3 Signs You’re Failing as a Leader by Joe Scherrer


You probably don’t know anyone who wakes up in the morning, bright and chipper, and says, “I’m looking forward to failing today.”

But failure happens to all of us.

You make mistakes, you overlook the obvious, or you miss an important piece of information you need to make a key decision.

The good news is that if you can see the signs, you can avert failure. We discussed three of these signs previously: 1) you’re rapidly losing market share, 2) your old strategy isn’t working anymore, and 3) your customer service is terrible.

What follows are three more signs that will help you stay on the road to success.

Instead of driving over the cliff.

Sign #4: Cutting corners is a way of life

Of all the company scandals that have happened in the past decade, Enron is the poster child.

Maybe cutting corners started with Enron managers who did so to make their numbers.

They started small. A little fudging of the books wouldn’t hurt.

Just this one time.

But one time turned into thousands and eventually the whole house of cards collapsed.

Key takeaway: Just don’t do it—don’t cut corners.

And don’t accept anyone on your team doing it.

When cutting corners becomes standard practice, you’ll always look for the easy way, which may not be the right way. Over time, the hole you’ll dig will be a prison—perhaps literally—of your own making.

Bend your ethics and you’ve taken the on ramp to failure.

One thing you can do to avoid failure: Set the example and keep your professional and personal standards high. Accept only the best behavior and performance.

Back-up your personal example with clearly articulated corporate standards and policies for ethical conduct. Use audits, inspections, and legal reviews to give you a concrete idea of where you stand.

By doing so, you’ll go a long way toward preventing those cut corners.

Sign #5: You overhear people talking about how they hate coming to work

Read the rest and the first 3 signs here:

Stop Being Transactional and Start Being Consultative BY S. ANTHONY IANNARINO


Stop trying to sell product and start focusing on how you help your client with business outcomes.

Stop trying to talk features and benefits and start developing the business chops that is business acumen and situational knowledge (You need to sound like you work in business, like a good general manager. You need to understand how your client’s business works, the economic and market conditions, and the challenges confronting their business).

Stop talking about you and your company and start listening to your client talk about their business, their goals, and their needs (they talk at least 70% of the time, you talk no more than 30% of the time, you wait 8 beats after they’re doing speaking before you say a word . . . Yes, that’s a long time, and yes it will make you uncomfortable).

Stop trying to close opportunities fast and start doing the work necessary to helping your client loosen the status quo’s grip on their organization (Fast is slow and slow is fact. You only as fast as you can together obtain the real outcomes you need).

Stop skipping the discovery work and start helping your client discover why they need to change. Stop skipping whole stages of your sales process, too (Your process is your best and surest path to creating value and winning. Use it!).

Stop trying to sell without discovering, creating, or building dissatisfaction and help your client develop the compelling case for change (Want to why you aren’t different? Want to know why you aren’t compelling? Want to know why you end up with so many “no decisions?” Your dream clients don’t change without the necessary motivation).

Stop playing too low and too small and start creating the greatest level of value you can (If you want to be consultative, you have to help your clients with their biggest, most important, and most strategic outcomes. It’s about the most value, not what you can or want to sell).

Read the rest here: http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2013/11/21/stop-being-transactional-and-start-being-consultative/

An Ounce of Prevention by Jim Johnson


When is the best time to take care of your personal health? Right…practicing healthy habits on a consistent basis. The same goes for car care, house maintenance, etc. If we are in the habit of taking care of things, things can tend to take care of us.

The same is true for leadership and teams. Have you ever had this happen:

* A team member is caught in a lie that damages her credibility with you and the rest of the team. And you wonder, “Why didn’t she just come and talk with me instead of lie?”
* Two team members begin a feud that divides and destroys your team and your department’s reputation.
* A once high performing team member slowly mutates into an under-achieving, uncaring person.

“How did we get here?” you ask yourself.

While I’m not suggesting that you can completely stop these sort of things from happening (after all, people do have free will and will make choices – good or bad), there are some preventative things leaders/managers can do to promote a healthy team that consistently performs at higher levels.


How well do you know your team members? Do you know who their kids are? The name of their significant other? Are they facing some tough situations at home?

Leaders who know their team beyond the surface things have a better chance of connecting with them, understanding them, and coaching them far more effectively. As a result, the team will produce better results for a leader whom they feel cares about them.

In 2009, I had the honor of being on board the USS Nimitz – a nuclear aircraft carrier. I had the opportunity to meet the Captain of this magnificent ship that carried nearly 6,000 people. This Captain was passionate about getting to know the women and men who served under him. He engaged in conversations and asked about their families back home. And he remembered the conversations. I asked him why he thought that was so important to do. “The average age of my crew is around 19. I want them to trust me. I will put them through a lot of training and demand a lot out of them. But when it really counts, I want them to focus on their duties and not be thinking that their superior officers don’t care about them. I’m building a team that has to perform at a moment’s notice. Personally getting involved is my way of doing that.” And it showed as I watched him interact with his staff.


One of the worse things a leader can do is be inconsistent. One day you say this, but the next day you change course and demand something else. An ineffective leader who is inconsistent unravels his/her team, department, and company. “I just keep ’em guessing” will not lead you down the path of success.

Your team has enough surprises in their lives. Even mundane work can change suddenly. You, as the leader, will set the tone based upon how you have been day in and day out with your team. They will look to you for answers, direction, and calm. Willy-nilly will not win the day. Consistency will.


Does your team see you smile? Can you joke with them? Do you laugh at yourself? Humor can break down barriers. The team would love to see you honestly look at yourself (as they do) and not take yourself so seriously. Everyday, you get to create and promote the environment you want on your team. Smiles and laughter create healthy environments.


You cannot become an effective leader if you are not getting results. And you get those results through people. Consistently inspecting what you expect, communicating progress, teaching and training your team to understand the story behind the numbers…all of this tells your team that you are serious about their performance. If you wait until an annual review to “surprise” a team member about his lack of performance, you’ve waited too long.

Regular coaching and weekly updates with everyone on your team will not only be appreciated but you will find you are building a team that will become proud of its achievements. And they will start creating innovative solutions themselves that perpetuate success over and over again.

I lead a team who handles loans – via our website, the phone, and via mobile/tablet devices. They have become very good at what they do. We have tried to connect with our customers (members to us, we’re a credit union) in new ways. One of my team members is developing an idea he came up with – a video signature on emails where we are “onboarding” this new relationship. He wants to make a connection with people that we rarely would actually see. I love this idea!

There are other things you can do as a leader to consistently build a healthy team. Job shadowing, observation coaching, lunch with the VP or CEO, self-development through a business book club, etc.

Don’t try to wait until there’s a crisis to build your team. It will be too late. Start today to create habits that will build up your team. They will be happier, more productive, and satisfied in their work. You will be less stressed and you will be recognized for leading an effective team.

What Kind of Leader Do They Want? by Jim Johnson

leadership qualities

As you may know, I’m working on a certificate in Executive Leadership from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.  In a recent lecture, Dr. Mike Crant shared the findings of a survey conducted by Kouze & Posner (“The Leadership Challenge”).  The survey was seeking to discover what 20,000 people thought were the characteristics of leaders they admired. In other words, if they could create their own leader, what would they be like?  Here’s what the survey uncovered:


18,000 respondents said they wanted honesty in their leader.  It was really important to them that they could trust their leader and that he/she had integrity.  Crant says that this is good news for leaders.  Why?  A person can control this.  We can choose to be honesty and trustworthy.  “The extent to which you are viewed as an honest person who manages with ethics and integrity strongly influences how people perceive you.”


People want to follow leaders who have a vision for where they are leading the team/organization.  There is an agenda (and it is communicated!).  Forward-thinking leaders have initiative and ideas for improvement – they are out to make something greater.


People want their leaders to have passion and be positive.  It’s true!  Energy and enthusiasm are contagious.  You’ve heard the saying “speed of the leader, speed of the team”.  Followers will copy the attitude and actions of their leader (like it or not).  Leaders are role models.  Just be sure, leader, that you are positively modeling positive attitudes and actions.


Dr. Crant says that followers want to trust leaders’ judgment and technical skills to make good decisions.  A leader has to “know their stuff”.


49% of those surveyed stated that they wanted their leaders to be fair.  Fair treatment increases motivation.  On the flip side, Dr. Crant states that unfair treatment leads to people to do undesirable things.


People want their leaders to be focused on them.  Who wouldn’t want a leader who has the attitude of putting his/her followers in a position to succeed?  This type of leader worksto remove hurdles for his/her team.

Dr. Crant summarizes this lesson by stating that leaders will build credibility by keeping these desirable characteristics in mind.  But note this:  the survey used in this study did not measure the effectiveness of a leader.  It only focused on traits that were admired by followers.

So, how you do think you stand up to these characteristics?  More importantly, how would your team evaluate you in this?