Teamwork and Thanksgiving

teamworkTeamwork! This definition means quite a bit – the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient. I am sure that every Thanksgiving we get to see this in its greatest form.

When I look at how our holiday dinner events come together, it can only be from teamwork. I can see in the kitchen that there is no less than 6 or 7 people cooking items, assembling items, plating, setting the buffet, pouring milk, setting the table and so much more. Everyone just jumps in to do their part, each and every year.

Why, you might ask? I can tell you that the entire crowd in attendance is looking forward to the end result – DINNER TIME! If only the real working world would work like this. Everyone doing their part to get to the end result that makes everyone happy.

You would have happy employees, happy suppliers and most importantly happy customers. Teamwork can be infectious and done time and time again can only lead to a culture of teamwork.  A statistic states that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. It only seems logical to focus on teamwork to improve a multitude of things.

Next time you are trying to explain improving teamwork in your organization just look to that Thanksgiving dinner as the reference point.

How having only "good" workers can ruin your company

Recently I had been spending some time reading, well, actually listening to Jim Collins and two of his books, Good To Great and then Great by Choice. They are amazing looks at business and led me to believe that truly successful companies are surrounded by great individuals.

At my Toastmasters club, Towpath Talkers, I did a speech on one of the the concepts in Good to Great, the Hedgehog Concept, called “Good is the Enemy of Great”. The concept is about taking three distinct areas to focus on and finding the sweet spot at the intersection of all three. The three core competencies are 1) be passionate about what you do, 2) find your key economic indicator and 3) find out what your company is best at in the world. You have to have all three to become great. You can get all of this and more in his books and I have links below for each.

What made me think about this once again was the article, Newbie leadership mistakes and the important lessons learned, on Smartblog for Leadership. The 8 specific tips are by promising young entrepreneurs. Read this great article here.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

The Steve Jobs Biography

Have you read the Steve Jobs biography yet?? It is on my living room coffee table. Can’t wait to dig into it as I have been a huge fan and supporter of Apple since 1995.

In the interim, I have read an article from the Wall Street Journal about utilizing the biography and applying some of Steve Jobs’ principles. Bio as Bible: Managers Imitate Steve Jobs.

You can get the book at by clicking on this image.

Top Coaching Habits of Great Sales Managers

This is very good information here from my favorite folks at Selling Power. 11 great questions get answered in this two-part article. Enjoy!!

Managing a sales team is a lot like coaching a sports team. In both cases, you’ve got to balance varying levels of skill among the team, put routine practices in place to help them achieve peak performance, and ultimately lead them to a winning season or quarter. Selling Power recently hosted a Webinar on the topic of sales management and sales coaching (“Accelerated Sales Success through Effective Coaching“) featuring Selling Power CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner and Sales Readiness Group president David Jacoby. In this two-part Q&A, Jacoby provides answers to the top questions that were asked during the Webinar. (To listen to the full recording of the live Webinar, click here.)

This is Part 1 –

This is Part 2 –

Classic Success Secrets of the One-Minute Manager

I  just took an old cassette tape of the audiobook of the One-Minute Manager and recorded it onto my Mac and now was able to put it onto my iPod and had the opportunity to listen to this in the car. I have a print copy of this book by Spencer Johnson & Ken Blanchard and even though this book is now 30 years old it still resonates great leadership traits that can be used each and every day.

Here is a brief summary of the three specific areas on one-minute managing compiled by the editors at Selling Power. Great stuff. Apply it today.

The First Secret: One-Minute Goals

All good performance starts with clear goals. Ken Blanchard once had breakfast with Lou Holtz, the head coach of the Notre Dame football team. Holtz kept a little book for himself and one for each of his players in which everyone wrote individual and team goals for the season. Why did he use these books? He told Blanchard, “Of all my experiences in managing people, the power of goal setting is the most incredible.”

Create a model for good behavior by agreeing on your goals up front. Make sure you write out each of your goals. Limit the number of goals to five. Write down what the present level of performance is on each goal and then what level you want. The discrepancy between the actual and desired goal becomes the area for improvement.

Give yourself a deadline for reaching that new level. Make several copies of your goals for home and work so you can refer to them daily. Look at your goals, then look at your behavior and see if it matches your goals.

The Second Secret: One-Minute Praisings

The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right, rather than blame them for doing something wrong. Yet most managers persist in basically leaving their people alone until they make a mistake that’s noticeable. Then the manager criticizes. Blanchard called that a “leave-alone-zap” management style, or “seagull management.” “Seagull managers” fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.

Tell people beforehand that you’re going to let them know how they’re doing. Then emphasize three main points with praisings. Be immediate. Don’t save praisings for a holiday.

Next, be specific. Just saying “good job” is nice but not very helpful.

Third, share your feelings about their work. Tell people how good you feel about the right things they’ve done and how it helps the organization and their co-workers. Stop for a moment to let them enjoy feeling how good you feel. End with a reaffirmation, and encourage them to keep up the good work.

The Third Secret: One-Minute Reprimands

What do you do when people don’t perform well or make limited or no progress? You have to hold them accountable.

The first remedy for poor performance should be redirection, which means going back to goal setting, trying to find out what went wrong, and getting them back on track. Never reprimand or punish someone who’s trying to learn, but if you’re dealing with somebody who knows better (i.e., someone who has performed a similar task well in the past), then a “one-minute reprimand” might be appropriate.

Reprimand people immediately. Tell people exactly how you feel about what they did wrong. Then pause. This helps you transition to the most important part of a reprimand: reaffirmation. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation. You want to get them back on course, not try to make them feel bad. Remind them how much you value them. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

2011 – The Best Laid Plans

Over the last several weeks there have been many planning sessions and discussions about the success of our 2011 budget forecast. We have the overall objective set with five definitive and measurable goals assigned. Those goals are supported by five strategies and a wealth of tactics to support those strategies. My budget binder is almost complete and I am feeling very organized heading into the new year.

I have all of my performance reviews scheduled with my team this coming week so that 2010 can be reviewed and of course have those individual plans presented so we can get those territories on the same page with the regions plan.

I have the reporting set up so that there can be items easily tracked, measured and bench-marked for the new year. Our marketing plan is well thought out and focused to accomplish our goals on many fronts. Our consultant incentive program is geared for achieving success in the budget goals as well as growing commissions and rewarding performance.

Now, with that being said, we can do all of the planning, organizing, strategizing, budgeting, team-building and cheerleading as possible and it stills comes down to a couple of key components to have a successful 2011. One is EXECUTE. Meaning, to carry out; accomplish or “execute the plan”. Without execution the best laid plans can be thrown in the trash. Second is ACCOUNTABILITY. Meaning, responsible to someone or for some action; answerable or “being held accountable”. There has to be some form of accountability to the execution of the plan and in the achievement of our goals for all parties involved.

The keys to a successful 2011 is to have a great plan (failing to plan is planning to fail) that you can execute (actions speak louder than words) and make sure everyone is accountable (about meeting the established expectations).

Have a great and successful 2011!

How Fascinating Are You

Great blog post from the Influential Blogger on Sally Hogshead’s book Fascinate.

7 Ways to Fascinate, Persuade, Captivate your Audience

Take your own test to see what your {F} SCORE is. Get a copy of Sally’s book now.

Just as a reference. My score results were MYSTIQUE for my primary trigger, POWER for my secondary trigger and VICE was my dormant trigger. You will know more how to apply these once you have read the book and taken your own test.

Be fascinating today!!

Become Your Companies Chief ‘Looking Around The Corner’ Officer

Recently had the opportunity to read a manifesto that Robert Bloom wrote. It was called Looking Around The Corner and shatters some old-school thought processes of looking ahead every year. He comments that, “This fixation on an obsolete planning process guarantees that firms that use it will not keep pace with the rapid, substantive changes in our business world”.

As I plan for the new year of 2011 and develop the strategies and tactics necessary to achieve our overall objective, this doc hits home and gets the creative juices flowing on how we will go to market in a multitude of areas.

Great stuff. Get it at Change This.