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Five Popular Ways People Set Themselves up to Fail

June 18th, 2019

Have you ever considered the real COST to falling short of your goals?

 

The many studies that have been conducted on goal setting have varied considerably in scope, timeframes, data, and conclusions.  However, independent of whether the studied goals were small, big, short-term, long-term or BHAGs, all of the studies agree that only a very small percentage of those who set goals actually achieve them.

 

All the studies also agree that people who set goals achieve far greater levels of success than those that don’t.   Despite this finding, a recent study by Statistic Brain revealed that 17% of Americans infrequently set goals and 38% never do.    Hard to believe…

 

To top things off, even when including those people that set goals frequently, only 8% of the combined group follows through to achieve them.   In other words, 92% of people who set goals fail short, with most simply bailing out and abandoning the pursuit.

 

So what can be the cause of all of this failure?

Interestingly, the majority of people lose the game before it starts.  Most people that fail to achieve their goals do so before they even leave the gate.   They actually set themselves up for failure.

 

Here’s how they do it….: 

 

1.  They set ambiguous goals:  You’ve probably heard about SMART goals.  Although different people assign different meanings to the letters S, M, A, R, and T, the main point in the goal setting process is to be crystal clear about what you intend to achieve.   This means taking all of the subjectivity out of your goal by making it quantifiable within a specific timeframe.   Nothing should be left to interpretation.   If “Success” cannot be objectively defined and measured, it is time to re-do your goal.   Include key benchmarks so you can effectively assess progress and make appropriate adjustments.

 

2.  They set too many goals:  The more goals you set, the less likely you are to achieve the ones that are most important.  This is simple math.  You only have 24 hours in a day, so in order to do something, you likely need to stop doing something else.   If you are the kind of person that sets too many goals, list them all and prioritize, then consider removing the least impactful half of them (or at least the lower third).  And if you have a chronic problem of setting too many goals, find someone that can help.  After all, the alternative is to continue to spin your wheels and miss out on achieving the goals that are most important to you.

 

3.  They make conditional commitments (or don’t commit at all):  If a goal is important to you, you must go ALL-IN.    If you will not, don’t even bother.   “I’m going to try” is simply a way to avoid responsibility, and anything less than a total commitment will almost guarantee failure.   How often have you heard “I’m going to try to cut down on drinking..” or I’m gonna try to exercise more…”.   How does that typically work?   There are two types of people — those that try, and those that commit and succeed.   If you really want something, go for it.  If not, stop BS-ing yourself.

 

4.   They attempt to go it alone:  All great performers have an accountability partner.   A trained coach can be of great service here, but if you don’t have or want a trained, skilled coach, simply find a friend or colleague that will agree to check in with you on a consistent basis.   A check-in is NOT a long meeting.  Your partner’s main job here is to help keep your focus where it belongs - on the rails and away from distractions and chasing shiny objects.  Focused energy is one of the powerful forces in the world, so you want to make sure to focus your limited time, energy and actions toward achieving the vital goals that YOU have defined.  There is no magic here.  The more frequent you check-in, the better.  Daily is great, weekly is fine.

 

5.   They keep their goals and commitments private:  If you really want to achieve a goal you’ve set, tell everyone you know about your intentions.   A trusted peer group is spectacular here, because you certainly wouldn’t want to make commitments to valued associates that you will break.   And because they trust and care about you, they can provide you with the support, encouragement, insight, tough love, and perhaps some additional resources and short-cuts to help you exceed your goals.

But don’t stop there.  Tell everyone.   The more, the better.   Make your goals public!  After all, you’ve invested time and energy to determine the goals that are most important to you.   So it makes sense to do everything possible to ensure you achieve them.   Announce your new goals on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.   Social Contracts are a HUGE motivator.   Doing so will help you focus, which will dramatically increase your chance of success.   Use your peers to your advantage, and encourage them to use you as well.

 

 

By taking these simple steps, you will increase your chances of success by orders of magnitude.   By avoiding these five pervasive mistakes, you will remove more than 95% of the issues that contribute to missing a goal.   If you’ve been missing your goals by making any of these popular mistakes, I hope you will now enjoy setting yourself up for big wins and hope you will share your success stories.

 

 

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2017.   All Rights Reserved.

What Millennials Really Want

February 18th, 2019

Over 55% of Millennials in the workforce are not engaged at work, and more than half of them say they are currently looking for a job.

 

This information probably won’t surprise the many business leaders who have experienced the challenges in motivating employees from different generations.   This same group of leaders have probably also noticed that foosball tables and espresso machines have very little impact after the novelty wears off.

 

Gallup recently published a very comprehensive report on this group of 73 million individuals born in the U.S. from 1980-1996.  The report includes new information, many dramatic statistics, and some extremely valuable insights on how Millennials really want to work and live.

 

If you own a business and have employees born after 1980, it is probably no secret to you that the leadership style and strategies you’ve adopted to motivate, engage, retain, and maximize productivity from your more seasoned employees is far less effective when it comes to inspiring your under-40s.   

 

The reason for this dilemma is that Millennials are different—profoundly different.   Although these differences may present a leadership challenge, they present an even larger leadership opportunity.   While extensive research shows that the MOTIVATORS of Millennials differ greatly from the generations that preceded them, it also shows that their POTENTIAL to produce results is greater.

 

This fact should lead every business owner to the question:  “How can we motivate and engage this group of high-potential employees?”

 

The primary answer lies in changing your company culture, which obviously starts at the top.   If we are going to implement a change in culture and leadership, we must begin by understanding what motivates Millennials at work.    Gallup has identified many differences, but they refer to these as the Big Six:

 

1.     Millennials don’t just want a paycheck.   They want a purpose.

 

2.     Millennials are not seeking job satisfaction.   They are seeking development.

 

3.     Millennials do not want bosses.  They want coaches.

 

4.     Millennials aren’t interested in annual reviews.   They want ongoing conversations.

 

5.     Millennials don’t want to fix weaknesses.  They’d prefer to develop strengths.

 

6.     “It’s not just my job, it’s my life”

So if you’ve been frustrated because of your inability to effectively manage your young workforce, or if you have simply resisted a culture change in lieu of bantering “what is wrong with them, they just don’t get it!”, I would suggest you may be overdue for a major paradigm shift.   After all, if Millennials don’t currently comprise the majority of your workforce, they will very soon.    

 

While there are a variety of strategic and tactical approaches you can take to begin to transform and improve the productivity of your millennial-rich company, the simplest and most effective place to begin is by transforming your existing culture into a Coaching Culture.  This type of culture effectively addresses all six of the Motivators revealed in the Gallup study.

 

Like most super-high impact initiatives, transitioning to Coaching Culture is simple, but not easy.   It does not happen overnight, but can be initiated with a simple declaration, and implemented by adopting a proven set of leadership practices and habits, a basic coaching protocol, and some millennial-centric tracking and feedback systems.   These may all be considerably different from your current practices, but if you lead by example, you’ll be astonished how openly your youthful workforce will accept and adopt them.   And a happy, motivated workforce equals greater productivity and results.

 

Since statistics show that more than half of your millennial workforce is likely dis-engaged and seeking new job opportunities today, and since this workforce is going to be around for at least three more decades, this is probably not a good time to take a wait-and-see attitude toward adopting a Coaching Culture.  So I hope you’ll consider doing so and wish you all the best.

 

If you have other suggestions or any questions at all, I’d love to hear from you.

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2019.   All Rights Reserved.

Studies Predict You’ll Fail This Year

January 14th, 2019

In late 2018, Salesforce.com published its third annual State of Sales report.   Among other interesting facts, the research report concluded that 57% of salespeople expected to miss their annual quota.   Various other studies have reported success rates even worse.  In the past, Salesforce has reported that 77% expect to miss their goal.  Think about that—3 of every 4 reps will fail.   Independent of the data you choose to believe, the odds say that you are likely to fail as well.

 

With all of the books, articles, podcasts, videos, and training programs available to salespeople today, how can the success rates be so pathetic?  Can you think of any other profession (or other departments in your company) where performance is so weak?

 

Having run a Sales Development company for over two decades, these results do not surprise me.  What does continue to surprise me is the willingness among some salespeople (and business owners) to continue to tolerate this pathetic level of performance.  Most continue to try the same approach and expect a different result.   Good luck to that.

 

If you have already cracked the code to consistent selling effectiveness, congratulations!   If not, please understand that sales success is not complicated.   It is extremely formulaic and relatively simple, but it isn’t easy.   However, for many people (aka:  the two thirds that are consistently failing) it does require a commitment to change.

 

Change takes courage.   If you have the courage to commit to changing, here are just a few things to consider to tip the odds of sales success in your favor and begin your transformation.  There is nothing magic here and I’ve written about this before.   You may have heard similar recommendations for improving sales effectiveness elsewhere, but knowing and not doing is not really knowing, right?

 

1.   If you don’t have a Sales Process, adopt an effective one:  A process is not a strategy, a model, an approach, or a philosophy.  It is a specific series of steps that leads to a result. 

 

a.     Hint #1:  less than 5% of private companies have any sales process.

 

b.     Hint #2:  If you can’t describe your sales process in detail, and if all of your salespeople wouldn’t describe it exactly like you do, you don’t have one.

 

2.   Adopt an effective Sales Management Process:   If you are serious about maximizing sales success and ROI, effective management is vital.   Selling is a performance/production activity, and all effective result-producers need a coach.   Even if you have only one salesperson in your company, effective sales management will pay huge dividends.   This doesn’t mean that you need to hire a full-time sales manager, but it does mean that a portion of someone’s time must be dedicated to helping your salesperson/salespeople optimize.   Sales management is NOT about rescuing, closing the big-deals, or doing ride-alongs.   It is about coaching, motivating, developing, keeping salespeople on task, and holding them accountable to their weekly activity and pipeline commitments.   The lack of effective sales management in private companies is staggering.   In fact, many private companies don’t even attempt to manage their salespeople.  They just equip their sales reps with some product training, then send them out to sink or swim.  Again, good luck to that.   Talk about a strategy of hope…   

 

3.   Adopt an effective Locate, Land, and Launch™ Process:  Effective salespeople are scarce, and the cost of hiring weak salespeople is outrageous.   Despite this fact, many business owners, unfortunately, would rather pay taxes or get their teeth pulled than go through the “painful” process of hiring, on-boarding, and developing effective salespeople.   Consequently, most owners don’t do it well.  Most simply don’t know how to do recruit, hire, and launch salespeople, others don’t devote sufficient resources to making it happen because of “other really important projects”.    If you are an owner that has more important projects to focus upon than those that will grow your revenues, market share, profitability, and enterprise value, feel free to join this group of non-performing sales organizations.

 

4.    It OK to say “I don’t know how…”:   If you are like many business owners, you may feel that selling directly, or building a consistent, predictable, scalable sales organization simply isn’t your strongest suit.   You are in business today because you do some things well, but none of us does everything well.   So if selling effectively, or hiring, on-boarding, developing, and growing a great sales team is not your best talent, there is a ton of help out there, ranging from training and coaching to interim sales management & leadership.

 

5.   The choice is yours:   Again, there is no magic here and the odds say you’ll fail if you behave like the majority.  Any business owner (whether they are proficient in building sales teams or not) can dramatically upgrade their sales organizations by virtue of single decision to commit and change.

 

So the “secret” of successful sales organizations is really not a secret.   Sales success may be determined solely by virtue of a choice.   You can do anything, but you can’t do everything, so I hope you’ll choose wisely.

 

Best wishes for the most successful 2019!

 

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2019.   All Rights Reserved.

Stop Lying to Yourself in 2019

December 12th, 2018

Stop Lying to yourself in 2019.  PLEASE.

 

Most people have a good heart and want to do the right thing.   They do their best to be truthful in their dialogue and interactions with others.

 

Unfortunately, research shows we do not tend to be so honest with ourselves.   Our self-talk is loaded with piles of BS.

 

Our internal conversations have enormous ramifications on the level of our performance.   Simply, your self-talk ultimately determines your actions, achievement, and growth.   It controls your personal and business success.

 

We all have many motivations to lie to ourselves.   We lie to satisfy our psychological needs, avoid pain, stay in our comfort zone, and remain confident in our personal abilities.   We lie to feel better.   

 

Unfortunately, these lies drive us to consistently make unskillful decisions.  

 

By lying, we sacrifice our long-term needs in order to fulfill our short-term desires. 

 

The psychological motivations here are deep-rooted and strong, so overcoming the desire to maintain false beliefs and deny reality requires courage and commitment.

 

Our self-talk controls our choices and behavior.  So if we don’t make ourselves acutely aware of our lies and commit to an intentional process to prevent them from dictating our actions, we will continue to BS our way into poor decision-making, missing our goals and aspirations and falling far short of our potential.    We become ineffective robots.

 

In other words, productivity and effectiveness are a 100% function of our self-talk.   If you have the courage to totally transform your personal and business performance, you can do so by adopting a process to improve your truthfulness.    The resulting actions will elevate you to much higher levels of personal freedom and happiness.  

 

Executives share their internal lies with me all the time.  I’m sure you hear them as well.   Here are just a few examples of some destructive self-talk I continually hear from well-intentioned business owners:

 

·         “I would do that, but I can’t because…”

 

·         “If I could only ________, then my life would be fantastic.”

 

·         “If I do __________, people might think I’m nuts (or dumb, or arrogant,…).”

 

·         “I would change, but I can’t do it because of ________ .”

 

·         “I know what I’m doing.”

 

and I’m sure you’ve heard this popular diddy…

 

·         “I’m really busy right now, but I’ll get to it next quarter when I’ll have more time…”

 

This last lie is one of the most destructive because it continues to feed upon itself, taking the liar deeper and deeper into the un-productive abyss.  

 

You might notice that people who tell you how busy they are tend to always be busy.  Most are never able to escape their shackles.

 

A person’s self-talk creates their busy-ness.   So without changing their BS, they will continue to make choices that create busy activities instead of productive ones.

 

Most honest people would agree that Busy-ness is not success or freedom, but simply a lack of priority.  As with all self-lying, the Busy Lie mortgages long-term happiness for near-term emotional gain.  And the mortgage interest rate is astronomical…

 

A business owner can do anything, but cannot do everything.  One can choose to be busy, or choose to be effective.   But not both…

 

Being truthful with oneself is a life-long journey.   The process is not easy (especially if you try to go it alone).   But the process is fairly simple.   Here are the steps…:

 

1.      Muster up the courage, then COMMIT to a process of BS elimination.

 

2.      If you don’t have a coach, find an accountability partner – someone who will agree to talk with you frequently to call you on your BS and resulting choices and actions.  

 

3.      Find yourself a peer group.  Remember, this process will take courage.  Peers will keep you on course, drive your accountability up a notch, unearth hidden self-lies, help you generate new effectiveness insights, make better decisions, and much more.

 

4.      Tell EVERYONE you know that you have committed to this new process.  The more people that know, the less likely you are to bail out.

 

5.      Decide what you REALLY want (since you won’t be lying to yourself anymore, you’ll be much more likely to earn it!)

 

6.      Set specific goals and make a plan to achieve them.   Share your new plan with your partner and peer group for advice, council, and insight.

 

7.      Be humble.   Ask yourself what lies you are telling yourself today (use the examples above as a starting point).

 

8.      Stay the course and continue the process.  Doing so will make BS-elimination a productivity habit.    

 

 

When I founded Z3 Performance Development 21 years ago, I did so to help private business owners find Freedom through Results, Results through Responsibility…

 

During that time, I have observed honest self-conversation transform the lives of hundreds of owners.  It lies at the core of performance transformation.

 

I sincerely hope you will adopt this process, leading to a much more effective and prosperous 2019 and beyond.

 

If you have any questions or want to share anything about your journey or success, please email me.   I would love to hear from you.

 

Cheers and Best Wishes for a Prosperous and Happiest New Year!

 

Joe

 

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2018.   All Rights Reserved.

 

 

How to Become a Five Percenter

September 24th, 2018

People often ask me “Are there a set of critical factors that distinguish the Top Performers from those that just can’t seem to get there?”

 

Over the past several decades, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with many thousands of entrepreneurs and salespeople.   The performance of these individuals can be separated into three primary groups.   A very small percentage consistently over-achieve.   Let’s call them The Masters or Five Percenters.   Opposite The Masters are a fairly large percentage (over 50%) of business owners and salespeople that consistently fail.   Unfortunate, but true.   Most entrepreneurs struggle for survival or fail.   Most salespeople rarely make quota.   Yikes.   They simply do not get it.

 

Most of the remaining owners and salespeople try continually to break out of the pack.  Few succeed.  Many of these execs work extremely hard.  A significant percentage of them believe themselves to always be “really busy”.  Unfortunately, their busy-ness never seems to produce the results they seek.  If they could only find “more time”, they feel like they could right the ship, but they somehow never get around to effectively prioritizing their time.

 

Many well-intentioned execs struggle to break through.  They try many different approaches, reacting to urgency after urgency and often looking for a quick fix, magic pill, or silver bullet.  Quite a few of them of them are prone to chasing shiny objects, the next big thing that will propel them out of mediocrity and transform their performance.   As society continues to move in the direction of rapid-response and instant gratification, I’ve noticed this group has been growing.

 

If you happen to be a CEO, owner, or executive seeking superior performance, I have bad news and good news.  The bad news is that there are NO quick fixes.  The good news is that ANYONE can achieve mastery and become a Five Percenter.

 

Master business performers possess a very distinct, limited (and amazingly simple) set of attributes that separate them from the masses, independent of whether their goal is to become an elite salesperson or an elite CEO.    Although Masters come in all shapes and sizes, they all possess the following common attributes..:

 

1.    They are UnConditionally Committed to Personal Development.  They never rest on their laurels and always strive to be the best person possible.  They are committed to mastery.  No matter how “busy” they might feel, they ALWAYS allocate time and energy to improving their skills, knowledge, and ability to become a better person and leader.

 

2.    They constantly Seek to Learn.  5 Percenters possess the humility to understand that there is always much more that they do not know than that they do know.  Masters understand that they often don’t have the best answer, and very often don’t even have the right question.

 

3.    They take advantage of Universal Truths.   I’m often amazed at how many executives struggle because that they choose to ignore many universal truths and laws.   What goes up, must come down.  Gravity exists.  So do Key Human Attributes and Key Relationship Attributes.   These are Universal.  We all have only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week.  Even the most disruptive, innovative companies in the world succeed by virtue of exploiting Universal Truths.  Ignore these truths at your peril.

 

4.    They insist upon giving more than they gain.   Masters clearly understand the Law of Reciprocity and the fact that they will never get there alone.  Masters are both Generous and Grateful.

 

5.    They understand the Path to Mastery.   Whether you wish to improve your performance as a CEO, salesperson, athlete, musician, or parent, the Path to Mastery will always include these three basic components:

 

a.     Skills Development:  To learn HOW to become a top performer in the pursuit of your choice.

 

b.     Peer Learning:   To develop new insights & possibilities, to recognize personal and organizational blindspots, to avoid potential risks and potholes, to help you develop the right questions, to keep you motivated, to help you effectively prioritize, to help you know what you don’t know, to learn to use your time wisely, to make better decisions, and much more…

 

c.     Coaching:   To help keep you on track in making skillful choices (e.g.:  how to invest your time wisely) and taking skillful actions in accordance with your vision and intentions.

 

Attempting to achieve peak performance without taking advantage of all three legs of the Path is like running a marathon in wet sand.  You might get there (one day), but it will take much longer, you’ll have to work much harder, and your journey is going to hurt a lot more than necessary.

 

It is rare for any performer to fail because of the hard stuff.   They sometimes fail because they do not choose to do the right stuff, but they mostly fail simply due to a lack of Discipline.

 

While the attributes above are important, one will never achieve Mastery in the absence of Self-Discipline (aka:  doing the EASY things on a consistent basis).   A good coach can help enormously here.  

 

If you’d like to share other Critical Attributes of Mastery, or would like to discuss any I’ve listed here, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Enjoy the Journey!

 

Joe

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2018.   All Rights Reserved.

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