There IS a Better Way to Improve Meetings

Delivering Bad NewsLeaders and team members want to be productive. Engaging team members during meetings create shorter discussions and better decisions. Productivity will naturally increase!

Ironically, the #1 challenge leaders face is engaging team members and keeping meetings productive. And as we all know, today there is the additional challenge of conducting remote meetings.

Consider, There Is a Better Way

Stop Focusing on PowerPoint presentations. Recently, Jeff Bezos banned PowerPoint at Amazon. They found meetings are now shorter and smarter…while costing nothing to implement! (Inc. 2020)

The presenter provides a written, readable, and stand-alone hard-copy document (1 to 3 pages). This requires the presenter to think through and communicate with greater precision.

Team members read, together and in silence, at the beginning of each meeting. This encourages leaders and team members to get on the same page faster and engage in more meaningful conversations.

By replacing PowerPoint with briefing documents, Bezos effectively increased company-wide management productivity by at least 25 percent.

But Wait! Before You Implement!

Understand Reading Levels

Before you jump in and hope to achieve the same dramatic results, remember people read and comprehend at different rates of speed.

According to a study of literacy rates by Wylie Communications, 34% of Americans read between a 4th– and 5th-grade level. 37% read between a 6th– and 8th-grade level. Savvy presenters focus on communicating at the lower grade levels. Yet, writing at a 4th-grade level can be difficult. That requires eliminating “big words” and “jargon” while simplifying numeric data and charts.

Also, leaders must manage the discussion process since team members can become difficult when others read too slow, ask too many questions, or misinterpret the data.

Develop Clear Communication Strategies

Communicating information on point and in simple terms requires practice. When writing, focus on your audience, include simple graphs and other documented data.

Use a readability indicator (Google for sites) to keep your ideas simple and on point. Some sites provide the grade level for the document. (The readability indicator for this article is 8th grade.) Keep in mind, your audience’s reading level will be lower than you think. (Center for Plain Language)

You may believe distributing information before the meeting can be helpful. It’s not. Team members can’t or won’t take the time to read it…and will fail to remember content and/or pretend to understand the data. This can further disengage the team.

Manage the #1 Saboteur

The problem of multi-tasking is still a major deterrent for productive meetings. It’s why some companies ban electronics during meetings!

Yet, the distractions of working remotely and poorly managed meetings continue to make it difficult to keep leaders and team members focused.

To keep people’s attention during my workshops, I use worksheets with key points listed and provide blank spaces to fill in data. This approach provides a structure for note-taking. It allows team members to absorb more information while keeping them engaged and focused on the topic. While some may resent this approach, it’s usually because they don’t want to stay present during the conversation.

Provide Training to Improve Communication Skills

Due to greater reliance on video conferencing, online chats, and phone calls, leaders and team members must step up and improve their communication skills.

Tips:

  • Listen with the intention of learning and ask questions to clarify. Non-verbal communication includes physical and auditory cues. Since 80% of communication is non-verbal, if you don’t develop the skills you will find it difficult to truly discern what they mean.
  • When speaking, start with the point you want to make.
  • Keep your ideas on-point and brief since attention spans are short. Avoid talking just to talk.
  • Use simple and easy to understand explanations and graphs.
  • Ensure everyone is being responsible for staying present during all conversations.
  • It’s important you and your team participate in various training opportunities to improve speaking, listening, and debate skills!

©Jeannette Seibly 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel in business and beyond. This includes conducting engaging and productive meetings! Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

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Developing Your Salespeople is the Mark of a Good Leader

Smarter.Not HarderSuccessful leaders know one of the toughest jobs today is developing their salespeople.

It starts with your expectations and your ability to hold them accountable. Sometimes it will feel like herding cats! Yet, strong profitable sales are a result of your salespeople following the systems, knowing the product details, and mastering successful sales habits.

8 Tips to Develop and Improve Salespeople’s Results

It starts with the right hire! Hiring and promoting the right salespeople sends a strong message to employees, clients (current and future), vendors, and investors. Remember, use scientifically validated job fit assessments to determine a salesperson’s true ability to prospect, build relationships, and close sales.

Did you know…?

  • -Promoting the wrong person is very costly. Many times, when you promote the top salesperson into a management role, s/he will fail. The skills and personality traits that make them #1 in sales are not the same skills and personality traits required to be a great manager.
  • -Many job seekers can sell themselves by looking the part and saying the right things. But are unable to sell your products and services. Make sure to go deeper to discover how willing and able they are to work straight commission or base plus commission.

Create a Workplace Culture that Values Sales Success. Invest in training for each and every salesperson! This starts on Day 1 in a well-designed onboarding program! Remember to remind everyone of best sales practices during daily stand-up meetings via video conferencing. Hold everyone accountable to dress up and show up on time and be ready to go sell. Host weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual sales summits to improve knowledge of systems, products, and industry changes. And, make sure you include fun!

Provide Relentless Coaching. Remember, the goal is to close sales. But there are other activities that must happen first. Hire the right sales coach to provide you and your team coaching and training for developing good sales practices. Eliminate the heavy emphasis on finding and closing the BIG ONE. This mindset hinders developing solid sales activities, habits, and skills. In the long run, the right skills and practices will build a profitable and financially solid bottom line.

Create the Right Winning Mindset. Everyone has slumps and bad days. A successful leader will make sure to acknowledge personal and team achievements and share challenges the team has overcome. These are great learning opportunities and help everyone to keep moving forward. Creating winning mindsets includes encouraging everyone to work with and through team members to create new ideas.

Don’t Ignore Poor Sales Performance. Good leaders don’t wait for poor sales performance to turn around. Instead, review the coaching report from the job fit assessment for salespeople. This will bring clarity to the issue. Focus on only one issue at a time or you will overwhelm the salesperson. Together create a performance improvement plan. For best results, focus on the salesperson’s strengths. You cannot manage their weaknesses and expect successful sales results!

Motivate with Recognition and Rewards. While great pay and perks are important, they are not everything. Create a strong recognition and rewards program with immediate acknowledgment. Be sure you are rewarding the right behaviors and profitable results. Keep in mind, top performers enjoy financial rewards, regular performance feedback, and autonomy. So, look for non-monetary ways to reward great results.

Create Meaningful Metrics. First, prospecting is a process (e.g., cold calls, emails, networking, etc.). This requires follow-up and follow-through every day. These all-important skills separate successful salespeople from wanna-be successful salespeople. Second, track who, what, when, where, and why along with how to best stay in contact with prospective and current buyers. Remember, companies buy from salespeople that have their best interests at heart.

Brags. Learn how to brag in a biz-savvy manner. Using brags in introductions and to stay self-motivated is important. Too often salespeople do a poor job of enticing people to talk with them. Remember, networking meetings are a great way to generate interest, not sell products. Selling products and services usually requires at least one meaningful conversation. And, that doesn’t usually happen at a networking event.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2020

Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker.  For more than 27 years, she has been an expert in guiding leaders to excel.  Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation to strategically develop a coaching and hiring program for exceptional and profitable sales results. Don’t forget to listen to On the Air with Jeannette Seibly: It’s Your Time for Success on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.

What Happens to Your Business If Something Happens to You?

Successor

Many business owners, executives and entrepreneurs have failed to plan for their retirement or for when they are no longer able to handle their job responsibilities. As a result, when something does happen, the company and its employees, clients and vendors will experience unnecessary chaos, uncertainty and stress. Some companies will need to close their doors.

All of this can be prevented by creating and implementing a well-thought-out succession plan now.

Start Developing Your Successors Now!

Business requirements have evolved, along with the qualities required to be successful. When you select your successor(s), it’s important to see beyond likeability, hearing what you want to hear or seeing potential in the person that is not evident to others.

It’s costly to select the wrong person. According to Harvard Business Review, 64% of executives in new positions fail within the first 18 months! (Remember, when they leave, they will take good employees and customers with them!) So, it’s important to get it right the first time.

9 Keys to Create Successor Success

  1. Job Fitness. Whether you promote from within or hire from the outside, the person must fit the job responsibilities to be successful. (For example, if financial management skills are required and they don’t have the interest and skills, they will make poor financial decisions.) Use a qualified job assessment and a 360-degree feedback assessment to develop and uncover any concerns that need to be addressed now. Developing the successor’s skills and business savvy are required before they receive the new job title and compensation package.
  1. Conduct Conversations Over Time. Meet at least quarterly and assess the future successor’s values, vision, interests, skills and understanding of the business and industry each time. It’s a great opportunity to mentor, talk over challenges and learn from one another.
  1. Design a Long-Term Game Plan. The intent is for the transition to be seamless. A customized game plan prepares each successor, so there are no surprises to the company and its employees, customers and vendors. Develop more than one person in the event of life and/or career changes. Update the plan every three years. And, remember, ask each person first before slating them for the position and make sure they will do the work to be ready!
  1. Executive Coach. Hire each future leader an executive coach to be the person’s confidential sounding board. Relying solely on internal mentors can hurt a successor’s future if confidentiality is broken.
  1. Outside Experience. It’s important for future leaders to gain the depth and breadth of experience by having worked for other companies, especially if the company is family-owned. As part of the Game Plan, have these potential leaders work in another company environment for five years, preferably in a management role. This will expand their point of view and leadership skills.
  1. Redefine Job Responsibilities. One year from retirement, review and update job descriptions with the people slated for the new roles. Don’t be afraid to redefine jobs and split the roles based on key skill requirements (e.g., Chief Financial Officer (CFO) may handle financial matters well, but not human resources issues. Break the position into two jobs, CFO and CPO (Chief People Officer).)
  1. Common Values. This is a critical factor that is often overlooked, particularly when nepotism is involved. If someone does not possess the values or integrity required to run the company, don’t be afraid to say, “no.”
  1. Step Away. Too often, the person leaving wants to stay and have the successor shadow them. This is not advised since successors lose important credibility that they are unable to gain later. Set aside egos, let go and move forward. (Please note: smart successors will set up quarterly meetings during the first year to meet and talk through issues with the former leader.)
  1. Let go. Sale of the company is always an option. When emotional attachment is high and there is a strong desire to leave a legacy, this option is often ignored. It can actually be more financially beneficial to all parties.

By creating a long-term succession game plan now, you develop successful successors.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results.  Are you having trouble planning for the future, and picking and developing your successor(s)? Don’t wait to let go of the reins! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.

10 Myths about Executive Coaching You Need to Know

Key

Successful business owners, executives and leaders know that having an executive coach isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

While many business professionals believe the DIY approach works, it’s a myth! The DIY process will prolong the time it takes to achieve your goals, and in the process you’ll become tired, stressed and hit the proverbial wall.

Many DIYers quit, change their goal to reflect what progress they have made, or fall victim to the allure of some shiny object. At that point,  intended results have been sidelined, dreams diminished, and the vision for success forgotten.

Uncovering myths about executive coaching allows you to see why it’s a critical component to success. Having the right coach allows you to get real about your goals, keeps you focused and reawakens your commitment to succeed.

The Top Ten Myths about Executing Coaching:

1.I can do it myself. (Unfortunately, many DIYers think they can be their own coach. Listening to yourself is a fool’s game and rarely gets you promoted.)

2.A good coach needs a certification. (Certificate programs can be helpful and provide technical skills. However, an executive coach with experience, powerful listening skills and the ability to customized ideas to your unique situation is far more powerful. That kind of experience cannot be learned from a certification program.)

3.It’s too expensive. (Not necessarily. How much are your career, time, family and financial future worth?)

4.My company won’t pay for it, so it must not be important. (There comes a time when you have to value yourself, your career, and be willing to invest in both to ensure your success.)

5.Coaching is only for people who don’t have what it takes. (Coaching is for anyone and everyone wanting to take the next step up in their career. Having a confidential sounding board helps you become aware of your blind spots. And, everyone has them!)

6.If you work harder, you will be successful. (Working smarter, not harder, means doing things in a way that is effective and efficient. The right coach will help you work smarter.)

7.I’m doing fine and don’t need a coach to prepare me for the next step. (Great! Are you ready to handle the next issue or challenge with ease and effectiveness? If you say yes, ask your employees, boss, customers and vendors if they would truly agree.)

8.I have friends and family who provide me with lots of advice. (Yes, many people do. While they mean well, most friends and family members don’t have the courage to tell you what you really need to hear. As a result, you miss out on the critical factors required to make better decisions, build stronger teams and achieve intended results.)

9.I have too much work to do and cannot take on anything else. (If this describes you, coaching should be at the top of your list. Most coaching comes just in time, when you need it most and when it can provide the greatest impact.)

10.I’ve already hit the glass ceiling and no coach can change that. (Nonsense! Anyone can become a successful leader with the right coach navigating them to success. Additionally, success today is about more than just technical and financial skills. It requires being forward-thinking, team-oriented and goal-driven…all areas where an executive coach makes a big difference.)

When you uncover the myths holding you back, you will see that hiring an executive coach is the most critical component for your success. What are you waiting for?

©Jeannette Seibly, 2018

Jeannette Seibly  has been an executive coach, business advisor and management consultant for over 25 years. Do you need a confidential sounding board, someone that can help you navigate issues and challenges effectively? Are you ready to catapult yourself toward success? Contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.

Are you hiring happy employees?

Google the phrase “happy employees” and you will find statistics that show many employees don’t like their jobs, their bosses, their company, or their work requirements. The bottom line? They are not a good fit for their job. Unhappy employees become bored or overwhelmed, start complaining, and don’t do the work as it needs to be done. They expect you, the boss, to fix what’s wrong with the job, the company, their customers, their coworkers, and everything else they view as difficult! They don’t understand that from your perspective it’s their job to provide solutions to these problems and be open to training to enhance their skills—which is why you hired them in the first place! Remember, high proficiency in job skills will not necessarily mean good job fit!

Using qualified assessment tools will help avoid a bad fit and create happier workers (aka top performers)!

Top performers are employees who truly fit their jobs. They help create a positive work environment, reduce communication issues, increase job satisfaction and loyalty, and ensure customers keep coming back.  As a boss, you will find that they are effortless to coach, train, and manage.

Using more objective data provided in a qualified pre-employment assessment will eliminate the time and money spent trying (usually unsuccessfully) to “fix” them. An attempt at “fixing” usually leaves them, and you, unhappy!

High-quality “job fit” assessment products predict success in a specific job and have been thoroughly researched and validated. They can provide reliable and relevant information that is non-discriminatory. (Be sure to review the technical manual of any assessment you wish to use for pre-hire purposes and Department of Labor guidelines to determine which tools are qualified pre-employment assessments. Do not rely solely upon a product letter stating its virtues.) Used as directed, they work! Everyone is happier!

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Mark your calendars for March 13, 2013. Hire Amazing Employees, Second Edition: Improve Your Profits (and Your Work Life)!  will be available for purchase.

Jeannette Seibly delivers straight talk with immediate results to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, creating dynamic results. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for an initial free consultation.

Five Detrimental Leadership Habits

Successful leaders develop as a result of good habits! Take the time to “clean up” poor business behaviors and attitudes before they derail your desired career direction.

Flavor of the month. Using jargon to manage others or projects does not make you sound knowledgeable. Many times terms used out of context simply gives your employees or business associates the impression you don’t know what you are talking about. Hire a business coach to help you effectively elicit the actions and results required.

Me-ism. Self-focused commitment on the numbers in your paycheck or procurement of perks (at the expense of others) does not create loyalty or desired results within your enterprise. Leaders who thrive make commitments to the organization, employees and people they serve (aka customers), first. They talk the talk, and walk the talk, creating win-win outcomes.

White lies. Trust is a decisive factor in whether or not others will follow your lead. Lies will eventually be uncovered and can be costly to your self-esteem and business opportunities. Those who fear the consequences of telling the truth should remember “your integrity is forever.” Talk with a trusted advisor on how to navigate sensitive issues to cause rewarding outcomes.

Self-Denial. Many leaders falsely believe they know themselves well. True self-awareness and knowledge of how others see you are important in creating a good reputation.  A true leader is always growing and learning from the inside out. Being clear and communicating clearly conveys your leadership abilities. Use qualified assessments and 360-degree tools to ensure valid and reliable information to support your professional development.

False Expectations. Honor business etiquette; it determines others’ respect of you. Return phone calls and come to meetings prepared and on time – these are two examples of unwritten business expectations. Explicit promises made to an applicant or employee also needs to be followed-through. Failure to do so can be costly, such as being denied an award or contract. As a busy person, do not rely upon your memory! Write down and review with the other person(s) to ensure promises are fulfilled.

Question: What challenges have you faced as a leader, or when following a leader? What did you do to overcome the issue? Leave a comment below ….

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly delivers “straight talk with immediate results” to business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises, creating dynamic results. You may contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for an initial free consultation.

Be Grateful for Conflict

There are many articles written about conflict: the good, the bad and the ugly. The truth is when we fail to listen to others’ ideas and respect individual opinions, conflicts naturally occur.

Why? We have an illusion that our perceptions are the right way to think, behave or interact with one another. We are taught to speak up against someone who does not agree with us, or quietly dis them to others, negating the value of their contributions. The yeller that everyone complains about is actually no different than the silent screamer who fails to notify someone in authority of a problem.  Both cause loss of customers, low morale, poor quality of products or services and profitability. It is disrespectful toward others inside and outside the organization.

The time is now to put aside your preconceived judgments of others’ ideas and develop persuasive listening skills. Be open to hearing thoughts you would normally dismiss, learn to build upon these viewpoints and use them to create new systems, products and/or services. Often, there is a hidden gem of genius in many ideas. To determine the value, you need to develop the potential worth. Exercise facilitation skills that bring out each person’s opinions.  Listen to differing facts about the workability of internal and external factors – these can add to or hinder financial results.  In the end, whether your nugget shines, is used to create a better solution or set aside, be grateful for the “conflict” or differing mindsets that helped build a viable outcome.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation on how to achieve amazing results.

When has “conflict” helped resolve a problem or open up a new product or service for your company? What did you do to facilitate it? Please share your ideas!

Is Impatience Hurting Your Results?

Envision yourself driving down the highway. You have a driving lane and a passing lane. The speed limit is 75 miles per hour. The challenge? Many drivers are only going about 60 to 69 mph in the driving lane. Those in the passing lane are zipping along between 65 and 75. The problem? You are impatient. You want to bypass the slow-pokes, zoom ahead and arrive at your destination quickly. You ignore any warning signs to slow down.

It’s a great analogy of how we run our business systems and practices. We live in a fast-paced global market. Opportunities happen quickly. While many human beings believe they have the endurance for ongoing fast-paced mobility, the reality is most professionals’ thinking styles, personalities or interests won’t support it. They burn out. Deadlines are missed. Customers or potential clients are dissed. Promises to follow-up and follow-through are marginalized.

We fail to listen to ideas from our employees, yet we rely upon them to get the work done quickly. We fire them for failure to achieve the desired results, which change due to our constantly shifting focuses — jumping from the newest fad to the next brilliant concept!

When we progress forward too fast, we become reckless. Poor planning, if any, and overlooked details negatively impact our bottom line, business relationships and reputation. Coveted results are elusive and top performers leap at the chance to work with our competitors.

Steadiness allows your team to utilize their experiences and create win-win strategic and tactical outcomes. Build on what you do well. Utilize a business advisor and executive coach to keep you focused on the right things, and doing them the right way.

Your 2013 results thank you!

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2013

Jeannette Seibly is a business advisor for business owners and executives of $1MM to $30MM enterprises creating million dollar results. Contact her at JLSeibly@SeibCo.com for a free consultation of how to achieve amazing results.

Stop Trying Harder!

I adopted five-year-old Gracee a couple of months ago from the Dumb Friends League. She had broken her back leg when she was a kitten and her gimp is very noticeable when she walks. However, you wouldn’t know it by watching her zip around chasing her toys. One of her favorite activities is to race down the stairs to fetch a bouncy ball.  It’s a combination of a run and bunny hop!

How many of you are willing to go for it? Regardless of your challenges?

Or, have you fallen into the tiring and endless trap of “trying harder?” One of the biggest challenges for executives and business owners is learning that “trying harder only creates more of the same challenges.” It leaves you, and them, tired and cranky at the beginning and end of each day!

How can you be unstoppable? It’s inspiring when handled in a biz-savvy manner.

Banish the illusion of the “perfect time.” What are your excuses for not pursuing your goals? Write down these time mongers! You won’t find anything new or inspiring! Instead, write down what you really really really want to accomplish.  Rewrite it into a goal. Develop “I can do it and I do it” attitude and proceed forward. Talk with your coach to help you through the inevitable “walls of life.” 

Stay connected. Pick up the phone. Stop relying solely on emails or social media venues to stay in touch. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you talk with others and allow them to contribute their ideas. Sometimes the simplest suggestion can spark the right change required to move ideas forward.

Focus on priorities. It’s very easy to get caught up in the swirl or chaos of too much to do. Pick two key items to get completed during the day based upon priorities, or boss or client mandates. Regardless of whether you like to do them! These accomplishments will create naturally-centered confidence.

Have fun.  Take a couple of minutes at the end of each day to write down today’s achievements and setup tomorrow’s “must do’s.” Now, enjoy quality time without worrying about work. It will be there tomorrow!  Be good to yourself and learn appreciation. Gratitude helps you work smarter and achieve your goals faster!

Learn to Brag! Bragging to others in a biz-savvy manner gives voice to your accomplishments. Why is sharing important? You find out you’re not alone in your challenges. It encourages you, and others, to build on your strengths, achieve your goals and work smarter to enjoy your job and life. (TimeToBrag.com)

©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012