CEO Blog

Category Archives: Management

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to management.

Facts or Bias?

Don't believe all you read on the internetDo you believe everything you read?

“Of course not!”  you say.

How do you determine what to believe?

That is a tougher question … because almost every message we receive has some kind of bias.

Coke, of course, is better than Pepsi … unless you are a Pepsi drinker, and feel the opposite.

All the bad news about Donald Trump is of course true … unless you subscribe to the opposing points of view.

The point is that the person or organisation writing the message has an opinion, and most often that opinion comes through loud and clear.

“I maintain a  balanced view of the world, but that balance is always in my favor.”  Mark Lawrence

If you sell Fords then there are many reasons why Fords are the answer.

If you are left wing in your views then right of center views are all wrong.

The list goes on.

If you have a decision to make, then you are best served by understanding the situation impartially.

So .. how do we get a balanced view?

  1.  Decide if you care to know the facts or if it really isn’t that important to you.
  2. Read opposing perspectives.
  3. Talk to people with opposing viewpoints. and
  4. Apply your own convictions, common sense and intelligence to the data that you are fed.

Your opinion is your opinion.  Your perception is your perception.  Do not confuse them with facts or truths.

Read news sources that offer both left wing and right wing perspectives.

If an article extols the virtues of solution “A” versus solution “B” then find more articles on the subject.

If there are independent organisations that cover the situation get their input … consumer reports, Gartner, Ipsos etc.  (But recognise even those authors will have some personal bias).

At the end of the day you need to make decisions based on the information you have.  The better information you have the better decisions you can make.

So …. don’t believe everything you read, especially if it is from one source!

Follow your heart but take your brain with you!

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Business Relationships

Trust Sales quote from Zig ZiglarBusiness relationships are just like any other relationships … they need to be nurtured, they need investment and they need a level of commitment.

Clients WILL buy from people they trust, and you do not achieve trust without establishing some kind of relationship.

In almost any business relationship there will come times of stress … where the parties need to fix something, or renegotiate something or have tough conversations.  These situations are always easier if there is a good relationship and a level of trust.

Salespeople and business owners work hard to develop these business relationships and clients invest their time and energy in them too.  There are many ways that they evolve and grow, but here are some ideas:

  1.  Make promises and always deliver (over deliver if at all possible).  This does not have to be hard it could be as simple as committing to send an interesting article by the weekend and doing it the minute you get back to your desk (but never forgetting to send it)!
  2. Meet face to face.  The phone is good, email is a good way to share some stuff but face to face is how you get to know people and they get to know you.
  3. Be truly interested in the other person.
  4. Find ways to bring additional value.  Share interesting articles, data, information, market knowledge for example.
  5. Have regular contact … without wasting anyone’s time.  (Touching base is a lazy approach … you should have a valid business reason, and ideally an agenda for a to meeting!)
  6. Never waste their time.
  7. Be positive … keep your own negatives to yourself!
  8. Listen more than you talk.
  9. All large client organisations have valid governance concerns about undue influence of their buyers, so be mindful of these.
  10. It always helps a relationship to have some meetings under more informal settings.  Breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks after work or even a game of golf (even though I hate golf) can help people get to know each other better.  (Be mindful of #9 above).

Every business relationship will hit a bump in the road at some point, and if you don’t have a relationship built on trust and credibility, beyond the terms of a contract then that bump may feel like a mountain!

“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.”  Robin Sharma

Invest in those business relationships!

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Nobody Has ALL the Answers!

Mark Twain on Lifelong learningWe have all met them.

“Leaders” who have all the answers.

They have the “experience” … maybe they have “credentials” … perhaps they “read a lot”.

For whatever reason, they believe that they already know the answers.

They MIGHT ask your opinion … but we know they don’t really want to hear it.

More often than not they don’t even ask your opinion.

“A man who asks is a fool for five minutes. A man who never asks is a fool for life.” Chinese proverb

Here is the deal.

The BEST leaders listen to any good ideas.

They KNOW that they always have more to learn and they WANT to learn.

They take all and any input so that they can come up with informed decisions.

They hire people that are better than them!

They are willing to share their knowledge readily, but in a constructive way.

They want their people to learn … but they also want to learn from their people.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”      Alvin Toffler

Some thoughts …

What was relevant yesterday soon becomes obsolete.

What worked yesterday may not work today

Other people also have experiences.

You are very likely NOT the smartest person in the room.

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”   Jiddu Krishnamurti

I don’t care how smart you are, how experienced you are, or how much education you have  …  you can always learn more!

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Avoid Unintended Consequences

Drucker quote about decision makingHow many times do we see a negative impact from seemingly harmless or well-intentioned actions?

We see it from governments who implement well-intentioned legislation only to cause negative affects in the “real world”.    As just one small example, attempts to help the “underdog” will often increase costs to business owners, and for small business owners the impact will be felt in lost jobs.

We see it from companies who will have a knee-jerk reaction to a “one off” situation and bring in rules that have negative consequences.  If you implement restrictive policies because of one bad experience then you create a less welcoming environment and that will be felt when trying to compete for talent with companies that are not so restrictive.

We all do it at a personal level.  We do or say things that inadvertently cause ripples.  It might be social niceties such as inviting some people to the party and inadvertently upsetting others, or by complimenting one friend and another takes offense.

If you want to avoid unintended consequences, then you need to think “bigger picture”, and you need to be sensitive to your actions.

Some things you might consider:

  1.  Don’t make knee jerk decisions.  Take the emotion out of your decisions and let some time pass before you “act”.
  2. Get input.  Consider other people’s perspectives.
  3. Think ahead.  Try to anticipate what else you should consider;  who else you should consider and how else your decision might have impact.
  4. Have a plan that includes (a) the objective you want to achieve, (b) a plan to get to that objective and (c) any possible outcomes from your plan.

It is possible that the decision is more important than any repercussions, but in that case the consequences are not unintended … they are just consequences!

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”  Yogi Berra

Obviously we can’t anticipate everything, but TOO often we don’t even try … make an effort, thoughtfulness is always appreciated!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Warning: Email Can Harm Your Relationships

Quote by Geroge Bernard Shaw on CommunicationIn many ways the heading of this article is similar to those warnings you see on bags of peanuts … Warning: This product may contain nut products.

We all KNOW that email is a lousy form of communication, but it is so easy.

We KNOW that it is very easy to inadvertently (or purposely) send a negative message.

We KNOW that we shouldn’t send them when we are angry.

We KNOW that we cannot convey subtle messages or body language.

We KNOW that the same message read by three different people will be interpreted three different ways.

We KNOW that a situation that is tense OR complex (even slightly complex) OR emotional OR controversial should never be addressed by an email.

SO …. TALK to people!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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What Do You Think Makes a Good Leader?

Leadership quote from DruckerThere are many books about leadership, and advice is plentiful.  I find it interesting to read the theories from people who have worked in large corporations versus those who have worked in smaller (more entrepreneurial?) companies.   There are the academics who provide their theories and the consultants who bring their ideas.  There are books from military leaders, business leaders, religious leaders and almost any walk of life.

The people that capture my attention the most are those who have significant business experience.  Those who have seen success but also experience failure.  The people who know that despite all the books in the world, there are no cookie cutters!

I have been around the block a few times, worked for large companies and small. I have worked in the lowliest of positions and been CEO of my own company for twenty years.  In reality, just like everyone else, all I have is opinion, based on that background.

I believe that many people are enamored with the prospect of leadership, but it is usually far tougher than they expect and their willingness to pay their dues is often questionable.  The type of traits that I would value in leaders might look like this:

1.  They make things happen … they make decisions, they find a way, they move towards a goal!

2.  They lead by example … they do not use the phrase, “Do as as I say, not as I do!”  They are authentic.

3.  They treat everyone equitably … they don’t play favorites, they build a team culture and they are humble.

4.  They strive for continuous improvement … they want to grow their organizations, to get better at what they do.

5.  They are empathetic … recognising that we all need an ear sometimes.

6.  They are tough … they make the tough decisions, they dole out “tough love”.

7.  They have a strong work ethic … they are productive, they don’t work less than they expect their staff to work.

8.  They are consistent … you always know where you stand with them.

9.  They listen … they are not afraid to hire strong people, and they listen to them.

10.  They are glass half full people … they motivate those around them!

If YOU want to be a leader then you should strive to be a good leader, and work on these attributes.  Good leaders are made NOT born!

“Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.”  Woodrow Wilson

Another reality is that nobody is perfect, so the drive to be the best leader you can be is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

What do you think?

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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“Why?” Is a Powerful Tool

wHY?There are certain words and phrases that really stand out in business … “Why?’ is certainly one of them.

Why, You might ask?

Right there is a perfect example of the power of this word.  When coupled with the ability AND discipline to actually listen, it will open up a treasure trove of information.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”   Bernard Baruch

Too many people are too busy talking to be actually learn anything!  Sad … but true.

How many salespeople have you met who just “dump” every reason why anybody ever bought their product or service … without even an attempt to understand WHY you might be interested!

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”  Voltaire

How many interviewers ask a question and then take the answer at face value?  Here is the thing,  with every ask of the question “why?” you get another layer deep and that much closer to what you really need to know.

How many times have you just accepted a decision without asking why?  It is truly amazing how many decisions are made without the decision maker really thinking through the reason for the decision.  If they asked themselves “WHY?” then just maybe they would have come up with the right answer.

“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.”  Smiley Blanton

Steven Covey’s Habit #5 is Seek First to Understand … THEN to be understood.  He knew what he was talking about … how can you provide answers if you don’t really know the question?

If there is ONE thing that you can do to enhance your career it is to be more curious, to ask the question “Why?” … a lot!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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10 Signs Your Sales Rep is Struggling

Coaching quote by Ara ParasheghianIn a perfect world a manager will know how well, or not, their salespeople are doing.  They can then help course correct, adjust strategy or provide training in time to ensure that they deliver as expected.

However we rarely operate in a perfect world and one thing salepeople seem to universally good at doing, is hiding their sins!

So … here are ten signs that just maybe your salesperson is not doing as well as they might have you believe.

  1. Lack of Results.  The obvious indicator, but sometimes we don’t get the numbers until too late.  In many cases the numbers are a result of effort done previously, so by the time we have the numbers, the problem has been around for a while!
  2. Lack of activity.  This is a classic.  Very often salespeople who are struggling will be spending more time in the office, more time “researching” prospects and less time selling.
  3. Lack of relationships.  Great salespeople have a wide network and are always adding to it.  Salespeople can be successful with a small network, but that also makes them vulnerable .. a key contact leaves and suddenly the results go South!  Don’t let your salespeople coast with a few key contacts!
  4. Lack of direction.  The successful salesperson will know exactly what they need to do to keep their success going, the struggling salesperson will seem a little lost, perhaps distracted and not sure where to spend their time.
  5. Lack of facts.  Struggling salespeople will talk in generalities.  “It was a GREAT meeting”, “the client is going to be spending”, or perhaps  “I’m sure things are picking up”.  A little digging, asking very specific questions about detail will uncover the  reality that the salesperson is operating on the “hope and a prayer” plan!
  6. Lack of effort.  Nothing saps energy out of salespeople like a slump.  Just when they they should be upping the ante, they are demotivated and not putting in the effort.
  7. Lack of focus.  A struggling salesperson will often go into panic mode, chasing everything rather than executing against a well thought out plan.
  8. Lack of energy.  Related to number 6, but a struggling salesperson might feel the weight of the world on their shoulders.  Their usual energy is not evident and they seem to be slower and less “vital” than usual.
  9. Lack of ideas.  Successful salespeople are creative, and always finding new ways to grow their business.  When a slump hits they might be out of ideas, struggling to find ways to change their situation.
  10. Lack of confidence.  All of the above are manifest in a general lack of confidence, and a need for help … although salespeople are not always good at recognising that they need help or at asking for it!

Early recognition that a salesperson is struggling makes the fix so much easier.  The longer the slump goes on, the harder it is to turn around.

Recognise the signs and work with your salesperson to come up with actions that will change their situation, because as we all know the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (Thank you Einstein).

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Get The Best Return on Your Time

Focused effortYou work hard.

You have a “To Do” list.

You chop away at that list every day!

You don’t seem to be getting ahead!

You could probably work 24 hours a day and still not clear your list.

Are you working on the right things?

Is your time spent on the right activities?

Are you getting the best return on your time?

“There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”  Peter Drucker

Can you delegate?

Can you outsource?

Can you stop doing some of the things you do?

To get where you “need to be” requires FOCUSED effort on the activities that will get you “there”.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”  Golda Meir

It will require a liberal use of the word NO.

It will require will power.

It will require discipline.

BUT … You CAN do it!

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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What Makes a Winner?

The will to prepare to win .. quote Bear BryantAt the very highest levels of competition the difference between winners and “the rest” can be miniscule!

Sprinters win their races by hundreds of a second!

Soccer matches are very often won by a moment of brilliance out of a ninety minute game.

The same holds true for most sports … the best of the best are distinguished from the rest by incredibly small margins.  Yet the “the rest” are typically able competitors!

AND YET … to the victor goes the spoils.

It is the winners who take the trophies, the glory and their place in history.

Winning is a state of mind that embraces everything you do.”  Bryce Courtenay

It is also true that the winners work hard to attain their position.  It can be argued that all of the competitors work hard … but it would be extremely doubtful that any winners did NOT work hard!

So we can take away one lesson … winners NEED to do the work!

In the more mundane world of business, and in particular in the sales profession, it may not be as dramatic, but there are often still small differences that will decide who wins and who loses.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Jim Rohn

A second lesson we might learn from winners is that we need to find those “little things” that can differentiate us from our competition.

In order to find those differentiators you may need to answer questions like these …

  • Do you truly understand the prospect’s business concerns?
  • Do you know what their preferences are?
  • Do you understand their personal motivations?
  • Do you understand your competition?
  • Are you current with your industry’s evolution?   What is changing?  Is technology impacting you?  Are distruptors entering your field?  What is happening elsewhere?
  • Are you putting enough effort into your messages … or are they the same tired stories from 5 years ago?
  • Do you understand where pricing is in  your market, today … because today might be different than last week!

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.”  Zig Ziglar

Winning take hard work AND part of that hard work is establishing the reason why a prospect will pick you before the competition.

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Kevin Dee is the founder and Chairman of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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