communication

Leadership for Executives

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Leadership obviously has multiple components, but our years of RoundTable experience suggests there is one cornerstone component that stands alone.

Yes, toxic leader profiles and/or ridiculous business plans can neutralize any business opportunity, but the one missing component we observe with increasing frequency today is the lack of clear accountability. At CRO Executive RoundTable, we define a leader as someone people will follow.  When we meet with member company employees to apply this definition, two discussion topics typically evolve:  accountability and the 3 T’s profile.  These two are directly connected to overall success.

Accountability

Many executives have been trained, coached etc. to believe consensus is leadership.  The goal is to get ‘buy in’ by all participants but the real world outcome is better described as management by lack of ownership.   Margaret Thatcher said it best:

“Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?”

Accountability does put focus and varying levels of stress into the organization but success is not achieved by complacency or consensus.   If complacency is in control, the culture will deny, deflect and/or destroy all efforts for change.  Everyone is operating in their comfort zone while the business is consuming resources just circling the wagons…which may end up being the precursor to circling the drain.

3 T’s Profile

The profile that makes Accountability a leadership skill are combinations of Trust, Transparency and Timeliness.  These are almost boundless research topics but the employee engagement discussions are less complicated.

Trust - is earned; employees want to know senior leadership is more than committed than they are to delivering the results.  Execs wanting to be “consensus scorekeepers” are often viewed as just being along for the ride and producing zero contribution.

Transparency – employees know some topics are not fully disclosable but they want to know – or be able to ask – about all other matters that impact growth and success.  Executives that face questions and issues head on are aligned with where employees want to be.

Timeliness – we live in a 24/7 world today.  Employees don’t want to learn more about their company from the web than from leadership.  Employees are the top-tier stakeholders in any business so putting other individuals or groups first is a breach with direct performance engagement consequences.

Conclusion These are not hard tasks to understand or deliver except when effective leadership is not the top priority.  That may appear to be an oxymoron but it is clear to employees.

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. 

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.

What Matters Most in Selling

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Qualifying.

That’s it.  End of post.  No, we’ll go a bit deeper.  I write this post as I sit at a Caribou Coffee right next to an actual sales interview.  It is fascinating to observe as the candidate is doing fairly well.  He is qualifying the position which is excellent.

He is falling down in that he is asking the right questions and then answering them HIMSELF.  Disappointing.

There is an elegance to strong qualifying…almost an artistry.  The questions flow in a conversational manner, the prospect is comfortable in answering and the information is gained by the salesperson.  It is enjoyable to watch from my perspective.

When you are interviewing sales candidates, it is important to watch for more than just the answers they provide.  Pay attention to their questions, their strategy in answering, their conversational approach, etc.  Even watch for candidates who are able to ask difficult questions.  Imagine them selling for your company – will your prospects buy from them.

In the end, the salesperson’s ability to qualify, a job, a prospect, a deal, is the backbone of all good selling.