Business and life - "things are not always as they seem!"

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Where are the Sir Alex Fergusons of the boardroom?

In the sporting world, teams are trained towards a clear purpose, whether their goal is to win matches, league titles or championships. The goal is clearly defined, the team members are assessed in terms of their skill levels, and the team’s overall competence is evaluated in the light of its ability to achieve the desired goal.

Rigorous measured training of individual athletes and the team is implemented as one of the critical success factors in overcoming the efforts of competitors. The training itself focuses on skills development, the enhancement of behaviours, and forming the team into a cohesive unit capable of exemplary performance.

During training, the coach takes careful note of performance measurement metrics such as sprinting speed, stamina, recovery ability, ball control, positioning, teamwork and even tactical understanding. Possession of these skills may get the player a place on the team; but critically, when the game is on, none of these input evaluations matter any more.

The only things that matter for measurement in achieving the goal are outputs and behaviours – number of goals scored, tackles made, yards gained, perseverance of effort, and points won; these are the contributions that secure the player’s place for the next contest. The ultimate measurement appraisal is how one actually plays, which is starkly articulated in the sporting truism “you are only as good as your last game!”

In the sporting world, teams are trained towards a clear purpose, whether their goal is to win matches, league titles or championships. The goal is clearly defined, the team members are assessed in terms of their skill levels, and the team’s overall competence is evaluated in the light of its ability to achieve the desired goal.

Rigorous measured training of individual athletes and the team is implemented as one of the critical success factors in overcoming the efforts of competitors. The training itself focuses on skills development, the enhancement of behaviours, and forming the team into a cohesive unit capable of exemplary performance.

During training, the coach takes careful note of performance measurement metrics such as sprinting speed, stamina, recovery ability, ball control, positioning, teamwork and even tactical understanding. Possession of these skills may get the player a place on the team; but critically, when the game is on, none of these input evaluations matter any more.

Despite all the evident benefit of executive training in companies, it is remarkable that, with very rare exceptions, there is relatively little demand or provision for the necessary equivalent training for boards, their chairs and their members.

In my opinion this is mainly due to four facts contributing to confusion in the area of board development and training.

1. Very few boards have clear board goals as distinct from enterprise goals, therefore it is impossible to develop clear output driven training to enhance behaviours for the board, its chair and its members.

2. Hard edged evaluation of board performance and that of directors is extremely rare, and even where it is present it falls well short of the standard of evaluation applied to CEOs and senior management.

3. Suitable common-sense board output performance metrics are very hard to find, and it appears that little work has been done on developing practical, easily applicable measurement in this vital area.

4. There is still a high level of resistance to formal board and director evaluation in the boardrooms of Britain and Ireland despite lip service paid to the value of continuous improvement.

Where are the Sir Alex Fergusons of the Boardroom?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Downturn antidote

This could change your life! And it is not only for sales people.

Currently, and for the foreseeable future, the general sales environment for companies is extremely challenging and it is vital that they respond by giving their sales teams appropriate sales development training. And you need to take ownership of your personal sales training.


Most sales training fails to deliver sustainable behavioural change, primarily because the participants are not fully engaged and committed. This lack of engagement may be due to the fact that many sales people, and managers in particular, feel they already know enough about selling and have “heard it all before”. Or the training itself is of the ‘sheep dip’ or ‘one size fits all’ variety, where participants are very well aware that their individual weaknesses are not being fully addressed.


In the course of training and counselling hundreds of business owners and thousands of salespeople over the years, I have observed that personal motivation is by a long way the most dominant factor in achieving success in selling. This factor applies in all dimensions of sales, from “foot-in-the-door” to high-level collaborative selling.

Knowledge and skills are basic requirements. The greater your personal motivation, the greater the results. The greater your ownership, the greater the personal motivation.

For your personal sales success – and for your personal life success – own the three key elements of personal motivation.

Drive

· Reason to “get up and go” in the morning – enjoyment of work

· Focus on goals and personal achievement

· Ambition to succeed

· Ability to work hard - very hard

Attitude

· Positive expectancy – glass more than half-full

· Eagerness to learn and accept assistance

· Innovative searching for new ways to achieve

· Enjoyment of work and interaction with colleagues

Confidence

· Performing consistently well – even under stress and pressure

· Believing in the company and its offerings

· Confident in colleagues and enjoying their confidence also

· Facing whatever is thrown up – and still looking for wins

Grab hold of this – and start doing it!

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