Cracking the Strategic Planning Code – Ideas from the Experts

By Larry Cassidy, Marc Emmer, Diana Ho, Brian Oken, Steve Phillips & Paul David Walker

When the topic of strategic planning comes up, some individuals get very excited about the planning process while others consider it just a waste of time. With so many different styles and approaches, we thought that we’d ask a number of experts for how they approach this topic and the top three key points to think about before your next strategic planning meeting.Team activity

Larry Cassidy

Strategic Conversation

My view of so-called “strategic planning” is that today it is less an event and more an ongoing conversation. The most effective organizations are evolving, and for me that moves viable strategic thinking away from being an annual event and toward an ongoing conversation.

The idea that we can somehow nail down where and how things are (and, projected, where and how they will be into the future), and then craft a lasting response, is ineffective. The world in which we operate is constantly changing; thus, we too must participate in that same game, which requires a continuing and continuous conversation.

As that applies to crafting strategy, I recommend frequent sessions in which the “team” comes together to discuss the future. For each session, step one is to identify the most important questions which must be answered; step two is to arrive at agreement on the answers; and, step three is to define action steps based on those answers (what, why, who, how, when, resources and milestones). As you prep for these ongoing sessions, consider:

  1. Inviting more of, rather than less of, your management and supervisory team. Interesting ideas often come from the “less likely” participants. And participation invites a sense of “ownership.”
  2. Requesting from the attendees, in advance, the questions they feel are the most important to the firm’s future. You may be surprised at what you get.
  3. Building each session around a few key questions, using multiple breakout groups to discuss each question, and mixing people and functions within breakout groups for each topic discussion (thus creating fresh energy and different chemistry around each question).
  4. And, inviting a few key outsiders to participate in each session (good strategic thinkers, creative types, folks who will challenge and “stir the pot”). You will find their input tends to raise the bar for those on your team.

Marc Emmer

Strategic Planning: The Entrepreneurs Dilemma

There is one thing that almost all entrepreneurs have in common; they want to grow. Yet determining where and how to grow can prove elusive, even to the most savvy strategists.

Which wayOften, management teams face gut wrenching strategic choices. While growing a core business incrementally offers a high probability of success, companies with a singular focus are subject to concentration risk that inhibits enterprise value. The more the company grows, the bigger the problem becomes. A diversification strategy reduces concentration, but growth far afield from one’s core competency, increases the probability of failure.

Often, entrepreneurial companies also lack the talent to focus on transformational business model innovations that could drive competitive advantage. Unfortunately, many companies create a 12 month forecast within their core business, and pass it off as a strategic plan. A well thought out vision balances the short term and the long term and clarifies the company’s value proposition and strategic priorities.

Here are some success factors to consider before engaging in strategic planning:

  1. Market Analysis-A thoughtful review of trends in the industry that will impact future demand.
  2. A level of preparedness on the part of the participants so that they are in a position to make fact-based strategic decisions.
  3. A process that enables execution on strategic objectives.

As we approach the time of year when many companies formalize their business strategies, it is important to structure a framework that ensures that management takes the time to think, both about the core business and potential disruption. Great companies weave strategic thinking into their management DNA and then convert strategies into actionable measurable tactics that drive results.

Diana Ho

The Art of Strategic Planning

Strategic planning has fallen in and out of favor numerous times since my earliest days as a planning facilitator. While my experience base and process toolbox has grown over the years, so has my “beginners mind.” Rather than bringing a methodology that works for all, I approach each planning engagement as a blank slate, pay attention, listen deeply and design each process based upon the unique characteristics of the client organization.team mtg

Every organization has a strategic plan whether they know it or not. The opportunities embedded in a “strategic planning process” include a) making the plan explicit, b) aligning expectations, c) leveraging resources and d) building a skilled planning- and accountability-minded team. The process of planning is equally as important, if not MORE important, than the resulting “plan;” and the effectiveness of any planning process is directly correlated to the extent that it is aligned with the leadership/power structure of the organization. So design the process well, Grasshopper!

When considering external resources, decide where your needs lie along the continuum of “expert” (who will tell you what your process and strategy ought to be) and “facilitator” (who will leverage your organizational resources, ask questions, provide options, build capacity and hold your feet to the fire).

Three things to consider before having a strategic planning meeting:

  1. What is the organizational “appetite” for planning; should we be thinking in terms of a “planning meeting” or a “planning process and mindset?”
  2. Who needs to be at the table?
  3. What are the organizational and personal rewards and consequences for planning or not planning?

Brian Oken

Strategic Planning for the Rest of Us

If you’re like most of us, you’re leading a small to medium-sized business with limited resources, no time and a million things you need to get done. To get the best results, I believe you should narrow your focus, engage your team and make your efforts count.

But before you proceed with any group planning activities, you should:

  1. Be clear about what you want for your business. Do you want to grow market share, sell in the near future, build a legacy…?
  2. Have a competent management team in place.
  3. Decide whether you’re going to use an outside facilitator or Do-It-Yourself.

Here’s my approach to strategic planning:

Be focused and realistic. It’s impossible for any group to successfully accomplish more than 1 or 2 strategic goals a year because of all the associated projects and tasks. If you global-teamtry to do too many things at once, it will dilute your focus and compromise your results. Remember, you want to actually achieve these goals.

Generating great financial results is a team effort. Your plan and strategy (and the reasons for them) must be presented in such a way that everyone in your company can easily understand them. The plan must also connect daily activities to company goals. This is the only way your employees will feel connected to your overall vision. People need feedback and need to know their efforts are making a difference. Be transparent about your results and celebrate your successes!

Implementing a strategic plan is a methodical approach and an ongoing process to help you and your team work smarter and get better results. But in order for this to happen, your plan must drive the agenda of your staff meetings and be referenced and updated on a regular basis. Once you see how an effective plan can help you achieve your goals, I doubt you will ever operate without one again.

Steve Phillips

The Strategic Planning Meeting – Turbo charge your approach!

Strategic planning is by its nature, time consuming and hard! Assessing the environment and the company and then positioning and aligning resources takes tons of effort. So much effort that many Fortune 500 companies just don’t do a good job. And… it’s these companies that rarely hit their potential. But true strategic planning, (like what McKinsey or BCG does) can easily cost $1M or more. So what is the answer? How does a company do great planning at a small fraction of the cost? I think a turbo charged approach meets most everyone’s needs. It’s quick, uses your best people, gets everyone bought in to the implementation of the plan, builds-in an accountability system, and gets it mostly right. Think of it as a leveraged approach.

So what is the process for a turbo charged approach? It’s easy! I find it most useful to use a third party (not the CEO) to organize the process, collect and analyze the data, set the objectives and outcomes for the meeting (with the CEO) design the agenda, and to facilitate the meeting. In this way, people can do their work and the third party can do all the leg work. Then when it’s most important, everyone can meet and use their time together wisely.

So how to approach turbo charged strategic planning?

  1. Pick a third party to organize and drive the process. It can be a senior level consultant (like me 🙂 ) or an internal specialist but it should not be the CEO or President. They have much better things to do than the leg work that it will take to make the meeting effective.
  2. Collect valid data. Some folks like to collect both external data and internal data but some are fine with just picking the brains of their top folks on what we really need to do next to be most successful. (Remember, this is a leveraged “turbo charged” approach). I suggest the third party personally interview participants for about 60 minutes each. This should be plenty of time to assess what should be done next year.
  3. Create a specific and detailed agenda based upon what you learned from your data analysis. This should also include the specific outcomes and objectives for theteam lightbulb meeting and detailed agenda items. Too many times people just put topics on the agenda without ever fully considering: the type of item, the champion of the item, the outcome of the item, the process for the item, the time line for the item, the pre-work needed to be ready to efficiently use time, etc. Creating a great agenda is an art and time consuming. There are many considerations and it often takes much longer than anyone expects but when done right, huge amounts get accomplished in the meeting seamlessly and the group actually enjoys the process (and if I have my way, walk out of the room a more effective team. See #5).
  4. Use a professional facilitator for the meeting. I am not just saying this because I am one. I am saying it because it works a thousand times better than not having one! I would much prefer to be maximizing everyone’s time and using each person’s brain in the room rather than have one of those folks worrying about lunch, the air conditioning or making sure the conversation stays on point. A pro will pay for themselves a hundred times over.
  5. Use the strategic planning meeting to tune up your team. There is no question that teams outperform groups of individuals on complex tasks about 99% of the time. It used to be that we did “teambuilding”. Now I find the best way to build your team is while they are working on a real project. A professional will know how to do this seamlessly and effectively and at the same time you are setting up your plans for the future. It’s a win win win win. Better strategy, alignment, direction, and teamwork!
  6. Do quarterly follow-ups to create a built-in accountability system, adjust the plan as needed, speed up the team, and continue to develop toward high performance. It only takes about 4 hours for the quarterly meeting to meet its objectives but most groups try to leverage or maximize their precious little time together. High performing teams will rotate who is in charge of each meeting and give them total freedom to run the session where and when and how they see fit. They can be at client sites, hotels, new offices, wherever will work for the theme of the day. Most groups put in place a ¾ day or all day quarterly meeting and use the extra time to develop everyone, either with team building, leadership development, site tours, or expert panels or guest speakers. It is a day everyone looks forward to. And then once a year, usually 4th Q, we do a longer retreat to close the year formally and kick off the next, all in alignment with the executive committee and shareholders meetings.

So there you have it. A leveraged approach to your strategic planning. Pick a third party to run the process, collect and analyze data, create a specific and detailed agenda, hire a professional facilitator to run the meeting, and create a built-in accountability system that ensures people stay on track and in alignment. This process works like crazy, takes very little time, is not terribly expensive, uses your people where they are best and does not waste their time. It creates ownership and buy-in, decreases resistance and makes full implementation almost assured, creates strategic alignment, builds your team and helps them to achieve and stay at high performance. It gives you a full opportunity to participate as a leader, makes everyone smarter and leaves your organization aligned, agile, collaborative, and highly productive.

Paul David Walker

Understand Present Reality

There are flows of intelligence that manifest as multidimensional streams of cause and effect at every level of life. These flows have momentum and move forward with or without you. In business these flows are formed by market wants and needs. As you consider your business strategy, it is important to understand these flows and position your window of opportunitycompany to use these flows, like a surfer at the sweet spot of a wave, to move forward accurately. It is pointless to try to swim against the current. As you ride these flows forward you will be able to see opportunities as they emerge before your competitors. The objective is to find emerging trends that lead to a window of opportunity, as we do with our clients illustrated here.

The Right Plan For You

It is dangerous to develop a strategic plan that does not take into account your companies true capabilities. If a surfer chooses a wave that is too big for their skills they will be drowned or seriously hurt, the same is true of a company. It does not serve well to develop a business strategy that requires more resources, talent, or momentum than the company can realistically achieve. Find a place in the flow of your market that acerbates you, not one that will drown you and your company. Once you succeed and gain power and skill, develop a bigger plan.

Explosive Targeted Actions

After understanding your place in market trends, build a simple focused strategic plan. Then eliminate all activities that do not support that plan. Make sure every executive understands that this is not a drill. It is a road map for all actions. Paint a compelling picture of the outcomes at every stage in your plan and develop the courage to act. Teams with clear missions, a sense of urgency, the stillness of a master, and explosive targeted actions are the ones that will win in the 21st century. Those that hesitate will lose. To summarize:

  1. Understand present realitytarget road
  2. Develop the right plan for you, not a grandiose fantasy
  3. Commit to explosive targeted actions

 

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Larry Cassidy has been a Group Chair with Vistage International (formerly TEC International) for over 27 years. He currently works monthly with more than 50 Southern California executives, in three chief executive groups and one group of key executives, regarding all aspects of their businesses. Larry can be reached at hndicapper@gmail.com and 714-460-3090.

Marc Emmer is President of Optimize Inc. a management consulting firm specializing in strategic planning. Marc is the author of Intended Consequences, Design the Future you Wish to Create. Marc can be reached at marc@optimizeinc.net or at 661-296-2568.

Diana L. Ho is a seasoned facilitator/executive coach, percussionist, book-binder and kick-ass project manager. She began her career in retail merchandising and was Vice President and division head in a Los Angeles management consulting firm before founding Management Arts in 1995. Contact her at DianaHo@ManagementArts.com or 310-475-6563.

Brian Oken has a 20 year track record as a successful President/CEO, having effectively guided organizations through aggressive revenue growth to sustained profitability. Throughout his career, he has been involved in managing, operating and strategically positioning companies in the public and private/family sectors. He is well known for improving the profitability of organizations while also creating great places to work. Prior to opening his own firm, Brian spent two decades running manufacturing and service based businesses as President and CEO. His accomplishments include significantly growing income and cash, being listed on the Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing company list, engaging in international strategic alliances and the launching of numerous successful new products. CEOs, Presidents and business owners call on Brian as a trusted advisor to help grow their companies, make better decisions with greater returns and create the highest performing workplace cultures. Brian can be reached at boken@informalcowboy.com or 310-466-2804.

Steven Phillips, Ph.D., Founder and CEO. In his relentless effort to deliver uncommon results, Dr. Steven L. Phillips has built an enviable reputation for his senior team consulting service that focuses on results-driven off-sites for senior leadership, strategic planning, and executive leadership. Dr. Phillips has helped thousands of individuals and organizations establish new levels of teamwork, transformation, and performance, all specifically targeted toward bottom-line results. Dr. Phillips has extensive experience as an Organization Development professional. For many years he served as a SVP Chief Talent Officer for a privately held 1B company with 10,000 employees. As a consultant, he has worked with Senior Executives at Microsoft, PepsiCo, Viacom, Mattel, Boeing, and many others, helping individuals, teams, and entire organizations successfully implement change. Steve also works one-on-one with Presidents and CEOs helping them strategize for powerful and successful leadership. Additionally, Dr. Phillips creates customized team development activities for executive teams designed specifically to shorten cycle time to high performance. Dr. Phillips’ best-selling books are used in corporations throughout the world. His latest book, The Senior Leadership Off-site Playbook, is soon to be released. Steven can be reached at sphillips@phillipsassociates.net or 310-456-3532.

Paul David Walker, Founder & CEO of Genius Stone Partners was part of building the first leadership firm to align Strategy, Structure and Culture, and has been a business leadership adviser to the CEO’s of Fortune 500 and midsize companies for over 25 years. He is the author of Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams and Corporations, two other books, and will publish a new book called Invent Your Future. He has succeeded by unleashing the genius of the people around him and is known to be a visionary leader and master of collaboration. Paul can be reached at pauldavidwalker@geniusstone.com or 562-233-7861.

 

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance
Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant.  We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz?
Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

 

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Are You Over Networked and Don’t Know It?

By Marc Stein

Recently, it seems that professional networking has hit a new state of frenzy. Many of our professional colleagues are scrambling to participate in every professional, charitable, or political networking events and related venues under the sun… and the whole experience has an eerie family tall biz peopleresemblance to the stock market rush of the late 90s.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong evangelist of getting involved and believe it necessary for successful rainmaking but what is the reason of participation? If it is to build your business through referrals, a more concise networking plan may be appropriate as a part of your overall business development program.

Building Your Personal Networking Strategy

Each of us has a slightly different agenda for networking but most include building our businesses and expanding professional resources. So, with that precise end in mind, let’s build a plan of action.

First, identify the target client that you are most interested in; the more specific you can be the better. This is by far the most important aspect to building your plan.

This will drive many decisions you will need to make. For instance, would you like to meet clients that you would like to attract or the professionals that serve them or both?

Successful networking can be achieved at the end user or advisor level but for ROI purposes, we recommend concentrating on peer-to-peer networking first and direct to consumer as a distant second.

Remember, referrals from other trusted advisors are 100 times more likely to end in engagement. Direct client networking is good for personal branding and identity to go deep in a particular industry but not the best investment for generating new business.

Decide what peer groups can get you further faster and let the others go. Concentrate on going deeper with your target groups and politely ignore the others.

Networking Tips for Reluctant Professionals

When meeting other professionals for the first time, simply ask what the other person does. This is an incredible icebreaker even for the shy or introverted. People like talking about themselves and are very focused on sharing their own information. Actively listen for any cues that he or she may be of assistance to any of your clients, if not simply share your elevator speech that you developed from the Professional Rainmaking without Selling program. Of course, you should be prepared if they inquire first.

connectionIf it turns out that there is an obvious mismatch, ask them if they know anyone at the event that serves the same clientele that you do. If they do, ask them if they would introduce you. If not, thank them and move on.

Being the author and unabashed activist of Professional Rainmaking without Selling or marketing, I believe the best and most consistent business comes from peer-to-peer referrals. Be extremely mindful of where you invest your time, energy and money, otherwise you may find yourself over networked as well as over worked.  Happy Networking!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Effective Business Networking

By Barry Carlin

We go to business events to make contacts to enhance our business.  With appropriate preparation and technique, even a shy person can be successful and have some fun in the process.  These tips are from a book by Susan Roane: How To Work A Room, and things that I have learned from friends, colleagues and the best teacher of all…my own mistakes.lightbulb people

Pre-Event Preparation – Have:

♦ Plenty of business cards and give them out to all that you meet.
♦ A pen
♦ 3 pieces of small talk: kids, weather, news, sports,etc. If it fits your personality, a short, clean joke. Avoid politics and religion.
♦ Prepare and practice a 10 & 60 second “self introduction”:
– Upbeat & positive
– Who you are.
– What you do & what benefits you supply.
– Why your service/product is unique or special.
– Go from the least to the most important facts.
– What is a good referral for you.
♦ Dress professionally.
♦ Place a neat, easy to read, nametag on the right so it can be seen as you shake hands.
♦ Work out with a buddy: To introduce each other and their business and a rescue signal to get out of a situation.

At The Event:

♦ Arrive on time
♦ Check out where everything is so you can assist others
♦ Say hello to friends and the host
♦ If you forget a name, state yours and ask theirs again with humor “I don’t have all-zheimers, I’m told I have half-heimers” or “I guess I’m getting old”
♦ Act like a host, show interest in others
♦ Have a positive attitude and smile
♦ Walk away from people with negative behavior
♦ Focus on the benefits of the event and the organization
♦ Have a good handshake: not too limp or too hard, not “the 2 handed pump”
♦ When talking: make eye contact, listen attentively, do not be looking around the room
♦ Make strangers & people by themselves feel comfortable

Making Contacts at the Event

Have the courage to take risks.  Approach people!  Everyone is there to make business contacts and they will appreciate the chance to talk about their business.

Be direct, ask people what they want to be asked!!!  Hello, my name is_____________.

♦ What is your business? (listen attentively)
♦ Ask questions to clarify and show an interest
♦ Where are you located?
♦ May I have your card?
♦ What would be a good referral for you?
♦ Let them see you write something on the back of their card
♦ If you genuinely have an interest in doing business with them or referring to them, let them know (make sure to follow thru)
♦ Pause with eye contact and a smile. 95% of the time they will ask about your business. If not “May I tell you about my business”?
– Hand them your card
– Do your 10 or 60 second “Self Intro”
– Let them know what type of referrals you are looking for
– Follow thru with promises to get or give information
– Offer to introduce them to someone that can help their business, at the event or elsewhere….seek ways to refer business to others.
♦ Set up light meetings (lunch, coffee or at work) with anyone you may be able to do business with. Do not try to close business at the event.
♦ Do not spend too much time with any one person, you are there to make contacts. To extricate yourself: “Excuse me, it was nice meeting you. I will speak to you (or see you) at________, or I look forward to seeing you again. There are several people I promised to meet with at this event.”

After the Event

♦ Send a hand written note to everyone that you met. “Hello, I am ______, we met at _____. I look forward to … “ yada, yada, yada.
♦ Follow thru with all promises in a timely manner.

Things to Avoid

♦ Pigging out at the buffet
♦ Monopolizing conversation or interrupting others when speakingaround the world
♦ Being too loud
♦ Hard sell of your product or service
♦ Complaining or criticizing
♦ Getting drunk
♦ Negative people
♦ Behavior or jokes that are sexually suggestive

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dr. Barry Carlin, the founder and director of Best Performance Systems, has been involved with performance enhancement and injury prevention and reduction since 1987. Dr. Carlin has taught seminars and trained hundreds of companies throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. Dr. Barry Carlin was chosen to be a featured speaker on Workplace Ergonomics at the recent National Ergonomics Conference in Las Vegas. His topic was “An Integrated Approach To Increase Productivity And Reduce Injuries 50-90%”. To contact Barry, call him at 888-306-0002 or 310-478-1234 , e-mail info@bestperformancesystems.com or visit his website, www.bestperformancesystems.com to receive a free report on how your employees and company can benefit.

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance –  Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Paying for Sales Results

By Karen Jorgensen

Sales is the easiest part of the business model to incentivize. Despite this apparent ease or maybe because of it, it doesn’t take much experience to see that sales is the business function that most decision makers incentivize poorly.

The dynamics of sales continue to change even faster than changing times. With a global economy, technological advances, business expansions and mergers, the sales biz man on dockfunction is constantly adapting to new ways of operation. Cell phones, point of sales computers and telemarketing improve the sales effort and require new ways of doing business.

The sales function does not operate as independently as in the past. In fact, the sales function must work in close relationship with customer service, market research, engineering and advertising. A good salesperson knows how to expedite products and has important relationships with the company.

Client/Customer relationships have become key to the sales function. The emphasis in many businesses has shifted to a relationship sell. The sales person must nurture relationships with existing customers who aren’t ordering at the same time he or she is working with the customers who are ordering.

How Do You Compensate Sales Performance?

Clearly stated objectives are critical to developing sales team compensation. Do you want the compensation plan to encourage increased volume, specific products, profitability, new business, relationships or retention? The objectives of a sales plan should change at least yearly based on market opportunities, competition, new products and technology. Prior to developing any sales team incentives, the objectives must be clearly identified and agreed upon by all key executives.

Pay philosophy must take into account the technical know-how of the sales personnel, as well as the difficulty of the sale, training and risk of the business. A small business or a start-up is going to be riskier for a salesperson. An unknown product from a new company is harder to sell.

Smaller companies with less established products tend to pay sales personnel higher base salaries. Bigger, more established firms have lower base pay. The lower pay of big companies is offset by training, benefits, promotional opportunities, a known product and service, and more perks.

Pay philosophy also must establish who is the sales team. What is the role of marketing, customer service, advertising or installation in the sales process? Are there non-sales functions that require time from the sales team, such as maintaining relationships, servicing accounts or providing technical information?

Individual sales goals create competition, not cooperation. A company needs to evaluate how much reward or incentive should be tied to the total team. The trend in most industries is toward more team-related sales incentives.

Simple Sales Goals

Competitive pay practices are an important factor in setting sales compensation. Researching what is happening in the industry, the expected average profits of other companies and predicted sales growth is very important.

biz woman watering plantIn designing sales incentives, sales personnel input can be very valuable. Discussing goals and expectations with sales personnel also can help overcome their resistance to change. Of all types of work teams, the sales function understands reward processes the best. These team members usually have excellent input into what needs to change, how measurements can be improved and what team expectations need to be rewarded.

A sales incentive questionnaire can be used to gather information from the sales force. This can be done one-on-one or in a focus group. All members of the sales team should participate.

When rolling out a new sales plan, we recommend the new plan be designed to be more lucrative if goals are met than the old plan. We also feel that if you obtain sales input during the research phase, the actual rollout and acceptance of the plan will be easier.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

JorgensenHR is a BestPRACTICES human resource solutions firm that helps clients create additional value in their business or organization through well-designed, customized human resources management solutions. These include our BestHRSolutions products and services for HR outsourcing, training, affirmative action, investigations, policies, compensation, recruitment, HR assessments, and We Want to Know Hotline. For more information, please contact Linda Harris at (661)600-2070, email her at lharris@jorgensenhr.com or visit the company website, http://jorgensenhr.com/

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

Would You Like Some Fries with That Sales Hire?

By Barry Deutsch

We’ve put over 25,000 hiring executives and managers through our Hire With Your Head workshop in the last 7-8 years. Our executive search firm has been involved in thousands of executive searches over the last 20 years. We’ve collected an impressive array of anecdotal and quantifiable data on the success and failure of hiring practices in many different companies. One of the most difficult hires for an entrepreneurial or middle-market company is either choosing an internal sales hire or picking an independent rep organization.bldg fries

The most interesting trend we continually observe is that hiring executives and managers often approach the hiring or selection process as though they were ordering fast food at the drive-through, particularly for sales hires. First they scan the menu to see what’s offered, then they pick the top three or four things they want. “I’ll take one MBA, with a BSME, a 3.5 GPA or better, and don’t forget three years of sales experience in the machine tool sector.” While ordering this way at local hamburger joint almost always produces exactly what you want, it doesn’t work nearly as well for hiring.

When I teach hiring executives and managers about the hiring or selection process, whether they are picking internal sales people or external reps, I always ask, “How many of you have ever hired a partially competent sales person?” The answer is frequently YES for a majority of the workshop participants. Why? Because the current process of defining what the hiring executive or manager is looking for is hopelessly flawed.

The typical hiring executive or manager, and in truth many recruiters, approach each new hiring assignment with a list of qualifications. This list becomes codified in the official job description which includes some level of education (an MBA from UCLA), some level of experience (three years of sales experience), and some core traits or characteristics (self-starter or good communicator). What they don’t tell you is what the person actually needs to DO in the job to be a superior performer. As it turns out, these lists of attributes are poor substitutes for superior performance.

For example, the typical job description for a sales rep position might include a list of criteria such as: MBA, five years sales experience in a particular industry, good product knowledge, an available “rolodex”, good organization skills and closing capability. Each of these descriptors focuses on the candidate HAVING certain skills or levels of experience. But the don’t say anything about what the candidate has been actually DOING. And it’s PAST PERFORMANCE, not past experience, that is THE BEST PREDICTOR OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE.

The next time you recruit for a new position, particularly in sales, try this first:

Take a list of the HAVING job criteria and convert it into a DOING-oriented statement, covering how you expect the candidate to actually perform.

When you take this approach, everything changes. Instead of asking in the interview, “Do you have five years of sales experience in our particular industry?” you can now ask something much more revealing: ” Can you give me an example where you joined a new company and had to come up to speed on their product offerings in an abbreviated timeframe, and where you had to quickly develop a plan in the first 30 days to meet quota. The answer to the second question will uncover true past performance faster — and much more accurately — than simply checking off a list of HAVING-oriented job criteria.

Taking the time to define superior performance allows you to focus on what a candidate has done in the past that is directly relevant to the job you are asking them to do for you.

Here are some hints to help you get started defining superior performance:

First, make a list of the top 5-8 things a person must DO to be successful in the job. These are called performance objectives, and could include some of the following key areas:

  • Management or Organizational Issues
  • Changes and Improvements you’d like to see implementedtreasure crest keys
  • Problems that might arise (or ones that already exist)
  • Technical Issues
  • Team and People Issues
  • Projects and Deliverables

Once you have a list of objective you need to prioritize them.

Focus only on major objectives and the interim steps necessary to achieve them. We call these S.M.A.R.T. objectives (S for Specific, M for Measurable, A for Action-oriented, R for Results, T for Time-based).  An example of a sales objective might be: Develop a plan of action within 60 days to increase sales by 15% at the top 20% of accounts within the Western Region within 12 months. Another objective might be: Be prepared within 30 days of start date to make a formal 30 minute Powerpoint presentation to your first major customer – create a fast-track learning process to fully understand the customer benefits of our equipment within the first 2 weeks.

Writing SMART objectives isn’t as easy as ordering fast food . It takes practice, some effort, and a little time. But it’s well worth the investment. Your definition of superior performance becomes the basis for writing great ads, assessing true competency during the interview, and courting the right candidates. And you’re hiring mistakes won’t have you reaching for the Tums so often in the middle of the night. 

Barry Deutsch, MA is a well-known thought leader in hiring and peak performance management. He is a frequent and sought-after speaker for management meetings, trade associations, and CEO forums, such as Vistage International, formerly known as TEC, a worldwide CEO membership organization of more than 15,000 CEOs and senior executives. Many of his clients view him as their virtual Chief Talent Officer. Vistage International named Barry “IMPACT Speaker of the Year”… Barry is also frequently asked to present IMPACT Hiring Solutions award-winning programs on hiring, retention, and motivating top talent and leverages a vast knowledge base of 25 years in the executive search field, with a track record of successful placements in multi-billion dollar Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial firms, and middle-market high-growth businesses. He has worked closely with thousands of CEOs and key executives to help improve hiring success, leverage human capital, and raise the bar on talent acquisition. Barry earned his BA and MA from the American University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his executive search career, Barry held positions of responsibility in Finance and General Management with Mattel, Beatrice Foods, and Westinghouse Cable. Barry is a co-author of the book, You’re Not The Person I Hired. You can reach him at barry@impacthiringsolutions.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article.  © 2014   

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

 

5 Tips for Making Smart Marketing Decisions

By Bob Hougland

Just about every business is impacted in some way during challenging times, but businesses often lack the wiggle room to adapt. Consider the following as you look at your own situation:

1. Don’t make hurried, short-term decisions.

In a financial crunch, businesses often slash or eliminate expenses for things they can “do without.” In most cases, this can prove to be a short-term action with detrimental long-term consequences. First, if it’s something you can truly do without, it’s not likely that you would have been paying for it all along. Second, if you cut or eliminate something just telescope teamto save money without considering the impact on your overall operations, you’re selling yourself short. Rather than drop anything completely, consider reducing your expenditures in several areas to achieve the necessary economy. Consider involving at least your key people, if not your entire staff, in discussion of economization. You may be surprised by some of the ideas they have, and you’ll help maintain morale if they understand your situation and are given the opportunity to kick in their thoughts.

2. Don’t try to take up all the slack.

Part of the entrepreneurial spirit is rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever needs to be done. That’s certainly a viable position in difficult times, but don’t let it go too far. Your job is to stay focused on the big picture and to guide your company into the future, and you can’t do that if you’re bogged down for extended period in day-to-day details. Maintain your position at the helm, but pitch in where you can be most effective. Also, make sure that time-consuming activities are being performed by someone at the lowest appropriate cost-per-hour.

3. Tweak, rather than slash, your marketing program.

Over the years, I’ve seen countless companies dramatically curtail or even drop some or all of their marketing plans when finances are tight. Most often, I’ve seen advertising cut or even stopped entirely. That’s a false economy. First, there are still prospects and customers out there. That means opportunities to develop your existing accounts and generate new accounts out of what remains of your market. As some of your non-accounts become dissatisfied with their present suppliers because of cutbacks that competitor has made, they become qualified prospects for you. You need to maintain your presence in the marketplace and demonstrate your stability and reliability under any market conditions. Second, your competitors are still in place, and they will react to changes in the economy in various ways. Some will cut their advertising or reduce their services. Others will bite the bullet and maintain their marketing activities. Either way, don’t lose sight of the reality that you need to maintain your slice of the pie (i.e., your market share) regardless of the size of that pie, and you can actually carve out a bigger slice in down times by acquiring new accounts from your competitors. So, what about advertising? You can economize on advertising by decreasing your frequency. If you’re running an ad every week or every month, drop back to every other week or month. Cutting your frequency in half doesn’t cut your impact in half, and some people may not even notice the difference. Take a critical look at where you’re advertising. It’s likely that all of the media you are using aren’t equal in their penetration of your most important kinds of prospects, so make larger cuts among the least effective media. Don’t drop any one ad medium entirely since multi-media advertising is proven to provide the most bang for your buck. Cut back on each medium, but keep all in play. Also, maintain your memberships in trade associations and other organizations which get you and your company exposure. Continue to be seen and heard by your marketplace. Look for new opportunities to be interviewed or to publish articles in your area of expertise. That kind of exposure can have greater impact than paid advertising.

4. Keep your sales program alive.

One of my active clients has begun picking up some new accounts in recent weeks because a competitor has pulled his sales force off of all accounts below a certain dollar value and has ordered his sales staff to cut their travel in half. Some of their customers have reacted with resentment at not being seen as “important enough,” while others see a loss of the former level of customer service. Yes, some limits on travel can probably be made, but don’t do anything drastic which will be seen by your marketplace as pulling back. Your customers will understand less frequent sales calls, especially with the cost of gas. Keep your sales incentives in place and discuss with your sales staff the tactics and appeals to win over new customers from among those becoming dissatisfied with one of your competitors. Rather than dropping your prices, consider premiums or freebees to add value to your transactions.

5. Do seize on the opportunity to prepare for the future.

Take a step back with a critical look at your operation. Are you really organized for peak performance and optimum efficiency? Are there improvements you could make that will better your bottom line permanently? I remember from my military officer training that they stressed the best decisions are those which are made calmly and rationally before the map and manneed to implement them arises. Are your difficulties in dealing with a slow market perhaps due to your lack of advanced contingency planning? Business, like the economy, always goes in cycles. How well have you already prepared for a down cycle? Often, job descriptions have evolved from the skills of the people in the particular positions rather than from the functional needs of the business. Are you set up on a strict, vertical department basis? That may work, but you may also be missing opportunities to improve your overall processes so that there is better coverage of an entire process during a temporary or permanent absence. Have you effectively delegated both authority and accountability? If not, you’re missing an important means of optimizing your company’s performance. If you don’t have a Business Plan or Marketing Plan, create one now. Why? Studies have shown that we’re all most careful about what we commit to paper. A documented plan gives you a roadmap through good and bad times by making you think through your activities. General Eisenhower said that the planning for D-Day in WWII was obsolete when the attack was actually launched, but that it was all of the thinking and discussion that went into the plan that prepared our forces for victory.

Look at economic changes as opportunity rather than a problem. A glass-half-full approach will get you farther than a glass-half-empty start.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Bob Hougland holds a BA in Psychology and is a Vietnam vet with almost 5 years’ USAF active duty. He began his business career in the fast-track executive development program at AT&T, but sought out smaller employers. For most of a decade, he held sales management positions at L.A. radio stations KIIS, 93KHJ, and K-EARTH101, and created a successful marketing consulting division for RKO General Radio. With both sales management and marketing management awards under his belt, he founded RGH MARKETING. He now is the Owner/Consultant at SuperTemp where he continues his career of helping good organizations be better, new ones to get off the ground and bringing some back from the brink of failure. He is a strategist who sees opportunities where others see problems and bring lessons learned in a wide range of industries to bear on new situations. He can be reached at 803-774-7777 or SuperTemp@pacbell.net or you can read his blog at http://businessguy.biz/.

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code” please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

9 Ways To Attract and Retain Sales & Customer Service People With Personality Testing

By Dana & Ellen Borowka

How do you build up your sales and customer service force in a down economy? The quick answer is don’t be a dodo bird.

While researching our book, Cracking the Personality Code, we examined the essentials of what managers and business owners need to know about hiring and managing sales/customer service people with the help of personality testing.

dodo birdAn interesting sales management guru we discovered along the way is Lee B. Salz. In June 2007, his widely acclaimed book, Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager was published. In it, he deals with one of the biggest problems companies face, the chasm between managers and sales and customer service people.

He uses the metaphor of the dodo to show what happens when one fails to adapt. Those who adapt, thrive. Those who don’t become extinct like the dodo bird of ages ago. Some laugh at the use of the word ‘dodo’, but there is nothing funny about a business losing its competitive edge due to unmanaged change.

To hire the best sales and customer service people and keep them on the team, your sales or customer service manager needs to know what makes them tick. We believe the sales and customer service personality code can be cracked. If that sounds like a bold declaration, consider this: Studies show that personality tests are a far more reliable predictor of performance than interviews and resumes.

A proper test should reach beyond simple profiles and decipher a sales or customer service person’s underlying needs. This is key for employee development, team building, conflict resolution and succession planning. If you want to retain the best, you need to treat them the way they want to be treated.

Below are nine ways to use personality testing in the workplace to attract and retain the right sales and customer service people with personality testing:

1. Get the real picture.

Of course, every sales and customer service candidate wants to put their best foot forward during an interview. However through a personality test, you uncover a great deal aboutartist their ability to work well with other personalities, their problem solving abilities, their thought processes and their ability to tolerate stress. Personality testing gives you objective information that can help you make an informed decision about if this person is a good fit for the job and for the team. If you decided to hire the person, the questions you ask during the hiring process will reduce your learning curve as a manager on how best to manage this person from day one.

2. Help them be all that they can be.

Every sales and customer service person has strengths and weaknesses. Find out the real truth with an objective measure. Once you pinpoint the good and the bad, then you place them in the right position and coach them on where to improve.

3. Take me to your leaders.

Personality testing gives the manager and sales or customer service team a common language about how they like to interact. The assessments can help you train future managers on how to get the best out of the team.

4. Know how to manage difficult people.

Face it, there will always be difficult people and flare ups on the job. Use objective personality assessments to diagnose potential sources of workplace conflict. The best way to deal with a problem is to prevent it in the first place.

5. Get everybody to play nice.

Sales and IT, customer service and marketing, operations and financial people have to interact to make the company run smoothly. Too many employees get frustrated with other co-workers and just wonder why everyone doesn’t act like them. Through the use of personality profiles, managers can coach employees how to interact better with peers.

6. Treat co-workers the way they want to be treated.

In today’s fast-paced world of business, there is little time to get to know many of your co-workers. Using personality assessments as the basis for team building exercises can quickly get everyone to have a healthier respect for other ways of seeing the world.

7. Make managers better leaders.

The days of seat of the pants leadership are over. When sales and customer service managers understand what makes their people tick, then they can be better leaders. Knowing personality traits can help with motivating teams, communicating change and delegating authority.

8. Pick better teams.

Today so much work is done by ad hoc teams that come together for a specific purpose. Before you assemble a sales or customer service team it pays to know the strengths and weaknesses of the team members. Sometimes this can be the difference between a productive team that gets the job done and one that pulls apart at the seams.

9. Set people up for success.

Sometimes we hire the right employee and put them in the wrong job. Understanding preferred work styles and where a person would be happiest goes a long way to improving retention and productivity.

man jumping bldgWhile personality testing can be a valuable resource before you hire sales and customer service people, perhaps the true value of any assessment comes in using the insights it provides along the entire spectrum of employment. Personality assessments lend objectivity to decisions that may otherwise be largely subjective.

Remember, it is not how many great people you hire. The true measure is how many great people you keep! To find out more please email us at reception@lighthouseconsulting.com or call 310-453-6556, ext 403.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Inspiration and Techniques for Building Championship-Level Performance – Lighthouse clients have one thing in common – all are committed to boosting the performance of their organizations. So, we are pleased to introduce our clients and friends to Boaz Rauchwerger — speaker, trainer, author and consultant. We highly recommend Boaz to you. Ask him to deliver one of his inspirational programs at your next executive retreat or strategic planning session.

One of our favorite Boaz programs is “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”. It helps you build on the strengths of everyone’s individual differences. This program helps you discover five steps to get everyone to join the building crew and resign from the wrecking crew. This is a very powerful and inspirational program that receives rave reviews every time.

• Master five techniques to inspire others to perform like champions
• Six recognition techniques including the powerful “good finder” program
• Learn four ways that your team can gain a competitive advantage
• Identify the three prerequisites for maximizing the team’s results
• Learn the two forms of keeping a daily score so everyone wins

Who is Boaz? Over a 30-year span, Boaz, author of The Tiberias Transformation – How To Change Your Life In Less Than 8 Minutes A Day, has conducted thousands of seminars internationally on goal setting and high achievement. He has taught over half a million people how to supercharge their lives, their careers and how to add Power to their goals. His innovative program, for individuals and corporations, is a simple and highly effective process for high achievement. He was voted Speaker of the Year by Vistage, an international organization of CEOs and business owners. How to Contact Boaz – Want more information on Boaz’s Power Program, including “Playing Like a Championship Team Every Day”? Just click here and we’ll be in touch.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.