The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: One Simple Concept That Will Infuse Your Leadership With Success

Search “Leadership” online, and you’ll find a million articles offering advice on how to be a better leader.  Eleven simple steps, nine strategies, five leadership tips – we’re inundated with so-called education and training about how to lead well.  The question remains, if the road to great leadership is so easy and accessible, why are there still so many ineffective, demotivating leaders who crush the potential of their employees and organizations?

Eight years ago, I met “courage in leadership” expert Bill Treasurer, at an author retreat of Berrett-Koehler, the publisher of my first book Breakdown, Breakthrough, and was immediately impressed.  I watched him quietly lead, and build a collaborative and open space for discussion, feedback, and dialogue among a diverse group of authors and publishing professionals.  I liked him instantly and felt this man truly walked the talk.  So I was excited to learn he has a new leadership book out called Leaders Open Doors out this week.

Bill is Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting, and the author of Courage Goes to Work.  In his books, he shares his pioneering work in the new organizational development practice of courage-building.  Bill insights have been featured in over 100 top publications, and he draws on his experience as a former member of the U.S. High Diving Team, during which time he executed over 1,500 high dives from heights that scaled to over 100 feet, requiring intense levels of courage every day to succeed as a top athlete.

I caught up with Bill to ask him about his courage-focused brand of leadership, and what he teaches leaders to help them inspire, motivate and lead individuals and organizations forward.

Kathy Caprino:  Bill, we read so much about what makes a great leader today. What do you think is missing in all this advice we’re inundated with?

Bill Treasurer: Despite the volume of leadership advice, and maybe because of it, leadership is the most over analyzed, thoroughly dissected, and utterly confused topic in business. Too many leadership writers, myself included, have spent too much time complexifying the idea of leadership, and not enough time offering down-to-earth ideas that everyday leaders can use every day. We’ve become the Legion of Leadership Complexifiers (LLC). We’ve nuanced the topic so much, and inflated the standards for what it means to be a leader so high, that hardly anyone can be deemed a leader anymore.

Two years ago, after a conversation with a very wise person, I resigned my membership in the LLC. I had a conversation with my five-year-old son, Ian. He had been selected as the “leader for the day” at his pre-school. I gave him a big high five and said, “What did you get to do as class leader, little buddy?” His reply? “I got to open doors for people.”

Those seven words helped me cut through the clutter and get back to what’s most essential about leading others: creating opportunities for growth and development. I wrote Leaders Open Doors to help lighten the leadership load by getting back to the most essential aspects of leading others.

Caprino: What’s the biggest failing that unsuccessful leaders suffer from?

Treasurer: At first blush it’s easy to think that the biggest failing is oversized egos. But I think it’s what’s under those oversized egos that’s the real problem. FEAR. So many leaders carry (and convey) a great deal of fear, which contorts behavior. Fear can drive a leader to be ill-at-ease, hyper-controlling, and overbearing. At a certain saturation point, those fears get transmitted to the people being led, and everybody becomes anxious and frazzled. Over the long-term, it kills performance, morale, and ultimately the leader’s career.

Here’s a phrase I wish leaders would stop using: “What keeps me awake at night is…” Why do leaders continuously need to remind people what gives them anxiety and insomnia? Employees don’t want to know why a leader can’t sleep at night. They want to know what gets the leader up in the morning. Leaders should stop showcasing fears and start highlighting opportunity. Who would you rather be led by — someone who is squirrely in his or her own skin, or someone who is so confident in their role that they sleep soundly at night?

Caprino: Your new book talks about leaders opening doors.  Why is this so important, and why is it left out of standard, non-effective advice for developing leaders?

Treasurer: Einstein said, “All that is valuable in human society depends on the opportunity accorded the individual for development.” In other words, the one of the smartest people who ever lived is saying, “Hey, you know what moves society forward? When everybody has a chance to grow and develop.”

Einstein isn’t alone. Peter Drucker, the father of management consulting, was clear, “The focus of the organization must be on opportunities rather than on problems.” Yet a lot of advice for leaders focuses on sharpening their problem-solving skills.

Leaders Open Doors gets leadership back to the essential idea that, first and foremost, leaders have to be creators of opportunity. Leaders need to be continuously focused on identifying and creating opportunities for people and organizations to grow and develop. Leadership, in this sense, isn’t about the leader…it’s about those being led. Open-door leaders intensely focus on bettering the lives, conditions, and skills of others. By focusing on the individual, the collective (i.e., the organization) is strengthened. Companies grow when people grow.

Caprino: For new and emerging leaders (and veterans), what are the top 5 ways leaders can open doors, and why are these important strategies

Treasurer: Here are my top 5 recommendations:

Use opportunity to motivate, develop, and engage people.

Even small opportunities can make a big difference. Involve employees when you’re grappling with a big or risky decision. Invite an employee to join you when you’re presenting to your boss. Let an employee lead a meeting in your absence. Open doors for your employees to engage, present, create, innovate, and even fail.

Start by meeting with each person you lead and ask them about their career aspirations. What, for example, are they hoping to get out of the experience of working for the company? What skills are they hoping to strengthen or deepen? What contributions do they hope to make beyond the ones they’re already making? In other words, have a conversation with each of them about them, not just what you’re wanting them to do for the organization. Once you know what each person you’re leading wants and need, you’ll be in a better position to identify opportunities within the organization that can help them get what they desire while also furthering the goals of the organization.

Coach people to value and embrace discomfort.

Virginia “Ginni” Rometty, the CEO of IBM, put it best: “Growth and comfort do not coexist.” The opportunities you provide people should give them sweaty palms. Nudge people into their discomfort zones, but not so far out that they choke with fear. Ask them what aspects of their jobs are getting boring. Then, set stretch goals. Have them take on tasks outside of their current skillset.

Promote courage by creating safety.

If you want people to take on challenges or do uncomfortable things, you need to create a climate where people who make mistakes–or even fail–aren’t fired. Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of SPANX, said, “When someone makes a mistake at SPANX – especially when those mistakes key us on to a new insight – I am never disappointed. In fact, I go up to them and give them a high five.” Imagine what that attitude does to promote a positive environment where people feel free to be innovative and take risks.

Say, for example, you’ve shifted the role of one of your direct reports. Ways to create safety might include giving them lead time to learn the new role, scheduling one-on-one time coaching time with them, providing “air cover” from those who may get impatient with the direct’s learning curve, and having tolerance for early mistakes.

Broaden people’s view.

People can get narrow and habitual in their thinking. Open-door leaders help shift people’s perspective and help them think more broadly. Sometimes even small shifts can make a big difference. One CEO I work with was frustrated that he wasn’t getting enough leadership from the managers of the company’s business groups. They spent too much time being operational and tactical, and not enough time being strategic and innovative. In other words, they were managing, not leading. So the CEO changed their titles from Business Group Managers (BGMs) to Business Group Leaders (BGLs). The expectation shift was clear, and their behavior changed because of it.

Open up.

Too many leaders get all wrapped up in their “role” (and ego) as leaders. But employees want to know that their leader is real and not just performing a function.  People need to see the person behind the role.  They want to know that you remember where you came from, that you’re in touch with your roots, and that you can relate to their lives. Show them some of your authentic non-work identity and interests. Let them know what you care about beyond the goals and objectives of the department or organization.

* * * * **

Strategies like these are important because they are not complex or hard to understand. Leadership is hard, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Your life as a leader, and the lives of those you impact, will be far more rewarding, successful and productive if you bring your behavior back to the essential approaches above.

Simply lead by keeping leadership simple. Above all, be an opportunity-creator.

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The Shearin Group Leadership Training Tips: Try 4 Tips From Leadership Coaches

The old top-down, command-and-control style of leadership seldom works in today’s organizations, where the goal is often to promote cooperation in the midst of rapid change.

To succeed as a leader you must know how to communicate a vision, build a network of relationships, and foster group learning and decision-making. This is true whether you’re the big boss or are just learning how to guide a team.

Leadership coaching has become a key tool for facilitating change in individuals, teams and systems. And in places where the traditional hierarchical model of management no longer works, leaders who know how to act like coaches are building cultures that allow collaboration and innovation to thrive.

Working with a coach is one way to broaden your leadership skills and deepen your understanding of modern workplace dynamics. But even if that’s not an option, these strategies from the field of coaching can help you grow:

1. Know yourself. Research shows that self-awareness is a vital characteristic of successful leaders. The more you understand about your own internal dialogue, the better you are at engaging with other people. And the more you notice about the impact of your behavior on others, the better are your choices for next steps. Coaches use open-ended questions to help clients notice their inner voices and daily decisions. Another way to promote self-exploration is to keep a journal or regularly engage in some other form of expressive writing. Write answers to questions like, “what would I do here if I knew I couldn’t fail?”

2. Listen more actively. When people turn to you for guidance or assistance, there are many times when you have no idea how to help. But offering expertise is not the only way to give support. Humans have an innate need to be heard and acknowledged. And by listening deeply to another person, you can let them know they do matter and at the same time provide a way for them to come to terms with some of their issues.

3. Try peer coaching. Consider finding a partner or small group with whom you can trade coaching time. Create a structure in which each person has a designated to time to talk about current activities and challenges. When you play the role of the “coach” it’s your job to ask questions and listen compassionately to the answers. Then when you are the “client” you can talk about what’s been happening lately and how you feel about it.

4. Try some training. An enjoyable and effective way to become more adept at conversations with your colleagues can be to take an introductory coaching course. You’ll build your “listening muscle” and have opportunities to practice asking questions that lead others to new insights. For a training option that would work for you, visit the International Coach Federation website.

Coaching comes in many forms, but the broad theme is always to help you be the best version of yourself as a professional, a leader and a whole person. By learning a bit about how coaching works, you can build your self-knowledge and at the same time become better at assisting others to fully engage in their work.

Read about what coaching can do

If you want an insider’s view of what coaching actually looks like, I can recommend a new book: “Being Coached – Group And Team Coaching From The Inside.”

“Being Coached” is written by two accomplished coaches – Holly Williams, my pal from the Georgetown Leadership Coaching community, and her colleague, Ann Deaton. The authors don’t offer a how-to guide or academic discussion, but instead tell us a tale from the perspective of individual managers who are going through a group coaching exercise just as their company is faced with the need for a drastic change in strategy.

While the plot involves group coaching, the real story is about what coaching is like for each of the participants. For example, there is Ellen, the Chief People Officer, who faces the fact that she can’t manage all the company’s human resources by herself. During coaching she learns how to ask for help, and challenges her colleagues to either “work together or fall apart.”

Another new book touching upon the impact of coaching is “A Whole New Engineer,” by David E. Goldberg and Mark Somerville. If you are interested in the cutting edge of higher education, you’ll find this book particularly interesting.

The authors — two highly accomplished academic leaders whose field happens to be engineering — describe how each grew beyond the traditional university path to lead in the creation of science/engineering programs that also foster self-awareness and empathy. The book is an intriguing and readable mixture of anecdotes and current thought about how growth and learning happen. As a leadership coach, I am particularly interested in the suggestion that a more conscious element of coaching can enrich the classroom experience.

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 aicpa.org/diversity.

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?

Listen

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:

  1. LISTEN
  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:

  1. LISTEN

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!