Wednesday, 28 August 2013

How great leaders communicate

Out of the many positions in a company, the sales manager's job is certainly one that requires a great deal amount of leadership.  The sales leader has to motivate, train, communicate well, coach and above all, the ability to act as a buffer between the sales team and management.  So, you’ve just been promoted into one of your organization’s top Sales Jobs. You’ve got an impressive office, a hefty budget and vast expectations about how you will lead  tens or even dozens of people. Can you stick with the leadership style that brought you this far? Or do you need to recalibrate your approach, starting with the way you communicate?
Some fascinating rethinking is under way on exactly that topic. Scholars such as Harvard Business School’s Boris Groysberg argue that effective leadership no longer revolves around brilliant speeches and heroic exhortations. (We can call that the Fidel Castro approach – and it doesn’t work especially well in either government or mainstream business.) Instead, Groysberg and co-author Michael Slind argue in their 2012 book “Talk Inc.” that the higher you go in an organization, the more you must engage other people in conversations, rather than trying to shout them into submission.
I’m in favor of traveling 70% of the way down that road with Groysberg and Slind, without becoming so chatty that you lose the ability to stretch people’s horizons. Over the past 25 years, as a business-book author and writer for the likes of Forbes, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal, I’ve seen a lot of corporate leaders in action. Here are seven ways that the best leaders increase their effectiveness by the ways they communicate.
1. Bring the vision to life. Anyone can write a mission statement, full of lofty words that sound good. But you aren’t communicating that vision unless you repeatedly signal how those values translate into concrete actions. What people learn from your routine decision-making matters far more than what you pack into your speeches.
A case in point: Jeff Bezos’s insistence that is “the most customer-centric company in the world.” Nice slogan. What does it really mean? Hang around the Amazon CEO for a while, and you will notice that he vetoes sassy ads that mock customers. He insists that mid-level meetings include one person serving solely as the customer advocate – with the power to veto actions that undermine customers’ interests. And when Amazon reorganizes departments, which it does fairly often, each regrouping is justified as a way of serving the customer better.
In the same spirit, bring your bedrock values into the daily workplace. Salute other people’s actions that reinforce what you prize. Call out conduct that doesn’t. And infuse these principles into other people’s thought patterns by referencing key values as decisions are being made.
2. Ask smart questions. In his new book, “To Sell Is Human,” best-selling author Daniel H. Pink cites studies showing that when you want to persuade someone, questions can be more powerful than statements. The reason: you engage another person’s heart and mind more strongly. You get him or her thinking about the ideal answer – and then all the steps necessary to get there. By being less dogmatic, you let people on your team build game plans that they believe in, rather than trapping them in a helpless state until you issue your next command.
While developing my most recent book, “The Rare Find,” I was impressed with the way that David Evans, the former head of the computer science department at the University of Utah, got great work out of his graduate students by asking simple but profound questions that pointed the way to revolutionary advances. He inspired the engineers who later built Pixar, Adobe and Netscape. Often that could be done simply by pointing at a big goal on the horizon and saying: “How would you get there?”
3. Take time to read the room. Once you’re in senior leadership, you will meet a lot of outsiders that you hardly know ... but whose support or forbearance is crucial to your company's success. Do 90% of the talking, and it’s tempting to think that you carried the day with Washington regulators, Chinese suppliers, that big customer in Dallas or the investigative reporter from New York. Guess what? If you don’t know what the other party really wanted, all that bluster was in vain.
Take a tip from Silicon Valley executive Meg Whitman, early in her career, when she was building eBay into a global e-commerce powerhouse. Some of her most important meetings were with eBay’s Power Sellers. These merchants booked huge amounts of business on the site, yet for a time they felt the company didn’t understand their frustrations with fees and service issues. Every few months, she would visit Power Sellers on their turf, looking for ways to fix their problems or at least offer sympathy. Her keen ear helped eBay stay ahead of its competitors.
Don’t fall prey to the belief that careful listening is only for the little people in the room. When you listen carefully, you win people’s trust – and that’s crucial to everything else you want to accomplish. There’s a maxim in the public speaking business: “The more your audience talks, the more they think they have learned from you.” Use that sly insight to your advantage.
4. Create a climate where things get done. In any organization, there's a huge gap between projects that are headed to the finish line, right now -- and ones that live indefinitely in limbo, hardly moving forward. Which do you prefer? If you're looking for results, make sure your employees and front-line managers are repeatedly aware of your top priorities. Help set interim mileposts. Get roadblocks out of the way. Walk through the areas where specific tasks are being done. Even a 10-minute visit by the boss conveys the clear and uplifting message: "This is important."
Be mindful of how many "top priorities" your organization can handle successfully. Better to win two big campaigns a year than to stumble in the midst of 20. I've seen ambitious but unfocused organizations end up with overcrowded agendas that create internal strife -- with the unpleasant consequences of missed deadlines, constant changes of directions and ugly battles for resources and recognition. The higher up you go in an organization, the more important it is for you to communicate key goals with clarity and brevity.
Tim Boyle, the CEO of Columbia Sportswear, is remarkably good at peeling away the clutter. I’ve chatted with him since 2005, and he keeps his business centered on three simple concepts: innovation, enhanced design and compelling marketing. Zoom in on each idea, and details abound. He’s a remarkably hard-working and well-read boss. Those core concepts, however, help ensure that Columbia’s 4,000 employees are pulling in the right direction.
5. Use stories to get your points across. When you’re at the top of an organization, you can seem pretty distant from the people on the front lines. Now you’re in a job where it may be impossible to schedule enough face time with everyone you’d like to influence. One of your best ways to compensate: sharing teaching anecdotes, so that even people who hardly know you will still feel they know your human, authentic side.
Nobody does this better than Warren Buffett, the 82-year-old chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. His conglomerate has $143 billion in annual revenue, with interests that range from insurance to energy, furniture and chocolate. But when you read Buffett's annual letters to shareholders, his dry wit and wise-uncle judgment come through on every page. Countless investors and managers who have never met him still feel that they know him – and like him.
You don’t need to be nearly as polished as Buffett to succeed in this domain. Just think how you would explain your week’s battles and goals to a neighbor, a spouse or a college roommate, and you’ll find the right tone.
6. Be mindful of what you don’t know. If your subordinates are any good at all, you often won’t know the fine-grain details as well as they do. Expect to be learning constantly on the job. Find ways that your in-house experts can quietly bring you up to speed on emerging issues that are catching your eye. You’ve got vital strengths that other people don’t, particularly in terms of experience, broad perspectives and judgment. As you work toward important decisions, make sure your remarks and conversations are opening the way for other people to keep augmenting your knowledge base.
Two of the most skillful learners I ever encountered are Sheryl Sandberg (the chief operating officer of Facebook), and Lou Gerstner, the former CEO of RJR Nabisco and then IBM. I traveled with Gerstner during his RJR era as part of a Wall Street Journal front-page profile. He was still mastering the company’s endless product line, but he got up to speed shrewdly, calling some meetings on a supermarket floor so he could walk the aisles as people talked, looking around to see whose brands dominated each category.
7. Make people feel they work for a winner. Can you single-handedly improve your organization’s morale – in ways that genuinely translate into better performance and innovation? That’s one of the great mysteries of leadership. Some executives try smothering their employees in perks. Others praise good work, hoping that it will lead to greater doings in the future. Still others scold slackers and kick out the weakest performers, believing that some situations call for toughness.
Any of those approaches can work; yet I’ve seen executives try all three and still come up short. A memorable insight here came from John Young, who was CEO of Hewlett Packard for many years during its prime. We chatted after his retirement, and he contended that what shapes morale the most is employees’ conviction that they are working for the best company in their field. Earn that honor, he said, and you gain a level of employee commitment that cash and perks alone can’t buy.
All the other six techniques in this article point toward this final priority. If you’re conveying a clear vision, asking good questions, setting the right priorities and so on, you’re creating that winners’ aura that is the ultimate reward for great leadership communication.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Achieving goals by Brain Tracy

Brian Tracy, the motivation guru wrote the following about achieving goals.

It's Not Where You Start—It's How You Finish 

When I was eighteen, I left high school without graduating. My first job was as a dishwasher in the back of a small hotel. From there, I moved on to washing cars and then washing floors with a janitorial service. For the next few years, I drifted and worked at various laboring jobs, earning my living by the sweat of my brow. I worked in sawmills and factories. I worked on farms and ranches. I worked in the tall timber with a chain saw and dug wells when the logging season ended. 

I worked as a construction laborer on tall buildings and as a seaman on a Norwegian freighter in the North Atlantic. Often I slept in my car or in cheap rooming houses. When I was twenty-three, I worked as an itinerant farm laborer during the harvest, sleeping on the hay in the farmer's barn and eating with the farmer's family. I was uneducated and unskilled, and at the end of the harvest, I was unemployed once more. 

When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got a job in straight commission sales, cold-calling office-to-office and door-to-door. I would often work all day long to make a single sale so that I could pay for my rooming house and have a place to sleep that night. This was not a great start at life. 

The Day My Life Changed 

Then one day, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down an outrageous goal for myself. It was to earn $1,000 per month in door-to-door and office-to-office selling. I folded up the piece of paper, put it away, and never found it again. 

But thirty days later, my entire life had changed. During that time, I discovered a technique for closing sales that tripled my income from the very first day. Meanwhile, the owner of my company sold out to an entrepreneur who had just moved into town. Exactly thirty days after I had written down my goal, the new owner took me aside and offered me $1,000 per month to head up the sales force and teach the other salespeople what I was doing that enabled me to sell so much more than anyone else. I accepted his offer, and from that day forward, my life was never the same. 

Within eighteen months, I had moved from that job to another and then to another. I went from personal selling to becoming a sales manager with people selling for me. In a new business, I recruited and built a ninety-five-person sales force. I went literally from worrying about my next meal to walking around with a pocket full of $20 bills. 

I began teaching my salespeople how to write out their goals and how to sell more effectively. In almost no time at all, they increased their incomes as much as tenfold. Today, many of them are millionaires and multimillionaires. 

Life Goes Up and Down

I have to admit that since those days in my mid-twenties, my life has not been a smooth series of upward steps. It has included many ups and downs, marked by occasional successes and temporary failures. I have traveled, lived, and worked in more than ninety countries, learning French, German and Spanish along the way and working in twenty-two different fields. 

As the result of inexperience and sometimes sheer stupidity, I have spent or lost everything I made and had to start over again—several times. Whenever this happened, I would begin by sitting down with a piece of paper and laying out a new set of goals for myself. 

After several years of hit-and-miss goal setting and goal achieving, I finally decided to collect everything I had learned into a single system. By assembling these ideas and strategies in one place, I developed a goal-setting methodology and process, with a beginning, middle and end, and began to follow it every day. 

Within one year, my life had changed once more. In January of that year, I was living in a rented apartment with rented furniture. I was $35,000 in debt and driving a used car that wasn't paid for. By December, I was living in my own $100,000 condominium. I owned a new Mercedes, had paid off all my debts, and had $50,000 in the bank. 

Then I really got serious about success. I realized that goal setting was incredibly powerful. I invested hundreds and then thousands of hours reading and researching goal setting and goal achieving, synthesizing the best ideas I could find into a complete process that worked with incredible effectiveness.

Anyone Can Do It

Some years later, I began audiotaping and videotaping my workshops and seminars so that others could use them. We have now trained hundreds of thousands of people in these principles, in multiple languages, all over the world.

What I found was that these ideas work everywhere, for everyone, in virtually every country, no matter what your education, experience or background may be when you begin. 

Best of all, these ideas have made it possible for me and many thousands of others to take complete control over our lives. The regular and systematic practice of goal setting has taken us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, from underachievement to success and satisfaction. This system will do the same for you.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Words that sell

Many a writer who finds himself grasping at verbal straws when writing brochures, ads, sales letters or press releases need grasp no more.  Here are some samples of words/statements that will  help to make your
message so much more impactful to the reader.


Success starts with _____________________________
The _________________ that works as hard as you do.
It's time for _____________________________
How do you turn a ____________________ into a ___________________
Some straight talk about ________________________
A little _________________ can go a long way.
Break away from the pack with ________________________
The best kept secret in __________________________
Always go to an expert __________________________
There's no substitute for _________________________


Isn't time you _____________________________?
Did you know that _________________________?
Are you still ______________________________?
Are you curious about ______________________?
Will you be ready for the ____________________?
Who could say 'No' to ______________________?
Did you ever ask yourself ____________________?
Don't you wish ____________________________?
Wouldn't you like to ________________________?
Tired of the same old _______________________?
Are you ready for _________________________?
Have you ever thought about _________________?
What's the most effective way to _______________________?


It's no secret that _________________________?
Just wait until you _________________________?
Forget everything you've heard about ___________________?
You can organise a successful ________________?
Believe it or not, __________________________?
In today's competitive marketplace, ____________________?
Today, more than ever, _____________________?
Now, the real truth about ____________________________?


Take a giant step _________________________?
Be a winner!
Discover the ____________________________?
Experience the ___________________________?
Say 'Yes' to ____________________________?


Best of all, _____________________________?
Here's why :
All this and more!
And that's not all!
And there's more :
Let's look at the record :
And if that's not enough, __________________?
Now, there's even a better way ______________________?
To show you what we mean, ________________________?
For the answer, turn this page.
Sounds incredible?
The truth is, ___________________________?


The genuine article.
The way ______________used to make it.
Original formula.


At your fingertips.
Within easy reach
Pushbutton convenience.
Fast, easy access.


Prize winning
Nation's building ______________________




No nonsense
Precision engineered
Ruggedly built
Made to last
Rigorous standards


A company that will always stand by you.


Our total commitment to __________________________________
Our dedication to _______________________________________
We uphold ____________________________________________
We're committed  to _____________________________________
The leader in _____________________ for over ___________ years.
The most trusted name in  _________________________________


Intelligently priced at ____________________
A luxury that's within reach.
Not as expensive as you think.
Will save you money in the long run.
You're paying for quality.


Accept no substitutes.
Don't be taken in by ____________________
Unlike other __________________________
Imitated but not equaled.
Gives you more __________ than any other __________________

Monday, 5 August 2013

Twelve things we can learn from Steve Jobs

1. Experts are "clueless". They'll only ask you to do better sameness. Usually they're not your customer.

2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.  You can ask customer about how to make a revolution better, but you shouldn't ask them how to create a revolution.

3. Biggest challenges beget the best work.  Give your team big challenge, They'll give you their best work.

4. Design counts.  Design does matters, make it looks good.

5. Big graphics and Big fonts.  Keep your slides simple.

6. Jump curves, not better sameness.  To create revolution, do things that's 10 times better.

7. "Work" or "doesn't work" is all that matters.  Just make it work, don't stuck on things.

8. "Value" is different from "price".  Create unique product, and make it valuable.

9. "A" players hire "A" players.  "B" players hire "C" players. Always hire people who's better than you.

10. Real CEO can perform demo of their own product.  

11. Real entrepreneurs ships. Don't worry, be crappy.

12. Some things need to be believed to be seen. You have to believe in what you're to build, not to see it to believe.

To start a great company,  it's not about solving big or small problem, start with "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" 

Friday, 2 August 2013

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Is Workplace EQ More Important than IQ?

Back in the late 80s, I traveled often to work using the Jalan Ampang stretch or as they would called it, the Ambassadors Row which has and still is notoriously known for its horrendous traffic jam.  However, there was this one morning, during the usual rush hour, when I noticed this mustachiod Malay traffic police officer standing in the middle of the road directing the traffic. Despite the stressful condition he was in, we could see he was enjoying his work.  He had a very pleasant countenance on his face and always seemed to have a smile for every motorist.  If a car happened to stop infront of him, once in a while, he would bend down to the vehicle to wish the driver, "Selamat pagi, Encik". It came a time when motorists would honk to greet him in return, or give him the thumbs up.  He became such an iconic figure in Jalan Ampang that Malay Mail ran a front page coverage on him.  After a couple of years, we noticed that he was no longer assigned for duty in that area anymore and I believe many of the motorists missed him.  By being cheerful, he had inadvertently helped motorists to de-stress and most important of all, in control of his behaviour when under trying conditions. This is what EQ is all about.

In commercial undertakings, marketing personnel need to meet deadline, sales personnel  need to meet their sales quota and customer service personnel need to work well under stressful condition especially when dealing with irate customers.  All the degrees and MBAs in the world are of no use if these people don't possess a strong EQ.

A new survey executed by CareerBuilder released information stating “71 percent of employers say they value Emotional Intelligence over IQ.”

This rising trend of placing such a huge emphasis on Emotional Intelligence, particularly in the workplace, is something that has been gaining momentum for some time now. The term Emotional Intelligence or sometimes better known as EQ, became monumental in the 1990s thanks to Daniel Goleman’s book; Emotional Intelligence, but the concepts that are the foundations of EQ have existed for decades, often called “social intelligence” or simply “interpersonal skills.” Employers have been paying increasing amounts of attention to how EQ benefits the workplace environment, and as a result of observations and numerous studies released on the importance of EQ, employers are beginning to change their focus.

The survey was conducted in August of 2011 and measured responses from over 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals from across the nation. The survey revealed:
  • “34% of hiring managers said they are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession”   
  • “71% said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ”
  • “59 percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EQ”
  • “75 percent are more likely to promote an employee with a high EQ over one with a high IQ”
Now, this data doesn’t mean; college students, throw out your text books because grades don’t matter. You still need to have the skillset to get you to the places you want to go, but EQ gives you the ability to rise above and become a star within those places, which IQ does not. According to a blog written by Daniel Goleman “IQ stands as a proxy for the cognitive complexity a person can process, it should predict what technical expertise that person can master. Technical expertise, in turn, represents the major set of threshold competencies that determine whether a person can get and keep a job in a given field.” With this said Goleman makes the argument that “emotional and social skills give people advantages in realms where such abilities make the most difference, like love and leadership.  EQ trumps IQ in “soft” domains, where intellect matters relatively little for success. Another such arena where EQ matters more than IQ is in performance at work, when comparing people with roughly the same educational backgrounds…”

But if theory simply isn’t enough for you, survey participants gave the following reasons, based on their observations in the workplace, as to why they place a higher value on EQ versus IQ
  • “Employees with high EQ are more likely to stay calm under pressure”
  • “They know how to solve conflict effectively”
  • “They are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly”
  • “They lead by example”
  • “They tend to make more thoughtful business decisions.”
TRACOM’s Dr. Casey Mulqueen says “Evidence on the personal and professional benefits of EQ is becoming clearer and overwhelming, and employers are recognizing this through their hiring and promotion practices. What matters now is for people to learn about EQ and start practicing it. Many of us have spent our entire academic and professional lives honing our intellects and technical abilities. Unfortunately this has been at the expense of our emotional intelligence. Just as people have dedicated practice and effort to their educations and careers, they can do the same with EQ. Small daily changes will turn into well-learned habits, with practice. And this will help people move to the next level in their careers and personal lives.”