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Persuasion – How to Use It in the Negotiation Process

“To become more persuasive, magnify your subject’s needs. Also, know how and when to give or take those needs away.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“I attempted to coddle him as a method of persuasion. It didn’t work! He told me to put my offer where the sun doesn’t shine. I was speechless!”

What forms of persuasion do you use in your negotiation process? Every negotiator attempts to motivate her opponent through persuasion.

When considering how you’ll persuade another negotiator, you must consider her personality type, the situation you’re in, and the negotiation environment. Those variables will have a large impact on your use of persuasion in the negotiation process.

The following are a few thoughts to consider when deciding how you’ll address those variables in your negotiations.

Personality Type:

In the opening scenario, it appears the negotiator used the wrong form of persuasion – and was harshly admonished. Here’s something to consider when attempting to persuade someone based on their personality type.

  • Takeaway – Most people are more motivated by a fear of loss. That means, they’ll protect what they’ve gained rather than risking its loss for greater gains.
  • You can assess someone’s risk adversity by extending an offer of something they want, making it conditional upon their immediate acceptance, and taking it off the table if they decline. Later in the negotiation, make reference to that offer and observe their reaction. If they give an inkling of wanting it, they’re displaying the effect that the takeaway had. Even if they do accept the offer, you will have gained insight into the degree of risk adversity that they’re willing to undergo. You can use that insight throughout the negotiation.

Negotiation Situation:

Every negotiation is shaped by the value sought. That means the degree of effort applied is based on the perceived value and expectations of the outcome. Thus, if there’s a low expectation of value, the need to persuade or dissuade will be in direct correlation to that expectation. Keep that in mind when utilizing the following thought.

  • What losses have the other negotiator incurred in the past and what effect did they have on him – Having this insight allows you to invoke the painful memories of what occurred in the past. Your subconscious suggestion is, you don’t want that to happen again, do you? You can also use that information as a lever to persuade him from not straying into dangerous negotiation waters.
  • Different situations will influence the need to project different behaviors. Understanding the conditional behavior that shapes that mindset will indicate whether to use coddling or disdaining tools of persuasion.

Negotiation Environment:

The negotiation environment plays a huge factor in your ability to persuade someone. You can use surroundings to summon past emotional experiences. To do so consider these questions …

  • Who else is in the environment and what influencing persuasion is their presence casting on the other negotiator?
  • What has been the experience in the past that the other negotiator has had in environments like this?

Subliminally, we’re moved to adopt certain actions based on the environment. Thus, some actions would not be adopted if the surroundings were different. Having control of these variables allows you to project a greater degree of persuasion.

Other Things to Consider:

There are other things to take into account when assessing how you’ll be more persuasive in your negotiation. Such as …

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Culture
  • Position (superior vs. subordinate)

I will address the above variables in a later article.

As you can see, there are many ways to use persuasion in a negotiation. Above are just a few of those ways. There’s one thing that’s irrefutable, if you misuse your efforts of persuasion, you’ll diminish your negotiation efforts. To lessen that probability and to enhance your chances of having a more successful negotiation outcome, consider implementing the thoughts above … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

#Persuasion #Use #Process #Power #Powerful #Emotion #Business #Progress #SmallBusiness #Negotiation #NegotiatingWithABully #Power #Perception #emotionalcontrol #relationships #HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions

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Best Practices Entrepreneurship Industries Management Marketing Personal Development Sales Technology

Using Mobile Apps to Transform Business Processes

As our need for just-in-time information flourishes, our reliance on traditional technological processes has decreased significantly. The shift from personal computers to mobile devices has picked up now more than ever. It is difficult to determine whether stationary computers will vanish into obscurity; however, there is no doubt that mobile devices are here to stay. Our reliance on these ingenious pieces of technology is overwhelming. Tremendous time and energy are saved through the use of a mobile device, as we can access information anywhere with ease.

The expansion of new types of tasks that are carried out using mobile devices has arrived. Smartphones can solve nearly every need of their users, from providing detailed directions anywhere around the globe to enabling access to the cloud at all times. We take these benefits for granted as the opportunities provided by our devices become more and more integrated into our everyday lives.

The information that we seek is not freely floating on our devices. Mobile applications are the key to the success of these devices, as they provide a gateway to our needs as consumers. Whether it’s the weather forecast, the highest-rated local coffee shop, a traffic report, or a stock market update, it’s an app that provides the answer.

At just over one hundred billion, the number of app downloads around the world to date is astonishing. And this number is expected to grow even further in the coming years.

Although mobile applications are commonplace today, most consumers think “personal use” when they think of apps. We all understand that there is an app for our favorite social media site or a card game app we can kill time with while waiting, but in what other ways can apps be leveraged, and who can benefit from them?

The answer is businesses.

I have seen businesses of nearly every size begin to see the potential behind creating an app for customers. Retailers can now move even further online to adjust their business model to the changing times. Transportation services have created apps that convenience users by helping them navigate routes and times, all while providing pricing. Some financial institutions allow their customers to scan and digitally deposit checks from their smartphones. These applications are beneficial; however, they are far from the only practical mobile business apps.

Mobile applications for business processes are now more prominent when it comes to how businesses run from day to day. Applications created specifically for the operational side of an organization have gained traction. The benefits of employing an app for use on a mobile device to transform a business process begin with the very reason we use apps in the first place: convenience.

For example, instead of handwriting notes on data or inventory while out of the office, an application that allows data to be entered on the spot by typing or talking removes an otherwise lengthy process. That saved time can then be better spent visiting clients and prospective customers, providing convenience in an otherwise tedious operation.

Another example of a mobile app for a business’s internal use is one that facilitates mobile sales. For deals that close quickly or unexpectedly, organizations can have contracts signed electronically, no matter where a meeting may have taken them. Presentations and data can be displayed at a moment’s notice if needed, as well. Data on previous deals made with a customer can be easily accessed while heading to meet with him or her.

Mobile apps can streamline processes, including supply chain, purchasing, distribution, or maintenance processes, so that a business can run as productively as possible. With information available on demand via mobile device from one accessible location, organizations tend to increase productivity and identify areas that need further improvement, which can reduce cost inefficiencies while increasing revenue.

Communication and collaboration are improved through mobile apps for business processes, as employees begin to more clearly understand roles and discuss the discrepancies highlighted by the application. Employees instantaneously become more productive, as time is saved through the assistance that mobile applications provide.

Business applications can be purchased and modified by organizations, or designed from scratch to fit the unique needs of a business. By creating a mobile app tailored to its business, an organization gains a competitive edge from having something unique in its industry. There are dozens of businesses that specialize in creating mobile apps to fit the unique needs of their customers.

The ways in which mobile applications can be used is seemingly endless, and right now, mobile apps for business processes represent a growing Hard Trend that every organization should address, as such apps can streamline internal processes. If productivity and effectiveness are your long-term goals, ask yourself how you can use mobility to improve every business process.

Innovation leads to disruption, not being disrupted. Learn more with my bestselling book The Anticipatory Organization. I have a special offer for you.

Pick up your copy today at www.TheAOBook.com

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Best Practices Sales Skills

You Need Both: Sales Process AND Sales Methodology

In the sales performance space, there are those who think sales process and methodology are the same thing, and those who realize they’re different. If you couldn’t tell which side of the debate I’m on, they’re different, and do different jobs.

Some of the confusion is that both are kinds of process, although methodology isn’t always as predictably sequential.

Process:  Selling Activities.

The term selling process refers to the actions a selling organization takes along its selling journey. These steps might include (but might not be limited to):

  • Prospecting
  • Qualifying
  • Needs Analysis
  • Demonstration
  • Proposal
  • Negotiation
  • Close and Implementation.

When these are detailed sufficiently, people throughout the selling organization know what deliverables they need to support the process at what times, what documentation is expected, what resources are typically required, and much more.  Process grows into a “playbook”.

Notice that these are seller-centric activities.  Once your company builds its sales process, this are a great way to track an opportunity pursuit through your funnel or pipeline.

Today’s CRMs are mostly built around processes.  They usually come with a generic process provided, and one of the first thing a company needs to do is define their process in that CRM.  Manager dashboards will also be boilerplate at first.  It’s commonplace to track selling activities like calls made, emails sent, lunches bought, demos scheduled, and more.  Once you have management reports and analytics defined and refined, sales managers can track a lot of activities really efficiently.

There is one thing missing from sales process:  the customer’s buying process.  Tracking only selling activity fulfills the great promise of  CRM when:

  • All customers buy the same way
  • Every customers is equally engaged
  • All customers have the same needs
  • Customers respond equally to the same “value messages” (a term I really disrespect.I’ve blogged on this before, and am likely to do so again in the near future).

Every sales professional knows what doesn’t happen when they keep churning through a sales process while a customer has not progressed through a buying process.  Methodology solves for that.

Methodology: Selling Behaviors (which engage a buying process.)

Sales methodology consists of trainable, coachable, trackable selling behaviors that engage a customer in a buying process.

It’s easy to measure process, like number of telephone dials (especially with CRM/phone system integration). Measuring number of quality conversations is hard.  Don’t do either in isolation.

Ironically, I hear sales leaders tell anyone who will listen that they need to measure quality and not quantity…while looking at sales process analytics.  The reason that they’re achieving the results they may be because they’re measuring activity.

Methodology…behaviors…keeps the sales process aligned with the buying process.  Methodology behaviors might look like (but might not be limited to):

  • Understand the buying process being used
  • Understand all of the buying personas.
  • Planning and executing meeting plans to uncover all needs, all desired outcomes, and the value of all of those outcomes to the various personas.
  • Building a case for change, including adding personas where your value warrants.
  • Cultivating internal support for a proposal.
  • Aligning demonstration, then proposal points to persona outcomes.
  • Building the value case
  • Facilitating any customer change management, and setting implementation up for success.

Because every customer buys differently, methodology tends to be less rigidly sequential.  The customer buy process drives methodology, but should generally track with a well-designed (that is, customer-centric) selling process.  For example, change management appears prominently near the end of a sales process, but methodology should have uncovered individual persona outcomes and developed supporters of the change all through a pursuit.

Process vs. Methodology:

 First, I should point out that by “vs.” above, I don’t mean that there is an either/or choice.  You need both.  The “vs.” is because I want to contrast the two to show why you need both.

Process vs Methodology Table

Process organizes and orchestrates the complex web of selling organization activity around selling and delivering the company’s offer.  Methodology organizes the selling organization’s effort to facilitate a customer buying decision.

Sales process is measured by activities, which can be measured by any current CRM system I’ve ever heard of.  Methodology is about selling behaviors; only a few exceptional CRMs track behaviors, although most can be modified to do so.

Sales process, as simple activities, can generally be learned and mastered via a straightforward “knowledge transfer” class of training.  Methodology involves behavior change, and requires some element of coaching to lock in behavior change.

Process adoption and compliance results in selling efficiency, whereas methodology focuses on building customer-perceived value of your offer.  Great methodology drives customer value, which makes selling more effective. Efficiency and effectiveness can both drive up sales, but in different ways.  Efficiency might mean churning more prospects through a low close-ratio process each month.  Effectiveness could mean increasing the close ratio.  They aren’t mutually exclusive. They are synergistic.

Don’t Confuse the Two.  Don’t Limit Yourself to Either/Or.

I hope that you found this compare and contrast article useful.  Process and Methodology are both worthwhile pursuits. I help clients with both, and they feel different.  Please comment below, or contact me directly if you have any detailed questions.

To your success!

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Best Practices Body Language Culture Health and Wellness Management

Elevate Your Success with Five Simple Steps

People often convince themselves that highly successful individuals who possess a special gift set themselves apart from everyone else. However, the reality is that your ability to have success, however you define it, can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

Personal responsibility for our actions is seldom championed in society these days, and like it or not, we all live with the consequences of the lifestyle choices that we make every day. We can sit in an office staring at a spreadsheet waiting for our situation to improve or make a few changes that will put us on a path to shaping a better future for ourselves and others. The following are five simple steps you can take to elevate your level of success.

1. Challenge Your Habits and Change Your Routine

It is incredibly easy to fall into the comforts offered by habits and routines, those that make our lives feel like a scene from Groundhog Day, in which the alarm wakes us at the same time every day as we hit the snooze button at least once before jumping into the shower. The familiarity of the daily grind, in which grabbing a coffee as you head into the office before performing the same tasks, can be comforting, yet we often wonder why nothing ever changes.

Our education system tends to encourage everyone to learn one correct answer and basically think in the same way. And when it comes to creativity, only a small number of people might be thought of as “creatives,” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology is increasingly replacing laborious and repetitive tasks with automation. Creativity and critical thinking have become essential skills in the 21st century and possess the power to make you stand out from the crowd.

There are countless self-help books that advise you how to create new patterns and habits to help you achieve your goals. However, simply getting off the hamster wheel of life and allowing yourself to mix things up by both thinking and doing things differently is a great place to start, and it will stimulate creative thought.

2. Surround Yourself with People Who Lift You Up

They say that we become like the five people we spend the most time with, and ultimately they have the power to either inspire or drain us, so maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the amount of time that you spend with toxic individuals who only bring you down.

Surround yourself with like-minded souls on a similar journey or, better yet, those who can see the big picture better than you can. They will help you see failure as an opportunity and will certainly increase your odds of achieving your dreams.

Business is 80% people and 20% everything else, and this illustrates the importance of investing your time in getting to know open-minded individuals who enjoy helping turn others’ dreams into reality. What if you surrounded yourself with inspiration?

3. Fuel Your Creativity

If you begin your day reading the news that reminds you of all the negative aspects of our world, followed by looking at social media sites that show snapshots of lives that are edited to look much better than your own, you will never increase your productivity or creativity. I like to start each day thinking of all the things I’m grateful for. It’s hard to have a bad day when you start your day like this. Try it!

Whether they are stuck in a traffic jam or are on a delayed train or airplane, or even doing household chores, highly successful people unleash the power of refueling their creativity during these moments of “dead time” by reading books or listening to podcasts.

Books and podcasts on subjects that stretch your thinking are a fantastic way to stay inspired and learn new tools you can use to resolve problems that are stopping you from reaching your goals. Try having fewer calls with people who pull you down and don’t help you move forward, and instead call people who lift you up, or watch a good TED Talk or listen to podcasts or audiobooks that offer advice and insights from others.

Removing yourself from a routine or familiar surroundings and going for a walk in a direction where you haven’t gone before instead of staring at a screen will help a lot. Highly successful individuals often find that their brains will naturally join the dots when they expose themselves to new ideas, surroundings and experiences.

4. Bring Focus and Clarity to Your Dreams

Bringing focus and clarity to your dreams while working alone in front of a computer in a dimly lit room is good, but is not enough on its own. Do not underestimate the importance of sharing and communicating your vision with others. It will attract the right people to you who will begin to see where you are going and offer ideas to help you get there.

By sharing your passion for a future vision and communicating the message with transparency on how it will be achieved, you will find people who can help you to create a solid path to achieve your goals.

5. Embrace Marginal Gains

When Dave Brailsford became the manager of Great Britain’s professional cycling team, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France. However, he had a simple concept known as “aggregation of marginal gains” that would revolutionize the sport and lead to his team members becoming tournament champions and Olympic gold medal winners.

The philosophy involved improving tiny areas that were traditionally overlooked by 99 percent in the belief that a long list of 1% improvements would be the difference between being champions or losers.

Researching for a pillow that offered the best sleep for cyclists to take to hotels, and teaching riders the best way to wash their hands to avoid infection, were just a few of a long list of improvements that, although they looked tiny, ended up making a massive difference.

Whether you want to lose weight, build a business or achieve any other goal in life, it’s clear that heading straight for the moon with only one step will almost certainly result in failure or demotivation.

Small changes to your daily routine, such as creating a new email signature or changing those boring, stuffy group meetings by asking better questions, could boost your momentum and enthusiasm. All these changes not only deliver long-term improvements but also improve the overall quality of your life.

Will what got you to where you are be enough to take you to the next level? There are entire chapters on how to act in the future in my latest book The Anticipatory Organization. I’ll buy the book, you pay the shipping cost. Click here to order your copy.
Categories
Best Practices Growth Industries Management Skills

Cognitive Excellence Is The New Benchmark of Business Performance

By Daniel Burrus and Neil Smith

(In this blog series on how elevating cognitive performance is a game changer for organizations, I’ve invited Neil Smith, CTO at Think Outcomes, to join me in writing on this important topic due to his expertise and the cognitive performance software his firm has created.)

Today, business performance is measured by transactional throughput and is commonly captured in a set of transactional metrics such as revenue, investor ROI, manufacturing capacity, service level performance, available to promise, etc. Commonly, the operations of a business are defined as the transactional activity. Yet, the definition of a business operation encompasses both its transactional operations and its cognitive operations. To break through current ceilings of business performance, the processes in both the transactional operations and the cognitive operations must execute with excellence.

Transactional Operations of an Organization

Commerce activities represent the transactional operations. Professionals are involved in planning and management of tasks to execute customer, supplier and employee transactions. Task-oriented processes occur before, during and after the customer journey. ERP, SCM and CRM software helps professionals responsible for transaction management execute transactional operating processes.

Examples of Transactional Responsibilities

  • Manage sales transactions
  • Manage marketing campaigns
  • Procure products and services
  • Fulfill orders
  • Capture accounting activity
  • Schedule materials
  • Manage inventory turns
  • Plan for distribution
  • Forecast financial performance
  • Service customers
  • Manage human resources
  • Compensate employees

Executives have invested significantly to evolve the processes on the transactional side of their businesses.

Cognitive Operations of an Organization

The cognitive operations comprise teams that think and communicate perspectives for a living. These teams are internal and external to the organization:

  • Senior executives, senior managers and other professionals
  • Management consultants, board members, lenders and insurance providers in the services ecosystem
  • Investors, analysts, supply chain partners and business partners, who are part of the extended enterprise
  • Regulators and educational institutions, who are standard setters

In a cognitive operations, professionals think critically, collaborate, communicate with their stakeholders, make decisions, advise other professionals and monitor uncertainties. As professionals perform mindful work, they often experience gaps in their knowledge that lead to uncertainties. Uncertainties stall decisions. Cognitive processes represent the work that takes place in their minds.

Cognitive operations exist across industries, such as oil and gas, life sciences, private equity, management consulting, environmental management, asset management, space, insurance, banking, aerospace, defense, healthcare, government and education, etc. Below are some examples where critical thinking, stakeholder communications and performance advisory occur in life sciences for their cognitive work:

Examples of Cognitive Responsibilities in Pharma

Chief Medical Officer

  • Develop corporate strategy
  • Brainstorm with clinical key opinion leaders around clinical challenges
  • Create quality control measures for clinical trials
  • Ensure performance among clinical and regulatory teams
  • Collaborate with health authorities
  • Communicate with regulatory authorities
  • Perform due diligence research on business development opportunities
  • Monitor investment in clinical programs

Chief of Staff

  • Improve processes to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness
  • Identify Hard Trends to strengthen the accuracy of forecasts
  • Prepare CEO for stakeholder meetings
  • Ensure innovative qualitative and quantitative measurements

VP, Drug Process Development

  • Apply anticipatory thinking and new tools to transform processes
  • Demonstrate process reliability
  • Verify process effectiveness
  • Build process control strategy

VP, Drug Manufacturing Process

  • Ensure a stable design environment
  • Assess drug degradation
  • Link material attributes and process parameters to CQAs
  • Demonstrate linkages between process and product reliability
  • Track outcomes for each changing state
  • Establish feedforward and feedback controls
  • Anticipate and monitor failure conditions

VP, Corporate Development

  • Craft risk-managed pricing
  • Evaluate portfolio implications
  • Analyze integrated due diligence

VP, Supply Chain

  • Use new tools to transform supply chain processes
  • Communicate supply chain risks and opportunities
  • Simulate implications of a supplier failure

Professionals in the cognitive operations either accelerate or constrain their cognitive performance based on their mind-set and the technologies they use for their mind’s work.

Professionals in the transactional operations benefit from software architectures for their responsibilities. Yet professionals in the cognitive operations don’t have the same capabilities to perform their jobs. Rather, they have their job descriptions, their experiences and their minds; they utilize multipurpose software in the form of spreadsheets, presentation software and word processing documents. Leaders and managers do not have a software architecture designed to elevate their cognitive responsibilities. Nor do they have a way to think through their uncertainties in a Socratic manner. These issues are critical for a cognitive operation to advance and gain a competitive advantage.

In working across organizations for decades, we’ve seen a theme in which leaders and managers who seldom take enough time to think through uncertainties the first time around is high. Yet there seems to be enough time to revisit the topics a second time as problems arise. Beyond time pressures, confusion persists around how to think through uncertainties. The lack of clarity regarding how to manage uncertainty has led leaders and managers to spend more time managing the crisis and less time managing new opportunities. By learning to identify the Hard Trend certainties that will happen, anticipatory leaders learn to innovate with low risk and have the confidence certainty provides to make bold moves.

What is Cognitive Excellence?

Anticipatory leaders and managers exhibit cognitive excellence through a constant flow of insights and foresights that resolve uncertainties. These professionals become a critical resource to highly effective cognitive operations. They are go-to professionals, whether they exist in an organization, in the services ecosystem or as part of the extended enterprise. Organizations need to instill these anticipatory capabilities in their professionals to achieve greater business performance.

“Past performance is not a predictor of future results.”

This performance caveat is attached to any investment in the stock market, and it applies in business too. Future performance is dependent on anticipatory skills and cognitive excellence. Professionals face change all the time. Some say change is the only constant; in fact, it’s accelerating at an exponential rate, which creates additional uncertainties as well as new certainties! It’s challenging to achieve cognitive excellence in the minds of professionals consistently today without anticipatory skills and software that:

  • Define the cognitive gaps
  • Illustrate aberrations in future performance through measurable evidence
  • Trigger questions of uncertainty in your mind
  • Move you from uncertainty to greater certainty

That’s why cognitive excellence doesn’t just come from experience. It comes from advancing the capabilities of professionals with:

  • Anticipatory leadership skills
  • A responsibility architecture for their cognitive work
  • An agile and anticipatory mental framework to help them address change across situations
  • Software spaces to perform their mind’s work

The ability to nimbly address questions of uncertainty through a repeatable Socratic process greatly enhances leaders’ and managers’ capabilities to perform at a very high level as key contributors to their organizations and their clients’ organizations. This is how professionals can transform the performance of their businesses.

As professional teams elevate their cognitive capabilities toward excellence, their organizations transform into highly performant cognitive factories. Professional teams leverage each other’s thinking through a uniform process to visualize performance patterns for their minds, where they gain insights and foresights. Anticipatory professionals not only pre-experience their own uncertainties, they also help their stakeholders pre-solve their questions of uncertainty, too.

The cognitive era is shaping the coexistence and interdependence between humans and machines. This new era demands leaders to advance the capabilities of their cognitive processes. As machines learn, humans must focus their time and attention in areas where machines are far less effective. Professionals need to redefine and reinvent their business models, markets, products, services and processes to provide the next level of value for their clients. Anticipatory leaders and managers need to focus their time on the layers of both uncertainty and certainty where future state thinking is needed and reassign current state thinking to others. That’s how they’ll continue to differentiate their personal and business brands. Professionals need to accelerate their learning and get comfortable with uncertainty through the use of higher certainty frameworks. It’s imperative for organizations to get on board with elevating their cognitive performance. Waiting will cost organizations the value of cognitive insights and foresights, while your competitors grow their knowledge.

Machine learning is causing a shift in the workforce — an emerging crowd of retrained professionals whose jobs are increasingly occupied by machines. This requires cognitive professionals in their current roles to manage the knowledge gap between themselves and their new human rivals. They accomplish this by advancing their cognitive skill sets, learning to become anticipatory leaders and through the use of technologies built the way they think about uncertainties.

Learn how to elevate your planning, accelerate innovation and transform results with The Anticipatory Learning System and how to maximize the cognitive performance of your team with Cognitive Performance Software.

Categories
Best Practices Growth Management Skills Technology

Turn Cognitive Challenges into Opportunities With Technology Built the Way You Think

By Daniel Burrus and Neil Smith

(In this blog series on how elevating cognitive performance is a game changer for organizations, I’ve invited Neil Smith, CTO at Think Outcomes, to join me in writing on this important topic due to his expertise and the cognitive performance software his firm has created.)

Technology can function as a key enabler for higher cognitive performance. Technology is as important for cognitive roles as it is for transactional ones, since cognitive work in organizations drives transactional tasks. With performance gains realized through transaction management software, the next game changer is to evolve the cognitive infrastructure in the operating model.

While machines learn, disrupt and occupy the defined and known cognitive tasks of humans across industries, technologies to advance cognitive performance in the mind and with teams have remained relatively stagnant to move uncertainties into higher certainty frameworks.

Professionals utilize many technologies in their cognitive work everyday, but were not built to advance their cognitive performance. These every day technologies include:

  • spreadsheets
  • presentation software
  • documents

The Tools Leaders use for Critical Thinking in your Organization Today

All too often, critical thinking runs through spreadsheets. You may be surprised to discover the collage of spreadsheets your enterprise utilizes in its operating model — hundreds and thousands of spreadsheets (depending on the size of your business).

With spreadsheets, it’s challenging to arrive at informed decisions with 85%+ effectiveness. It’s also challenging to manage future uncertainties with 50%+ effectiveness.

How Leaders Communicate with Stakeholders in your Organization Today

Beyond their voices, leaders and managers communicate with stakeholders primarily through multipurpose presentation software. A tremendous amount of time, money and effort is expended to build presentations as snapshots in time for stakeholders. Presentations to equity investors, lenders, internal management, operations teams and supply chain partners, among many others, do not provide a framework for dynamic communications that shape the thinking in the minds of your stakeholders. Their questions are all too often unresolved during meetings, which delay decisions. When additional meetings are scheduled, you resolve the initial questions from stakeholders without a clear understanding of the impact on outcomes.

Presentation software makes it challenging to communicate perspective and address stakeholder concerns in real time with 90% effectiveness.

How Stakeholder Expectations are Conveyed in your Organization Today

Professionals primarily express their expectations verbally. They also write them in reference documents that are accessed infrequently, such as job descriptions, performance reviews, supplier agreements and annual reports, to name a few.

As documents are not actionable frameworks, it’s challenging to achieve expectations in dependent thinking with 85%+ effectiveness.

Imagine if the Stock Market Operated the Way Business Operates Today

The stock graph transforms how you synthesize information in your mind to arrive at informed decisions. Let’s go back to the time when you couldn’t visualize stock graphs for your decisions. Before stock graphs existed, imagine you met with your wealth advisor who expected you to make decisions to invest your monies and said:

I’m glad you are interested in investing in the market. We have over 10,000 companies in our exchange. To help you make an informed decision, I’ll introduce you to the analysts; there are hundreds of them. Each of them will show you their spreadsheets. Then each will walk you through your options via presentations, while attempting to answer all your questions. I thought you’d want to know this will take time because the analysts structure their spreadsheets their own way; there isn’t any consistency between them. Nor is there consistency among their presentations. After you synthesize all this information in your mind, you should be in a position to arrive at an informed decision about how to best invest your monies.

If decision processes for investors worked that way, individuals could not make high-fidelity decisions effectively. They’d be attending a lot of meetings to gain insight. As a result, many stocks wouldn’t have performed as well and many portfolios wouldn’t have grown. Nor would have the market evolved as it has.

Yet this is Exactly How Decision Processes in Business Work Today

As executives continue to invest in their transactional operations over decades, it’s time they prioritize and invest in their cognitive operations. The technology in the transactional operations is far ahead of the technology in the cognitive operations. Yet the cognitive operations drive activity in the transactional operations.

Is ‘Being Human’ Enough Today in the Cognitive Era?

Historic methods to advance critical thinking and stakeholder communications using human mental models, past experiences, personal networks and fundamental analytics are no longer enough in today’s business world. As machines increasingly coexist with humans, anticipatory tools and advanced performance analytics are needed to survive, differentiate and grow businesses and their professionals.

Learn how to elevate your planning, accelerate innovation and transform results with The Anticipatory Leader System and how to maximize the cognitive performance of your team with Cognitive Performance Software.

Categories
Marketing Personal Development Sales

Sales Culture, Elevated.

This article is part three of a three-part series on the future of sales performance.

In parts 1 and 2, I wrote that:

  • CRM alone not enough; in fact, many companies have found it’s the tail that wags the dog.
  • Process, and even more importantly, methodology are real difference-makers. Coaching process and methodology makes performance improvement sustainable.

In this article, we’re going to dig a little deeper into the coaching that drives long term sales success. Sustaining world-class performance is about sales culture; culture that ingrains process into the operating rhythm of the organization. Process and methodology do no good unless they are internalized by a sales organization, and the process of internalizing establishes a strong sales culture. When a methodology becomes the default go-to-customer approach for your organization, it enables the three goals of a sales system:

  1. Drive deal-winning behaviors, not simple activity-based measures.
  2. Re-vector at-risk deals, identifying and mitigating risks with opportunities.
  3. Replicate winning across, raising the performance of all sellers in the team.

Dynamic coaching culture

CSO Insights has conducted extensive research supporting the value of a dynamic coaching culture.  The research shows that companies whose coaching culture captures analytics from successful sales, refines sales data into define winning sales behaviors – then supports sales leaders as they coach those behaviors across the sales force outperform their peers.  Dynamic coaching culture is different than simple coaching:  there is a closed loop between results and how process and methodology is emphasized by the organization.  This loop drives self-sustainment and continuous improvement.

Dynamic coaching cultures experience far superior outcomes than average sales organizations:

  • A higher percentage of these companies meet revenue plan.
  • More reps make quota. The gains come from across the sales force, not just a few high performers
  • Win rates are higher. This means forecasts are more accurate
  • Late loss rates are lower. Fewer of those resource-sucking late losses that ruin sales productivity
  • Staff turnover is lower. Lose fewer of the people you want to keep, rehab more of the marginal performers, converting them to keepers.

A robust self-sustaining coaching culture builds the foundation for two things:

  1. Sales performance. The outcomes above are worthwhile goals in themselves, but…
  2. Self-sustaining culture (manager bench strength, coaching acumen, leadership succession/career path). Building a sales culture to last means building sales careers worth having.

The Past, Present and Future of Dynamic Coaching

Let’s look at where we’ve been, and where we’ve led our industry: coaching on CRM-resident tools.

I’ve worked with Miller Heiman Group (and its predecessor, Miller Heiman) tools for almost 30 years. Success in my business is all about delivering outcomes for clients. The reason Miller Heiman Group is the largest in the B2B space is that we’re the partner sales organizations keep engaged with longer…we have the least leaky bucket…growing our clients is how we grow.

Based upon thousands of client engagements, I can tell you with absolute conviction that the key to long-term success is in not conducting training events, but executing long term change in selling behavior organization-wide.  A successful engagement is almost universally the one with a robust component of sales manager coaching, where front line managers become the primary change agents.

The gold standard of coaching is personally diagnosed and delivered by the front-line sales manager (FSM).  This kind of coaching is high-touch, requiring not only discipline by the FSM, but a corporate capability in developing coaches and prioritizing coaching activity over the many other demands on an FSMs time.

While manager-delivered coaching is preferable, it is not always available at the right time for every deal.  We have also noticed that a large proportion of coaching is on a core set of selling behaviors.  That is, managers tend to diagnose and coach the same behaviors over and over.  With the right methodology and the right CRM system (one that helps track deal-moving behaviors, not meaningless activities), an intelligent coaching platform is possible.

Where you can go:

  • Instead of manager-initiated intervention, how about system-led?
    • Not today’s activity-based prompts. Selling behavior-based prompts…seller actions that moves deals, not activity that occupies selling time
  • A rules engine, based upon 40 years of Miller Heiman Group expertise, which can diagnose those repetitive selling
  • AI/big data capabilities which can take it even further.

Where are You?  Where Do You Want to Go?

When you’re tracking and managing to activities, today’s CRM can work just fine.  On the other hand, when you’re trying to establish a rigorous selling culture with a consistent management cadence, you can more efficiently accomplish the three goals of a world-class sales system::

  1. Drive winning selling actions. This means actions, not activities.
  2. Change deal outcomes more rapidly identify at-risk opportunities and figure out how to re-vector them toward success.
  3. Replicate success. Learn what behaviors predict success in your business, and turn them into a rules engine for your sales tool to automatically recommend.

We Can Take You There

Miller Heiman Group has leveraged over 40 years of sales performance expertise into a powerful set of tools.  They have bundled methodology with a dynamic coaching application, which can be freestanding or integrated with a CRM system. It helps front line sales leaders by lightening the routinized part of their coaching load, allowing them to concentrate their time on higher level opportunity strategy.  Sellers become more effective by building sound selling behavior habits.  Finally, senior sales leaders see improved results, and have insight-producing analytics into how to improve sales even more.

I’m excited about this new capability, and am thrilled to offer it to clients. Contact me to discuss whether we might drive winning actions, change deal outcomes, and replicate success in your organization.

Categories
Best Practices Growth Management Personal Development

The One Big Reason Your Process is the Path to Profit

Everyone loves a process when it produces results. But what about when it doesn’t? What happens then?

I’m a big process guy. I founded my company around them, to the point that the profit-driving selling methodology we teach to our clients is rooted in the process. We believe that when you find and adopt systems that work, you can radically improve your sales using the same baseline methods. You just need to trust the process, follow through and let the results take care of themselves.

In truth, it’s easy to follow processes when they work. They create true workplace cultures by placing value on the same things, generate certainty with your employees, and they drive profit in a way that more spontaneous approaches simply can’t.

The tough part is staying true to the process in the event it doesn’t produce the desired outcome. Those are the true gut-check moments, and if you want to continue growing, it’s key to stick to your guns and trust in the process.

The New England Patriots learned this lesson the hard way in the Super Bowl. Malcolm Butler was the Patriots’ best cornerback for the entire 2017 season, and he played 98 percent of the team’s snaps up to the Super Bowl. Then, suddenly, he was riding the bench. He played just one play in the big game, a meaningless play on special teams. Other than that, he sat and watched from the bench with the rest of us.

The big question: why?

Patriots coach Bill Belichick is also fond of his processes, so much so that it’s become known as the Patriot Way. Whether it was because of a team infraction or just because the matchup favored the backup, Belichick opted to stick to his system and sit Butler. It didn’t work so well. The Philadelphia Eagles racked up 374 passing yards, backup quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdowns and the Eagles scored 41 points. They also won the game.

It’s all too easy to criticize the Patriots’ system when things don’t go right. Surely they would’ve had a better chance if they started Butler, right? If this was the result, shouldn’t the Patriots overhaul their system so this doesn’t happen again?

This same conversation happens over and over in corporate offices and boardrooms every day. An otherwise successful process doesn’t produce the desired result, and suddenly it’s time to throw it out and start over again. The problem with this thought pattern is that it doesn’t leverage past success and takes a nearsighted look at a farsighted concern.

The Patriots’ system is without a doubt the most successful in the history of the NFL. Under Belichick they’ve won the AFC East 15 of 17 seasons and won five Super Bowls since 2001. But it also hasn’t been perfect. They’ve lost three Super Bowls and even missed the playoffs twice. The temptation during those trough periods is to blow it up and start over. Clearly the process has failed, so it’s time to move on. Or so many of the prevailing theories go.

The truth is that what separates the Patriots from everyone else is that they stick to the process even when they don’t reach their desired outcome frame now and again. Setbacks are inevitable in life. No process is perfect, and even the Patriots undergo some necessary tweaks and maintenance every year. But that relentless and repetitive focus on the process over the results is the reason why the Patriots win so much, not the reason why they lose.

So even if the decision to sit Butler didn’t work out on an individual level, the systematic framework that created that decision is the entire reason why the Patriots were there in the first place. The same adherence to the process produced the Tom Brady draft pick and everything that came after. That’s why Belichick had no regrets about his decision after the game. He trusts his process in all circumstances.

Psychologists call it tunnel vision. In a crisis or a setback, it’s easiest to focus entirely on what’s happened in the moment as opposed to seeing the grand plan you’ve already put in place. Think of a child knocking down an entire Lego village they’ve built because they messed up the placement of a window in one of the houses. You’d teach them to fix the window and keep the rest of village standing, wouldn’t you? It’s vital to view your company’s processes the same way.

This is what separates companies that have long term success over flash-in-the-pan companies that have quick success and then fade away. Companies like Apple and Space X developed processes they trust even when the market dives, or when a product doesn’t work as intended. Companies that hit bankruptcy either didn’t develop a successful process, or they didn’t follow the one they already had.

This is every business’s greatest challenge and greatest reward. Develop a process that works and stick to it through tough times. You’ll be amazed at the results on the other side of the setback.

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