3 Important Benefits of Self-Inspection for Sales Leaders

leadership

At church over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hearing an excellent discussion around one of the most well-known (by Christian and non-Christian folks alike…) passages in Bible:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5  (NIV)

While I have heard this passage discussed many times, what struck me was the pastor’s observation that it does not really suggest that as a blanket approach we should never judge anyone (as it is often interpreted.)  Rather, the primary message is to make sure that before we address an important matter with someone that we first inspect ourselves with the same standard to ensure that we have clear vision going into that conversation.

An eye-opening reminder for important matters of faith, as the sermon continued to explore – but it also got me wondering how it might apply to the daily life of a leader.

Think about it.

As a sales leader, a large part of our job description is built around evaluating (or, “judging” if you’d like) the team we work with.  Nearly every day we are coaching selling skills, analyzing performance, conducting competency reviews, addressing problems, giving advice…the list is endless.

Given that fact, how much time do WE spend in self-inspection mode – measuring our own performance with the same standards that we expect from those we are privileged to lead?

The answer for me:  not enough.

While I believe the value of introspection is likely endless, here are 3 important benefits that self-inspection can bring to our leadership approach and coaching interactions:

  1. Clarity

    The passage from Matthew 7 suggests that by inspecting ourselves first, we’ll be able to see clearly to then call someone else out on an important matter.  Nothing brings clarity to a coaching situation quite like putting yourself into the other person’s shoes and measuring your own performance.  It provides a 3-dimensional picture of the situation versus the 1-dimensional view we often have looking in from the outside.  How have you felt in that same situation?  What challenged you when dealing with it?  How did you overcome it?  While leadership is never about YOU – this kind of inspection provides a level of clarity around what THEY are going through which has incredible value.

  1. Humility

    With 3-dimensional clarity often comes a degree of humility.  Humility is a word that can be taken many ways, especially in the world of leadership.  For this discussion, I’d suggest it’s a posture that lacks false pride or arrogance.  If you’ve identified a selling skill that someone on your team needs to improve, a time of reflection around your own challenges and success with that skill (currently or in the past) allows you to approach the coaching table with a grounded and potentially modest mindset.  This does not mean weak or wishy-washy coaching – quite the opposite.  It means that you’re able to identify with the person you’re working with in a very human way that can help your message be received openly and powerfully.

  1. Patience

    While a sense of urgency and drive are clearly needed in the realm of sales leadership, this can quickly and easily turn into impatience and frustration in coaching situations without self-inspection.  As with humility, this doesn’t imply being soft or tolerating underperformance for endless periods of time.  Performance needs should always be addressed right away and directly.  It means that we are able to set appropriate expectations and timeframes on skill or competency development from a point of having first looked at our own development for clarity.

Our lives as leaders are full of opportunities to take the time for self-inspection.  Not beating ourselves up or over-thinking everything…just good, solid reflection on the topic at hand from our own perspective.  Give it some thought this week and feel free to share some comments from your own perspective…

  • What have your experiences been with taking time to reflect or self-inspect as a leader leading up to important coaching situations?  How has it helped or hurt?
  • Do you have ways of doing this formally that work for you? Informally?
  • Do you totally disagree with me? 🙂

Thanks always for taking the time to stop by the blog.  I appreciate it more than you know and value your insights.

Until next time,

-Dave

5 Easy Ideas for Crushing your Commute

ULE

I stumbled upon a cool interactive map over the weekend which shares the average commute time to work, by zip code, across the United States.  I’m easily amused. 🙂

According to the tool, the average commute time to work in the US is 25.4 minutes.

Almost an hour in the car/bus/train each day.

I punched in my zip code here in Sussex, NJ (07461) and came up with an average commute to work of 40 minutes.  While my drive time is quite a bit longer each day, that’s probably a pretty close number locally from what I can tell.  Give it a try by clicking here and entering your zip code or simply hovering around the map!

If you’re in field sales, you add to these figures the drive time between customers and you end up with loads of windshield time each and every week.  And since time is truly our greatest resource, it’s fair to evaluate what we’re doing with that time and what we’re getting in return.

I subscribe to the idea that we shouldn’t waste the time we’re given on the road – it can be a gift.  So, here are just 5 ideas to think about to help crush your commute and make better use of your time on the road:

  1. Subscribe to Podcasts: Podcasts are digital audio files made available online to download to a computer or mobile device.  There are TONS out there right now covering every topic you can imagine.  If you’re new to this technology and using an iPhone, you can simply download the free podcast app, search for content you might like and subscribe.  Once you’re subscribed, new content from that podcast will hit your phone when published and you can listen away during your commute time.   A few that I subscribe to are pictured below along with the free podcast app icon.Podcast Pic 1
  2. Listen to audio books: I love to read books but find it really difficult to find time to do it these days.  I tried reading before bed recently and realized quickly it would take me 6 years to finish because I fell asleep with the book on my face in about 5 minutes.  A solution to this dilemma is audio books.  Again, not exactly a new phenomenon but if you haven’t leveraged the technology right on your phone to listen during your commute yet – try it!  I’m using the Audible App on my iPhone and just finished up Bob Burg’s Go Givers Sell More, which my team and I are using for a book club discussion.  I highly recommend it!Audio Book Pic 2
  3. Convert your online reading to audio: I’m just trying this out now.  There are several apps which can not only help collect and organize online content for you (news articles, blog posts, etc.) but will convert it into audio format for consuming on your drive to work.  I’ve been trying out the Pocket app which is quite simple to use and has worked well so far.  I’m struggling a bit with the voice over, which is a little clunky / robotic, but it does the job.  I would love any other suggestions on this one from you techies out there!Pocket Pic 3
  4. Schedule your phone calls: Catching up with folks during drive time is another excellent way to make the most of a long commute and one I’d guess most of us do pretty naturally.  A simple suggestion here is to be intentional with some of these calls and schedule them in advance to manage the time more effectively.  I can do better with this one for sure.Phone Pic
  5. Crank up the tunes: Finally, let’s not disrespect good ‘ol music!  While I haven’t done research on the topic, it is clear that music has a direct impact on our emotional state (one reason we used to make mix tapes for the special people in our lives back in the day…)  Use part of your commute time to play music that suits the state of mind you’re looking for at work.   Through the technological wonder of such tools as satellite radio, iTunes, Spotify and Pandora you can literally tailor your musical experience and rock your commute!pandora pic

A couple of questions I’d love to hear some feedback on in the comments section of the blog if you get a moment:

  • How long are you “on the road” each day for work?
  • What are some ways you find useful to make the most of your commute time?

Have a great rest of the week and thanks always for taking some time to check out the blog!

Until next time,

Dave

The 1 Powerful Leadership Skill you Might be Overlooking

The 1 Powerful Leadership Skill you

A zillion really good articles have been written about the skills that make an effective sales leader.

Some of the consistent themes from these articles include things like:  coaching, developing strategy, motivating, presenting and providing vision.  Legendary sales training and personal success guru Brian Tracy offers a strong list of skills and qualities here, which is worth a quick read for sure.

In recent years, I’ve come to believe that one of the most critical skills a leader can cultivate (and yet is often overlooked) is the skill of DESIGN.  In many ways, it’s the skill which gives all the others life.

Before you start booing or click to another tab on your screen, at least check out the definition of design that I’m working from:

Realization of a concept or idea into a

OK…there is some jargon stuffed into that definition, but the bottom line is this:  design is the process of putting serious thought behind an idea and then crafting it into a form that actually gets the job done.  At least that’s my translation.

So yes, a sales leader should (must!) have a strong vision, a well thought out strategy and ways to motivate her team but without the skill of DESIGN, or the ability to leverage design, these powerful elements may never reach the point of application in the field.  That’s because design is the vehicle that delivers all that good stuff to the customer – in this case, our sales team.

So if design isn’t on your leadership radar right now, here are some thoughts that might change your mind:

D

DAYS OF DISTRACTION

The amount of noise that is pumped into the average person’s daily life to today is insane and it’s only getting worse.  Research by the Radicati Group suggests that by 2018, the average business person will have 97 e-mail messages hit their inboxes per day…an average of around 12/hour.  Add to that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram notifications, text messages and maybe an old fashioned phone call or two and the fire hose of communication is officially open in the face of the folks on your team.

E

 EVERYTHING WE DO

Our visionary, strategic and motivational efforts flow directly into that stream of distraction…literally everything we do.  The list is endless:  meetings, e-mail messages, conference calls, presentations, field coaching reports.  While it’s easy to rest on the fact that “we’re the boss” so our team will always pay attention to and learn from what we have to say, it just isn’t true.  How we choose to design our initiatives (including if we choose to not think about it at all…) has an incredible influence on how our message is received.

S

SELECTIVE HEARING

In this world of information overload – which includes everything we do as leaders – our audience has developed a case of selective hearing.  Information is filtered (or scanned…another “s” word) and emotional connection only takes place with those things which stand out, speak directly to someone or have the most clearly communicated value. We all have this selective hearing today.  In short, we pay attention to those things which are well designed.  This isn’t just about aesthetics, either (though that can be part of the story,) it’s about the thought that goes into our efforts across the board.

I

INVOLVES OTHERS

The cool thing about design is that it should be a truly customer-focused process.  And our sales teams are our customers.  So design begins by taking the time to understand where they’re at.  How do they prefer to receive information?  Are they visual or audible learners?  Do they like to consume information on the phone or computer?  What time of day are they most engaged?  What do they do for fun?  The more you involve your team in this process the better, more effective and easier your design challenge becomes!

G

GET HELP

If all this design talk is driving you nuts or scaring the crap out of you – no worries.  This is a great area to reach out to others in your company or network to get some help.  As a leader, it’s OK to not have every skill mastered (I clearly know this well) as long as we know where to go and get it.  Design fits this model perfectly.  I rely on a number of colleagues, friends and online resources get my hands around design challenges.  Here is just one online resource that might help get your wheels turning!

  • Canva.com:  an online tool to create cool visuals for use in your communication efforts.  Free to sign up and use with upgrades available for minimal cost.  The graphics used in this post were created for free with Canva!  They also have a “design school” with different tutorials and content to help guide you along.

N

NEVER TOO LATE

The beauty of being a leader is that the next chance to communicate with our team is right around the corner – so it’s never too late to work on the skill of design.  The opportunities are everywhere and endless!

In the week ahead, think about what small opportunities might cross you path where you can intentionally consider how design – look, feel, size, shape, timing and sound – might impact how your message is received?  Maybe just that next e-mail message you’re about to write.  Or that conference call on Friday.

I’d love any feedback you have and if you have any leadership skills that you think are overlooked?

Thanks always for reading.

It means a lot!

-Dave

12 Simple Tips for Crafting a Powerful Mid-Year Performance Review

Simple Tips for Crafting a

As we roll toward the middle of July, it’s fair to say that summer is in full swing.   There is so much to enjoy this time of year:  trips to the beach, lazy weekends by the pool, taking in a baseball game and mid-year sales performance reviews.

What’s the matter?  Not a baseball fan? 🙂

The mid-year review can be a powerful coaching and motivational tool if done well.  But the reality is, for many the process is just another administrative task that both the field sales leader and representative muscle through in order to move on with their busy lives.  And while I’m not sure there is anything that can be done to turn this process into a day at the beach, there are some actions we can take as leaders to help improve both the experience and impact of the exercise for our teams.

People with strong HR expertise and loads of academic research data have written extensively on this topic.  That’s not what you’ll find here.  What follows are 12 practical tips (of probably hundreds that could be written…) that come from spending time in the field on both sides of the table for a mid-year review.   Hopefully one or two will strike a chord and make a difference for you and your team this year:

PREPARING

  1. Mindset: early and often, remind yourself that you’re doing a mid-year performance review for a real, live person.  That person is not just a collection of sales data and competencies but rather a complex human being with goals, dreams and aspirations.  I respect that we need to anchor a review in observable, tangible examples – but never forget the person.  Less process, more people.
  2. Start Early: We all have a ton going on but don’t wait until the last minute to get started. The first thing we do under time constraints is cut corners.  The quality (and eventual impact) of work goes down as the amount of copying, cutting and pasting goes up.  Schedule blocks of time well in advance to craft thoughtful, well researched comments for the folks on your team.
  3. Gather information FIRST: I hate stretching before I run but I know it improves the overall quality of my training and helps me run longer and faster.  The same idea holds true here.  Invest time in collecting your performance examples first.  Don’t just jump in to start writing a review and THEN scramble for examples.  You’ll never get into a writing “flow” because you’ll be jumping around and searching through e-mail, documents, etc.
  4. Set clear expectations: It’s really important to set clear expectations for your team around what competencies are being reviewed, what powerful examples look like and precisely what they can expect from you in the process.  Also, it’s critical to proactively offer direction to your team around expectations for writing their self-evaluation (if that’s part of your process.)   I shamelessly borrowed language from a colleague this year which I felt hit the mark!

 WRITING

  1. Write offline: If you’re formally documenting mid-year performance review information in some kind of an online system, consider first using a simple offline tool, like MS Word.  This approach allows you to be flexible with your writing time (no need for Wi-Fi and no fear of a dreaded outage before you hit save), offers reliable formatting options and creates a copy you can save in your records.
  2. Limit the jargon: The language in the mid-year review you write should sound like YOU, not like a stitched together quilt of business clichés and corporate jargon.  Remember you’re writing this for a person.  It certainly needs to sound professional and include appropriate references to the list of competencies you use but it should still sound human.  Steve Woodruff offers some great insights on jargon here in a recent blog post.
  3. Be direct: No one loves to be flowery and long winded in writing more than I do, but it has no place in a performance review.  (There…I tried.)
  4. More results, less activity: Performance reviews are often just a long inventory of activity. The more stuff you can write down, the better.  But we’re in sales, so what really matters is the RESULT of activity not just being busy.  This puts the performance in performance review.   So, include fewer examples in your writing and instead focus on depth and explanation around the impact that a person’s effort had (or potentially, didn’t have.)

DELIVERING

  1. Pick a creative spot to meet…Nothing screams “I mailed this in” as much as camping out at that same old Panera Bread again to discuss a performance review.  If you’ve taken the time to prepare and write a thoughtful review, have your meeting place reflect that same level of effort.  You’ll be shocked at how much more energy is in the discussion with a change of scenery.   Check out that cool coffee shop in town, grab lunch at a place you’ve always wanted to try or even take a walk and talk.  It’ll be worth it!
  2. Be present: We are all pressed for time and trying to juggle more projects than we can realistically handle.  But for the block of time you have to discuss a review with someone, they deserve your full attention and energy.  Don’t cram 5 meetings into one day if you can help it.  Consider doing it first thing in the morning so you’re fresh and fully caffeinated.  Put your cell phone in your bag. Make sure you have the time, energy and attention to show your team that you’re invested in them.
  3. Embrace candor: This is a really important time of year to let members of your team know exactly where they stand because there is ample time left to make adjustments, if necessary.  Avoiding tough conversations or glossing over strong performance will only hurt the progress of your team and make an end of year discussion even tougher.
  4. Stay future focused: Spend more time in your mid-year review discussion on the next steps versus the recap.  The “review” portion of the review should really just set the baseline for a more important conversation around what to do next.  If you’re direct and candid enough in your comments, there should be plenty of time to focus on the future.  Get your team involved deeply in that conversation and help them set a clear course for success.

If a bunch of mid-year review discussions are in your future, I hope this list got your wheels turning around ways you can prepare for, write and deliver a better overall experience…for you and your team!

Please leave any suggestions or thoughts you have on the topic of performance reviews in the comments section below and if you found this helpful, consider sharing it with someone who could benefit as well!

Until next time,

Dave

Why Leaders Need to Celebrate More

SCULPTURE & ART (1)

2015 will forever be an example of a great family vacation.

We spent a full week up in New York’s Adirondack Mountains near Lake George, piled into a great big house on the Schroon River, to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my mother and father in-law.

Think about that.  Their 50th wedding anniversary.

Amazing, right?

Such an incredible milestone and a true testament to their commitment, faithfulness and true love through thick and thin.  I look up to them both more than they probably know.

Roller Coaster Great Escape

The 50th Anniversary Celebration takes the show on the road to Six Flags Great Escape!

And we celebrated accordingly.  Everyone in the family wore custom printed, bright red t-shirts with “George & Molly’s 50th Anniversary” boldly printed on the front all around town and on our trip to Six Flags Great Escape.  We announced the big news openly at every restaurant we visited so that everyone in the place could cheer and applaud.  And, of course, the kids were routinely threatened not to argue or fight on the trip since this was Nanny and Poppy’s big celebration (…we almost made good on that one.)

As I reflected on how much fun we had celebrating, and how special it made the occasion for my in-laws, it got me thinking:  how well do I celebrate the wins and milestones that are reached with my sales team?  I’m not talking about the casually forwarded e-mail message with a thoughtless “congrats” or “nice job” typed in.  I mean a REAL, genuine celebration of a worthy accomplishment.

Not very well.

I bet in an honest moment, most sales leaders would agree that they have room to grow in this area.  There are a million excuses we use for not celebrating success more regularly:

  • “Things are just so busy right now”
  • “The company already does something for that”
  • “We’re a virtual team so it’s hard to coordinate things”
  • “It’s not really my style”
  • “Hey…it’s sales. Get back to work and sell something!”

The truth is, as sales leaders there is NOTHING more important than inspiring and motivating the folks on our team.  And few things motivate a team more than celebrating both shared and individual successes in meaningful ways.  Jack Welch, the legendary retired CEO of GE, was famous for throwing pizza and beer parties for his team to celebrate big milestones.  That killer spreadsheet you’re working on can wait – take some time to:

  • Go out to great lunch to celebrate hitting a key market share goal
  • Skip the e-mail and send a hand-written note congratulating someone for hitting YTD high sales volume. Maybe even address it to the person’s spouse or kids so they can make a big deal about it, too.
  • Chop an hour off your next meeting to take the team out for a drink to toast someone’s big work anniversary or have a bunch of pizzas delivered to your room for an impromptu party.
  • Have a Junior’s Cheesecake delivered right from Brooklyn to someone’s house to celebrate nailing down a big deal
  • Use your leadership visibility to very openly bring attention to a great accomplishment to a broad, higher-level audience by creating an award, plaque or trophy. Go big.

This list could go in many different directions and the actual action has to jive with your personal style, budget and company rules – but you get the idea.  We can do better as leaders.  I need to do better as a leader.

We could have bought a cake, a card and went to dinner for George and Molly’s 50th Wedding Anniversary and it would have been fine.  But a 50th Wedding Anniversary isn’t an occasion for FINE – it’s a reason to celebrate.  And we did just that.

What opportunities exist on your sales team TODAY where a celebration is in order?

How will you use that celebration to inspire and motivate your team?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.  Until next time, enjoy the view below from our vacation rental home on the Schroon River…a celebration indeed!

My view from vacation last week...what a celebration!

My view from vacation last week…what a celebration!

The Power of Specific Goals: Why I’m Going to Run a 1:50 Half Marathon

leadership goal setting sales

The Power of Specific Goals

If you’ve been in the sales game for a while you’ve no doubt been introduced to the goal setting acronym S.M.A.R.T.    In short, it proposes that the best and most achievable goals are:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  Up there with the 80-20 rule, this is one of the most quoted and rock solid approaches to planning for success.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence (or because it makes the cool acronym work…) that SPECIFIC is the first attribute on this list.  If you look back at Dr. Edwin Locke’s pioneering work in The Goal Setting Theory (1968), in which the S.M.A.R.T. approach is rooted, you’ll notice that one of the key findings was that specific and difficult goals are significantly more achievable than general and easy goals.

This idea was on my mind when I signed up last week to complete a half marathon.  I’m not much of a “runner,” so this was kind of a big deal for me and I wanted to set a goal to reflect that.  Here is a look into my mind (scary, I know) and how this vague thought/idea was sharpened into a SPECIFIC goal:

STARTING GOAL:  I WANT TO RUN A RACE THIS YEAR

I want to run race:  This was my starting point, but just an idea or dream versus a specific goal.  I’d simply watched some runners over the last month at a 5-K and the idea came to life.

I want to run a half marathon:  I ran the NJ Half Marathon back in 2014.  It felt great to finish but I don’t feel like I left my best mark on the distance.  So, a half marathon was the race I landed on.  Still not a particularly specific goal, but certainly challenging given my minimal running credentials.

I want to run a half marathon in under 2 hours:  Not a blazing speed by any means, especially for an experienced runner, but a good benchmark.  I finished the NJ Half Marathon in 2 hours and 8 minutes in 2014 so the goal that came to mind was 1 hour and 50 minutes.  This met Locke’s criteria for specific (and for me, certainly challenging.)

I want to run it before I’m 40 years old:  Since I won’t be running out and buying a sports car, why not mark a mid-life milestone with a personal achievement like a half marathon.  A personal and emotional connection always helps to cement a specific goal.  I’ve got until November 17, 2015 to get ‘er done.

I want to pick a memorable race location:  There are a ton of races out there but I wanted to pick a spot I’d enjoy and remember.  In my search, I came across the Fall Foliage Half.  It takes place during the peak of foliage season in the quaint Hudson Valley NY town of Rhinebeck.  The course takes you through town, out into the country and along the Hudson River.  That seemed to hit the mark.

After working it through, I finally had a specific goal to sink my teeth into.

FINAL GOAL:  I’M GOING TO RUN THE FALL FOLIAGE HALF MARATHON ON OCTOBER 11, 2015 IN A TIME OF 1:50 OR LESS.

Think about it…how often do we leave our personal AND professional / sales goals vague – like “running a race” – and then act surprised when we don’t achieve them?

  • I want to hit my quota
  • I want to make more money
  • I want a promotion
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to have more free time
  • I want a better relationship with my spouse

I’ve made goals like these countless times in the past and the result has been the same:  nothing.

Get SPECIFIC and challenge yourself to accomplish more than you ever dreamed of.  Vague, unclear goals will always lead to uncertain results.  Running a half marathon in less than 1:50 this October 11th isn’t exactly changing the world, but it’s a clear, SPECIFIC step for me toward better health and achievement!

What will yours be?  How will you challenge your sales team to set SPECIFIC goals and achieve outstanding results in the second half of 2015?

If you’re looking for some guidance in the goal setting process, click on the image below for a FREE 90-Minute Goal Setting Workshop you can work through on your own or with your sales team.  It’s super easy and no time out of the field.  Give it a try by simply subscribing to my blog!

leadership goal setting sales

Wish me luck,

-Dave

Why Safe isn’t always Safe

Why SAFEIn the business of sales, and in life, it’s easy to get in the habit of taking the safe path.  These paths are easy to find because they are well worn and always have a steady stream of traffic to follow.  We can easily jump in line and travel that path, hidden safely in a sea of similarly minded colleagues, friends or family members.

But is safe really safe?

Why we assume the safe path is safe

  1. It’s often pretty comfortable
  2. Usually requires minimal effort and thinking
  3. Fits nicely within the general history of what others have done
  4. Seems to keep you “off the radar”
  5. Delivers exactly what is expected

Why the safe path is NOT always safe

  1. Comfortable:  You don’t grow in a state of comfort.  Your muscles, relationships or sales results only grow after going through a challenging state of discomfort.  Today, not growing means you’re falling behind.  And falling behind is not safe.
  2. Minimal effort and thinking:  The world is in desperate need of hard work, great ideas and innovation.  Your company is in need of that effort and innovation.  If you end up the person who brings none of that to the table, you might get by for a while but you certainly won’t be safe.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Seth Godin’s book Linchpin…it might change your life.
  3. Fits in nicely:  I work in a sales organization with over 3,000 sales representatives and front line managers.  Fitting in nicely, much like putting in minimal effort and thinking, will get you by for a while but it’s not a safe strategy.  Ever work through a “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle?  That dude was wearing a red and white striped shirt and a winter hat and I could never find him.  How are you being noticed in your current situation?
  4. Off the Radar:  In most professions that actually use a radar for tracking purposes, being off the radar is a REALLY bad idea.   In the professional sales world it is as well.  Getting ON the radar for the right reasons is far more safe than being off the radar.
  5. Delivers exactly what’s expected:  On the surface, this one might look pretty safe but I’ll argue that in today’s marketplace, delivering what’s expected is the cost of entry.  True safety is found in being valuable and delivering MORE than what’s expected.  Delighting your customers – not just calling on them. Surprising your boss – not just checking the box.  When was the last time you gave more that was was asked for?

What can we do?

If you roll through your day without once getting butterflies in your stomach because you’re going to try something that might actually fail – you’ve chosen the safe path.  If there isn’t the slightest bit of risk in your efforts that someone might not get it, could laugh at you or even just disagree with your position, you may have missed a golden opportunity for TRUE safety.  The safety that comes being creative, valuable, fun and remarkable.

Challenge yourself today – and every day – to do something that doesn’t feel safe. Get on the radar and make things happen.

-Dave

That’s Right: You are NOT Creative

Not Creative Pic

“I’m just not creative.”

I have heard this uttered a lot in the corporate sales world – sometimes from my own mouth.  And you know what?

It’s true – you’re NOT creative.

And that’s really because creativity requires ACTION.  It means you actually need to DO something new, different or interesting.

However, what you do have – what we all have – are the seeds of creativity.  Just think about it for a second.  The cool idea for an incentive program that came to you on that jog, that dream of writing a book you’ve had since you were a kid and that wild shirt you almost bought in the store.  These are powerful creative seeds just waiting for you to take action and put them in the soil of your life.  What stops this from becoming true “creativity” is the lack of application.

So what’s stopping you from actually being creative?  The excuses are plentiful.

“You don’t know my company…they would never let me do that.”

“Things are so crazy, I just don’t have time.”

“What if it doesn’t work?  I’ll look like an idiot.”

“I’m sure someone else has already thought of it.”

“I’m not as good as that guy.”

The list could go on endlessly.  But the reality is, these are all self-imposed barriers to getting started.  Seriously.  How do you know your company won’t let you do something…have you even asked?  How do you know something won’t work…have you even tried it?   How do you know you’re not as good as that other guy in your office?

So when you say you’re not creative and don’t take action, you’re right – you are NOT creative.  But creativity lies within all of us as thoughts, dreams and ideas just waiting to be made a reality by taking that first, scary step.

Do something today and change your story.

You are creative.

-Dave