Best Leadership Messages from Global Leadership Summit 2020


Since 2014, the year I was first introduced to the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), I’ve been a faithful attender because of the research and stories shared by the best world leaders. With 2020 shaping up to be one of the most “memorable” years in modern history, I was keen to hear from the faculty on leadership topics relevant to our current times.

Many messages touched on how leaders can deal with fear, deepen human connection, and create psychological safety while leading forward. I share a few of the best leadership messages from some of the most renowned experts on why leadership is so important, how to lead better, and what people want from their leaders.

You need to push through fear, because your greatest success is on the other side.

Speaker Messages

Craig Groeschel

For years, Craig’s been saying, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” At its core, leadership is influence, never title or position. Everyone has influence, and leaders can learn from anyone as long as they have humility. Craig’s encouragement is for leaders to lead through the dip.

All organizations move through 5 life cycle stages:

  • Birth: painful, don’t know if you have the energy or right resources
  • Growth: difficult for different reasons, need right people, cash flow struggles, fun
  • Maturity/Prime/The Flow: this is really working, have right people and systems
  • Decline/Rut/Treadmill: low morale, high frustration
  • Death: the end

When organizations enter the decline stage, leaders typically revert to what they did in the prime/growth phases, doing it even harder with the false belief the organization will return to its former self.

You can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can’t do both. Don’t fight the old way but find the new way.

Every major crisis creates unexpected problems as well as unpredicted opportunities. Be agile and look for them. Do you have courage to succeed by adapting, pivoting, and leading through the dip to create the next growth curve?

  • Change how you think about change. People don’t mind change; they hate the way we try to change them. Great leaders never caste blame.
  • Have the courage to unmake promises such as “we will never” or “we will always”. If not careful, your boldest declarations could become your greatest limitations.
  • Obsess over the Why. People change over either desperation or inspiration. When you convey the why, you disarm the critics, educate the bystanders, and empower the advocates. If they know the purpose, people can tolerate the pain of change.

Lead with confidence through uncertainty. Feel the fear and lead anyway.

The pathway to the greatest outcome is through your fear. What is no longer working and needs to be changed? What’s one promise you need to unmake? What’s one risk you need to take even if you feel afraid?

Danielle Strickland

  • Hope is a strategy that is grown in the soil of gratitude and flourishes when we live out what we believe. We look to our leaders to create hope.
  • Eighty percent of your thought process is either in the past or the future. Hope is present tense. Leaders should focus on doing in the present what they hope for in the future.

Beth Comstock

  • Organizational longevity is influenced by how well leaders manage change—forcing people to confront things they normally wouldn’t.
  • Sometimes as a leader you need to admit that you’re afraid. Tell people what you know and don’t know. You don’t have to know everything.
  • If you’re to lead well, you need to ask for feedback. A powerful question to ask your team: “Tell me one thing I don’t want to hear?”

John Maxwell

  • The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. You’re already outside of your comfort zone, so now is the time to do those things you’re uncomfortable doing.
  • What we focus on is what expands. You don’t get rid of your fear. Feed your faith and hope, so that it expands over your fear, doubt, and feelings of uncertainty.

Everything you want and don’t have is outside of your comfort zone.

Marcus Buckingham

The answers to 10 statements will tell you how much resilience lives in your workplace. How would you describe your personal experiences?

  1. I have all the freedoms I need to decide how to get my work done
  2. No matter what else is going on around me, I can stay focused on getting my work done
  3. In the last week, I have felt excited to work every day
  4. I always believe that things are going to work out for the best
  5. My team leader tells me what I need to know before I need to know it
  6. I trust my team leader
  7. I am encouraged to take risks
  8. Senior leaders are one step ahead of events
  9. Senior leaders always do what they say they are going to do
  10. I completely trust my company’s senior leaders

Statements 1-4 focus on self, 5-7 with team leaders, and 8-10 with senior leaders.

  • Senior leaders can cultivate resilience though vivid foresight and follow through.
  • Team leaders can adopt anticipatory communication: check-in with people one-on-one at least once a week and build psychology safety.
  • Individual leaders can build resilience by understanding their agency: what parts of your world you can control and when. You should use your strengths in work, because that will fill you up.

Nona Jones

Injustice is never neutral. One side always benefits from the other even when that side didn’t design it. In leadership, safe is insufficient.

You cannot make lasting impact while still feeling safe. Impact and comfort are diametrically opposed.

Why do we retreat to the safe zone?

  • Fear: One end of the spectrum is the fear of losing your life [to something bigger] and on the other losing your livelihood. Fear is real. Our challenge as leaders is to explore what fear can teach us. Fear is a thermometer; fear is an invitation to prepare; fear cannot be an excuse for inactivity. When you prepare for the worst while working toward the best, fear changes from a paralyzer and becomes a mobilizer.
  • Inadequacy: It causes you to believe the lie that someone else is better equipped than you. Determine what you can change and change it. No one is called to change the entire world by himself.

It’s achievable when we take what’s possible and make it probable.

When things get difficult, we often retreat into isolation. You must build your pack to build your power. We were created to be in community. When things get challenging, rely on your pack. Your challenge: identify three people that you can invite into your pack as encouragers when things get difficult.

Juliet Funt

Exhaustion and denial? Soldier on. Ideas to help you refuel your tank.

  • Forgive and accept yourself more than you’re currently doing today.
  • Reconnect with your mission. Do the Ladder Up exercise! In a purposeful way, keep asking, “What is the best possible outcome of that?” for each answer until you reach a pinnacle outcome which might include (1) live longer, healthier, lives, (2) achieve close, connected, and loving families, and (3) achieve clear, clean, and close-by water.

When you ladder up to the best possible outcome, you’ll be infused with energy.

Vanessa Van Edwards

Studies show that people evaluate others upon first meeting them on warmth (trust) and competence (respect). Leaders rank off the charts in both these traits. Where are you on the continuum of warmth and competence? You can increase your warmth and trust by acting on the following behaviors.

  • Become purposeful in your cues. Our words are powerful primers to shape others’ behavior, thoughts, and actions. In the workplace, calendars are the biggest primers. Typical calendar invites for call, meeting, conference, agenda, or one-on-one are boring. Instead, use collaborative session, strategy session, mastery meeting, creative time, accountability hour, or goal session.
  • Think about how you want someone to feel before, during, and after interacting with you. When starting a conversation or answering the first question, avoid starting with “terrible traffic”, “bad weather”, “I’m so stressed”, “my schedule is crazy”, or “I’m so busy”.
  • Think positive and focus on “I’m so happy to see you”, “great weather”, “I’ve been looking forward to this”, “It’s great to be here”, and “It’s always a pleasure to speak with you”. Positive words change brain patterns and convey warmth such as Hi friend, Let’s connect, Cheers, I’m open, Together, Excited, Collaborate, Happy to be here, Best, and Both
  • Competent words include Productive, Let’s brainstorm, Effective, Get ready, We’ll power through it, Efficient, Lead knowledge, and Streamlined. Do an email audit to see how you prime. What changes will you make going forward?
  • Hands are trust indicators. Hands convey trust and intention, so get your hands up and make them visible and expressive. Hands also impact competence, not just warmth. Least popular TED talks had 272 gestures and most popular used 465 gestures in 18 minutes. Demo your talk with hand gestures. Speak with your hands and your words. The mind gives a lot of weight to hand gestures vs. words.
  • Influence: Avoid the question inflection at the end of your statement. Say, don’t ask with your voice inflection, because it diminishes your competence. Low tone: use the lowest natural end of your voice tone by speaking on the out-breath.

To learn more about how to signal others visit

Joseph Grenny

  • Progress is assured when leaders chose truth over power. Leaders become heroes to support those who challenge and disagree. Create feedback rituals; build space into the schedule for candor.
  • The health of a team is measured by the time elapsed between when a team sees a problem and when they talk about it.
  • Most pain is avoidable, and pain is fostered by a culture of silence. Silence is the playground of evil. Our day ends when we are silent about what matters.

Paula Faris

  • When leading yourself through life’s reset, look for peace to proceed, expect and anticipate fear, and give yourself permission to branch out.
  • Do you have a peace about it? Or are your values clashing with your choices? Are you finding significance in something that shifts (job, bank account)? If you have peace in your spirit, proceed.
  • Expect and anticipate fear: fear is normal. You will be scared during shifts, resets, and change. Know how to deal with your fear. What is the worst thing that could happen if you pressed into fear?
  • Ask yourself these questions: What are you scared of? What is the worst thing that could happen if you went for it? What is the best thing that could happen if you went for it? What are the times when you let fear paralyze you? When did you not allow your fear to paralyze you?
  • Value is not tied to relationship, job, bank account, etc. but in finding fulfillment in what you are good at and love. What are you good at? What do you love? What do trusted people notice you’re good at and love?

Fear is the great paralyzer to slay your dreams.

Chris McChesney

What if new priorities or change did not raise uncertainty? What if it made sense? People can handle change; it’s the uncertainty that people don’t like. Can you engage your team for an achievable and meaningful outcome? Can your team feel they can win? If so, change is not an issue. You’re a leader if you can create the 3 things team members look for:

  • Clear finish line
  • Influence on how to get to finish line (making progress)
  • Confirmation that the goal matters to the leader on daily basis (engage people to a cause that means something and is winnable)

Amy Edmondson

People’s orienting system is to achieve psychological safety (predictable, rational, and fair). We live in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, commonly referred to as VUCA.

  • Volatile: rapid changes, ups and downs, big swings
  • Uncertain: difficult to predict future events/values
  • Complex: multiple interconnect elements
  • Ambiguous: unclear meaning of signals/events

Psychological safety explains more about variability in team performance than any other factor.

What if you took it seriously as leader to help people adapt and navigate the VUCA world?

  • Anyone’s voice should be mission critical. Most people people feel that they can’t speak up.
  • Impression management at work is almost second nature. It causes us not to speak up or push for what we know is right. No one wants to look ignorant, incompetent, intrusive, or negative but would prefer to look smart and easy going, which means he or she doesn’t ask questions, admit weakness or mistakes, offer ideas, or critique the status quo.
  • Are you playing not to lose or are you playing to win? Organizations that play to win put the mission in charge and not impression management. They create psychologically safe cultures for people to take risks and speak up with ideas, questions, and concerns. Mistakes are welcomed and valued.
  • Studies show the higher your status in the company the more psychological safety you have but you can have pockets of poor psychological safety at any level. The hierarchical safety gap in your company is minimized when everyone has a voice at the table.
  • High performance standards and psychological safety can co-exist. As leaders we need to help the team move into the learning zone.
    • Comfort zone (low standards, high safety)
    • Apathy zone (Low standards, low safety)
    • Anxiety zone (high standards, low safety)
    • Learning zone (high standards, high safety)
  • What are the key signs that a workplace is psychologically safe? People on your team are willing to speak up when: (1) something goes wrong, (2) they disagree with what’s being said (especially the boss), (3) they have half of an idea, and (4) they need help
  • Leaders recognize that not all failure is bad. Failure comes in three types:
    • Preventable (mistakes): where we know how to do it right
    • Complex (accidents): a set of factors combine in novel ways to produce undesired outcomes in familiar contexts
    • Intelligent (discoveries): undesired results that nobody could have known without trying it
  • Leaders help the organization fail well: reducing preventable failures, anticipating and mitigating complex failures, and promoting intelligence
  • Create a psychological safe environment by framing the work, inviting/insisting engagement proactively, and responding productively
    • Insist on; give time to create disagreement (debate)
    • Model humility and candor
    • Ask good questions to broaden the discussion: (1) what do others think, (2) what are we missing, (3) what other options could we consider, (4) how would our competitor approach this, and (5) who has a different perspective. Good questions also deepen the discussion: (1) what leads you to think so, (2) what’s the concern that you have about that, (3) can you give us an example, and (4) can you explain that further?
    • When you get feedback you should be appreciative, positive, and forward looking. Respond productively by listening and showing empathy.

Good questions make silence awkward.

Michael Todd

What can the right or wrong pace do for your leadership? Overworked, anxiety, and depression can be the results of a too fast, unsustainable leadership pace. If we get the right pace, everything changes. Will you find your stride—the walk with long decisive steps in a specific direction which can take you further than faster?

  • Pace of grace: when you find the right stride, everything starts working. Are you working fast in one area and nothing in another? When everything gets the measure of health that it needs, you’ve found the pace of grace.
  • Create a vision, make it visual, verbalize it, and don’t violate it

Poor pace produces missed moments, meaning, and miracles.

Henry Cloud

Your mission and organization can easily become fragmented curing a crisis. Anchor yourself and ensure your organization is paying attention to these critical four:

  • Are we making sure that fragmentation is not leading to disconnection? Show up enough and in the right way?
  • Do everything possible to let others have a sense of power and control. What can they control in driving the mission forward?
  • Managing shame and pain. You need to make room and space for people can talk about where they are failing and hurting.
  • Allow people a sense of accomplishment by allowing them to use their strengths and feel good about what they do.

Momma Maggie Gibran

The stronger the winds, the stronger the tree.

Albert Tate

Are you counterfeit or the Real McCoy? Ask yourself this question about your leadership. Am you a counterfeit or faking? Or are you trying to be the best version of some other person?

  • Leadership is not something you need to grasp from the outside but should be what you need to grow from inside you.
  • In crisis, it’s not about finding leadership but tapping into what is already within you in the moment.
  • What are the leadership essentials for us to have authentically growing within us?
    • We should be flipping tables as leaders (Jesus and the money changers). Look for injustice and turn systems over. It’s hard to flip a table of injustice, if you’re sitting comfortably at the table. Are you sitting at tables you should be flipping? Who is not at your table? Why? Are you making it hard for those to sit at your table?
    • We should be foot washing leaders (Jesus washing disciples’ feet, even Judas). Who would be surprised by your compassion if you poured it on them? Wash the feet of friends and foe, allies, and enemies.
    • We need to be a limping leader (you loose but God wins) by walking in vulnerability. Failure isn’t falling but an invitation for God’s grace to show up in your life. Limps are just the mark where you lost, and God won.

Lead a legacy for tomorrow.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Diversity & Inclusion: Which Comes First?

christina-wocintechchat-com-eS72kLFS6s0-unsplashOne of the hot topics in today’s business world is Diversity and Inclusion or more commonly known under its acronym D&I. Although people are likely to have different definitions of what that means, most wouldn’t disagree that the purpose of D&I would include (1) affording equal opportunities and a working environment for all people to succeed and (2) leveraging the positive effects of diversity to achieve a competitive business advantage. However, the big question we should be discussing and deciding is whether diversity (numbers) comes before inclusion (behaviors) or whether inclusion drives diversity. Diversity and inclusion: which comes first?

When businesses focus on diversity first, they can and some of them do, end up with silos built around ethnic and gender lines and never achieve the win-win for both employees and employers. I believe diversity does not necessarily create inclusion, but inclusion always supports diversity. Why not focus first on inclusion? When companies focus their efforts on creating cultures that value and reward inclusive behaviors, diversity should be a natural outcome.

What can businesses do that will help promote inclusive behaviors with the staff they already have on board?

  1. Seek input from more employees across more functional and hierarchical lines
  2. Listen to colleagues who are speaking until they feel understood
  3. Ask lots of questions
  4. Identify misunderstandings and resolve conflict
  5. Seek to understand each person’s value and contribution
  6. Examine your assumptions about people

How well is your company practicing inclusive behaviors with the employees it has now? The truth is that many companies haven’t achieved any inclusive milestones even with a concerted effort to hire and retain a diverse workforce. The question of whether diversity or inclusion should come first is similar to the age-old question of whether the chicken or egg came first. Where will you decide to focus your efforts?

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at

Post-COVID: How Much Risk Will You Design into Your Life?

edwin-hooper-Q8m8cLkryeo-unsplashThe first wave of COVID-19 is crashing toward shore. If, and how many more, waves will follow during the coming years is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain: the freedoms we once enjoyed may be changed forever. What will be the new normal? What will a virus-phobic world society look and feel like? I imagine we’ll make it up as we go based on our comfort levels.

Before we go further down the path, we need to answer an important question, because it will influence every decision that shapes the new normal. The question: how much risk are we willing to live with for the quality of life and freedoms we desire? If we don’t decide this up front, I’d bet we will make decisions, pass laws, and enact guidelines that drive us toward 100% safety and zero risk policies. And who doesn’t want total safety; it’s a feel-good place to be. But what’s the cost in quality of life, suppression of personal freedoms, sacrifice of privacy, and financial livelihoods?

If we decide how much risk we’re willing to live with, it will make it much easier to make important decisions in work and leisure. Some of the questions that businesses are wrestling with include:

  • How many people will be allowed on an elevator at one time?
  • Who, when, and how should employees be screened before entering the office? And what about visitors?
  • Will the much-dreaded cubicle concept finally be taken out by COVID as opposed to the research which showed how it cost businesses much more than it saved?
  • How much sanitation is enough to protect employers from employee lawsuits claiming the company was negligent in providing a safe work environment?
  • Where, when, and for how long will face masks be mandatory? Will we be required to wear them so much, they become fashion apparel much like a men’s necktie or women’s jewelry?
  • How many people will be allowed to congregate in the break room or have lunch together?
  • How will these policies be enforced?
  • What’s the repercussions for violators to policies?

Some of these may seem like tongue-in-cheek questions, but are they really? If COVID-19 is not one-and-done, but a virus we live with and have to mitigate as part of our world fabric, we need to get serious in asking ourselves the tough question. How much are we willing to give up in our lives and for what level of protection?

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at or by visiting her website at


COVID-19: What have you learned? What will you change? How can I help?

damir-spanic-cMe5lwooOig-unsplashCOVID-19 has been a kick in the butt for many businesses. Some are not sure if they will make it. Others have tightened down the hatches and believe they can ride out the storm. Others are actively pursuing new opportunities to thrive on the other side. Remember the old saying: “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Whether it’s survive or thrive, every company should ask where they rank on the continuum of flexible versus agile. What’s the difference? Flexibility means adapting to circumstances beyond your control. On the other hand, companies who are agile proactively change to take advantage of opportunities on the other side.  Where is your company on the continuum of flexible versus agile?

If you’re not sure, I have a few questions that can start the conversation:

  1. Describe what the new normal looks like on the other side of COVID for your industry and market?
  2. Based on your answer to the first question, what changes do you need to make now to set you up for success for the new normal?

As an example, some businesses believe virtual meetings will be a greater part of the new normal. How well do your people communicate in the virtual realm? Communicating virtually has specific nuances you need to be aware of and manage to ensure that it’s as powerful in person as it is across a computer connection. Communication is 55% body language, 38% tone of voice, and 7% words. How you set up your environment for a visual call can also makes a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Do your people know what changes they need to make to shine?

Leadership coaching and consulting can help prepare your team to be the best version of themselves for the new normal. Let’s have a conversation on what post-COVID might look like for your business, so we can set you and your team up for success.

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


6 Sales Steps to Move Forward During a Business Crisis

cytonn-photography-n95VMLxqM2I-unsplashThe sales team is the frontline to revenue generation. When a crisis comes, and COVID-19 has certainly been a global business tsunami, the big question is: “How will the salesforce respond as customers cancel orders or stop purchasing.” Most will initially respond by hanging their heads low, throwing their hands up in the air, or mumbling there’s little they can do—a form of paralysis. Their leaders drive on self-preservation decisions and focus their energy on cost cutting in the form of furloughs or layoffs. These organizational responses divert the focus away from the customer, and customers are the only way a business will survive and thrive through the crisis.

Sales Team Mindset

What can companies do to lead through the crisis? Stop blaming, criticizing, and making excuses about COVID-19 and what it’s doing to its business. Why? Because it shows a lack of having a 100% responsibility mindset. Those with a 100% responsibility mindset don’t blame, criticize and make excuses. They focus positive energy on what they can do to move forward.

What can you do? Create a vision of what your company will look like on the other side of the crisis. Feed the vision with positive energy and affirmation. Every crisis creates opportunity for something new, so focus on being part of the “bigger and better.”

Sales Team Next Steps

Below are 6 steps a sales team can deploy to make the new vision a reality:

  1. Make a list of attributes (knowledge, solutions, and skills) that your business and sales team can bring to your customers. Sometimes you need to be your own champion and remind yourself of how good you are and the value you offer.
  2. Get in front of your customers (in person, video, phone calls, and follow-up texts). Let them know you are thinking about them on a human level during these times of crisis. Show some empathetic listening. Let them know they’re not forgotten just because they’re not ordering.
  3. Ask questions! Open-ended questions! Ask them what they are wrestling with. What’s unknown? What new problems are they focused on solving? What information do they need to know and now?
  4. Share how you can help them solve their problems. Get out your list (in your mind) from step 1 and start sharing, discussing, and asking more questions to see where the conversation goes.
  5. Put another appointment on your calendar to reach out again and repeat steps 1-4. And don’t let too much time go by.
  6. Bonus Step: Don’t hesitate to reach out to new customers. Some of those attributes from your list may be desperately needed with customers who don’t know you or who haven’t seen you in awhile.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and business consultant with an extensive background in leadership and sales. 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 engage Sandra as your coach by reaching out to

6 Tips in Leading a Remote Team Via Virtual Meetings


COVID-19 has forced individuals and teams into a new structure of working—remote. Some have already mastered the art of virtual operations, while many others haven’t yet. Even those experts in scheduling, navigating, and sharing documents on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WebEx, are now part of teams where members are less experienced at maneuvering in this virtual world.

Virtual meetings have become a practical tool to continue the work by those healthy enough to do so while keeping them safe. Frequent video meetings can be used to help everyone feel included, aligned, and moving toward their goals. Leading a successful virtual team meeting during these unprecedented times is an important skill and somewhat different than leading an in-person meeting in normal times.

Leaders who are leading a remote team via video call meetings should consider the following:

  1. Invest time learning the virtual meeting technology so you waste less team time learning the mechanics on the job. You will also become a resource for other team members. Practice with other family members at home to gain proficiency.
  2. Schedule time to connect with other team members before the start of the agenda. Have everyone share one funny or positive event. Let everyone know they are welcome to join at any time during the first 15 minutes which will be more social and a time to check-in.
  3. Now more than ever it’s necessary to create an agenda and issue it prior to the meeting so the group is clear on what will be discussed and how they can effectively prepare.
  4. Plan virtual meetings that are shorter and more interactive and save information sharing for email and text.
  5. Encourage use of the video component of the meeting so everyone can see faces and make it feel more like a face-to-face meeting. Studies show that how we communicate is 7% words, 38% tone of voice, and 55% body language. Video allows us to more clearly understand the message.
  6. Review and eliminate non-value add meetings. Many meetings have ceased to bring the value they once did. They served their purpose and now might be the right time to retire them. Turning a routine meeting into a virtual meeting can sometimes give you the perspective on its true value.

Some studies forecast that after COVID-19 runs its course, more people will be working remotely than ever before. Develop your skills now, and you will be in a better position to lead your remote team members well.

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

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

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


Assess Yourself on 13 Critical Selling Activities

Sales DialYou may have read or heard of the book Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Many people don’t appreciate the difference between negotiating and selling with some thinking that selling is telling customers why they should buy, highlighting the features, benefits, and great value, whereas negotiating is the fine art of coming to an agreement on terms. I propose that selling is a process that encompasses 13 activities that drive customers to say “yes” over and over again and is much bigger than negotiating.

All sales people have limitations in their selling abilities and strengths. Even if they’re strong in most areas, they only have 24 hours in a day like everyone else. What salespeople should understand are the critical factors for selling success, self-evaluating themselves across those parameters, and finding ways to cover weaknesses within the defined boundaries of work-life balance. Those 13 critical selling activities are:

  1. Defining the competitive landscape
  2. Prospecting
  3. Qualifying leads/customers
  4. Planning calls
  5. Building relationships
  6. Identifying customer needs
  7. Presenting value
  8. Managing customers objections
  9. Negotiating
  10. Closing the sale
  11. Managing accounts
  12. Managing sales portfolio
  13. Developing a customer pipeline

Sometimes a sales coach can provide perspective and tools to organize, prioritize, and help strengthen these selling areas. Sales coaches can be a resource in brainstorming techniques in specific sales situations and markets. They can help you self-assess your impact and work as a partner toward improving skills while providing a non-biased and safe relationship. Dial in your sales success by investing in a sales coach.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, sales, and business 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 her website at

Negotiation: What Questions Are You Asking? And Why?


I’m a business, sales, and leadership coach, so I ask a lot of questions. Why? Because it’s my profession, and I get paid to ask questions. In all seriousness, I find people spend more time assuming, telling, and trying to convince as opposed to asking the right questions. You might ask, “Would you tell me more?” If so, you’re now getting the hang of it.

What do questions have to do with good negotiating? Their value is delivered in the answers, the insights and information, the other person shares that helps your negotiation strategy.

What are good questions to ask? There are different types appropriate for different stages of the negotiating process. General open-ended questions give you valuable information, because they allow the other party to express his or her opinions.

  1. What’s been your experience with…[insert product, service, supplier, etc.]?
  2. What do you think of…?
  3. How do you feel about…?

Depending on the answers, you may follow with more direct questions to pinpoint specific information such as dates, money, etc. These questions may include:

  1. Who is involved in the decision-making process?
  2. When will the decision be made?
  3. What budget range did you have for this project?

The conversation can be brought full circle when you use paraphrasing questions that help ensure agreement in your understanding.

  1. You believe you could decide by [insert date], if I provide the product specifications and price by [insert date]?
  2. You could issue a purchase order, if our price proposal was in the [insert price range]?
  3. You believe the product will work in this application, if we can get it to [insert performance criteria]?

Questions are powerful tools to help the negotiating process move forward. I’ve observed some salespeople make a pitch, pause, and wait for the customer to say something without a question even being asked.

If asking questions is not one of your refined skills or in your comfort zone, try practicing in other areas of your life and let it carry over into your work. Go to a party, introduce yourself to people you don’t know, and make a point to ask questions. Use the 80/20 rule. Use 80% of your words for asking questions and only 20% for answering someone else’s questions.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business 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 her website at