Tag Archives: success

Continuing on the Ant Story ….

Ants come together without much supervision and accomplish tremendous tasks such as moving pieces of food that are about 30 times their individual sizes. When they are disturbed they re-organize and continue on the line they have created.

For more leadership lessons from the Ants check this article out…






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The Ant and the Corporation …. Talent Management Gone Wrong ….

Talent Management is more than just hiring more people, deploying them in clearly defined jobs, measuring their performance and rewarding them; talent management happens when people’s ability, particularly people’s managerial and leadership ability, is optimised to create the most strategic value ……by integrating the recruitment, the training and the retention tactics to maximise investment…

Here is a story of how talent management can go very, very wrong ……………


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4 Signs a Sales Manager Can Recognize an ‘A’ player in an Interview

Posted by Dan Perry on Sun, Jan 29, 2012

One of the most challenging things to do as a sales manager is to determine if the person sitting across from you in an interview will be an ‘A’ player. Will he or she be the next superstar? Can this person ‘make it rain’? Can I rely on them to exceed their quota?

Sales Managers consistently ask me what tips or tricks they can use in an interview to ensure hiring an ‘A’ player. Since SBI has started measuring ‘Ramp to Productivity Failure Rate’ (aka: how many of your people hit their quota vs. how many fail and leave the company), it has slowly been increasing. Our median rate 9 years ago was 42%. It is now 52%. This means 52% of all new hires FAIL. This means over half of all new sales hires don’t make their quota in year one. Ouch.

The only true way to hire ‘A’ players is to have a robust Talent Management Program. This includes 5 major components: Talent Definition, Acquisition, Evaluation, Selection and Development. A good TM program will attract, select, retain and develop ‘A’ players.

Talent Management

But what happens when you don’t have a TM program? What happens when you are actually in the interview asking questions and listening to the candidate’s answers? What do you look for at the ‘moment of truth’?

4 Sure Signs that indicate an ‘A’ player:

#1 – Sense of Urgency. ‘A’ players have a high sense of urgency. They need to get it done NOW. Whatever it is; the longer it takes to accomplish the more frustrated they become. They are ‘A’ players because they challenge the customer. The build trust with the decision maker, not just a ‘good’ relationship. Challenging customers results in increased sales. The challenge comes from the need to expedite the sale. Thus, urgency is the opposite of compliance. You don’t want your sales people to be compliant.

TIP: Look for answers around impatience and 4th quarter comebacks. (Aka: Eli Manning and the New York Giants)

#2 – Enthusiasm. ‘A’ players are passionate about their work. They get up and stay excited all day. They love to sell and go through brick walls to do it. They have a real passion around selling and enjoy the hunt. (We call these wolves)

TIP: Notice answers around work ethic matched with excitement. Passion is a key differentiator between ‘A’ and ‘C’ players. If they mention how great they form relationships, kick them to the curb.

#3 – Keep it Simple. ‘A’ players have mastered the fundamentals. They don’t look for the next big product to help them make their quota. The sales process is used in every opportunity. SPIN selling is tattooed on their forehead. They actually use call plans on every client meeting. Simply put: They are professionals.

TIP: Ask questions around how they interact with their customers and how they prepare for sales calls. Listen for the use of these fundamentals and how simple they convey it is to sell. (We know it’s not).

#4 – Show me the money. Yes Jerry McGuire coined the phrase and almost everyone uses it (including us at SBI). It means to be money hungry. ‘A’ players want to make money. And the more money they make the better. Don’t ever think an ‘A’ player wants to ‘please his customers’. He wants to please them because it means more money.

TIP: Ask what his W2 was last year (what he made last year). He will know it to the penny.

Why should you spend the time weeding through average sales people to get one that’s an ‘A’ player? They exceed your ‘B’ player quotas by over 3x! This difference can set you up to make your bonus and get you promoted.

Below is a Quota and Talent Assessment we performed for a large organization whose stock price has risen 35% in the past 6 months. Notice all the ‘A’ players. The VP of Sales here has a strict Talent Management Process including the 4 steps mentioned above. The results are impressive.

Interviewing sales candidates is tricky. They are sales people and their job is to sell you on themselves. If they can’t sell you on themselves, what will they do with your customers? Make sure you look for these top tips to uncover ‘A’ players in your interviews. Your success is critical to hiring the top talent. These answers to your questions will tip you off on how successful they could be.

What are some other tips in spotting ‘A’ sales reps? Leave a comment for all to get these valuable tips.

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The Happiness Dilemma

The Riddle of Experience vs Memory

Widely regarded as the world’s most influential living psychologist, Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel in Economics for his pioneering work in behavioral economics — exploring the irrational ways we make decisions about risk.

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy — and our own self-awareness.


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Let’s Get Started! Success here I come!

The Resolution
Making New Year’s Resolution is the easiest thing on earth but how do we keep them when the celebrations are done and the rebooting has begun? A new year begins with great hope, another shot at success ……. Caught up in the enthusiasm of a fresh start we throw ourselves with wild abandon at a vast list of goals ….. to upgrade our knowledge, our health, our relationships and our motivations… we want to stay in the game ….. even get ahead of the game ….. we know we have so much untapped potential …….. we get excited with the anticipation of this awesome journey of self-discovery and progress …. We have a chance to refresh our capabilities and reinforce our confidence so that we can boost our efforts in getting where we want to be……… and we know the secret to any triumph is to get started. This time we will stick to our plan ….. yes we will!

The Problem
BAM … very soon, in fact as soon as we get back to work, the backsliding begins, and we fall into our old habits of thinking, feeling, being and doing….. and very soon all our goals are thrown out the window …. Our goals are doomed because we don’t give them enough time to move us into new landscapes, physical, intellectual, social and psychological landscapes. We decide that our goals are too big, our delusions of grandeur too punishing, and our resolutions too daunting. We prevent our friends and those who believe in us to give us support and even get angry when we are reminded of our resolutions. The new journal we bought to record progress sits empty. The list of rewards we have compiled become the consolation prize rather than a celebration for reaching a milestone. And the unearned pampering reduces our self-esteem….
We are constantly wailing and winging ….. and neglect even simple goals such as updating our cv, or going to the gym twice a week ….. Instead we climb onto the treadmill of ‘musts’ and ignore our ‘wants’.

The Solution
Follow me on twitter @FKazan, and I pledge to keep you motivated so that you can get started and learn new habits to keep going, because there are two mistakes that we make along the road to victory …. not going all the way, and not starting…… And the reasons we give …. ‘I don’t have time…,’, ‘I don’t have money …….’, ‘I don’t know how …’
I will share with you ways to stay on track long enough to shift your thinking and to gain the skills to grow your career and your life that will cost you no money and very little time – wwo minutes a day will keep you moving forward ….

If you are not progressing it is because you do not want to take the first step ….

Only you can make the decisions …..

You have to decide that you are not going to stay where you are, that you want to get somewhere in life ….. the second step will be to decide to get started, to overcome your inertia and just begin …..and the next step is to follow me on twitter …. So that you can do great things with your life….
I will help set achievable goals, accept that not succeeding is not the same as failure, eliminate excuses and keep you on track all year so that you can do what you know you need to do to get where you want to go ….

Remember that you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!

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How to Reboot your Groundhog Day Existence

The time has come to revel in the successful accomplishments of another year because no matter how stressful the year has been, we have had many wins….and we should salute the glory ….. and continue on our road to prosperity and progress, elevating our human spirit…

Goal Scorecard – Satisfied or Unsatisfied?
It is also the time to review our current situation, qualitatively weighing our scorecard – comparing our sense of progress against our sense of achievement … resulting in the net evaluation ….. Are we dissatisfied (unhappy and frustrated) or just unsatisfied (driven to achieve more)???? Those who make things happen will feel unsatisfied whereas those who watch things happen will probably feel dissatisfied and discouraged…. and those who wonder what happened? …. Well who knows how they feel…. Perhaps they feel nothing at all………………….

I vacillate between being dissatisfied and unsatisfied ……

Groundhog Day-
Every year this time the movie Groundhog Day comes to mind. Phil (Bill Murray) an egocentric, calculating,  Scrooge like  weather forecaster is caught up in a time loop of limited consequences, which means that no matter how he behaves, hedonistic or even suicidal, he is condemned to wake up to the same day over and over again. Until he is prepared to allow his suffering and the fear of near death encounters to be felt deeply, he remains stuck living semi-automatically, in a looping day. Phil is a man exiled from his feelings, arrogant, sarcastic and totally absorbed with his own discomforts, cut off from others, unable to learn and grow from any type of feedback because he believes that he is a plaything of fate. The only way he can liberate himself from a looping day is by converting from a negative reactor of fate to becoming a positive pro-actor of change. He eventually learns how to do this, becoming a more compassionate, authentic self in which intimacy and creativity come naturally and thus is able to get out of his loop of despondency.

It is only recently that I began to realise how many of my limiting beliefs are keeping me rooted in my Groundhog Day … what about you??

Adapt to changing or die!
Are you living your own Groundhog Day, refusing to adapt to a rapidly changing world? Are you ignoring the consequence of global competition to your survival and ultimately to your success? Today getting a job is easier than keeping it, therefore performing at your best at all times is as important, if not more important, than ‘who you know’ or ‘what you know’. Hence you need to work from a position of strength, from your core or natural abilities, reinforced with learning, and adapted into an offering or a work related identity, which must be redesigned periodically to remain in tune and in touch, holding life-long relevance, or else you are dead in the water!

Your job, my job, everybody’s job exists purely because a customer need has surfaced and someone has to satisfy it – directly through sales, or indirectly through accounting. Adapting to the new products and new technologies that pop up continuously is of paramount importance in our effort to satisfy customers and to continue to prosper… and for that we need feedback… from customers, from managers, from peers……

Feedback – Your Weapon of Mass Sensation – Feel the Feelings!
Feedback is a powerful tool that when used correctly can improve performance by allowing you to evaluate your delivery. Heeding advice, criticism, and the views of those you respect, is a necessary pre-requisite to learning – and true learning can only be created when feelings are allowed to respond fully to feedback. These feelings, pain and pleasure, are the navigators into unchartered waters. Having the courage to feel your own suffering and discomfort can transform you to a new state to transcend the repetition, the looping of your Groundhog Day. Don’t be afraid to laugh, to cry, to walk the walk of shame…. That is the only way that you can change your paradigm, to grow out of the unending cycle of pain and misery, to stop running on the same spot over and over, again and again, and to get to where you want to be.
Have the courage to respond appropriately to your world, to fully experience your feelings, to allow your sensations to become conscious. Feelings are your software and once you have brought them to the surface, once you have fully felt them, you need to reboot…..

Mental Nudge – Reboot or Rewind? What is the Difference?
We all need a mental nudge to turn our focus on empowering activities. A do-over is something we all want, a second chance, to start over, hopefully more consciously, more awareness, do things better and faster. We can’t go back in time because in the words of Heraclitus, ‘no man can walk into the same river twice, because he is not the same man and it is not the same river’, everything and everyone changes. Getting a second chance means taking another shot, learning from feedback and applying new learning in the new circumstances with new hope for success, in other words rebooting, rather than rewinding that is, doing the same things and expecting a different results

Although rebooting and rewinding sound the same they are substantially different. Rewinding means we are playing the same thing over again, even though the circumstances change, without changing the self, not factoring our lessons learned from experiences and feedback, responding in a way that keeps us looping into a Groundhog Day existence. Rebooting on the other hand, means we restart but this time our experiences, both painful and pleasurable, are absorbed, modifying our knowledge and beliefs, aligning new learning, adapting our actions, and getting unstuck from our Groundhog Day, and moving forward. Rebooting aligns any conflict between body and mind, heart and soul, often the cause of inaction, preventing you from breaking the unending cycle of the status quo. In contrast, rewinding or repeating our anticipated stance does not work as we continue to repeat our inappropriate response to the circumstances in our life…..
Although a reboot does not recharge your batteries it certainly allows them to work more efficiently.
And the best time to reboot is NOW! This time of year between Christmas and New Year is the rebooting season, filled with all its rituals of rebirth, focusing on compassion for others, and a more altruistic existence, is a perfect time for renewing ourselves. Feedback in the form of confession was very much part of this ritual, has fallen away, very much conspicuous by its absence. It is not surprising that without the guidance of meaningful feedback so many people focus on superficial changes like getting fitter, acquiring more education, building better networks, which are certainly important, but contribute little meaningful change to their lives. Rebirth requires more than changing a few habits or acquiring more skills, it requires changing our mental filters, our limiting beliefs, our self-centred stereotypical view of others; it means assisting fate in giving us what we need in order to get what we want.

We all want to be given another chance to respond more appropriately to the condition of our life however unless were are willing to feel our disappointments and our hurts, the second chance becomes a rewind rather than a reboot, stuck in the past, allowing a recursion of time, and rehashing the same results. A rewind does not improve anything, just repeats what went before, whereas a reboot allows you to operate at a faster, clearer, more energised manner and renewed effort, realigning your aspirations, refresh your offering, and redesigning your strategy to get to where you need to be.

Everyone needs to reboot, whether you are aging into the formal workplace or aging out of it.


The new workplace is tough, unrelenting, and requires having a grip on what is important and of paramount concern to all of us. The most important items in your career toolbox are competence and desire for performance excellence. Nothing is more powerful on a CV than a proven track record of brilliance. As a productivity evangelist, I would like to suggest that 2012 becomes the year of Excellence in South Africa. We are ALL collectively and individually responsible for building this country, we should therefore pledge our commitment to work hard, to do our best and to do it with a sufficient thrust to make a real difference. Let us accept feedback without playing the race, or gender card. Let us get out of our Groundhog Day and move forward. Let us reboot and change the way we look at ourselves… from ‘having’ to ‘doing’- from having ‘paper qualifications’ to ‘delivering excellence’, on time, every time…. From having a title of leader to doing what effective leaders do and build and energise teams ….. Whether in government or private sector, teaching or street sweeping, young or old, black or white, each person can make a difference… that is the true spirit of peace on earth…..

May we all have a prosperous and performance excellent year……

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Why I make my bed every day – and you should too!

I have found that no matter my mood in the morning I am never tempted to skip my morning ablution. But I am often lured into not making my bed, especially when I am feeling down and out. So why is making my bed such a big deal? I have asked myself that question a number of times……. I don’t really know ……. what I do know is that when I make my bed the rest of my day goes better …. I have more energy …. I am more positive …. I can cope with the stresses of everyday life a great deal better.
I suppose it could be because making the bed is a step that’s quick and easy, yet makes a big difference….. everything looks neater ….. it’s easier to find my cell charger….. my bedroom is a more peaceful environment ….. and most importantly, for me, outer order contributes to inner calm…….. because my brain is always on overdrive, I get exhausted ….. knowing that I can control my action is a great relief and a great energy booster……. not to mention the great sleep I will have that night in a neat and clean bed ……..
Second, sticking to any resolution – no matter what it is – brings satisfaction. When I make a decision to change something and I stick to it, I feel strong…. able to conquer the world ….. because making my bed is one of the first things I do in the morning, I start the day feeling efficient, productive, and disciplined.
And that is happiness….
As Kevin Spacey says in Shrink, ‘Happiness is a word for a feeling – feelings are rarely understood in the moment’ and in that moment I don’t need to understand, I just feel happy …. which sets my mood for the rest of the day…. and you see it is easier to maintain a mood than to get into a new one ….. when I am happy I am releasing serotonin, the feel good hormone, which allows me to feel creative and strong…. and in that state nothing is impossible ….. I can conquer the world because I have conquered myself …… and all that because I spent five minutes in the morning to make my bed….
Do you know of a better return on investment? If you do I would love to hear from you……

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