Monthly Archives: November 2011

Leadership Secret Weapon Series: Questions are Your Secret Weapon

In sales, consulting, and management, questions are without question, your secret weapon. Sometimes people say they ask a lot of questions. At the same time, when I ask them, “Do you have a questioning strategy?” they look at me very strangely. A questioning strategy is the key to establishing rapport, and identifies the other person’s particular values, beliefs and professional needs.

 

The nature of most service businesses is to identify and solve a customer’s problem. This is where a questioning strategy truly comes into play. Many individuals tend to ask close ended questions with ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or a short answer.

 

None of us are smart enough to ask all of the close ended questions we need in order to have a full picture of a situation or a particular customer’s needs.

 

I therefore encourage individuals to use primarily open ended questions and high impact questions, versus closed ended questions.

 

Open ended questions are used to gather information. They usually start with “what,” “how,” or “tell me about.” For example, “What happened?” or “How are things going for you?

 

High impact questions on the other hand are getting the customer’s commitment. They usually start with “What affect does this have on your business,” “How does that cause your organization to react to customer needs?” or “What does that result in for you in revenues, return to the bottom line, customer satisfaction, etc?

 

The key to high impact questions is what is the impact they have on the operation, and the business?

 

You can use the following 3 Step Process for developing High Impact questions:

 

1)      Identify the problem 

2)      Identify the business implications of the problem

3)      Turn each implication into an implication question

 

By getting people committed with high impact questions, they will take action!

 

Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people.  www.loyaltyfactor.com

Info Exchange – 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader 2 of 3

Welcome to the Loyalty Factor Information Exchange, a bi-weekly service providing summaries of major publications and books on various management and customer relationship topics. 

 
Loyalty Factor has been instrumental in helping companies:

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction by 20 – 33%
  • Increase Revenues by 50% in 18 months
  • Increase Manufacturing Production by 200% in 18 months

Our information exchange this week highlights the book “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader,” by John C. Maxwell. This is part two of a three part series.  

  Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow. 

 
Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Great Leader?

 

Focus

What does it take to have the focus required to be a truly effective leader? The keys are priorities and concentration. How should you focus your time energy? Here are some guidelines: Focus 70% on strengths, 25% on new things to grow and keep improving, and 5% on areas of weakness.  

How can you improve your focus?

  • Shift to strengths
  • Staff your weaknesses
  • Create a plan 


Generosity

Nothing speaks to others more loudly or serves them better than generosity from a leader. True generosity isn’t an occasional event, it comes from the heart and permeates every aspect of a leader’s life.

How can you improve your generosity?

  • Give something away
  • Put your money to work for something that will outlive you
  • Find someone to mentor


Initiative

Leaders must show initiative by always looking for opportunities and being ready to take action. Here are four qualities that leaders possess that enable them to make things happen: 1) They know what they want. 2) They push themselves to act. 3) They take more risks. 4) They make more mistakes.  

How can you improve your initiative?  

  • Change your mindset
  • Don’t wait for opportunity to knock
  • Take the next step


Listening

The overwhelming majority of communication problems come from poor listening. While there are a lot of voices out there clamoring for your attention, keep in mind there are two purposes for listening: to connect with people and to learn. Start listening not only for words, but also for feelings, meanings and undercurrents. 

How can you improve your listening?

  • Examine your schedule
  • Meet people on their turf
  • Listen between the lines  


Passion

What makes it possible for people who might seem ordinary to achieve great things? The answer is passion. Passion increases your willpower. If you follow your passions you cant help becoming a more dedicated, productive person. 

How can you improve your passion?  

  • Reevaluate yourself
  • Return to what you love
  • Associate with people of passion


Positive Attitude

If you desire to be an effective leader, having a positive attitude if essential. It not only determines your level of contentment as a person, but it also has an impact on how others interact with you. 

How can you improve your positive attitude?  

  • Feed yourself a regular diet of motivational material
  • Achieve a goal every day
  • Write it on your wall


Problem Solving 

No matter what field a leader is in, he or she will face problems. Leaders with good problem solving ability anticipate problems, accept the truth and handle one thing at a time. 

How can you improve your problem solving?

  • Confront problems
  • Develop a method, like TEACH
    • Time – Spend time to discover the real issue
    • Exposure – Find out what others have done
    • Assistance – Have your team study all angles
    • Creativity – Brainstorm multiple solutions
    • Hit it – Implement the best solution

 

Our next information exchange will cover the final 7 qualities of John Maxwell’s 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.

 

Leadership Secret Weapon Series: Do’s and Don’ts of Listening

Integrating the Empathic Listening techniques into your conversation and daily situations is something that takes practice. Here are some great Do’s and Don’ts to help in increasing your effective listening skills.

 

10 Do’s of Listening

 

 

1)      Be patient

2)      Take brief notes of key points

3)      Offer verbal encouragement

4)      Read between the lines for emotional messages

5)      Allow for periods of silence

6)      Let the person complete his/her thought

7)      Ask questions to clarify understanding

8)      Choose to understand the person by looking for their feelings and good intentions

9)      Summarize what has been covered

10)  Assume you have not understood everything correctly

 

 

10 Don’ts of Listening

 

 

1)      Don’t half listen, filter or selectively listen

2)      Don’t make assumptions regarding what the person meant to say

3)      Don’t jump to conclusions

4)      Don’t be too eager to talk about your recommendation

5)      Don’t agree too readily until you have heard the individual out

6)      Don’t interrupt the person

7)      Don’t finish the person’s sentences

8)      Don’t take so many notes that you lose the meaning of the dialogue

9)      Don’t judge the other person

10)  Don’t complete other tasks while you are listening to the person on the phone or in person

 

Remember:

“A good listener tries to understand thoroughly what the other person is saying.  In the end he may disagree sharply, but before he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with.”

~ Kenneth A. Wells

 

Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people.  www.loyaltyfactor.com

Info Exchange – 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader 1 of 3

Welcome to the Loyalty Factor Information Exchange, a bi-weekly service providing summaries of major publications and books on various management and customer relationship topics. 

 
Loyalty Factor has been instrumental in helping companies:

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction by 20 – 33%
  • Increase Revenues by 50% in 18 months
  • Increase Manufacturing Production by 200% in 18 months

Our information exchange this week highlights the book “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader,” by John C. Maxwell. This is part one of a three part series.  

  Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow. 

 

Maxwell outlines a list of 21 qualities that he has found to be common among all great leaders and he explains these characteristics in detail in his book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.

 

Leadership truly develops from the inside out. If you can become the leader you ought to be on the inside, what you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. “If you are able to do that,” says Maxwell, “you’ll find there’s nothing in this world you cannot do.”

 

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Great Leader?

 

Character

How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his or her character. Every time a leader chooses character, he or she becomes stronger – even if that choice brings negative consequences. The development of character is at the heart of our development, not just as leaders, but as human beings.

 

How can you improve your character?

  • Search for cracks
  • Look for patterns
  • Face your flaws
  • Rebuild

 

Charisma

Most people thing of charisma as something mystical. Simply stated, it is the ability to draw people to you. And like other character traits, it can be developed. If you appreciate others, encourage them and help them reach their potential, they will love you for it.

 

How can you improve your charisma?

  • Change your focus to appreciating others  
  • Make a good impression
  • Share your resources

 

Commitment

If you want to be an effective leader, you have to be committed. True commitment inspires and attracts people. It shows them you have conviction. They will believe in you only if you truly believe in your cause.

 

How can you improve your commitment?

  • Measure how you spend your time and energy
  • Know what’s worth it
  • Make your plans public

Communication

People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you are going. You can be a more effective communicator if you simplify your message and focus on the people with whom you’re communicating.

 

How can you improve your communication?

  • Be clear and concise
  • Pay attention to your focus
  • Live your message

Competence

We all admire people who display high competence, whether they are precision craftsmen, world class athletes or successful business leaders. You don’t have to be Bill Gates to excel. If you want to cultivate competence, you have to keep improving, follow through with excellence, accomplish more than expected and inspire others.

 

How can you improve your competence?

  • Get your head in the game
  • Redefine the standard
  • Find ways to improve

 

Courage

Courage deals with principle, not perception. If you don’t have the ability to see when to stand up and the conviction to do it, you’ll never be an effective leader. Your dedication to potential must remain stronger than your desire to appease others.

How can you improve your courage?

  • Go out – and do something
  • Confront confrontation
  • Take a giant step

 

Discernment

Discernment can be described as the ability to find the root of the matter, and it relies on intuition as well as rational thought. Discernment is an indispensable quality for any leader who desires to maximize effectiveness.

How can you improve your discernment?

  • Analyze past successes
  • Learn how others think
  • Listen to your gut

 

Our next information exchange will cover the next 7 qualities of John Maxwell’s 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.

 

Leadership Secret Weapon Series: Empathetic Listening Techniques

What most people don’t realize is that listening consists of 40% of our total communications. Talking is approximately 35% and reading is 16%, while 9% is writing. Although you listen most of the time, the average listening efficiency is only at 25%. That means 75% of all our communications are misinterpreted.  

 

Let’s take a few minutes to evaluate effective listening skills.

 

There are various levels of listening. The first one tends to be the Ignoring stage. The next stage is where people Pretend to listen. Thirdly, there is Selective listening. Active and Attentive listening is next, with the highest level of listening is Empathetic listening.

 

Ignoring, pretending and selective are within our own frame of reference. We choose how we are going to listen. Are we going to pretend? Are we going to selectively listen for specific words and information that is important to us? Or are we going to ignore all together?

 

The active and attentive listening level is where we listen for the words and the content. The most important level of listening is empathetic listening where we also understand the feelings and emotions of the other person. When we are in the fourth and fifth levels of listening, we are listening for the other person’s frame of reference and trying to get out of our own history and judging tendencies to truly get a deeper understanding of what the other person’s view point is.

 

Integrating empathetic listening techniques into our conversations is how we create stronger connections with the other person and establish a sense of respect with the other person.

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Steps for Effective Empathetic Listening:

 

1.  Identify the feelings and positive intentions of the other person.

For example: “It sounds like you are really upset,” “I sense that you are very upset about the situation,” or “I hear the frustration in your voice.”

 

2. Once you have identified the feelings and positive intentions of the other person, the emotion disappears. It is then important for you to provide a helpful transition statement so the person knows you are fully committed to them and their success.

For example: “I am committed to working with you to reach your success,” or “If I were you I would I would feel the same way, and am committed to working towards successful resolution.”

 

3. The third step is to test the solution and ask a question to link back to the emotion.

For example: “If we were to do __________, would that reduce your frustration?” or “What other things can we do to reduce your frustration?

 

Using these techniques, it is astonishing how discussions which seem insoluble become soluble; confusions which seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams and rapport and respect are developed.

 

Give the process a try, and let us know how it works for you!

 

Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people.  www.loyaltyfactor.com