• Have your 2017 resolutions hit the rocks already? It’s not too late!

    I confess, sometimes I’ve been asked “How’s the ‘XYZ’ resolution going?” (fads include Clear Inbox or Bed by 10 etc.) and I’m forced to implement the “I’m OK” smile, declaring everything was going supremely well, easy, fantastic results already.

    Reality was that my resolve had gone down faster than Eeyore’s balloon in a firing range. Work crushed any semblance of control, change was consigned to history.

    Why is changing habits the traditional way so HARD?

    Let’s take a common example: “No more Chocolate”. This desire for change will be driven by some form of motivation e.g. “I want to look thinner”.

    This time we’re going to stick with it, excited about alternatives our motivation is high. We’re driven by pleasure (fitting new Christmas clobber) or pain (dentist, health) however ‘motivation’ gets exhausted over time.

    When motivation runs out, determined folk resort to willpower. But that’s a resource that gets used up too. Uni. of Albany research shows resisting repeated temptations is mentally draining. Like a muscle exhausted from overuse.

    Our brain is a high consumer of glucose. Tests found lower glucose levels in people who had to repeatedly exert self-control, sapping their willpower. Like a car stops with an empty tank.

    A day filled with things we don’t want to do drains our limited reserve of willpower, it’s genuinely hard work, tiring, underlined by survey results (Uni. of Scranton) showing just 8% of people setting habit changing goals achieve them.

    Rewire the brain to get good ideas back on track

    Everyone has a bad habit or two. Is it easy to stop them? For the more embedded habits the answer is ‘NO’! Wouldn’t it be rewarding to have that resilience applied to great habits instead?

    We mustn’t make it hard for ourselves by fighting entrenched habits. Form new habits by comforting our brains that little change is taking place. Try these tips:

    • Little StepsStart with boring goals. Our subconscious hates big change (Fear, Flight, Fight) creating resistance. Make 10 New Business Calls as your early target not 100.
    • Commit – Believe in your goals, don’t set any to please others
    • ‘Triggers’ – Any smoker will tell you how powerful Triggers are! After breakfast, 20 mins on LinkedIn? Visual triggers e.g. Car Keys next to Business Cards?
    • Preparation – Create call lists the day before. Fuel in car? Correct tools for the job?
    • Convenience – Clear clutter, ability to make noise if required.
    • Have Fun – Decrease resistance by increasing pleasure! Consequence or Reward with a partner?
    • Don’t break sequence – Visually keep goals In View. Mark daily achievements with a big cross, number in a box etc.

    Do something often enough, it becomes a habit. Probably how our bad habits started in the first place and look how robust they are!

    Change is hard, taking 66 days on average to develop a new habit

    The good news is, it may not too late to revisit the ‘wobbly’ ones!

  • The Streets Are Littered With Flat-headed Squirrels

    Last week, I found myself trapped in a fast food restaurant. This restaurant boasts that they have served more than six billion. Still, the people in front of me seemed to be having a new experience; they simply could not decide between meal one and meal two. To call them indecisive would be an insult to vacillators all over the planet.

    There is one factor that will shape your business more than any other, and that factor is your ability to make decisions. Whether it is a hiring issue, a pricing issue, a customer service issue or any of the myriad decisions that we all face on a daily basis, your ability to decide and move forward will impact your business more than any other factor for the next 90 days.

    Truth be told, this ability to decide has already shaped the business you currently have. The decisions you have made (or have avoided making) have consequences.

    Next time you are out in your car, take a look and see if you can find any members of the squirrel family who happen to be indecisive. They will be the flat-headed ones squished in the middle of the road. They saw the car coming–they just were not able to figure out whether they wanted to move left or right.

    Blog Editor

    Blog Editor

    Lisette Howlett edits the Sandler UK blog. If you have any questions or would like to submit a blog please contact her. Tel: 020 7484 5556 Email: Lisette.howlett@sandler.com

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  • Are Your Employees Motivated To Help Achieve Your Business Growth?

    In Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, he concludes that intrinsic motivation rather than rewards based motivation is a stronger factor to influence our employees’ production. This resonates with what David Sandler wrote over 20 year ago that the carrot and stick approach only produces short-term results.

    Pink says that there are three key areas of intrinsic motivation;

    • Autonomy – The urge to direct our own lives
    • Mastery – The desire to get better and better at something that matters
    • Purpose – Doing what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

    He goes on to say that “the use of rewards and punishments to control our employees’ production is an antiquated way of managing people.  To maximise their enjoyment and productivity for 21st-century work, we need to upgrade our thinking to include autonomy, mastery and purpose. Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy, for example, deepening learning, delighting customers and doing one’s best”.

    When we link this to business growth, can this insightful research help leaders discuss and agree goals with employees?

    We know that the company’s vision should be built from the top down and supported from the bottom up. The vision should be cascaded down to departmental goals and objectives and then down to individuals goals and motivations. Activities at every level should move the organisation towards that future goal. For that to happen, everyone’s activities must be in sync with the vision. If they are not, people may be working diligently, but not necessarily in alignment with the company’s goals. Their personal performance may be effective, but not in relation to the corporate goal. They may be highly motivated, but about the wrong priorities.

    Engagement surveys provide organisational leaders with valuable insight about employees’ feelings and attitudes by giving employees the chance to anonymously offer their opinions about their workplace environment. So ask yourself a question, if your annual engagement survey results were down this year, are employees goals linked enough to intrinsic desires?  If not, maybe now is the time to re-evaluate performance management in your organisation.

    Paul Sandford

    Paul Sandford

    Paul has over 30 years experience in business. He has a proven, track record with international technology companies, SAP SuccessFactors, Basware and Open Text, achieving significant growth revenue in competitive marketplaces. His last corporate role was at SAP SuccessFactors where he built a new market for them with Cloud HR Solutions into the risk adverse UK Public Sector growing the business from zero to £4M (over the customer lifespan) within two and half years. He now works with Business Owners, CEO’s, Managing Directors, VP’s of Sales and Senior Partners who are committed to growing their businesses and recognise that they need to be more effective in sales, customer care and performance management. Paul Sandford runs Sandler Training in North Hampshire based in Basingstoke

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  • Are Your Prospects Wasting Your Time?

    Hello and welcome to this week’s blog.  I’d like to show you a straightforward way to save time, decrease your workload and increase your closing rates.

    Did you know that, on average, 52% of the prospects you engage with won’t do anything?  The ability to spot good and bad prospects could save you frustration and time.

    Recently we worked with a company designing and selling IT software.  When we looked into their sales cycles, we found they varied greatly from one project to another. The longest sales cycle occurred when dealing with organisations who had over 200 employees and several divisions or external partners.

    Not only were these their longest sales cycles, but they also delivered their lowest close rates.

    So what action did the company take?

    They made a conscious decision that if a prospect had over 200 employees with multiple divisions, they would not pursue it any further.  They knew that this situation was a bad fit for their business. They knew that pursuing these prospects would tie up their salespeople for many days (or even weeks) with little chance of success, causing them to become frustrated and demotivated.

    Once they removed these companies from their sales funnel, they were able to focus on the prospects that had much higher closing rates, and they saw business improve. At the same time, they saw work became less pressurised, with fewer late nights for key staff and improved employee morale, motivation and engagement.

    All this just from disqualifying difficult prospects.  Many businesses waste time chasing bad prospects but it takes guts to disqualify them!  When you do though, you can focus your time and energy on the best prospects for your business.

    Sandler Training is recognised as a leading authority on business development, offering sales and leadership consulting and training across all market sectors including professional services.

    Neil Liddell

    Neil Liddell

    Neil enjoys premium recognition with leading decision-makers, he embraces the lifeblood of the Sandler™ methodology. As Managing Director of Sandler Training Central-England, he brings drive, passion and decades of goal-breaking experience to what he and Sandler™ do best; create world-class sales professionals and help CEOs drive lasting growth through training, counsel and ongoing support. Tel: 0845 0573563 Mobile: 07547 227442

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