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Why You Should Invest in Communication Training

Arguably one of the most important skills to have in any setting is communication. The business world is no exception. If you have a team with fantastic communication, your chances of success are significantly higher. Communication is beneficial not only in interpersonal matters within the company, but also with customer and client interactions. Communication training is becoming widely accepted as a great way to teach people how to be effective communicators in the workplace for many reasons.

 

Better Relationships With Customers and Clients

The quality of customer service can be the factor that makes or breaks a company. If customers and clients trust and like you, they are more likely to become loyal to your business and continue coming back. Communication coaching will ensure you can establish a great rapport with customers.

Customers want to feel understood and appreciated by a company. If they think you only care about them because of their wallets, they will be more hesitant to give you their business. Most businesses involve a certain amount of customer interactions, and many depend on these interactions for success. Poor communication skills will inevitably lead to poor customer interactions. Investing in communication classes for yourself or for your team could make a significant difference in your company’s success.

 

Improved Presentations and Speeches

Many jobs in the business world involve giving presentations and speeches. Whether you are trying to convince a customer to invest, trying to inspire others in the industry, or selling company leadership on an idea, being able to speak to a group precisely and effectively is an invaluable skill.

People are much more likely to listen and trust someone who is speaking confidently. Nervous speakers can come off as hesitant or unsure – a quality that will make most people pass on a deal. You want to be clear and assertive in your presentations and speeches. Communication training can help teach you how to be a great speaker and presenter.

 

Improved Clarity

No matter what your role is in a company, you need to be clear about what you want. Companies with employees who don’t understand what the company wants of them are confused and they are bound to face issues. Every member of your company needs to be on the same page about company goals and projects. Like improved presentations and speeches, communication coaching and classes will help you be clearer when explaining things to peers or leadership.

 

Easier to Resolve Interpersonal Problems

Interpersonal problems can tear a company apart. Employees who are upset with leadership or a co-worker are significantly less likely to produce high-quality work. They will feel less motivated to give everything their best effort.

Poor communication is often the cause of problems within a company. People either do not feel comfortable confronting and discussing their issues or do not feel welcome addressing them. Employee feuds do not resolve without both parties feeling capable of clearly and calmly expressing their frustrations. Often, the solution to disagreements lies in understanding the other person’s position. Communication training can give you a greater sense of empathy and improve your ability to talk about why you are unhappy and understand the other point of view at the same time.

 

Improved Comfort and Confidence During Tough Times

It is inevitable that your company is going to face difficult times, if it has not already. In hard times, employees become stressed and nervous and may even leave. Retaining workers during tough times is vital if you want your company to survive. If people in leadership roles do not address the fears or try to cover the issue, employees may experience even more anxiety.

Being empathetic and transparent is a vital management skill, especially during tough times. Not only will it show that you respect your employees, but they will trust you more and have more confidence in the future of the company. You need to know how to communicate with your employees during difficult times.

 

Improved Written Communication

In the business world, people are constantly communicating through the written word. Whether it is an email, a text message, or a social media post, it is important to know some basic rules about how to communicate through business writing. If you are too aggressive, impersonal, or short with your message, people are less likely to respond positively, losing you important potential customers.

Business writing also needs to be clear. If you send an email outlining a project that is unclear or vague, it may confuse people and the project may become a mess. Communication training can help people understand how to effectively portray a point over email, social media, or through other written messages.

At Shapiro Negotiations, we have experts who can offer you and your employees communication training and coaching that can improve all aspects of your company and ensure you can continue thriving in the business world.

 

 

Leading by Influence: Are You Ready?

With the right amount of influence, an individual can compel others to join a cause, dedicate themselves to a goal, and successfully fulfill a unified vision. Contrary to popular belief, an authentic leader does not have to maintain a position of power. Whether you are a manager or employee, you have the capacity to become a leader if you put effort into it.

A highly influential person is generally one who uses leadership traits and skills such as effective communication, dependability, and the strength of influence to lead others while on the job. In many cases, employees will follow a leader’s example with no regard to what position they hold. Leading by influence can have an exceptional effect on your business’s prosperity. If you are ready to embrace leading by the power of influence, here are some ways you can become a model for leadership in the workplace regardless of your title.

 

Contribute

If you are a director or manager of a region in a business, take the time to do some of the duties your employees would normally do. Since people don’t like it when the person giving them orders hasn’t demonstrated his or her ability to contribute, a director who is eager to be hands-on will help encourage employees to be proactive as well.

 

Remain Positive

Even though no one can be positive 100% of the time, it is important to try to remain upbeat no matter what the circumstances. Positivity can be contentious, and employees are far more likely to respond positively to someone who is kind and demonstrates an ability to maintain a good attitude. Express gratitude toward others by making them feel good about their achievements and rewarding them for making progress toward their goals.

 

Have an Open-Door Policy

If your employees or associates are uneasy when approaching you, they will have less respect for you as their leader. Make sure your associates know you are accessible at any times and are willing to address any concerns they have. Being approachable helps cultivate a strong sense of mutual respect and understanding between you and your employees.

 

Be Consistent

If you tell your employees something and don’t follow through or do the exact opposite, you will damage your integrity. Losing credibility with your employees is extremely hard to come back from, so once you commit to do something, always honor it.

 

Communicate

As a force of inspiration, effective communication  helps guide others in pursuit of achievement, so it is essential to be an excellent communicator in order to lead by influence. Enhancing communication skills will enable you to use your inspirational power to motivate others so keep the following notions in mind when expressing ideas to employees and associates:

  • Understand what you want to achieve.
  • Consider the perspective of your listeners.
  • Pay close attention to how they respond.

 

Use Rewards

Being in a position of power allows leaders to use rewards to motivate others, but outstanding leaders can recreate the notion of coercive power by transforming it into influence no matter what their position is. Handing out rewards, including bonuses and promotions, in accordance with a clearly expressed batch of criteria helps promote productive activity. Maintaining a rewards system also includes adhering to rules and being fair always, which will increase your credibility and establish a foundation of trust between you and your employees.

 

Be an Example

The referent influences you have, the more others will want to align themselves with your cause.

You can increase your referent influence by being ethical, reliable, and embodying the qualities of professionalism. Illuminate the values of honesty, fairness, respect, and company pride to establish a strong model for others to look up to.

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The 10 Most Famous Motivational Speakers

A truly outstanding motivational speaker never fails to inspire his or her audience members with gravitating and compelling speeches. While there are many good motivational speakers in the world, there are only a few who truly stand out from the crowd. These few captivating speakers can seize the attention of crowds to help get their messages across. Here is a list of the top 10 most famous motivational speakers who have demonstrated their capacities to make an impact on millions of lives throughout the world. Each of these speakers has the uncanny ability to get his or her message across in a way that is impactful

 

1. Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas not only dropped out of high school, he was homeless as well. Nowadays, he is one of the most passionate motivational speakers known. Using his personal experiences to provide guidance to others, widely regarded as blunt advice, but highly credible and truthful. He refrains from delivering sugar-coated speeches and highlights the fact that each person has a different definition of success. But no matter what it may be, he tells audiences that success can take many years to achieve. He stresses the importance of being willing to sacrifice and sustaining true dedication to achieve success in the future.

 

2. Tony Robbins

At 6 feet 7 inches tall, Tony Robbins has a demanding stage presence, which allows him to grasp the attention of his audience with ease. As an individual who genuinely enjoys helping others achieve their goals and make the most out of their lives, he speaks to listeners with vigor and passion. While many inspirational speakers lack depth, Tony understands the psychology of achievement. He tells audiences that people who create spectacular results take specific steps to establish themselves. He starts his speeches with the fundamentals, including what you want to do with your life and why this goal is important to you. He proceeds to go more in-depth about strategies and ideas to assist you in persevering on behalf of your dreams.

 

3. Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic was born without any arms or legs, but he never let his condition hinder his ability to seek fulfillment and achieve success in his life. With gratitude and compassion for others, he is an incredibly happy man who speaks about the significance of remaining strong and never giving up on yourself. He believes nothing is truly impossible, and the word “quitting” is not a part of his vocabulary. He emphasizes the importance of not concentrating on what you can’t do in life. Rather, he advises people to concentrate on what you can control and what you can do to move forward.

 

4. Naseer Khan

As one of the most highly regarded motivational speakers in India, Naseer Khan believes that to achieve, you must believe in yourself. Working as a door-to-door salesperson until he was 18, Naseer lived a humble life as one of nine children in his family. Nowadays, Naseer focuses on inspiring others to exceed objectives through corporate training techniques including employee motivation, confidence building, power selling, and many more.

 

5. Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar is an author and inspirational speaker whose words have the influential power necessary to transcend time. He has been traveling the world since the 1970s, speaking out for positive progression to foster enthusiasm for change. He specializes in personal development training and coaches many individuals in topics including sales, presentation skills, and more.

 

6. Jim Rohn

Known for his moving speeches that stimulate the mind and inspire the soul, John Robin has helped thousands accomplish their goals. His legacy continues to impact the lives of many individuals worldwide in their endeavors to establish meaningful goals and pursue personal development.

 

7. Iyanla Vanzant

Once a welfare mother, Iyanla Vanzant is now an Emmy award-winning, New York Times best-selling author, and one of America’s most adored motivational speakers. With a straightforward approach, Iyanla uses her energy, passion, wit, and sense of humor to deliver a message focused on using love, acceptance, and perseverance to live your ideal life.

 

8. Vikas Jain

Vikas Jain is an author and worldwide motivational speaker known for his exceptional keynote speeches. Specializing in developing motivational sales training, he has created unique employee training programs on a variety of topics including leadership, team building, youth motivation, entrepreneurship, and more.

 

9. Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma is one of the most world-renowned motivational speakers on business leadership. As a best-selling author of several books, he travels the world to give moving keynote speeches at companies and organizations committed to developing dedicated leaders.

 

10. John Assaraf

John Assaraf has spent the last 25 years on a quest to achieve his goal of helping others understand their capacity to utilize their innate talents to live their best lives. As a student of human consciousness and behavior, he holds the belief that everyone can use cognitive tools to retrain the brain to concentrate on specific motivating principles.

Common Elements of a Premier Leadership Course

Besides a generous investment return, properly designed and implemented leadership courses have a plethora of advantages for a business, including:

  • Improved productivity levels
  • Comprehensive understanding of how to encourage team prosperity
  • Increased levels of employee activity and team engagement when directors understand how to manage people efficiently
  • Higher levels of positivity among employees
  • The creation of a work environment centered around the process of learning through collaboration
  • More informed decisions in accordance with techniques and problem solving rather than simply responding to issues without a clear plan
  • Demonstrated leaders who can serve as models for all employees and budding managers to follow

While all companies have different needs and must orchestrate a leadership program that can properly meet the specific requirements of their organization’s culture, there are several fundamental components of the best leadership courses. Here are a few aspects you should look for to ensure you select a high-quality leadership program to facilitate a prosperous environment for your company.

 

Small, Centralized, and Supportive Leadership Groups

When a business opts to begin a leadership training course, it is always best to start small. Start the process with a small group of individuals who are in leadership roles at the company already. As time goes on, this initial group will serve as the base of the program. Maintaining small groups allows each person to receive the consideration needed to enhance skills in sales. Small groups are also more effective at promoting a culture of teamwork and support among associates.

 

Employ Several Means of Learning New Leadership Ideas

Each employee in a leadership training course is an individual, which means there will be a range of ways each person absorbs new concepts and communicates within the group. The best courses involve an established multi-media education program that incorporates all styles of learning. From virtual communication and documented written materials to in-person meetings, providing several modes of learning new ideas will offer employees increased flexibility and variety throughout the process, which will also help encourage active engagement and participation.

 

Defined Objectives and Concrete Milestones

All individuals enrolled in the leadership program should work with a mentor one on one to organize a list of short- and long-term objectives. There must also be a viable way of measuring achievement as the individual continuously strives to tackle each goal. This will keep all participants on track and engaged in the leadership program throughout its duration. Defining goals and documenting achievements will also help individuals break down the new concepts they are learning, which will help them retain novel ideas and incorporate learned skills in the aftermath of the program.

 

Retention Courses and Programs

When a business invests time and money revamping its leaders’ skills, there will be an immediate improvement in job performance. However, to retain these skills over time, employees will need to receive direction. An exceptional leadership improvement training course will involve taking the proper measures to retain valuable leaders. Once employees have completed the leadership program, they must continue to get support and engage with their small groups on a regular basis.

Shapiro Negotiations offers some of the best leadership training programs in sales, negotiation, and influence. Each program is tailor-made to provide participants with innovative leadership skills specific to their area of expertise. Give us a call to learn more about our company and the leadership insights you can gain through any of our training programs.

3 of the Best Negotiators in History

So much of our global society is dependent on negotiations. It may seem hyperbolic, but it’s true: negotiation stops wars and signs treaties. Negotiations start humanitarian initiatives, build corporations, and drive economic growth in countries all over the world. While some go through life oblivious to the negotiations going on around us, these interactions are capable of changing the course of history. Here are three master negotiators who changed the fate of the world:

 

  1. Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela PictureHarvard Law School recently named Nelson Mandela as one of the best negotiators in history. He was well known for his patience, strategic thinking, practicality, and unwillingness to quit. He was able to make concessions, but refused to back down from what he thought was most important. In negotiating with a government that prized violence and resistance, Mandela brought a quiet resolve. This led to an uncanny ability to persuade his adversaries, one that was unmatched in the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt Picture Teddy Roosevelt is well known for many things; his “Citizen in a Republic Speech” is one of the most famous in American history. He also famously delivered a 90-minute speech soon after he was shot by an innkeeper in 1912. “It takes more than that to kill a bull-moose,” he reassured his audience, referring to the name of his Progressive independent party.

Roosevelt was just that – as stubborn as a bull-moose, unwilling to budge on the issues that were important to him. He also was famed for his soft side – in fact, his act of mercy toward a wounded black bear on a hunting trip made him the subject of jokes in the press and led to the creation of the “Teddy Bear.”

 

 

 

  1. Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger Picture Members of the Nixon administration will go down in history for many things, but few of them are positive. Henry Kissinger, however, is the notable exception. In his capacity of Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to both the Nixon Administration and Ford Administration, Kissinger weathered adversity and came out on top. From establishing diplomatic relations with China to diffusing geopolitical tensions with the Soviet Union, his actions ushered in peace in a time of American discord.

The world’s best negotiators altered the course of global history, whether through toppling evil governments or preventing potential war. Though we may not think about it often, these three expert negotiators prevented bloodshed and ushered in eras of peace, both in America and around the world.

 

18 Proven Sales Tactics That Work in Any Industry

Developing a strong sales program is the most critical aspect of any business. Without effective sales strategies, companies will not be able to compete and grow. Sales professionals must learn how to implement proven sales tactics that work. These sorts of sales tactics do more than just help them to close individual sales; they help to generate additional prospects for future sales.

As a sales team manager, one of your responsibilities is to provide your team with effective sales training and sales strategies that will increase your company’s profits. Effective sales processes are not just about working hard and putting in long hours. In fact, many sales teams work long and hard without experiencing results.

sales professional at work

Effective sales strategies involve employing the best strategies in the right situations. Here are 18 sales tactics that can work for sales teams in every industry.

  1. Be persistent with leads and develop the habit of following up with each customer.

    According to the latest sales research, 80 percent of sales transactions require 5 interactions after the first contact with a customer. Many salespeople are primarily concerned with immediate sales. If they do not get the sale at the first meeting, they silently give up and continue their hunt for the next immediate sale. However, savvy sales professionals understand that they must nurture viable leads until an action is taken. These ‘rock star’ sales professionals send emails, direct mail, make phone calls or send brochures to customers at designated intervals. By taking this action, your customers will think of you when it is time to make their next purchases.

  2. Solve your customers’ problems.

    Successful businesses thrive in competitive industries because they provide solutions to meet their customers’ needs. There are many sales professionals who do not fully understand their roles in the transaction. Consider this fact. As many as 70 percent of your leads are reaching out to you to solve their problems. When customers contact your sales team, your sales professionals must be able to demonstrate to them how they can quickly and easily solve their problems.

  3. Develop the ability to actively listen to customers.

    Customers have access to pages of information on the internet. In many instances, they may be as knowledgeable as your sales team. When sales professionals interact with knowledgeable customers, they might be tempted to talk constantly to show them that they are qualified. It is important to remind your salespeople that they should never get into a knowledge power struggle with customers. Sales professionals should always listen more than they talk. Simply listening to customers’ answers can be one of the most effective sales tactics in your team’s arsenal. They should ask questions that probe into their clients’ thought processes and carefully consider the responses. The goal is to make customers feel as if they are respected throughout the sales process.

  4. Use polite terms when you discuss the competition.

    Your sales team should always strive to present themselves in a positive light and use professional language. There is nothing that screams unprofessional like using derogatory terms to discuss other people or companies. Although customers may participate in the negative conversation, bad mouthing any person or company is never a good sales tactic. If a competitor does not have a good reputation, the members of your sales team should remain neutral.

  5. Earn your referrals before you ask for them.

    Sales professionals know that referrals are the proverbial ‘holy grail’ of marketing. In fact, 91 percent of customers will provide a referral contact to a salesperson that they like. Before you think about asking your customers for referrals, you should focus on providing them with a quality customer service experience. During the transaction, your goal is to develop positive relationships with your customers. After you have determined that they are happy with your services, it is a good idea to pursue the referrals. When it comes to soliciting referrals, timing is important.

  6. Ask for referrals from your customers.

    You might not believe it, but only 11 percent of sales professionals ask clients for referrals. According to this data, the majority of salespeople are leaving money on the table. Most customers are generous, and they would happily share your good customer service with friends, family members and colleagues, but you have to ask. If your sales team waits for their customers to initiate a conversation about referrals, it might never happen. Teach your sales team how to integrate referral conversations into the sales process at the appropriate time.

  7. Adhere to strict deadlines with your customers.

    Sales professionals must create a sense of urgency with customers, or the deals will take much longer than necessary. Changing deadlines according to the whims of each customer makes sales professionals lose credibility. The old adage, where there is a will there is a way, applies here. If customers want to meet the obligations of a transaction by the deadline, they will definitely find a way to make it happen.

  8. Develop relationships with your customers.

    Without customer relationships, it can seem as if you are always in the vicious cycle of trying to ‘drum up’ new business. Your past customers can be an excellent source of new transactions for years to come. When your initial transaction is completed, you do not have to end the relationship at that point. Find creative ways to keep in contact with your customers even after you close the deal.

  9. Identify your customers’ needs and meet them.

    Sales professionals should never lose sight that the only purpose of the sales transaction is to help customers. Since transactions are closely associated with money, it is easy to lose sight of this fact. Create a list of questions that you can use to pinpoint exactly what the customer needs from the transaction. These questions will enable you to save time with customers and get to the heart of the matter. Once customers believe that you understand their predicament, they will work with you to meet their needs.

  10. Be able to distinguish a lead from a customer and act accordingly.

    Brace yourself for this disheartening fact. According to a report by Gleanster Research, only 25 percent of all leads are legitimate and ready to complete a transaction. Leads are potential transactions, and you cannot bank your future on potential. You should categorize your leads and create campaigns to interact with each type. For example, warm leads should have a different marketing strategy than cold calls. Time is a limited resource. It is best to use it wisely.

  11. Solicit targeted leads.

    A difficult lesson for many sales professionals to learn is that every person with a pulse will not be a customer. Since this is the case, sales professionals must create a strategic plan to attract customers that fit their target markets. One way to do this is to make good use of technology to find leads that could use your services. For example, credit professionals who are targeting people who are recovering from bankruptcy can use the public record to find people who fit this profile. Once you have found your potential customers, create a customized sales pitch that will appeal to each demographic.

  12. Learn to uncover each customer’s pain points.

    Television advertisements are known for pushing the viewer’s hot buttons in order to get them to take action. Fear of loss is the most common pain points that advertisers address. The primary mission of every sale professional, as emphasized in our negotiation training courses, is to find a customer’s pain points and use them to their advantage. Ron Shapiro said it best when he stated, “In order to get what you want, help them get what they want.” Sales professionals can start the search for pain points by asking closed-ended questions that only require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. As the customer begins to feel comfortable, the salesperson should ask open-ended questions that will prompt customers to reveal additional information. Once the vital information is discovered, salespeople can use it to help their customers take action.

  13. Master the art of storytelling.

    When sales professionals meet with customers, they are usually armed with all sorts of facts and data. Although data may seem important, studies suggest that only 5 percent of people remember statistics after a presentation. However, an impressive 63 percent of people remember stories after a presentation. Sales professionals need to arm themselves with stories about relevant experiences of people who have received favorable results after using their products and services.

  14. Stand by your product or service and offer some type of guarantee.

    If your customers are willing to part with their cash, your company should at least be willing to offer a guarantee on the product or service. The guarantee can be a refund or replacement. If you are afraid of most of your customers taking you up on a money back guarantee policy, you should not be. Less than 10 percent of customers return items each year. A product or service guarantee provides your customers with peace of mind that lets them know that they are protected in the event that something goes awry.

  15. Find prospects who want the things you have to sell.

    The best way to navigate through water is to go with the current instead of swimming against it. In sales, going with the current means that if you are selling chicken, your leads are people who like chicken. If your prospects are vegan, then it will be nearly impossible to sell your chicken products to them. If you want to be certain that your clients need the items you are selling, you should pre-qualify them before you actively market to them.

  16. Develop compelling goals and an actionable plan.

    Successful people know where they want to go, and they develop an action plan to help them propel toward their destination. Goal-setting and planning are critical to any sales team’s success. According to a study conducted by Inc. Magazine, sales teams that set goals realized a 28 percent increase in sales. Teaching goal-setting strategies should be a mandatory part of every organization’s corporate sales training manual.

  17. Show customers proof that your product or service actually works.

    When you look at infomercials for weight loss products, they often show ‘before and after’ pictures of previous users of the products. They understand that new customers are motivated by social proof. Sales professionals should keep customer testimonials in a binder or in their laptops to share with customers. When customers are able to view the visible proof, they will be more likely to invest in your product or service.

  18. Maintain a positive mindset.

    This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised by the number of sales professionals who develop a jaded outlook because of sales slumps. Sales professionals must make every effort to remain positive in good and tough times. Developing a positive attitude has many benefits. Customers can tell when you are not in a good mood, and it will affect the transaction. A positive outlook helps sales professionals look for solutions to pending problems. When your sales professionals are positive, they will be able to handle stressful situations.

The above list isn’t just a collection of interesting tips—these are proven sales strategies that work. In this competitive business environment, sales professionals need to learn all the tricks of the trade in order to close a deal. By using these sales tactics that work, your sales team can learn to thrive in any economic climate.

5 Recommendations For an Effective Leadership Training Program

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People throw the phrase “natural-born leader” around all the time these days. While some people may seem to have an innate talent for leadership, most of the time, leadership is learned through hard work and dedication.

Often, company leaders are employees who have risen up the ranks, getting promoted for great job performance. While good work should, of course, be rewarded, this can lead to managers and executives who are excellent engineers or salesmen, but who have very little ability as a leader. To counteract this problem, many organizations choose to implement extensive leadership training programs.

But what is it that makes an effective leadership training program? While our training is often a great fit for leaders and included within a leadership curriculum, we do not offer leadership training. As a result, here are a few objective thoughts on what separates the best leadership training from the rest:

1. Tailor the course to fit the situation.

When it comes to executive education, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Even  the core concepts that are usually covered are made relevant in a different way based on the audience. Simply put, training must be customized to suit your specific participants’ and organization’s needs. What specific goals does your organization have? What problems will you face that other organizations may not have to worry about? Putting in the work to understand your organization’s needs as you build your management training programs is a worthwhile exercise in itself and certainly makes the training more effective.

2. Prioritize listening over talking.

Whether you’re heading up a single project, leading a small team, or directing an entire company, the ability to listen will be one of the greatest skills you can develop. Great leaders are able to engage with their team members on a deeper level by listening to what they’re saying and acting accordingly. When those leaders are able to truly listen, they show their team members that the solution is about more than just looking good—it’s about real collaboration and finding a lasting solution. In our negotiation training courses, we emphasize listening to the other party to determine their interests, a skill that absolutely extends extends to leadership training. By listening to your team more than talking, you can gather additional insights, both into the situations at hand and into your team members themselves. Leading a team effectively involves having all the information, and paying careful attention to what your team is saying is one of the best ways to make that happen.

3. Emphasize accountability.

In terms of leadership training programs, accountability means two things. First, it means that you should hold your employees accountable for participating in the leadership training course. Your course should encourage your employees to constantly work on improving themselves. But accountability goes beyond just showing up at the class. Accountability also means that, while leaders delegate tasks, the responsibility is never delegated. A good leader holds himself or herself responsible for the results their team brings in, regardless of the outcome.

4. Don’t let it get bogged down with fluff.

What do we mean by fluff? Essentially, we’re talking about all of the abstract, unfocused techniques that commonly show up in so many training programs. While it’s important for your leaders to be motivated, those “motivational” technique can only get them so far. It may feel good in the moment, but real-world practical skills are what will lead to consistent, reliable leaders at your organization. What’s the best practice? Rather than standing up on stage reciting platitudes, present tools and demonstrate their potential impact on relevant situations that your leaders will face.

5. Reinforcement

Leadership training, like any other soft skill training, should go beyond individual events. Your company’s leaders are some of its most valuable resources, so it would be prudent to invest in them and make their training and development an ongoing process. Follow up on a regular basis after the initial training to refresh what they have learned, reinforce important lessons, and layer on more advanced material.

Business Lessons From Elon Musk

Elon Musk has radically disrupted three major industries. Just a few years ago, his plan for SpaceX to land and reuse rockets was deemed impossible by most experts. Tesla’s mission to start a new American car company focused solely on electric vehicles was considered laughable as well. Musk’s plans to dramatically transform the electric storage industry with his Gigafactory was derided as a dangerously risky scheme. Yet despite his vocal critics, Musk is making waves and effecting change.

The principles outlined below that drive Musk’s success can drive yours as well.

Dare to Attempt a Unique Solution

In every business Elon Musk has been involved with, he has brought a vision of a new way of doing things that transformed the industry. It takes courage to do more than talk about thinking outside the box. It is a lot easier to present a slightly different spin on a tried-and-true sales pitch than to dare to try something unique. Great success often comes from those willing to put in the effort demanded to make such ideas succeed.

Align Your Goals with a Higher Purpose

Elon Musk works more hours in a week than many people work in a month. Tesla and Musk’s home power packs factory are driven by his conviction that we must take drastic action to stop pollution. SpaceX was founded on the belief that we must have a sustained presence on Mars to avoid potential disaster on earth. If meeting your sales goals is just a matter of keeping the manager happy or getting a bigger paycheck, those motivations will rarely push anyone to put in the effort needed to be truly successful. When you find the higher purpose in your life and see your sales goals as a way of achieving that purpose, you will find yourself working harder and succeeding more.

Embrace Your Failures

SpaceX’s first three rocket launches ended in disaster, and Tesla almost failed as setbacks mounted. Yet Elon Musk did not just move on from failure. Rather, he openly embraced it and owned up to it. Owning up to failure is a difficult and humbling process. We often experience the most growth because of what we learn from failure. Embrace your failures and make them a part of your success in the future.

While few people have the drive and ingenuity to succeed to the extent Elon Musk has, by drawing from his approach, anyone can enjoy greater success, meet sales goals, and find new ways to expand their business.

What the Navy SEALs Can Teach You About Leadership and Getting Results

When it comes to high-pressure, time-sensitive missions, there are few people in the world more skilled at delivering results than the Navy SEALs. While the missions the SEALs go on are far different than you will face in the conference room or on the sales floor, the way they go about their business teaches valuable lessons you can apply today.

Meticulous Planning Leads to Success

While the missions the Navy SEALs carry out are undoubtedly dangerous, these soldiers are not thrill junkies who thrive on risk. In fact, the SEALs go into every mission confident of success and with reasonable certainty that everyone on their team will come back alive and well. This is accomplished through meticulously planning every aspect of the mission.

Planning your sales campaign should be just as thorough as the SEALs’ planning of their missions. What will you do if your original pitch doesn’t succeed? Plan and plan some more, and your odds of success rise dramatically.

Empower Subordinates

When the SEALs take a fortified position, not only must everyone be familiar with the plan, but also they must be ready to improvise on their own should something critical go wrong in their area of responsibility. That duty to improvise means the leadership must be willing to accept the decisions made by subordinates and support them to make them successful. While there’s never a doubt as to who is in charge, everyone has to have the ability to do what it takes to succeed.

You likely reached a position of leadership because you excelled on a regular basis. While empowering those around you may feel risky, it improves the chances of your success overall. Create freedom for anyone to deviate from the plan if that’s what success requires and back them up as much as possible to ensure success.

Humility Does Not Mean Weakness

After every engagement, the SEALs have an after-action briefing, often referred to as the “hot-wash.” Each member relates the action from their perspective and is honest about not only what they did right and wrong individually, but also about the actions of their team members. Everyone’s input is considered, and the newest member of a team may openly point out a mistake the commander made without fear of retribution.

This approach by the SEALs shows that takes humility to openly confront mistakes and to keep an open mind when hearing mistakes pointed out by others. Create an atmosphere where others are free to help you learn from your mistakes, and you will find success coming your way more often.

While most of us will not make life-and-death decisions, learning these basic principles from those who have put them into practice under extreme conditions can only make you stronger and more successful.

Facing Employee Retention Challenges in 2018

Employee retentionThe U.S. unemployment rate is low, and companies are cranking up recruiting efforts. Organizations will face a challenge in the year ahead to keep current employees from being lured away by companies offering attractive benefits and innovative perks. Businesses can attract and keep employees by improving digital efficiency, providing relevant feedback and matching people with their passions for improved job satisfaction.

Intentionally Endorse Culture

When employees believe in what their organization stands for, they are more loyal and engaged. Make creating a positive culture top priority when it comes to employee retention. Define the values most important to your brand and seek ways to communicate and practice those ideals throughout your organization.

Analyze and tweak every step of onboarding to highlight those values in company policies and practices. Make sure training gives specific steps for how to incorporate them in workplace interactions, not just with outside clients.

Develop Leadership

Supervisors often obtain their position because they were effective as lower-level employees. While they might have been the strongest member of their team, they don’t necessarily have the skills to be effective management.

One of the biggest reasons employees leave their job is because of conflict with a supervisor. Offer leadership training to provide the communication skills necessary to effective relationships with employees.

Prioritize Growth

Some employees change jobs because they see another company as an opportunity to get ahead. If your staff feels stuck in their current positions, they are likely to experience frustration and defeat. Instead of losing your talent to the competition, keep them when you do the following:

  • Offer performance-based bonuses or other perks to top performers.
  • Provide training and staff development that gives employees skills they need to be promoted.
  • Let staff members know the career opportunities available and the ways your company can help them reach their goals.
  • Allow employees to cross-train so they learn a wide range of skills.
Make Your Offer Better

Money isn’t everything, but employees are lured away when they can make more with your competitor. Make your compensation package as attractive as possible. Salaries and bonuses are a major part of what attracts talent, but other factors can be just as important. Health insurance, flexible scheduling, vacation time and retirement packages also play into an employee’s decision to stay with your organization or go somewhere else.

Know what the competition offers so your staff isn’t lured away by a few dollars. When Glassdoor analyzed job transitions, they found base pay that is 10 percent higher makes it 1.5 percent less likely employees will leave.

Invest in retaining your current workforce by creating a positive place in which they thrive. The productive work environment that results will improve your bottom line and attract top talent to add to your team.