The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: Essential Tips for Managing Employees Who Don’t Aspire to Be Leaders

Essential Tips for Managing Employees Who Don't Aspire to Be Leaders

Essential Tips for Managing Employees Who Don’t Aspire to Be Leaders

For some employees, working toward a promotion or leadership position is a natural transition in their careers. Yet some individuals just aren’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, only one-third of the American workers surveyed aspire to become leaders. Additionally, only 7 percent said they seek C-level management roles.

Employers should, however, continue to develop these employees and provide them incentives, regardless of their career goals.

Employee engagement is essential at all levels of an organization. Here are some ideas for managing those who don’t aspire to become leaders and keeping them engaged and happy at work:

  1. Provide professional-development options.

When professional-development opportunities are offered by an employer, employees may become more engaged while involved in something not requiring their active pursuit of a leadership role.

And employers can do a number of things, I believe, to develop their employees’ skills. They can pay for memberships in a professional organization, host skills-development workshops or send staffers to industry conferences. In these ways employees can keep their skills up-to-date.

  1. Give the option of shifting departments.

I recommend that if an employee wishes to gain more experience but not through taking a leadership role, move him to another department where his skills and experience will be tapped in a different way.

For example, say an associate at a public relations agency wants more experience but isn’t ready to take on a higher position. Give her the opportunity to work with different clients to broaden her experience and skills.

  1. Provide ongoing training.

According to the CareerBuilder survey, more than half of the employees surveyed don’t seek leadership positions because they are content with their current roles. Ongoing training, I believe, will help such employees learn how to become more productive and perform better at their jobs.

A recruiter in an HR department might be perfectly happy in her position but wish to expand her range of skills. Train her in the latest HR technologies and teach her to use big data to recruit the best candidates.

  1. Help employees advance their education.

Nearly 20 percent of the employees surveyed by CareerBuilder said they avoid climbing the corporate ladder because they think they don’t have the necessary education to advance.

Employers should help out those employees who wish to seek more education, I believe. Although not all employers or entrepreneurs can afford to fully fund staff education, they can ease the way. Employers can create some sort of tuition-reimbursement program or pay for an online class.

  1. Offer competitive perks and bonuses.

Although employees may decide to not seek a promotion, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will stop going above and beyond at work, I believe. Reward dedicated and productive employees by offering monthly bonuses, recognition in the workplace or additional vacation time. This will lead to employees feeling like their work and dedication are truly valued.

How do you keep employees who don’t seek leadership roles engaged at work?

The Shearin Group – Lederskab i erhvervslivet i dag

The Shearin Group - Lederskab i erhvervslivet i dag

Hvis du ser på de fleste forsøgsrapporter en virksomhed ser meget hierarkisk, med et bord afbildet øverst, en executive management group og derefter forskellige afdelinger (land eller produkt eller funktion) som igen er ledet af en administrerende direktører, som styrer mindre afdelinger eller processer, eller steder igen med deres egne topledere.

Hvis skemaet afspejler, hvordan en virksomhed fungerer, så vil jeg sige, at det ikke vil være i stand til at realisere sit potentiale og har en stor sandsynlighed for, at de ikke i dag.

I praksis en moderne global virksomhed er mere som en levende organisme end en statisk skema. Det vil fungere som en plante eller væsen i et skovøkosystem, trækker på og bidrager til dets omgivelser, og tilpasning til omgivelserne. Det vil blomstre som dets økosystem trives og vil dø, hvis det bliver isoleret, erstattes af planter eller væsener som fungere bedre.

De ældre modeller for styring stammer fra enten en militær struktur baseret på kommando og kontrol, eller en mekanistisk model. Denne model afspejler den industrielle epoke, der er så mange måder at omgås. Men alt for få virksomheder har erkendt, at de ikke eller i hvert fald ikke virker som en maskine i stedet for en levende organisme i et økosystem af andre levende væsener.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: How to deliver successful diversity and inclusion results and benchmark your progress

As leaders in the accounting profession come to understand the business case for diversity and inclusion, they often have a similar quandary.

“The next natural question is, ‘So what do I do about it?’ ” said Kenneth Bouyer, CPA, chairman of the AICPA National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion and EY Americas director of Inclusiveness Recruiting.

New tools released Monday at the AICPA fall Council meeting are designed to answer the question of how to expand diversity and inclusion at a business or firm—and across the accounting profession as a whole. Both tools are available at

The Accounting Inclusion Maturity Model gives firm and business leaders an opportunity to perform a comprehensive self-assessment of their progress in fostering diversity and inclusion. Firms and businesses can use the model to assess their practices in the workforce, workplace, and marketplace, and in community and supplier relations.

A second offering, the Recruiting and Retention Toolkit, highlights best practices for attracting, recruiting, and retaining a diverse workforce.

The National Commission developed the tools using the input of accounting leaders and others. The tools are part of Institute-led efforts to help the accounting profession better reflect the diversity of the clients and public that CPAs serve. In 2012, 11% of the people employed in the United States were black or African-American, and 15% were Hispanic or Latino, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics research.

In that same year, blacks or African-Americans accounted for 4% of the accounting employees and 2% of the partners at CPA firms, according to the most recent AICPA Trends supply and demand survey. Hispanics or Latinos made up 5% of the accounting employees and 2% of the partners at CPA firms.

While the maturity model will help leaders understand where their businesses and firms stand with relation to diversity and inclusion, the toolkit describes specific methods for improving their diversity and inclusion.

“This is going to answer the ‘Now what?’ question,” Bouyer said. “This toolkit will be a playbook to help you devise a strategy and a focus.”

The toolkit describes the business case for focusing on diversity and inclusion in the accounting profession, and provides steps businesses can take to improve their diversity and inclusion. It includes best practices for:

  • Attracting diverse candidates. This section discusses how organizations prepare themselves to be attractive to under-represented minority candidates by doing such things as obtaining leadership buy-in, setting clear short-term and long-term goals, and assessing employee engagement around current opportunities for creating a more inclusive work environment. “What does your brand look like?” Bouyer said. “How are you positioned to be successful? How well do your folks in your organization understand the need and why you’re focusing on this space?”
  • Recruiting a diverse workforce by perfecting job postings to better define how candidates will fit into the larger picture, developing recruitment plans, training recruiters and human resources professionals to recognize the obstacle of unconscious bias, and delivering consistent interview experiences for all candidates. Bouyer uses a fishing analogy, saying that leaders and recruiters may need to fish in a different pond to catch different kinds of fish. “You have to do different things to attract diverse talent,” he said.
  • Retaining under-represented minorities at an organization. Tips include conducting “stay interviews.” Turning exit interviews on their heads, these give employees an opportunity to share what’s working for them—and what can be done to improve the overall workplace culture.“You’re not the only organization that’s interested in the power of diversity and inclusion and diverse talent,” Bouyer said. “So your folks will be highly sought after in the marketplace. You have to think about different retention strategies to retain and ultimately advance this really talented group of people that you’re spending a fair amount of effort to get into your organization.”

As more organizations use the maturity model, an anonymized database will be built to allow them to benchmark where they stand on diversity and inclusion compared with similar organizations.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips for Becoming More Productive At Work

Low productivity can cost businesses millions of dollars each year. With so many distractions however – like social media, the internet, other co-workers and our own lack of motivation – it can be hard to regain your productivity streak. Although there are several articles out there touting different time management fixes, these four tips are off the beaten path and will hopefully grant you a renewed kick in your step the next time you sit down at your desk to work.

Don’t Multitask

There was a day not too long ago that added “ability to multitask” to a resume or CV was seen as a positive attribute to have in a work environment. Recent research however suggests differently. If we try to juggle too much at once, adults can experience severe stress or rage – two things that are not conducive to a good work environment. Ninety-eight percent of us can’t multitask effectively, and we can work nearly twice as fast if we only do one thing at a time.

Make a To-Don’t List

Many people find that making to-do lists or writing down plans and tasks in a diary help keep them organized and productive. But have you considered penning a “to-don’t” list? Bad habits influence the way we work just as much as good habits do. How often do you check your mobile throughout the day? Do you spend a lot of time surfing the internet? Are you always late? By laying your productivity-killing habits out on paper, you will be more conscious of them and maybe even more willing to put an end to them.

Track Time

Spend a whole day tracking how you spend your time at work – reading and responding to emails, researching, talking to co-workers, and other activities. Make sure to log both the good (like working on this article for an hour and a half) and the bad (and then promptly reading a few news stories for 15 minutes). Once you realise the work that takes up the most of your time, you’ll be able to better budget and prioritise to get the most done.

Look Back

How did your week go? Do you even remember your busy Monday morning? If you made a to-don’t list and were able to track you time in the same week, look back and see all that you accomplished, and where you can make improvements for your future productivity.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: How To Make Your Numbers, Every Time?


On Sales Leadership: How To Make Your Numbers, Every Time

Not all startups will employ a direct sales force, but many will.  When they do, the value of the company and its ultimate success or failure often hinges on how well that distribution channel is built-out.  In a prior blog, I described how companies can go astray by building out the sales team too early or in the wrong way.

This post addresses some core values or best-practices for sales leaders and individual sales reps.  They are also very useful for the entrepreneur CEO to understand and embrace.

The list actually comes from an informal mentor and long-time Silicon Valley executive, advisor and investor, Joe Schoendorf, a consummate salesman to be sure.

Joe’s Rules of Sales:

  2. Know Your Competition Personally
  3. Take a Consultative Approach
  4. The #’s Are Sacred – Make Your Numbers, Meet Your Goals
  5. Keep The Customer

Taking each in turn:


Listening is one of the most difficult skills for people in general, but it’s a critical skill for a salesperson, at least one that wants to actually address a customer’s needs and concerns.  Yet, it’s remarkable how many sales people actually score poorly on this attribute, as I’m sure many of you in both the customer and co-worker camps can attest.

A great salesperson is a lot like a detective or investigative journalist.  It’s all about getting the facts and understanding the situation or problem the customer is trying to address.  In that effort, the most powerful question a salesperson can ask is “why.” To illustrate the use of these most important three letters, consider this hypothetical dialogue below:

Customer: I need a CRM system.

Salesperson: Why?

Customer: I want to track my customers.

Salesperson: Why is that important?

Customer: So I can better understand what they have bought, and what they might want to buy next.

Salesperson: Why will that make a difference?

Customer: If I better understand what they want to buy, I can do a better job of ordering and making sure I have it in stock when they place the order.

Salesperson: Why does that matter?

Customer: I will have fewer abandoned sales, and I won’t be ordering inventory I can’t sell.

Salesperson: Why is that a priority?

Customer: My gross margins are 40%, and my competitors are north of 50% — I need to get my financial metrics in-line with or to be better than my competitors.

As a salesperson, how much better able is the one who asked “why” five times going to be in addressing the customer’s ultimate objective and win the business, than the one that said, “Oh, you need a CRM system?  Let me tell you why mine is so great.”

  1. Know Your Competition Personally

Few sales people have the luxury of selling a truly unique or monopoly product.  All too often, there are competitors with decent to even better features, who have good reference customers, and who command a decent share of the market.  Knowing your competitor personally makes you far better able to anticipate their moves, know how they are going to attack you, and how you can best thwart them.

A favorite sport of great salespeople (and great marketers) is to lay landmines or traps for competitors.  In essence, you set a customer’s expectation and desire for a product feature, supplier quality, or other attribute that is unique to your product, and, most importantly, that the competitor lacks.  When the competitor walks in the door, the customer wants to see or hear about things that the competitor doesn’t have or is notably weak at.

  1. Take a Consultative Approach

A more systematic approach to the “listen” attribute, being consultative means being authentically focused on understanding and solving a real customer need, not simply jamming your product in where it may or may not actually solve the real problem.  It also means being logical and quantitative to the greatest extent possible about the ROI of the product.

At my last company we implemented two different tactics to enhance the success of our sales team’s consultative sales approach.  First, we hired MBA’s in our existing product development operation in India, to build quantitative and qualitative profiles on every major prospect.  They would peruse prospect’s 10-Ks and 10-Qs (annual and quarterly SEC filings for public companies), analyst conference calls, press releases, articles written about the business, its financial performance and health, etc.  They would then look for specific product-related challenges and metrics, and build models tying those challenges back to the prospect’s financials, and finally deliver that analysis to the sales rep who owned that account.

Then, once actively engaged with the prospect, we would perform an in-depth benchmarking and ROI analysis of their product operations to understand the prospect’s key business objectives and financial metrics. This allowed us to demonstrate quantitatively how our products could move the needle on their key business metrics.

  1. The #’s Are Sacred

Make your numbers, meet your goals.  Salespeople are hired for one reason – to drive revenue.  If they fail, the company fails (a fact product folks can sometimes lose sight of).  Salespeople must always be disciplined and goal-oriented, relentlessly moving current sales opportunities forward to the next step or stage, while also consistently prospecting for new business to keep the pipeline full.  Salespeople must also be thoughtful about both their opportunities and their pipeline, ensuring that they are asking all the hard questions (no happy ears!), looking under the rocks before the customer (or a competitor) does, and employing limited company resources wisely.

Great salespeople also need to be transparent.  An overly optimistic forecast (intentionally or not) means resources may get added that aren’t needed, decisions may be made that aren’t based on reality, and of course, revenue numbers are missed – a painful occurrence that the entire company feels.  On the flipside, an overly pessimistic forecast is also harmful.  The resources required to support the additional unforecasted business may not have been hired, unnecessarily stressing the professional services and support teams, perhaps even the product teams.

Be honest and accurate in the forecast, and then work like hell to deliver them.  It’s your sacred commitment to the company as a star salesperson.

  1. Keep The Customer

It is far easier, cheaper and faster to sell to an existing customer, than a new one (here’s a good infographic on the costs).  It takes significant marketing and sales efforts, company resources, and time to win a new customer. Selling to an existing customer has a lower barrier to entry (you don’t need permission to call on an existing relationship).  You should also have far greater insight into an existing customer’s needs and future plans, giving you the opportunity to help them plan your offerings into their information technology roadmaps, which can provide a significant, long term advantage.  And most importantly, an existing happy customer is a brand advocate that will create leverage and network effects for future sales to new customers.  In short, you worked hard to gain the customer’s initial business and trust – don’t lose it – it’s far too valuable.

As an entrepreneur/CEO, you will never go wrong embracing these values, as well as instilling them in your sales leadership and sales teams!

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips on How To Find A Great Mentor

How To Find A Great Mentor — First, Don’t Ever Ask A Stranger

Today I heard from a lovely new connection on LinkedIn LNKD +2.63%, who responded to a recent post I shared about Why Your Job  Search Has Stalled Out.  He asked a question I hear frequently from professionals who know that mentorship is important to their careers, but don’t know how to achieve it.

He asked:

“In my pursuit of THE job (not just any job), I have so far addressed all your recommendations but mentorship. This is the stage where I have stalled out. I have found many professionals that have shared my dreams and are now big successes in the industry, but find myself hesitant in approaching them and asking for help. These hesitations may be due to me not wanting to come across as needy, but I think they mostly stem from lacking the trigger words that would inspire acceptance of such a request. I really need help in this area and humbly ask for your help in the follow-through of this job hunting step.”

I’d love to tackle this question, because so many people I speak to are struggling in their approach to finding mentors, and are ending up disappointed, angry or confused.

Below are the top 4 tips I can share about finding fabulous mentors, and making the most of the help you receive:

  1. There are no “trigger” words that will help you get mentoring from a stranger. Don’t bother.

First, it’s critical to know that, to find great mentors, you don’t want to reach out to strangers. That’s not how you’ll find them.

Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Lean In, likens asking strangers to be mentors to the behavior of the main character in the favorite children’s book Are You My Mother? The book is about a baby bird that emerges from its shell in an empty nest, and goes in search of its mother.  The little bird asks everything it sees (a kitten, hen, dog, cow, steam shovel), “Are you my mother?”  The answer is always the same. “No!”  This is just like a professional asking a stranger, “Will you be my mentor?”

Sandberg says:

“If someone has to ask the question, the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.  The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”

Instead, find great mentors through the inspiring people you’re already interacting and working with now. They need to be people to whom you have already demonstrated your potential – who know how you think, act, communicate and contribute. And they have to like, trust and believe in you already (why else would they help you?).  They also need to believe with absolutely certainty that you’ll put to great use all their input and feedback.

Strangers (especially people in the media and the public eye who’ve become “huge” successes, as the individual above mentions) will virtually always have to say “no” to mentoring requests from strangers.  Why? Because their time is already spoken for, and they’re drowning in similar requests.  Secondly, they don’t have a relationship with you, and therefore can’t know how you operate or if it’s a great investment of their time to help you.

  1. What can you do to get on the radar of strangers whom you admire?

Don’t ask for mentorship, but follow their work, and be helpful and supportive.  Give, and give more.  Tweet out their posts, comment in a positive way on their blogs, share their updates, start a discussion on LinkedIn drawing on their post, refer new clients or business to them, and the list goes on.  In short, offer your unique voice, perspectives, experiences and resources to further the action and conversation that these influencers have sparked.  Understand that you are able to be of service to them, and go out and do it.

  1. Be someone who is enjoyable to mentor.

The third piece of attracting empowering mentoring is in how you operate in your career and your life.  Are you somebody you yourself would like to mentor? Are you open, flexible, resilient, respectful? Are you eager to learn, and committed to modifying how you’re interacting in the world so you can have even more success, reward and happiness?

 – Be great at what you do – while this sounds obvious, it is the most important thing you can do to get noticed.

- Ask for more responsibility – be sure to have specific ideas for how you can contribute in deeper, more expansive ways. Be creative/think outside the box.

- Don’t be a wallflower – participate in all meetings even “optional” ones. Volunteer to represent your team on important department or enterprise-level initiatives. Prepare ahead of time so that you can meaningfully advance the discussion.

- Promote the success of others – your generosity and openness are critical to your success, and will be remembered.

- Build your support network – reach out to groups within your company and outside your line of business. Learn what they do and how you can help them succeed.

  1. Put yourself in a potential mentor’s shoes.

Finally, whenever you’re in a quandary about how to get help from someone, put yourself in their shoes.  If the tables were turned, what would you want to see from this individual asking for help?  If you were inundated with requests for help every day, what type of person would YOU choose to assist, and why? Go out and become that person that others would love to support and nurture.

The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: Five Tips to Sharpen your Leadership Focus

The role of company chief executive brings with it all sorts of challenges, from dealing with the nitty gritty of making decisions daily to formulating strategies to take your company forward.

That’s why it’s important to stay focused on the vital things which keep the wheels turning and the whole enterprise on track.

Here are five things a CEO should stay focused on:

1. Real relationships

Real relationships with staff, with partners, with customers and with consumers all start with your everyday interactions.

As both a leader and a manager it is important to establish real relationships and engage your staff, starting with everyday interactions. How well do you know your staff, their families, what really motivates and inspires them?

I try to connect with members of the team each and every day and maintain an openness and transparency which enables real relationships.

After all, you are really a caretaker in terms of your leadership of people, teams and businesses and you want to ensure you grow and develop the team while you are leading them and that your relationships with those team members transcends your current role.

Every CEO has at some stage in their career reported to a manager and in my experience those managers/CEOs that have inspired and motivated me the most are those I have had a real connection with. Not “tick the box” type stuff but the real type – relationships which last and are based on mutual honest and respect.

Interestingly, all of my business mentors today are previous managers and all exhibit great integrity, openness and honesty – these are all based on foundations of real relationships.

Fifty per cent of employees have admitted they would leave their current job if they had the opportunity to being better recognized elsewhere.

2. Daily deep data

I start every day with an extra hot coffee and a review of the previous day’s figures. This is so important to understand how the week, the month, the quarter and the year is really looking. Anecdotal evidence is simply not sufficient in business today, and without being able to grasp the data you have little else.

I also expect my team to start the day with data (coffee optional), and find that a shared sense of where we are leads to a far more productive team and business and a more fulfilling work experience.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) analysis of the July 2012-June 2013 financial year indicated poor strategic management as the highest cause of business failure, with 42.2% of failed businesses nominating this as the key reason for closing their doors.

3. Absolute accountability

You must focus on the most important things and ensure your team has total accountability. While this is a common mantra, it is one which is often easier said than done. Too often the focus is on less important pieces of the business and we get too involved in areas where your team are more than capable (and it is their role) to make a decision or take an action.

Accountability will enable the team to learn how to fail (fast) and develop their skills along the way. While there are times where you may need to lend your expertise, try where possible to enable explicit accountability as it will help achieve a more scalable and successful business, and your team will be far more motivated, passionate and productive.

Understanding what needs to be achieved to reach a goal is important but ensuring that adequate accountability is in place is paramount. Too often I have seen ambiguous team goals that don’t stack up to business success and have led to underperformance.

As Stephen Covey noted, “accountability breeds response-ability” and I believe that accountability really breeds ability. You must own it.

4. Eat your own dog food

Love your product. You must know your product and use it – always!

I can always tell when I have a coffee from a barista who doesn’t drink coffee it just doesn’t seem to taste as good. I am using our products we provide every day, and businesses where the team use and love the products each and every day have a deeper level of understanding and a more productive output.

My pet hate is the team member who does not know our product in detail – there is absolutely no excuse in my experience for this being the case. If you feel good about your product, your consumers and customers will as well – which is great for business. You’ll also be your harshest critic and ensure you continue to move in a direction from mediocrity to perfection.

I had a recent example where we were working through a mobile solution and it just wasn’t panning out – loads of bugs and issues. The team found out that they were using a different advice to the majority of our users which was quickly fixed!

5. Enjoy yourself

Life is not a dress rehearsal. You must enjoy yourself and get the most out of work and business as you spend the majority of your daylight hours at work. I have been fortunate in that I have enjoyed almost every job I have had. When I haven’t, I have made a conscious decision to proactively move on to find something that I enjoy.

Enjoyment in the role will also increase your team’s motivation and, ultimately, the success of the business. I am yet to meet a successful leader who doesn’t enjoy what they do.

At the same time, you need to maintain a work-life balance – this work-life balance obviously differs by person – but at the end of the day family and extra-curricular activities keep your life in balance. These are things to be encouraged and promoted in the workplace rather than things to be guilty about.

Statistics show that happy employees stay twice as long in their roles as those who are dissatisfied.