Leadership

DISC Styles Defined - Influence

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Today we continue with our DISC series and the second style - Influencing. Here is more on the High I.

Influencing
This factor describes people that prefer to influence others with their words.  High I's enjoy the opportunity to talk to new people, experience new things...anything new.  I's tend to trust other people implicitly and have a naturally optimistic approach to most things.

Observable Behavior
Buy:  Quick decision makers; showy  products; impulse buyer.
Change:  May not notice change.
Conflict response:  Flight, run.
Drive:  Visual, looking around, radio on.
Decorate an office:  Contemporary, memorabilia of experiences.
Gesture:  A lot of big gestures and facial expressions when talking.
Goal Setting:  Not good at setting goals. Intention is present, planning is not.
Organization:  Disorganized. A lot of piles.
Read:  Fiction, self-improvement books.
Risk Factor:  Moderate risk-taker.
Rules:  May not be aware of rules and break them unintentionally.
Stand:  Feet spread. Two hands in pockets.
Stress Relief:  Interaction with people.
Talk on the Phone:  Long conversations. A great deal of tone variation in voice.
Talk to others:  Verbal, at length. Personal with others.
Walk:  Weave, people focus, may run into things.
Writing:  More wordy, warm people focus.
Color noticed first:  Red.
 

Communicating with the High I

  • Plan interaction that supports their dreams and intentions.  Don't legislate or muffle.
  • Allow time for relating and socializing.  Don't curt, cold or tight-lipped.
  • Talk about people and their goals.  Don't drive to facts, figures and alternatives.
  • Focus on people and action items. Put details in writing.  Don't leave decisions up in the air.
  • Ask for their opinion.  Don't be impersonal or task-oriented.
     

Managing the High I

  • Assist in setting realistic goals.
  • Work with on-time management.
  • Develop a friendship and make time for interaction daily.
  • Open door policy for High I to discuss any issues.
  • Look for opportunities for them to utilize their verbal skills.
     

Potential Limitations of the High I

  • Oversell.
  • Act impulsively, heart over mind.
  • Trust people indiscriminately.
  • Be inattentive to detail.
  • Tend to listen only situationally.

The High I is a somewhat common style in sales.  This style is the most appreciative of people interactions so sales is a natural draw.  They are chatty, personal, outgoing and always eager for a new experience.  The High I does require a patient leader as the High I will be in your office frequently to discuss their most recent discovery/success/question.  Be patient and know that the High I will cover a lot of ground and talk to more people than any other style.

Source: Target Training International

DISC Styles Defined - Dominance

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There are four primary DISC styles - D, I, S, C.  We're going to start a series on each style to help you better understand people through their preferred communication channel.  We begin with the High D.

Dominance
This factor describes people that tend to favor a direct, assertive communication style and tend to focus on problems and challenges.  High Ds love to stick to business, get to the point and not waste time.  Ds tend not to immerse themselves in minutiae or specific details.

Observable Behavior
Buy:  Quick decision makers; new and unique products.
Change:  Love change.
Conflict response:  Fight back.
Drive:  Fast, always somewhere to get to in a hurry.
Decorate an office:  Status conscious, large desk, efficiency.
Gesture:  A lot of hand movement when talking, big gestures.
Goal Setting:  Sets many goals, usually high risk and not written down.
Organization:  Efficient, not neat.
Read:  Cliffs notes, executive book summaries.
Risk Factor:  High risk-taker.
Rules:  May tend to break the rules. The end justifies the means.
Stand:  Forward leaning. Hand in pocket.
Stress Relief:  Physical activity, preferably of a competitive nature.
Talk on the Phone:  Little chitchat. To the point. Results.
Talk to others:  Direct. While others are talking may do other activities, as well as interrupt or jump to their next response.
Walk:  Fast, always going somewhere.
Writing:  Direct, to the point. Results-oriented.
Color noticed first:  Green.
 

Communicating with the High D

  • Be clear, specific and to the point.
    Don't ramble on, or waste their time.
  • Stick to business.  Don't try to build personal relationships, or chitchat.
  • Present the facts logically; plan your presentation efficiently.  Don't leave loopholes or cloudy issues if you don't want to be zapped.
  • Ask specific (preferably "What?" questions).  Don't ask rhetorical questions, or useless ones.
  • Provide a win/win opportunity.  Don't force the High D into a losing situation.
     

Managing the High D

  • Clearly explain results expected.
  • Negotiate commitments one-on-one.
  • Define rules.
  • Confront face-to-face in all disagreements.
  • Provide challenging assignments.
     

Potential Limitations of the High D

  • Overstep authority.
  • Be too directive.
  • Be impatient with others.
  • Be argumentative.
  • Push people rather than lead them.

Overall, the High D style is the easiest to observe and maybe the most difficult to manage.  They beauty of the High D is that they will often achieve victories that you may have thought too difficult to pursue...or win.  The D will provide drive and competitiveness to any team, just be prepared to lead them in a unique way.

Source: Target Training International

2 Key Traits for Managing Millennials

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This list could be much, much longer in dealing with this generation. However, let's focus on two traits that we are seeing consistently in successful leaders of Millennials.

1. Empathy - a quick, paraphrased definition from Merriam-Webster:  the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another without having those things fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.

Now to be clear, empathy has always been a valuable leadership trait through the generations.  Leadership is associated with power which allows leaders to operate, potentially, with a heavy hand.  They need not worry about reading their direct reports.  The leader provides the direction and expects the reports to execute it.

Empathy is a critical component of emotional intelligence.  The ability to read the nonverbal cues of people provides access to the largest channel of communication.  7% of communication is verbal (i.e. words) while 93% of communication is nonverbal (e.g. tone, body position, inflection, posture, etc.).  Nonverbal communication is the universal language and if the leader can read it effectively, he or she has an advantage in leading Millennials.

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2. Patience - This trait appears to be more uncommon by the day.  Millennials have matured in a microwave world.  Data, entertainment, communication has always been at their fingertips primarily through their cell phone.  Patience has not been a common point in their collective lives.

The ingrained lack of patience means the leader of this impatient generation needs...patience.  Saint Augustine famously stated, "Patience is the companion of wisdom." How true.  The Millennial generation often pushes for expediency in their careers to the point where they leave companies after short tenures.  They believe they have acquired all of the skills they can from that company and their path to the CEO suite is unclear.

The modern-day leader has to maintain a steady hand with the Millennials.  The leader must manage the Millennials expectations and provide a growth path focused on skill development.  The key is to coach them to take measured steps forward.  Patience will provide progress.

Keep this in mind, by the year 2020, Millennials will make up approximately 75% of the workforce.  Their generation requires an evolving leadership style better suited to the Millennial mindset.  Two traits, empathy and patience, will be in growing demand each year.  The leaders with the ability to adapt will successfully harness the energy of this new generation.

10 Traits of Creative Leaders

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Creativity is a rare talent in leaders today.

The modern-day pressure to increase productivity, I believe, has put a burden on leaders that has neutralized their natural creative abilities.  Creativity takes time, thought, risk, perseverance and resources.  You can see where this cuts against the role of many leaders today where profitability, speed, and efficiency are valued over pace-oriented traits.

This article from Monster.com quotes 10 qualities of creative leaders.  The source is David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men:

1. High standards of personal ethics.

2. Big people, without pettiness.

3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.

4. Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.

5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.

6. Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.

7. A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.

8. The courage to make tough decisions.

9. Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.

10. A sense of humor.

Notice how his list contains elements of courage in multiple qualities?  I couldn’t agree more with his list and especially this need for courage.  Creativity usually requires some form of going against the grain.  Many leaders simply avoid upsetting the status quo or longstanding sacred cows within an organization.  I find that reluctance all-too-common...and disappointing.

I’ll leave you with some sage advice directly from the author of the article:

“Creative leadership makes your job more meaningful and gives you visibility. Do something small at first – deliver a project early, come up with alternative courses of action, and whenever possible deliver unexpected added value. A bit of qualitative research or sentiment analysis (collecting comments made on forums or social media) is a good example of providing new perspectives that lead to new solutions.”

10 Characteristics of a Leader

 Photo by David Dibert from Pexels

Photo by David Dibert from Pexels

These are the 10 according to Selling Power:

1.)  Be courageous.

2.)  Think big.

3.)  Master change.

4.)  Be ethical.

5.)  Have a sense of humor.

6.)  Be persistent and realistic.

7.)  Be positive and hopeful.

8.)  Accept power and use it wisely.

9.)  Make decisions.

10.)  Be committed.

A solid list for sure.  I have to call out the description for “Think big.”:

“Great leaders are curious, eager to create new things, and able to bring out the best in others.  They have an ability to see the big picture and work toward making that picture a reality.”

If you want to call out 3 qualities for a strong leader, you would have a good start with curious, creative and inspiring.

What is Your Leadership Style?

 Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

We help CRO's and other leaders understand their leadership style.  This knowledge helps optimize communication with their team, develop their emotional intelligence and leverage their natural strengths.

Harvard Business Review provides a short look at some general leadership styles.  You can take a quick quiz on this page to determine your style.  The selections are these:

COLLABORATOR: empathetic, team-building, talent-spotting, coaching oriented
ENERGIZER: charismatic, inspiring, connects emotionally, provides meaning
PILOT: strategic, visionary, adroit at managing complexity, open to input, team oriented
PROVIDER: action oriented, confident in own path or methodology, loyal to colleagues, driven to provide for others
HARMONIZER: reliable, quality-driven, execution-focused, creates positive and stable environments, inspires loyalty
FORECASTER: learning oriented, deeply knowledgeable, visionary, cautious in decision making
PRODUCER: task focused, results oriented, linear thinker, loyal to tradition
COMPOSER: independent, creative, problem solving, decisive, self-reliant

An important pull quote from the test:

But far more often we find that success depends on the hows — specifically, how leaders’ styles mesh with their teams and organizational cultures.

Very true. 

10 Rules for Losing in Business

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1. Quit Taking Risks!

2. Be Content!

3. Always ask yourself “What would the founder have done?”

4. Rely totally on research and experts to make decisions for you.

5. If you want to lose, be inflexible.

6. Concentrate on your competitor instead of your customer.

7. Put yourself first.

8. Administrative concerns take precedence over all others.

9. Look to someone else to do your thinking for you.

10. Memorize the motto, “That’s good enough.”

 

-Donald R. Keough, President, Coca-Cola, Inc.

The Danger of Complete Agreement

From the Harvard Business Review (emphasis mine):

“Team leaders want to nurture creativity. That’s why team building is often a high priority, because cohesion is supposed to help team members work together to achieve their goals. But you should avoid fostering too much cohesion. When it comes to creativity, the best teams fight a little (or even a lot). Structured, task-oriented conflict means that new ideas are being submitted to the group and tested. If your team always agrees, that might mean people are self-censoring their ideas or not generating any new ideas at all. Research suggests that when teams forgo traditional brainstorming rules and engage in debate, they end up with more and better ideas. As a leader, it may seem like your job is to break up fights, but don’t be afraid to act as a referee instead. Allow disagreements over ideas to unfold, while making sure it stays fair and doesn’t get personal.“

How true.  If your sales team is always in agreement, it is probable that you have either assembled a group cloned after yourself or you are overly domineering and no one wants to challenge any idea.  Either one is detrimental and definitely needs to be addressed (i.e. corrected).

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If you have a group that you cloned after your own style and strengths, you are dealing with a group weakness effect whether you are aware of it or not.  Although you have strength in certain areas, other areas can be complete blind spots.  The problem with blind spots is that markets move, and if they move into one of your group blind spots, you will lose market share quickly.  The strongest teams we assess have a variety of styles and strengths which provide a well-rounded group skill set.  These teams are more difficult to lead and they often debate, but therein lies their strength.

If you are domineering, that is a different issue requiring a behavior change (no small feat).  The first step is to know you are overpowering some, or all, of your team.  As the article states, you should view yourself more as the referee and less of the active player.  A thoughtful pause, a question for others’ input, deflecting to the group…these are all approaches that will help empower your people to be more creative.

Execution Isn't The Problem

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Our RoundTable program is totally results-focused meaning our executive membership knows the leadership road to results is always a combination of 3 components – Leadership, Strategy and Execution.

Many times we observe non-member leadership putting all their performance shortfalls on execution. More successful executives have learned that where the problem appears is not always where the problem exists. Our members say it best – culture eats strategy for lunch every day. When culture and strategy are not aligned (a core leadership responsibility) execution becomes an intermittent compromise at best…and terminally toxic at worst.

Leadership and Strategy exist inside the business – execution takes those “assets” outside to your market. That’s how it works so be careful not to define results as solely an execution issue.

5 Brutal Leadership Comments

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Whatever you do, avoid these statements.

After decades of working with companies to improve their revenue performance, we have heard a litany of comments from leadership teams that will cause any engaged employee (or outside resource) to urgently start the quest for another opportunity.

The 5 most atrocious are:

1. The only job the sales department has is to keep manufacturing running at 90+% capacity.
2. Customers would be “stupid” not to buy this.
3. Forecasting should only happen after sales writes the order.
4. Sales needs to find smarter customers.
5. If we have to downsize, sales will be the first to go.

If you encounter one of these…Good Luck!
Regarding your next opportunity – contact us and we will connect you with one of our CRO RoundTable member companies.

Revenue-savvy leadership is never a commodity.