The One Big Question Every Sales Person Needs to Answer

linkedin-sales-navigator-YDVdprpgHv4-unsplashDespite what you might have read, sales success isn’t a skill only a lucky few are born with, a science, or an art form. Anyone has the potential to sell, and to sell well. The truth be told, selling is less about skill, processes, and following a set of rules and more the natural outcome of the condition of your heart and ability to connect with people. If you want to improve the outcome of your selling efforts, you should first take inventory of who you are and your motivations. Selling starts with you, and all that follows flows from who you are.

Who are you?

A few questions to get you started:

  • What are you core values, strengths, and weaknesses?
  • What attitudes, motivations, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and worldview do you hold?
  • What are your skills and competencies?
  • How do you show up to others?

You must get in touch with your authentic self. Why? Because you will either choose to drive on who you are or do some hard work to change. You can’t fool people. Humans have natural Geiger counters when it comes to assessing and judging people. They may or may not be able to explain why they feel the way they do about certain people, but they instinctively know whether they like or dislike a sales person or even perhaps even worse have no preference.

What’s the big question that every sales person should ask themselves? “How do I make people feel?” Sales is fundamentally one person saying yes to another.

  • Do they trust you?
  • Do they believe you are competent?
  • Do they believe you have their best interest at heart?
  • Do they believe you are searching for the win-win and not the salesperson take all?
  • Do they believe you are authentic in your interactions with them?

The answers to these questions can’t be faked, because they all stem from a salesperson’s heart. Successful selling starts with showing up authentically, so you can genuinely connect with the customer. If you need help exploring, working on, or connecting your authentic self with selling, reach out for a conversation.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. 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 or visiting her website at

What’s Your Listening Score?

mimi-thian-lp1AKIUV3yo-unsplashListening is a powerful communication skill that affects your leadership influence and relationships. When you listen well, people notice. Why? Because most people don’t practice good listening. Instead, they typically focus on being heard.

Ribbers and Waringa (2015) define seven levels of listening which are:

  1. Continually interrupts people, impatient when listening, wants to hear him- or herself talk, doesn’t get to the point easily
  2. Restrains him- or herself enough to listen but with visible signs of impatience, prefers to talk about own experiences
  3. Listens to others, polite and observes standard conversational etiquette, reactive conversational partner, doesn’t actively draw out others to talk
  4. Lets others talk, asks for clarifications, prefers to keep conversations about business
  5. Always takes the time to willingly listen, comes across as interested in the other person, gives appropriate feedback
  6. Gets people talking, exchanges information, listens well to others while giving natural responses, asks questions to get to the heart of the subject
  7. Expresses sensitivity to the needs of others, makes time for people, asks questions to clarify, gives feedback, shows involvement

We can’t always listen at a level seven, and frankly, not all conversations require a seven. However, we should be holistically aware of where we tend to operate and decide whether we need to focus on improving our listening skill. These listening definitions can also help us identify which conversations require which level of listening in order to improve the outcome for both speaker and listener. With a defined scale as reference, it’s easier to target and measure improvement.


Ribbers, A., & Waringa, A. (2015). E-Coaching: Theory and Practice for a New Online Approach to Coaching. New York, NY: Routledge.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. 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 or visiting her website at

E-Coaching: A Powerful Coaching Option


Technology now allows us to write and send messages more efficiently and at our own comfortable pace. Gone are the days of conversation delays via trans-Atlantic letters and the Pony Express (a.k.a. snail mail). Because we can communicate in writing over the internet/SMS, e-coaching (e-mail/electronic coaching) was born and continues to grow in popularity.

E vs. Face-to-face Coaching

Coaching is a powerful process that can be delivered in many ways: face-to-face, video, telephone call, and through e-mail. Coaching has evolved with technology, and this has been to the benefit of the client. Some people like e-coaching more than face-to-face.

My clients enjoy e-coaching, because it allows them to deal with bite-size issues that fit with their personal situations better than the longer face-to-face sessions. They may be actively working toward their goals and only need to connect with a coach to bounce off an idea, brainstorm, or get a different perspective.

E-coaching can be just as effective, if not more than face-to-face coaching, because it allows clients the time and space to reflect, think, and consider their response. For people who have a preference toward introversion and a need for more self-reflection and introspection, e-coaching can feel more powerful, giving them a greater sense of control during the coaching process. If you’d like to learn more about your personal preferences toward intro- versus extroversion, read more about the Myers-Briggs.

Future of E-Coaching

E-coaching will continue to evolve with companies eager to apply its concepts on multiple fronts. Woosh5 incorporates e-coaching as an option to its resilience survey and platform of exercises. Shine Crossings offers a monthly subscription service that combines e-mail/small-call coaching on any topic a client needs help. Although face-to-face may continue to be the mainstream mode of coaching, e-coaching has a growing role in the coaching industry and may be the main catalyst for its growth.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Leadership Ideas Worth Sharing

 When a leader get better, everyone wins!


Global Leadership Summit was packed with a wealth of leadership principles, strategies, tactics, and messages delivered from an all-star leadership faculty. If you missed the speakers, I’ve captured some key highlights. Read through these concepts and decide which ones resonate with you. Which ones might you want to put into action?

Craig Groeschel (Co-founder and Senior Pastor, Life Church)

  • Leaders have influence. Everyone has influence, so everyone is a leader. Leaders can learn from anyone.
  • False assumption: better always costs more. The truth: investing more eventually gives a diminishing return. Leaders look for ways to bend the curve by increasing value with lower costs.
  • Practice GETMO: Good Enough To Move On. Perfection is often the enemy of progress.
  • Think inside the box. Constraints drive creativity by eliminating options.
  • You have everything you need to do everything you are called to do.
  • If you had everything you wanted, you might miss what you really need.
  • Burn the ships: eliminate options to turn back.
  • If you commit to the what and are consumed with the why, you’ll figure out the how.

Bozoma Saint John (CMO, Endeavor)

  • Creating company culture is 100% everyone’s responsibility.
  • Show up in your most brilliant, authentic self.

Ben Sherwood (Former Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks)

  • The speed of change can be daunting for leadership, and leader cannot be afraid to lose.
  • Leaders in crisis need to know:
    • The study of asymmetrical conflict shows that the stronger side wins when conventional tactics are used in conventional conflict; whereas, unconventional tactics win 63% of the time in unconventional conflict.
    • The theory of 10/80/10: in a crisis, 10% if the people will emerge as leaders, 80% will freeze and wait for someone to tell them what to do, and 10% will engage in negative behavior.
  • Leadership secret: unlock team performance by “connecting”

Liz Bohannon (Co-founder & Co-CEO, Sseko Designs)

  • Beginner’s Luck is the supposed phenomenon of novices experiencing success; wheres, Beginner’s Pluck is spirited and determined courage.
  • Good leaders turn the stages of learning into a continuous cycle:
    • unconscious incompetence: you don’t know what you don’t know
    • conscious incompetence: ouch, you know what you don’t know
    • conscious competence: I can do it, but it takes effort
    • unconscious competence: I’m so good I can do this in my sleep. Good
  • Leaders don’t choose comfort.
  • You’re never going to find your passion; you’re going to build it.
  • Dream small, not big. Small dreams have a surprising power. Dreaming small will allow you to take the next step.
  • Leaders are not the heroes for others but help others be the heroes of their own life.

Jason Dorsey (#1 Rated Gen Z & Millennial Researcher & Speaker)

The Center of Generational Kinetics is the #1 generational research and consulting center studying the WHY behind the behaviors.

  • Parenting styles and natural relationships with technology are the only two parameters that shape generations.
    • Parenting influences everything. Entitlement is a learned behavior, reinforced in schools, and now culturally acceptable.
    • Technology is only new if you have the reference of remembering what it was like before.
  • Generations are not defined by chronological years but predictable behavioral changes. Cuspers are in between behavioral changes.
  • Millennials are the largest generation currently in the workforce and the only generation to split into two segments (Mega-llennials and Me-llennials). Many are experiencing significant delays in real-world traction (adulting): marriage, jobs/careers, and parenthood. By age 30, the two Millennial population segment can no longer relate to each other.
  • Millennials are tech dependent, not tech savvy.
  • Gen-X are squeezed between taking care of parents and kids, naturally skeptical, and are typically the glue of the organization.
  • Boomers know geography, define and measure work output in hours/week, believe there are no shortcuts to success, and are focused on policies and procedures.
  • Gen Z’s parents are Gen X or older Millennials. Their philosophy to parenting is you will not end up like those entitled Millennials. Gen Z are practical with money, shop in thrift stores, and in some cases are leap frogging Millennials.
  • Leadership tips to manage the Gen Z: (1) provide specific examples of the performance you expect—how it looks, (2) drive on the outcome—they do not think linearly—show the end first, and (3) provide quick-hit feedback.
  • Every generation brings something to the table and all generations lead.

Danielle Strickland (Pastor, Author, Justice Advocate)

  • Leaders not just survive but are part of transformational change.
  • Transformational change starts with your beliefs. Beliefs shape values which leads to action and then results. A leader’s beliefs are the roots from which everything grows. Is it true what you believe? Or is it faulty?
  • Stages of transformational change: (1) comfortable, (2) unsettled and disruptive, (3) chaos (scary and exciting), (4) less scared/more exciting, and (5) new normal.
  • Embrace the process of change. Disruption is not a threat but an invitation to a new normal. And leaders should not be afraid to ask for help.

Devon Franklin (CEO, Franklin Entertainment)

  • BE YOU: own and cultivate your own recipe for success versus stealing someone else’s.
  • The key to leadership is the struggle with our difference, because our difference is our destiny. Difference can be painful, because sometimes it’s hard to stand out. Your difference looks good on you. Own who you are.
  • Keep differences sharp and not sanded down. Your difference is your key to enter into your destiny.
  • Stop being quiet, use your voice. Resist the exchange for what makes you different with what is common in order to fit in.
  • Don’t be afraid of discomfort. Discomfort means you are on the right path. Don’t retreat, keep going.
  • How to own your difference: (1) admit you are different, (2) do not confuse someone else’s distinctiveness for your own, (3) hang with those who encourage your difference, and (4) be salt and light. Shake your creativity on others and take your light where it is dark and where no one else will go.
  • Your difference makes a difference.

Patrick Lencioni (CEO, The Table Group, and Best-selling Author)

  • Leadership is a privilege. You need to know your “why” to be the leader. If you don’t know your why, your “how” won’t matter. What is the motivation behind why you want to lead?
  • There are two types of leader motivations: servant leader and reward-based.
  • Reward-centered leaders have common behaviors of abdicating responsibility and delegating what only they should do, and this hurts people. Characteristics of the reward-centered leader: (1) avoids and pushes uncomfortable conversations onto others, (2) doesn’t coach direct reports, (3) is unaware of what the team is working on, (4) doesn’t align the team, (5) runs poor meetings which lead to poor decisions, (6) avoids team building because not comfortable with emotions, and (7) under communicates.
  • Servant leadership is the only kind of leadership. If you are the reward-centered leader, do the right thing by either leaning into leadership or resigning.

Chris Voss (Former FBI Hostage Negotiator, CEO of The Black Swan Group)

  • If the words “I want …” or “I need …” are coming out of your mouth, you are negotiating.
  • Negotiation is a learned skill.
  • Negotiation is about connecting and collaborating. Tactical empathy—everyone wants to be heard and understood. Empathy—understand where people are coming from and communicating that to them.
  • Listening is a martial art. Mirroring is tactical listening and responding to the other person. Effective pauses give people the chance to respond.
  • Calibrate to a “no” versus a forced “yes”. When a person can say “no” they feel emotionally safe and protected and are able to continue in the negotiation.
  • The words “that’s right …” continues the conversation; whereas, “you’re right …” stops the conversation. The fastest way to end a conversation is to say, “You’re right.”
  • If you are “likeable”, you are 6 times more likely to make a deal.
  • You want to understand why someone is asking for something. “What makes you want that?” is a better question than “Why do you want that?”
  • When a negotiation is slipping away, you want to say, “It doesn’t feel like I’ve earned your trust.” This keeps the negotiation going.
  • Ask HOW questions, because it gets people thinking.
  • Genuine curiosity is the counter for when fear creeps into the negotiation.

Aja Brown (Mayor of Compton, California)

  • Vision is the vehicle to creating momentum
  • Collaboration is the momentum multiplier to move on mission

Jia Jiang (Best-selling Author, Entrepreneur)

Concepts in how to use or interpret rejection:

  • Rejection is a numbers game. Ask enough times and eventually someone will say yes.
  • Rejection is the opinion of the rejecter only.
  • Rejection is an opportunity for growth. When you embrace rejection, you gain confidence.

Todd Henry (Founder of Accidental Creative and Leadership Consultant)

  • Creative professionals are prolific, brilliant, and healthy. If you are missing one component you poor results:
    • Prolific + Brilliant – Healthy = Fried
    • Healthy + Brilliant – Prolific = Unreliable
    • Prolific + Healthy – Brilliant = Fired
  • Leading your teams on two dimensions: (1) stability (clarity + protection) and (2) challenge (permission + faith). Based on these two dimensions, teams can be categorized into one of four groups:
    • Angry: high challenge/low stability
    • Lost: low challenge/low stability
    • Stuck: low challenge/high stability
    • Thrive: high challenge/high stability
  • Leaders will be rewarded with the best work of their team, if they can move members into the thriving category.
  • Trust is the currency of a creative team. Leaders forfeit trust by declaring things that are undeclarable and being a superhero.
  • Leaders move from leading by control to leading to influence. Focus on bounded autonomy—principles under which to do work.

Krish Kandiah (Founder, Home for Good)

  • Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.

Jo Sexton (Author, Leadership Coach)

  • U.S. organizations are facing a burnout crisis.
  • Fifty percent of CEOs feel lonely, and 60% say loneliness affects their leadership.
  • Questions every leader should be asking themselves: (1) who were you before people told you who you were, (2) what would your body say if it could talk to you, and (3) who are your people?

Bear Grylls (Adventurer, Writer, and TV Host)

  • The first failure gives you freedom.
  • Our fears make us real and relatable.
  • True wealth is found in our relationships.

Craig Groeschel (Co-founder and Senior Pastor, Life Church)

  • Kindness changes people. The fastest way to change people’s minds is to connect with their hearts.
  • Knowledge alone rarely leads to action. Knowledge leads to conclusions, and emotions leads to action. Three important questions: what do I want them to know, feel, and do?
  • Share stories purposefully. Stories stick, but facts fade. We have two processors: emotional and logical. Emotional is the default processor. When you use a story, you connect the heart of emotions to the strength of the logical—igniting a power action. “Let me tell you a story…” is an opener that gets people’s attention.
  • Choose words deliberately, because the words you choose determine the emotions people will feel. When crafting vision and values, use powerful words.
  • Share vulnerability deliberately but don’t overshare. We may impress people with our strengths, but we connect through our weaknesses. Show people what’s in your heart. People would rather follow a leader who is real versus right.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Teamwork: Know, Share, and Leverage the Power of Personality

you-x-ventures-Oalh2MojUuk-unsplashHave you ever wondered why someone did, decide, or say something you won’t have? Personality has a tremendous influence on how we take in data, process it, draw conclusions and interact with our world. When you understand the power of personality, you will have greater insights into how you and others think, decide, and do.

campaign-creators-gMsnXqILjp4-unsplashI encourage everyone to explore their natural tendencies through the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment and find out which personality type best describes him or her. There are 16 primary types that explain why people tend to think and behave the way they do.

ESFP: Enthusiastic Improviser

ISFJ: Practical Helper

ESTP: Energetic Problem-solver

INFJ: Insightful Visionary

ENTP: Enterprising Explorer

ISTJ: Responsible Realist

ESFJ: Supporter Contributor

ISFP: Versatile Supporter

ENFJ: Compassionate Facilitator

INTP: Objective Analyst

ENFP: Imaginative Motivator

INTJ: Conceptual Planner

ESTJ: Efficient Organizer

INFP: Thoughtful Idealist

ENTJ: Decisive Strategist

ISTP: Logical Pragmatist

Regardless of your personality preferences, you have a choice to act in ways you believe will help you succeed in any relationship and environment. Yet, without stress or external influences, we all have a natural way of expressing ourselves.

nesa-by-makers-kwzWjTnDPLk-unsplashNo personality type is better or worse, because they all bring value to solving problems and growing a business. If each team member understands who they are and others on their team, they can intentionally leverage the power of personality to win. If you want to bring the power of Myers-Briggs to your office, let’s discuss a workshop that can unleash the power of personality among your teams.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Shine Spotlight on Inner Vision: Breaking Art Out of Prison

Shine Spotlight gives small businesses owners the opportunity to share their passion and find others who may want to connect, contribute, or partner with their mission or business

Inner Vision with Marcus Hill



Why Inner Vision?

Do you have a passion for art, a heart for prison ministry, or a desire to develop community through the power of art? Marcus Hill is looking for like-minded business co-partners and promoters, who share his vision to give talented prison or post-released artists a constructive outlet for their passionate art creations in the free world.

The bigger mission is to provide resources and services to incarcerated people, giving them a path to successful re-integration into society. The first step in this multi-faceted mission is to launch an electronic portfolio of artists’ creations as a means of marketing their talent. High quality art reproductions will be offered in a broad range of formats such as posters, canvas, prints, T-shirts, mouse pads, and coffee mugs.

What is Inner Vision?

Think of Inner Vision as a social enterprise which connects the artist with the art lover. By creating a business outlet for current and formerly incarcerated artists, they can earn a living, pay income taxes, take care of their families, and choose to stay away from crime in order to survive. Income security is a critical factor to ensure the formerly incarcerated connect with their families and integrate into community. Inner Vision also requires a portion of the sales be donated to a charity of the artist’s choice, so they too can learn the joy and power of giving back.


Inner Vision serves as the operational bridge connecting artists with art lovers. The business (1) solicits the art, (2) markets it, (3) sells it, (4) applies art to various formats, and (5) distributes the funds as per the contractual obligations. Taking a fair fee to cover operational costs and profit, Inner Vision gives hope to art that would not normally be shared in the world.  Marcus also has a larger vision to serve others under the Inner Vision business umbrella, and this is his first step.

What Does Inner Vision Need?

Marcus has the vision, prison relationships, and business plan. He’s looking for a partner who can help provide organizational structure, software knowledge/ expertise, website development, and a shared passion for the vision. The intent is to scale this on a part-time basis. Marcus has connections willing to provide loans for defined start-up capital.

In Marcus’s own words: “I’m looking to connect with talented people and organizations who are willing to step out and join me in this mission to create positive change through the medium of art.”

If this vision or business concept tugs at your heart, sounds intriguing, or you’re willing to lend your skill set, I encourage you to have a conversation with Marcus. Perhaps you want to know more, so you can spread the word on social media or purchase an art piece when the business launches. Social enterprises, those businesses dedicated to making reasonable profits while maximizing social impact, are gaining in popularity, and you can be part of making the world a better place in some small way. Reach out to Marcus for a conversation at or 713.818.4413.

Art provided by Pete Salazar, Stephen Armstrong, and Charles Hahn

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She designs and facilitates workshops and coaches individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can engage Sandra as your coach by reaching out to her at or visiting her website at


Healthy Marriages Make for Good Business

annie-spratt-wgivdx9dBdQ-unsplashThere’s an old saying: if momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy. If you applied this concept in the workplace, you might say if a spouse isn’t happy, their boss and colleagues may not be happy. Would you agree? If you’re married or ever been in a serious relationship, think about how productive you were the day after a fight or disagreement? Have you ever suffered from chronic marriage fatigue and realized how it sapped your energy at work? Now think about the times when your marriage or relationships were on cloud nine. I bet you did some of your best work: fast, efficient, and high quality. You probably even got more praise and positive feedback from your boss and colleagues.

Productivity Stats

Marital and relationship problems divide employees’ attention, because it’s hard to focus on work when your marriage isn’t well (Patrick, 2019). Bowcott (2015) found that 9% of employees left their job because of a divorce or separation, and 15% of survey respondents said separation and divorce negatively impacted productivity. On the other hand, studies show that increased happiness on the job translates into upwards of 20% higher productivity (Addady, 2015), and strong marriages do just that—contribute to employees’ happiness.

The Missing Piece: Social Wellness Program

Employers commonly provide for their employees’ well-being by offering them health insurance, so they can get the treatment they need and get back to work quickly. Companies also encourage employees to take advantage of preventative health initiatives, and some even offer free or discounted gym memberships as part of promoting wellness. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) are more common for those employees who need support for a personal crisis. Why do companies offer these services? Because it makes good business sense. Get employees the help they need, so they can be more productive.

Perhaps it’s been you or someone you know who’s been physically present in the office but mentally checked out or at best distracted. What’s got the employee mentally consumed? Troubles with a partner relationship? If companies are financially motivated to help employees be more productive, what’s missing from the equation? I propose a social wellness program (SWP). Companies could improve their bottom line by offering their employees coaching services to strengthen specific areas of life. A SWP could act like an EAP plan, where employees get a maximum number of coaching sessions per year.

“It’s just good business for a company to offer marriage or relationship coaching for its employees.” — Sandra Dillon

The Case for Coaching

Happier marriages mean more productive employees. How do I support this claim? By the research and my own client stories. As a business coach, I’ve worked with a number of clients on work-related performance goals, which later led into marriage coaching with the coachee and his or her spouse. Having coached these couples on marriage visioning, missioning, personality and gender preferences, financial stewardship, love/respect, communication, and conflict resolution, I’ve seen firsthand how a stronger and happier marriage has translated into higher job performance and career development.

Let’s be clear—coaching isn’t counseling. Counseling is covered by your health insurance or EAP. Coaching on the other hand allows people to help themselves and their marriages.

Next Steps

If you have the responsibility and accountability to help your employees, will you offer marriage coaching to your team? If you’re a small business owner, will you pay for a few marriage coaching sessions, so your employees can be more productive? It’s just makes good business sense!

If you’re an individual who doesn’t have employee access to coaching, will you find a coach who can help you strengthen your marriage? Ultimately, we are all 100% responsible for 50% of any relationship, and the responsibility to do better resides within each one of us.


Addady, M. (2015). Study: Being happy at work really makes you more productive. Retrieved from

Bowcott, O. (2014). Relationship breakdowns have negative impact on business. productivity. Retrieved from

Patrick, M. (2019). Top problems that affect employee productivity. Retrieved from

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, business consulting, and marriage coaching. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. 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 or by visiting


Diversity & Inclusion: More Than a Women’s Movement

you-x-ventures-4-iZ147pSAE-unsplashFairness, justice, and opportunities for all are values that I believe resonate in the hearts of most people regardless of their profession. Aren’t these some of the founding principles upon which America was built? Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, life is not fair, never was, and likely never will be, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep striving to make those values come alive in our businesses. Who isn’t inspired to support women who want to put their passion, skills, and talents to work in industries primarily served by men? I don’t think many would disagree that it’s only fair to afford women these opportunities.

Although we may agree on what the vision should look like, we may have different ideas on the best way to bring that ideal to fruition. Media, journals, conferences, and LinkedIn are aflutter with talk about Diversity and Inclusions (D&I) with named women’s groups promoted as the steps toward bringing awareness and action. These women’s initiatives are started by both industry societies and individual companies who are trying to support women.

As I wrote in What Role Do Men Have in Women’s Movements, any women’s initiative in a male-led industry that excludes men risks underserving its mission by eventually becoming a social outlet versus a sustainable empowering program. Why? Because when one sex holds the power, there are only two ways that power can be distributed: (1) those in power willingly sharing it and (2) the underserved taking it forcefully through legislation, guilt, bribery, or punishment.

Feminism, Affirmative Action, and the Me Too initiatives were all social and/or legislated initiatives that used some level of force to change the relationships between men and women. Although these approaches had positive outcomes, they also created unintended consequences such as resentment, fear, hiding, and hoarding, and are not fully sustainable when the applied pressure is released. A more sustainable approach to equalizing power is to encourage men to voluntarily share it.

I readily admit that we live in a world where many people are working towards accumulating power, so why would they give it away? Because some men are not primarily motivated by power and are willing to spread it around. How can this be achieved? By inviting men to participate in the process. Not only will men help build momentum, they’ll be able to help work through the guaranteed roadblocks.

My recommendation to women’s groups, who are trying to promote women in male-dominated industries, is to carefully think about strategy. Men don’t necessarily want to give support to a small defined cause, they prefer to donate their time, money, and influence to win a movement. Men want to get behind a vision that is bigger than themselves. As a business strategist, I would minimize any labels that make it appear as a women’s only initiative and give it a bigger appeal that would naturally be more inviting to men.

Putting energy into promoting a label of “diversity and inclusion” appeals to men, because it implies they are part of its movement. Men need to be included in the group for it to be diversified. Ask for their direct participation to help create more opportunities for women. Men will feel more comfortable claiming they are part of a “diversity and inclusion” movement versus a “women’s” movement.

In the end, aren’t women seeking a business environment that reflects diversity and inclusion? If this is true, call it that from the start. You may be thinking, “you say po-ta-toe, and I say po-tot-o, but it’s the same thing.” At its core, the objectives are the same, but a movement needs a good cause as well as a good marketing plan to engage the audience and get them to say yes. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing to advance women in traditionally male-led industries such as chemicals, oil & gas, high tech, and security.

Would love to hear comments from both men and women on this approach to a very current hot topic.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. 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 or by visiting her website at


Ask Your Coach: Right-Sized E-Coaching Services

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 2

Why do people and teams hire coaches? Because they want to get better and win!

Shine Crossings offers an “email” and “small call” service that gives you access to an experienced coach when you need it most. Perfect for when you want a different perspective, bounce ideas off a professional, brainstorm options, and come up with your next steps in conversation with a trusted partner.

Do you have an issue in one or more of these areas: (1) managing teams, direct reports, and your boss, (2) job and career, (3) leadership, (4) financial decisions, (5) sales, (6) relationships and marriage, and (7) business strategy. You can get these services by enrolling in the “Ask Your Coach” monthly subscription, which gives you up to 60 minutes of email and call time. Think 15 to 30-minute calls a few times a month.

The introductory price for this new service is $97/month. Have a coach at your fingertips. The outcome of one coaching conversation can influence the success of your next decision. If you’d like to learn more, check out the FAQs. If you’d like to subscribe, reach out to me at or 281.793.3741.

Ask Your Coach FAQs

  1. How do your coaching services work?

With your paid monthly subscription, you get up to 60 minutes of call or email time per month to use in whatever way you need. Get perspective, ideas, and recommendations on topics covering leadership, team building, job, career, finances, relationships, parenting, and marriage. The only area that I don’t coach on is health, fitness, and wellness.

  1. How do I contact you to use the services?

You can either send me an email with your question or topic and let me know whether you want an email response or call.  You can also text me to set up a mutually agreed to time to talk. My time to provide feedback to your email question or with you on a call counts toward your coaching subscription time.

  1. Are our written and verbal conversations confidential?

Yes. If you want to subscribe, you will be emailed a simple contract that provides me with your contact information, addresses confidentiality between us, and outlines the fee structure. Once we both sign the contract, we can begin your coaching.

  1. How do I pay?

Two days before the start of your monthly subscription, you will receive a PayPal invoice to your email account. Simply pay the invoice by credit card and you’re set for the month. You will be put on an automatic monthly invoicing schedule with no credit card on file. When you no longer want the services, don’t pay the invoice.

  1. Is there a minimum monthly commitment?

No. It is a pay as you go plan, one month at a time.

  1. What happens if I decide I want more coaching services than 60 minutes per month?

We’ll have a conversation to determine your needs and adjust your plan. If the email/short call structure works for you, and you want access to more minutes, we’ll adjust the monthly subscription price. If you want to focus in depth on a specific issue, we can set up a face-to-face or video call to do a deep dive. Regular coaching services are billed at a minimum of 1 hour and prorated for additional minutes.

  1. How easy is it to get a hold of you when I need you for coaching?

For short calls, I try to schedule our call to take place within 48 hours of your contact. For emails, I usually respond in less than 48 hours. If I’m unavailable due to a vacation or business schedule, I notify subscriptions holders by email with blackout dates in advance.

  1. If I have further questions or want to enroll, what is my next step?

Send me an email at or give me a call or text to 281.793.3741

The Power of Cognitive Diversity to Solve Problems

cognitive diversity

Inclusion & Diversity is a hot topic in today’s business environment that holds the underlying belief that diversity will result in better decisions and outcome. The inherent thinking is that diversity, as embraced in the components of age, gender, and ethnicity, will provide different perspectives, points of view, and approaches that will enhance a company’s ability to solve problems and grow. The concept sounds logical, but surprisingly, research doesn’t support that differences in age, gender, and ethnicity, by itself, contribute to higher team performance. Reynolds and Lewis (2017) found that demographic diversity had no correlation with team performance.

The research found that the highest performing teams had diversity in perspectives and methods of processing information when working with new, uncertain, and complex problems (Reynolds & Lewis, 2017). Referred to as Cognitive Diversity, what the best performing teams had in common were the: (1) ability to leverage existing and generate new knowledge and (2) preference to use their own expertise and put into effect the know-how and ideas of others.

There’s a high positive correlation of cognitive diversity with performance, which is independent of education, culture, and other social conditioning (Reynolds & Lewis, 2017). A person’s cognitive approach is an internal trait that’s hard to identify in the hiring process, so companies typically focus on other attributes. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to bring others aboard who think and express themselves the same way as they do. It’s also not uncommon for those who think and reason differently than the prevailing culture to suppress their different ways of looking at things in order to fit in and be part of the team.

Successful companies encourage cognitive diversity by making it safe for their employees to express their natural cognitive tendencies and authentic selves. With authenticity and leadership as two of my top five core values, I truly believe that servant leaders lead with authenticity and help others lead with theirs as well.


Reynolds, A., Lewis, D. (2017). Team Solves Problems Faster When They’re More Cognitively Diverse. Harvard Business Review

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. 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 or by visiting her website at