Effective Leadership & Power of Choice – Voting

As India votes in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, here are some important lessons about the way we as leaders can choose to view critical life situations.

An incident that happened today reminded me of a key principle that should be a part of every Leadership Training Program. I was on my way to exercise my right to vote for the Lok Sabha elections this morning, I met the Garbage Collector of our colony. He was earlier than usual. My neighbor asked him “Why so early today?” He replied. “Well, I have to go and cast my vote. So, I am finishing my responsibilities as early as I can so that I can go and vote.”

It made me proud to hear this. Around me today democracy is alive. It is displayed by empowered people exercising their right to vote. From neighbours to friends to colleagues and even domestic help. Almost everyone I have met today seemed thrilled to vote.

This reminded me of the amazing ‘Power of Choice’. While circumstances are often not in our control, we can choose our responses to them.

With a vote, we have the power to choose our future leaders.  Similarly, we have the power to choose our responses in a given situation. We may get criticized. We have the power to choose to let it bog us down or learn from it. We will face challenges. We have the choice of letting it deter us, or turning them into opportunities for growth. We will have situations that cause anger. We have the power to choose between ‘being angry’ and ‘channeling that anger’ into productive energy.

One of the most amazing gifts that we have is that we can choose our mindset in any given situation. An interesting example of this happened very recently in a training session I conducted. The session was being held on a Saturday, which was normally a ‘day off’ for the participants. Their collective energy was very low, at the start of the session. Most of them wore a look on their face that said ‘I would rather be somewhere else’. I knew I had to do something different.

I said “We have a choice. We can choose to brood about all the things we would rather be doing today. Or, we can acknowledge that we are here for learning and choose to make this a day where we enjoy ourselves and the process of learning that we have been given the opportunity to embark on.” Immediately, I saw a smile on all their faces. They had recognized that there is an opportunity for choice in the situation. I then asked, “Who is ready to take this learning journey with me today?” Everyone sat upright and put their hands up. There was an immediate shift in energy in the room and the rest of the session went well.

This is something that we focus on in Leadership development programs. This could also be an interesting talking point for Leadership training in India.

The power to choose is a blessing. India fought for its freedom to allow for its citizens to have the freedom of choice. Martin Luther King fought for equal voting rights for Americans from varied ethnic backgrounds. This power is not to be taken lightly. It comes with responsibility. Research the candidates, read the political party’s manifesto and then cast your vote. When making a choice to vote, make it an informed choice. Let us make a choice to have Effective Leadership.

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” – Larry J. Sabato

Top 5 Most Important Soft Skills Training for Companies

Top 5 Most Important Soft Skills Training for Companies
In an ideal world, every identified soft skills training need for companies, ought to be given equal priority. But with increasingly lean budgets allocated for training due to the economic challenges, a far cry from what the yester years offered, organizations across industries, barring few, are trying to bring down the number of soft skills training programs to be conducted in the coming financial year.

While, bringing down the number of programs may help cutting costs, leaving out key soft skills & behavioral training programs from the training calendar can be defeating the whole purpose of employee development. (To learn more about creating an effective training calendar please visit: STRATEGIES FOR CREATING AN EFFECTIVE TRAINING CALENDAR)

So, what are the top 5 Behavioural / Soft Skills Training Programs for corporate employees?

If you look at each training need objectively, it would be a near impossible task to pick the top 5. Having a broader perspective helps. Ask yourself what are those key behavioral skills that go a long way in ensuring employee productivity? My list is as follows (not necessarily in the order of priority)

Communication is a complex activity. Communication is considered effective only if the receiver comprehends the message in the way it was intended by the sender. The effectiveness of communication depends on usage of words, body language, tone of voice, sender’s and receiver’s perception of the topic of communication and the communication history between the sender and receiver. To address these complexities in communication and to ensure all employees work in cohesion towards achieving organizational objectives it is imperative that Communication Skills Training is part of your training calendar.

Most organizations have highly skilled employees and yet the desired business results are seldom achieved. The reason for this is that, these skilled employees either prefer working in silos or find it difficult to align personal goals to common goals of the team. Interpersonal effectiveness, ability to resolve conflict, ability to challenge and inspire fellow team members are few of the benefits of Team Building Training. In a nutshell, team building programs ensures synergy in team and propels them to achieve more.

Today’s business scenario has become extremely competitive. From an individual’s perspective, it is important that he or she has the necessary skill to present an idea or a plan effectively. This can help progress one’s career. Leaders with better presentation skill seem to enjoy more success and better followership. From an organization’s perspective, it is a known fact that, more often than not, it is not the superior product that sells but a superior presentation. That is the reason why many organizations across the globe spend huge amounts of money on Presentations Skills Training.

A team without a leader is like an army without a general. You are sure to expect chaos in such a situation. But even with Leaders on board, the changing times and the dynamic business climate necessitates Leaders to evolve. Also, Leadership Skill is not a skill limited to managers alone. Even individual contributors need to undergo Leadership Training program to develop the ability to influence stake holders.

Time is a valuable resource. We all acknowledge and know that time is money. Therefore, effective use of time results in higher employee productivity and business profits. Regular Time Management Training interventions to reinforce time management skills ensures employees remain productive.

Chances are, most of your employees have already undergone programs on these skill sets in the previous years. However, these are skills that can never be mastered with a one-time training. If these soft skills training programs are conducted on a yearly basis by effective soft skills trainers, the organization is bound to benefit exponentially.

Intuitive Selling: The Secret behind Sales Success

Intuitive selling: The Secret behind Sales SuccessToo many organizations spend millions on sales training programs that does not give the desired outcome. When sales training does not meet the end objectives, the organization fixes the blame on the quality of trainer and the trainer fixes the blame on the quality of delegates who were trained. An honest introspection will bring both parties to concede that the training program’s failure was the result of poor choice of content.

In my early days as a sales professional I went about trying every, so called, tricks of the trade that the sales gurus suggested for sales success. Very soon I realized sales success does not depend on sales gimmicks. All it did was to project myself as someone who was desperate for a sale.

Sadly many sales training workshops are like the thousands of ‘selling skill’ books in the market. These are rich with anecdotes and inspirational quotes but rarely tells you the secret behind sales success. In fact I have come across hundreds of books with the title “The Art of Selling….” If selling is an art, is it practical to train sales people in a day or two and expect them to produce results? Then there are books that are titled “The science behind sales…” If selling were just science or just skill, wouldn’t the most experienced sales people automatically be the most successful ones? But we all know such claims are far from the truth.

To begin with the components and structure of sales training modules cannot be the same for B2B sales, B2C sales, channel sales and retail sales. The truth about selling is to believe and accept that the situation presented by every customer is unique. How you get to the essence of the situation, which is unique, can be a skill learnt. However, how you provide solutions for the unique situation that is presented, may be an art. Therefore sales success simply depends on the ability to offer effective solutions to customer situations

Until recently I have been searching for a concrete answer to the question why some sale people are able to offer better solutions than others. An article written by William Duggan on ‘strategy+business’ magazine, threw light on a new paradigm. According to this article, idea-generation happens when new information combines with similar information stored in our ‘intelligent memory.

When you have new information, the brain takes the new information to the memory bank and searches for information that are similar. The existing information that is most similar to the new information is now combined. This combination is nothing but a thought or an idea. And the ability to search for similar information and combine with new information is called intuition. A clear mind is all it requires to be intuitive.

This means that when a new situation is described by the customer the sales person needs to let intuition take over. When you allow intuition to take over, the brain takes the new information and searches your intelligent memory for existing informations that are similar. Once the match is found the brain combines the new information with the existing information. The resultant combination is what we refer to as a solution to the customer’s situation. The human brain has the ability to conduct this complex activity within fractions of a second. This shows why some sales people are able to give better solutions and are more successful. 

Sales Training programs that focus on intuitive selling are bound to give better results than your conventional sales training programs. MMM Training solutions offers sales training programs  that equips sales people to offer effective solutions to customer and thus improve their performance and that of their organization.