Eight Traits of High Performing Managers

Eight Traits of High Performing Managers

  • Be a good coach.
  • Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
  • Be interested in direct reports, their success and their well-being.
  • Do not be a sissy. Be productive and results-oriented.
  • Empower, do not micromanage.
  • Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
  • Have key technical skills so you can advise the team.
  • Help your employees with career development.

Source: Google’s Project Oxygen: Do Managers Matter?

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Thought Leadership – January, 2016

Thought Leadership - January, 2016

  • 37% of the purchase process is over by the time prospects define the solution that they need. @HarvardBiz
  • 50% of people who express willingness buy will not publicly advocate for products. @CEB_Challenger
  • 57% of the purchase process is over by the time prospects engage with a salesperson. @HarvardBiz
  • A leaders words have impact. They can change moods and inspire actions. @SteveGutzler
  • An ounce of action can crush a ton of fear. @ExpertLeaders
  • Be your unapologetically weird self. @Sacca
  • Believing in yourself is the first step to improving yourself. @UncleRush
  • Can you win a game in Q1, Q2 or Q3? No. Can u win a game in Q4? Yes! @PeteCarroll
  • Do not compete, dominate. @GrantCardone
  • Encourage me and I will not forget you. – William Word
  • Everybody makes a difference. The only question is what kind. @Mark_Sanborn
  • Frequency of correctness does not matter; it is the magnitude of correctness that matters most. @DaveMcClure
  • Great people do great things; not because they are great, but because they refuse to be average. @GrantCardone
  • Highest form of leadership is having the singular focus on transforming the lives of others. @Benjamin_Akande
  • I follow the number one rule of investing. When you do not know what to do, do nothing. @MCuban
  • I have been up against tough competition all my life. I would not know how to get along without it. – Walt Disney
  • If nobody disagrees with you, it is because nobody sees you. @TheRealBradLea
  • If you know what day of the week it is, you are not busy enough. @GrantCardone
  • Knowing what matters is a good start. Doing what matters is most important. @DanVForbes
  • Leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders. @Tom_Peters
  • Leaders do not find fault, they find a remedy. @DanVForbes
  • Leaders do not make decisions based on fear. @SteveGutzler
  • Managing the pipeline at the top, middle and bottom of the funnel is critical for predictable revenue. @Josh_Lowry
  • No manager can know your actual potential. Only you do. @GrantCardone
  • On average, 5.4 people have to formally authorize any purchase. @HarvardBiz
  • Our job is not to assemble the best players, it is to put together the best team. – Bill Belichick
  • Pay the price today [work hard] so you can pay the price tomorrow [buy/do whatever you want]. @GrantCardone
  • Proud that Salesforce is committed to creating a world where equality for all is not an ideal, but a reality. @Benioff
  • Real change happens from the inside out. @LeadershipFreak
  • Revisit why you lead. Get clear on your purpose, not just your strategies and tactics. @Mark_Sanborn
  • Self-confidence is critical to performance, so do not engage in a way that may disrupt or shatter it? @PeteCarroll
  • Sell to your potential, not your quota. @GrantCardone
  • Serving self-interest is the best way to serve your own. @Josh_Lowry
  • Shift your focus from success to significance. @LeadershipFreak
  • Short-sighted leaders love giving feedback, but seldom seek it. @LeadershipFreak
  • Something good is just about to happen! Always believe! @PeteCarroll
  • Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. – Albert Einstein
  • The best players do not always win, but those that play the best most always do! – Lou Holtz
  • The market [and customers] always disciplines people who are unprepared. @GrantCardone
  • The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one. @DalaiLama
  • The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus. – Bruce Lee
  • There are no traffic jams on the extra mile. – Unknown
  • What gets measured gets managed. – Peter Drucker
  • What you expect is usually what you get. You draw “it” to you. @PeteCarroll
  • We do not want to be the best ones doing something, we want to be the only ones doing it. – Jerry Garcia
  • When you are comfortable being uncomfortable, great things can happen. @Benjamin_Akande
  • Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time. @ThisIsSethsBlog
  • You cannot wait for energy or enthusiasm to get started. They are luxuries. @MotoCEO
  • You do not have to be smartest or luckiest, you just need to focus on outworking everyone. @JarrodGlandt
  • You have to be willing to be misunderstood if you are going to innovate. @JeffBezos
  • You have to get management approval for $500, but you can call a one hour meeting with 20 people. @ValaAfshar
  • Your attitude is 4X more important than your skill. – Bill McCartney

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Using Your Coach to Advocate On Your Behalf

Using Your Coach to Advocate On Your Behalf

Effective salespeople no longer target unilateral decision makers to accelerate and close deals. They work to understand the prospect’s process for building consensus across buyer personas to purchase products.

In B2B sales engagements, sellers have historically targeted the Economic Buyer (the individual who gives final approval and releases funds to buy your product) to accelerate and close deals. However, as the complexity of products, number of vendors, etc. has increased, so has the emphasis on consensus-building in the buying process. In fact, today, there is a rarely a unilateral Economic Buyer. That is, consensus must be built among the Coach, Economic Buyer, Technical Buyer and User Buyer, all of whom have different interests, priorities and veto power.

There are four buyer personas in every complex sale. Multiple people can represent each buyer persona and also assume more than one buyer persona during the evaluation and purchasing process. The four buyer persons concept goes hand-in-hand with newly published research from the Harvard Business Review (HBR). According to the HBR, on average, 5.4 people must approve/sign-off on each purchase. If each of these people have different interests, priorities and veto power, building consensus between them is a must. The question is, how?

The HBR research outlined three key areas to build consensus between the four buyer personas. They included:

1 – Identifying– Focus on solution identification, not problem definition or vendor selection. Most buyers are 37% through the decision making process after solution identification and 57% through it by sales engagement.

2 – Connecting – Focus more on connecting buyer personas to each other and less on connecting them to your company. Communicate shared perspectives in a common language that resonate with all parties.

3 – Advocating – Focus on equipping the Coach to advocate on your behalf and motivate them to do so. A willingness to advocate doubles as the perceived support for the vendor increases through connection.

Because vendors have limited access to the buyer personas, especially in their early stages of an engagement, a Coach is needed. A Coach has a vested self-interest in helping the seller win. Accordingly, they provide information and insight to sellers about the buyer personas, as well as other elements of the opportunity to be considered. A willingness to buy though is different than a willingness to advocate. According to CEB, half of all coaches that have a willingness to buy are not willing to publically advocate for products within their companies. Why?

Coaches are inhibited by the perceived risk of change. The perceived risk includes: losing credibility or losing their job if a product fails or is unpopular. Phrases like “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” reaffirm the perception of choosing the wrong vendor. Business value (e.g., ROI) is not enough either. The truth is, decisions to publically advocate for a product only happen when the Coach’s personal win outweighs the perceived risk. A personal win is subjective and appeals to self-interest; e.g., advancing your career or being seen as an effective leader.

If motivating the Coach to advocate on your behalf to the other buyer personas requires their personal win outweigh their perceived risk, do you know how your Coach wins personally? Once you know how they win personally, you have to make them a “hero” within their organization. Give them the content that they need. Ensure the message and tools provided to them are clear and simple to execute. Arm them with the expertise needed to advocate on your behalf. Serving your Coach’s self-interest is often the best way to serve your own.

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Sales Cadence for High-Performance

Sales Cadence for High-Performance

A repeatable, scalable sales process drives predictable revenue growth. Part of creating predictability and repeatability is having a consistent sales cadence to reinforce and support the process. A sales cadence is the frequency or sequence of events that occur over a specific period of time to manage and share information with individuals and teams. A predefined, thoughtful sales cadence is a critical element of successful sales leadership. Note: When I was at Microsoft, we used the phrase “rhythm of the business” (or ROB) versus sales cadence – both mean the same.

An effective sales cadence takes into account the following areas: business reporting, forecasting reviews, people development, pipeline reviews, product training, sales meetings, strategic planning, etc. Great sales leaders implement and manage a consistent sales cadence with a well-defined purpose. That is, do we have the right strategy in place to win? Do we have the right operating model in place to execute the strategy? Do we have the right people in the right roles to execute the operating model? An effective sales cadence provides the “glue” to answer these three questions.

In organizations without a consistent sales cadence, routine meetings (one-on-ones, etc.) regularly get rescheduled causing frustration and resentment. Important meetings like forecasting reviews are also held infrequently versus every week to reinforce discipline and performance. When these types of meetings are held, they are usually at a moment’s notice causing significant stress and work for sellers. In addition, if commitments are made during them, accountability and follow up often lack. Remember, consistently and predictability drive performance. Be consistent.

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Seven Reasons to Avoid Discounting

Seven Reasons to Avoid Discounting

In cloud, SaaS and sales in general, discounting is common practice to help get deals closed. While discounting can increase performance, it can also have negative consequences. The negative consequences include:

  • Confidence – When you offer a discount, you are saying, “I do not fully believe in the value proposition that I have been positioning to you.” Customers can feel when you “need” a deal and it often scares them away.
  • Performance – When you offer a discount, you put pressure on the company and yourself to sell more. If your discounting average is 20% every month, you have to add that 20% onto your quota to hit plan.
  • Precedence – When you offer a discount, there is no going back. You not only impact the current sale, but future sales as the customer will always expect a discount. It is also hard to raise prices on existing customers.
  • Price – When you offer a discount, the customer’s mindset shifts to price versus value. Customers should believe they are making an “investment” in your product because of the expected return, not price paid.
  • Profit – When you offer a discount, you decrease the amount of cash the business will ultimately receive. Cash is the lifeblood of business. Cash enables growth and investment. Lack of cash causes contraction.
  • Trust – If you communicate that you do not discount or do not discount past a certain point, but later offer one to avoid losing a sale, the customer will believe you are untrustworthy. What else have you held back?
  • Value – When you offer a discount, you decrease the value of your product or service. Customers make decisions based on more than price – e.g., brand, expertise, etc. Price is just one component of the buying decision.

The best way to avoid discounting is have a large, healthy pipeline. The more qualified opportunities that you are working, the less pressure you will feel and more resistance you will have toward discounting to close deals.

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Do Not Let Others Define You

Do Not Let Others Define You

2000 NFL Draft Report
Prospect: Tom Brady, Quarterback, University of Michigan

  • Cannot drive the ball down the field.
  • Does not throw a really tight spiral.
  • Gets knocked down easily.
  • Lacks a really strong arm.
  • Lacks great physical stature and strength.
  • Lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush.
  • Poor build.
  • Skinny.
  • System type player who can get exposed if forced to ad lib.

Tom Brady’s record in the NFL with the New England Patriots

  • 4X Super Bowl Champion.
  • 3X Super Bowl MVP.
  • 2X NFL MVP.

Do not let other people define you. You define you.

All contents copyright © 2016, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Leadership Quotes – December, 2015

Leadership Quotes – December, 2015

A summary of leadership quotes and other tweets during the month.

  • 83% of the time people can effectively self-manage their emotions; 17% of the time they cannot. @SteveGutzler
  • Actively disengaged workers take two times the number of sick days than their engaged peers. @Gartner_Inc
  • Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? – Abraham Lincoln
  • An open ear policy is greater than an open door policy. Kevin Turner
  • Are you satisfied with your answer: Why should customers buy from you over someone else? @Josh_Lowry
  • Christmas reminds me some of the things that capture my attention do not matter much. @LeadershipFreak
  • Customer meetings r game time. Ensure coordinated execution. No practicing with customers. @Josh_Lowry
  • Disruption is a full time job. @ChiefExecGrp
  • Do not build a to-do list, build an outcome list and use it to determine what needs to be done. @TheSalesHunter
  • Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Do the right thing, always, even if no one else will ever know. @LollyDaskal
  • Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. – Anonymous
  • Either you run the day or the day runs you. @OfficialJimRohn
  • Employee engagement: Employees have to believe that they are at a company that is going to win. @MarkVHurd
  • EQ is where our reputation is built. Leaders know when to show their emotions. @SteveGutzler
  • Everything you want is on the other side of fear. @SteveGutzler
  • Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life. – John F. Kennedy
  • Executive Leadership 1: Strategy – Communicate a clear direction. @MarkVHurd
  • Executive Leadership 2: Operating Model – Put right people in right positions to execute strategy. @MarkVHurd
  • Executive Leadership 3: People – Hire the industry’s best people to execute the operating model. @MarkVHurd
  • Focus on your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. @DanVForbes
  • Gates, Musk and Zuckerberg have a not so secret productivity hack: work constantly. @Entrepreneur
  • He who has great power should use it lightly. – Seneca
  • I have got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, things will work out in the end. —Larry Bird
  • If my competitor were drowning, I would stick a hose in his mouth and turn on the water. – Ray Kroc
  • If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you have launched too late. @ReidHoffman
  • If you do not invest in you do not expect others to invest in you. @GrantCardone
  • If you do not sell, it is not the product that is wrong, it is you.” – Estee Lauder
  • If you do not take care of your customers, your competitors will. @SalesHackerConf
  • If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought. @SteveGutzler
  • If u set ur goals ridiculously high & it is a failure, u will fail above everyone else’s success. – James Cameron
  • In life you do not get what you deserve, you get what you fight for. @GrantCardone
  • It is hard to lead and inspire if you are not a people person. Work on it. – Kevin Turner
  • It is how you choose to respond to what happens to you that determines your success or failure. @DarrenHardy
  • Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. – Mother Teresa
  • Law of Business: Nothing happens until someone sells something. @SalesGravy
  • Leaders must remember to get rest, eat well, exercise and enjoy downtime with loved ones. @SuccessMagazine
  • Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren G. Bennis
  • Manage the outcome, not the activities. – Mark Ellis, SVP of Corporate Sales, Time
  • Most of what leaders learn about leadership they learn from leading. Let them lead. @LeadersServe
  • My legacy will not be money or success, it will be others success bc of what I said or wrote. @GrantCardone
  • My team does not work for me, they work with me. @SteveGutzler
  • Opportunity is missed by most people because it (is dressed in overalls and) looks like work. – Thomas Edison
  • Opposition can push u forward. Many times enemies do more 2 catapult u 2 success than friends. @JoelOsteen
  • Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. @IronmanJack
  • Sales are contingent upon attitude of salesman, not attitude of prospect. – W. Clement Stone
  • Sharing what you are learning with others helps keep you sharp and accountable. @LeadersServe
  • Servantleadership is an identity to embrace, not a strategy to deploy. Great leaders serve! @LeadersServe
  • Some successful people say failure is painless, it is not. It hurts. Truth is: doers make mistakes. @ValaAfshar
  • Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day. @OfficialJimRohn
  • Successful people make the right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. @JohnCMaxwell
  • Stay focused on your goals not your critics. @Msuster
  • The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing. @ThisIsSethsBlog
  • The first method for estimating the intelligence of a leader is to look at his or her team. @SteveGutzler
  • The only job security we have is our individual commitment to personal development. – Kevin Turner
  • The people who took the longest to mature as salespeople had the highest potential in the long run. @A16Z
  • To hit the number? Hire “A” players and put them in optimized performance conditions. @GregAlexander
  • To succeed in life we must stay within our strength zone, but move out of our comfort zone. @JohnCMaxwell
  • WC sales organizations understand consistent top performance does not happen by chance. @MHIGSalesPerf
  • What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. @TheZigZiglar
  • What you put into your eye holes and ear holes is what comes out of your mouth hole. @SalesGravy
  • When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion. – Abraham Lincoln
  • When managers do not have time to coach, they are placing a higher priority on other tasks. @MHIGSalesPerf
  • When you measure someone by their past, you limit their potential. @SteveGutzler
  • When u sell, u break rapport. When u educate, u build it. Sales is building rapport, not breaking it. @ChetHolmes
  • When you settle, mediocrity sets in. – Kevin Turner
  • When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. – Roy Disney
  • Without execution, vision is just another word for hallucination. @MarkVHurd
  • Why should customers buy from you over someone else? @Josh_Lowry
  • Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners. @MaxAlts
  • You are only as good as the people you hire. – Ray Kroc
  • You are what you think, so take responsibility for your thoughts. @DanVForbes
  • You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight. @OfficialJimRohn
  • You cannot get to the top by sitting on your bottom. @LeadershipFreak
  • You cannot make it big thinking about little stuff. @GrantCardone
  • You do not have to reinvent the wheel to be successful. @Entrepreneur
  • You have to be odd to be number one. – Dr. Seuss

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Never Settle

Never Settle

“When you settle, mediocrity sets in.” – Keven Turner, COO, Microsoft

Every day, we can choose to operate with distinction or mediocrity. However, once we have made the commitment to operate with distinction, there is no room for mediocrity. In fact, no opportunity to build or demonstrate unique value should be missed. No situation is too insignificant or small. Every interaction represents an opportunity to make a difference with someone or something – to make them better. Never pass a problem unattended. Problems do not age well or solve themselves. Choose to operate with distinction by adding value and solving problems. Never settle.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

What is Executive Maturity?

What is Executive Maturity?

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but of emotion. – Dale Carnegie

In his book, The Maturity Factor, management consultant Larry Liberty said , 80% of corporate executives in the U.S. were not fully mature. He called them “high-functioning adolescents” and suggested that they were mostly preoccupied with covering their backs, looking good and pretending to be fully functional. Similarly, in her book How to Think Like A CEO, executive coach Debra Benton stated that most people think advanced functional and technical skills are all that matter, but executive maturity, as expressed in behaviors, is far more important.

Effective leaders have executive maturity. Executive maturity means consistently demonstrating sound action, behavior and judgment. Executive maturity involves managing emotions and relationships during periods of ambiguity, pressure and uncertainty. It involves representing multiple points-of-view without bias to reach the best conclusions. It also involves providing needed perspective or a voice of reason in contentious or difficult situations. Executive maturity need not come with age, but through self-awareness and -control, especially of/over one’s emotions.

There are five levels of emotional control related to executive maturity. They are:

  • Level 1 – No emotional control over self.
  • Level 2 – Unpredictable emotional control over self.
  • Level 3 – Emotional control is maintained over self without demonstrating constructive action or behavior.
  • Level 4 – Emotional control is maintained over self while demonstrating constructive action and behavior.
  • Level 5 – EC is maintained over self and with others while demonstrating constructive action and behavior.

Level 5 is the aspiration for executive maturity. Leaders with level five emotional control focus on facts, not emotions. They use questions to gather objective data to define reality. By staying objective, they gain clarity.

Leaders with executive maturity are self-aware of their own feelings, thoughts and values. They practice self-control to manage their emotional reactions and triggers across circumstances and situations. They also understand the reasons behind other peoples’ behavior, even when that behavior is complex or subtle. While knowledge and skill help to make good decisions, it is their interpersonal effectiveness that enables them to be good leaders. The more leaders learn to manage their emotions, the greater they increase their influence with others.

Based on the research of executive and leadership coach Steve Gutzler, 83% of the time people can effectively self-manage their emotions. However, 17% of the time they cannot. According to Gutzler, emotional intelligence and self-management are where our reputations are built. How then do you develop the ability to maintain emotional control over yourself and with others while demonstrating constructive action and behavior? How do you develop the ability to respond to difficult people and situations factually versus emotionally?

  • Be self-aware. What people or situations can and do trigger (negative) emotions in you or others?
  • Determine the outcome. What message to you want to convey or result do you want to achieve?
  • Response wisely. Focus on addressing or solving the issue objectively, not emotionally.

Always stay focused on the facts, not the emotions, to demonstrate sound executive maturity.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

Winning Together

Winning Together

“If you do not make a total commitment to whatever you are doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It is tough enough getting the boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.” – Lou Holtz

My new favorite analogy for collaboration and teamwork is competitive crew (rowing). Why? Everyone is in the boat together. Everyone is rowing in the same direction … and everyone on the team is synchronized. Great things happen when rowers work together and cause the sum to become more powerful than its parts.

For example, a competitive crew team can propel their boat 15 miles per hour. By working together, these teams can pull a 180 pound man behind their boat on waterskies. Note to pull a 180 pound man on waterskies, rowers need to cut through the water at 10 miles per hour.

In business, each rower represents an individual or team. Each individual or team must work together to be synchronized. When someone stands up or stops rowing, the sum loses its power. As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Work together to win together.

All contents copyright © 2015, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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