Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Success’

Monday Morning Motivation: The Ant Philosophy

For this weeks Monday Morning Motivation, below is a great little piece from renown business philosopher, Jim Rohn.  This is a perfect lesson for Pinnacle Performers and those who would like to be one.

Walk The Path!

Steve

ant_01

The Ant Philosophy
by Jim Rohn

Over the years I’ve been teaching kids about a simple but powerful concept—the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants gather their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, “Don’t build your house on the sand in the summer.” Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to think ahead. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all–you–possibly–can” philosophy.

Wow, what a great philosophy to have—the ant philosophy. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

Monday Morning Motivation: Success Track

Back in our school days (or school daze for some) there were specific academic achievements that needed to be accomplished to graduate from one grade to the next, from grade school to high-school, high-school to college and so forth. The track was all laid out and it was clear (to the non-dazed folks at least) what needed to be accomplished to move forward and succeed.

At some point, we entered the working world and all that changed. We had multiple tracks to choose from and the path to success became considerably more fuzzy.

Some people chose a less than desirable track. These folks can be found complaining about their job most days. Other folks were headed in the right direction but then, for various reasons, got side-tracked.  Both folks will find that if they continue heading in the wrong direction they’ll ultimately end up in the wrong place.

What you do today shapes your tomorrows. Where you end up then depends on what track you’re on now.

This principle applies to not only your long-term goals but also your short-term objectives. In sales, what you achieve in a given month will determine if you’re on track to meet your goal for the quarter. A successful quarter will put you on the right track for a successful year.

And, of course, a successful Monday will put you on track for a successful week!

Success Track

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Monday Morning Motivation: Go To Success

Here’s a simple, yet powerful, Monday Morning Motivation.

Quite often success comes to those who are proactive. Those Pinnacle Performers constantly seeking out new opportunities to learn and grow, develop new business, create new customer relationships and control their destiny.

The reactive types are waiting to be in the right place at the right time, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for opportunity to knock, waiting for success to happen.

Don’t let that be you. Get up, get on your horse and as I often say…

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Go to Success

See All Of Steve’s Pinnacle Performance Quotes > pinnacleperformancequotes.imgfave.com
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Work Break

With Summer upon us, many employees have a hard time focusing on their jobs and find themselves on an extended mental (if not physical) break. Below is a witty sign a crafty company posted to remind their employees of their mission. Would this be a suitable addition to your workplace?

Work Break

Have a Happy 4th of July break (tomorrow)

Steve 🙂

 

Monday Morning Motivation: New Beginning

Hard to believe 2013 is now half-way to done. Time flies when you’re on the run!

This mid-year point is the perfect time to evaluate your sales performance year-to-date. Have you hit your performance goals thus far? Are you on track to achieve your 2013 goal? If not, why not? What do you need to do to get on track, elevate your performance and finish strong in the second half of the year now here?

My 25+ years of sales/sales management experience has revealed that under-performing salespeople are typically not getting themselves in front of enough qualified prospects or, if they are, they’re not as effective as they should (and could) be. Often it’s a combination of both deficiencies.

One thing is certain; you cannot change the past. You can, however, control your future. What you do (and how you do it) from this day forward will determine where you end up at the end of the year. It is your new beginning…

New Beginning

Vitallity Ability

Power Your StoryMake a Great Day!

Steve

Need help with what you do and how you do it to achieve and exceed your sales goals? Visit Sale Away LLC.

Monday Morning Motivation

Time for a little Monday Morning Motivation…

How will you be better this week than last?

inspire-others-9

Onward & Upward!

OffToGreatPlaces

Make a Great Day!

Steve

The Power of Doughnuts?

national-doughnut-day-2

Good Day Folks,

As a professional sales/customer service trainer,  I’m often approached by individuals seeking the right foods to power their pinnacle performance.

Actually that has never happened but it does bring up a good point.

Today is National Doughnut Day!

It’s true. See this report from ABC News that includes where you can get free doughnuts today > National Doughnut Day 2013: Where to Get Free Doughnuts

Assuming you have not run out of the building to your local doughnut retailer and are still reading this I will add that doughnuts would not be my first recommendation as an energy-driver power food. However, there is something to be said (something good) about the personal enjoyment derived from a good glazed pastry with a hole in it.

Or perhaps your more  of a creme or jelly filled sans-hole type of doughnut connoisseur? No worries, they have plenty of those to please the most demanding pallet.

There is some logic, albeit fuzzy, at work here too. Doughnuts put you in a good mood. It’s just hard to miserable eating one. And when you’re in a good mood “Positive Attracts Positive” and everything goes better.

Besides, you work hard. That’s what Pinnacle Performers do. You deserve a delicacy now and then. Consider it a just reward for a job well done this week.

Make mine a powdered chocolate warmed (but not too hot) with some strawberry cream dipping sauce!

Steve 🙂

Things Turn Out Best For The People Who Make The Best Of The Way Things Turn Out

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Welcome to May! Hope this post finds you doing extraordinarily well.

We have arrived at the last in the series of John Wooden Maxims:

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Excerpt from Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

“Why is it so much easier to complain about the things we do not have than to make the most of and appreciate the things we do have?”

This quote ties directly into the Maxim as many folks don’t make the most of the way things turns out, instead focusing on and complaining about what is missing and/or wrong with the situation.

This is a lesson I personally lived out in my professional selling efforts. When I started in business management consulting sales, I was assigned a territory that was considered to be “saturated”, having gone through many years with many different sales reps before me calling on what was, by and large, the same prospective client base.  At the same time, there were brand new “virgin” territories in other areas of the Eastern U.S. that afforded the sales reps there opportunities to get in front of potential clients for the very first time. In a new territory, it was not uncommon for the salesperson who worked there to receive (from the company’s inside sales effort) twice the number of appointments in any given week.

It would have been quite easy to focus on those negatives; I can’t sell because the territory is saturated, I can’t sell because the prospects I’m seeing have seen us 14 times already,  I can’t sell because I’m getting half the appointments, etc.

Instead I chose (with some effective mentoring at the time) to focus on what I did have and could control. If I had less opportunities and the opportunities themselves would potentially be of lower quality, well then I needed to be all that much better with the opportunities I did have or I would surely fail.  I’m happy to report that was not the case…

Over my 10 years with the company, I maintained the highest batting average (sales to presentation ratio) and ended my tenure with the highest generated revenue totals in the company’s history.

One thing is certain. You will have challenges. You will have obstacles. In order to succeed you must build a mental bridge and get over them. What John Wooden said is true:

Thing Turn Out Best - John Wooden

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

It’s What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Time marches on and with it we have arrived at the next John Wooden Maxim: It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Wooden On Learning

This popular Wooden maxim is the first quote I reference with new trainees. While select students are novice, inexperienced lads and ladies, most folks enter training with at least several years of experience, up to seasoned veterans with 10+ years on-the-job.

Many of these experienced folks enter new training with a know it all already mentality, seemingly close-minded to new ideas. Obviously this is not the most favorable attitude when it comes to learning anything.

Fortunately, the vast majority of participants in my Pinnacle Performance training do come around. Usually at some point during our first time together they realize they actually didn’t know this or that and, now that they do, they’re better for it.

“Always be learning, acquiring knowledge, and seeking wisdom with a sense that you are immortal and that you will need much knowledge and wisdom for that long journey ahead. Know that when you are through learning, you are through.” – John Wooden

The reality is you can’t learn anything if you already know everything.

You Can't Learn Anything, If You Already Know Everything

Those know it all types aren’t particularly interested in moving forward and growing, contending that if they don’t know it by now then they never will.

Pinnacle Performers maintain an open-mind and pro-actively seek out new learning opportunities and ideas that can help them further their skill set and performance.

Looking to learn more? Visit Steve’s Recommended Reading

Make a Great Day!

Steve

Jack Welch: The Six Deadly Sins of Leadership

Good Day All,

As my Pinnacle Performance pupils well know, there are many elements that make up an effective “Winning Team” culture as I wrote about here > The Great Eight Practices for Creating a Winning Team Culture

Of these, the most important is effective leadership that leads by example, supports and manages effective team member behaviors, and drives morale and motivation.

For a reverse perspective, below is an excellent article from Jack and Suzy Welch that outlines six areas that work against effective leadership and impede the successful development of a winning team culture.

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

The Six Deadly Sins of Leadership

By Jack and Suzy Welch

Being a leader is perhaps the hardest challenge any of us will ever face. No matter how long we work at it, practicing the right behaviors is a never-ending task. Knowing – and avoiding – the wrong ones is too. Thus, we offer the following six common leadership pitfalls:

1. Not Giving Self-Confidence its Due.

Self-confidence is the lifeblood of success. When people have it, they’re bold. They try new things, offer ideas, exude positive energy, and cooperate with their colleagues instead of surreptitiously attempting to bring them down. When they lack self-confidence, it’s just the opposite. People cower. They plod. And they spread negativity with every word and gesture.

But all too often leaders ignore (or neglect) this very basic fact of the human condition. Why is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they just don’t understand that it is part of their job to instill self-confidence in their people. It may even be said that it’s their first job. You cannot unleash the creative power of individuals who doubt themselves.

Fortunately, some people seem to be born with self-confidence. Others gain it from life and work experience and come to a company fully loaded. Regardless, leaders can never stop pouring self-confidence into their teams. The ways to do so are myriad. Make sure goals are challenging – but achievable. Give effusive positive feedback. Remind your direct reports of what they do right.

We’re not saying that leaders should blindly extol and exalt. People know when they’re being gamed. But good leaders work relentlessly to find ways to instill self-confidence in those around them. They know it’s the gift that never stops giving.

2. Muzzling Voice.

Perhaps the most frustrating way that leaders underperform is by over-talking. That is, they act like know-it-alls. They can tell you how the world works, what corporate is thinking, how it will backfire if you try this or that, and why you can’t possibly change the product one iota. Sometimes such blowhards get their swagger from a few positive experiences, but usually they’re just victims of their own destructive personalities.

Ultimately, the company ends up being a victim too, because know-it-alls aren’t just insufferable, they’re dangerous. They don’t listen, and that deafness makes it very hard for new ideas to get debated, expanded upon, or improved. No single person, no matter how smart, can take a business to its apex. For that, you need every voice to be heard.

3. Acting Phony.

Can you spot a phony? Of course you can – and so can your people. Indeed, if there is one widespread human capability, it is sniffing out someone who is putting on airs, pretending to be who they’re not, or just keeping their real self hidden. Yet too many leaders spend way too much time creating personas that put a wall between them and their employees. What a waste.

Because authenticity is what makes people love you. Visibly grappling with tough problems, sweating the details, laughing, and caring – those are the activities that make people respond and feel engaged with what you’re saying. Sure, some people will tell you that being mysterious grants you power as a leader. In reality, all it generates is fear. And who wants to motivate that way?

Now, obviously, authenticity is unattractive if it’s coupled with immaturity or an overdose of informality. And organizations generally don’t like people who are too emotionally unbounded – i.e. so real that all their feelings are exposed. They tend to tamp that kind of intensity down a bit. And that’s not a bad thing, as work is work and, more than at home, allows us to maintain some privacy.

But don’t let convention wring all the authenticity out of you, especially as you climb the ladder. In time, humanity always wins. Your team and bosses come to know who you are in your soul, what kind of people you attract and what kind of performance you want from everyone. Your realness will make you accessible; you will connect and you will inspire. You will lead.

4. Lacking the Guts to Differentiate.

You only have to be in business a few weeks to know that not all investment opportunities are created equal. But some leaders can’t face that reality, and so they sprinkle their resources like cheese on a pizza, a little bit everywhere.

As a result, promising growth opportunities too often don’t get the outsized infusions of cash and people they need. If they did, someone might get offended during the resource allocation process. Someone – as in the manager of a weak business or the sponsor of a dubious investment proposal.

But leaders who don’t differentiate do the most damage when it comes to people. Unwilling to deliver candid, rigorous performance reviews, they give every employee the same kind of bland, mushy, “nice job” sign-off. Then, when rewards are doled out, they give star performers little more than the laggards. Now, you can call this egalitarian approach kind, or fair – as these lousy leaders usually do – but it’s really just weakness. And when it comes to building a thriving organization where people have the chance to grow and succeed, weakness just doesn’t cut it.


5. Fixation on Results at the Expense of Values.

Everyone knows that leaders deliver. Oratory and inspiration without results equal…well, a whole lot of nothing. But leaders are committing a real dereliction of duties if all they care about are the numbers. They also have to care about how those numbers came to be. Were the right behaviors practiced? Was the company’s culture of integrity honored? Were people taken care of properly? Was the law obeyed, in both letter and spirit?

Values are a funny thing in business. Companies love to talk about them. They love to hang them up on plaques in the lobby and boast about them to potential hires and customers. But they’re meaningless if leaders don’t live and breathe them. Sometimes that can take courage. It can mean letting go of a top performer who’s a brute to his colleagues, or not promoting a star who doesn’t share her best ideas with the team. That’s hard.

And yet if you’re a leader, this is a sin you cannot squint away. When you nail your results, make sure you can also report back to a crowded room: We did this the right way, according to our values.

6. Skipping the Fun Part

What is it about celebrating that makes managers so nervous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem professional, or it makes people worry that they won’t look serious to the powers that be, or that, if things get too happy in the office, people will stop working their tails off.

Whatever the reason, too many leaders don’t celebrate enough. To be clear here, we do not define celebrating as conducting one of those stilted little company-orchestrated events that everyone hates, in which the whole team is marched out to a local restaurant for an evening of forced merriment when they’d rather be home. We’re talking about sending a team to Disney World with their families, or giving each team member tickets to a show or a movie, or handing each member of the team a new iPod.

What a lost opportunity. Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. Imagine a team winning the World Series without champagne spraying everywhere. You can’t! And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high-five.

Work is too much a part of life not to recognize the moments of achievement. Grab as many as you can. Make a big deal out of them.

That’s part of a leader’s job too – the fun part.

This content was originally presented as a lecture at the Jack Welch Management Institute.

Jack Welch is Founder and Distinguished Professor at the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University.

Suzy Welch is a best-selling author, popular television commentator, and noted business journalist. 

Together, Jack and Suzy Welch co-authored the international bestseller Winning. 

 

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