A Leadership Series
Number Ten of Twelve, a 99.9% + probability
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
In This issue:
- Managing Involvement - Guidelines for Group Decisions
- Rob's Corner: Intro to Sales Series
- More FSTD Content: Blog Posts
- Upcoming Public Workshops
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Last week we looked at Commitment as the Most Important Consideration, which says that the only appropriate behavior is GII. GII, if you recall, is the acronym for a group oriented decision in which the team (rather than the leader) makes the final choice. You will also recall that in the GII mode the leader is a co-equal member of the team.
This week we’ll look at some guidelines that relate specifically to GII. First, if the issue is “important”, you need to confirm that there is Goal Agreement between the team and the organization relative to this issue before using GII.
Second, the team leader needs to confirm that the team has the skill and knowledge to do GII. If the team has not successfully done GII’s in the past, having them start using GII on a “really important” issue is asking for trouble. Teams can and do learn to be successful with GII quickly. A team leader is responsible for developing his or her team in the use of GII.
Third, successful use of GII requires the team leader to announce in advance that it is a GII situation. By “in advance”, we mean that the team must know it is a GII situation before they know what the issue is. There is a “not so obvious” reason for this. The team hears the assignment differently when they know they own the outcome.
Fourth, although the team makes the final choice with GII, that does not mean GII has no parameters. Quite the contrary. The team leader must set the team up for success with GII. In addition to announcing the GII situation in advance, the leader must:
- State any constraints in advance.
- Establish time frame guidelines in advance.
- State the “fall back” position in advance. The “fall back” position is the course of action that will be pursued if the team cannot reach a consensus decision within the required time frame.
Setting up clear parameters sets the team up for success. The team is well aware that it is a GII situation. They know any and all constraints, the time line and the fall back position.
And, finally, as the team leader, when using GII, you need to acknowledge that:
- You are “just another team member” in GII. Weather you like the solution or not is irrelevant.
- You must support any solution the team chooses (as long as it is not in conflict with organization goals).
- Once you have announced GII, you have no option other than accepting the solution the team chooses.
If a team leader asks, “What can you do to guarantee that GII will be successful?” The answer is there is no guarantee of success with any leadership behavior. If you structure GII properly, you have a very high probability it will be successful. Besides, your “safety valves” for GII are your “fall back” position and Goal Agreement. With those in place, you are protected.
Yet, if a team leader asks, “How can I guarantee that GII will fail?” We can give him or her a sure fire way. Do not announce GII in advance. This prompts the obvious, ‘Why?’ If you announce GII after the team has started to work on the issue, you have just invalidated everything each and every team member said up to that point. The reason? People argue their position differently if they think they do not own the conclusion. In GII, they own the conclusion. The way they argue their position for GII is different from the way they argue it in a non-GII mode. Up to the instant the leader announces GII, the team has been presenting their argument assuming the leader owns the conclusion. By announcing GII after the discussion has started, the leader has totally changed the ground rules. This, in effect, invalidates everything that has happened up to that point.
The awesome tip of the day: when using GII, always follow the GII Guidelines!
George posts regularly to the blog at TroubleShootingLogic.com.
Lessons We're Learning About Sales
Class, We Have a Test Today ...
Many of our readers are business leaders and/or business owners. While there have been many bumps in the road over the last decade, we are experiencing a playing field that is very different today than it was 3 years ago. If you are like us, you feel a gut-level urgency around business growth that has been only been further heightened in the last 24 months.
I'll be addressing this urgency for the next few weeks with a series entitled “Lessons We’ve Learned About Sales.” I’ll be sharing what our research and that of our partners indicates are today's challenges for growing a small- to medium-sized business, proven strategies to increase top line revenue, and success stories of those who have followed these strategies. It's all in the CODE.
Let's backfill just a bit. In ALL times, the core business growth strategy remains the same …
To grow our business on this playing field, we and our people are going to need to show up each and every day, giving our best work, making sure that we are
- Delivering the highest quality product or service
- Providing the best customer service, both to our outside customers and to our internal contacts; and
- Aggressively and effectively filling our sales pipeline.
While I will be elaborating on that last piece – effective sales processes - in upcoming newsletters, don’t underestimate the importance of the other two components. For a few readers, your best strategy right now is a renewed, laser-like focus on quality improvement. Your product or service isn’t as good as your competitor’s, and you know it. I was with a company a few weeks ago that is just now beginning to look at their sales process because they (wisely) knew that they needed to address quality first.
For a few others, the crying need is to improve your customer service. Your people don’t go the extra mile, and the customers you have stay with you out of ignorance, convenience, or based on the fact that you are the lowest cost provider (and how is that working out for you?)
Moving forward, let's assume that you already have a great product / service, and your people are providing the level of personal attention that brings clients back to you. So what are you doing to attract new business and build a stable pipeline?
For now, take this simple True/False test:
- TRUE / FALSE: You have a true sales pipeline. You do not suffer from cycles of feast and famine.
- TRUE / FALSE: You have a real sales process in place. This process is easily trained, keeps the sales team organized, produces consistent results, and helps you keep the prospect pipeline predictably full.
- TRUE / FALSE: When you qualify a prospect, you use techniques that take the emphasis off price. This uniform approach helps you to establish an atmosphere of mutual respect and disclosure.
- TRUE / FALSE: All sales efforts do not come down to you or anyone else. There is a clear sales process that is not dependent on any one person. Should the senior sales person leave, or he or she get “hit by lightning,” it won’t be a problem. The program goes on.
So how did you do? Be honest with yourself. If you answered one or more of the above as FALSE, make sure you tune in over the next several weeks to learn how to systematically drive sales throughout your company. It's all in the CODE.
To Your Continued Success,
PS. I will be presenting two workshops on the CODE sales process at the upcoming National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Conference in Louisville, KY on September 2, 2010. If you are in the area, please consider joining us at that event. Email me if you'd like further details.
- Trouble Shooting Logic
- August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
- The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS