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Know Thyself, Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

Know Thyself, Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

If you want to be an effective leader, you better be emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence has very little to do with your IQ. According to his article in the Harvard Business Review, Daniel Goleman says that a person with the best training in the world, an incisive and analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas won’t make a good leader without emotional intelligence.

Goleman studied successful leaders throughout business to understand the amount of technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence they had as ingredients to excellent performance. He found that the ratio of emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for top positions in business.

So what is emotional intelligence? It starts with self-awareness, which can be difficult for many people. It is the age-old advice to “know thyself”. Goleman says that it is “having a deep understanding of ones emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest – with themselves and others.”

I recently read an article about Boise State football coach, Chris Petersen. Living in Boise and having attended BSU, I follow his success with admiration and awe. I find it astounding that Coach Pete has built upon the success of his predecessors in such a grand manor that the Broncos are consistently one of the country’s top football teams. Whether you like the Broncos or not, you must admit that what Petersen has done is incredibly impressive.  With an entire football budget that equals just the salary of other top coaches, Petersen has created a juggernaut that inspires love and hate from around the country. Pretty impressive for a team that did not even compete at Division I level 15 years ago.

In the article about Coach Petersen, we can learn a lot about his emotional intelligence:

“His football IQ has been much discussed during the Broncos’ ascension over the past few years, but Petersen’s emotional intelligence — his ability to relate to and connect with others — also seems to be off the charts.

This coach is as good at listening as talking. Maybe better.”

Coach Petersen empowers his people and takes the time to teach them. He teaches leadership and life principles, not just football. He has taken players that larger schools have rejected and turned them into an elite machine. Whether or not the football powers that be will ever find it in themselves to give BSU a shot a national championship is not up to Coach Pete, but under his leadership and cultivation of emotional intelligence there are few teams that would want to face his squad of formerly lovable underdogs.

In my next posts I will discuss looking for emotional intelligence in your people.

Are You a Leader?

Are You a Leader?

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

Every entrepreneur knows a story about an apparent superstar who seems to have all the traits of your next team leader, but never seems to pan out. Every entrepreneur also knows a story about a person that seemed average in every way and turns out to be an incredible producer.

Predicting a team member’s success in business or sales is an inexact science at best. It can be difficult to determine who will have it what it takes and who will not. In a Harvard Business Review article by author Daniel Goleman, he says, “…identifying individuals with the “right stuff” to be leaders is more art than science. After all, the personal styles of superb leaders vary: some leaders are subdued and analytical; others shout their manifesto from the mountaintops. And just as important, different situations call for different types of leadership. Most mergers need a sensitive negotiator at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more forceful authority.”

In his article, Goleman tries to determine what traits a leader has to help identify them within your organization, but he emphasizes that, “Effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence.”

In the coming days I will explore more of what Goleman and others have to say about identifying leaders. Although it is hard to put a checklist together, I believe it is possible to start improving how to find the right people who qualify to lead others.

Smart Leaders Give Freedom

Smart Leaders Give Freedom

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

Business is not easy. You can’t get too cocky with your victories because a lump on the head is right around the corner. You can’t get too down with a defeat because a win is coming. However, defeats can become too frequent and cause you to spiral downward if you do not learn to enable the right people and let go of the wrong people.

My current business has been profitable from day one, but our revenue goals are much greater than what we are currently experiencing.  I believe that to achieve the lofty aspirations we currently desire, we must have the right people on our team. Unfortunately that means making some difficult decisions concerning personnel. Finding the right people and releasing the wrong people is something that has been difficult for me, because I have never wanted to hurt my people. However, as I have become a better manager that insists on accountability and performance, I have realized that keeping the wrong person on my team is not helping them or me. It is far better to release them and hope they will learn for their next venture or find an environment that better suits their skills. (Releasing a team member in Direct Sales may be as simple as moving on to another, more motivated person. I do not encourage removing them from your team, but instead, refocusing attention to someone else.)

Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says great companies, “don’t “motivate” people—their people are self-motivated. There’s no evidence of a connection between money and change mastery. And fear doesn’t drive change—but it does perpetuate mediocrity.” Concerning change within an organization, he says, “…dramatic results do not come from dramatic process—not if you want them to last, anyway. A serious revolution, one that feels like a revolution to those going through it, is highly unlikely to bring about a sustainable leap from being good to being great.”

Collins says that leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” Collins compares a company to a bus and filling the seats with people. He says that companies should start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.

You should find the right people who can be motivated by excellence and are excited to make your business better. These people don’t work just for more money, but they work first for the satisfaction of accomplishment and the ability to be creative. Although this may seem obvious, few businesses make the right personnel decisions. Many so called leaders say they want self-motivated people who will work for the betterment of the business, but in reality, many business people have too fragile of egos to have a team member have a contrasting opinion. They are really looking for obedience to their word, not creativity and independence.

When you find the right people and release the wrong people, freedom to work within creative boundaries, and giving your people the freedom to make choices can be a very powerful tool. Freedom of choice is inherent in the spirit of man. Without waxing too political or religious, the agency to choose is our inherited and inalienable right. When your business reaches the point where your leaders are free to make creative choices within a mutually desired direction, greatness erupts. I believe in this and I am becoming more and more vigilant of this within my own company. I am confident it will take us from profitability to greatness.

The world’s greatest leaders have based their leadership on the principle of freedom or agency. Although poor decisions have consequences, such as loss of trust or dismissal from a team, the best leaders do not advocate forcing anybody to follow. They invite others to join them through living what they are preaching.

It is the responsibility of your team members to choose their own path to success.  You cannot force your path to success upon anyone. You will find that by concentrating on rewarding those who produce and releasing those who don’t, your business will achieve levels never possible with the wrong people.

Insist on Personal Growth

Insist on Personal Growth

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

Business leaders with large teams constantly receive calls from team members with problems that have more to do with emotional needs than figuring out how to make larger bonuses and commissions.  The bonuses and commissions that leaders make has very much to do with the state of mind of their team. As a part of developing a smarter team, self-reliance and the ability to solve issues outside of business can become a very important issue in developing a sustainable and profitable business.

Your role as a leader is not and should not constantly be a shoulder to cry on. Although it is necessary to understand your team and occasionally help them work through some of life’s problems, you cannot become your team’s psychoanalyst.  Your job and main responsibility it to help people help themselves. If you cannot develop needy people into strong, self-reliant members of your team, you will never grow a large and sustainable business.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, you may sometimes feel like a church priest or bishop rather than a capitalist. You will see in a short period of time as a business owner, that anybody who has a struggling personal life will be affected in the business. It is a rare person that can be going through a personal hell and still be unaffected in business. Understand that you will be thrust into the personal lives of your team members, but how you handle those situations is vital if you really expect to help them out.

Whether you are a manager in a traditional business, or you are a network marketer that is beginning to see his or her team member grow, understand that you should be proactively encouraging your people to participate in personal growth activities and studies. You cannot be expected to constantly help an individual who is looking for a quick handout or personal counseling system. You simply cannot grow a large and productive team by constantly taking a careful inventory of all personal outside influences to their lives.

By developing a sales team or networking marketing downline, you have chosen to be a part of people’s lives.  However, you are also in business, and it is not an unkind or an unfeeling business leader who requires a team member to buck up and become a little more self-reliant before you can spend too much time in their business development activities that are devoid of momentum.

Personal independence and self-reliance is a sustaining need for your business to grow. If you rob your team members of their ability to figure out their own problems, how will they ever become leaders themselves?  How can they ever have the strength to grow if you are not around? Worst of all, how will you ever have time to spend time with the people who are willing to be more self-reliant?

Don’t be afraid to let your team members make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to let them mess up a presentation.  We live in a fast food society that demands gratification. If we think that we can solve the problems for our team and still develop leaders, we are kidding ourselves. A new team member is going to feel some disappointment, fear, anxiety and failure. Not every call will result in a presentation. Not every presentation will result in a sale. Teach your team that a miserable experience now and then may just be a part of a profitable business. Help them understand that just because they are taking lumps now, that things will get better if they continue to self-improve and get better

There is enormous personal growth that your team members will obtain when they learn to overcome their obstacles. There is great power in becoming self-reliant. Becoming self-reliant will be fundamental to developing a strong team and ultimately a fulfilled life.

Self-Reliance, Captains of our Fate

Self-Reliance, Captains of our Fate

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

If you want your team to overcome excuses and help them grow your business, you need to teach them accountability and self-reliance.

Self-esteem can be a powerful tool for both good and bad.  A member of your team with a poor self-esteem is not likely to ever be a big producer for you or ever fulfill his or her own personal goals.  In order to make it in any commission-based activity, money and self-confidence are forever blended together.  For many people, the inability to earn commissions or bonuses is directly related to their inability to believe in themselves. I don’t believe members of your team will be self-reliant until they learn to look at the mirror without wincing or constantly second-guessing their decisions. Doubt can truly cause a downward spiral and needs to be overcome.

Any true business leader understands that lasting profitability and growth comes from empowering people to become self-reliant. Having a bunch of robots that won’t function without exact instructions becomes exhausting.

To become self-reliant and to truly make money as an entrepreneur requires a person to understand something very basic: We are the masters of our own fate. We choose our path and we choose our destination. Our decisions determine our destiny. If you have a member of your team who never takes responsibility for his or her own success, you will likely need to move past that person and find somebody who will.

Each of us has an internal compass and the tools we need to succeed. Rarely is there a person born with perfect people skills or sales ability.  However, each of us was born with gifts and tools that will propel us to success. The truly successful people are the ones who accept the responsibility that they are the ones who must hone and sharpen their own skills.

When we accept the fact that we are our own agent, and that our success relies upon our own decisions, only then we will have the right stuff to overcome our inabilities. Before you can mentor a person successfully, that person must first understand that he or she must internalize and implement what is being taught, and that you cannot do it for them. Self-reliance can only start to grow when a person truly understands he or she is the captain of their ship, not you.

Success and self-reliance are fundamentally connected. To think otherwise invites short term wins at best. The first step to building a smarter team is to find people who will own their space and take responsibilities for their own personal development and not constantly shift blame to others.

Building a Smarter Team

Building a Smarter Team

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Building a Smarter Team.

A team that understands people and knows how to bond with prospects will always outperform the team that memorizes their presentation.  Building a smart and nimble team can take time, but if you want a business that can withstand hard times and flourish in good times, you must be bullheaded with your determination to train and mentor people to think and listen instead of just memorizing facts.

In the Ultimate Sales Machine, Holmes gives us 6 steps to set you up for great follow-up after getting a client or enlisting a new member to your team. The 6 steps below are inspired by Holmes.

1 – Create rapport.  What professional goals did you note during the first meeting? How can you help prospects achieve those goals? What personal tidbit, common interest, or funny story can you refer to later to remind them of your bond?

2 – Qualify and establish need. Do you understand prospects’ needs and objectives? What are the dreams and aspirations of your prospect? What are their most pressing problems and how can you solve them?

3 – Build Value. What do they consider valuable? What benefits or addons would appeal to them and build the value around your product or service?

4 – Create desire. What are their hot buttons that can increase their desire? What is the pain point that you can use to remind them of why they bought and why they will want to keep buying from you? Remember that people naturally gravitate away from problems toward solutions. Is their current career matching up to their dreams and goals?

5 – Overcome objections. What are their objections and how can you put them to rest? Do they really want to join your team or buy your product but a small obstacle is keeping them from doing so?

6 – Close. What closed them or caused them to join your team? Do you remind them with regular contact or product updates?