22 Jan

Atrendia Friday Video 33: What makes a good life?

by Robert Waldinger

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e850cb00471e6dc1172e2fdd29933bc003d969e8_2880x1620This TED videoheds light on one of the most important topics of our time: What makes a good life?

As a consultant and executive coach, I take my own medicine and ensure that I consistently reserve time for family and friends. But just like anyone else, I struggle when it’s time to close the lid when the juices are flowing, or when I “just need to get this last part done”, but as Robert Waldinger underlines, it’s our relationships that keep us happy, not future wealth or fame, and we have to continuously invest in them or they perish.

For those of us who truly love what we do, this video is a wonderful reminder that the “sacrifices” we make by spending time, on a regular uninterrupted basis, with family and friends instead of catching up on a few emails after dinner most nights or spending a weekend per month catching up on things, have significant value. You might say, the most value

I’m reminded of Stephen Covey’s Rule of the Farm: you can’t feed the chicken’s and irrigate the crops just when you have time or when you feel like it. And it takes great maturity and discipline to consistently observe this rule.

This video reminds us that it’s not the bonus, collegial pats on the back or the mention in the papers that are essential to our happiness, but contentment in our relationships — and that requires quite a bit of consistent investment.

Duration: 12:47

Find out more about our Executive Leadership Coaching Program.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Happy Friday!

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08 Jan

Atrendia Friday Video 32: What it takes to be a great leader

by Roselinde Torres

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roselinde

In this TED video, Roselinde Torres shares with us what it takes to be a great leader in the 21st century, and she does so with conviction.

Can you answer these three questions?

  1. Where are you looking to anticipate change?
  2. What is the diversity measure of your network?
  3. Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?

Duration: 09:19

Find out more about our Executive Leadership Coaching Program.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Happy Friday!

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18 Dec

Atrendia Friday is back! – How to run a company with (almost) no rules

by Ricardo Semler

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 It’s been a long time since our last video and that’s mainly because I have been super busy launching LeanMail Mobile (an iPhone app for LeanMail users), Inbox480 (automatically separates non-essential from essential mails) and developing Feemails (the end of spam).
So a new inspiring video is long overdue.
TED

In this TED video, Ricardo Semler turns the idea of how companies should be managed on its head.  How to run a company with (almost) no rules may sound like a zany idea at first, but isn’t that what we want to do?  — empower our teams and replace zillions of rules with tons of agreements that create strong bonds.

Duration: 21:42  (Note that I normally don’t send videos this long)

Find out more about our Executive Leadership Coaching Program.

Click HERE to watch the video.

Happy Friday!

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14 Dec

If you are a LeanMail user who finds him or herself on the road a lot…

by Michael Hoffman

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If you are a LeanMail user who finds him or herself on the road a lot — perhaps you don’t even start your computer every day, you can still keep up with LeanMail.

 Here’s how:

Of course the best way is to download the LeanMail app for iPhone (now in a Beta version) by contacting us at info@atrendia.com

But if you don’t have an iPhone there are still some things that you can do to leverage the power of LeanMail.

  1. When you finally do get to your computer, faithfully follow the two-step process: Prioritize all your mails before planning them.  Once you get to your Today view, review your list and reschedule the mails that you know you won’t get to.  It’s best to do this in the All view so that you can drag and drop single mails or groups of mails to specific dates.

I want to be very clear that there is no more efficient way of managing your inbox than following the LeanMail method.  If there were we would have incorporated it into our method. (Actually we do this each time someone has a brilliant idea! Send your brilliant ideas to info@atrendia.com.)

Every time you don’t follow the method (skip prioritizing or planning, hunt around your inbox for important mails), you lose precious time.  It’s not easy, but fight the urge to hunt.  In the end, you’ll have a system you trust and that is unbeatable in terms of speed and accuracy.

  1. Remember that prioritizing and planning mails doesn’t take that long – even if it feels like it sometimes, so even if you only have fifteen minutes to work on your email, try to get on your computer to manage your inbox at least once a day*.  It will:
    1. Help you get an overview of what your day/week is looking like
    2. Ensure that the most important mails will get done
    3. Ensure that the most urgent mails will get done
    4. Lower your stress about not being in control
  2. In a worst case scenario, you can just prioritize and act on the High priority mails for the time being.  In this case you would prioritize everything first (remember it only takes a minute to prioritize 20 mails once you get good at doing it), then plan/do only the important ones.

The important mails are the 20% that produce 80% of your results, so the worst case scenario is still much better than what you were doing before.

Send us your feedback.  We want to learn from our troops on the front lines!

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19 Nov

Prospects Aren’t Always Prospects

by Sharon Drew Morgen

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Sharon-Drew MorgenAs sellers, we’ve been taught that someone with a need that our solution fulfills is a prospect. But that’s not true or we’d be closing a lot more business and wasting a lot less time following the wrong prospects. Just because we see a need does not mean they A. want it resolved, B. want it resolved now, C. have the buy-in to bring in an external solution rather than using their own internal fix or beloved vendor, D. are ready to give up the work-
around they have in place that resolves the problem well-enough. So rule number #1: need does not a prospect make.

Unfortunately, the sales model has no capability to go behind-the-scenes to facilitate buy-in from the within the buyer’s culture/system – the other people who don’t see a need or don’t want to share budget, the tech group that wants to do it all themselves, or the President who has her own agenda and hasn’t informed everyone yet. But, and here’s rule #2: until everyone and everything that will touch the new solution buys-in to bringing it on board, there will be no purchase, regardless of a need.

A BUYING DECISION IS A CHANGE MANAGEMENT PROBLEM

Buyers have change management problems, not solution choice problems; a solution purchase (or any sort of change) is merely the last element in a chain of events – assembling the right Buying Decision Team members, getting buy-in, maintaining the status quo to avoid disruption – that must manage any change (and a purchase represents change) to enable the status quo to maintain it’s comfort. Rule #3: the status quo is sacrosanct, regardless of the need or the efficacy of your solution.

Here are two situations in which I failed miserably (and lost quite a bit of money), prior to understanding that buyers (in companies and individuals) must manage internal change before they can buy.

I did a pilot for an iconic multinational. Using Buying Facilitation® the group had a 400% increase in sales over the
control group (we shortened the sales cycle from 7 months to 4 weeks). They chose not to role out my program because the problems caused by increased revenue and cash flow issues, shifts in the manufacturing schedules, etc., would cost many millions to fix. They eschewed the increased profit to maintain the system.

I trained a large insurance group that got a 600% increase in sales over the control group (they went from 110 visits and 18 closed sales to 27 visits and 25 closed sales). After the test month, the trained team handed in their resignations because they said they were ‘field sales’ reps and would rather quit then be ‘inside sales’ reps, regardless of how much money they made. They liked handing out donuts and schmoozing.

From my point of view this is nuts. But from theirs it made sense. The status quo must be maintained at all costs – at all costs – regardless of the benefits of our solutions. Indeed, if they had known how to change without disrupting the status quo, they would have already. Companies prefer excellence, so long as they maintain stability. And when we think they are excellent prospects, their purchase of our solution might butt up against their needs for stability. Unless they can figure out how to address this, they are then not prospects regardless of their need or the efficacy of our solution.

THE SALES MODEL IS SOLUTION-BASED; BUYING IS SYSTEMS-BASED

Philosophically the sales model is accurate: as sellers we clearly see needs that our solutions will resolve. But it’s not a prospect until or unless the Buying Decision Team – everyone who will touch the final solution – is ready, willing, and able to:

          * bring in our solution and knows how to manage any changes in people, rules or job descriptions,
* bring in new technology without downtime,
* ensure the disruption won’t cost more than the problem it’s resolving,

they cannot buy. Indeed: a prospect is someone who WILL buy (and knows how to manage their change), not someone who SHOULD buy.

I developed Buying Facilitation® in 1983 to manage the issues my own sales team faced in my tech startup. As a sales professional, I never understood why ‘prospects’ weren’t buying as often as was logical. When I became an entrepreneur, I realized the problem buyers have when I needed to purchase solutions myself: how could I buy new software when the new programs weren’t working yet? When would be the right time to add new folks since the last new batch wasn’t fully trained yet? How would a new manager work with the current team when the current team had been working so effectively as unit for so long? When potential vendors came in to pitch new solutions to me, I understood the curiosity I had as a seller: the problem was not my need, but about managing my status quo effectively, and the sales model merely focuses on placing solutions and ignored the change management issues I had to deal with as part of my buying decision process.

So I developed my Buying Facilitation® model to add to sales the capability of beginning our prospecting by first facilitating the prospect’s ability and desire to seek excellence. Then, together (even on a prospecting call), we determined and addressed their tolerance for bringing in a new solution. I even taught my techies how to facilitate their users to make sure they got the buy-in for their programmers and project leaders and get the right people and the right data at the right time.We learned to enter each sales call as a facilitator rather than as a detective seeking a need/solution match or ‘qualifying’ a prospect immediately according to some specious standard we originally thought might have meaning.

Help prospective buyers determine how to change, how to get buy-in, how to bring in your solution. Along the way, you both will determine next steps, who needs to be included, and how to get everyone on board – with you! – to move toward the remedy will provide – even on a prospecting call! And then you can sell. Buying Facilitation® first, then sales. You need both. Then you can help buyers decide to be prospects – and they will buy.

_______________

Sharon Drew Morgen is the NYTimes Business Bestselling author of Selling with Integrity and 7 books how buyers buy. She is the developer of Buying Facilitation® a decision facilitation model used with sales to help buyers facilitate pre-sales buying decision issues. She is a sales visionary who coined the terms Helping Buyers Buy, Buy Cycle, Buying Decision Patterns, Buy Path in 1985, and has been working with sales/marketing for 30 years to influence buying decisions. More recently, Morgen is the author of What? Did you really say what I think I heard? in which she has coded how we can hear others without bias or misunderstanding, and why there is a gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She is a trainer, consultant, speaker, and inventor, interested in integrity in all business communication. Her learning tools can be purchased: www.didihearyou.com. She can be reached at sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.com 512 457 0246. www.didihearyou.comwww.sharondrewmorgen.com

 

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13 Oct

Why leaders are blind to the most important productivity opportunity of all

by Michael Hoffman

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Email is the leading cause of preventable productivity loss in organizations today.
Forbes Magazine (2008)

Employees spend 1 to 3 or more hours per day managing email at 40-60% of capacity.  That means they typically lose 30-60 minutes PER DAY.   Not some.  All — even the ones who believe they are extremely productive. That means you too.

It goes completely unnoticed because you probably think this is an exaggeration.  It isn’t.  Go ahead and challenge me.

Employees, many of them top managers, lose, forget or simply don’t have time to get to 5-15% or more of their email – a lot of which is highly important.  Many of these mails haven’t even been looked at.

It goes completely unnoticed because it has become status quo.  It shouldn’t because it is ravaging your business.

These otherwise highly productive employees often answer unimportant little task emails rather than pouring their focus into the most important things – systematically.  The idea of applying a methodology to the way people manage email (25-30% or more of their day I remind you) is not even discussed or considered.  Who’s in charge of email productivity in your company?  No one.  It’s not even on the map.

It goes completely unnoticed because you think email is personal and difficult to systemize.  Rubbish.

There is no other single activity in your business that is as poorly regulated and in so much need of improvement than email management, and yet…

…it goes completely unnoticed.

Why isn’t fixing email management a burning platform in your organization?

blogpicYou guessed it.  The problems go completely unnoticed; and for good reason: no one has experienced what it is like to have an entire team of employees:

  • working their inboxes at twice the current velocity;
  • prioritizing and executing what is important and urgent; and
  • having complete visibility control over what is going on at all times of the day. 
  • never late, never missing ANY emails.

Face it, most people probably can’t imagine that this is possible – THAT’s why there is no burning platform.  You simply can’t know what you don’t know or have experienced.  Wilbur and Orville had this same problem.

Click here to read all the comments from cynics like yourself and see the light.

 

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05 Oct

Inbox480 – My Personal Story – Part I

by Michael Hoffman

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Inbox480blogpost1It all started with a client.

To begin with, his IT manager had told him that 92% of his incoming email was spam and was filtered out before it ever reached his inbox. So my client never saw more than ninety percent of his incoming volume.

What my client found even more astonishing was that among the things that did reach him, he considered at least eighty percent of it “quasi-spam” — newsletters, articles and press releases, vendors trolling for new projects, social media, etc. — things that vied for his attention but were, more often than not, unwanted and unimportant.

Implications: In his unfiltered mail, out of every 100 messages he was being sent, fewer than two were essential.

So even with a spam filter, on a daily basis my client had to wade through and ultimately delete eighty percent of his email.  That’s a lot of decision-making and clicking for no return. — I asked him:

Why don’t you just unsubscribe from these senders instead of deleting them all the time?

Well, he said, every once in a while a vendor or newsletter — or even a LinkedIn group — has something interesting to say. I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

So I said to him: Sounds like you could use a new inbox that only your essential senders could get into.

Exactly, he said.

That got me thinking.  I was pretty sure that others had that same problem, so we commenced work on our latest solution, Inbox480.  The inbox for 80 percent of your mail.

I480

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22 Jul

Can Collaboration Work?

by Guest Blogger Sharon Drew Morgen

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Sharon-Drew MorgenWe enter into collaborations assuming we’ll succeed as teamwork partners. Yet we rarely achieve true partnership:

  • Because we listen uniquely and through biased filters we sometimes mistakenly presume intent or misconstrue what’s been said and agreed upon. Problem: Flawed assumptions, wasted time and relationship capital, and restricted scope.
  • There is often not enough diversity to enable maximum creativity and unrestricted solution options. Problem: Similar ideas and options constrain possibility and maintain the status quo.
  • Agendas and goals are often established with less than the full set of essential participants.Problem: Hidden agendas and inadequate preparation.
  • Not all vital collaboration partners are present. Problem: Incomplete input and limited output.
  • Collaborators often enter with specific (albeit unconscious) goals and limited tolerance for risk. Problem: Restricted possibility and inspiration.

As a result, we end up with little real change, spend time waiting for takeaways that don’t occur, expend considerable relationship capital, or overlook the full range of possibilities.

  1. Biased communication. After spending 3 years researching and writing a book on the gap between what’s said and what’s heard, I now appreciate it’s nearly impossible for collaboration partners to all walk away with the same understanding. Therefore, 1. Tape each session. 2. Get group agreement on what’s been said and action items before moving on to the next topic.
  2. Gender, age, and ethnic diversity are necessary. Consider your goal. Think about who you might invite to offer different perspectives. Invite Troublemakers.
  3. Make sure everyone has access to the agenda well before the meeting. There can be no hidden agendas; too much is lost that ends up being problematic later on.
  4. Everyone must attend meetings. If anyone can’t come to the meeting, cancel it or there will be a voice, an idea, an annoyance missing that would counteract the reasons underlying the collaboration. Anyone who will touch the final solution must be present to move forward or there will be fallout, sabotage, and resistance: there is no way to compensate (as per creativity or consensus) once a meeting is held with folks missing.
  5. No restrictions. Collaborators must enter with no assumptions. Collaboration means you either meld disparate ideas, or cultivate something new among you that’s never existed.

We all bring our natural biases and assumptions to the collaboration table, thereby restricting possibilities. Yet until we confront, challenge, and defy the status quo with new thinking, there can’t be change. And that’s the problem: Our results are in direct proportion to our ability to override our biases and assumptions.

BIAS RESTRICTS COLLABORATION

Since researching and writing my new book (Free download What? Did you really say what I think I heard?) I have realized it’s pretty impossible to accurately comprehend what others mean to convey. Here’s a summary of what I learned:

Not only do our eyes merely take in light that our brains then translate (through our filters uniquely developed since birth) into what we think we see, our ears merely take in sound that our brains then translate (through our filters) into what we think others mean – hence we each experience the world uniquely, through our personal translations. To make it truly pernicious, our brains only offer us the translation itself: we never know how far from the Truth we are, potentially causing misplaced resistance and misinterpretation.

For effective collaborations, we must move beyond our filters to hear others without bias during meetings:

  1. Notice resistance, feelings, annoyances, or immediate negativity the moment it happens and ask yourself: How can I hear what’s just been said in a different way?
  2. Since you don’t actually know if what you think you’ve heard is accurate, tell your collaboration partners what you think you heard and ask them if they heard the same thing.
  3. Make sure there are no strong feelings left unsaid after each discussion topic.
  4. At the start of a session, everyone must agree to goals/outcomes for each topic; as each topic is completed, everyone must agree on action items that will match the original goals. Everyone.
  5. At the end of the session, agree to all action items and take-aways. Do a review of what’s been accomplished according to original goals. Ask if anyone else needs to be included for the next session.

By minimizing biases, by including a full range of thought-partners, and by checking in with the other collaborators as to what’s been said and heard, it’s possible to form effective collaborations. Otherwise, we’re merely doing more of the same.

_____________________

Sharon Drew will not longer be writing original content or sending out original articles. She will regularly change out articles from her library of 1500 published articles on sales, Buying Facilitation®, change, listening, collaboration, and decision making. You can still purchase her learning products on Buying Facilitation® and hearing others without bias. Should you wish to reach Sharon Drew for coaching, training, consulting, or speaking, she can be reached at sharondrew@sharondrewmorgen.com or 512 457 0246.

Visit my websites: www.sharondrewmorgen.com and www.didihearyou.com

 a

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09 Jul

What’s up with your on-line meeting skills?

by Michael Hoffman

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meetingsHow often do your on-line meetings start on time? Not often enough, I’ll bet.

Funny, there’s no traffic to fight, no coffee to get, no coats to hang, and still, very few people are able to manage getting to on on-line meeting prepared and on time.

Let’s be clear: this is not an IT problem; it’s a blind spot problem.

Here’s the basic stuff that most people are aware of, but often ignore:

  1. On-line meetings don’t always just appear on your screen at the right time (though with good tools like Citrix GoToMeeting great improvements have been made)
  2. You will occasionally need make an audio/video adjustment
  3. They require more preparation than we currently muster
  4. Since there is not travel involved, there is an added expectation of punctuality placed on on-line meetings

Now here is the stuff that you may or may not be aware of – but need to fix immediately because otherwise people will lose confidence in you and your level of excellence:

  1. No one wants to hear about your IT problems. If you want to blame IT or your laptop for being late, don’t waste time in a meeting doing it. We don’t care why you’re late.
  2. The darn video conferencing software needed an update? Yes, that occasionally happens, so why is that a big mystery to you each time? It just means that you need to be ready a few minutes before the meeting begins. You can get situated and once you’re in the meeting you can review notes, check email, do whatever you like.
  3. Your computer blew up? You lost power? These are novice excuses. You should always have at least one back-up device. That’s why we have PC’s, phones and tablets. If you have regular on-line meetings, it is simply irresponsible of you not to have at least one back-up device handy. (I usually have at least two – and have had occasions when I’ve needed three.)
  4. Don’t know how to navigate Dropbox or other social tools? Fix the problem by learning how to use the most common social tools: Dropbox, Trello, Skype, Whatsapp, etc.; whatever it takes to get your on-line skills to a professional level. These are not esoteric tools anymore, they are becoming industry standard.
  5. Do you feel like learning all this technology is actually getting in the way of your work? Re-think that mindset because the world is not slowing down for you.

If my advice rubs you the wrong way, talk to some of your more IT savvy colleagues. They will be glad to have the opportunity to reinforce what I’m saying – since you asked…finally.

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