We can often trace the most significant challenges in our life to just a couple of wrong decisions. Effective decisions require clear thinking and accurate perceptions of the situation and how the world works. It’s easy to allow mental errors to lead to making the wrong choice.
It’s not always easy to make a wise decision, but there are things we can do to increase our odds.
Consider these mental errors that can degrade your ability to make a wise decision:
- Failing to consider the long-term implications. Short-term thinking can lead to long-term challenges. Many of us focus more on the short-term than the long-term when making decisions. We choose the yummiest food to eat or the most enjoyable way to spend the next hour.
- In most cases, we are better served by considering the long-term implications of our decisions.
- Survivorship bias. We often look at the most successful people as a template for success. We assume their way is the best. However, this fails to consider all the people that follow the same strategy but fail.
- For example, many successful people failed to graduate from high school, but it would be wrong to assume that education isn’t helpful to success.
- Many people have put in the same time and effort as LeBron James or Michael Jordan but failed to become professional basketball players. Perhaps there are other reasons for their success that you haven’t considered. A different approach might work better for you.
- Some of the most successful people in our society have been successful despite their process. It’s not always easy to identify when this occurs.
- Overemphasizing loss versus gain. Humans are naturally more sensitive to losing something they already have than motivated to gain the same item. For example, most of us are more bothered by the prospect of losing $100 than we are motivated to earn $100.
- This frequently happens in new businesses. A brand-new business is highly motivated to grow. However, once it reaches a specific size, the owner begins to worry more about protecting what the business has gained than developing further.
- Confirmation bias. We have a natural tendency to interpret facts and situations in a way that supports our current beliefs. For example, highly religious people tend to interpret all good fortune as proof of the presence of God.
- Those that believe that hard work is all that matters will ignore any other factors that contribute to success. They will also ignore the concepts of luck, talent, and mentorship.
- How are your current beliefs tainting your interpretation of your life and your environment?
- Fatigue, stress, and other forms of discomfort. You’ve probably made more than your fair share of ineffective decisions while being tired, overstressed, or physically or psychologically uncomfortable. Discomfort of any kind can negatively affect the decision-making process.
- Personalization. Sometimes, we take things too personally. We might believe that we didn’t get a promotion because the boss didn’t like us. But sometimes people make decisions that have nothing to do with us.
- Everyone has things going on in their life that we don’t know about. It’s a mistake to assume that everything is about you.
Fewer unwise decisions result in greater success and happiness. We create many of the challenges we face in life by making wrong decisions. Try to remove as many bad decisions from your future by understanding what leads to faulty decision-making. Make significant decisions and enjoy a great future!
Advice to Young Professional: Learning to make sound decisions is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
Do you want to quickly advance in your career? Make better decisions.
Learn how from my real-life experience and practical tools in the daily devotional, 21 Days to Sound Decision Making – How to Grow Your Credibility and Influence Through Making Better Decisions
- Click here to learn more: https://prestonpoore.com/21-days/
- Download the eBook on Amazon now: https://tinyurl.com/y4pdf6mj
It may be one of the most important decisions you ever make.
Thanks and take care,
Preston Poore> Read More
Evan, my co-worker at our multi-billion-dollar consumer products company, stopped me in the parking lot. “Have you noticed how execution’s gotten sloppy over the past year?”
He looked down. “Not too long ago, this was one of the best-executing markets. I’m very disappointed. What’s happened?”
I paused. I did know what had happened, but if I told Evan the truth, I knew there’d be consequences. Maybe even for Evan himself. But integrity is a word that means something to me, so I mustered up my courage and told him what I knew. “Did you know the local management team is running a side business out of the office?”
Shocked, he just said, “No.”
“The local team is focused on building their side business, and they’re using company assets for personal gain. They’re violating our Code of Business Conduct, and they’ve lost focus on their primary job responsibilities. That’s the reason execution is so sloppy.”
I could tell that Evan didn’t quite believe me, so I walked him over to a manager’s company vehicle in the parking lot.
“See that?” I pointed to a window decal on the manager’s windshield. “That’s the logo for their side business.”
He shook his head.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg too. If you poke around, you’ll probably find out what’s going on.”
“I will, Preston. I will.”
True to his word, Evan poked. He discovered that the local management team had invented a new sports gadget and were leveraging the company’s people, tools, and supplies to build their side business. Over time, they’d become so consumed with growing their business that they neglected their primary responsibility: marketplace execution.
If questioned about negative business results, the team deflected the inquiries and pointed to factors “outside their control.” They disguised their side interest by saying all the right things to upper management. Consequently, the team was left alone to work on their own business on our company’s dime. Eventually, their audio and video didn’t match. Without accountability, the team had abandoned their integrity and slowly moved into corruption.
After my conversation with Evan, I knew that the circumstances and potential consequences would escalate. I called my manager and told him about the conversation. My manager told Human Resources and other leaders about the likely Code of Business Conduct violation.
Several local market leaders were fired for leveraging company assets and personally gaining from their efforts after an investigation.
Looking back, I’m glad I made the right decision even though it was tough and even though I was saddened that some employees lost their jobs. But the experience reminded me of the necessity of integrity—with others and with myself.
I learned that when you become a person of integrity, you can become a leader, others will follow because of your honesty.
Unfortunately, one more potential consequence came to pass due to that side-business hustle operation going on right under my nose. The investigation also revealed that Evan might have seen the signals but had turned his head and ignored them. Regardless, he was found to be complicit and was forced to retire.
It was a bittersweet moment. I’d worked with the team for years and didn’t want any harm to come to them. At the same time, I knew I needed to expose the wrong I saw. For years after these displacements, I worked in fear of retribution, thinking that someone would take revenge for my standing up for what was right.
Gratefully, that never happened, and I remained true to my value of integrity. Now, anytime I’m tempted to skirt the truth in my words or actions, I think about that side-business logo that ultimately cost multiple people their jobs.
It doesn’t take much for a house of cards to fall.
That’s why leaders need to lead with integrity. If you’re the one responsible for building a strong team or a strong company, your peers and employees need to know they can trust you.
Being integrous is hard but worth the cost because it will be your best friend and help you achieve your goals. So, how does one measure their integrity? In John C. Maxwell’s book, Becoming a Person of Influence, he offers ten questions to evaluate your integrity [i]. As you read the questions, rate yourself from 1 to 10, with ten being fully integrous and 1 with no integrity:
1. How well do I treat people from whom I can gain nothing?
2. Am I transparent with others?
3. Do I role-play based on the person(s) I’m with?
4. Am I the same person when I’m in the spotlight as I am when I’m alone?
5. Do I quickly admit wrongdoing without being pressed to do so?
6. Do I put other people ahead of my personal agenda?
7. Do I have an unchanging standard for moral decisions, or do circumstances determine my choices?
8. Do I make difficult decisions, even when they have a personal cost attached to them?
9. When I have something to say about people, do I talk to them or about them?
10. Am I accountable to at least one other person for what I think, say, and do?
Did any of those hit home? Take some time to reflect and choose your three areas that need the most improvement. Then, pick your top area of needed improvement. Ask yourself, why is it essential for me to improve in this area? How will I become a better person and a better leader? Why will it be necessary to others? What actions will I take to grow, when will I start, and who will hold me accountable?
Take time to write down your answers to the above questions. Let the words from my lips move to your fingertips. If you do, you’ll know what you think by reading what you write. Also, share what you’ve written down with someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable. Real change begins when you are vulnerable and transparent with someone and ask for their support.
I’ll end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “God grant that men (and women) of principle be our principal men (and women).” [ii] May you be integrous in all of your ways and be a man or woman of principle.
Want to discover how to level up your leadership skills and become a person others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
[i]Excerpt From John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
[ii]Excerpt From John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan. “Becoming a Person of Influence.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/becoming-a-person-of-influence/id607555354
I attended a team reunion in sunny Sandestin, Florida. It was an excellent time to reminisce and reflect on one of my favorite periods in my career. Why? As a team, we accomplished great things. Personally, I was considered a strategic business partner and was empowered to make a difference. Before I tell you about the reunion, let me give you a little context…
In 2001, I was my company’s representative in Montgomery, AL, responsible for gaining alignment, developing relationships, and delivering positive business results with the local bottler. A more massive bottler recently acquired the family-owned operation. The family ownership was well respected, had great community relationships, and delivered outstanding customer service.
The transition didn’t go smoothly when the new bottler took over operations. The new operators lost credibility with the customers and the community because of missed deliveries, inferior execution, high turnover, and many broken promises. Most of the original leadership team was released, and new leaders were assigned to clean up the mess.
I was part of the new leadership team assigned to turn things around and knew I was stepping into a challenging situation. The relationship between the company and its bottlers was tenuous. I knew that to become a trusted team member, I’d need to win their hearts by investing time with the bottler’s leaders and connecting with them personally. I started by learning about the local market, going on trade rides to get a sense of what the front-line associates needed, asking many questions, listening, and breaking bread together – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, right?
I quickly realized that the new Montgomery market leaders were the real deal. To gain a seat at the table and align with them, I provided thought-leading insights and value-creating solutions to help the business grow. I built credibility with the team leader. Over time, I was entrusted with developing and driving the local market strategy and stewarding key marketing asset relationships (e.g., University of Alabama, Auburn University). I’d moved from just aligning with the bottler’s leadership team to become their strategic business partner.
How? Through being trustworthy, sharing a common purpose, promoting transparency, being humble, and always maintaining a sense of humor when things got tough. More on the five steps to developing strategic partnerships at the end of the story.
Our team’s execution improved significantly after a lot of hard work, and our business results exceeded expectations. The team was nationally recognized for its efforts, and a number of us were promoted due to the successful market turnaround.
Back to the reunion…
I was honored to be part of the Sandestin, FL festivities. Only a handful of company representatives were invited to the reunion, but I was the only one to attend. It was great to see all of the people. We hugged and shared fond memories. During dinner, about 15 people stood up and shared funny stories about something that happened during our time together. We all enjoyed laughing at the stories and ourselves.
As we went around the table, I realized that I’d be the last person to speak that evening. I sat thinking to myself, “What am I going to say that hasn’t already been said?”. . ..
Then it hit me. Talk about partnership…
You see, my current role has me in a position to influence strategic partnerships around the globe. It’s easy for me to do because I experienced being a strategic partner with my former teammates in the room.
After a few opening comments, I started, “Thank you for modeling what a successful partnership looks like. You embraced me and gave me a seat at your table. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it then and now.”
“Why?” I continued, “I remember unifying phrases like, ‘One team, one goal’ or the many days traveling together to different sales centers where we got to know each other. Despite all the obstacles we encountered, we accomplished much. We created shared values and a shared vision. The way you treated me and the partnership we developed modeled what success looks like.”
I went on, “I don’t say this to impress you but to impress upon you what an impact you’ve had on me. You laid the foundation for the work I’m now doing. I can pass it on. I’m leading a project helping others in North America and around the globe to build strategic partnerships – Peru, Canada, Russia, the Philippines, and beyond. Who would have thought a little kid like me in a small market like Montgomery, AL, would have such an opportunity to make a worldwide impact?”
I paused and passionately said, “Don’t ever take for granted what we had. It was special. Through our partnership, we turned around the market, and many of us went on to new opportunities because of what we did here.”
“More importantly, let’s take this one step further. It’s said that people won’t remember what you did, but they will remember how you were treated. I’ll always look fondly on our time together because I was treated well, and you embraced me as a partner. You treated me well, and for that, I am thankful.”
That’s the truth. . .. I became a strategic business partner and ultimately a friend to all involved in our accomplishments – friendships that lasted a lifetime.
Partnerships are essential to you and your team’s success. The Bible says, “It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 The Message). Great partnerships enable extraordinary results.
Do you want to become a strategic partner and increase the likelihood of success? I recommend following the below five steps.
- Become Trustworthy: Build credibility through doing what you say you’ll do and adding indispensable value. Earn your seat at the table by providing thought leadership, developing solutions, and delivering results.
- Unify through a Common Purpose: Clearly define where you’re headed, the collective ways of working together, and what the partnership wants to achieve – ultimately, partners want to improve their business results.
- Promote Transparency: Drive open and honest, two-way communication. Accept feedback as a gift. Be willing to challenge thinking and push the envelope. When faced with problems or conflict, talk things out, always focusing on the issue at hand, not the person.
- Be Humble: Take the position of a servant. Think less about yourself and your goals, and think more about how to help others.
- Keep a Sense of Humor: Remember, laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Know when to interject humor into situations and put others at ease.
If you become trustworthy, unify through a common purpose, promote transparency, be humble and keep a sense of humor, you’ll develop strategic partnerships and become a successful leader.
And, who knows? You may even develop some life-long friendships as I did.
Do you want to learn more about growing your leadership skills? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
Preston> Read More
Have you ever dealt with a head-scratching, complicated problem, and you weren’t sure how to solve it? I have… Here are my story and seven steps to solving unsolvable problems – if you follow them, you’ll gain credibility and increase your influence…
The anticipated announcement was made: The large beverage company I worked for agreed to purchase two competitive beverage companies. The incoming water and juice brands were fantastic and complementary acquisitions to our existing portfolio.
However, the acquisitions came with complications and created internal competition. Each acquired company had its own sales team and developed its business plan. My role was similar, focusing on my company’s legacy brands.
During my tenure, I’d established strong relationships with the bottler. However, my influence slowly eroded as the new sales teams began integrating. The new team members leveraged exciting incentives, expensive dinners, and premiums to woo the bottler. Excluding me, they tied up meeting times and market visits. Our mutual bottling partner became enamored with the shiny new penny and took their eyes off the ball.
Execution of all the legacy brands began to slip, and total sales stagnated. I discovered that the newly acquired companies only contributed 10% of the bottler’s total revenue; all of the legacy brands I represented contributed 90%. I determined that our problem boiled down to focus; we wouldn’t make our collective business plan if we didn’t re-calibrate our focus on the 90%. At the same time, we needed the newly acquired brands to flourish.
I began considering my alternatives. The only solution I could think of was to fight fire with fire. I’d need to double my efforts. Get back in the game with more attractive incentives, fancy dinners, and premiums to woo the bottler’s attention back. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with this approach but believed there was a solution somewhere. I didn’t know where.
I was stuck…
I prayed to God and asked for wisdom to meet the challenge and identify a game-changing solution.
Then it happened… Inspiration hit…
I remember watching my all-time favorite movie, the 1959 Academy Award-winning Ben-Hur. There’s a scene when the movie’s main character, Judah Ben-Hur, observed a chariot race practice. The chariot was pulled by a team of four strong and fast horses. However, the chariot driver lost control of the horses as the team ran wildly down the track. Just before the chariot approached a curve, Ben-Hur commented that the chariot would never make the turn.
And he was right… The horses ran straight through the turn and off the track. When asked how he knew that the chariot would run off course, Ben-Hur told the owner he raced in the Roman circus. Based on his experience, he observed that the horses were strong and fast. Still, they weren’t positioned to leverage their individual strengths. They were running as individuals, not as one. Ben-Hur rearranged the horses with the slower, more steady horse on the inside to anchor the team during turns and the fastest horse on the outside. The owner said, “Show me.” Ben-Hur raced the chariot around the track in record time without incident to the owner’s amazement.
The parallel was striking to me. We have a strong team of people representing our brands to the bottler. I wondered, “What if we worked together and everyone achieved their goals? What if I harnessed the team, positioned them by strength, and we ran as one?”
Said another way, if you can’t beat them, join them.
After some internal alignment and planning, I invited 15 new brands and bottler representatives to a groundbreaking “Brand Partner Summit.” Our objective was to build trust, open lines of communication, initiate collaborative planning, enable dynamic execution, make the plan, and most of all, stem internal competition.
The meeting’s theme was “Running as One.” We began our time together horseback riding in the Smokey Mountains, a chance for everyone to connect outside the office and get acquainted. After the team-building exercise, we gathered for a Roles and Responsibilities dinner—all of the individuals shared how they added value to the company. The next day, I opened the Summit with the Ben-Hur chariot practice movie scene and asked the team to consider how we begin to run as one. Participants started making connections and collaboration recommendations as we reviewed each other’s business updates, priorities, and plans.
Ultimately, the Brand Partners concluded that our initiatives needed to be integrated into a comprehensive monthly Sales Plan. The Sales Plan captured and communicated all of the execution priorities allowing the Brand Partners and our bottling partner to be on the same page.
The Sales Plan solution mitigated internal competition, collaboration improved, execution excelled, and everyone hit their business plan. We ran as one. So much so that our Brand Partner Summit and Sales Plan were deemed a best practice and adopted by other parts of the company.
If you’re faced with a problem like I was, I recommend you follow my seven steps to solving challenging problems:
- Define the Problem. Articulate the problem in writing. Distill the problem into its simplest form. For my above example, the problem was focus. Identify the implications and consequences of not solving it. Also, ask repeatedly why? that is a problem. This will help identify root causes.
- Provide Context. What is the history of the challenge you’re trying to solve?
- Believe There is a Solution. Have the attitude that all problems are opportunities and can be addressed. Be creative, use your imagination, and brainstorm with others.
- Identify Alternatives. It’s always best to determine multiple solutions and evaluate which one will best solve the problem.
- Develop a Recommendation. Based on your alternative evaluation, allow the best one to surface.
- Plan and Act. Once the recommendation is made, put a plan in place and execute it.
- Pray. I highly recommend praying and seeking God’s wisdom when faced with problems or decision-making for the person of faith. The Bible says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all”. (Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message)
The surest way to gain credibility and increase your influence is to solve problems. If you define the problem, provide context, believe there is a solution, identify alternatives, develop a recommendation, plan and act, and pray, you will become a leader who makes a positive difference.
Do you want to discover more about establishing credibility and gaining influence to make a positive difference? Please visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
Preston> Read More
Trust is the bedrock of every strong relationship.
Let that sink in…
Trust is at the core of all personal and professional relationships. With it, you can achieve great things with others. Without it, you’ll go nowhere.
Do you remember a time when the trust was absent or broken? I do.
I once worked with a group of people. Notice that I wrote a group of people– we weren’t a team. Our manager was a self-serving individual more worried about making a great impression with upper management. Again, notice that I wrote manager– the individual didn’t have a lick of leadership in her bones.
Our group was filled with discord and gossip. We lacked priorities and direction. Our roles weren’t clear. Our business partner didn’t understand or value our business contribution. We were distracted by an underperforming co-worker who created a drag on the group’s overall effectiveness. There was no recognition of our hard work, let alone a pat on the back for a job well done. Lastly, our business results didn’t meet expectations.
Trust was nowhere to be found. We were going nowhere.
After several co-workers left or were exited, I found myself the only one that our manager could rely on to get things done. The burden became very heavy. Combined with the suffocating environment, over-work, and lack of appreciation, I started to burn out.
I was doing everything I could to be a positive influence, but I was met with resistance around every corner. I began to lose hope that things would get better. I remember feeling broken and desperate. I’d come to the end of my rope and was ready to leave the company.
Then, I remember praying and telling God about my circumstances. I got the sense that I should hold on. I wasn’t sure what hold on meant or why. But at that moment, I resolved to take things day by day and not give up.
The next day was my birthday. When I arrived at work, my manager called me into her office and delivered the news. She told me that she was relocating to another city and that I’d have a new manager soon.
I can still recall the rush of relief that washed over me. What a great birthday present! I thought to myself—a new hope. Light at the end of the tunnel, and it wasn’t an oncoming train. I was instantly optimistic about the future.
A few weeks later, I was appointed to a new team and leader.
Yes, a team and leader – a huge difference.
Immediately, my new manager, Ron, came to visit and conduct my annual review. My former manager completed the review document before she transferred, but Ron’s responsibility was to facilitate the discussion. I was very apprehensive, thinking that Ron would let me go.
Ron held the review in his hand as we began our interaction. He told me that he disagreed with my former manager’s assessment, and he acknowledged the hostile work environment in which I’d suffered. Despite the circumstances, he said I was still recognized as a top performer; he believed in me and wanted me to be part of his new team. Ron set down the review document and said that what my former manager wrote didn’t matter now. Then, he asked me if I wanted a fresh start and invited me to his new team kickoff in Atlanta. I eagerly nodded yes and thanked him for inviting me.
Upon my arrival at the kickoff, I recall sitting around a conference table, feeling excited and reserved at the same time. I’d heard that Ron was a great leader and could develop strong teams. My experience made me doubt strong leadership and teamwork were possible. I needed to see the proof in the pudding.
And the proof began…
Ron went first by sharing his family, values, experiences, and passion for the University of Tennessee. He asked for volunteers (pun intended) to share something about ourselves with the team. As folks opened up, I was amazed at everyone’s vulnerability and the sense of personal connection. We laughed a bunch. It was a fun conversation, and I appreciated relating to the team.
Then, Ron transitioned to discuss his team vision. He handed out a paper that outlined the team’s values, direction, destination, and expectations. As a team, we discussed and aligned to the proposed vision. Then, he encouraged us to focus on others, not ourselves, to serve rather than be served. He emphasized teamwork, prioritization, fun, and most of all, trust.
I hadn’t been in a trusting environment for a while. It’d been dog-eat-dog for so long. But Ron’s approach inspired me to follow him and become a team player.
During the next two years, the words on the page came to life. The time was some of the most enjoyable and memorable of my career. Our team collaborated, built strong partnerships, had a lot of fun, achieved great business results, and I grew by leaps and bounds.
For example, we hosted the NCAA Final Four, where I chauffeured Derek Whittenburg, a member of the 1983 North Carolina State Men’s Basketball national championship team, to events, hung out with American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, and attended a Maroon 5 concert with the team. To top it off, our business performance results were so strong that we won a Disney World incentive for all of our families. Because of trust, we achieved more together than we could have apart.
At the end of my time on Ron’s team, I sent him a note that said, “I didn’t think it was possible to work for an inspiring leader and trust others as I do now. You’ve restored my ability to trust. Thank you for believing in me and giving me a fresh start.” Ron’s been a friend and mentor ever since.
I asked Ron the other day about his memory of the circumstances and his role. He told me, “My view of the situation was that it was the team and each person who did the heavy lifting and hard work to make things happen. I only helped facilitate and enable great people to do great work together.” Again, this exemplifies his humility and leadership.
If you’re ever faced with an opportunity to build or restore trust, I recommend you:
- Be Real. Let others know who you are, your values and what you stand for. Share your dreams, passions, desires, goals, experiences, successes, and failures. Go first and let go. Risk vulnerability with others, and they will reciprocate.
- Establish Credibility. Be who you say you are. Ensure that the audio matches the video – your actions match your words. Do what you say you’ll do. Practice what you preach. Keep your commitments. Follow through. Earn respect by helping others solve problems, set direction, define roles and responsibilities, prioritize, make sound decisions, remove barriers and place the team’s agenda ahead of your own – put people first.
- Enable Collaboration. Create a trusting environment where people feel safe, failure and learnings are valued, opinions or ideas are openly shared, and folks must rely on one another. Help people reach their potential and, as a team, collaborate to achieve more than dreamed possible.
I’ve experienced what it’s like to trust and not trust. I flourished under a strong leader who taught me the value of building trust with others and the powerful impact on all relationships.
How about you? Are you trustworthy? What would your team, your family, or friends say? Does your team trust one another? How do you know?
Remember, trust is the bedrock of all relationships. With it, you can achieve great things with others. Without it, you’ll go nowhere.
If you are real with others, establish credibility, and enable collaboration, you’ll become a trust-building leader.
Want to discover more about building trust and becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
Preston> Read More
How to Grow Your Influence through Insights.
“Hi, Preston. Guess what? I got the job!” Linda said with a glow in her voice.
“That’s awesome, and congratulations.” I asked, “what was the deciding factor?”
“Influence. It was my demonstrated ability to influence and drive results,” Linda replied.
She continued, “I told them about the blueprint you taught me: 1) Know your business, 2) Know your partner’s business, and 3) Have an assertive agenda. I walked them through specific examples of how I applied the blueprint and the positive results the team achieved.”
I was thrilled. “Fantastic Linda! I knew you’d begin to realize your potential if you learned how to influence others.”
Linda replied, “I can’t thank you enough. I appreciate your help in developing my analytical skills and ability to lead well. I’ll never forget it.”
“My pleasure,” I said. “You’ve got what it takes. Best wishes in your new role.”
When I hired Linda, I saw tons of potential. She had great people and communication skills, but she lacked an essential ingredient… Analytical skills. To grow her influence and differentiate herself in the industry, Linda needed to learn how to evaluate market data, develop impactful insights, identify value-creating opportunities, and solve problems.
Why are analytical skills so essential and a critical part of influencing? W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management, once said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.” I agree. Over the years, I’ve observed many sales associates or company representatives rely heavily on relationships to influence others without the use of facts. Relationships only go so far. Don’t get me wrong. I believe the ability to connect with people and develop lasting relationships is paramount.
Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.W. Edwards Deming
But, I also believe that you can move beyond relationships and develop strategic partnerships by leveraging analytical skills. You’ll have a more significant influence on others if you demonstrate how to make more money, solve problems, or become more productive. One must develop analytical capabilities and turn insights into action. You’ll become a valued business partner if you couple relationships and analytical skills. Without this differentiating combination, you’ll just be another salesperson, consultant, or company representative without a seat at the table.
Linda and I invested time walking through internal and external reports to develop her analytical capabilities. I taught her the metrics and measurements critical in evaluating business performance and identifying opportunities. Then, I showed her how to translate the information into valuable insights and turn the insights into action. Lastly, Linda was assigned projects where she was required to review data, draw conclusions and develop solutions.
As her confidence grew and skill developed, she began sharing her insights and potential revenue-generating solutions with her business partners. Over time, her insights, ideas, and solutions were adopted, and the team started delivering results. Linda’s credibility and influence grew as she moved from a business relationship to a strategic partnership.
What was Linda’s blueprint for success?
- Know your business. Understand your organization’s strategies, plan, priorities, and business performance.
- Know your partner’s business. Understand your business partner’s strategies, plan priorities, and business performance.
- Have an assertive agenda. Identify gaps in your collective business plan, develop solutions, and create action plans.
Linda’s influence grew over time. She made a difference and helped her business partner deliver positive results. You can do the same by coupling relationships and analytical skills. In the context of your ability to connect with people, you’ll be able to help businesses make more money, solve problems or become more productive. You’ll become a strong influence and always have a seat at your business partner’s table.
Want to discover more about developing strategic partnerships and becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!
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I’m a disciple of Christ and an executive at a Fortune 500 Company. In my blog, The Discipled Leader, I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work.
As a certified coach, speaker, and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, I help others grow their relationship with Christ, develop their leadership skills, and understand how they can make a positive difference in today’s chaotic world.
Let me help you reach your potential.
I draw on my diverse business experience to help Christians connect their secular and spiritual lives at work. I invite you to subscribe to my blog and learn how to develop Christlike character, influence your culture and change your world.