• The Success Code  

    People define success in different ways: some by money, some by job importance and others by work/life balance.  Whichever way we view it, do we have both the aptitude and the ability to succeed – ‘can’ we succeed versus ‘will’ we?  As business people, there are four key areas which must be in place to ensure that ‘can’ becomes ‘will’.

    1.Self-talk

    Opinion has it that over 70% of the thoughts in our head are negative or limiting.  Negative thoughts create fear and hesitation, which prevent us from taking the critical actions necessary for success.  Take the time to reframe your self-talk from negative to positive.  Every time you have a limiting thought, develop a positive one to neutralise it.

    2. Baggage

    We all carry baggage around with us which holds us back, such as wanting to be liked, struggling to ask for decisions or being uncomfortable talking about money.  We need to understand our own baggage and make a commitment to learn new skills which will help us overcome it.

    3. Risk

    We all have a risk quotient that guides our actions.  Somewhere between risk everything or risk nothing is the right choice for all of us.  Stretching comfort zones allows us to take appropriate risks and achieve growth as a result.  We must examine our comfort zones because they create a success trap and we must decide to take bolder actions.

    4. Beliefs

    These are thoughts that have either been programmed by others, originate from past experiences or are based on judgments made through observation.  We should regularly and systematically test our beliefs to ensure they are based in reality, not fiction.  We must challenge outdated beliefs and create higher performing ones to free ourselves from mediocrity.

    Here are some pointers to success:

    • Examine your level of self-awareness. How large is the gap between where you think you are and where you really are in terms of success? Be honest!
    • End each day with a review of lessons learned and create a plan to utilise them the following day.
    • Review your skills toolbox and make sure you have the right tools for success. Where are the gaps?
    • Understand your ‘killer’ weaknesses and make sure they’re not hiding in your blind spots.
    • Every morning, ask yourself, “What would I attempt today if I had no fear of failure?”

    Melissa Arnot- the 31 year old who has climbed Mount Everest three times said “Out here, we face the consequences of our decisions every day.”  In business, this statement is no less true.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • Success is Permission to Fail

    Failure is part of the human condition.

    Despite this, we understand from childhood and as we enter the world of work that it is only when we succeed at something that we are rewarded with praise or personal gain. Yet failure is something to be celebrated and should not be feared or frowned upon. I would even go as far as to say that if you’re not failing then you’re missing out.

    I was reminded of this recently when listening to the story of Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. In 2002, Brunel came second in a BBC public poll to determine the ‘100 Greatest Britons’.

    Amongst Brunel’s greatest accomplishments, (the Great Western Railway to name just one) were numerous and sometimes catastrophic disasters. With each of his designs, he sought audacious solutions to long-standing engineering issues and this is what made him one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution. Brunel had an unrelenting determination to step outside his comfort zone, push boundaries and conquer personal failures.

    Business owners (and sales people) can learn a lot from the likes of Brunel. Typically we live our lives in one of two ways; we are either risk adverse in the way we do business or operate within our roles (often because we worry too much about perceived consequences) or we do take risks but when the risks don’t pay off, we look to apportion blame to others or cite external factors as the cause.

    If we are not failing, we are repeating the same patterns of ‘safe’ behaviour. When you passionately champion something that stretches you, of course, mistakes are bound to happen. Accept these mistakes and take personal responsibility for them, otherwise golden opportunities are wasted.

    If we are ambitious and want to create growth or change, then we must learn to fail and accept our part in the consequences constructively, in a way that doesn’t make us risk adverse.

    Learn to see failure as a tool to improve performance. It is not our successes that help us grow and enrich our lives; it is the lessons we take from our mistakes.

    Give yourself permission to fail and you’ll feel better for it.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • A winning attitude breeds success

    I’m just back from an interesting conference where I listened to one of Team GB’s top performance directors, Nigel Laughton, speaking about his work with elite athletes. He was recently appointed to the post of CEO, Pentathlon GB, where he will oversee the association in the run-up to the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and beyond.

    I took particular interest in his current work with Olympic athletes. The individuals involved in skeleton and modern pentathlon sacrifice everything for their dream. They are unpaid and penniless; there are no impressive football salaries for these stars. They spend day after day punishing themselves in the gym for the dream of an Olympic medal that at best is years away. Their diets are punishingly strict; they miss out on family events, friendships outside of the team, lie-ins and all the normal things that most of us take for granted. Why? Because they have a dream and they will do anything to make that dream a reality.

    We all need to have a reason ‘why’ we get up and run our businesses or make our sales calls. We need a purpose to drive us; for some it’s helping others and bringing good into the world; for others it’s about children and family goals; for some it’s about a passion for their subject and being the best at what they do. Whatever it is for you, you need to find it and focus on it, so that on the dark days when you feel like quitting, you push through to the other side. In business, we will encounter mountains blocking our paths; we need to find an inner strength so we can climb them and enjoy the view from the summit.

    During Laughton’s talk he played a video featuring 26 year old Lizzy Yarnold, British Skeleton athlete and gold winner in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. In the film Yarnold tells us “I’ve got to be the best version of me that I can be.” And she was talking about every single day she performs – be it in training or during competitions.

    We can all learn a lesson from the young athlete. She is striving to perform at her absolute best and outperform the competition. We must take her words and her gutsy attitude and apply them to our businesses, our approach to sales and into our personal performance. It starts with demanding the very best from ourselves; only accepting daily personal bests in everything we do.

    This attitude then filters through our teams, our businesses, our children and our communities. It creates a habit of winning and a momentum that makes special things happen. We can all be Olympians in our own right, if we have a dream and the right attitude to do the behaviours to make that dream come true.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • What do you want for tomorrow?

    Many business owners and CEOs are so immersed in today’s business challenges that they struggle to plan for tomorrow.  Their time is focused on resolving problems, fulfilling orders and keeping clients, often working long hours for little reward.  As a business owner myself, I know that running a company can feel like being on a perpetual hamster-wheel.  You’re running faster and faster but not necessarily moving the business forwards.

    As we approach the end of 2014, business owners and CEOs need to be thinking about tomorrow.  Have you worked out your company’s business goals for 2015?

    Many businesses – even successful ones, struggle to define where they want the company to be in one, three and five years’ time.  Yet it is essential that short and longer term strategic objectives are mapped out in order to drive the business forwards.

    If one of next year’s strategic objectives is to create business growth, you need to define where that growth will come from.  Is the focus centered on growing existing customers or winning new ones?  If it’s about growing existing customers, how will you grow those customers over the coming 12 months?

    Businesses can be overly reliant on one or two key clients, but their products may have application in other target companies – or even industries.  If your plan is about winning new clients, who are your target customers and how will you get in front of them? Do you have the skills and ability to show them a compelling argument for using your company?

    Answering these questions will help to provide a strategic plan for your business.  Seeing the ‘big picture’ helps you to understand and set out what the team needs to be doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It keeps you ‘on-track’ with your goals and provides a sense of achievement as you move forward.

    Finally, consider how you plan to improve your work/life balance in 2015. The most effective business owners and CEOs set both business and personal goals to ensure they achieve balance across the different areas of their life.

    Before the end of December, block out time to set your business and personal goals and spend time with your board ensuring that your strategy for growth is well-defined.  Then put your efforts into the right places so that you don’t spend next year running hard but ending up feeling disappointed.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • Two minds are better than one

    Many business owners, department heads and sales professionals can feel like their days are spent on some form of never-ending hamster wheel. They are in a constant state of ‘action-mode’ because being ‘busy’ feels like it should equate to accomplishment. And of course this is a great place to be, some of the time.

    When I take on new clients, some of their current challenges can result from recent hiring mistakes. On further analysis I sometimes find that they made the same hiring mistakes two years ago as well, and even two years before that! This indicates that there has been little or no review of their hiring process over this period despite the costs and consequences to the business.

    Likewise when I speak to sales people I often find they are wasting time on opportunities that don’t close and doing a lot of ‘free consulting’ with prospects who don’t buy. More digging often reveals that they had this same problem two years ago!

    When a business owner, sales manager or sales professional brandishes their 20 years of industry or sales experience, is it really two decades of learning and development or one year repeated over and over? Most businesses do not have a process in place for continually assessing and improving how they are hiring, prospecting and selling. The market is evolving – but they are not.

    I have just returned from a three day conference in Florida where I spent time with 300 other Sandler Training professionals reflecting and reviewing how I am doing things. My own natural orientation inclines towards being in action-mode. It provides me with a (false) perception that I’m ‘moving forward’. The conference allows me to take stock and re-assess where I am, re-charge and return with new and improved ways to grow my business.

    If you are a business owner, sales manager or sales professional, make sure you have a regular forum for learning. Failing to do so can result in today’s headaches coming back to haunt you again and again.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • Pursuit of a Passion

    I’ve always been into sports and was lucky to attend a school where rugby was a religion and athletics, cross country and judo were other passions. I continued these whilst at Nottingham University and during my studies in France. I then spent 10 years in the corporate world where my focus on my health was reduced to take- away meals and an underused gym membership.

    A lucky break then took my career to Australia where I discovered my greatest passion to date – surfing. Intertwined with my job as a Sales and Marketing Director, I spent two years travelling the East and South Coasts of Oz buy hydrocodone jacksonville fl surfing classic ‘right hand point breaks.’ I felt like I was 15 years old again; waking before dawn to surf before work.

    On returning to the UK, I set up Sandler Training in the South West. I was working a 15 hour day trying to get my new business off to a fast start when I realised I had lost my work/life balance and it was affecting my performance. Many business owners and professionals sacrifice health and often family life too, in pursuit of their business goals. They spend their life trying to gain wealth and then spend their wealth trying to gain back their health. Whilst for some this may be possible, lost time with family can never be regained.

    I have spent the last five years trying to get the balance right, while successfully growing my business. Richard Branson once said “Enjoyment at works starts and ends in the same place as everything else; in good health.” Be clear on your business goals but also on your health and family goals. Then develop the personal effectiveness to achieve them all.

    Go conquer your worlds!

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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  • Business people: time for your mid-year reality check

    We live in a complex world and I typically find myself moving at the speed of light through my day. As a business owner as well as the main ‘salesperson’ I must maintain a clear focus on two key areas: the delicate balance between running the business and hitting my sales targets.  In order to be successful I must put time into finding new clients as well as looking after existing clients and running my growing company.

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    Many business people in this same situation get so involved in running the business and looking after existing clients that the time and focus on winning new clients ends up suffering.  This can have serious consequences.

    At the midpoint of 2012, it’s time to review the successes and failures of the first half of the year so we can perform better in the second half.

    Here are some performance indicators you should measure and the statistics that go with each:

    • Lead generation: how effective were you at generating leads?  Are you generating enough?  What will you do in the second half of the year to generate online pharmacy no prescription uk more of them? Ask for three referrals per week, make a minimum of 25 cold calls per week, write five letters per week, and phone at least one person you met at a networking event.
    • ‘First ins’: how many first face-to-face meetings did you have with leads? You should have between three and six first meetings per week.
    • New business: how much time did you spend prospecting for new business? You should spend between 30-60% of your time on your calendar looking for new sources of business.
    • Expanded business: how much time did you spend expanding the product and service offerings to existing customers? You should spend 20-40% of the available time on your calendar penetrating your existing customers.
    • Behaviours: have you taken the time to define the sales activities that guarantee your success?

    ‘Non-winners’ will be finding new excuses for business to decline. For others, the remainder of the year will be spent finding new ways to improve sales.   ‘Winners’ understand that there is plenty of time left in 2012 to accomplish their goals.

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie

    Andy McCreadie is a critically-acclaimed coach and facilitator who excels at identifying core sales and management challenges and implementing transformative growth strategies. Before setting up Sandler Training in 2007 in the South West, Andy spent six years as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He then worked in direct sales – in London and Sydney, managing business development teams across a wide range of industry sectors.

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