Don’t Let Your Story Kill Your Sales

Over the last few years, I’ve been doing a great deal of coaching and notice the power of the stories my clients tell themselves. So I whipped up this presentation for a client’s sales team… and they loved it.

https://vimeo.com/442811040 If you are up for it, I would love your feedback too! Brutal honesty will be appreciated. How can I make it even better?

 

In Business We Trust

I just read the 2019 EDELMAN TRUST BAROMETER Global Report https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2019-01/2019_Edelman_Trust_Barometer_Global_Report.pdf

It is an interesting 65-page research report with implications for all executives. Trust is today’s business currency, especially when it comes to managing people.  I believe the most fundamental shift in the workplace is The Death of Control. And, if you can’t control someone, you had better be able to trust them!

Let me share a few of the findings I find most interesting.

1 . The good news is that trust in US companies is on the rise. Even though Gallup says two-thirds of employees are disengaged, 80% of US employees trust their employer, the highest level in some time. The US score is “middle of the pack” in terms of employees trusting their employers in different countries, so there is plenty of room for improvement!

2. Top five communications topics that are most effective in increasing employer trust:

  • Societal Impact- The organization’s contributions for the betterment of society 3.78
  • Values- The organization’s values 3.24
  • The Future- The organization’s vision for the future 3.12
  • Purpose- The organization’s mission and purpose 2.85
  • Operations- Operational decisions, including decisions that may affect my job 2.62

To what extent are you making an effort to communicate and brand these factors? Does the CEO talk about them? Do you? Are these factors marketed on the career page of your website, in your employee newsletter and on the walls of your company?

3. Those companies that focus on creating trusting relationship see significant benefits.

Percent of employees who engage in these types of behaviors on behalf of their employer

(Low trust environment/high trust environment/trust difference):

  • Advocacy 39/78/+39
  • Loyalty 36/74/+38
  • Engagement 38/71/+33
  • Commitment 53/83/+31

Trust drives desired behaviors. While it may feel like a “soft subject” it has bottom-line implications.

4. According to the report, the New Employer-Employee Contract focuses on…

  • Leading Change: Be aspirational – Address concerns about the personal impact of change – Train the workforce of the future.
  • Empowering Employees: Give them a voice – Create opportunities for shared action- Empower them with information.
  • Starting Locally: Solve problems at home – Improve societal conditions in the local communities in which you operate – Live your values.
  • CEO Leadership: Engage directly – Be visible and show a personal commitment, inside and outside the organization.

Remember, your effectiveness as a leader has much to do with who you can trust…and who can trust you.

5. Last, is a checklist of how trusting employees view their company. Isn’t this how you want employees thinking and feeling about your company!

Loyalty items

  • I want to stay working for this organization for many years
  • I publicly support decisions taken by the organization’s leadership

Advocacy items

  • I would recommend our products or services to others
  • I would defend the organization if I see or hear it being criticized
  • I recommend this organization as an employer to others

Commitment items

  • I want to do the best possible job for our customers or clients
  • I am committed to helping the organization achieve its strategy and goals
  • I feel motivated to perform at my best
  • I do more than what’s expected to help them succeed

Engagement items

  • I behave in a way that epitomizes the organization’s values
  • I support the organization’s social causes and community activities
  • I offer suggestions for improving the organization’s processes, products or services
  • I would feel comfortable in speaking up if I were to see the organization engaging in wrong-doing
  • I participate in the organization’s social media activities
  • I would feel comfortable pressuring management to weigh in on important social and political issues if I thought remaining silent would hurt the reputation of the organization
  • I feel a sense of pride in my organization

Excellent checklist and one that can be turned into an annual survey or series of surveys at your company!

Conclusion-All of the above should feel right. So, what is the resistance to doing any of it? If time and money aren’t legitimate excuses, then what is?

In addition to the benefits of trust mentioned above, my 30 plus years of being an employment lawyer also tells me people who trust each other don’t sue each other. Trust is a great risk-management factor as well.

PS if you have not done so, I encourage you to take a look at the videos I did on my LinkedIn page about moving from Control to Trust  https://www.linkedin.com/in/donphin

How to Bring Meaning to Your Work

I’d like to share two quick stories.

Years ago I was training the Palm Beach County Clerks Office executive team. The new Clerk, Sharon Bock, was intent on creating a world-class organization. One of my more interesting assignments from her was to attend a Six Sigma day as an observer. The 300 person management and leadership team would be facilitated by Six Sigma trainers to further define their vision, mission, values, and goals. Afterward, Sharon asked me what I observed. I told her the attendees were having their own little happy party talking about the difference they would make out there…without including a single customer of the County Clerk involved in the conversation.

I explained it’s hard to be purposeful or self-actualized where you don’t invite your customer, client or user into the conversation. How else can you truly understand their experience?

I had another client in my Florida days that was a formal wear manufacturer. Their retail spaces were amazing. Beautiful models wore the clothes in 12-foot posters all around the showrooms. However, when you got to the manufacturing floor, those pictures were gone. The purpose of those seamstresses was to sew that tuxedo or wedding dress. That was it. No real “meaning” in the work other than that.

I convinced the owner his employees should be treated no differently than their customers and that the same pictures should also be hung throughout the manufacturing floor. Even better, I suggested they provide a discount to some couples if they came by the manufacturing floor and showed the workers how special the garments they sewed made them feel.

Now, do you think those seamstresses would be more engaged and more purposeful after a direct experience with the customer like that? Produce greater “discretionary effort”? Of course, they would!

Eventually, they also added real photos and testimonials from client weddings on the manufacturing walls too.

Finding meaning in your work is about serving. More precisely, it is about the service experience between an employee and their customer. Make sure your employees get to directly interact with the people they serve and then let them discover how their work makes a difference in their customers lives.

If Your Boss Was a Cooked Egg…

While at my sister’s house last week,  I found myself watching Family Feud. The question that was asked is: “If your boss was a cooked egg, how would you describe him or her.”

Here are the responses. Who wants to guess at what the last answer was?

Strategies for Developing a Career Path that Works

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

“The things to do are the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to be doing.” – Buckminster Fuller

Maybe your job is not what you thought it would be, or you want to ratchet up, or you are burnt out, or something else seems more interesting…or you just got fired.

Consider these strategies to find a job you can love, even if it’s the one you are in:

  1. Nothing is wrong with you if you have not yet discovered your “passion” or “mission.” It can be as simple as “helping myself while I help others.” You can do that in any job.
  2. Nothing is wrong with changing jobs if:
    • There is no opportunity for creativity or growth.
    • You can’t earn more where you are at.
    • You want to work closer to home.
    • You dislike your co-workers, boss, or customers.
    • There is illegal or unethical activity going on.
    • This isn’t the third time you quit in the last two years.  If that’s the case, maybe you are the problem.
  3. Nothing is wrong with changing careers if:
    • The “story” of your career does not match up with the “reality” of your career.
    • You have grown far in that career and look to learn something new.
    • There is the possibility of working in a career that allows you to earn more or work in alignment with your passion, mission, etc.
    • You are financially set and want to do non-profit type work.
  4. Get out of the “grey zone” of uncertainty. Give yourself space and time to define your ideal career situation. Think both vertically and horizontally. For example, I’d like to be a lawyer for an environmental non-profit or I’d to be a games programmer at Electronic Arts.
  5. Interview people with your ideal career. Invite them to a coffee or lunch, or even offer to pay for their time.  Ask what they want and don’t like about their job.  Discover their story of how they came to be in this position.  Ask what they think the future holds for their career.  Last, ask what advice they would have for you.  I wish I had been smart enough to do this when I was younger.  Keep asking until somebody says yes.  It is worth the effort.
  6. Meet with a recruiter. Again, offer to pay for their time.  Ask for an evaluation of your resume, and what they believe your opportunities are and possible compensation levels.  Steps 4, 5, and 6 are all about gaining clarity.  Get facts before you make a career decision.
    • P.S.  See if they can run your resume through a resume screener to make sure you are using the right buzzwords. An example you can use yourself is https://www.jobscan.co/
  7. Don’t fear seeking part-time, temp or consulting work. Get your foot in the door and show them how amazing you are.  Do that, and they will want you as an employee.
  8. Don’t quit your day job until you have agreed to a new job. Then leave your company gracefully.  Provide them with two week’s notice.  Don’t bomb them on Glassdoor.  Don’t do a YouTube dance video. There is no good reason to create enemies.  Just move on.
  9. Get creative! Showing your resume online is not enough anymore.
    • Use your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts.
    • Use your alumni and school contacts.
    • Show up at industry association meetings.
    • See if your industry association has a hiring page, many do.
    • Knock on their door. This approach works best with smaller companies as you might get to meet the owner or president.
    • Network, but when you do, spend your time learning about them. See how you can help them.  That’s what gets people’s attention, not being needy.  Besides, needy is creepy.
    • Don’t forget the Yellow Pages.
  10. Know the companies that fit your career path. Many cities have a business publication that identifies the companies in your area. Then systematically figure out how you will approach them. Make your job! Send the owner an article you wrote or a blog post.  Mail it to them.  Offer to have a meeting to see how you can help them.  I have often got work by doing this.  “I’d like to meet with you for an hour to check your head and share what I know about ____.”
  11. Know yourself. Look for a career that fits you. Know your skills and motivators.  Take a few career assessments.  Take a few skill tests (see shl.com).  The better you know you, the more focus and confidence you will have.  One simple way to focus is to identify the five things you do best and circle the two things you enjoy doing best.  Find a job or career that focuses on those two things and you will find work nirvana.
  12. If you are out of a job, then make finding a job your whole priority. Make it a 5-day week, 40 hour-week job. Be relentless. Go all in!
  13. Keep learning. Lynda.com is a great resource for learning and free if you have LinkedIn premium (which you want if you are job hunting). Research companies, trends, challenges, etc.
  14. Create a week in the life for yourself. Three years from now, when you are doing work you love. What does a work week look like?  Spend a few hours noting this future with clarity and then bring that future into the present.  I have learned that you get what you ask for – just not when or how you would expect to get it.
  15. Be prepared. As the saying goes, success results from preparation meeting opportunity. Being prepared for an interview means researching the company website, news articles, LinkedIn profiles, Glassdoor reviews and more. Practice your interviewing skills with friends.  Interviewing is a sales job so know the questions you can be asked and how you would answer them.  Short and sweet answers are best. Also, be prepared with questions you may want to ask. Don’t ask questions you can find by researching Manta, Hoovers…or the company website. Consider questions such as:
    • Why is the position open? Did someone quit or get fired? Is it a new position?
    • How would you describe the company’s culture?
    • Where do you get your greatest satisfaction in working here?
    • What frustrates you working here?
    • What are the common attributes of your top performers?
    • What drives results for the company?
    • How does your performance appraisal system work?
    • What would you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
    • In one year from today, how would you know if my hire was a success?
    • What training programs do you offer employees?
    • Do you publish career ladders for the position?
    • What percentage of managers are promoted versus recruited?
    • What is the most exciting thing happening at the company?
    • How often does the CEO meet with the management team?
    • What type of company social events do you have?
  16. Follow up, even if they don’t. Send a written thank you note and ask for the job.
  17. Last, don’t stress about the future even if you are in a financial squeeze. Cut expenses to the bone and focus on taking action in the present, the only real power you have.

Download the Career Strategies PDF

Resources:

https://www.livecareer.com/ -resume builder, job search, more.

http://jobboardreviews.com job board directory

http://www.jobhuntersbible.com  from Dick Bolles, author of What Color is My Parachute

https://www.shl.com/en/  a great place to test your skills

https://www.asktheheadhunter.com/- great advice on job hunting

https://www.careercloud.com– job hunting advice

https://www.job-hunt.org/– job hunting advice

https://www.forbes.com/video/4573540723001 video from Forbes on avoiding the resume black hole.

https://blog.linkedin.com/2016/10/06/now-you-can-privately-signal-to-recruiters-youre-open-to-new-job– as the URL suggests, how to use LinkedIn

https://www.donphin.com/tools/– last but not least, some tools I’ve created that can help