A NOTICING MIND-SET

The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See by Max H. Bazerman is fantastic book. Below is an excerpt from the book about leadership and first-class noticers.

A NOTICING MIND-SETThe Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See

Before reading further, try to remember a crisis that surprised you or your organization. (Stop and really do this.) Now imagine that you are telling a close friend, someone from outside the organization, the story of that crisis: what happened, who did what, and what resulted. Your friend’s response would very likely be “Why didn’t anyone see that coming?” Keeping in mind the actual crisis, think through what your answer would be. (Again, please actually do this before reading ahead. Even better, write your answer on a piece of paper.)

Was your response something like one of the following?

  • No one could have predicted what happened.
  • The odds of its happening were so low that it didn’t seem worthy of consideration.
  • It wasn’t my job to see the warning signs.
  • There are so many possible crises at any given moment that we couldn’t reasonably have known that this was the one that would get us.

Or was your response something more like one of these?

  • I didn’t examine what threats were confronting our organization.
  • I didn’t think about how other parties could affect our organization.
  • I didn’t ask others about what data were missing.
  • I didn’t search hard enough for more options for my organization to consider.

Do you see the difference between the two lists? The first consists of external attributions. These explanations focus on factors outside your control; the problem was the situation, not you. In contrast, the second group consists of internal attributions for the failure, things you realize you could have done better. Most crises are due to both internal and external causes: you and the organization were in a tough environment fraught with unfortunate and surprising conditions, and you and your colleagues didn’t anticipate and manage the crisis as well as you could have.

A well-established social science research finding is that when we think of our successes, we tend to come up with internal attributions. We focus on what we did right to affect the ultimate result. By contrast, when we think of our failures, we tend to come up with external attributions; we blame others, the context, or circumstances beyond our control.” Executives who have a fantastic year often take personal credit for their success, or if they are more generous, they credit their management team. But executives who suffer severe setbacks are quick to attribute these results to economic conditions, market trends, or government interventions.

First-class noticers, however, are more consistent. Even when failures occur, they focus on what they did and, more important, on what they could do differently in the future. As a result, they avoid repeating their mistakes. It is this focus on self-improvement that allows us to learn from experience and develop the tendencies needed to become first-class noticers.

Forrester: B2B Customer Experience Is Grounded In Collaborative Relationships

TJ Keitt wrote a blog post on Forrester. Do you have a strong customer base to effectively collaborate with your customers?

B2B Customer Experience Is Grounded In Collaborative Relationships

Posted by TJ Keitt on April 10, 2015

On a recent podcast with my colleagues Deanna Laufer and Sam Stern, I was asked about the difference between business-to-consumer () and business-to-business () customer experience (). My answer is what I believe is the problem that vexes professionals trying to establish programs in firms: In a given account there isn’t one “customer”; there are many stakeholders whose interactions with the firm must help them be successful in their work. This puts stress on the organization — how do you coordinate these many experiences to ensure each of these stakeholders gets the value they seek from the firm?

In my report Customer Collaboration Powers Customer Experience, I propose the path to solving this problem starts with professionals embracing the concept of customer collaboration. We define this as the reciprocal exchange of valuable insights and information between a vendor and its client stakeholders. Done correctly, this is a continuous set of interactions that happens throughout the account’s life, as the picture below illustrates.

Forrester B2B

Now some of you may be saying to yourselves that your business is purely transactional and your clients aren’t seeking this type of relationship. I would argue that those transactions won’t be satisfactory for your clients if you don’t develop relationships that help you tune them. For example, CDW revamped its customer feedback surveys, ensuring that more clients had the opportunity to give their perspective on their interactions with the value-added reseller. In so doing, they were able to gather leads for potential upsells or cross-sales. Others of you may argue that your customer bases are too large or too disintermediated by partners to do this consistently. Here I would argue that this is where a strong CX ecosystem can help you effectively collaborate with your customers.

In the report, we state that there are two ways to effect collaborative relationships:

  1. Facilitate collaboration between customers and partners.
  2. Participate in a collaborative network with partners and customers.

In the former condition, B2B CX organizations create environments that allow for customers to help each other or for partners to provide those valuable insights. For example, Rackspace Support Network — an online community the company operates — provides a venue for over 5,000 enterprise technologists to discuss amongst themselves issues with Rackspace’s technology, as well as helping each other find solutions. The result? A 50% reduction in over-the-phone support calls, as well as substantial reductions in trouble-ticket submissions and online chat sessions.

In the latter scenario, B2B CX organizations carefully select high-value customers and partners to work with directly. For example, file synchronization and sharing service provider Box’s customer success organization rolls out new features and functions to those accounts that have agreed to help the cloud services provider test, iterate on and verify the efficacy of these new capabilities.

In either case, a company will only be successful if they’ve built a network of partners and customers who trust the company enough and feel there is enough value for them to share insights with the company or each other. The question now, though, is how B2B CX pros help their organizations decide when to simply facilitate collaboration and when to participate in the collaborative network. And this leads to the next logical area of investigation in our B2B CX research: Who is the “customer” B2B CX organizations must focus on?

B2B CX organizations must understand which stakeholders in their accounts carry the most influence over the ultimate disposition of the account (i.e. whether the client renews at a higher, similar or lower level) and at which stage of the account’s lifecycle they play the biggest role. Our work here will help CX pros understand how to:

  1. Identify the consequential parts of the account lifecycle
  2. Find the key influencers (visible and hidden) at each point in that lifecycle
  3. Build a CX organization to address the needs of these key people
  4. Work with the CX ecosystem to care for the rest of the stakeholders

If you would like to participate in this next iteration of this research, feel free to reach out to me. And if you have thoughts you’d like to share about customer collaboration, please share them in the comments section below.

Mindfulness and Leadership: Three Easy Ways to Be a Better Leader

Originally posted on Blanchard LeaderChat:

zen stone garden round stone and raked sand making line patterns In the world of coaching, we’ve long practiced and shared the concepts of mindfulness with clients because we’ve seen and felt the results. Mindfulness as it’s practiced as a part of leadership development can take many forms, from something as simple as NOT multitasking or as intentional as active listening, or regulating self-talk.

So, how does mindfulness make you a better leader? Let me give you an example.

I work with a client who is very intense. She’s heading quickly to the top of her organizational structure and is the heir apparent. She is super busy and rarely sleeps more than five hours a night. A few weeks ago she commented that she was having trouble focusing on so many things at once and has been reacting rather than carefully responding to situations around her. Her edge was slipping. She wanted a way to adjust, change, and retool her leadership capacity…

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P501: The Art of Pinging

I attended The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) Spring Meeting & Legislative Conference last week. I had a wonderful time at the conference. Below is a blog post from Productivity501. This post will help me to keep in contact with everyone I met at the conference. Evernote is also a good way to keep track of your contacts and their interests.

The Art of Pinging
networking group

In this article we are going to talk about networking. Specifically, we want to look at how to “ping” people. I believe the term “ping” comes from the excellent book Never Eat Alone. A ping is defined as a small action that keeps the relationship with someone in your network alive. First let’s talk about the benefits of pinging your network of contacts, then we’ll look at how to actually do it.

Benefits of Pinging

Our brains organize information in a very efficient way. Imagine that our memories are a bunch of envelopes in a pile. The size of the envelope corresponds to the emotion associated with that memory. So you can easily retrieve the memory of your first kiss no matter how long it has been since you last thought about it because it is in a very large envelope. On the other hand, you may not be able to remember your college dorm room number after a decade because it is in a much smaller envelope.

Every time a memory is accessed, that envelope gets put on the top of the pile. It isn’t too hard to remember your departing gate number for 15 minutes after looking it up on the screen in the airport, but you may have a very difficult time remembering your parking space number after returning from a two-week trip. (There is an organization system like this called the Noguchi filing system.)

When it comes to your network of contacts, you want your name to be easy to remember. Since it is easiest to remember things that are emotional or recent, you have two options to make your name memorable. Saving someone’s life is going to be a very emotional experience, but obviously it isn’t very practical to try to save the life or have your life saved by everyone in your address book. There are other ways of creating emotional experiences, but they either don’t scale, have inappropriate side effects, have significant risk, or will make you well remembered, but not in a positive way.

That leaves us with trying to be memorable by being recent. So how do we do this?

How to Ping

You “ping” people by making some type of contact with them. It doesn’t necessarily mean having a four hour conversation–just a brief “how are you doing” or “I was thinking about you today.” It can be as simple as sending them a text message saying “happy birthday” or calling them up when you have a layover in their city just to say you were in town for 15 minutes, thought about them and wanted to know how they were doing.

Here are some tips for pinging your contacts:

  • Send a newspaper/magazine clipping on topics they find interesting with a handwritten note.
  • Call them up on their birthday and sing happy birthday to them.
  • Send them a text message when their favorite team wins or loses.
  • Send birthday cards.
  • Leave them a voice mail with a bit of info you learned that they might be interested in knowing.
  • Occasionally send an email with a link to something they would find useful.
  • If they blog, leave a message on their website.
  • Write a recommendation for them on Linked In.
  • Comment on their posts on G+, Twitter, Facebook or wherever they interact online.
  • Send them something through the mail. It could be a matchbox version of a car you know they want/have/had or a photograph of their hometown.

If you look back through that list, you’ll notice that the recurring theme is to do something that shows you know who they are and what they like. You are trying to do simple things that show you know their birthday, know their interests, read their blog, etc. Pinging is a matter of doing those little things that say “you are important.” Obviously you don’t want to be annoying, but making a conscious effort to ping all of your contacts 3 to 10 times a year can go a long ways toward making sure that you stay in people’s memory and keep your marketability high.

Infectious Thought Germs Will Anger You

Originally posted on Why Lead Now:

Looking past the viral-oriented nature of this video, the main concept presented is critical for leadership. Thoughts, when attached to emotions other than sadness, generally have higher “infection” rates.

Thus, it is important to generate more emotion (hopefully positive and not anger-inducing) around messages that you want your direct reports to remember or share. It seems idea is lost at times in the data-driven world of today, where it’s more important to get across the numbers and metrics than it is to tell a story.

So communicate with feeling and generate positive emotions in your direct reports. Make the topic relevant to them. They will be more receptive to your messages and will remember them better. Let’s infect the world with the good germs to promote healthy thoughts.

Just don’t anger them… or you may end up on the wrong side of a thought germ!

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How to Build ROPE Teams in Sales Organizations

How to Build ROPE Teams in Sales Organizations.

This is a post by Susan Ershler co-author of Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales.

Neil Armstrong’s historic step onto the lunar surface was not his achievement alone, but the result of decades of effort by a team of thousands. In this, as in most complex human endeavors, teams outperform individuals.

Teams have also played a central role in my life by ensuring that I received the support needed to achieve two cherished goals: leading sales organizations at several of the nation’s largest technology firms and climbing the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Along the way, I learned a great deal about team development and leadership. I saw that successful leaders compensate for their personal shortcomings by recruiting team members with complementary skills and temperaments. I observed how they motivated and inspired their teams to achieve something ambitious and meaningful. And then I put those lessons to work in my own business and climbing careers.

One of the most critical lessons I learned from climbing mountains and the corporate ladder is that every member of a well-constructed sales team should have a specific role, skillset, and set of responsibilities that aligns with the exigencies of the business being pursued. Equally important, each member should meet the essential “ROPE” criteria I developed over decades of climbing. In other words, they should be:

• Reliable and Responsible
• Opportunity-driven and Organized
• Professional and Practical
• Enthusiastic and Expert

Inside ROPE Teams

As a sales leader, I was responsible for assembling both “Inside” and “Outside” ROPE teams. Our Inside ROPE teams were comprised of colleagues in our company’s marketing, accounting, finance, engineering, support, purchasing, and other functional units. I knew I would need their cooperation and support in order to successfully orchestrate a complex, months-long sales campaign.

Inside ROPE teams provide another important benefit. In most companies today, employees are under constant pressure to do more with less. They may feel overburdened and resistant to shouldering new responsibilities. But the members of your team will be much more likely to go the extra mile if you demonstrate a sincere commitment to helping them succeed in their own careers. Once motivated in this way, your Inside ROPE team members will become invaluable assets in helping you to compete successfully for the scarce company resources you’ll need to bring a long and arduous sales campaign to a successful conclusion.

Outside ROPE Teams

Outside ROPE teams are equally essential to the success of any campaign. To recruit these team members, you’ll want to reach outside your company to forge mutually-beneficial relationships with industry experts, business executives, and other community leaders who can help you expand your industry knowledge, stay abreast of emerging business and technology trends, and secure personal referrals to new prospects. Your Outside ROPE team will play an essential role in helping you find and close business.

Keep in mind that Inside and Outside ROPE teams cannot be assembled instantaneously. They must be cultivated over time, using the same strategies you apply to nurture new client relationships. First, you’ll need to identify the most viable prospects, learn what motivates them, and help them become successful. Then, you’ll have to set specific team-building goals and track your progress.

Generally speaking, it’s easier to recruit Inside ROPE team members since you’ll be drawing from a limited pool of fellow employees and will have more opportunities for face-to-face interactions. However, you can create ongoing opportunities to build your Outside ROPE teams by networking with members of your local civic or business communities. Kemper Freeman, CEO of Kemper Development Corporation, for example, has been an active member of the Rotary Club for decades.

Finally, as a leader, it will be your responsibility to ensure that your relationship with every member of your Inside and Outside ROPE teams is positive and mutually beneficial. After completing a successful sales campaign, for example, I made sure to inform our executive leadership team about the contributions each of our Inside ROPE team members made to our collective success. I was also careful to fulfill every commitment I made to members of our Outside ROPE teams and to proactively pursue opportunities to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

By effectively leading your Inside and Outside ROPE teams, you will build enduring communities that will sustain you throughout your career. Kemper Freeman said it best: “My entire life, I’ve lived by the principle that building a community is one of life’s greatest rewards. To me, building a community means working together, understanding each other, and creating opportunities that are mutually beneficial for everyone.”

* * *
Susan Ershler is co-author of Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: From Everest to Every Business, which illustrates the principles that lead to high achievement with anecdotes drawn from her sales and climbing careers. In 2002, she and her husband, Phil, became the first couple in history to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. Today, Susan is a renowned keynote speaker, inspiring business professionals to push past perceived boundaries to achieve their most ambitious dreams and helping Fortune 500 companies transform their sales organizations into dynamic forces for revenue growth. For more information, visit her web site: Reaching New Heights

Improving Your Motivation: Seven Important Considerations

Originally posted on Blanchard LeaderChat:

MotivationA new article in Costco Connection, Improve Your Motivation, highlights Susan Fowler’s new book, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … And What Does, and points out an important fact about motivation—it’s an inside-out proposition.

The article summarizes some of the key takeaways from the book, and shares important concepts for individuals and leaders to consider when evaluating their own motivation—or when they are trying to help others with theirs.

  1. Recognize that each of us is already motivated—it just the quality of our motivation that might be a problem. Some forms of motivation are sustainable, satisfying, and promote well-being while others don’t.  Fowler explains that leaders need to ask why people are motivated to do what’s been asked of them.  Otherwise we end up with well known examples such as the young student who hates law school because of the pressure his parents put on him to succeed.

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