Don’t Bet the Farm on Brainstorming

I can tell you with some precision the moment I first doubted group brainstorming. This was many moons ago. A medium sized media firm that wanted to grow much larger had engaged my consulting services. They held a company-wide powwow, flying most of the managers and yours truly to corporate headquarters in Darkest Peru. The CEO was a good speaker. He shared his vision for the company in broad strokes. He then invited us to help build on that by filling out post-it notes and placing them all over the room – grouped by category and recorded via camera phones for future use.

Why Talented People Don’t Use Their Strengths

If you watched the Super Bowl a few months ago, you probably saw the coaches talking to each other over headsets during the game. What you didn’t know is that during the 2016 season, the NFL made major league-wide improvements to its radio frequency technology, both to prevent interference from media using the same frequency and to prevent tampering. This was a development led by John Cave, VP of football technology at the National Football League. It’s been incredibly helpful to the coaches. But it might never have been built, or at least Cave wouldn’t have built it, had it not been for his boss, Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO of the NFL.

Make it Easier for Prospective Clients to Buy

To simplify the buying process for B2B customers, sales reps should guide them through the complexities that precede a purchase. Customers and buyers have changed in the new, digital environment. B2B customers have access to more information, have to gain more buy-in internally and have a growing number of options to evaluate. By the time these customers interact with sellers, they have a slew of questions and demands. Sales organizations then respond with prompt information and answers and adjust offerings to better meet customer needs.

Why Employment Probation Periods are Ineffective

Can you ever imagine HR ever uttering these words, “For the crime of agreeing to work for us, you're on probation"? Well, it happens every single day. The concept of the employment probation period is a corporate carry-over from days long gone, but it's time to shut it down. Before the pro-probation enthusiasts attack, let me be absolutely clear - I get it, hiring the wrong person can be costly, and those costs are climbing. A 90-day employment probation period is a sensible safeguard that ensures a new employee is the right fit, but if she's not, the manager and employee can just shake hands and part as friends, right?

Want to Keep Your Employees? HR Pros Share Their Best Defense Against Turnover

Hiring great employees can be a significant challenge for businesses. Even more difficult is keeping those employees around. In the current landscape of talent wars and job-hopping, retention can seem like a nearly impossible task, but it's one that must be prioritized: Employee turnover can cost organizations tens of thousands of dollars per year. If you've noticed a couple of team members submitting their resignation, don't panic. There are steps you can take to defend against turnover and keep your staff happy and comfortable enough to stick around.

Dealing with a Manipulative Person

Manipulative people are challenging and terrifying to deal with. They prey on fear, insecurity, and uncertainty to get what they want. Deception isn’t out of bounds for them. Dealing with them requires you to change the game. We’ve all encountered or dealt with a manipulative person at some point in our career. These people induce fear, anxiety, and stress. In some cases they will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Deductive vs Inductive Reasoning: Make Smarter Arguments, Better Decisions, and Stronger Conclusions

You can’t prove truth, but using deductive and inductive reasoning, you can get close. Learn the difference between the two types of reasoning and how to use them when evaluating facts and arguments. As odd as it sounds, in science, law, and many other fields, there is no such thing as proof — there are only conclusions drawn from facts and observations. Scientists cannot prove a hypothesis, but they can collect evidence that points to its being true.

How to Recruit and Promote Effective Managers

Promoting your best salesperson to a management position is no guarantee the individual will be an effective sales manager. The same goes for promoting any top performer to management. You just never know. Management requires certain skills and not everyone has them, high performers included. Recruiting effective managers, either by promoting people from within the organization or by going outside, can be a difficult task and sometimes those appointments wind up as colossal failures.

You May Need to Adjust Your Calling Practices: Verizon

If you haven't yet learned about efforts by carriers or software providers to block or label automated calls to consumers, you soon will. Or at least you certainly should. When you dig in, you'll learn that there are more than 500 application (app) providers, which consider themselves 'editorial services,' and four major carriers (though there are many more smaller ones) which have recently been given permission by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a) not deliver certain calls and b) provide their customers with the ability to opt-in to additional blocking/labeling services to help avoid fraudulent or unwanted calls.

Sandler Brief: Is This Prospect Qualified?

Jim had been working on a big deal for four months. Before he gave his presentation, his sales manager asked, “Is this prospect qualified?” Jim answered “Yes” with total confidence. The next day, however, he learned that a competitor had gotten the deal – because of a very recent change in his contact’s buying priorities. Jim hadn’t picked up on this change. During his debrief with his sales manager, Jim asked, “What do you think I could have done differently?”

B2B Selling in the Digital Age

We chat with Manny Medina, CEO of sales acceleration tool company Outreach, about where salespeople, sales tech, and alignment with marketing is headed in the age of data, AI and digitally empowered buyers. Sales professionals operate in the same hyper-digital environment as marketing professionals, but the B2B buyer's journey has changed so drastically in the digital environment that B2B sales professionals need to recalibrate their mindset, approach, and tools to achieve their goals effectively.

3 Small Mistakes That Can Totally Mess Up Your Business

You work hard to stay ahead as an entrepreneur. It'd be a shame to fall behind because of a few simple mistakes. In business, as in life, the devil is in the details. You might have a great product, a great team and a great work ethic. You might have enthusiasm and ambition out the wazoo. Even with all that talent, however, you can get tripped up by paying insufficient attention to a few small, unsexy subjects that are easy to overlook but crucially important. I've been tripped up a few times myself, and know plenty of entrepreneurs who've made similar errors.

Want to Avoid Hiring People You Can't Trust Later? Ask These 5 Powerful Interview Questions

Warren Buffett famously said that you should interview for intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't bother. Are you a hiring manager or a person who conducts interviews as part of your job? Well, if you're not employing the science of behavioral interviewing in your hiring process, you're risking disaster by bringing in the wrong people. Behavioral interviews are the foolproof method to validate skills, strengths, and job fit on the basis of fact, not theory or vagueness.

6 Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business

Excellence. It’s the focus of every leader. It’s the aspiration of those who seek to make a mark. How to achieve organizational excellence is the subject of a new book by David Mattson, CEO of Sandler Training. THE ROAD TO EXCELLENCE: 6 Leadership Strategies To Build A Bulletproof Business is the result of his research and experience as a CEO of a global organization. I asked him to share some of his leadership insights as well as some blind spots that can catch business leaders off guard with potentially disastrous consequences.

A Modern Approach to Productivity for Entrepreneurs and Executives

Many entrepreneurs, executives and digital nomads are changing their daily habits and routines in the name of maximizing their personal and business productivity. Sparked by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, this mindset emphasizes “lifestyle design” by doing more in less hours in order to earn “mini-retirements.” Movements like Ferriss' are a part of a larger influx of philosophies aimed at improving individual health and productivity.

Here’s When it’s Actually Good to Multitask

Yes, most of the time trying to do more than one thing at a time just means you are doing several things poorly. But there are some exceptions. Multitasking has a terrible rep in productivity circles. Ever since the “deep work” movement hit the mainstream corporate world, “monotasking” became the gold standard. Multitasking is reportedly detrimental to our brains, causes our IQ to drop, and is one of the biggest time wasters of our era.

How Firing 1 Employee Nearly Doubled My Company's Productivity

One of my employees was regularly late to work. Sadly - but not surprisingly - she was late to her own firing, too. Company culture is a strange thing: If you don't proactively work to shape it, it will shape itself. Two years ago, I had an employee who was consistently late to work. Alexandria was an account manager, liaising daily with key clients and overseeing the production and delivery of marketing assets.

Why the CFPB’s Next Enforcement Action Will Likely be Against a Debt Collector

One law professor believes the next enforcement action to come from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection will be against a debt collection agency, after the CFPB announced a $500 million fine against Wells Fargo. Bringing a debt collection enforcement action would satisfy a couple of different schools of thought, wrote Jeff Sovern, a law professor at St. John’s University and one of the coordinators of the Consumer Law & Policy Blog.

3 Terrible Ways To Treat Your Clients - Are You Guilty?

I hate to admit it, but that guy yelling at his phone could have been me a couple of times recently! And I promise you, you don't want to be the company that does that to people! Most of my clients’ companies, whether large or small, want to treat their customers well. They know that they don’t always succeed. They make mistakes. And they aren’t always aware of how they are perceived by clients and prospective clients. However, they try. At least they say they try. They all say they care.

Agencies Placing More Emphasis on Soft Skills During New Hire Training

There is so much that a new collection agency employees needs to know. What the heck is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, anyway? Why can’t I threaten to break someone’s legs if they don’t want to pay their bills? And, most importantly, where is the bathroom?All kidding aside, training a new employee is akin to laying the foundation on a home; if it’s not done properly, everything else is going to be off and it will all likely come crumbling down sooner or later.