
    • Celebrate team accomplishments often.
    • Encourage Fun. Make the work place a fun place to be. Yes, work needs to get done but short fun breaks can make all the difference in the culture of your team.
    • Pride. Foster a sense of pride in your team. As a team you could establish a mascot, create a team chant, and have a meeting that is focused solely on each individual’s strengths and the team’s overall strengths.
  3. Walk Your Talk
    You need to practice what you preach. This is how you establish trust and credibility.

    • Model the Way by participating in the team’s tasks as much as your position allows.
    • Be Honest. Deliver on your promises. Actions speak louder than words.
    • Challenge Yourself. Do your best (and then some) just like you ask your team to do their best.
    • Speak Up. Just like your team members sometimes need to let you know what they’ve done in order for you to be able to recognize and praise them. They, in turn, need to know what you’ve been working on and what you’ve accomplished. So find ways to communicate this, modeling this key behavior.
    • Stay Sharp. You need to be competent for others to follow you. If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind. Always be learning and keep on top of the latest skills, technology, and knowledge in your field.
  4. Inspirethrough a combination of
    • Unwavering Positive Future Vision
    • Commitment to Improve things along the way that will make that positive vision a reality.
    • Ability to Bootstrap as necessary when resources are tight.
  5. Process Power
    Good process is like having a high performance machine. Sloppy process makes things fall apart. So be sure to establish these key habits with your team.

    • Establish Routines. Do this for the team and also work with each individual to come up with their own high productivity routines. These are routines that dictate what work is done when.
    • Establish Processes for all the tasks that are done repeatedly. It takes time to set up at first, but after that it will pay off in saved time and less errors. Processes describe how work is done and might involve systems for doing the work.
    • Task Assignment. As much as possible, assign tasks according to the strengths of each teammate.
  6. Change
    Embrace change by seeking it out. This will tread a path for your teammates to follow.

    • Change Routines Quarterly. Look for better ways to achieve the team’s goals.
    • Take Risks. Don’t be afraid of failure. No one ever reaches great heights without a few failures.
    • Learn. Learn as a team from failures. “How can we improve it the next time?”
    • Encourage team members to take smart risks too by making it safe to fail. Focus on learning from past experiences and building upon them to find better solutions.
  7. Advocacy
    Support your team and they’ll support you.

    • Promote your team members. Make sure others outside your team know about the individual team members’ successes. You want your team members to excel and even graduate away from your team possibly. Don’t worry. If your team is great there will be plenty of others who will want to join! This natural turnover of team members is like the renewal of cells in your body. It is necessary and healthy.
    • Promote your team. It’s your job to market the great accomplishments of your team in order to get the rewards, recognition, and resources that your team deserves.
    • Fight for the most important resources and changes that will benefit your team and the organization overall. Remember to pick your battles wisely.

Read The Original Post Here

The Marketing Funnel and Tactical Innovation

31 May

In a world cluttered with advertising pitches, when a company can get prospects to click on links, watch their videos, join their email or SMS list, and attend webinars they have succeeded in getting them into their marketing funnel, keeping them in it, or advancing the sales process to the next phase.

How do you get prospects into your funnel, and keep moving them closer to making a buying decision…?

The Marketing Funnel

The Marketing Funnel

Only deliver highly relevant content using the most appropriate methods of delivery, and communicate with them as infrequently as possible, but as often as necessary to advance the sales process without fatiguing them.

It is essential to first understand your customers needs and their purchasing criteria. From this point you are able to develop a systematic approach to delivering content which will move them closer to realizing that your products or services will add value for them.  Next you must choose the best methods to communicate your value proposition.

Is it important to deliver my information in separate phases, or is it better to reduce the volume of information and ask prospects to make a purchasing decision more quickly?

It depends on what type of product or service you sell.   For larger and more complicated purchasing decisions it is often better to develop a stage oriented sales process.  We recommend beginning the process by using a blog, videos, podcasts and/or other web content to engage the prospect while establishing your business as a GREAT solution to their needs.  From this point the sales process will depend on what type of decision you are asking them to make, and what your sales and marketing resources are capable of executing.

At what stage  in the sales process should a representative from your company engage the prospect directly?

For most companies the answer is to establish a personal connection immediately after the prospect’s first interaction with your content, however some companies choose to have the prospect define their level of interest and how close to “sold,” they are by asking them to take another action or by presenting them with multiple options that allow them to define where in the sales process they currently are.

We receive requests from companies who have “decided,” that they want to use a specific medium like email, SMS or Video as part of their tactical marketing communications mix.  We have found that it does not usually have a beneficial impact on sales to introduce a new tool without understanding it’s role in the overall context of your sales and marketing campaign(s). If your customers don’t regularly use the method of communication you are choosing, then you will see poor performance results.  We recommend considering fully whether a new tool is actually the best available alternative to communicate with your audience prior to acquiring or using it.

If you have questions regarding implementing a Marketing Funnel, a new tool,  or would like to discuss an evaluation of your existing Marketing tools please contact us for a free consultation:

Business Relationship Status: “It’s Complicated?”

22 Mar

Good relationships require mutual trust and good communication.  The described “status,” of a relationship is a direct reflection of it’s quality in the view of the person describing it.

Great relationships can happen online and the parties involved can regularly communicate this way, but it is nearly impossible to actually cultivate and maintain a “great,” relationship exclusively online.  Relationships usually require some offline, personal interaction and face to face engagement to become or remain “great.”

Imagine spouses communicating with each other exclusively via email, text message, or on their social network profiles… It is hard to imagine a healthy relationship surviving exclusively in this sphere.  Most business relationships aren’t any different.  If you communicate with someone exclusively via email, text message, instant messenger, etc., what type of quality do you really have in the relationship?

In an increasingly hectic and demanding professional world, we can all benefit from using online means of interaction to improve our ability to communicate more frequently with our relationships.  However, we must also be careful not to forsake the value of offline interaction.

Quality in our customer, employee, and vendor relationships benefits from personal conversation, periodic face to face meetings, or a social activity where goodwill and trust are built and maintained.

Facebook users are given the option of describing and openly displaying their “relationship status,” to provide an outward indication of their:

1) Availability

2) Happiness/Satisfaction

3) Commitment/Loyalty

4) Intent

What if our customers, vendors, and employees had their business relationship status with us openly displayed for review?  What would it say?

What if we relied so heavily on online communication that this became our best chance of really understanding their perspective on the quality of our relationship?

Depending on your business or industry there may be some discrepancy, but the table below is an approximation of the business equivalents of  some common Facebook “Relationship Statuses.”

Business Relationship Status Equivalents

Don’t be so busy that you let the quality of your relationships suffer.

Pick up the phone and tell someone that you appreciate them or that they are doing a great job.  Better yet go see them in person and tell them face to face.  Invite someone you care about to do something fun or interesting with you.  Take some time to get to know somebody better and begin a great relationship.

These actions create memories for both of you.

View this as a communication strategy, or just consider it as “a way of doing business.”

For assistance with evaluating, managing or improving business relationships contact us: