CEO Blog

Category Archives: Strategy

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

You Only Find Oil if You Dig Wells

Jim Rohn quote about time managementThis saying might seem obvious, but I love its simplicity.  It suggests that typically you need to “do the work” in order to “reap the rewards”.  Yes it’s a basic concept, but it is hard to find fault with, other than it is so obvious … or is it?

If your goal is to hit oil, then presumably digging wells is a highly productive activity that might result in success.  Thinking about digging wells, talking about digging wells, procrastinating before digging wells or just plain doing stuff other than digging, will not get you results.

“Days are expensive.  When you spend a day you have one less day to spend.  So make sure you spend each one wisely!”  Jim Rohn

Sometimes people don’t think about what they need to do in order to be successful, they just “do stuff”.  Yes they are busy, but the end result will not be success because they are busy with the wrong stuff!

So …

Step 1.  Identify the productive activities that will result in you “hitting oil”.

Step 2.  Make sure those are the activities that you spend the majority of your time doing.

Step 3.  Let all the other “stuff” fit in around the highly productive activities.

Step 4.  Using all of the above … Plan your work AND then Work your plan!

NOW you will hit oil!

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Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Find Canada’s top hot jobs, updated in real-time!  Visit Eagle’s Job Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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Make Fact-Based Decisions

Drucker quote about decision makingManagement is not an exact science and all too often we are forced to make decisions without all of the facts.

That is just life and even though we have incomplete data it is always preferable to be decisive.  The worst that can happen is that the decision proves to be wrong and a “course correction” is required.  That is far preferable to never making a decision … because that way nothing ever happens!

It is however critical to be sure that the “facts” that we DO use to make our decisions are indeed truly facts.  It is very easy to be misled by errors, perceptions, prejudices, “false news” or other people’s agendas!

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”  Aldous Huxley

It is a  problem when leaders make decisions that are unfairly influenced, in most cases by what I will call “non facts’.

Some examples might be:

  • Other people’s opinions or “agendas”;
  • wrong data;
  • unsubstantiated social media “facts”;
  • Our own prejudices;
  • Perceived facts such as “there were a lot of times …”; or he was “always doing …”; and
  • Misunderstood situations, where the whole facts were not discovered.

It is critical that leaders ensure they are using actual FACTS.

Is there supporting data?  Has the detail been documented?  Is the source trusted?  Is there cause for a different perspective?  Has everyone’s input been gathered?

Never forget there are two sides to every story; some people lie; some people embellish; and we all have our own prejudices.

“Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant.”  Anthony Robbins

Stick to REAL facts when making decisions.

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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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Upgrade Your Team

Phil Jackson quote about teamsEvery company wants, and needs, to attract the best people that it can.

Good companies will invest in those people, empower them and hold them accountable for their performance.  As time goes by it becomes evident which of the people are top performers, which people are performing at an acceptable level and also the people who are not performing become identified.

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”   David Ogilvy

There are lots of reasons why people don’t perform, ranging from attitude problems to lack of training or skills, to the fact that they are just in the wrong job.

Managers will inevitably find themselves spending a significant amount of their time on people management, dealing with the non-performers and their various personnel issues.

Good companies will work with these people to try and fix the situation, and sometimes things turn around and sometimes they don’t.

It is important to both company and employee to resolve these situations quickly, so both can find the right solution moving forward.  If someone is in the wrong job, it is far better that they move on and find a place where they can succeed.  It is also a huge bonus for a manager, and consequently the company, to replace a “problem employee” with a top performer!

“Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person.”  Edwin Booz

In today’s world of skills shortages it is tough to find those top performers, so when opportunity arises it is smart to take advantage.

Some thoughts:

  1. You need to act quickly to manage non-performers out, unless they are working hard to fix things, or you are doing no-one any favors.
  2. Don’t try to keep marginal performers who choose to leave … there is always a better option out there.
  3. Hiring and firing decisions are business decisions, not “popularity contests”, don’t hire or fire JUST because you like or dislike someone.
  4. Any time you upgrade your team (replace lower performer with higher performer) you are magnifying the positive impact on your business because it also increases management efficiency.
  5. A positive improvement to a team will also have a positive impact on the rest of the team. People know when others are not pulling their weight.

“Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.” Jim Collins

So, take advantage of market conditions and other opportunities that allow you to improve your team.  Expect a short term impact, but as long as you are upgrading the benefits will be huge!

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”  Red Adair

Final (slightly self-serving) thought … the price of professional help in finding those great people is a very small price to pay, so work with your friendly staffing company!

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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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Building Confidence – 10 Tips

Colin Powell thoughts on successI can relate to Colin Powell’s quote and thought  I could share a few tips from some failures over my fairly long career to date!

Now all you have to do is (a) prepare and (b) put in the work!

We all have times when we are a little uncertain.  It could be because you are in a slump, it might be a tough negotiation coming up, you might be giving a talk in front of an audience or you might have a job interview.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”  Henry Ford

Whatever the situation, there are things that you can do to help settle the nerves, project an air of confidence and at a minimum put your best foot forward.

Of course the biggest and best thing you can do is to prepare, do your homework, know your material and think through how you will handle any tough questions.  Doing the work is not a guarantee of success, but not doing the work is pretty much guaranteed to be a disaster!

“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”  Confucius

Beyond the obvious, there are things that you can do to bolster your confidence:

  1. Be well rested. Partying hard the night before a tough event is not recommended.  (Party after for sure!)
  2. Give yourself lots of time to be where you need to be, without the stress of missing or almost missing your event.
  3. Wear clothes that make you feel good! Better yet treat yourself to something new for the event!
  4. Get a haircut, a manicure, a pedicure … whatever works for you.
  5. If it’s a speech practice a lot … in front of a mirror, in front of your partner etc.  If it’s a negotiation or meeting of some kind practice answering the tough questions that you might anticipate.
  6. Pump yourself up by remembering all of your similar successes.
  7. Do not focus on any other issues or problems immediately prior to this event.
  8. Try to avoid any negative people in your life immediately prior to this event.
  9. Talk to as many of the positive people you know leading up to the event.
  10. Smile! Think of good things that make you smile … we always feel better when we smile!

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”  Francesca Reigler

Now … go get ‘em!

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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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Rescuing Salespeople from a Slump

Quote start to be great by ZiglarOne of the things that makes the sales profession tough is that you are only as good as your current performance, which is very measurable!  It becomes very obvious when a salesperson is not being successful and in addition to the obvious lack of numbers there is a tendency to spiral downwards.

The formerly motivated, energetic and productive salesperson descends into a funk!  They lose that energy, they seem “adrift”, unmotivated and not sure what to do next.

Where they had previously been very focused on their role, they are easily distracted focusing on activities that are “busy” tasks, rather than delivering business!

Their productivity is easily measured, but it will be not just the bottom line that suffers.  There will be less phone calls, less meetings and less orders coming in.

Essentially they will give up, and either start a job search or  just wait for the axe to fall when their employer loses patience.

These times can happen for many reasons … it might be a general turn down in the economy, an impact on that salesperson’s specific territory or they just become too comfortable and neglect the fundamentals!

In sales we reap what we sow, and if we sow a little less this week we will feel the negative effects next week … that is the start of a really slow spiral downwards!

Luckily … a good sales manager will recognize the pattern and understand that action is needed!  They need to find a way to get their salesperson back into the rhythm, to move from Ineffective to Effective!

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”  Vince Lombardi

The first step is for the salesperson to admit to themselves that they are in trouble, but also they need to be willing to do the work that will get them back on track.  The “lucky” salespeople will inevitably be those who put the work in!

“The harder I work, the more luck I have.” Thomas Jefferson

The salesperson needs to have a plan that has clear activities, timelines and goals.  The way to get to these actions is to ask a lot of questions.

  1. How many key contacts does the salesperson have?
  2. Have they all been contacted lately?
  3. Is there a method to bring those contacts value over and above the service they pay for?
  4. Where are the opportunities?
  5. What are the key messages that will resonate in today’s climate?
  6. How many meetings can the salesperson generate?
  7. Who else could get in front of clients to generate interest?
  8. What networking does the salesperson do? Is it enough and in the right places?
  9. How many ways does the salesperson keep in contact with their prospects? Email, phone, in person, hand written cards, social media?
  10. What can the salesperson do differently that will spark a different and motivating approach?  This could be a change in hours, work location, even a change in look (a new wardrobe can help with confidence).
  11. Is there training/coaching available that will keep the salesperson motivated?

A good manager asking these questions can help the salesperson to identify many ways in which they can get re-motivated.

Get some new crisp shirts and start wearing a tie … just to feel good about yourself.   A female rep might buy some new clothes, shoes, accessories … whatever makes them feel good!

“Today is always the most productive day of your week.” Mark Hunter

Change up your hours, come in a little earlier/stay a little later to get the momentum going!

Call clients at specific times and see which times work best for which clients.  Some people like to start early and others like to stay late.

Start a campaign of hand written cards with simple messages.  These should be hand written (no excuses about poor writing … slow down and write nicely!) and have a personal note.

“Stop selling.  Start helping.”  Zig Ziglar

Share valuable information with these people … industry articles and white papers, statistics and facts, book summaries and market data are just some ideas.

Establish a rhythm for meeting with people and track it in the company CRM.  Some clients should be contacted more often than others.  Some like mostly email, others prefer voice.  Establish a regular face to face routine.

Re-establish links with old contacts.  Former clients of the salesperson or the company.  Alumni from school or previous jobs, or even ex-employees of this company.

Find new contacts.  Get referrals, network more, cold call (yes I suggested the “cold call” … but in the 21st century that may be through outbound/inbound marketing techniques).

Establish a routine that ensures the work happens without interruption.  Do not take unrelated phone calls, or address unrelated emails … be very focused on this activity.

Set goals for numbers of calls, meetings and expected outcomes … new orders, and closed business!

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Abraham Lincoln

This level of activity should develop a tangible momentum, resulting in some successes.  This in turn will give a confidence boost, which will be seen in a return to the successful salesperson you knew they could be!

“Confidence and enthusiasm are the greatest sales producers in any economy.”  O B Smith

The trick once the momentum is going, is not to slack off!

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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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It Is More Important to HAVE Goals Than to Reach Them!

Goals quote from Jim RohnThat seems like a contradictory thing to say, why would it be OK to miss our goals?  What is the point of having goals if we are not going to meet them?

Goals are a way to focus our efforts, in a direction that makes sense to us … today.

Along the way “stuff happens” some of which we plan for, some of which we do not.  Some of that stuff will be negative and some of it will be positive.

THAT “stuff” will determine where we go next!

I believe that if you asked ANY super successful person today whether their goals looked exactly like where they ended up they would have to admit that the result looks very different than what they expected.

I also believe that for many of them, they far exceeded their expectations.

When I left school I wanted to be a car mechanic, and that quickly morphed into an aircraft mechanic when I joined the Royal Navy.  My plans at that time saw me moving up the ranks, but did not even contemplate a move into the officer ranks.

When I became a computer programmer my goals would have seen me move into the management ranks, but not even an executive level.

My move into a sales role saw my ambitions grow, as I saw that as a chance to reach an executive level.

Never in any of these transitions did I see myself as a business owner.

Stuff happens along the route of life that we can take and use.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  Charles R. Swindoll

We use goals to have somewhere to aim, that is hopefully a better place than where we are today.  Some people will naturally aim higher than others.

“If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

So, as you go through life you should set yourself some goals.

  1. The more specific the better.
  2. Put a time frame on them.
  3. Be ambitious with your goals.
  4. Expect change.
  5. Review your goals regularly to see if you are going in the right direction and adjust your tactics.

Setting a goal gives you something to aim for … even if you hit something else, it is likely to take you in the right direction!!!

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Kevin Dee is CEO 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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Don’t Stop Trying!

If it was easy everyone would do itGenerally speaking the best things in life come at a cost.

Whether it is money, or effort, or time; or some combination of those things, invariably there is some cost.

I would also suggest that very often that cost is greater than you expect!

So, when we want something or want to achieve something we need to keep that in mind.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”  Dale Carnegie

The way we improve ourselves, and our lot in life is by investing in ourselves, by trying new things and by effort … a lot of effort!

More often than not, those ideas, projects or attempts at improvement will not work the first time.  They might even fail multiple times!

The biggest difference between those who achieve their dreams and those who do not is persistence … an unwillingness to give up on that dream.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

Are you willing to do what it takes?

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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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Take Notes During Sales Calls

Taking notes quote by DanteWE work hard to get client meetings so it is imperative that they are very productive!

Here are just 10 reasons why salespeople should take notes when meeting with clients.

1.  Your memory is not as good as you think, so take note of what one of the world’s smartest men said!  Albert Einstein once said, “why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in 2 minutes“.

2.  Many meetings are filled with facts, names of contacts, names of projects, details of those projects, budget details etc.  You will not remember all of that data after the fact!

3.  When you can show detailed notes from a client meeting it demonstrates your professionalism to your manager.

4.  Later you can use your electronic calendar to identify the date of any meeting you have had (because of course you also use your calendar religiously) and go back to the notebook you used at that time, to tell you what was said at that meeting.   This can be useful for a million reasons.

5.  Amongst your notes will be tidbits of information that may prove crucial at some future date … contact names, phone numbers, dollar amounts (eg revenue spend of a client), commitments etc.

6.  If you have notes written down then you can quickly share them with anyone … scan and email, transcribe into a CRM or even photocopy and drop on someone’s desk!

7.  The act of writing things down actually improves memory of the facts … so you remember those facts better when you write them down!

8.  Taking notes means that you am not going to forget commitments you make … if you are in a meeting and commit to sending information later it will be highlighted in your notes.  If it is only in your memory then there is a chance you might forget.

9.  When you are meeting with a client and take notes it demonstrates your seriousness/professionalism to the client.

10.  I consider this to be one of the habits I have built that have led to any success I have enjoyed in my career. It is a good habit to cultivate!

“I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it!”  Estee Lauder

Here are 10 TIPS for note taking.

1.  Ask the client if they mind you taking notes, it is just another way to demonstrate your thoughtfulness.

2. Your notes should be legible to you … if your handwriting is bad then use capital letters.

3. Leave lots of space in your notes to add commentary later.

4. Keep all of your notes on one topic or meeting together … don’t have it in different places.

5. If you take notes in a sales meeting it is good practice to transcribe the information into quick notes for the CRM.

6 If you use a consistent method of taking notes then you can always find what you need later when wanting to refer back … so use a notebook, a time management system or some such organised method of collecting notes.

7. Always date notes and list who is present (eg. Joe & Ted or Sales Team etc.), a title would be good too … these can be done before the meeting in your best handwriting to make the notes easier to find.

8. Offer to take notes in company meetings and share them … its a good way to develop note taking skills.

9.  Always review the notes from your last meetings before going to the next meeting.

10.  Work at building good sales habits!

The sales profession offers so much opportunity, but it requires effort and a willingness to learn if you are going to be successful.

“Its the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.” Coach John Wooden

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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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Sales 101 – Asking For the Business

Colin Powell thoughts on successSalespeople tend to be social by nature and that can be a double edged sword.  The good part is that they can very often build relationships with people, the bad part is that they spend so much time socialising that they forget about the business!

If your salespeople are getting client meetings but not getting business then there is a good chance this is exactly what is happening!

The client makes time to meet, and your rep has a decent rapport.  The conversation focuses on some non threatening subjects like sports teams or golf, followed by some personal stuff like kids or hobbies.  If the client is smart they will get some information from the salesperson about what they are seeing in the market and before you know it the allotted time is up!

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”   Mohammed Ali

The salesperson leaves feeling good because it was a “great meeting”, “the client really liked me” … or some other such “non revenue generating” points.

The client might be okay with the meeting, but will not have addressed any of their business needs … so they could actually feel like they wasted time, because nobody has time to spare these days!

How do you get your salespeople to address business issues, and potentially ask for business?

One answer is to have a standard practice of using a meeting agenda for every sales call!

  • It forces the salesperson to ensure there are valid business reasons to have a meeting;
  • It puts in black and white the kinds of subjects that lead to business discussions;
  • It demonstrates that you are professional;
  • It is a good sales practice; and
  • It demonstrates that you will not waste your client’s time.

A client can always change the agenda as they see fit, but at least with an agenda there is a starting point that has some thought behind it.

“Thorough preparation makes its own luck.” Joe Poyet

Build good sales habits … ALWAYS use agendas!

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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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Goals Without Plans are Pipe Dreams

Dream becomes goal quote by Bo BennettI am a big fan of goals.

  • They give you something to aim for.
  • They provide focus.
  • They are the foundation of any great time management system.
  • They are necessary for any company that wants success, and highly recommended for anyone who wants to achieve success in almost anything, personal or career oriented.

A goal without a plan, that is actionable, has timelines and is realistic, is just a dream.  Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “I have a dream!”  The thing is that his dream also had a plan … he was working to make his dream a reality!

If you have ever looked at business plans from early stage companies there is a trend among some percentage of them to have a growth goal that looks like a hockey stick (very slow growth now followed by exponential growth in the future) .  Invariably the “business plan” will cite statistics for the size of the world-wide market and a comment that suggests if the company just takes 3% of the worldwide market they will achieve their targets.  THAT is not a plan … THAT is a dream (or a wish).

One of my personal favorite pipe dreams is the “If we just grow by 10% per year for the next 7 years we will double in size.”  That is a goal, not a plan.  The plan is needed to show the path to get that 10% growth each year, and will likely include multiple means to achieve the growth.

So … if you have a goal (or dream) then you have a good starting point.

The very next step is to lay out a plan that will get you to that goal.

  • It needs to be measurable.
  • It needs to be actionable.
  • It needs to be doable … even if it is a stretch.
  • It needs be tracked.
  • It needs to be reviewed periodically.
  • It needs to be flexible so that as situations change, then the plan can change.
  • I would suggest getting help developing the plan, and also help holding you accountable to the plan.
  • I would suggest having milestone goals along the way, that will demonstrate your progress.
  • I would suggest celebrating wins as you go, to stay motivated.
  • You might also want to stretch your goal as you get closer … because success breed more success!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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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 Centre!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?
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