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Reality check

…nowhere left to hide

Well, this is a depressing turn of events. One depression seems to be following another and surprisingly enough, there are those among us that have yet to realize the significance of what is happening.

As the crisis unfolds we are bombarded with what do to, what not to do, when to do it to weather the storm.

On the other hand, we hear that it will take another four, maybe five years to get back on track. The question nobody seems to be asking is, “Should we actually be talking about a crisis?” One of the characteristics of a crisis is that it is short lived. It happens, we take emergency measures, it passes, we revert to normalcy. Have you stopped to think just how long five years are? What has changed in your life in the past five years? A couple of failed affairs? A marriage, one or two or even three kids? A couple of promotions or job changes? The death of personal correspondence?   Five years. Stocks are crashing, banks are folding and people are still buying cheap. What makes us think that this is a crisis that will pass? Perhaps we would be better off if we looked at it as the portrait of things to come and adapt rather than take emergency measures. You can board up the windows once a year but if hurricanes are hitting every week you need to start thinking about things differently and adjusting your mindset.

 
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Posted by on 23/09/2012 in Welcome

 

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The power of “?”

Everything is a Trade-off. Always.

How do we learn? By asking questions. This holds true for every aspect and stage of our life. Never underestimate the ability to ask the right questions. This is the only way to arrive at the right answers. The good student is the one that continuously bombards teachers with a barrage of questions. Good interview candidates ask good questions. Bright children ask intelligent questions. The best scientists ask the best questions. The sales people with the highest close ratios are the ones that base the sales process on specific types of question. There is no reason why an entrepreneur or a manager should be an exception. If you don’t ask questions you will end up with teams that aren’t geared towards having the right answers. Even worse, you will lose touch with your business/people/industry etc.

One of the most powerful questions a manager can ask is also childishly simple: “Why?”

Question everything. Remember, we are living in a rapidly changing reality. What was a good call three months ago may have disastrous results two months down the line.

Sit back and take a third eye look at your routine. Does it still make sense? Objectively and unemotionally? Did your ego shoot down somebody else’s idea? Are you avoiding meeting with a prospect for personal reasons? Are you not firing somebody when you should have done it six months ago? Are you still selling to a client that is no longer paying as agreed?

Question everything. Ask why you do this and not that. Question your sales reps’ results. Question the efficiency figures. Keep on asking until the answers you get make sense and satisfy you. You are the boss. It’s your job.

Train your people to answer questions directly. In most cases, especially if something has gone bad, you will ask what color and get an answer referring to taste… Don’t be afraid to say, “that’s not what I asked” until you sound like a broken record. Don’t be afraid to show your discontent after the second attempt to get a straight answer. The person sitting across the desk may not even be trying to avoid the question. It is a sign of professionalism to answer questions completely and accurately and for most people it is a skill to be acquired. Help your teams develop this skill. It will make for a much more efficient organization and should also help enhance the sense of responsibility of your people.

And of course don’t forget that other very powerful question: “Why not?”. This also gets the mind wondering why certain things are not done? You will be surprised by the number of cases in which the reason is emotional rather than rational.

 
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Posted by on 19/08/2012 in Management tips

 

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