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Coaching Influence Judgement Mentoring Personal development

When personal stories do not serve us

Story telling is an art and something valued in society, as it creates connection, its memorable, its predictable to the listener as it has a beginning middle and end. However there are stories that we tell ourselves and others which are highly damaging. They right what we see as wrong in the world and stop us learning from the situation.

For many years I told a story about why I left the entrepreneurial world of start up to goto corporate. The story is I wanted to see how big companies worked. That is true but another story I tell is how I failed to influence the CTO and CEO of the global business to take a more pragmatic approach to a technology sunset challenge. A story I told for many years: This was to validate to me that the decision that was made that led to the business having to be sold, was not of my making. That story blocked me from understanding my own failing which is to tell and not ask questions, a much more powerful to influence.

I was in a leadership workshop and Lisa Vos the facilitator from Bendelta asked us to respond to how we felt about a workshop we had completed. She was listening for I feel XXXX. She explicitly asked for us not to tell stories, as this allows us to justify our response and she was not interested in that. I pondered on her request and then observed the groups responses, as soon as someone started with a story I could hear the difference. This was a profound moment as I like to tell stories all the time and realise that we cannot be vulnerable whilst we are in self justification mode of story telling.

What stories do you tell yourself to make you feel better about a situation?

How long have you been telling them to yourself and others?

What is the real reflection from the situation?

What are you going to say you learnt from the situation?

When you next feel something say I feel instead of telling a story that justifies your behaviour.

Categories
Career Change Career planning Coaching Collaberation Influence Intrepenuership Judgement Mentoring Personal development

How do you prepare to move from Small business to Corporate?

I thought I was alone on the need to find out how large companies work. After 20 years in tech start ups, small and medium sized business, I had a desire to understand how large business operate, how they scale, how they manage the volume of business.  I secured my first corporate gig in Salesforce.com  in my 40’s!intrepeneruship

7 years on I have no regrets, I have personally grown, I am still an entrepreneur at heart and love the opportunities that present themselves daily. The transition is the hardest personal development opportunity I have ever been through, but worthwhile.

In preparation to going into corporate from a small business here are the five skills you need to perfect:

  1. Stakeholder management:  In small business can you can afford to be dismissive and intolerant of others. In corporate you have to work at every relationship and interaction. If you don’t you can earn the reputation as “throwing others under the bus”, “difficult to deal with” .  The key to success is understanding what your stakeholders want from you, how you can help them through insights and sharing information and working as one.
  2. Judgement: Let go of it. It has no purpose and gets you into a heap of trouble.  Move from thinking about the persons annoying habits to how you can help them.  Build great relationships across the business. you cannot afford to have anyone who speaks negatively about you, as that will stop your career and find it difficult to achieve the results
  3. Job descriptions: In small business you need a versatile team that work across multiple disciplines, Job descriptions are a guide.  In corporate the need for clarity around roles and responsibilities is critical to the growing empires. In rapid growth the land grab is part of the political positioning by leaders.  Be careful when stepping over boundaries that you do it with consent.
  4. Influence: ability to change others thinking. In small business, energy and passion does the trick, in corporate asking great questions is critical to influencing.  You cannot influence by telling. You will fail fast, so learning to ask questions every day in every situation is the key to success. Collaboration is critical to working together
  5. Intreperneurship: your greatest asset to a corporate. Your ability to create and build from nothing. You are not hung up on turning the titanic, Job descriptions, perceived limitations, you bring the can do attitude, glass half full  that makes things happen.  You will inspire others by your enthusiasm and people will want to join you on your expedition. Sell this attribute as this is of great interest to corporate.

Startup opportunities in corporate is the best of both worlds. You can utilise your SMB skills whilst developing many new ones that will accelerate your development.

Today many people with startup businesses at the next stage of growth come and speak to me about how to tackle the transition from small to medium, medium to larger business. Some want to take a step up and don’t have the skills, others want to step back in the business, others want to be on the board and leave exec leadership to transition in to non exec roles. What ever the transition is you are looking to achieve, each needs a transition plan and a coach/mentor to enable the change.

I chose a business coach to prepare for corporate. Without the coaching prior and in the early years I could not have made the transition. Your new leader in corporate may have never experienced a small or medium business so the responsibilities are with you to address your gaps fast, so you can operate effectively.

As a result of developing the skills, I have definitely become a far better leader and coach.  You never stop learning, which is why career opportunities are so much fun and stimulating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Influence Leadership Legacy Strategy

All the focus on rebuilding trust, when the focus should be on how not to lose it in the first place.

Corporate’sTrust need execs to be coin operated to achieve the results, however, this behaviour can completely destroy trust with the customers, so how do you reconcile the situation?

The Royal commission uncovered some awful truths about sales cultures in the big banks. How is this different from any large corporate?  As a non executive director how do you really know the culture of the sales organisation?  As a CEO how do you address keeping shareholders happy by delivering results ensuring the Sales culture is not damaging your reputation and losing business in the long term.

Here are 4 key areas to focus on:

  1. Is there diversity in the Sales Leadership? Without diversity norms can be created that are totally unacceptable.
  2. What are customers saying about the experience?  What are they really saying?
  3. What are the Sales people saying about the environment? What is the staff turnover?  Another key indicator to how individuals feel, are they under pressure to behave in a way that does not sit with their values.
  4. Does it attract graduates?  Graduates are vocal on all fronts about Sales teams and are an invaluable gauge to how a sales team is functioning.

Trust is destroyed quicker than you can build it, ensuring that the sales team behaviour is aligned to a culture that builds trust is critical.

in an article by By Aaron SkonnardCEO, Pluralsight https://www.inc.com/aaron-skonnard/why-sales-commissions-don-t-work-in-the-long-run.html, Aron states: If you’re not doing what’s in your customers’ best interests, your business will ultimately fail. That’s why it’s important to look at the conflicts of interest that arise from driving short term sales v’s delivering life time value of a customer.

One of the many graduates I have hired reminded me the other day of a conversation I had with her about selling. The story was a boutique drinks company in Melbourne who wanted us to modify the code of our mobile application to replication SAP pricing. I explained to the CEO that the cost would be high due to the complexity and the maintenance with every release would also be costly. I can do it, but you will never be happy. My recommendation is that you use a XML call to the pricing in SAP so you are using the standard pricing algorithm in the SAP application, this would be cheaper to develop and lower cost to maintain. The CEO said XXX a competitor said they could do it. I responded, I would love to take the money from you to do the work, but I know you will never be happy with the ongoing costs and overhead, therefore I respectfully decline to bid. The call ended. My Sales person Ryan was in the room when I had the conversation, he was mortified, we have lost the deal. I responded, he would never be a happy customer and he would continually lose money on the deal, believe me we are better off without the sale.

Thirty minutes later the CEO of the drinks company rang, we want to work with you. You are a trusted partner, I want to work with someone who will do the best for the company.

Its time to rethink how we motivate sales teams if you want to build the life time value of customers.

All the focus on rebuilding trust, when the focus should be on how not to lose it in the first place.