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Jul 24 14

Listen To Improve

by The Authors

Are you ready to listen to all viewpoints, regardless of the time, cost, or stage in the decision-making process? If not, how much time and effort are you willing to put into improving your listening…and improving?

For more than a century, Johnson & Johnson has been guided by a credo, a portion of which focuses on employees: “We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world. Everyone must be considered as an individual. We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit. Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaints.” This credo supports the company’s view of its people as “unique individuals” who need to be heard and understood. Leaders are expected to “listen and act appropriately to input from all levels and all directions.” Johnson & Johnson thrives on listening to all viewpoints inside and outside the company, making the behemoth as nimble as a start-up company in the marketplace.  No wonder it’s regularly ranked as one of the most desirable places to work. Johnson & Johnson understands and applies the principle: listen to improve.

Naturally, modeling and promoting a heightened commitment toward listening to all viewpoints helps create an open, “anything is possible” culture that fosters creativity, innovation, and better strategic decision-making. Once people in the organization become accustomed to sharing their viewpoints openly and constantly, they learn to do it at the most appropriate times along the decision-making path, without being directed to do so.

The practice of listening to all viewpoints, if implemented consistently and thoroughly in the organization, can become a powerful tool and process for analysis, due diligence, and effective decision making in any business enterprise. The “most admired companies” work hard at consistently listening to all viewpoints because they’ve learned that when they don’t, they fail to tap the most important power source in their organizations—the knowledge and talent of their people.

To learn more about listening to your people, recognizing the difference between hearing and listening, and creating an organizational culture that demonstrates listening and improving attitudes and behaviors, we invite you to join our Accountability Community, where you can review actual company experiences and results.

Accountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

Jul 17 14

Improving Sales Growth

by The Authors

Organizations all over the world in every industry have improved sales by building greater accountability in their sales people. Specific results have included: (1) increased sales volume and margins, (2) improved product and service launches, (3) better coaching, feedback, and follow-through, (4) greater ownership of customer end results, and (5) more energized sales teams. Here’s how one successful sales executive described his experience applying accountability principles to improve sales performance:

We consistently applied [basic accountability principles] for several years to all of our projects and territories. Of the ten people on that team, nine of the reps were promoted to district manager within a two-year period and our district manager began his climb from district sales manager to regional to cross-functional teams all the way to vice president of sales and marketing. Later several members of that original team moved into regional or national account leadership. Today you can find these people in other companies as executive vice presidents and senior leaders.

Successful wide-scale implementation of basic accountability principles has consistently resulted in improved sales performance in numerous Fortune 1000 companies. In another case, a provider of wireless services applied basic accountability principles throughout its sales organization, the results were immediate—sales increased 17% in the following quarter, profit margins increased 45% over the next several months, and customer service scores soared.

To learn more about how sales reps, teams, and organizations can apply basic accountability principles to grow sales, improve leadership, and achieve other key milestones and results, we invite you to join the Accountability Community where you can review actual client case studies in detail.

Acountability Community is a registered trademark of Partners In Leadership, Inc.

Jul 11 14

The Ultimate Ownership Question: “What Else Can I Do?”

by The Authors

Simply acknowledging reality and owning circumstances will accomplish little if you fail to solve problems and remove obstacles on your road to achieving the results you want. Once you See It and Own It, you must Solve It by constantly asking “What else can I do to achieve the desired results?” Only then can you consistently Do It!

You can translate your acknowledgment of reality and your ownership of circumstances into real problem solving action by implementing a simple set of key Solve It skills:

  1. Stay Engaged. Don’t focus on what can’t be done, continue looking for and thinking about creative alternatives.
  2. Persist. You can never ever stop asking the Solve It question “What else can I do?”
  3. Think Differently. Remember, the same thinking that got you into a problem won’t get you out of it.
  4. Create New Linkages. New approaches usually involve forging new relationships.
  5. Take the Initiative. Who do you want to be? Someone who makes things happen? someone who watches things happen? someone who wonders what happened? someone who never knew anything happened?
  6. Stay Conscious. Challenge current assumptions and beliefs to break through to new levels of thinking that will probably take you out of your comfort zone.

Here’s one company’s experience with Solve It. A large financial services company was struggling to improve the performance of its call centers. Turnover was high, “handle time” was long, and software solutions were inadequate. Targets for improvement were established and everyone began asking “What else can I do?” However, when it came to bringing about real change, the going got tougher as numerous unexpected issues and problems arose. Undaunted, everyone in the organization continued asking “What else can I do?” to find new ways to improve performance. Ideas poured in from everywhere as everyone from senior management to telephone operators took accountability for reducing the time needed to handle a call.

Within a few months, they changed the way they hired people, they implemented new software solutions, they began measuring and reporting performance on a daily basis, they implemented a balanced scorecard, and they focused their training and development on high priority skills. Their Solve It mentality flourished, leading to a new set of Solve It skills. The result was a whopping $143 million per year increase in net operating income, a large portion of which was attributable to improvements in the call centers.

To learn more about developing crucial Solve It skills, we invite you to join the Accountability Community where you can review the case studies of clients that See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It.

See It, Own It, Solve It, Do It, and Accountability Community are all registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership, Inc.