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Understanding an ‘S’

Recent studies have shown that the ‘vast majority (82%) of UK business leaders identify disengaged employees as one of the top three greatest threats facing their business’ 1. Communication is listed as one of the top factors influencing and improving employee engagement. Yet still a recent study showed how effective communication in companies fell from 2011 to 20122

DiSC is a communication tool to create effective communication. It is a look at someone’s observable behaviour and encourages us to understand how we and others like to communicate. It also gives us the tools to deal with any misunderstandings if they arise, but crucially prevent them from arising to start with.

This series of articles will look closely at DiSC taking each dimension in turn. To understand the motivations and characteristics of each dimension in turn. Discussing how to recognise a style, and what adaptations we need to make to communicate effectively.

This article will be looking at the ‘Steadiness’ dimension.

Let’s quickly recap the DiSC quadrant. From a communication point of view people will have a natural tendency to be either Task focussed or People focussed and either faster or moderately paced. In reality we all have a balance of each of these but most people will have a natural preference and one style will stand out above the others.

From the quadrant we can see that the steadiness dimension or S’s are moderate paced and people focussed. So if we met a person with a high level of S in their profile we would expect to see someone who is relaxed, methodical, amiable and calm. Someone who would be described real team player.

The words that are used to describe an S all contribute to an S being the rock of an organisation, qualities such as loyalty, reliability, patience.

A high S is typically a really good listener and their calm approach means they are great diplomats within an organisation. They get the best from the team by co-operating with other behavioural styles.

The S will work best in an environment that allows them to work to a routine at an relaxed pace. They will work best when the have consistency and security. The moderate pace of the S contributes to the S not being fond of change. Many texts refer to the S as being fearful of change, in fact many high S people are comfortable with change providing they maintain their security. They will resist change if that are unsure where their security lies, be it job, personal, financial or relationship security. Managing change with an S can cause conflict in many organisations, the reason usually comes down to the faster paced styles (D & I) not giving enough consideration to the changes and how this will affect the security of the S.

The S style will get on with all lots of different personality styles and other dimensions will see the S as just a really nice person that is easy to get along with. They are patient and supportive and so work well as part of a team.

A S can be controlled and so their reactions can be hard to read unless you ask them specific questions. The S will assume you know how they feel, which can again cause conflict in many organisations. The faster dimensions (D & I) can sometimes miss this with an S. in their haste to get going they may take the nod of an S that they are comfortable with a task but actually they are just trying to process what is going on and are really not happy with everything that is going on.

Sincerity is very important to an S. This includes sincere eye contact, genuine active listening, and a genuine value of the work that they do. The S will see through insincerity very quickly and it will have a detrimental effect on your relationship with and S if you are insincere and it will be hard work to rebuild the relationship, as they will bear a grudge.

If you think you may have a high level of the steadiness dimension in your profile, how can you improve your communication with others?

  1. Take initiative in clarifying situations that you feel are difficult and confusing.
  2. Develop your capacity to accept change/instability
  3. Be more independent, have faith in your own opinions and abilities.

In the next article we will look at how to work with, manage and motivate an S.

1 HR Magazine Taken from Global management consultancy Hay Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

2 Aon Hewitt – 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement

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Understanding DiSC- ‘D’

Recent studies have shown that the ‘vast majority (82%) of UK business leaders identify disengaged employees as one of the top three greatest threats facing their business’ 1. Communication is listed as one of the top factors influencing and improving employee engagement. Yet still a recent study showed how effective communication in companies fell in 2012 from 20112

DiSC is a communication tool aimed to create effective communication. It is a look at someone’s observable behaviour and encourages us to understand how we and others like to communicate. It also gives us the tools to deal with any misunderstandings if they arise, but crucially prevent them from arising to start with.

This series of articles will look closely at DiSC taking each dimension in turn. To understand the motivations and characteristics of each dimension and discuss how to recognise a style, and what adaptations we need to make to communicate effectively.

Let’s begin by looking at the ‘Dominance’ dimension.

disc-d

Let’s quickly summarise the DiSC quadrant. From a communication point of view people will have a natural tendency to be either Task focussed or People focussed and either faster or moderately paced. In reality we all have a balance of each of these but most people will have a natural preference and one style will stand out above the others.

From the quadrant we can see that the Dominance dimension or D’s are faster paced and task focussed. So if we met a person with a high level of D in their profile we would expect to see someone who is competitive, determined, decisive, bold, and a person that loves to solve a problem.

The D style is a quick decision maker, and often won’t wait to be given the authority to take action. This makes them natural leaders but it does mean that they can struggle with being a ‘control freak’. D’s are most comfortable when they are in control of their situation and environment, when they are free from any restriction or control measures. A D will make their decision quickly and will act upon it quickly. Speed is of the essence to a D, they become bored quickly and will lose interest if things move too slowly or become bogged down with the ‘fluffy stuff’. New and varied tasks will appeal to the D and keep them motivated.

The D style has a tendency to make big logic leaps. When they are explaining a task to someone they may start at A but go straight to E, missing out steps B,C and D. This has the potential to leave other communication styles very confused. This is a key development area for a D.

For some of the other communication styles such as the C and S, a D can be hard to handle, the speed that they process information and decisions can be too quick and lacking in detail. Whilst for the D, communication with the other styles can be frustrating because they perceive them as slow or obstructive, because they don’t act quick enough. The contrast of styles can also mean that other dimensions are intimidated by the D’s communication style, meaning that they may not feel comfortable asking for clarification, fuelling the D’s frustration. The D will do things like finish the other person’s sentences, keep jumping in when someone else is speaking, become fidgety. This communication situation can often lead to the D being very blunt and lacking tact in their criticism. This is one of the most common areas of communication tension in a workplace.

D’s may often have their communication style reinforced because it brings them success, in their terms of getting results. However in many instances it is getting the task done that is important rather than the people involved in getting the task done.

If you think you may have a high level of the dominance dimension in your profile, how can you improve your communication with others and ease your frustration?

  1. Slow down and think before you speak. This is much easier said than done but will make a massive impact on the communication with other styles. Pausing before you speak and considering the feelings of others will help with being more tactful.
  2. Active listening. This means actually listening to someone when they are talking to you, not thinking about the next thing or new ideas. Give the person you are talking to 100% of your attention at that moment.
  3. Try and reach win:win situations. So the other person feels the outcome is as positive for them as it is for you. This may also be achieved by praising others more, recognising a job well done and giving recognition when it is deserved, will go a long way to getting people on your side.

In the next article we will look at how to work with, manage and motivate a D.

1 HR Magazine Taken from Global management consultancy Hay Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)

2 Aon Hewitt – 2012 Trends in Global Employee Engagement

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Recruiting In Style – DiSC

Recruitment can be a tough process to go through, especially as a wrong decision can result in a lengthy process to exit that person from your business.

Fluid Business Coaching would never advocate basing a recruitment decision based purely on someone’s communication profile. However, tools such as DiSC can be a brilliant to help you understand a potential employee's motivations, goals and fears when going through the recruitment process. This type of insight is also important and useful when introducing a new employee to your company.

The table on the right outlines the basics of each DiSC profile type. Hear more about each of the different profiles (D, I, S and C) on the Fluid Business Podcast below.

So what is the point of disc-recruit-styleunderstanding why people are motivated to join you and your organisation? A strong team can make or break a company and developing an ‘All Star Team’ rather than a ‘Team of All Stars’ we can unlock infinite value.

If you're interested in developing an ‘All Star Team,' find out more about our services or speak to one of the team about how we can help you with DiSC profiling. If you'd like to talk to one of our coaches about how we can help your business, call 01245 423377 or schedule a call back.

 

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What is Effective Communication?

Everybody has their own unique style of communication that is influenced by their current situation, the relationships that are involved in and the expectations they have of themselves and others. We all have different goals, fears and motivations of the world. If this is the case how can we communicate effectively with everyone we come into contact with?

Before we can understand if we are communicating effectively we first need to understand what communication truly is. Let’s go right back to basics. The dictionary defines communication the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings. The word itself has been derived from the Latin word “communis”, meaning to share, so to communicate is to make common. So our first major key to communicating effectively is to create a common, neutral language that is safe and accessible for everyone to use. That sounds all very nice and fluffy but in practice it is hard work, requires a lot of effort but brings immense rewards to an organisation.

Feedback is essential to effective communication. Actually, it is only when we communicating effectively that we read the feedback the other person is giving us and make changes accordingly. Many people miss the feedback signs, carrying on regardless and causing a mis-communication or conflict. People have different ways of communicating and giving feedback but there are some basic principles that we all instinctively follow.

DiSC is a personality profiling tools to help us understand these principles. With such tools we can interpret and understand the feedback people give us and adapt our communication accordingly, thus creating a safe, common, neutral language.

To understand more call us on 01245 423377
Have you read our ‘What is DiSC Article?’

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Helping Your Team With Change

On purpose I have titled this article ‘Helping your team with change’. One often misunderstood concept of change is that we want to change the team or change the people. If this is your starting point, you are doomed to fail. It is not the new situation that often creates the resistance, it is the uncertainty of what is going to happen. Either with the circumstances or with their personal situation. This is the main reason why people object instantly and question the change, often in a very defensive way. Questions like, “Why do I need to change?” or “What is the reason for changing this?”

I therefore recommend to flip this completely. When leading companies and teams, we need to show the vision and direction we are heading for. We also have to show what the new situation will bring. Explain the new situation and show how it is going to be beneficial to the individual. I have seen from experience that people are clever enough to understand that sometimes they need to change in order to commit to a common goal. If your team members do not see the need to change, help them understand it.

Years ago I worked in a company which was not known for embracing change and for over 20 years the company was run in the same way with nothing ever really happening. Then crisis hit our industry and in order to deal with this changed economy, change needed to happen. My starting point was to make clear to everybody what the end goal was and what we wanted to achieve (share the vision). I then explained to everyone what needed to be done (share the mission). At this point people were invited to contribute to the actions that needed to be done.

 

Many years ago I learned the following:

Tell the team, and they will know

Show the team, and the will remember

Involve the team, and they will learn

 

It has been on my whiteboard since, and I have applied this in Holland, Sweden and in the UK. And especially when change is concerned it is a very powerful reminder that effective change only happens when people are involved in the process.

 

The second thing we did was doing DiSC assessments and training with all the office staff, including the foremen of the warehouse. This was never done before and people were very anxious of the outcomes. Be profiled sounded very scary in itself, but what freshened even more was the next step when we discussed the profiles in small groups. The workshops however became a very big success, because people realised that the profiles were actually them. Also they understood that there was no right or wrong in the DiSC profiles. It was an assessment of who they were.

I still believe that one of the other elements for the success was my open involvement as a Managing Director. Also my profile (including some obvious characteristics) were scrutinised by the team. Some of them were basis for some nice banter among the team. For me the most fascinating outcome was to a few members of staff had worked together for decades, without really understanding their co-workers. With that understanding it was much easier to work together, because we all react in different way to various situations.

As said at the beginning. You cannot lead a team or any group from a big tower, shouting instructions. Especially in change processes it is vital you are seen as the leader. Show the team you are also going through the challenges and paces of the change. This will help them to overcome theirs and join you in the process.

Again, change is not scary in itself. The scary bit comes in, if we do not know why we change or what the change is for. Make clear to your team what destination you are heading for and what direction you are going. Trust your team with the responsibility to adjust their own course along with yours. This will give you credibility as a leader and much more success for the change.

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Positioning Your Marketing For Better Results

How you position your product or service is vital to your success, whether you choose to do it proactively or reactively, and by reactively, I mean you don’t do anything at all about your positioning.

What then is positioning?

Positioning is how you make your product or service appear different to your target audiences’ perception. It is the standout points that come to your audience when they think of your products or services compared to your competitors. When you think of Harrods as a shop, what do you think of? Probably exclusivity, wide range of high quality products and outstanding service. That is the way they have positioned themselves and there is no confusion when comparing them to Lidl.

Why is it important that you proactively position your product or service?

It is vitally important that you position your product or service so that you can create that level of differentiation against your competitors, otherwise the market will just position you as yet another supplier of these products or services, which will normally result in more price pressure on your offering.

With a powerful positioning, it will help you stand out from all the other marketing messages that they are regularly bombarded with.

The whole point of this positioning is to keep your product or service foremost in your target audiences’ mind when they are looking for a solution that you can offer.

Before you position your product or service there are 2 questions you need to ask yourself;

  1. Why do your existing customers buy the product or service from you? Most often, they purchase from you because of what the product or service does for them, not just what it does. A design company I met did their market research and learned that they were winning business, not only because of their design expertise, but because they truly listened and offered solutions in a simple format that the customers could easily understand.
  2. How is your product or service different to your competitors? What benefit does your offering bring that makes it stand out? Remember, all customers are tuned into WIIFM, What Is In It For Me. They don’t care how good you tell them you are, they only want to know how they will benefit. Market research of existing customers will give you this information.

Once you have asked and answered the above questions based on your in depth market research, you can start creating your positioning strategy.

Your positioning strategy must clearly define who your ideal market are, how you will reach them in large numbers, what they are truly buying from you (Their WIIFM), who your competitors are and most importantly, what makes you different.

In addition, your positioning strategy must focus on the following;

Be focussed, Make sure that each marketing message you send out only covers one product group or service solution at a time, do not try to market all your offerings with a one size fits all strategy.

Connect at emotional level; Use your market research to understand what the emotional reasons are for customers buying what you offer and use these emotive reasons in your message.

Customer Benefits; Focus on the benefits the customers achieve by selecting your offering so that they make a deeper emotional connection to your company.

Is your offer believable; Will customers reading your marketing message be able to easily understand and believe the message?

Are you credible; Are you able to supply proof of what you are stating?

Once you have gone through all of the points listed above, you can start creating your positioning strategy.

The most important place to start is with your ideal customer. Often businesses will define their ideal customer as any person who wishes to purchase from them, but often, many of these customers cost the supplier a great deal in lost time and profits because of the level of questions, process changes and complaints they make, so do you truly know what the characteristics are of your ideal customer?

With your marketing message and positioning, you only want to attract customers that are a pleasure to deal with and who make the sales process simple and quick.

The best way to determine your ideal customer is to look at your current customer list and pick out those customers you really love dealing with and then work out what makes them stand out from the other customers.

Most importantly, you need to determine if you have different ideal customers for each of the product ranges or service solutions that you offer.

Once you understand who you want to target, you can carry out the next important step and that is your in depth market research. You only use your ideal customers for the research as you want to only know why they buy from you and what makes you different to other suppliers in the market place. Your message and positioning you create must be focussed on attracting high volumes of ideal customers.

Once you have completed your market research, you will have a clear understanding of what truly makes you different and stand out from other suppliers in the market. From this information you can now create a powerful statement that highlights your uniqueness in your offering, but remember that this must be stated from the customer’s perception, not yours.

Once you have created your positioning statement, test it out on a number of ideal customers to see how they react to it and if possible, ask them for their feedback on the statement. From the feedback, you will be able to make any changes to the statement until you are truly happy with it.

Finally, it is extremely important that your whole team are trained on it, they must understand the important aspects of it, know where it came from and lastly, use it on every customer they come into contact with.

 

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So Why Should Customers Buy From Your Business?

I meet regularly with a wide variety of sales people. The point most of them want to discuss with me is what they need to do to win business in the current tough market, however, in each meeting I manage to turn general and lively discussions into absolute silence every time I ask them my question.

I ask each person the same question and the deadly silence that follows the question shows me that sales people often only think about prospects and customers from their own perspective and seldom look at the situation from the customers or prospects perspective.

The question that I ask is;

“If I am your ideal prospect and when we meet I ask why I should buy from you and your company, as opposed to a competitor, what would you tell me?”

Many of the salespeople start by telling me about their broad range of products or services, but they are quickly silenced when I say that their competitors tell me the same thing. They then tell me about their personal service, large stock holding and many other features, but none of them are compelling enough to make them stand out from their competitors.

If you are a sales person, business owner or marketing person in a business, I ask them what does your business really do? What is it that you do that makes your customers keep buying from you?

What is obvious to me is that sales people think they know what their business does very clearly. But when they are challenged, they go back to the most common clichés used in the book with generic statements about breadth or quality of products or service, being customer focussed, offering outstanding service and many others. The problem with all of these statements is that they are all very generic and do nothing to make one business truly stand out from another.

Almost every sales training course that I have seen highlights the difference between features and benefits, yet so few people really understand what that difference is.

The main difference between a feature and a benefit is all about from the perspective in which you look at the product or service. Features are all about how sales people look at their product or service and benefits are how customers or prospects view the product or service. Customers are considerably more interested in what the end result is of using your product or service rather than all the details of how it works.

If you are serious about reducing the number of pressurised price negotiations and lost orders your business or salespeople are experiencing, then it is vital that you spend time understanding what it is that your business does for your clients that keeps them coming back to purchase more and more and which makes you stand out from your competitors.

The best place to start finding this out is by asking some of your ideal customers why they use your business over any of your competitors. What is crucial in getting to the correct answers during this process is ‘digging deep’ with the questions until you understand what it is that your business does for your customers and how this builds an emotional connection to your business.

Very often business owners are very surprised by the answers they receive as the reasons are often very different to what they expect. What is also interesting, is that many times there are different points that stand out for different market sectors, so knowing what your business does may not involve only one answer.

I followed up with one of the companies that could not answer the question. Before we got our meeting going, one of the salespeople jumped up and told me that he had found an answer to the question for his retail customers.

They had gone and found out that his business shipped 99.6% of their orders on the same day they received the order and that they also scored over 99% on order accuracy shipped to their customers. With this feature, he was able to tell his retail customers that they could offer their customers a 48 hour delivery service which they had found out, far exceeded any of their local competitors. They now have at least one stand out point from their competitors, but need to go out and find some more.

So if I was your ideal prospective customer and I asked you why I should buy from you and not one of your competitors, what would you say?

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Optimism, the Skill that can take your Sales Success to Another Level!

Everyone in business is looking for something that is going to make them more competitive in the current business market. Should we network at more business meetings or perhaps become more active on social media sites? Change the process on how we interact with our customers or perhaps have a strategy for developing a new market to sell to? Create a new marketing plan? There is another solution that you can put into place quickly and easily. Sales people that understand that it is emotions that drive buying decisions will also know that optimism is a key skill to master. Before you start thinking that this is just another article on the soft skills that does not relate to a financial outcome, evidence shows that optimistic salespeople generate considerably more sales.

One of the best case studies on optimism comes from the work of psychologist Martin Seligman.  He worked with the sales team at insurance giant, Metropolitan Life to help them increase their sales performance. He worked with the sales team and from the measurements he put in place, he found that the sales people who scored high in optimism sold on average 37% more than those who scored low. In addition, their customer retention increased as well.

How does your sales team react to the challenges that the market throws their way? Are they discussing new strategies and ideas for building deeper relationships with clients or are they just telling the management how bad the market is? In other words, are they a glass half full sales team or a glass half empty sales team?  Salespeople should be concerned that they do not become too negative when markets become tougher.  So what message or mood is the sales management team sending to your sales team?  What message is your sales team communicating to customers and prospects?  How many of your sales team are starting their sales meetings with words like, “I know that money must be tight for you” or something similar. With an opening like that, they are just inviting considerably more price pressure on themselves.

So what can the sales management do to turn around any negative moods and comments in the sales team?

There are five behaviour traits found in salespeople and sales organisations that have a high level of optimism.  Start helping your sales team and increase your sales by teaching them to all your salespeople.

1:    When faced with challenges, optimistic salespeople ask themselves better questions.

  • What’s good about this?  Top salespeople know that in sales, they will always face challenges which will teach them valuable lessons and make them better sales people.  Optimistic salespeople keep challenging themselves as they know that to become professional salespeople, they need to keep learning new techniques and challenging themselves to gain more understanding about sales processes and people in general. They know that the more they invest in themselves, the more money they will make for the business and themselves.
  • Optimistic salespeople build understanding and then take control of themselves and the process they are using, then they take action and this action produces results, and results increase motivation and deliver increased success.

2:    They remind themselves that a challenging business period is temporary, not permanent.

When business is a rather slow or challenging, optimistic salespeople speed it up by taking care of their best assets:  their existing customers.  They invest more time in looking for new products or services they can promote to them.  They know the economy will turn and when it does, the prospect will call them not their competitor who has been sitting in his office comparing sad stories with his negative colleagues.

3:    Optimistic salespeople choose who they associate with wisely.

Jim Rohn quotes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  Who are your salespeople spending most of their time with, the glass half full or the glass half empty people?  What kind of emotional effect is happening within your sales force?  Is it healthy, positive conversation or is the sickness of negativity spreading amongst them?  Here’s the difference.  The negative salesperson says no one is buying.  The optimistic salesperson says someone is buying…I just need to find him or her.

4:    Optimistic salespeople generate results, not excuses.

They know that being a salesperson is a great profession because they can control their outcome.  Top salespeople read books, watch videos and find people who can help them look at other ways of doing business in tough times. They work smarter than their competitors that are still wishing the easier old days would return.   Top salespeople invest in learning so they can outsmart and out sell their competitor.  Optimistic salespeople don’t look for greener fields.  They cultivate greener fields.

5:    Optimistic salespeople are constantly sensing new opportunities.

They know that to outsmart their competitors they need to be innovative in the way they communicate with their customers. They know that they have to help their customers see new opportunities and market places for the product or service they supply. They just know if they look hard enough and help their customers, there is always a solution to be found.

Optimism may be considered a soft skill but an optimistic mindset will generate great sales results.  Optimistic salespeople are easier to manage.  If you are looking to reduce the drama and negative sales stories in your business, start teaching your sales people on the above 5 points and get them to invest their time on coming up with new solutions and strategies for helping their customers buy more. Optimism is a skill that can be learned; just help your salespeople make the choice. Optimism does not mean turning a blind eye to tougher business conditions, but rather looking at the market place and deciding that there must be a better way of tackling the market and growing profitable sales.

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Alignment, the Secret to Modern Business Success

One of the biggest challenges facing modern businesses of all sizes is how to take the business to the next level of success and profit without the cost structure getting out of control. One of the biggest costs on most businesses Profit and Loss Statement is salaries and wages, or in simpler terms, people.

As a business leader, your challenge is to get more out of your people without making them work ridiculous hours or chasing them around barking orders. What would it mean to your business if all the people you employ were passionate about the business, understood and believed fully in the goals and ideals of the business and strived each day to deliver the goals and results their job was designed to deliver?

In the past, business leaders have often resolved growth challenges by employing more people and trying to get them to generate additional sales and improved customer service, only to find out much later that the growth in overhead costs has cancelled out the growth in sales. It has often been said that any business is only as good as the people in it, and today this statement is probably truer than it has ever been.

So how do we as business leaders and managers go about getting more out of the people we employ?

A famous quote states; “A fish rots from the head down” and this is true for any business or organisation. The senior leadership of any organisation is where any strategy to get more from the people must start. The leadership of any business must give clear direction, rules and goals for all members of the business to follow, including the most senior directors.

Being a leader in a business is not just about explaining the goals and rules of the business, but inspiring the team in the business to become passionate about what the business is trying to achieve and why it is so important. Many leaders forget that you can only lead people, not a task or a job, and as such, it is the way the people feel and view their jobs that often makes the difference between a company that slowly moves forward and one that continues to outperform its competitors regularly. True leadership is about inspiring people where they care as much about the results and performance of the business as much as the directors and owners do.

Another key function of leadership that is often overlooked in modern business is that of retaining and developing the key talent currently in the business and to be constantly on the search for new talent to bring into the business to develop. Many of the business owners I speak to in the UK today, tell me that they often get very high numbers of people applying for jobs with them, but finding real talent in the market place is becoming more and more difficult. It is therefore very important that the most senior leaders in any business must align the culture and perception of the business to attract the kind of talent they are looking for and to retain the talent already within the business.

From this the owners must make sure that the structure or organisational chart of the business is aligned to deliver the goals and results the business is looking for.

It is amazing how many businesses have compromised their structure to fit the people in each of the roles which often results in lack of clarity about ownership of each area of the business and also major communication challenges within the business.  This is what happens when the structure is not aligned with the results the business is looking for.

Once the structure is in place, it is vital that the job roles are aligned with the structure and results the business is looking for. One of the most common methods of creating a job role is to focus on what you want the person in the role to do, so the job role often becomes a long list of things to do and the overall function of the job role is then lost. A better way to create a job role is to start with the outcomes or results you are looking for from the job role and then define what the role must do in order to deliver those outcomes. Each job role must also have a measurement or set of measurements connected to it so that the person in the role and their leader can quickly and easily measure how the job role is performing.

I was recently working with a business on this very matter in their sales department and all the sales people told me that on average they spent around 10% of their time on sales and the rest on other functions and duties. When I investigated the matter, it turned out that most of their time was spent doing other departments work, the structure and roles were not aligned to deliver increased sales, the very thing the business was looking for!

Once this is all done, look at the structure as a leader and make sure you have the right people in the right roles. This is often a very challenging step for a leader to take as it often comes with the fear of upsetting people or causing disruption to the business. As a leader in a situation like this, take a step back and look at the bigger picture and just ask yourself, how much upset, lack of results and frustrations are being caused to the business and the team with the wrong person in the role. The answer to this can very often be a huge eye opener.

Once this is all aligned, it is important that the marketing strategy of the business is aligned with the key customers in each market sector they are looking to attract. It is interesting to hear how many business leaders complain about the large quantity of potential customers who contact their business and just waste their time. The key factor they are not seeing is that it is their marketing message that is attracting these people to contact them. Know the market place you want to be active in, identify your ideal customer in that sector, understand what your point of difference is in the market against your competitors and then align your market strategy and communication to attract the kinds of customers you really want. Then do this separately for every sector you wish to be active in.

The next step is to make sure that your sales process and all the people who take an active role in it are aligned with the marketing strategy and communication so that a consistent level of profitable success is achieved.

This process can then be applied to every department in your business and also to your supplier agreements and processes.

This may all seem like an article that points out the obvious, but the reason I have written it is because over the many years I have been a business leader and later a coach and consultant, I have very rarely seen it put into place across and entire business and as a conscious strategy.

It is vital that as a leader, you regularly test and check to make sure that each department and your business is truly aligned, the results you will achieve will make the investment in time worth it.