Creating a Culture of Positivity

The American work culture is something of true value. Consider the following statistics:

  • Average work week of 50 hours or 9.4 hours per day
    • Other countries work an average of 20% less hours
  • 88% of US Citizens are considered Upper Middle Class or Wealthy as compared to rest of world
  • Average Yearly Income in the US is $61,937
  • Only 15% of US workers are unhappy with their current Jobs
  • The US Remains the worlds richest company per capita controlling $105.99 Trillion or about 30% of the entire worlds net worth

America loves to work. More than any country in the world, we have absolutely no discerning lines between work life and personal life. I believe this issue stems from our desperate need for material items. As Americans we are wasteful and materialistic. Because of our need and our children’s need to have STUFF we need to make more money. It is a really interesting paradigm. You look at other cultures and they have sacred days, or long vacations, or maybe shortened work weeks, but Americans we maybe get a week vacation after our first full year working.

Now believe it or not I am actually not looking to change the American work culture. Because guess what I am American and I like working and I like STUFF. I am however a proponent of making the work atmosphere as positive and enjoyable as possible.

Becoming ranked as one of the best places to work by Fortune is by far one of the best things that can happen to a company and I guarantee that they are successful because of the positive culture that exists. For your curiosity I have included the top 10 for 2020 below:

  1. Hilton
  2. Ultimate Software
  3. Wegmans Food Markets
  4. Cisco
  5. Workday
  6. Salesforce
  7. Edward Jones
  8. Stryker
  9. American Express
  10. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

We need to create winning, happy, positive, high energy offices at all of our companies and the only way to do that is to create a culture of positivity. The act of being positive decreases cortisol and your brain begins producing serotonin creating a happy feeling, in addition, one feels calmer less anxious and more focused. Guess what that means in the workplace? More production and more money!

Easy enough right? Just create an office full of positivity… Well this is often easier said than done. At an office there are a multitude of factors that make the mere act of being positive very difficult such as deadlines, bosses, stress, and money to name a few. Nearly every aspect of our life that we stress about revolves around money which revolves around our job.

In order to create a culture of positivity and an office that people want to work at the change has to start at the top. The key for success with this process is to search for people doing good. I think far too often in our work culture employees are only noticed when they do something poorly, especially as a mid level employee. We need to reward and encourage positive behavior by catching people in the act of doing something good. It does not matter what exactly they are doing, catch somebody doing something good even if it is just changing the ink in the printer, somebody has to do it. If the boss starts this positive encouragement it will become contagious in the office. This is a grass roots culture change but if you want to succeed it starts small.

People screw up it happens and you criticizing them or publicly coming down on them is not going to change that fact. I am by no means saying that there should not be a level of accountability because I believe in a proper accountability process as well. I am saying, that you will see a greater response from your employees and your bottom line if you encourage a culture of positivity.

We work a lot as Americans but this does not mean that we have to be unhappy. Encourage positivity in the workplace and watch your company soar.

References:

How Americans View Their Jobs

America-Global Income

Median US Income

“8 Hour Work Day”

Worlds Wealth

Best Companies

Write that report or have a beer on the deck

Working from home has become somewhat of a standard these days and for many people it is a stark new reality. The discipline required to work from home is not normally something that many people are born with. The idea of waking in the morning and beginning the 1-2 hour craziness that we call “getting ready for work” has essentially acted as a switch that causes us to leave the comfort of home and enter work mode.

Once at work, everything around you fosters and screams, in the eloquent words of Bill Belichick, “DO YOUR JOB”. On the other hand when working from home, you are afforded many luxuries not available at the office like working in your underwear or your inviting deck on a beautiful afternoon. This environment is the antithesis of the office and fosters relaxation and/or a chore list. The question is how to combine the motivation that the office has with the relaxation of your home and still be productive AND relaxed.

From Business News Daily:

Many employees and business owners alike have been working from home for years, thanks to developments in tech that make remote work possible. For a growing number of Americans, this is the norm. Now, amid the recent COVID-19 outbreak, most companies and their workers are following suit, raising the question: Is this working arrangement a productive one?

A 2019 survey by Airtasker says yes. Researchers polled 1,004 full-time employees throughout the U.S. about their productivity, their commutes and other facets of their lives. Among that group were 505 people who worked remotely. The study found that working from home not only benefits employees by eliminating their daily commutes, it also increases productivity and leads to healthier lifestyles. It’s a win-win situation that workers relish for its flexibility – but often at the cost of their work-life balance.

Take a look at the following statistics from Inc. Magazine:

  • As reported in 2020, 5 million employees (making up 3.6% of the entire U.S. workforce) work from home for at least half the time.
  • The number of regular telecommuting employees (excluding the self-employed population) has grown by 173% since 2005.
  • The number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years. However, only 7% of all employers in the United States offer work from home flexibility.
  • By 2028, one study estimates that 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
  • Two-thirds of managers who offer telecommuting flexibility report that employees who work from home are overall more productive.
  • Larger companies are more likely to offer telecommuting flexibility than smaller ones are.
  • Employers offering at least part-time telecommuting flexibility collectively save $44 billion each year.
  • According to one study, remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year.
  • 29% of remote employees said they struggle with work-life balance, and 31% said they have needed to take a day off for their mental health.
  • One of the most effective ways workers can stay productive is by taking breaks throughout the day. The Pomodoro Technique is one such method for employees to decompress for a moment and come back refreshed and ready to focus.

As you can see, working from home tends to allow for more flexibility and relaxation. But here’s the rub – Many people working from home tend to find themselves falling into the “work-a-holic” mode and never find an exit strategy for the day. As I wrote at the beginning of this post, the morning craziness acts as a switch that tends to indoctrinate you for your work day. Conversely that ride home and end of day activities helps decompress and allows you to enter the home mode.

When working at home, you do not have these “switches”. the day blends together and creates a very confusing brain pattern. You hear the children playing or your wife talking on the phone but yet you are in the middle of writing a financial summary and you’re brain is caught between two worlds.

Here are some tips for working at home and getting the most efficiency from your workday at home:

Allot a portion of your home for work. Perhaps a spare room or space in the basement or garage. When I started in business almost 30 years ago, I had a very small home with young children and actually converted a 6×10 shed into an office.

If at all possible, do not make your bedroom a part office. This is your sanctuary and you place of rest. If the last thing you see before climbing into bed is your desk filled with incomplete projects, you will tend to have a very unsettled night.

Taking breaks is critical. You are at home, enjoy that freedom and your space. This is your castle and your office is borrowing space from it not the other way around. Enjoy it, push away from the desk at least once an hour and go get a glass of water or refill your coffee and while you are away, enjoy and take in what’s around you – your castle. It doesn’t matter how big or small your castle is, it’s your place of rest and refuge and a spot that you and your family come together.

Be sure to make a distinction between home and office. When you walk away, whether for a break or for the day, be sure to leave it in the office. Conversely, if you are struggling with a challenge in the “office”, many times by walking away and clearing your head you may gain more clarity of mind an be able to solve that problem better because it’s far easier to find peace and clear your mind at home than at the office.

Don’t deny yourself. If the lawn needs to be mowed, go and mow it. If you come out for a refill of coffee and the kids are playing in the yard and you are yearning to participate, go and play with them. If your wife is sitting on the deck taking a break, join her. You have flexibility now and the opportunity to make up the time away. Don’t let your time away become too plentiful but just make sure that you don’t build up a resentment to all that’s going on around you.

Be very attentive and respectful to superiors and co-workers. Understand that during the workday your job is your job and when things are a bit quieter, you can also be quiet. When there are time lines and deadlines make sure that you are not operating on the Pain versus Pleasure principal that I spoke of in a previous post. Like most things in life, working from home required a balance but also a discipline to get the things done that are necessary to complete and do them in a timely manner. If someone is waiting for you to complete something before they can move to their next step, accommodate them and move things along.

All in all there is no secret to effectively working from home. Your efficiency and productivity should increase and your piece of mind should increase exponentially. If this is not the case, re-read this post several times until it clicks.

Pain or Pleasure??

There are primarily two motivating factors in our lives and they are pain and pleasure. I know this may sound a bit risque but it’s true. We will always gravitate to either pain or pleasure depending on the circumstances.

I know you are asking yourself, “where is he going with this??”. Pain and pleasure are the most motivating factors in a persons life. We are motivated by each of them every day. It’s important to understand that both can be shrouded or disguised in a myriad of ways but the bottom line is that pain and pleasure pervade in our lives numerous times each day.

Webster defines motivation as:

The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

I am certain that I don’t have to define pain or pleasure but it’s not what you’re thinking. Being motivated by pleasure is a pretty easy concept to grasp. We are motivated to go to an amusement park because we know it will be a great time. We are motivated to be with our children because of the essence of time and often enjoy the goofiness that a child offers and inspires. We are motivated to pack for the trip you have coming up because we are excited for the new experiences that are soon to come. Pleasure is an excellent motivator and often prevails over pain. Innately, we gravitate towards pleasure as a first instinct and fall back on pain only if absolutely necessary.

With that said, pain is a very strong motivator and is the result of spending too much focus on pleasure. An example of the imbalance of pain and pleasure would be, snoozing the alarm clock until you realize that you have a meeting in 30 minutes and you will undoubtedly be late, now that pain of being late becomes the chief motivator and far outweighs the pleasure of lying in a warm comfortable bed. Another example for the golfers out there, it’s too painful to write that executive summary or blog post because it’s more pleasurable to be on the golf course. Now you are on the 18th hole and you realize that that report is due in the morning, you must now race back to the office and begin typing like a crazy person – motivated by the pain of not getting your project completed in time and suffering the consequences.

Although pleasure is magnetic and powerful it is somewhat ephemeral if not balanced with the thought of the pain. Notice I typed “the thought of pain” and not the actual pain. In a combat situation there is a phrase and it’s Left of Bang. If we consider that there is a time line in front of you and at the center of the timeline we have a large red circle. Let’s call that circle “Bang”, anything to the right of bang is very bad and not a place we want to be. It means that we are now in crisis mode, the threat and danger is now. You are now in a situation where you are implementing damage control and trying to create order from chaos. You can no longer be proactive, you can only be reactive. Let’s face it, nobody wants to be right of bang. Right of bang is pain.

The alternative to being right of bang is obviously left of bang. This is where we all want to live and operate. It is a far more peaceful, manageable place to be that allows for far more fluidity. There is a very important tactic that you must possess while left of bang, you must be aware and watchful. The closer you get to bang the more you must be aware that the balance is off as you can very quickly enter into that unpredictable and chaotic stage of right of bang. When you see that big red circle coming your way, pump the brakes a bit and refocus your attention on those things that will keep you on the left side of that circle.

Have you ever played that game Labyrinth? It is a square box with a maze in the middle and you can control the equilibrium gently moving a small ball towards your desired destination. Well pain and pleasure, left and right of bang, and Labyrinth all follow a similar strategy. Labyrinth is not that difficult and can really be completed by anyone. All they need to do is go slow, pay attention and be watchful of what’s ahead of you.

Being motivated by pain is not where you want to find yourself on a regular basis and that’s why being mindful of what’s ahead of you is important. We can create a balance between pain and pleasure and it’s that balance that creates efficiency and high productivity!

Be sure to be alert and watchful, make sure you are looking for the holes in your maze and take the necessary time to navigate each day being mindful of the pinnacle between pain and pleasure. Thats the big red circle I call bang. Each day we consume ourselves with countless tasks and projects quickly finding ourselves in the big red circle. Watch, listen and slow down. Your days will be much more productive.

The Knowing Doing Dilemma

Everybody needs training. It is not something to be ashamed of or something to shame. That is just how life goes. In fact, you are really hurting your company without implementing formal training (As I have discussed before). A recent study from the Association for Talent Development (ATD) shows that companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee. Pretty staggering statistic. So that makes it pretty clear that training is not something that should be looked down upon but rather awarded.

The truth is, it does not matter what you are doing even something as mundane as turning on the TV, someone once showed you how to do that task. Most skills are not inherent, they are learned. Sure, you may find that some people have innate skills that make them better at something but they still have to learn. Michael Phelps, for example, is an excellent swimmer and truth be told he probably has the correct body frame and special abilities that made him the swimmer he is today. With that said, he still would have drowned as a child if nobody ever taught him how to swim. Inherent skills are useless without proper training.

When we get into work related tasks the training becomes far more important, comprehensive, and beneficial (as shown by statistic listed above). After all, the success of the employees affect the success of the company. Training sessions can be long in duration and even lasts months at a time. If you have implemented training processes at your company or you work at a company where there are solid training processes then bravo to both of you. Give yourselves a pat on the back, because this is a critical step to the success of your career and your business. 

Now to get to the crux of the blog post, Is it a knowing or a doing problem. A few years ago I was approached to work with a manager at a medium sized business in Maine. The manager was directly tied to the sales flow and interacted with customers on a daily basis. After reviewing their sales process it seemed that the process and their training was actually pretty solid. I told this to the owner and he assured me that I must be wrong because the sales numbers were drastically lacking. I decided that I wanted a closer look at the manager so I put on my customer hat and role played with the manager. I could not believe how proficient he was with the material and process that he was taught to perform. Some of the best word and thought track performances I had seen. Perhaps a little shaky, definitely not a natural salesmen but nonetheless should be performing well. This illustrated to me that the issue with this business was not the process or the implementation but rather the personnel.

Allow me to elaborate. When I am asked to come into a company and work with their employees I am always looking to answer one question. This one question is not difficult to answer and is actually quite simple. It can usually be evaluated in as little as ten minutes even if I am unaware of the context or subject for which I am implementing the process. The question, “Is it a knowing or a doing problem?”. This critical step in my process was established from that training consultation just a few short years ago. This is why it is so critically important to follow the ABLE mentality, Always Be Learning – Evolve. We will be having a blog post on this in the coming weeks but I think you can garner the general message.

The manager from my story above demonstrates that the he knows the process but ignores it when with customers. This is the crux of every process implementation. When you are looking to implement change be sure to do so in a manner that allows for sufficient training. If the change is encouraged through constant training but your numbers are lacking, you can rule out the knowing problem. If it is not a knowing problem and the employee is resisting the change then it is a doing problem and you likely have a disgruntled employee on your hands, time for an Intimate Negotiation

Basically, to break down the two aspects, a knowing problem simply means that the person does not know how to perform the task. Perhaps they were thrown into the job with insufficient training, or filling the shoes for somebody who quit. This is a good problem as it is a fixable problem. Likely, with a knowing problem you will actually have a happier and more productive employee once they have received the training that they so desperately need.

The alternative to this is the doing problem. This means that the person is aware of how to do the task the way it should be performed but chooses to do it differently. This could occur for a few different reasons; upset with a manager, thinks the process you are implementing is stupid or takes longer, or thinks that their way of doing things is ultimately better. This is not the mindset that you want for an employee, they need to get on your bus. These are the employees that we have to worry about, now they may not be gone altogether but it is time for an uncomfortable conversation. I recently posted a blog post on “The Intimate Negotiation” this is what I call the uncomfortable conversations that need to be had in the workplace. This could be between Employer and Employee or vice versa and even among peers. Take a peak if you feel that it may be time to have one of these uncomfortable discussions.

Bottom line is whether you are an employee or a boss be sure to ask this simple question to see what the status is on the job being done. If you are the employee resisting change, ask yourself why. Typically, people far smarter than any of us came up with the process you are being taught.

Money is not the root of all growth – Right?

We met with a client this morning who has endured many trials and tribulations in their business and have persevered through them all only to find themselves in a situation where they think they need money to grow.

Sound familiar to anyone?

They have led their industry at one time with a superior product and exceptional service. What happened to them is a far too familiar scenario for many companies. They ran out of steam and more importantly ran out of money. They stopped moving and adjusting to the ebb and flow of business and the economy. They allowed their competitors to get an edge on them and the circumstances that followed caused debt and a non-existent pipeline of business. Now they find themselves in a situation where only one company comprises 50% of their business and many of their past customers have moved their loyalty to other vendors. They face an uphill battle but luckily, they are prepared to fight and take direction.

The old adage, “don’t let this happen to you applies”. I once read a great quote from the famous motivational sales trainer Zig Zigglar. He said that at one time his greatest form of exercise was to fill the bathtub, climb in, pull the plug and fight the current. Clearly a ridiculous exercise and certainly one that is grossly ineffective. I would submit that many business owners today are simply fighting the current rather than navigating the rocks.

The current Covid-19 pandemic is a great example of how people either succeed or fail. I have read countless stories about companies that have seen a need and filled that need rather that continue to try and conduct business as usual. Adjusting to the business climate and the economy is something that a company needs to be prepared for but more importantly, be ready to act and change. Keeping your eyes on what’s going on in your industry and even industries that you interact with on a regular basis is crucial for the success of your company.

In the wild the term survival of the fittest is ubiquitous. It is clear and obvious when you look at the natural world around us. Plants and animals adapt to their surroundings or they perish. They find ways to fend off predators or camouflage themselves as to not be seen. The essential and overriding thought is to survive, period. There is no difference in business. In the 1986 movie Heartbreak Ridge, Clint Eastwood as Gunny Highway says, “You’re Marines now. You adapt. You overcome. You improvise.

Let’s take some creative liberty here and rephrase that statement for business owners. “You own a business. You pay attention. You take action. You adjust. You succeed.

Personally speaking, my company started as a sign company and has morphed into a highly successful digital marketing and consulting firm. That didn’t happen surreptitiously or by chance, it happened through a diligent focus on supply and demand and filling that demand. It happened by paying attention to the needs of my customer base and giving them what they needed thereby allowing my company to grow and become malleable, flexible and progressive. Although I can’t stand the word progressive in a political context, I do believe that a progressive company is one that will stand the test of time, succeed and gain strength.

That strength is solely dependent on your ability to be a proactive business owner and by building a strong foundation one block at a time. It means a painstaking placement of the correct block and a block that, if necessary, can be replaced by a different block. Of course I am being metaphorical here and each block could represent a miscellaneous business practice such as a marketing strategy, a key personnel hire, a location change, a new compensation plan or any one of a myriad of steps that need to be taken to adjust and grow.

Change is eminent and the growth of your business is predicated on your ability, as the owner and leader of your company, to be watchful and to adapt. How will you be defined? How will your company grow? Will it remain stagnant?

“You own a business. You pay attention. You take action. You adjust. You succeed!

My sales department is very good… I think

Sales is not an easy profession. It requires training, diligence, patience and above all accountability. All these requirements culminate in a seasoned professional sales person. A sales department may have a handful of these seasoned professionals and some that are learning and some that are brand new. Many times the missing element to a successful sales department is a process and a structure.

I have been working with many sales departments that basically allow the sales people to do whatever they want and there is no accountability for time and process and laziness is ubiquitous. Eventually the sales person becomes fat dumb and happy meeting the status quo and there is no longer a drive or any ambition. They essentially become clipboard order takers – not good.

A company needs a hungry and ambitious sales force in order to grow and stand with or ahead of the competition. This is done with incentive programs, aggressive commission structures, contests and competitive processes. Do you have a sales board in your sales department? Do you have quotas set for the day, week and month? Are there contests sprinkled in from time to time, are you honest about the overall sales numbers? Is there accountability to the quotas with performance reviews, rewards and even discipline if necessary. Are you constantly monitoring production and sales pitches? Are there training programs in place to help educate your sales people about the product, value statements, features, advantages, benefits? Have you trained and educated your sales people on the products and companies they are selling against?

There are many elements of en effective sales department and creating all these elements into a process and then wrapping that process into an exciting and energetic program can help increase sales, commitment, loyalty and moral.

Wealth Is Discretionary Time

I recently decided to purchase a boat and a slip for easy access all summer long. Now I am sure you have all heard the phrase “better to know somebody with a boat than own one yourself” or “Boat, you know what that stands for, Bust Out Another Thousand”. Despite what everyone said I went forward with it anyways, as I usually do. Unfortunately, these tales have proved to be somewhat true, nothing major but one hundred dollars 10-20 times quickly adds up to thousands invested.

I am telling you this not to brag but to use it as an example for one of life’s greatest dichotomies. Let me outline the issue here using two quick contrasting statements:

  • Having a boat is great but having a boat is expensive.
  • I need time to use my boat but I have to work more hours to afford my boat.

You see, the two statements above perfectly illustrate the dichotomy between time and money. On the one hand the idea of having a boat appears incredible but the reality is that it costs a lot of money to maintain. Furthermore, in concept the next warm day may seem like a great boat day, but in practice you are stuck in the office working.

After reading hundreds of self help, business solution, and influential biography books, I have come to the realization that wealth is in fact discretionary time. If you were to go back to my 15 year old self and tell me that I would give up a half million dollar salary for a 4 day work week, I would have told you that you were crazy.

I talked about goals in a recent blog post and this is truly where it needs to start. When you are beginning with the end in mind, what exactly does the middle look like? Is it really worth earning a million dollars a year even though you have no time to spend it? Or is it better to earn 100k and be able to attend your child’s mid afternoon baseball game or have an 11am tee time?

Those questions are for you to decide and ultimately it is your life but I will urge you to consider the statement “Wealth is Discretionary time”. Better to be able to go to the beach, for free, on a Wednesday afternoon than have to leave your $50k boat docked on its slip all summer because you never had time to use it. 

We can always make more money but time, time is something that is finite. We have what we have, be sure to cherish it. 

Everyone should work in sales. Here are 4 Reasons why.

If you are jumping into the workforce and you do not know where you would like to begin, start in sales. The lessons and skills you will learn in sales will stick with you through any career path that you decide upon. There are also an immense amount of sales positions available, 1 in 8 jobs in the US are sales focused. Here are some of the main reason why an introduction into a sales career is a good idea:

  1. Learn how to take a defeat: Likely at the start of any sales career you will be doing the very fun art of cold calling. For those of you that are not aware, this means that you have a list of names and numbers in front of you that you have to call all day. Most cold calling sales positions will reach out to 50-100 prospects in a given day and you may not even get a result. Most of the time, if you are lucky enough to actually get someone on the phone, the prospect will tell you they are all set and not in need of your product or service. Hearing no that many times is dexterity that most jobs cannot teach you and will surely be helpful down the road. 
  2. Resiliency: It typically takes 8 calls to actually get your prospect on the phone. That is a lot of work and is why most people do not like to cold call. This teaches you to never give up until you speak with the prospect. This is an important lesson no matter what career you choose.  
  3. Develop Relationships: Almost every business is about developing relationships, you could have the best product in the world but if you don’t know anybody then you will never be able to get it to market. In sales you have about 10-30 seconds to build a rapport that will likely develop a relationship. Acquiring the skill to develop a relationship in a mere 30 seconds is a skill that will pay dividends for years to come. 
  4. Professional Demeanor: In a world of technology, being able to carry yourself professionally is a talent being aggressively scouted in the workforce right now. Whether on the phone, in person, on email, or in any form of communication it is important that you are able to walk the walk and talk the talk. 

In any case whether you are interested in sales or not you should at least give it a try. If nothing else it is a great training ground for the rest of your career. In addition the top paying sales positions in each industry is well over $150,000 so safe to say there is a lot of money to be made in sales. 

Don’t dream, set goals

Most people reading this blog are probably aware of, even if only acutely, SMART goals. This is an old adage in business that acts as an acronym standing for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. I am not here to push the SMART goal method onto you but I am here to introduce and illustrate the importance of having goals. Goals are an important motivator both in your personal and in your professional life. Success in life is a multi prong approach that always should begin with the end, start making your goals from retirement backwards. If you know where you are going it is a heck of a lot easier to design the road map to get there. 

When developing all of your goals always have the end in mind, without it there is no destination. Personally, I develop goals for every fiscal quarter for 3-5 years. On top of that I have 10 year goals, 20 year goals, and goals for the end. These are all encompassing that do not merely discuss my professional life but also the house that I want to live in, the beautiful family that I want to continue to develop, and ultimately continued happiness. 

Far too often people get lost in goals as these daunting achievements that you will never live up to. This is where the SMART goal format does come in nicely, as it coaches you through developing a goal so that it is achievable and rewarding. I was once told that a person/organization should be meeting about 80% of their goals, if you are hitting 100% of your goals then they are too easy and if you are not hitting 80% then you either are not working hard enough or your goals are too lofty. Find the sweet spot in your goals that lives right around an 80% success rate. Shoot for the sun and get to the moon.

The last two things that I want to leave you with are this; goals must be written down and attained goals must be celebrated. If your goal is not written down that it is merely a figment of your imagination and will likely never be achieved. Once you write a goal on paper it is a plan of action and you are ready to accomplish it. When a goal is accomplished you must celebrate it, go out to a fancy dinner, buy something nice. Do something for yourself, after all you gave yourself a goal, developed a roadmap to get there, and you navigated to the end. You deserve it. 

Trying to get everybody on board: The Key to Training

You have to get the absolute top management involved. You need uniform front starting from the top. If everybody knows that the owner, CEO, CFO, and VP are on board then there will likely be success. This does not necessarily mean they have to be involved in every step of the implementation process just that they are on board and that there will be repercussions if they do no conform. For example, if the VP declares a new initiative but the owner has blown it off, then what do you expect the account managers to think?

When there is corporate emphasis on training (personal and professional development) then there is employee buy in. The best way to approach ongoing training is in short continuous intervals. Large corporations like to do these extravagant corporate training events, typically offsite and last a long duration of time. The thought is there but they are simply not productive. When push comes to shove and a customer service representative is speaking with a customer they will naturally refrain to their old habits because it is what they are most comfortable with. Training must be a progressive, tapered approach with sessions lasting no longer than an hour for any single training meeting. This allows for extreme repetition and garners full attention of the trainee.

Once the training plan has been unveiled and shared with the entire team it is important to get the sessions scheduled and in everybody’s calendar. Make it a priority! Remember that your biggest asset is your people. If you spent $100,000 developing a product how much should you spend training your sales team to sell that product? I would hope more than a 3 hour meeting that cost maybe $1000. People are your future, invest in them.