Ramping UP Without Burning OUT

Ramping UP Without Burning OUT

stress at workOur current condition as a global business society is marked by destructive, as well as positive outcomes of a rapidly changing, worldwide business and economic climate.  No business, division, or employee – whether your organization is five people, a 50-person small business, or a 50,000-employee, multinational corporation, is going untouched.

In an age of restructuring, downsizing, reorganizing and a general re-evaluation of purpose, mission, corporate destiny and direction, a concern for employee as well as organizational productivity is at an all-time high, resulting in excessive stress. “Stress” can be defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Based on rapid change, businesses are being pulled apart by unnecessary stress across all levels of the organization, and are therefore being less productive.

What is employee and organizational productivity, and what are the essentials involved in attaining it?  Following are just a few of the “basics.”

Productivity is when an individual or organization grows and achieves greater success with the least amount of wasted resources, effort and time, resulting in less stress and a more stable, congruent business environment. This definition takes into consideration a number of issues:

  • Reduced employee turnover
  • High levels of employee satisfaction and empowerment
  • Profits that can sustain the organization’s continued growth
  • Market share that can contribute to continuation of the business enterprise
  • Effective communication throughout the organization as well as in the marketplace
  • Well-trained and motivated employees throughout the organization
  • Innovative product development and a sensitivity to what consumers want and need now, as well as what they will want and need in the future
  • Strong leadership and vision
  • Management team in touch with the reality of the marketplace as well as the internal issues within their own organization
  • Clear, established corporate direction uniformly communicated throughout the organization
  • Corporate accountability at every level
  • Definition of what success is for that organization
  • Commitment to the health of the community, whether that community is the provincial/state, national, or global population.

I’m often asked by my corporate clients how to mitigate unnecessary stress, and improve sales, management or overall organization productivity.  It’s never a simple answer, as you can see from the aforementioned list… and it’s not a complete list of the issues worthy of being considered when you evaluate overall organizational productivity and effectiveness. There are several key issues to consider:

  • Foster employee, customer, and market loyalty through differentiation, and an understanding of how SIGNIFICANT your business and its mission really are.
  • Optimize your management style. Always keep your edge honed by understanding what you don’t know about market conditions, and your ability to stay innovative and manage through them.
  • Elevate your corporate culture. All businesses have culture, whether it’s intentional or not; cultures can create themselves. Unless you focus on deliberately sculpting a culture that’s congruent with your ideals, your culture might evolve in the wrong direction.
  • Enhance communication patterns and systems. Know how your team communicates, and apply communication styles effectively. Don’t leave it to chance…
  • Specify your corporate direction/vision/prime focus. If you don’t specify it, it will “specify” itself, in ways that are not always favorable. Make sure that everyone associated with your business knows what you stand for.
  • Bolster and train toward competence levels of your employees. TRAINING, TRAINING, TRAINING! Equip and ensure that everyone who’s working within your organization is as good as they CAN be.
  • Be aware of and augment your competitive posture. The marketplace can be brutal, especially if you don’t stand strong amidst it. Know your differentiators and leverage them.
  • Remain consciousness of the perception(s) of your organization in the marketplace (vendors, customers, competitors). This is beyond your implied USP; it’s what the marketplace REALLY thinks about your business. KNOW this, and change it if you must.
  • Maintain attentive to the attitudes and perceptions of your organization by your employees. Internal factors are the primary effectors of external results. Each of your employees represents the face of your business. Are they representing it the way you want them to? There’s huge opportunity to optimize this…

A lot to consider? Perhaps.  But, if you want a productive, less stressed, more effective organization, and to not pay only lip service to productivity, spend some thinking time about these points, as well as other issues that affect your organization. Then stop thinking, and DO something about it!

By Chris Steely, Vice President of Elite Business Consulting for Chet Holmes International

About the Author: Chris is rated one of the most effective and powerful business “resultants” across 26 countries. Chris Steely’s capacity to inspire and educate his clients is proven, as is his talent for creating relaxed, team-oriented rapport, while getting people actively engaged and experiencing true team dynamics.

9 Killer Ways to Break Ahead of the Competition

9 Killer Ways to Break Ahead of the Competition

iStock_ValueFiguring out how to deliver true differentiation and VALUE in the marketplace starts with being known as the educator. In essence, acting as a “consultant,” who educates the marketplace on what they didn’t know, that they should know, about how current trends are influencing businesses.

There are very few resources out there today that do just that. You will want one that fuses your marketing and sales efforts together wielding a highly professional, powerful and consistent approach that provides your entire marketplace with an undeniable reason to buy. Ideally, you want to be seen as the expert in your industry, someone your prospective clients seek out to do business with. By sharing engaging, value-packed information with your audience you capture trust and credibility that earns you permission to present your solution, be it a product or service. Ultimately, you are solving not selling.

One I’d like to bring to your attention, as an example, is a leading-edge education-based marketing product Chet Holmes’ created called The Core Story. This one in particular is the ultimate strategic positioning tool, combining the power of data, research and your brand’s unique story to create a highly credible, audience-targeted sales and marketing tool. Best of all, it units your sales and marketing teams under one strategic and tactical initiative you can hold them accountable with to grow your business.

Over the years, I (personally) have coached hundreds of clients on the execution of their Core Story into their market, and it usually comes down to these 9 killer elements that always deliver maximum results.  Tools like The Core Story must have a clearly identifiable structure and set of elements that sets it apart from all other types of marketing presentations or studies. The most identifiable elements are as follows:

1.         Establish your educational based marketing and sales “core” activity repository founded on well-sourced market motivating research.

2.         Research is chock full of statistics, trended over time, that deliver new information to the audience creating a “WOW” through contrasting and comparing the data.

3.         Information being shared is focused on the prospect—not on you.

4.         Title leads with pain, “The Five Most Dangerous Trends Facing ______Today”

5.         Content is loaded with bad news because bad news motivates.

6.         This new information becomes the “core” of all marketing efforts—messaging, visuals, communications, web content, advertisements, webinars, social media, literature, etc.

7.         Research hinges on market data rather than product data (market data is much more motivational).

8.         Data sets up the buying criteria—positioning you to gain permission to sell.

9.         Set this strategy as a definitive sales methodology your entire team is trained in to make widespread, consistent impact on your audience, which increases your brand standing and conversion rates.

Make sure whatever you create is a superior marketing and audience access vehicle; meaning it is neither a sales, nor features and benefits piece. This means that while the elements of a tool, such as this Core Story approach, may expose certain benefits they will not be about “sell and tell”.  The biggest mistake I see businesses making over and over again is that the key data points that slaughter the client’s competition and position the client as the only possible solution are not based on notable research studies. And if they are wrong you run the risk of instantly discrediting yourself. Now you will never get the opportunity to sell.

The fact is if the center of the sales model is your Core Story then all of the other parts of the sales model must adapt. If a Core Story is considered without a full sales model, it cannot succeed. When the two pieces come together correctly, your entire field of prospects grows dramatically and the business closes more of them. The increased number of prospects, times the increased closing ratio, results in massive revenue gains.

By Chris Steely, VP Elite Consulting at Chet Holmes International

extra bonusEmpire Research Group Releases Education-based Market Research and Content Product Lines 2/1/14

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Target Market Research Analysis:  20 questions/35+ pages of market data to laser focus on your audience’s wants, needs and pains.  This intelligence is at the “core” of your communications to WOW your audience by focusing on them, not you, and so much more!

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The 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions to Optimize Your Business

The 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions to Optimize Your Business

2013 is almost gone, and 2014 is upon us… Hard to believe, but there’s no denying it. 

2014-new-year-s-resolutions-34592618It’s time to consider what kind of year you are going to make for yourself and your business. It’s time to RESOLVE.

I enjoy Decembers, as they represent opportunities to reflect, and condition myself for success over the next 12 months. Here’s a great piece, allowing you the perspectives that you’ll need to succeed over the next year with a focus on business.

These are The 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make to Optimize Your Business. Leverage and apply these perspectives for yourself and your teams, oriented toward optimizing, balancing, and excelling.

  1. Resolve to stay brutally optimistic. See the opportunity in every difficulty and anticipate the most favorable outcome of every situation. Whatever you look for, that’s what you’ll find. We can get better or we can get bitter; it all depends on the lessons we draw from each experience. Optimism is like electricity — very little happens without it, and you will attract more customers by being optimistic. Know this truth: you and your team have all the resources you’ll ever need to handle all the challenges you’ll ever have. In true emergencies, your true capabilities will emerge.
  2. Resolve to identify the most powerful benefit you offer to the people around you and then deliver it. “The purpose of life,” said George Bernard Shaw, “is a life of purpose.” What’s yours? What are your businesses? Where are you investing your personal energy—self-preservation or adding value to others? Here’s the well-being paradox: If you’re only concerned about yourself, you cannot take care of yourself. Only by helping and serving others, can you succeed.
  3. Resolve to pump-up your personal vitality. In the game of life, it’s not about who’s right, it’s about who’s left. Over 60% of us are more than 36 years old. The real currency of the new century is not cash. It’s vitality. It’s the ability to keep going every day of every week of every month of the year with vigor and verve. All you are to the people around you is a source of energy, and you cannot give what you don’t have. 90% of all adults do no physical exercise at all. More than half of us are overweight. A third of us still smoke. So, this year, resolve to enhance your physical, emotional and mental vitality. Take just a small step. First you’ll amaze yourself, and then you’ll amaze everybody else.
  4. Resolve to be habitually generous. Success is not something you pursue. It’s something you attract by what you become. The more you give of yourself, the more favors you attract from others. People have a deep-rooted drive to give back. So resolve to search for ways to contribute to others. Here’s an interesting euphemism: Live life above the line. If the line represents others’ expectations of you, consistently surpass those expectations. You’ll develop what author Ken Blanchard calls “raving fans,” people who become walking billboards for you.
  5. Resolve to go on a mental diet. Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can scar you for life. It is humans, not elephants, who never forget. So resolve to use the language of conciliation, not the language of confrontation. Avoid the temptation to vent your negativity on others. Instead, use words that express your joie de vivre and connection with others.
  6. Resolve to be a global citizen, fully open to the cultures and influences of others. There is a direct correlation between personal well-being and openness to other peoples’ ideas and cultures. If someone has a different point of view, they’re probably right as well. There are no absolutes anymore, so welcome different opinions. Become a one-person champion of plurality. Not only will you make lots of new friends, but you’ll also gather multiple reference points to help you resolve personal challenges.
  7. Resolve to take control of your destiny. Don’t be so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life. Decide who you want to be and what you want to achieve and then stride boldly toward your vision. The most precious human commodity today is confidence.
  8. Resolve to increase your human connectedness. The person with the best connections wins. The wider your network, the more opportunities you generate. It’s all about trust. And it’s all about profile — your presence in the minds of the people who matter. So invest at least 10% of your time broadening your sphere of influence. Connect other people to the opportunities within your network: cross-pollinate their potential. When you are with others, make every encounter a pleasurable one. When you listen, truly listen. And burn your fear of rejection.
  9. Resolve to increase your creativity by letting go of the familiar. Nothing is as far away as yesterday. Innovation must be your constant for business progression. See the world through fresh eyes every day. As Salman Rushdie writes, every year is the Stone Age to the year that follows it. Listen to your intuition and follow your instincts, they’ll tell you what to do before your head has had a chance to figure it out. You are a Picasso or Einstein at something. Discover what it is and then develop it to the maximum.
  10. Resolve to be you, because others are already taken. You and I are at our best when we’re being authentic. We’re at our best when we’re being positively spontaneous, because that’s when all our energy is being invested in the task at hand or with the person in front of us. In a hyper-competitive world, we cannot afford to second-guess ourselves. Success in the new century is all about speed. So act now, because if not now, when?

Make it a great 2014!

By Chris Steely, Vice President of Elite Business Consulting at Chet Holmes International 

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