All Posts by Mike Allison

Achieve Goals by Soaring, not Flapping!

To achieve goals there's a lot we can learn from eagles. They soar at great heights - as much as 10,000 feet. Pretty incredible isn't it! And if conditions are right, they can soar for hours without needing to flap their wings. 

Soaring is much more energy efficient than flapping and is the eagle's preferred method of staying aloft when it's hunting for prey. 

My goal is to help you achieve goals faster and easier than you ever thought possible, and to that end I've designed the SOAR framework and programme to help you. 

Achieve Goals by SOARing, not Flapping

Here's a snap shot of what it takes to start soaring.

S = Sight Your Objective

The eagle's eyesight is legendary. Eagle's can see with great detail far into the distance and sight their prey.

You and I? We should do the same thing. I personally recommend writing down, not just your weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly goals, but having 3 clear goals for each of your working days.

And be careful! Don't confuse tasks with goals, because they're not the same thing in the SOAR Programme.

The 3 goals you target for each day should be related to building, growing and advancing your business and sales. So give thought to them before simply scribbling something down on paper.

Be really clear about your 3 daily goals and how they're going to move you towards achieving your weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals.

When you clearly sight your objectives on a daily basis, you're going to start to achieve goals faster than you ever thought possible.

O = Orientate towards your objective

You've sighted your daily, weekly and longer-term objective. Now you've got to orientate yourself to achieving it. In the context of the SOAR Programme this means turning in the direction of and towards the activities, people, and systems/processes that are going to help you do that.

Asking yourself the following questions will help:

1) What are the essential activities to help me accomplish my daily, weekly, monthly, etc. goals? NOTE: To achieve goals, any activities that are not orientating you towards your objective are non-essential and, within reason, should be eliminated from your work day.

2) Who else do I need the assistance and support of to achieve my objective? Write down the names of these essential individuals, contact them, and get them engaged right away.

3) Which systems/processes are essential to accomplishing your objective? Make sure they're in place. As a member of the More Clients More Fun Programme, a number of systems and processes have been recommended to me to help automate my marketing efforts and orientate me towards my objective.

I use these systems and processes because they work. However, I need to be careful that I'm not distracted and wasting time trying all the other non-essential systems and processes to my business right now.

I stay focused! And focusing on the essentials is what will help you achieve goals and soar.

A = Attack your objective

Is your objective of value to you? Then attack it with everything you've got. All your energy, skills, talents, work time should be mustered.

The other day, one of my followers on Facebook wrote:

"I think I might be ready to actually commit myself to forward movement with my writing. At least that is the plan for 2017."

What's wrong with that comment? Do you think this person will succeed? I'd love to see this individual have success, but does that sound like "attacking your objective" to you?

You're either committed to achieving your objective or you're not committed. There's no half-way point, at least not in the SOAR Programme. If your objective is valuable to you, then attack it!

This means complete focus on it during work hours. Nothing else gets in the way, such as unproductive meetings, writing reports for people who'll never read them, reading and responding to emails that have nothing to do with moving you towards your goal, etc.

In short, to achieve goals you must FOCUS!​

Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus! Focus!

R = Review, Rinse, Repeat

Review your day. Did you achieve your 3 goals? Review your week. Did you achieve your goals? Review your month. Did you achieve your goals?

Rinsing gets the excess, unnecessary stuff out. Did you find that one or two of the activities you thought were essential weren't essential? Then rinse them out, e.g., eliminate them.

And do this on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly basis. The Japanese refer to this as Kaizen, "change for the better," and it's one of the reasons that Toyota surpassed GM as the world's #1 automaker way back in 2008. And Toyota still holds the #1 spot, at least as of the 3rd quarter of 2016. (Volkswagen is close on Toyota's heels for #1).

Once you've rinsed, the rest is simple. Repeat what works. Review it again. Rinse again and carry on.

And that's how you'll get off the ground and start soaring. That's how you'll achieve goals faster and easier than ever before. 

Let's review, shall we?

To SOAR, you need to,

  • Sight your objective with daily, weekly, monthly etc., goals.
  • Orientate towards your objective by means of the essential activities, people, systems and processes that will move you in the right direction towards your goals.
  • Once the essentials are identified and in place you Attack your objective. There's no half-hearted effort here. Put everything into attacking your goal during your work day.
  • Review, Rinse, Repeat the activities, people, systems and processes. Rinse out the non-essentials, focus on the essentials and repeat.

To your success!

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Employees Come First, Not Customers!

Employees come first at some of the most successful companies and organisations on the planet, and if you want to have happy, smiling customers, then "employees come first" may need to be your new mantra!

"Take care of your people and your people will take care of your customers and the cash register will take care of itself" Bill Marriott (source)

Does this seem to go against everything you've ever heard about succeeding in business?

Isn't the customer always right? Isn't the customer always first?

Not according to some of the most successful business people in the world.

Richard Branson readily admits that at Virgin, employees come first.

"It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they're going to be happy" Sir Richard Branson (source)

And at Southwest Airlines, employees come first, customers second, and shareholders third in order of importance.

"We believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy" Southwest Airlines (source)

And Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, also puts his employees first and this results in outstanding customer service.

"Contrary to the popular mantra "the customer is always right," Meyer says the best way to ensure a great customer experience is to put your employees first. After all, he adds, there's no other way employees could outperform in front of customers if they don't feel good about themselves. And if that doesn't happen, how can your business outperform before your investors? "That's how I came up with this counterintuitive prioritisation," Meyer says. (Danny Meyer to 'Treps: Put Your Employees First, Customers Will Follow)

All of this makes perfect sense, especially if you consider the extremely high percentages of employees who are unengaged at work. Unengaged people are unhappy people and that's going to have a direct effect on how they interact with your customers.

And disengaged employees can be even more disruptive to your company and its customers because the disengaged may be out to purposely sabotage your business and its reputation.

How well do you take care of your employees? That's a great question to consider if you want to have happy, satisfied customers.

For some ideas on how taking care of your people results in outstanding examples of customer service, read: Building Great Workplaces - A Case Study. It was an eye opener for me when I was working on it and it clearly demonstrates the value of the "employees come first" attitude.

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Supercharge Your Sales Team

To supercharge your sales team, the first thing you must continually remind yourself about is the following quote: 

"Most of what exists in the universe - our actions, and all other forces, resources, and ideas - has little value and yields little result; on the other hand, a few things work fantastically well and have tremendous impact." - Richard Koch

If you were asked to choose just one activity from the four listed below to engage in for the next 72 hours and that would yield the best possible sales results, what activity would you choose?

1) Spending an equal amount of time coaching your managers and your reps.

2) Coaching your low performing reps.

3) Coaching your high performing reps.

4) Coaching your core performing reps.

Each and every day sales executives are faced with the challenge of choosing how to use their time on the job. 

And it is a challenge, because there are so many people who want to make that choice for you.

Yep, you read that right.

There are so many people who want to make that choice - of how you use your time - for you.

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And if you let them, those people will fill your day up with activities that are of no value for helping you to supercharge your sales team and achieving outstanding sales results 

By not carefully evaluating the options you have each day, week, month, year, and then making a disciplined choice to only engage in the high value, vital few activities that will drive high performance and outstanding sales results, you're relinquishing your freedom of choice and handing it over to other people within your organisation.

Identifying the Vital Few

What are the vital few activities that are going to propel your team from where they currently are to outstanding performance and sales results?

Of course, you know there's a time and place for strategising, brainstorming, team building activities, etc.

Yet, those activities DO NOT result in high performing sales teams, nor do they result in outstanding sales results.

So then, what one activity, more than any other, leads to high performance and outstanding sales results?

It's obvious from the 4 choices I gave you above that coaching is a vital activity for you as a sales executive to be engaged in. So, if your answer to my question "what one activity, more than any other, leads to high performance and outstanding sales results?" was coaching, you're 100 percent correct.

Supercharge Your Sales Team by Coaching the Right People

Research by the Sales Executive Council, although showing that "no other productivity investment comes close to coaching in improving rep's performance," also shows that "management targets the wrong reps all the time."

When left on their own, sales managers tend to focus their coaching on the extremes - the low performers and the high performers. Companies recognise this as a problem, but often their solution is to put systems in place to make sure that all sales people receive equal amounts of coaching.

Unfortunately, this effort is also misguided, because research clearly shows that coaching your best performers does little to increase their performance while coaching your low performers also doesn't yield the positive results that many managers believe it will.

Instead, the SEC's extensive research has discovered that coaching your core performers, who generally make up approximately 60 percent of your sales force, yields the greatest ROI on your time than either coaching your low performers or your very best performers.

For core performers, "the best-quality coaching can improve performance up to 19%. In fact, even moderate improvement in coaching quality β€” simply from below to above average β€” can mean a six to eight percent increase in performance across 50% of your sales force. Often as not, that makes the difference between hitting or missing goals." (source)

It's clear that the quality of coaching is important, but it's also clear that focusing coaching efforts on the right group of people, that is your core performers, is vital if you want to supercharge your sales teams and its results.

Conclusion

To supercharge your sales team and you sales results, one of the vital few activities sales executives should be focusing on is coaching their core performers. In fact, coaching the right people is so important and reaps such great results, that many of the very best sales managers and executives schedule up to 60 percent of their time on the job to engage in coaching.

How are you doing in this regard and what is your company's culture like as it relates to coaching? Would you describe your company as having a coaching culture, or not? I'd love to hear from you.

Sales directors come to me when they are sick and tired of feeling overwhelmed and like they don't have enough quality time to spend with their sales managers and teams. My clients value my ability to help them identify and eliminate non-essential activities they are spending way too much time on, and focus in on the high-value activities that re-ignite their passion, engage and inspire their teams, and help retain their top talent.

If you'd like to learn more about how I can help you, please contact me via email: mike@mikeallisoncoaching.com.

Increase Productivity by Using This Secret

It was important for Robert to increase productivity. As a regional sales director for a major pharmaceutical firm in the U.S. he has a lot on his plate.

Working with him, I realised that he, like many other individuals in a similar role, was spending a lot of time attending meetings, either in-person or online. It was common for him to spend 6 to 8 hours per week in meetings. 

What an immense waste of time!

Yep, you read that right. I just typed above "What an immense waste of time."​

"If you want to increase productivity, decrease the number of meetings you attend each week."

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Personally, I'm a big believer in less meetings and more focus on essentials.

What do you think Robert and his colleagues could have been doing to make better use of their time instead of spending so much of it in meetings?

Why Meetings Kill Productivity

Meetings kill productivity for two simple reasons.

1. Meetings take time away from other essential activities you should be focusing on to build a high performance team.

2. Most meetings are fundamentally unproductive.

In this post I'm only going to address the issue of why most meetings are fundamentally unproductive, as well ask you to try an experiment with your sales management team.

The reason for this is that large numbers of individuals have no clue about the fundamentals of scheduling and conducting productive meetings.

In Robert's case, there were some very obvious clues indicating that he was attending unproductive meetings.

First, at most of the meetings he would simply sit, listen, take a few notes, and leave once the meeting concluded.

Second, many of the meetings went 10 to 20 minutes overtime.

Third, in about 50 to 60 percent of the meetings there were no decisions made and no agreement about what actions needed to be taken.

Fourth, the scheduling of meetings was counter-productive to efficient scheduling of the work day, e.g., he'd have a meeting to attend first thing in the morning and then another one to attend immediately after lunch.

This meant that if Robert wanted to spend a day out in the field with one of his managers or sales reps, he'd only have a narrow window of time to get out before needing to return to the office, or finding a remote location to get online for the meeting.

Finally, at many meetings the discussion would get completely off topic.

These are five very common clues indicating unproductive meetings. Let's look at how to solve these issues and what Robert did to increase productivity and make valuable use of his precious time.

increase productivity

Meetings can completely kill productivity!

Increase Productivity Right Now

First and foremost, the most productive meetings are the ones not held.

That's right! I said that! The most productive meetings are the ones that are never held.

"The most productive meetings are the ones not held."

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And I believe that many of you reading this would agree with me. Why do I believe this? Because time and time again I hear people complain about all of the meetings they're required to attend. 

​Now if all of those meetings were necessary, were truly productive, and were creating high performance teams and contributing to an increase in sales, I doubt we'd hear any complaints, right?

But the fact is that in most cases - not all, but most - when you're in a meeting you're not working on your business.

There are exceptions, to be sure, but I believe that to increase productivity there needs to be a fundamental change in the attitude people have about scheduling and holding meetings.

So here's a secret that I'd like you to start trying to increase productivity for both you and your sales team.

1) Choose one week, very soon, when you're sales management team will not hold any meetings. Not one. None.

If there's something really urgent that could affect a business outcome, handle the matter using either email or telephone AND only involve individuals whom really need to be involved.

Everyone else can be notified by email after the matter is handled, BUT only if they need to be notified. If not, then don't waste your time or their time emailing them about something that doesn't affect them.

During this week, sales directors and managers should be focused on working on their business, particularly using the extra time they're going to have to work with their sales reps.

Do this for just one week and see what happens to your business. ​

After this test week, get everybody together, either physically or on a teleconference, and ask them what it felt like to go five days without one meeting as a sales management team.​

What did they accomplish during the meeting-free week?

​How much more time did they have to spend with their team members?

Did the business suffer because there were no meetings?

Were any customers lost because the sales management team didn't hold any meetings?

How many of them were chomping at the bit to get back into the regular routine of a meeting-filled work week?​

​What did everyone learn from testing out the meeting-free week?

Were team members able to increase productivity without the meetings?​

I'm really interested in knowing your team's answers to the above questions, so get going. Plan your meeting-free week right now and once it's done get back to me with your answers. ​

Because I'm pretty sure I know what they're going to be.​

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Sales directors come to me when they are sick and tired of feeling overwhelmed and like they don't have enough quality time to spend with their sales managers and teams. My clients value my ability to help them identify and eliminate non-essential activities they are spending way too much time on, and focus in on the high-value activities that re-ignite their passion, engage and inspire their teams, and help retain their top talent.

If you'd like to see if I can help you, feel free to contact me at: mike@mikeallisoncoaching.com or give me a call: +49 152 3851 9674

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