Influence

6 Mental Errors That Lead to Wrong Decisions

September 25, 2020

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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 devotional21 Days to Sound Decision Making – How to Grow Your Credibility and Influence Through Making Better Decisions

It may be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

Thanks and take care,

Preston Poore

> Read More

Problem Solving: The Surest Way to Establish Credibility & Gain Influence

December 22, 2018

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Provide Context. What is the history of the challenge you’re trying to solve?
  3. 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.
  4. Identify Alternatives. It’s always best to determine multiple solutions and evaluate which one will best solve the problem.
  5. Develop a Recommendation. Based on your alternative evaluation, allow the best one to surface.
  6. Plan and Act. Once the recommendation is made, put a plan in place and execute it.
  7. 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!

Cheers!

Preston

> Read More

Three Ways to Grow Your Influence

July 6, 2018

Ever get one of those meeting invites, and something seemed a little fishy? I did.

The meeting invitation subject line read, “Summer Promotion Planning Session.” The purpose of the meeting was for directors, like me, to present our Summer promotion plans to the Marketing Vice President, Edward. No other description or direction was provided.

While Edward was a brilliant and accomplished marketer, he had a reputation for being volatile and flying off the handle at any given moment. He’d been known to verbally abuse his team when someone didn’t know the answer to one of his questions or work didn’t meet his expectations.

I had a number of my peers ask me why we were summoned to the planning session. I told them I had no idea but encouraged them to have their facts together; the meeting could be rough.

Because of a scheduling conflict, I attended the meeting virtually. I logged onto the meeting website, and I could see my peers sitting in the quiet room, looking a little apprehensive. Edward stormed into the room, sat down, and asked who wanted to go first. One poor soul raised his hand to volunteer.

Before the first presenter could get a word out, Edward began peppering the individual with questions. Edward’s tone was condescending and became more intense as the dialogue progressed. The first volunteer didn’t have some of the answers to Edward’s questions.

Edward stopped the individual in mid-sentence and said, “Either you are incompetent, or you don’t care. Which is it?”

I felt like I was watching a shark that smelled blood and began circling its prey.

After a long, uncomfortable pause, Edward said, “You obviously don’t know your business. What are you worth? I ask again whether you are incompetent or don’t care. Which is it?”

The first volunteer’s face was bright red, and steam came out of his ears. However, out of fear, he didn’t respond.

Edward turned to the next person and demanded, “How about you? What are your Summer promotion plans?”

As the next person bravely began presenting, Edward pounced on the individual with pressing questions. The person became flustered and couldn’t spit her words out.

Edward sarcastically asked, “You too? Either you are incompetent, or you don’t care about our business. Which is it?”

Edward then proceeded to ask everyone around the table the same question. When he finished, Edward stood up and said, “I think I made my point. Everyone had better know their facts next time!” He stormed out of the room just as quickly as he entered.

I was spared the berating because I attended virtually, and Edward didn’t call on me. I couldn’t believe what I just saw. It wasn’t right. No one should be marginalized like Edward did to the team; it was utterly demoralizing.

The next day, I told my manager what had happened. He told me that he’d already heard the negative feedback and assured me that Edward’s behavior would be addressed.

Then, I got a wild idea that I could positively influence the situation. I thought to myself, “Meetings don’t have to be like the one Edward just held. They can be productive, effective, and constructive all at the same time while treating people with respect and dignity. Why don’t I volunteer to lead the next plan presentation meeting and show there’s a better way?”

I mentioned the idea to my manager. He paused and asked, “What will you do differently?”

“I’ll let people know upfront what’s expected of them, create a positive environment where ideas can be exchanged, and feedback can be given,” I replied.

My manager smiled and said, “I like it. Let’s give it a try on our next go around.”

To make a long story short, my approach was successful. I reached out to different VPs to align with my proposed format. I developed and provided a plan report template outlining information expectations. Lastly, I facilitated a planning meeting with all of our cross-functional partners in a very positive environment.

I received great feedback, including a note from someone that worked for Edward, “the plans shared today were excellent, and definitely instilled the confidence for success against this critical initiative. Thank you for all of the collaboration with your customers in building out the details.”

Because I influenced the situation, which led to a positive outcome, I was asked to lead other innovation launch and program plan presentation meetings. I proved that there was a better way to do things by treating people with dignity and respect.

As Christians, we are called to be salt and light (i.e., to influence). The Bible says,

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth… Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16 The Message)

It’s our job to shine and influence the world around us. So, what does it mean to be salt and light, to influence? Vocabulary.com defines influence as “the power to have an important effect on someone or something. If someone influences someone else, they are changing a person or thing in an indirect but important way.” To be influential means having the ability to shape and mold people, events, or the environment around you. Influence is leadership.

How do you grow your influence?

  1. Build Trust. Walk with integrity and establish people’s confidence in you – Do what you say you’ll do. Trust others and be trustworthy.
  2. Care About Others. People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Treat people with dignity and respect. Take time to listen to people genuinely. Also, determine what interests others and motivates them, and help them get it.
  3. Lead by Example. Remember, actions speak louder than words.

In the above story, I influenced the situation and the people around me by building trust with the team, creating a positive work environment, treating folks with dignity and respect, and leading by example.

How about you? When you see something that isn’t right, do you have the influence necessary to make a change? If not, what will you do to become influential and make a positive difference in your world (e.g., business, community, school, or church)? If you build trust, care about others and lead by example, you’ll become an influential leader.

Do you want to discover more about becoming an inspirational leader? Please visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!

Cheers,

Preston

> Read More

How to Grow Your Influence through Insights

April 14, 2018

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?

  1. Know your business. Understand your organization’s strategies, plan, priorities, and business performance.
  2. Know your partner’s business. Understand your business partner’s strategies, plan priorities, and business performance.
  3. 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!

Cheers,

Preston

> Read More

Never Miss an Opportunity to Connect

February 3, 2018

“Rob is one of the most difficult people to get to know and very hard to work with. Over the past 20 years, few company representatives successfully developed a relationship with him and influenced him. He can be very disagreeable and non-inclusive.”

My peers told me this as I took my new role working with our partner company’s new Senior Vice President, Rob. I had the demanding task of building trust with him and becoming a valued team member.

Early in my new role, I was invited to a meeting at Universal Studios in Orlando. I looked at the invite list and saw that Rob was attending the conference. What a perfect opportunity to get to know him.

As I arrived in Orlando, I received an email that the team was gathering in the hotel lobby at 3 pm and were going to the amusement park together. I arrived in the lobby along with 30 other meeting attendees. Everyone was there except Rob. I asked where he was, and they said he was running late.

We decided to wait a few minutes, but most of the group became restless, and folks slowly left a few at a time. I asked some of the team members before they went if they wanted to wait on Rob, and they said, “no, we want to have fun at the park. We’ll catch up with him later”. I considered going with them but decided to stick it out and wait for him.

About 15 minutes later, Rob came running into the lobby. The small group that remained greeted him after he checked in. He told us that he wanted to go to the park and asked where everyone else was. We told him that the group went ahead to the park and that we could catch up to them. He nodded his head in disappointment.

Then, he pulled out a map of the amusement park. Rob enthusiastically showed us how he’d mapped out all of the rides he wanted to take, including Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and the Dueling Dragons roller coaster. He confessed his love for amusement parks and said he’d been looking forward to the team building afternoon in the park for quite a while. I exclaimed, “what are we waiting for? Let’s go!”

Because the group was small, I had the chance to hang out with Rob in the park all afternoon. Waiting in lines and enjoying the rides together, I got to know him. We talked about families, hobbies, travel, current events, and even a little business on the side. Rob warmed to me and appreciated the small group going to the park with him.

Over time, I earned Rob’s trust. He began including me in meetings, and anytime I emailed Rob with a question or sought his help, he’d email me right back. He always picked up the phone whenever I called. Why? I attribute it to intentionally connecting with him at the park. I made an effort and took advantage of the opportunity. Who knew Rob was such an amusement park enthusiast?

My challenge to you is never to miss an opportunity to connect with others. It may seem uphill, but it’ll be worth it. If you show genuine interest in them, you’ll gain their trust and build lasting relationships.

Do you want to discover more about the value of connecting with others and becoming a leader others will gladly follow? Visit my website, prestonpoore.com, today!

Cheers,

Preston

> Read More
prestonpoore-133
meet

Preston Poore

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.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.