Are You Productive?

AreYouProductiveI remember once when one of my direct reports told me “This has been one of my most productive weeks.” He told me about all the projects he’d worked on. He was doing a lot of good work.

I’ve always worked on teams full of talented people who work hard to be productive. Good teams focused on being productive, not just busy. But, the definition of productive often is misconstrued.

(Warning – football analogy)
A “productive” football may chalk up amazing stats – tons of rushing and passing yards, passes completed, yards per carry, 1st downs and more… and yet, all of those stats don’t mean a thing if they lose the game.

Great teams focus on results!

In football, there’s only one stat that matters – the final score. That’s it. Did you win or did you lose?

To win, everyone on the team needs to focus on how their role contributes to overall success. Their focus should always be helping the team win.

The first question to ask is:

“ARE WE WINNING OR ARE WE LOSING?

If you don’t know – that’s where you start:

  • Determine if you’re winning or losing
    • And by how much
  • Document what it will take to start willing –or- increase your lead
  • Develop strategies accordingly
  • Ensure everyone on the team understand how what they do contributes to overall success
  • Then go and do it!

Strategies, projects, marketing plans, and sales materials should all be driving results that contribute to the overall success of the team.

Do the work that drives results. Have the courage to turn down work or projects that don’t contribute to success.

Why focus on being productive, when you can focus on being GREAT!

Advertisements

The Sales and Marketing Gap

pablo-3Why is there a large gap, a seemingly unfillable chasm, between sales and marketing?

Does it stem from different goals (or the perception thereof)?

  • Marketing’s view on Sales’ objective: They just want to earn a commission, and could care less about anything else.
  • Sales’ view on Marketing’s objective: They just want to make things look good, and could care less if it drives sales.

Bridging the gap means having the same objectives – real and perceived.

It starts with larger corporate objectives that individual team goals align with.

Sales and Marketing must explicitly understand how their goals help the overall company, and how they support the goals of other teams.

Sounds simple, right?

Way too often, in companies large and small, this isn’t happening.

Now is the time to develop your 2017 goals.

Corporate strategies must first be developed by executive management. Then team goals can be created to support the larger strategy.

Throughout the year, transparency via regular reporting will give improved visibility into how all teams’ goals support one another – thus bridging the gap.

 

It’s Not Business, It’s Just Personal

Ever noticed when a major business win is achieved everyone touts the people and relationships that made it happen. Contrarily, when tough decisions with damaging consequences are made these same people quickly hide behind the proverbial skirt of “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” This phrase is most often said to someone who will be personally affected by the recent decision.

ID-10034799“We’ve decided to buy from another company”

“You weren’t selected for the promotion”

“We won’t be accepting your offer”

“You’re being let go”

“We chosen another candidate for the position”

“Your request was denied”

Businesses aren’t the products or services they sell. Businesses are an intertwined web of employees, vendors and customers. It is the people that make business… well business.

Yes, hard business decisions are constantly being made. The decisions themselves are made by individuals whose personal experiences, opinions and biases go into each and every choice. People’s lives are affected by these so-called business decisions and the ripple effects are far reaching – never downplay that fact.

Celebrate the human element that comprises today’s business environment and stop saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” After all, it’s always personal and never just business.

 

 

Photo by Photostock

Is Hubspot’s Inbound conference worth it?

GOPR0685_1442470760028_lowLast week Hubspot held its annual marketing conference in Boston, called “Inbound”. Inbound15 reportedly attracted 14,000 attendees, an increase of 40% over last year. The conference focused on the inbound marketing philosophy referring to marketing activities that attracts and draws customers in compared to more traditional push advertising tactics. #Inbound15

The conference consists of daily keynote speakers, bold talks, and breakout sessions. Additionally refuel areas contain power chargers, massage chairs and snacks (and coffee) to help visitors recharge both physically and metaphorically. Lunch is provided daily from a dozen local food trucks offering a wide variety of different cuisines.

This was my first time attending Inbound. Although I’ve participated in committees evaluating marketing automation platforms, I’m not currently a Hubspot customer.

This blog post is a multiple part series addressing the question:

“Is Hubspot’s Inbound conference worth it?”

Throughout the different sessions I took scrupulous notes. Rarely do I take notes specifically on what the presenter shows on their PowerPoint Presentation. If I like the PPT, I simply take a picture of it for future reference. My notes are more thoughts, inspirations, ideas, concepts, key takeaways and action items – relevant to me. The final day of the conference I received an app update for the Inbound15 app. The latest app update wiped out ALL of my session notes. Why do I mention this? Obviously, I’m still bitter for losing all my notes. Inspiration is like lighting – it strikes hard, fast and bright, but is gone in a flash. So unfortunately I have fewer thoughts to share than expected.

Here’s my main takeaway from Inbound15-

Thinking about the job I have now. Now think about 1, 2 or 3 years from now, what is my Keynote speech I want to give? Meaning, what do I want to achieve in the next year that would be Keynote speaker worthy? That’s my goal – to achieve something extraordinary, inspirational, amazing! Something worth sharing with an audience of like-minded professionals that can help then do more and achieve success in their jobs.

This is more than a takeaway. This is my QUEST!

So Hubspot, be ready to slot me into one of your sessions next year, because I’ll have an awesome story to share.

Until then, I’ve gotta go make it happen!

3 Tips for Managing Summer

window outsideSummer is here – warm weather, barbecues, and outdoor activities.

The beautiful thing about living in a state like Utah is the four distinct seasons. We enjoy cold snowy winters, mild springs, hot summers and cool falls. The downside, the joys of summer come and go very quickly.

Working during the summer months can prove challenging. With the kids out of school and late summer nights, there’s so much to do including swimming in pristine pools and retreating to clean mountain air (yeah, it’s a Utah thing). With so many fun things to do in the summer overworking yourself and your team seems… wrong.

So, you need to take the time to enjoy the season.

I’m not talking about personal time off (PTO) for vacations, but that’s important too. Instead I’m referring to the way to be highly productive at work, while enjoying summer.

The key then is to find the right balance between work and play. Yes, I’m still on this quest for balance.

3 Tips for Managing Summer:

  1. Accept it: Instead of fighting the situation, accept the fact that it’s summer. Life may run a little different for a few months. That’s okay – embrace it! That means not becoming frustrated. Enjoy this time of year.
  2. Take Advantage of the Weather: The allure of sunny skies and warm sunshine is tempting. Look for ways to get outside a bit. Examples include:
    • Offsite team lunches – a way to both get out of the office and get people offsite where they’re more inclined to relax a bit.
    • Visit key contacts – Jump in the car and go visit people. This may include top accounts, prospects, partners, or vendors. The extra rays will help boost your Vitamin D levels, while strengthening relationships in ways only possible through face-to-face meetings.
    • Take it Outside – A lot of heat and a little sweat will make you appreciate the refreshing A/C once back in the office. For example, eat your lunch at a park or take your 15-minute break by strolling outdoors.
  3. Switch-up Your Schedule: Instead of the normal 9-5 schedule, mix things up a bit to take advantage of summer weather.  Arrive early, stay focused, get a ton accomplished, and then leave early. You’ll get your work in and still have plenty of time for summer recreation late afternoon and evening. I find a ton can be accomplished from 7-9am, before most people have arrived at work. Another option to consider is requesting a few times during the summer to work 4-ten hour days, allowing for the occasional 3-day weekend.
    • Note: Make sure to clear it with your supervisor first – a good leader will see the wisdom in allowing you to do this, and may even decide to do the same.

Bonus Tip:

Plan for and Enjoy the Weekend: Don’t go to bed Sunday night thinking “Dang, I didn’t do anything all weekend long”. Plan ahead to spend weekends outdoors – enjoying the weather, having fun, being active and spending time with friends and family.

Maximizing summer can make it the best time for both your work life and personal time.

Now, get back to work – then feel free to take off a bit early today!

 

Photo cred: Idea go

Thoughts Shared with Partnership Marketing

Recently I was asked to talk with our Partnership Marketing Division and share some thoughts on how to achieve success at our company. I believe these tips can apply to most anyone at any company.

Be a Consumer.

Hopefully the product or service your company offers is something you’re a fan of. Therefore, you should be a consumer of the product or service where possible. At Access, we offer card-linked rewards to bank cardholders and we built local, regional and national discount programs. The more I use these deals and discounts, the better I do my job. I think like the customer because I use the program like our customers do.

Be Willing to do the Hard Stuff.

Every job has difficult “stuff” to do. People willing to dig in, get their hands dirty and do the hard stuff, are perceived to be more valuable to the company. Often I’ve noticed that the hard stuff usually becomes the easy stuff, once a few people (with the right work ethic and attitude) begin working on it.

Keep Learning.

Increasing your knowledge and skills every chance you get. This may be through a college degree and formal education. It may be through seminars and conventions. Daily articles, blog posts, webinars are great resources. Audiobook, ebooks and good old-fashion paperback books are excellent for increasing knowledge. Who knows, you might even be able to convenience your manager to buy the book for you.

Here are a few books I recommend:

 

Regardless of role, title or responsibilities you’ll be happier and more successful if you treat your work like a Career (not just a job) even if you’re not going to do it for the rest of your life.

3 Ways I’ve Screwed Up

Making mistakes is part of any career. Benjamin Franklin said “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” Learning from mistakes and changing is the difference between good and great leaders. I’ve made more than my fair share of blunders; I’m sure my coworkers will attest to that. I’m not speaking of epic and utterly catastrophic failures. I’m talking about patterns of errors made over and over, that result in repeated negative consequences.

Here are 3 ways to screwed up and what I’ve learned from each:

Avoid Confrontation: I’m confrontation averse, always have been. A couple years ago a young woman in my division came into my office and fully called me out “You really hate confrontation don’t you?” I was taken aback by her brutal openness. It was true though. She’d been struggling in her job and we both knew it. My avoidance of the issue had made it worst. Once we had open dialog on the matter we were able to create solutions.

Learned: It’s always better to address issues openly and directly. Avoidance is worst.

Email Instead of Talking Face-to-Face: Email is a quick, efficient communication tool. Email has weaknesses though; primary, tone and emotion can easily be misread. On more than one occasion I’ve fired off a seemingly harmless email only to learn that the tone of the email was completely misinterpreted. It wasn’t the receivers fault. It was my fault for emailing when a simple conversation would have been more effective.

Learned: Pick up the phone or better, walk down the hall and talk. This allows for better communication and less likelihood for causing overreaction.

Hire When Your Gut Tells You Not To: Most companies use some sort of structured process for interviewing and hiring. Processes are in place to aid hiring managers in making the best possible hiring decision. Hiring is still a gamble though. Managers make their best assessment based on information gathered during interviews and reference checks, and then take the leap and go with their instincts. I’ve had interviews go well and reference checks too, but still had a nagging feeling saying “it’s not right.” Every time I went against that feeling I ended up regretting it.

Learned: Trust your instincts.

 “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.”

–       Benjamin Franklin

To err is human, but that’s not an excuse for not learning and improving. If you haven’t made mistakes… pay a little more attention I’m sure you’ll find some.

 

What mistakes have you made? What have you learned from them?