Monthly Archives: November 2011

You Can Lead A Horse To Water…

Everybody Is In Sales

Let’s say you’re the sales manager of your company. If you are not, then let’s say you’re a parent of a child. If not, let’s say you are married or in a serious relationship. It wouldn’t matter if you were an engineer and think you are above this you are still in sales.

Let’s define sales to assure we have clarity. To transact a sale means you are getting money or some other compensation for a product or service.

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The Recession and High Probability Selling

The following question was sent from a student in one of our High Probability courses.

I am sure that you are aware of the troubled state of our economy as well as the frightening events happening in other countries and global markets. I don’t believe in promoting doom and gloom but I am a realist.

In light of our current economic situation and the less than rosy outlook can you answer this question for me? In general, do you think that HPS strategies can be just as effective in these scary economic times as opposed to a stronger economy?

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Are Managers Change Agents

Thinking of the position of managers as change agents fogs my lenses until I put the definition of manager in context. I define a manager as ‘almost a leader.’  A leader is like a grape and a manager is like the raisin. There are six primary zones of competency in leadership and a manager is usually competent in one (Perrin, 2010). Managers, according to this model, make and execute plans. They follow a bigger vision than their own and the changes they initiate are usually at the behest of another. Managers organize other’s work and focus on predictable results.

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Dysfunctional Competition and Conflict

Both competition and conflict are semantically multidimensional. To some being competitive means you win at all costs. It’s a zero-sum game and winning is the only alternative. Areas such as contract negotiations between big business and labor, elongated divorces, and cooking the books are dysfunctional competition.

Sporting events, market share, and fundraising are competitive and require cooperation by the opponent for growth and success. There are Rules of Engagement that both sides respect and adhere to. This is healthy competition.

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Conflict – Trust – Commitment

Recent studies confirm the importance of building trust within the space you operate. Trust is the antecedent to commitment. They share common ground and commitment leads to motivation, and motivation leads to productivity. As a manager you can’t afford to operate without trust in today’s business climate. As an aspiring business professional seeking to climb to corporate ladder, the zero-sum days of upward movement at the expense of your fellow employees is over.

You can call it a return to civility, but in reality it’s a return to cooperative competition, the original design behind capitalism.

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What Is Conflict?

Multiple research studies show how positive conflict, for example, a devil’s advocate placed into the group as a confederate to stir up more discussion, is painful to those in the group. When given the opportunity, the confederate is voted out of the group in 100 percent of the studies even though the presence of the contrarian point of view improves productivity, growth, and creativity.

Further research uncovered the word contention as a cousin to conflict. The original Hebrew word for contention is to brawl, debate, and contend. It is an adversarial relationship. Contention is to make it personal.

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Dysfunctional Behavior in the Office

Have you ever had a co-worker backbite you at work? How does it feel when someone undermines you with the boss or with others in your department? What kind of a person engages in power politics at work? By definition this is called conflict, which is a dysfunctional outcome resulting from poor communication.

Traditionalists in Organizational Psychology take the approach of avoidance behavior as a way to resolve such deviant behavior. It is also how most people handle conflict, whether at work or at home.

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