What makes clarity so important when managing remotely?

Remote working might be part of the new normal going forward, but if you are not co-located with the people you work with, it is easy to get out of step with the team and the priorities.

Rob gets Ricky to explain why the work you do as a manager to create clarity takes is more significant when the team is remote.

This podcast was recorded while we are in the middle of lockdown. Like most people, we are working from home, making do and still looking to answer the questions that are getting in the way.

Where should a leader focus their attention?

This podcast explores the challenges that leaders face of where to focus their attention. In a crisis situation, leadership time is required to make fundamental day to day decisions, that generally would be taken elsewhere. Finding a balance between getting stuck in and keeping the wider view is one all leaders and managers face.

Rob and Rich suggest that time needs be split between Growing, Running and Protecting the business, and how the need to protect (in the current COVID Crisis) and run (with key staff on furlough) may cause leaders to lose focus on moving their business forward.

This podcast was recorded while we are in the middle of lockdown. Like most people, we are working from home, making do and still looking to answer the questions that are getting in the way.

Why are some teams more engaged in what they do?

Some teams just get it, they immerse themselves in the work or activities of the team to deliver amazing results. What is it that they have, that other teams don’t?
In this podcast, Paul proposes that this is down to a connection to the higher purpose, and along with Graham they explore what that means.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team.

What is the power of a goal?

Business coaches and trainers recommend goals, but why? What special power does a goal have that makes it worth taking time and effort to define.

Ricky asks Rob to explain why goals are powerful and how they impact our attention when done correctly.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team.

Why do people with the longest lists get the least done?

Do the people with the biggest to-do lists get the most done?  Are multitaskers really more effective.

Graham and Paul explore the dangers of aiming to do much, and the compromises that cause us to make to our own productivity.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team.

Why should we involve people who don’t think like us?

We are all predisposed to work with and spend time with people who are like us, but this lack of diversity can be limiting in business decisions, reinforcing assumptions and creating cultures that miss opportunities.  One area where this can have a massive impact is sales teams, who often ignore other perspectives as they appear to create obstacles.

Richard and Graham explore how diversity of thought can be achieved just by including colleagues in different roles, to help you see the world from different perspectives, and create better solutions.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team

How do we create permission?

Managers are often frustrated by the lack of initiative taken by the people in their teams, while the team members are frustrated by the perception that they are not allowed to get on with what needs to be done.

Rob and Ricky explore how this common misunderstanding happens and look at how managers can create the sense of permission that their team members need to move forward.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team.

Why do we hesitate to pick what we actually want to do?

We some many options available to us, it feels like it should be easy to work out what it is we need to, or which goals we should focus on.  However, this wealth of choice can be overwhelming and sometimes leads to people hesitant to focus down on any specific area.

In this episode, Rob and Paul look at some of the causes and discuss strategies for getting momentum on the few things that will have the biggest impact.

This podcast is part of a short series on productivity, where we are exploring how you can Sell More, Save More and Do More, both personally and for your team.

How does coaching help when leading sales teams?

Coaching can help generally in the workplace, and not just when leading sales teams. From a management point of view, it’s a great skill or ability to have, regardless of the team you are leading.

Here, Richard and Graham look at how knowing the way to coach properly can be invaluable in helping develop your people, including sales teams.

The first thing to know about coaching is that many people misunderstand what it is. Mention the word and their first thought is possibly about a sports coach, shouting at their team from the sidelines, imploring them to do better. Or they see it in a negative context, imagining a formalised session with their manager in which coaching is a remedial tool to improve their failing performance.

Although coaching can sometimes be about improving poor performance, equally it can be about helping someone who’s good to get even better. It assumes that the person has some understanding of their role, as well as a certain level of skill and experience. Coaching should unlock the potential of the individual.

Coaching helps give structure, focus and clarity to people who know they want or have to do better. It helps them to move forward by using the knowledge and skills they already have. This can be done by asking questions that cause a deeper level of thinking. If a member of your sales team tells you “I want to get better at sales”, narrow it down for them by asking “What aspect of sales do you want to get better at?”. If, for instance they reply “Lead generation”, ask “What aspect of lead generation?”

Once the questioning has helped someone find their focus, a good coach will then help them open up their thinking by asking more questions: “So now you know what you want to do, let’s think of ways you could do it.” Get creative and try not to tell them exactly what to do. It’s sometimes tempting for managers to say “When I did your job, what I did was…” or “If you look at so-and-so, what they’re doing really well is this…”. Instead, explore options and draw on what the individual knows or is good at.

A good coach encourages people to think for themselves, rather than telling them what to do, which will limit their thinking.

The next essential part of coaching is to ensure that the person is going to take ownership of what’s been discussed. How are you going to make sure they will put things into action, that they have bought into it? Check their motivation and confidence. Ask when they are going to start? What’s the first action? What specific things are they going to do?

Finally, always offer follow-ups: “What can I do? How can I be of help to you?” And remember, coaching doesn’t have to be formal. It can be as simple as a five-minute chat after a meeting, or in the canteen over coffee. If someone starts a conversation with you and you’ve asked them some questions which have helped with their thinking and their actions going forward, then you’ve coached them.

How should we bring the (sales) number to life?

Bringing the number to life is vital, whether you’re working in sales, managing a project, leading a team or running a production line.

If you understand and internalise the number, it allows you to monitor your progress and your tracking, intuitively know where you are and what you need to do, inform your decisions, understand how you need to react in real time, and see the bigger picture.

Otherwise, it’s just meaningless data to you.

Here, Paul and Rob discuss why many people are looking at the numbers but not really thinking about what they mean. They discuss the importance of bringing the number to life, and how we can do it.

What’s stopping us from bringing our number to life?

  • There is too much information at our fingertips.
  • Think of the wealth of reports, dashboards, BI systems and other technology that we can extract data from
  • It’s too easy.
  • We can easily look up the number we need at a particular point in time, and therefore we don’t need to retain the information in our head
  • The desire to measure everything.
  • You simply can’t retain every single piece of information put before you – which leads you back to relying on dashboards or systems

So, how do we bring the number to life?

  • Keep it simple.
  • If you have a wealth of data in front of you, focus on maybe the three or four core measures that really tell you something. Break down the number to give you something tangible about what you need to achieve each week/month
  • Engage with the data.
  • Too many people just input numbers into a system or sales platform without recognising the importance of thinking what those numbers mean. The idea of ‘cognitive disfluence’ is key here – the fact that we retain information and learn more if we actually interact with what we’re trying to learn
  • Start with the goal.
  • Instead of looking at the data and feeling that we have to do something with it, look instead at what you’re trying to achieve. What numbers do you need to pull out and understand to reach your goal?
  • Leaders. If you’re a leader, help your people to work with the data and think what the number really means. Give them the raw information they need and ask them to compile a report about some of the core data. You could break it down and ask different people to look at particular bits of the data. Ask them: Help me understand what’s in your figures and what does that tell you? Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Why has this bit changed? What does that mean?