HED: Increasing Sales Leads Through Social Media Listening Tools

by Jeffrey Hayzlett

by Jeffrey Hayzlett

There’s an old saying in the sales business that I firmly believe in, “Go where your customers are.” Nowadays, your customers are frequenting one place in particular above anywhere else, and that place is social media. Never before has it been easier for customers to get in touch with a business—and actually get a reply back—but thanks to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, a simple comment to a company can elicit a response in a matter of seconds. Which is great for customers, but for salespeople, who already have a million tasks on their plates on any given day, sometimes it can feel nearly impossible to carve time out of their busy schedules to communicate with customers via social media. If you’re not working for a large corporation with its own internal social media department, oftentimes either you or someone else on your team is stuck with the task of managing social media accounts. But before you complain, hear me out. Social media is a great resource for increasing your sales leads. And the best part is that there are dozens of social media listening tools out there that make it easy to stay on top of your accounts. However, before I get into how social media can increase sales leads, let me first mention a couple social media listening tools that I use daily that I think could be beneficial to you, too. 

1. Google Alerts

At one time, this was one of the only social media listening tool available, and even today, it’s by far one of the easiest to use. Basically, using Google, you set up a keyword search or alert for any topic that interests you, from specific companies to subjects you enjoy following. Every time something is published online relating to your selections, you’ll receive a message in your Gmail inbox with a link. One alert that I highly recommend is your own name. Sure, it may sound a little bit vain and Kardashian-esque, but in all honesty, it’s far from it. Google Alerts is a great way for me to be notified every time one of my articles or blog posts go live, as well as a good resource for when I’m mentioned in other people’s articles.

2. Hootsuite

It feels like every day there’s a new social media platform launching, it can be time consuming to have to post to each one of them separately, let alone keep track of postings. This is especially the case if you’re managing social media for a company. That’s where Hootsuite comes in. Hootsuite works across 35 social networks and lets you schedule postings for different times of the day, monitor feedback from your posts, and receive in-depth analytics across all of your platforms. If you need to be everywhere at once, this is the listening tool for you.

So now that you know a little bit more about social media listening tools, how can they help increase sales leads? There are a few ways:

• They can help you find new leads. Like I mentioned earlier, never before has it been easier for customers and companies to connect, than now. Sure, back in the day a customer could stroll into your store to make a purchase and you could have a face-to-face conversation, but thanks to technology, this kind of sale seems downright archaic. Rather, customers are relying on the Internet to make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, and I’m willing to bet that this mega corporation wooed many a customer away from its competitors by using social media as opposed to traditional advertising methods like newspaper or radio ads.

• They can help fine-tune your pitch. Say you sent out a tweet that had a particularly successful response rate. The reason you know this is because you’ve been tracking your analytics on Hootsuite or a similar tool. Once you have a better understanding of why this tweet garnered so many replies, you can apply a similar strategy to future tweets. For example, in my own experience, I’ve found that tweets structured as questions have proven successful, because they encourage people to reply back with an answer.

• They can help you solve customer’s complaints. Perhaps one of your customers is unsatisfied with your company, or product, and they posted a scathing review on a site like Yelp. Unless you’re scanning Yelp on a daily basis, most likely you may never see this person’s review. But with a social media listening tool like Google Alerts, their complaint will find its way into your inbox and you’ll be quicker to reply to help solve the issue, and hopefully salvage your relationship in the process. As a customer, there’s nothing worse than not having your concerns heard, but by sending a (polite and professional) reply, you’re one step ahead of the game.

• They can help you check out your competitors. While you’re setting up a Google Alert for your company, take a second to make one for your closest competitor, too. This way you can stay on top of any social media campaigns they roll out, and maybe even learn a thing or too that you can apply to your own accounts.

Now, tell me, what are some ways that you’ve used social media listening tools to your advantage as a salesperson?

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television and radio host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network Play.It. Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of C-Suite Network, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Connect with Hayzlett on Twitter, FacebookLinkedInGoogle+ or www.hayzlett.com.

Remember the famous TV show, “All in the Family?”

by Dr. Tony Alessandra

“Edith do you know why I can’t communicate? Because I’m talking in English and you’re listening in dingbat!” Well, maybe Archie Bunker could benefit from learning how to communicate in “dingbat”! Then, he could mentally change places with Edith to understand her expectations instead of just his own.

Every day I face the potential for conflict or success with different types of people. Conflicts are inevitable, but the outcome from how you handle dissension is much more controllable. At the very least, you can manage your end of it. You can choose to treat somebody from his perspective, the way he wants to be treated by modifying your own behavior; or you can choose to meet only your own needs – facing consequences such as dissatisfaction, frustration, confusion and distress. It’s up to you.

Modify your spots

“Modify my behavior? Hey, I don’t want to change! And I hate phonies!”

I’m not talking about changing a leopard into an elephant. I mean acting in a sensible, successful way. When someone wants to move at a faster pace, move at that pace. If others want more facts and details, provide them.

But wait? Isn’t it phony to act in a way that isn’t natural for you? I think acting in a way that is responsive to Japanese behavior patterns in a Japanese environment is more likely to be appreciated and accepted there. The result is greater success! It helps dispel the stereotype that has been associated with some tourists who “act themselves” and expect others to do likewise. Of course, anything that’s new feels strange at first, until you get more comfortable with it through repeated practice.

People learn to become more adaptable through education, experience, and maturity. We simply have to allow the opportunity for appropriate behaviors to surface. As I’ve mentioned, if you’re able to put yourself in the other person’s position, you become more open-minded in dealing with him or her. When you understand the way the other person feels comfortable communicating, you can modify your approach to get on the same wavelength. You haven’t changed your own natural behavior. You’ve merely added to it additional consciously learned, behavioral insights and strengths for dealing with different types of people and situations. The best part is that people will teach you how to communicate with them if you’re willing to learn their signals by “reading” and then appropriately responding to them.

Four styles with a difference

Today’s Information Age features dozens of models of our behavioral differences. But they all have one common thread – the grouping of behavior into four categories.

Most explanations of behavioral styles have focused on internal characteristics leading to external behaviors. My model focuses on patterns of observable, external behaviors that each style shows to the rest of the world. Because we can see and hear these external behaviors, it makes it much easier for us to “read” people. Therefore, my model is simple, practical, easy to remember and use, and extremely accurate. My model divides people into four natural, core behavioral types:

  • Dominant Directors: Firm and forceful, confident and competitive, decisive and determined risk-takers. While their impatience sometimes causes eyes to roll, the Directors leave no doubt who sits at the head of the table.
  • Influencing Socializers: Outgoing, optimistic, enthusiastic people who like to be at the center of things. Socializers have many ideas and love to talk, especially about themselves.
  • Steady Relaters: Genial team players who like stability more than risk and who care greatly about relationships with others. They are likable but sometimes too timid and slow to change.
  • Conscientious Thinkers: Self-controlled and cautious, preferring analysis over emotion. They love clarity and order but may come across as a bit starchy.

So. . . which style are you?

Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedDr. Tony Alessandra earned his PhD in marketing (1976) & has authored 31 books & 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) & Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010). He is also the CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account. Interested in one of these assessment accounts, fill out THIS FORM. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

How Adaptable are YOU?

by Dr. Tony Alessandra

What IS Adaptability?
The concept of adaptability, as developed by Dr. Michael O’Connor, co-author of The Platinum Rule®, is a two-part process.  It combines flexibility with versatility
·        Flexibility is your willingness to adapt. It is your attitude. 
·        Versatility is your ability to adapt. It is your aptitude.
The first half of the high adaptability formula – Flexibility.
Confidence + Tolerance + Empathy + Positiveness + Respect for others =FLEXIBILITY. 
·        Confidence – you believe in yourself, you trust your own judgment and resourcefulness.
·        Tolerance – you are open to accepting opinions and practices that are different from your own. 
·        Empathy – a deep understanding of another’s situation. 
·        Positiveness – a positive attitude leads to positive events in your life.
·        Respect for others – the sincere desire to understand and consider other people’s choices, commitments and needs in relation to your own.
BEWARE!  These are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:
Ø Rigidity -“It’s my way or the highway”
Ø Competition with others – “I’m smarter, prettier, etc., thank you”
Ø Discontent “No, I don’t like it this way.  Why can’t we…”
Ø Unapproachable – “Don’t bother me unless it’s worth my time and you agree with me”
Ø Difficulty with Ambiguity – “Let’s nail this down right now”
The second half of the high adaptability formula – Versatility. 
Resilience + Vision + Attentiveness + Competence + Self-correction =VERSITILITY. 
·        Resilience – knowing how to overcome setbacks, barriers and limited resources.  If you keep on going until you succeed, that is resilience.
·        Vision – having the power to imagine, be creative, and suggest alternatives.
·        attentiveness – knowing when to act and when not to act. It means paying attention to more than your own needs.
·        competence begins with expertise. In addition, it also involves a problem-solving ability that goes beyond your specialty. It means having a can-do attitude and following through on it.
·        self-correction – once you initiate a project, you ask for feedback and place a high priority on problem solving, not on being right. It is being able to say, “I think this approach isn’t working.  I’d better try something different.”
BEWARE!  There are traits that undermine your ability to successful adapt:
Ø Subjectiveness – “This is the way it looks to ME”
Ø Bluntness – “That’s a stupid idea!”
Ø Resistance “This is the way we’ve always done it”
Ø Single-mindedness – “It’s my goal and nothing else matters”
Ø Unreasonable Risk-taking – “I’m going to jump, won’t you come with me?”
Adaptable people meet other peoples’ needs and their own. They know how to negotiate relationships in a way that allows everyone to win.  With adaptability, you are practicing what I call The Platinum Rule® – treating other people the way they want and need to be treated.

Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedDr. Tony Alessandra earned his PhD in marketing (1976) & has authored 31 books & 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) & Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010). He is also the CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips coaches, trainers and consultants with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account. Interested in one of these assessment accounts, fill out THIS FORM. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

A manager’s top 5 ‘must do’s to create an engaged workforce

by Ruth K. Ross


A manager’s top 5 ‘must do’s to create an engaged workforce

Engagement doesn’t happen without ownership and hard work. It can’t just fall on the shoulders of one person, but rather requires equal but different contributions from senior leaders, managers and employees alike.  That’s how you can create the magic of an engaged and committed workforce.  While everyone needs to be responsible for engagement, I’d like to focus today on the critical role that one of these three groups needs to take on to create an engaged workforce, and that’s managers.

But before we dive into the 5 ‘must do’s’, we need to answer an important question, why are managers like an accordion? Think about it this way, in order to make sweet music (aka engagement) come out of that cumbersome instrument, both sides need to be embraced in perfect harmony. The left keyboard on the accordion stands for top management, handing down a mandate to produce more, in a faster timeframe, all the while keeping resources flat or even reduced. The right keyboard stands for employees who require more of management’s time, energy and support. Each side relies on the other for that sweet music to be made.

Therein lies the lasting conundrum. How are managers supposed to keep both of these sides playing in harmony, creating in-tune music together that results in higher engagement, increased productivity, customer satisfaction and increased revenue? Managers can’t play a harmonious tune if even one person on their team is disengaged. It’s like trying to play a song on a piano missing a key. In today’s tough business environment, managers can’t afford to have a team working for them that is not fully engaged. Even worse, if your manager is operating on a low battery, then how can you expect him or her to charge and reengage others?

Managers have my greatest respect as they play an enormously important role in the journey toward reaching full engagement. Here are my tips to create an engaged workforce.

Managers are the catalyst for linking people to work

People want and need to feel emotionally connected to their work and the workplace environment. Their direct manager is the conduit to making that tight connection. If the connection is frayed, the rope linking them together will break.

A good manager makes people feel valued

How hard is it to show people that they are appreciated for the work they do? It doesn’t take much to convey that they are valued through a word or gesture of thanks. A surefire technique to make someone feel less valued is to micromanage him or her.

Instill trust through transparency

Similar to what is expected of senior leadership, line managers should uphold the company’s commitment to transparency by being honest and forthright with their employees. You don’t want to be the one to start the water cooler chatter by creating an environment of secrecy and closed-door conversations.

Give employees the tools and processes they need to be effective in their jobs

How many of us can remember starting a new job and not even having a computer or access to the company’s systems on day one or two or three? I know I can. There is nothing worse than being expected to perform a task for which you have no training or tools to accomplish your goals.

Paint an exciting picture for the future of what could be and should be, regardless of what is.

Like an exciting journey, it all starts with a roadmap that may involve some detours along the way. But, regardless of the obstacles that prevent themselves, managers should always have an ultimate goal in sight and navigate their employees there.

It’s time to have everyone operating at full power!

Ruth K. Ross is an Engagement evangelist, Speaker, Successful HR Executive for top Fortune 500 companies and Author of Coming Alive: The Journey To Reengage Your Life And Career. After 30 years of working with corporate leaders and managers as a senior human resources leader, Ruth knows firsthand that focusing on engaging your people is the most direct way to improve the bottom line of your business. Disengaged employees can cause even seemingly strong companies to stumble. She has a personal passion for identifying and reengaging the disengaged employee. That’s because she once was one herself. Visit her website at http://www.ruthkross.com or on Twitter @ruthkross.

Hire for Hustle

by Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey

How can you make sure you’re hiring people who will help your company grow and thrive? Here’s our advice: Hire people you like who have foundational qualities you can build on, such as integrity, enthusiasm, a willingness to learn, initiative, a sense of humor, and a sincere interest in your company, to name a few.

And keep in mind that you absolutely can tell from the hiring process whether someone is an entrepreneurial thinker who will add to the culture you’re building. A great way to separate the entrepreneurial thinkers from those who aren’t is to place a special emphasis on hiring people with a sense of urgency; people who can and will move quickly; people who don’t always have to be told what their next step should be.

In other words, don’t hire solely based on someone’s technical skill set. You can always teach that. You can’t teach the other stuff— and that other stuff is what will make the difference between an average company and a great company.

At Barefoot, we called that “other stuff” hustle. We had to hustle, and everybody we hired had to as well. Our team was aware that the major advantage we had over the big-name competitors was that we were lighter, faster, and able to adjust quickly to take advantage of sudden changes in the marketplace, not to mention pop-up opportunities. We needed people who could make the most of that.

For instance, when we heard of a distributor who lost a big brand in our price point, we went to them the same day with a proposal to put our product in all the stores that had carried that other brand. Hustle meant money to us, and we built a national award-winning brand in spite of the size of our staff, the size of our competitors, and the size of our budget.

So—how, exactly, can you hire for hustle? Well, part of it is instinct. First impressions mean a lot, so trust your gut when interviewing someone new. Beyond gut calls, though, here are a few good ways to test hustle:

  • Give them homework. During the interview, give job candidates a verbal run-down of the position, your company’s challenges, and your expectations for the position. Then have the candidate send you a one-page summary on a deadline. This will tell you volumes.
  • Take a water break. During interviews, we would sometimes ask candidates to go out and get us some waters. We would watch how they got up, opened the door, left the room, how long they were gone, and how they moved on their return. Were they deliberate, determined, and focused, or were they unstable, slow, and just shuffling along? (Also, did they think they were “too good” to get water?)
  • Grab a file. Ask interviewees to get a report on the other side of the room. This is also a great opportunity to see how they execute a simple physical task, and how long it takes them.
  • Take a walk. After the interview, we would often invite interviewees to take a walk with us around a nearby lake. We would take mental notes on their cadence, posture, and balance. We walked rather quickly, and observed if they could keep up. Their body language shouted volumes. Our experience told us that their approach to the job, with all its challenges and deadlines, would not be much different than how they used their body to perform simple physical tasks.
  • Be creative, and come up with your own hustle tests. Think about what attributes you most want your people to have, and devise a way to gauge whether or not interviewees possess them. Remember, your company will be most successful when each person thinks like an entrepreneur, but works well on a team. You can teach technical skills, but you can’t teach hustle.

For complimentary business resources and info-graphics related to this article, visit: www.barefootbonus.com.

Excerpt from The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

Copyright © 2015 by Footnotes Press, LLC

Michael-Bonnie-ProfessionalMichael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Wine, the largest bottled wine brand in the world, and authors of the New York  Times Bestselling Business book The Barefoot Spirit. From the start, with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative strategies to overcome obstacles, create new markets and foster key alliances. Michael and Bonnie now share their experience and entrepreneurial approach to business as consultants, authors, speakers, and workshop leaders. Michael and Bonnie launched at the C-Suite Network Conference their new companion book to The Barefoot Spirit entitled, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. Learn more at barefootspirit.com, and find them on Facebook and Twitter @barefoot_spirit.

Communicate the Reasons not just the Processes

by Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey

For leaders, whether they are politicians, managers, or business owners, it’s simple: To truly engage your people, educate them beyond what you want them to do and how you want them to do it. Give them appreciation for why you want them to perform in a certain way.

When we were building the Barefoot Wine brand, we found that our people were more engaged when they knew why they were doing a specific job, not just how to do it. We would explain our company’s mission statement, and how each staff member’s performance was essential to achieve the goals of the company.

We would invest hours with our new people explaining the cause and effect that connected their job to the customers’ purchasing decision. We would give them a “money map” showing them how the customers’ money went to buy our product, how it traveled through the retail and distribution companies we dealt with, and eventually ended up in their paycheck. We would detail the reasons why their job directly affected the provision of goods and services necessary for the customer to make a purchase. We would give them the reasons why every team member in our company had to perform excellently to keep our customers coming back. We explained each business associate’s loyalty requirements, from distributers to retailers, from store clerks to consumers, and how our people satisfied all of them.

Some said that kind of training was a waste of time, that new people don’t need that level of detail. They argue that the sooner the new hire starts producing, the better. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it assumes that the processes are already the best they can possibly be, and that there can be no further improvements in customer service or efficiency. It also assumes that expensive mistakes won’t happen due to misconceptions about purpose.

We found, however, that people tend to “make up” reasons when they don’t know the real ones. If they didn’t get it, we would go over it again – and again. When they asked a seemingly simply question about their job, we would listen closely for any misconceptions they held. We wouldn’t just give them the answer so they could thoughtlessly “cut and paste” to quickly get on with their job. We would take the time to sit them down and start from the beginning about the reasons until they connected the dots.

The time we invested in this type of education really paid off. We often heard, “Well, if that’s what we are trying to do, then why don’t we …” and they would streamline our procedures or make them more effective. Sometimes they would even come up with completely new ways of doing things.

Leaders at every level are only as successful as their ability to engage their people. If your people truly understand why they are being asked to perform, you’ll drastically reduce costly misconceptions and you’ll achieve your company’s goals in surprisingly more efficient ways. Your people will be happier and more engaged because they understand why their performance is essential to the company’s success and that their teammates are relying on them.

Productive people start with good leaders.

For complimentary business resources and info-graphics related to this article, visit: www.barefootbonus.com.

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

Copyright © 2015 by Footnotes Press, LLC

Michael-Bonnie-ProfessionalMichael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Wine, the largest bottled wine brand in the world, and authors of the New York  Times Bestselling Business book The Barefoot Spirit. From the start, with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative strategies to overcome obstacles, create new markets and foster key alliances. Michael and Bonnie now share their experience and entrepreneurial approach to business as consultants, authors, speakers, and workshop leaders. Michael and Bonnie launched at the C-Suite Network Conference their new companion book to The Barefoot Spirit entitled, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. Learn more at barefootspirit.com, and find them on Facebook and Twitter @barefoot_spirit.

How to Bring Out the Best of Your Management Style

by Tony Alessandra

If you’re a manager, you should be very aware of your management style and how it can affect others. Being conscious of the extremes of your behavioral type will allow you to work more effectively with your direct reports, and transform from just a boss into a true leader.

But before you do that, you’ll need to identify your management style. I espouse using the DISC behavioral assessment, but other popular assessments will work too.

DISC is an acronym for the four primary behavioral drivers: dominance, influence, conscientiousness, and steadiness. Dominant (High ‘D’ Styles) people are decisive risk-takers who speak boldly and confidently. Those driven by influence (High ‘I’ Styles) are apt to intertwine emotion with work, and they are interested in forming social bonds. Steady (High ‘S’ Styles) people are cooperative and composed, and approach their work consistently and methodically. People with a bent towards conscientiousness (High ‘C’ Styles) prioritize accuracy and precision, and tend to me more guarded and tactful in their expression. Take a DISC online assessment to accurately determine your DISC Style.

If you are not able to take a DISC online assessment, no problem. You can also self-identify your style based on two questions:

  • Are you more open (emotive) or guarded (controlled)?
  • Are you more direct (faster-paced) or indirect (slower-paced)?

Based on your answers to these two questions, your primary style is:

D – Direct and guarded

I – Direct and open

S – Indirect and open

C – Indirect and guarded


Once you have found your DISC Style, you can get begin making your management style more palatable to others who might not share the same DISC Style as you. Here are ways a manager, performing as an effective situational leader, can round off some of the sharper edges of his or her DISC style:


If you are a DOMINANT High ‘D’ Style…          

Ratchet down a notch or two! Keep in mind that others have feelings and that your hard-charging, know-it-all style can make your subordinates feel inadequate and resentful.

Accept that mistakes will occur, and try to temper justice with mercy. You might even joke about errors you make, rather than trying to always project a super-human image.

Dominant Directors can encourage growth in others in at least two ways: by praising employees when they do something well, and by giving direct reports a measure of authority and then staying out of their way so they can use it. Whatever you lose in control, you’re likely to gain in commitment and improved staff competency.

Try not to be quite so bossy. Ask others’ opinions, and maybe — though this is extreme for a Dominant Director — even plan some collaborative actions.


If you are an INFLUENCING High ‘I’ Style…    

Your people depend on you not just for ideas, which you are very adept at generating, but also for coordination, with which you are probably less comfortable. So anything you can do to become more organized — making lists, keeping your calendar current, prioritizing goals — will pay big dividends for both you and your team.

Nothing’s so dispiriting as to see the boss drop the ball on important matters. So, remember: if you fail to follow-up, procrastinate on tough decisions, or make pledges you don’t keep, your employees will lose faith. Even though you don’t do those things purposely, your direct reports will feel as if you’re letting them down. Your charm and warmth can’t compensate for unreliability.

Also, come to grips with the fact that conflicts are going to occur. Try to deal with them up front instead of sweeping them under the rug. In addition, organize your time better and strive to keep your socializing in balance with your tasks.


If you are a STEADY High ‘S’ Style…   

You are probably a well-liked boss. Your goal should be to become a more effective well-liked boss.

Learn to stretch a little, taking on more, or different, duties and trying to accomplish them more quickly. You may want to be more assertive as well as more open about your thoughts and feelings. Experiment with taking small risks.

Being sensitive to your employees’ feelings is one of your greatest strengths. However, you must seek a middle ground between that and being knocked off balance by the first negative comment or action that comes your way. Try to develop a thicker skin for the good of the team.


If you are a CONSCIENTIOUS High ‘C’ Style…

Your high standards are a double-edged sword. Your employees are inspired by your quest for excellence, but they might feel frustrated because they can never quite seem to please you.

One of the best things you can do is lessen and soften your criticism, spoken or unspoken. Bear in mind that you’re inclined to come off as stern in certain situations.

Ease up on your need to control, and attempt to project a more social persona. Walk around and spend more time with the troops, chatting up people at the water cooler or in the lunchroom.

Realize the fact that you can have high standards without requiring perfection in each instance. That’ll take a load off your shoulders — and off your employees’ as well.

Whatever your DISC style, being adaptable can help you to build bridges to your employees and make them feel valued. By learning to best respond to their interests, concerns, strengths, and weaknesses, you can get the most from your people as well as leave them more satisfied.



Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedTony Alessandra is the CEO of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, and a founding partner in the Platinum Rule Group, a company which has successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Tony is also prolific author with 27 books translated into more than 50 foreign language editions. Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

Why Human Resources Matters to the C-Suite

by Karolynn Humberd-St-Pierre


Someone once told me “business would be great if we didn’t have employees.” While sometimes I couldn’t agree more, the truth is most companies would not survive without employees — that’s when many companies depend on some sort of human resources. But HR can do more than just manage employees and, hopefully, keep you out of the sights of attorneys. HR is central to the success of an organization and is critical to having the right strategy and effective operations.

For many, HR is an afterthought. Your sales people see HR as members of the “Deal-Prevention Team” with your legal advisers. Or, they see HR as the enforcers because they are so in tune with the law. Many companies don’t even think there is any ROI on HR, while many organizations consistently under-deliver, and HR is not always well liked or appreciated.
While I am sure most HR teams could show charts stating the cost of a new hire or the days a position took to fill, you should want more than that from your HR management and know that you have the right team in place.

What Should the C-Suite Expect of their Human Resource Management Team?

Look for Expertise and Insights to Build An Efficient, Agile and Growing Organization
While it can vary from person to person what the central role of HR should be, the importance of talent management and succession planning should come to the forefront in all interviews.

Talent Management and Succession Planning
The C-Suite recognizes its growing need for leadership that is skilled, available and ready to act. This is especially true of those who are confronting the challenges posed by multiple generations in the workforce and the exodus of skilled workers from the organization through retirement.

Look for HR to play a leadership role in identifying and developing talent. Look for HR to help the organization identify the behaviors and skills that will drive the organization productivity and success. Ask for customized approaches to the individual leader development to accelerate personal effectiveness and individual coaching.

With the downturn in the economy, many companies put succession planning on the back burner. But now that the recovery is on its way, look for your HR to lead a renewed focus on both talent management and succession planning.

Create the Employment Brand
Finding and keeping talent continues to be an area of strong need. HR is vital to be connecting the company’s culture with its objectives, as well as defining and communicating what makes their organizations great places to work.

Four Generations in the Workplace
HR will need to help predict and manage the impact of the four generations in the workplace, especially in terms of recruiting, building teams, dealing with change and motivating employees.  The C-Suite should acknowledge that the generations don’t talk the same language or use the same tools to get their work done.  It is imperative each organization find someone who can help their organization better understand and manage these differences.

Employee Communications
Look for HR to own Employee Communications and ensure that middle managers, especially, have the tools and information needed to communicate with and lead employees.

Social Media
A solid grasp is needed on how to use social media to communicate with and recruit employees. Even developing a best practices around employee use of social media platforms as an engagement and communication tool can be essential.

Trend Analysis and Forecasting
Being able to translate trends into valuable opportunities for the company is vital so the workforce can be prepared to drive more productivity. HR should always have an unbelievable desire to grow the business and think about what is next.

Change Management
Expect senior HR executives to have a toolbox of change management practices, a consulting mindset and a strong understanding of how compensation and performance management can be used to support change.
HR executives are crucial business partners to the C-Suite and to the business. Look them to be coaches and sounding boards for the executive team while acting as confidants with respect to executive team members.

As much of the C-Suite is looking to their senior HR Executives to continue to consult on key challenges ahead — including managing across generations, continuous change management and communications in the age of social media — they should expect the successful HR executive to couple their technical and people skills with a much deeper understanding of real business issues.

HeadshotKarolynn Humberd St-Pierre is a former employment attorney, Senior Human Resource Professional, author and speaker known for her expertise in helping businesses navigate the complexities of human resource management. Her book, The Small Business Human Resource Bible has become a desktop guide for small business owners nationwide. She is an active speaker with the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Centers on HR legal related topics since 2010. In 2009 Ms. St-Pierre founded Symmetry Consulting, LLC. Symmetry Consulting partners with its clients so they can focus on their bottom line and business growth, while Symmetry manages their HR functions and ensures compliance with labor laws. Find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @KarolynnStPierr.

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