Are You Breaking Through the Clutter?

Or, why aren’t you breaking through the clutter?

You may ask yourself this question after a series of unanswered emails or a promising deal cut short. Here’s why. People don’t have time. What our research shows us is that the amount of incoming content to every person is staggering.  “According to, the average person looks at his/her phone 46 times every day (up from 33 looks per day in 2014).  Our new-ish -“always on” culture, complete with the enormous pressure of the expectation of instant responses, effects everything from the quality of our sleep to the depth of our relationships”. (Forbes)

In a fast paced world filled with overwhelming amounts of external and internal stimuli, people are of course:

  • Busier than ever before
  • Shifting priorities constantly
  • Answering too many messages
  • Bombarded with content

But if you do not realize this, your message or attempt to get through to a customer will undoubtedly fall flat. The most important mission of sales people and sales methods & techniques is to break through the static. Many current sales methodologies are stuck in the past, not reflecting the new behaviors of Buyer 2.0

Lack of understanding and not connecting personally with customers is a trait that unsuccessful sales people possess in abundance. They hog the conversation with chatter, solutions, features and functions instead of listening. They do not listen to or understand the customer. Humans crave emotional connections and a conversation that uncovers insights. According to this article on Openview, the top sales performers listen 54% of the time and talk 46% of the time. It’s not just that a conversation (not an interrogation) is happening, but the interesting topics that weave in and out of the conversation. What kind of sales conversations are you having? Is it just product, solutions, features and functions?  Are you having trouble understanding and making a connection with your harried customers? Are you listening with empathy?

We believe that the world of work is changing dramatically and if you do not update your communication skills to have more insightful business conversations, you will struggle mightily.

Evaluate critically your business conversations to determine what needs to change and invest now to innovate and grow.

Millennials…Start ‘Em Early

Millennials...Start 'Em Early

Millennials…Start ‘Em Early

Remember back in the day when “1999” by Prince thumped on every boom box? The ominously funky jam was the perfect song to celebrate the new millennium. Yet as the reality of “Y2K” sunk in, people responded with panic, triggered by great fears of the unknown. So many questions, worries and tragedies were predicted. With some minor glitches and adjustments, we all survived. So why does a momentous generational shift already in motion alarm your company?

Millennials are the generation born then between 1982 and 2004, now 13 to 35 years old and quickly maturing into the work force. They’re most known for filling positions formerly held by baby boomers but “This group’s values, needs, wants and ways of working are different and will cause the same kind of disruptions and opportunities that the baby boomers who preceded them did” (The Art of the Nudge pg 17).

The Bersin by Deloitte report highlights, “…more than 3.6 million company chiefs are set to retire as younger professionals ascend to managerial slots. Companies are busy planning for this transition anticipating the massive loss of boomers” (Altman). Once again, the impact of the “millennium” creates its own sort of chaos as this unique workforce comes in requiring a cultural shift as well.  Communication-wise, Millennials appear to be the most connected digitally, but disconnected interpersonally.  This generational shift requires training and development programs to allow new employees, managers and leaders to adapt. Are you investing time to train Millennial employees to adapt? You should be.

Leadership expert and author of Liquid Leadership, Brad Szollose says, “You can’t put someone in a leadership role assuming they have the skills to lead, only to train them 10 years later. If you want Millennials to succeed, invest in their leadership development today.” Leadership qualities and soft skills are invaluable and critical to prioritize in training Millennials.

With 200-300 social/digital media posts coming at Millennials every day, the number of disruptive ideas accentuate the pace of change. It’s no surprise Millennials’ priorities shift rapidly; they are distracted and racing to keep up!

New leaders need to be able to communicate in a way that:

  1. Engages people by listening and respecting them;
  2. Creates a compelling vision that they want to and are able to “opt into”;
  3. Gains alignment so they take action with passion and persistence;
  4. Creates high performing execution;

Employers view these characteristics as critical a skill set for high performance as competent, technical skills. Gathering stories from others fosters unprecedented understanding of them so we walk away from conversations knowing how we can help one another in a mutually beneficial way. A human leader speeds up your real business performance. We find Millennials to be thirsty for learning to elevate their skills and inspired by the idea of slowing down to truly understand people, their needs, wants and desires through empathic conversations.

Nudge: Think about what are you doing to create these new Millennial Leaders.  How will you help unleash, embrace and empower their enormous potential?

Is Trust Still Important and Does Upholding Commitments Matter in this Fast-Paced Digital World?

The world of digital disruption, ubiquitous communication, and generational shifts in the workforce is changing everything. People are moving faster; they are always “on” and bombarded by inputs from social/digital media. Our customers tell us that the negative effects of these great communication technologies are constant feelings of pressure and stress with shifting priorities. They often do not have enough time in the day to accomplish high priority items. The result: work longer hours to catch up or leave feeling crushed by the pressures of work. They have too much to do and feel frustrated. If you are not among this group, congratulations.

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Empathy and Understanding, or, Results: A clear case of “And” versus “Or”

Can you have it all with the Human Side of Digital Disruption?

I have read several articles recently about the need for empathy and understanding in the workplace. Fortune MagazineMcKinsey Insights, and LinkedIn have all had them. It is often related to the needs and wants of millennials; a generation that wants to make a difference, have a better work-life balance, and is always connected. The pleas for empathy and understanding come from the knowledge that our fast-paced world is shifting. Millennials and digital disruption are creating great opportunities for new business models with seamless service and delivery, disrupting a lot of current mainstay businesses that have built their empires over decades of inch-by-inch strong growth: Uber vs. Taxi Cabs, Tesla vs. VW, or Salesforce vs. Microsoft.

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