Are You Suffering From Death By Meeting?


unproductivemeeting


Businesses usually drive toward cost-effective processes and spend money on value-added services. Therefore, I find it perplexing that during my long tenure in Corporate America, businesses have neither mastered nor intentionally attempted to improve meeting efficacy. Employees complain that meetings have consumed their work day. By current statistics, middle managers spend 35% of their time in meetings and senior management upwards of 50%.

With all the experience employees have in meeting participation, one would expect them to be masters in planning and leading meetings. Instead, statistics reveal employees agree that the majority of meetings are unproductive or just plain wasteful. In laymen terms, employees are suffering from Death by Meeting. Ask yourself whether you commonly experience any of these symptoms?

  • You’re more interested in reading your incoming iPhone messages than what’s being discussed in the meeting
  • You plan the rest of your day in your mind or worry how you’re going to get the work piling up on your desk done while sitting in meetings
  • Your thoughts speak, “This meeting is a waste of my time.”
  • You question why you were invited
  • You get annoyed that a few tend to monopolize the conversation or too much time is spent catching up a few late attendees
  • You bring your laptop so you can get other work or personal to-dos done
  • You come late to meetings and find excuses to leave early
  • You avoid meetings by asking for a summary afterwards
  • You know shortly into the meeting it will run over or end on time without any decision
  • You routinely attend meetings with no clearly defined purpose or definite resolution so a second meeting will be scheduled to continue the discussion
  • You believe an email could have handled the situation

Meetings can be a powerful internal business tool and require strategy, planning, and execution. Great meeting skills can be learned. Ask me how I can help you or your organization leverage the power of effective meetings and treat those Death by Meeting symptoms.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She works with individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops to empower people. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

What to Keep in Mind During Your Next Negotiation


WinWin


Whether you realize it or not, people are always negotiating, because most of what they want or need in life is controlled or owned by someone else. Negotiation is underway when a parent bribes a toddler with candy for good behavior or a boss offers comp time for putting in extra hours on a critical project. Much of our daily conversation involves the underlying theme of negotiation as seen when you pitch a project or make a recommendation you want the team to endorse. Below are a few concepts that may help you achieve a win-win outcome in your next negotiation.

Understand the Other Person’s Negotiation Style

Understanding the other person’s inherent negotiation style can be helpful in how you approach the conversation. On one hand, you may encounter someone who is very straight-forward and puts their near final offer on the table right away. What about the person whose first offer is usually half-way between what they are willing to settle for? At another extreme, I had a boss who wouldn’t start to negotiate until you asked a third time for something you wanted.

With perseverance and the belief that I had to have “such-and-such” for my business, I figured out over time that I didn’t get to start negotiating until I had hit the second “no”. Further into the relationship, I asked him why he took this approach with me and my peers who asked for money to support their businesses. He answered, “I’m not sure they couldn’t find another way until they’re asking me.” I can’t say I agree with his approach, but I certainly learned to work with it. Many of my colleagues never figured out our boss’s style or got the level of support they wanted.

Figure Out What the Other Person Wants

Understanding people’s negotiating styles leads into the second key negotiation concept which is to figure out what the other person wants. In the case of my former boss, he further expanded on why he adopted his negotiation style. He believed business leaders inherently made business decisions that made their lives easier without considering whether it was most cost-effective or had the ROI that merited the investment [note: this worldview that is difficult to change]. If you asked him a third time, you crossed over a hurdle in his mind that you were at least serious and passionate about your request. That marker meant you then got a seat at the negotiation table.

My boss would get daily requests to approve small to large expenditures for operations, sales, and marketing to sustain or grow the businesses. He told me if he signed all the Authorization of Expenditures (AFE) that crossed his desk, the company would be broke. Although he didn’t say it in so many words, I figured out that in order for him to sign an AFE, he needed to believe (1) there really was a problem that needed to be addressed, (2) all possible options where explored, and (3) the recommendation was the most cost-effective solution with an adequate return on investment.

With that in mind, all my requests came with a detailed PowerPoint presentation that covered all those hot topics. I got him to say “yes” to every slide message, so that when I got to the last slide which asked for money, he couldn’t help but say “yes.” And he did say “yes” every time, but…

Leave the Other Person in a Happy Place

…this brings me to the third important negotiating concept—try to leave the person you’re negotiating with in a happy place. Although I got what I set out to achieve, I noticed a bit of disappointment in my boss’s face. Knowing his personality, I assumed he hadn’t felt as if he had contributed to the solution. I had identified the problem, analyzed the options, and recommended the solution too thoroughly.

Although I’m not usually one to have patience in playing games, I am, however, a strategist. So, when my next request came around, I executed my usual strategy but left out a meaningful small component that I knew he’d find. He did suggest, “What about doing…?” My response was, “That’s a great idea. I’ll incorporate it into the plan and then move forward. It shouldn’t change the cost.” He smiled and said, “Great, send up the AFE and I’ll sign it.” The outcome was the same, but I left my boss feeling like he’d contributed to the success of the project which was the cherry on the top of the negotiation outcome.

Wrapping It Up

Many of the other business leaders never figured out how to successfully negotiate with our boss. They hadn’t taken the time to understand his negotiation style, what he wanted to hear in order to say “yes”, and certainly didn’t know how to leave him in a happy place. The reality is that negotiation can easily be a win-win. You need to focus less on getting what you want and more on putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Leadership Strategies: Target Your Message to the Right Sense

5 senses


People were created with five senses, although a few may claim they have a sixth sense. If you’re blessed with this intuitive sixth, you may not need read any further since you’ve probably already put into practice the concept to follow. For those who rely mostly on their core five, you may achieve greater influence if you tailor and direct your message toward the sense your intended receiver relies on most.

Leadership is about influence, and in many cases, influencing means getting people to see your point of view, do specific things, change behaviors, and think in different ways. Communication can be in the form of written, dialogue, and immersion into a situation to gain firsthand information. What many leaders may not realize is that each person has a preferred method by which want to receive information, usually because they process it more effectively in that format.

Although these preferences are individualistic, in my experience there also appears to be preferences by generational cohorts. Millennials seem to prefer visual communication based on how they learned via video technology. GenX, who grew up using PowerPoint as a primary business tool, typically prefer written communication to read over and digest. The Baby Boomers and older prefer to talk in person, or if necessary, have a conversation over the phone. They remember the days when a 20-ft telephone cord helped them stay connected with friends and family dinners/conversations were mandatory seven nights a week.

Regardless whether people fit their generational cohort, they typically give clues in how they prefer to receive information based on the words they use to start their responds. When people responds with “see” and “looks” as in “I see why” or “It looks good,” most likely they prefer to receive information visually.  Even if they heard the information, they will tend to respond with “It looks good.”

People who prefer auditory will likely respond, “I hear you.” Then there are those who say, “I feel…” as they weigh how people will feel about the decision. More women than men typically say “I feel…” when expressing their opinion, with men preferring to opt for “I think…” or “I believe…” If you provide information in the format that the receiver prefers, you may be more influential in your message.  What’s your preferred sense?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Successful Selling Is Like Playing Your Best Game of Golf


Sales Golf


If you’re a golfer and a sales person, you know there’s plenty of selling done on a golf course. Although I haven’t come across any statistics, I’d speculate the majority of deals closed outside the boardroom are done on a golf course. I’ll also propose that the strategic sales process is akin to playing a game of golf. If you play both of them well, you’re likely to have your best sales year and game yet.

Although you may tee off in a foursome, golf is an individual sport where you’re playing your own game. Therefore, if you focus on how your competition is doing, you’ll lose sight on what’s important—the hole in front of you or in the case of business your customer. Your best game drives solidly on you and your customer, their needs, and what you can deliver. Successful sales people share some common strategies in how they approach and gather information about their customers and lead the sales process. These steps are similar in how a golfer strategizes in how to place the ball in the hole.

  1. Successful sales leaders study the company they want to sell to and learn about its vision, mission, size, growth, culture, products, products, strategic partnerships, locations, and key players. What they can’t find from their research, they’re prepared to ask during the initial meeting. They want to know what the goals and objectives of the organization are, who are the key decision-makers, and how purchasing decisions are made. It’s like the golfer studying the hole standing on the tee box—how it doglegs, pin placement, etc.
  2. They also learn of the customer’s purchasing process and what motivates each decision-maker. Sometimes manufacturing wants the more expensive solution, because it eases daily operations. Finance wants the cheapest, and the business leader wants the most cost effective. This process is like the golfer evaluating the clubs in his bag to determine which ones will get his ball over the sand traps, around the trees, and out of the tall grass to land in the cup with the least number of strokes.
  3. Most people consider sales a solo sport with most of the responsibility and accountability on the shoulders of the sales person. Just like a golfer who consults with his caddy, a seasoned sales person utilizes the skills and experience of the entire sales team. Successful sales people know how to leverage the strengths and perspectives of the other team members.
  4. After several meetings, a sales person has enough information about the company, what it needs, who makes the decisions, and what the decision-makers value to create a compelling story proposal. This mirrors the golfer who selects the club, takes a stance, addresses the ball, and swings the club while factoring in the wind speed, wind direction, and the brakes in the green to land his last shot onto the green and into the hole.

Sometimes your competition takes home the trophy by scoring a lucky double eagle, even when you’ve played your best game. When you consistently drive on these sales strategies, you’ll find you win far more customers than you lose, and you’ll be saying it’s better to be good than lucky.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business coaching. She coaches individuals and businesses as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com