Are you excited by whatever tomorrow brings? Do you fully engage in things each day, particularly if they’re challenging? Do you take risks to better yourself, knowing that your mistakes will be seen by all?
If you said ‘yes’ to all of the above, you may be happier and more successful in the long run.
Paul Fairlie and Self Management Group are identifying the mindsets of very happy and successful people. What have we found so far?
People with a flourish mindset look forward to things in the future – even the bad things. When they experience adversity, they develop and build strengths, rather than become impaired. Similarly, people with a courage mindset believe that they can change themselves, so they take risks to get better at things. When they fail, they shrug it off as part of learning, even if the rest of the world is laughing at them.
But it’s no laughing matter. We found that salespeople with flourish mindsets had 77% higher objective performance than their peers. For courage, it was 111%. In fact, performance was higher by as much as 132% for some productivity indicators.
People with these mindsets take initiative, even when the going gets rough – and perhaps especially when things get rough. They’re also resilient in a work world where it’s becoming impossible to shield employees from adversity. In the near future, we will be helping employers to select and develop people with these mindsets.
Positive people are positive employees with positive performance. That’s why it’s important to assess the positive personal attributes among job applicants and current employees alike.
Find out about our Positive Work Inventory® (PWI), a comprehensive survey of the drivers of positive workplaces at your organization.
Download the PWI product sheet now!
Publish Date: August 16, 2016 5:00 AM
You’ve worked hard your entire career to build a successful business that you are proud of. So when it comes time to plan for a successor for your business, it is understandable that you wouldn’t want to pass your legacy over to just anyone!
One of the most important steps in succession planning is finding the right match for your business and your clients – someone who can complement what you have built. A great deal of trust is involved during the succession planning process to transition the business over to a person with the same values, beliefs, business philosophy, and acumen. Hence, building that trust is a critical ingredient to success when looking for the ideal match for your business.
With over 35 years of research in the area of matching people in business, we’ve found three levels of trust that are important in any business relationship:
The first level of trust is commonality between the owner and the buyer, their clients, core values, etc. In any relationship, especially when meeting someone for the first time, establishing a sense of having something in common bridges the first level of trust.
For your clients, this common ground is very important. Once they get word that you are bringing in a successor, they will be concerned. Is this person is similar to you in personality? Do they have the same values, and the integrity to work with them? Time and time again, clients turn over because they fear the change when this first level of trust has not been established.
The second level of trust is built on competence. In order to have a trusting relationship, the owner must feel that the successor is competent enough to take care of the business and ensure it will continue to run smoothly. This sense of competence is not only critical for meeting clients’ needs, but also for staff. The employees will want the same or higher level of competence from the person who takes over the business. If not, the successor will surely see some degree of staff turnover as well.
The third level of trust is commitment, which essentially is doing the things you say you are going to do. It’s never easy to hand over something you’ve worked your entire career to build, into which you have poured your hard work and energy for years. Therefore, making sure this person has a history of high commitment to running the business is important. Remember, your whole legacy was built on doing the things you said you were going to do to help your clients and customers.
Now, you may think these aforementioned areas are hard to tap into in order to understand someone at this level. It might take years of getting to know someone! However, the key to matching and understanding your potential successor is to use a personality profile to help match the right person to you, your business, your clients, and your team.
Over the last decades, thousands of companies around the world have used personality profiles in their hiring practices to help match future employees to the top performers in the organization. In succession planning, these profiles provide the same “line of sight” for you about whether this is the right type of person who has the ideal traits for you and your business.
Many business owners use personality profiles in successor selection to help them go into a business relationship with their “head up”. What this means is they can better understand each the potential successor’s strengths, how well they complement the business, and how to better work with each other through the transition. Furthermore, profiling the entire team for a successor helps in the team building process, highlighting how they can effectively communicate and work together.
Ultimately, a profile is an extremely valuable tool for getting the right match and the right successor, as it gives you a ton of information at your fingertips that you otherwise would not have known.
If your clients know ahead of time that you have done your due diligence in hand-selecting your successor, this actually has a direct correlation with client retention. Clients appreciate being considered in the process. So in this context, not only should you be aware of this as a best practice, but your successor will find the process quite valuable to help them retain these clients.
Remember, you have spent many years building trust with your clients; educating them that the succession was approached with their interests at heart is vital.
When looking for the right match for you and your business, using the science of proven personality assessments will help:
For more than 35 years, Self Management Group has worked with businesses all over the world to help them select and retain the best talent through the use of normative psychometric profiling. Contact us today to learn more about these predictive, leading-edge psychometric tools to help you make the right decision.
Download a sample LeaderPro™ profile!
Publish Date: May 10, 2016 5:00 AM
In spite of economic uncertainty, CEOs in almost every industry confirm that the ability to source optimal talent remains a key strategic priority.
Small and medium sized enterprises in particular continue to fuel job growth in North America where business expansion and employee attrition are the main contributors of hiring activity.
In the competitive war for talent, employees with the most desired skills have choices. They will leverage their personal network and the Internet to discover your brand and culture even before they decide to apply for a job.
The ability to source a ready supply of qualified people is a huge competitive advantage. It not only ensures the organization can sustain a high performing culture; it comes down to making certain you have available talent for the right role at the right time. Your talent acquisition strategy is, in effect, entirely dependent upon an effective sourcing game plan.
Achieving this goal starts with a strong talent-focused culture that prevails across the entire organization. It’s a culture where leaders and employees embrace the importance of acquiring top talent.
To create an effective sourcing process, keep in mind these 5 simple steps:
Progressive organizations have moved away from the “post and pray” approach that yields an avalanche of mostly unqualified candidates.
They now leverage a multi-channel strategy combining a powerful Applicant Tracking System (ATS), proactive networking, and advanced Boolean search techniques with a compelling attraction message to identify the untapped passive candidate market.
The traditional “staffing” team is now being replaced by strategic acquisition and sourcing experts that focus on the emergence of millennial talent and build employment brand communities amplified through social media.
Shifting your organization’s cultural mindset from gatherers to hunters of Talent affords significant control over candidate qualifications and quality.
Contemporary organizations targeting specific generational talent have removed the typical laundry list of required generic skills (i.e. educational and previous work experiences) to specific actions and results, while articulating why their organization is a great place to work.
By focusing on stating the top performance objectives expected in the first 6-12 months, the goal is to define what critical deliverables are desired of a top performer. Articulating this information from the hiring manager’s perspective will also assist the recruiter to gain more understanding of the role they are sourcing.
It’s no secret employee referrals make excellent hires. They also reduce your cost of hire while encouraging your employees to actively participate in the sourcing process.
A recent study confirmed referral hires perform better than non-referred ones, and have a lower likelihood of voluntary turnover. Leveraging how this predicts performance in your organization can yield a powerful ROI.
Automating your sourcing strategy through an ATS with diagnostics enables your people to focus their strategic efforts (and time) on networking for Talent. It can improve the candidate experience by simplifying the application process, complement your brand, and proactively build a database of qualified leads for your current or next hiring cycle.
Application Program Interfaces (API) can integrate with social media sites or aggregators and target the flow of candidates. A centralized process redefines your employment metrics in real time and enhances recruiter efficiency to ensure consistent hiring practices.
Talent analytics enable businesses to make informed talent decisions and predict employee performance while minimizing personal bias.
A client was sourcing a key sales role and leveraged analytics acquired over several years to create a multi-level screening engine by gathering experience, demographic, and location information that statistically predicted performance. A short list of pre-qualified candidates then completed a customized assessment bench-marked to their top sales performers; within 9 months the new recruit exceeded the sales target by 220%.
The company bolstered their confidence in sourcing a qualified pipeline of high performing sales candidates while improving efficiency and complementing other key decision points in their selection process.
An active and integrated sourcing strategy is a key enabler of talent identification. Leveraging the right process and analytics will allow you to take decisive action to proactively source the right talent, creating a compelling competitive advantage.
If you are interested in learning more about prevailing best practices in Talent Sourcing or information on our talent management products or services, please contact us today!
Download our FREE eBook: An Introduction to Selecting Sales Professionals.
Publish Date: March 8, 2016 5:00 AM
Selecting salespeople who will become high performers can be difficult when your organization doesn’t have the right processes in place. You can’t hire based solely on “gut-instinct” (you aren’t sure why you feel the way you do), but then again, you shouldn’t ignore the intuition (a feeling based on information you can pinpoint) of your hiring managers either.
Hiring talented sales professionals is both an art and a science. You need to determine what you are already doing well in your hiring process, build upon those strengths, and find a way to replicate them consistently (for example, what if your hiring manager with the finely honed intuition leaves the company?).
Attracting and hiring high effort sales people is one of the most important parts of building a top performing sales team.
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review tackles the topic of hiring successful salespeople. The articles states that the “average annual turnover in sales is 25 to 30%. This means that the equivalent of the entire sales organization must be hired and trained every four years or so, and that’s expensive.”
That’s why your organization needs to hire salespeople who will not only be top performers, but who will also have a high rate of retention.
However, the HBR article goes on to claim that “fit” is not a critical factor in selecting salespeople from the available candidates. It suggests a hiring breakdown as follows:
At SMG, with over 35+ years of practical data from real companies, we know that fit is extremely important for retention specifically. In fact, fit is the biggest predictor of retention. If you hire salespeople who don’t fit with your company culture and management style, you will have high turnover.
Our decades of historical data and research have led us to the best way to select salespeople. Firstly, it is not comprised of static components, as HBR’s model recommends.
Instead – since hiring is an art and science – it is a dynamic model that allows an organization to weight each component based on their strengths as an organization and the hiring managers. If your organization is excellent at assessing a specific element, that should be built directly into your selection process through strategic weighting of that element.
With proper weighting of the following three components, you can get the best predictions of performance and retention:
The science portion comes from the creation of position-related norms using the appropriate normative profiles, customized to the position and culture.
For example, our popular POP™ profile is specifically designed for selecting salespeople and can be refined to match your specific needs.
You can also think of this portion as the candidate’s “talent”. Do they have the right DNA to do the job?
The effort component is based on a structured interview that focuses on the competencies identified for the specific position.
You can also think of this portion as the candidate’s “habits”. What are their habits of thought and habits of behavior while on the job?
The fit is a subjective view of how well the candidate will represent the organization, interact with existing team, and match to the manager.
As mentioned above, fit is the single biggest predictor of retention (and therefore, how much time and money will be wasted due to turnover!).
Fit is assessed once you know the candidate can do the job and will do the job. Fit is figuring out: Will the candidate do the job with me and my specific company?
Each of these three components is a source of data, which becomes the basis for ongoing validation and continuous improvement in your hiring process. The data becomes information that can be transformed into knowledge about your company’s culture and selection system. This in turn becomes a powerful source of HR strategy.
The more data you collect, the more understanding you will gain about the best way to weight these components to make the best selection decisions possible. Only through systematic data collection and predictive workforce analytics can you fully understand which candidates have the right mix to become top salespeople at your organization.
SMG has over 35 years of data and research on the characteristics of top performers, particularly in sales roles. Contact us to learn more.
Download a sample POP™ profile.
Publish Date: February 24, 2016 5:00 AM
Not every sales professional is well-suited for every sales role. Hiring managers and employers must keep this in mind while hiring, and also when determining the appropriate compensation structure.
To get the best performance and retention, you must select the right type of salesperson for the specific sales role, and set compensation accordingly.
The three main categories of sales positions are:
Naturally, there is a great degree of overlap; a specific sales position may be somewhere in between competitive and relationship sales, for example.
The Sales Professional Continuum is a helpful way to conceptualize the differences between salespeople and sales roles. It is a continuum because, as discussed above, many sales roles don’t fall completely into one category or another.
As you can see, competitive sales and relationship sales are linked in the continuum, demonstrating the potential nuances of sales positions between the two types; however, service is at the other end after a break.
From our research, we have discovered that the people best suited for service roles – those who are likely to perform well and stay in the job – are very different from those suited for sales roles (whether competitive or relationship). The skills needed for a service role are dissimilar as well, requiring someone who can help clients and fix issues rather than sell. We have found that attempting to transition someone suited for a service role to a sales role – even a relationship sales role – is not effective.
While in reality we see a continuum between competitive and relationship sales, it is valuable to examine each as a distinctive type. From this analysis, we can better understand what makes a successful sales professional in each type of role, which allows us to select salespeople effectively and compensate them in the way that motivates them most.
Our 35+ years of historical data and predictive analytics allows us to accurately pinpoint the characteristics of successful competitive and relationship salespeople. We also have research which establishes the ideal compensation structure for both.
As we discussed in detail in a previous post, the top three characteristics of successful competitive salespeople are:
With these characteristics, competitive salespeople are proactive, high energy, and very independent. In some cases, they may be willing to sacrifice the relationship with the client in order to close the sale.
These people are attracted to, and thrive in, a compensation structure that does not include a base salary.
Click here to see the research showing that a base salary does not outperform pure commission when attracting and retaining top performing competitive salespeople.
People suited for relationship sales roles have similar characteristics to those suited for competitive sales – after all, they are both salespeople. Relationship salespeople differ in small degrees from competitive salespeople, as they have more of a focus on the ‘people’ or ‘client’ side of the sales process.
The nuances for each of the three characteristics are as follows:
Relationship salespeople should not be quite as strong in self management as their competitive counterparts, as they generally have prospects coming to them rather than having to seek them out.
In fact, our data shows that it can be difficult to retain a salesperson in a relationship sales role who is too high on self management. They will want to generate prospects and move prospects along faster than the relationship allows.
While competitive salespeople are motivated primarily by money/challenge, relationship salespeople are motivated primarily by people service/recognition. This usually manifests in a warm personality and a stronger focus on nurturing the relationship with the prospect or client.
Their job is to build a relationship and develop trust with the prospect. They do not focus as heavily on closing and will never sacrifice their relationship with the prospect for the sake of a sale. When they build an ongoing relationship with clients, they earn the right to cross-sell, upsell, and keep the customer coming back.
Relationship salespeople tend to be slightly less independent than competitive salespeople, which makes them more comfortable in the types of structured environments where the customers come to them.
The best relationship sales people often add a bit of their own prospecting and front-end generation of traffic to this mix, moving a small degree toward “competitive sales” on the continuum.
These people are typically best compensated with a base pay supplemented by a bonus or commission override. Relationship salespeople are more risk averse than competitive salespeople, and are therefore not as attracted to or comfortable in roles with a commission-only salary.
To achieve the best performance and retention from your sales professionals, you must first understand where along the continuum the role falls (fully competitive selling, somewhere in the middle, fully relationship selling?) and select the candidate with the most suitable attributes, characteristics, and fit with your company.
SMG has over 35 years of data and research on the characteristics of top performers, particularly in sales roles. Our popular POP™ profile is designed specifically to select successful sales candidates. Contact us to learn more.
Download a sample POP™ profile.
Publish Date: February 12, 2016 5:00 AM
McKinsey Quarterly [Jan 2015] pinpoints the top four leadership traits which predict 89% of the variance between strong and weak organizations internationally. A+ leaders consistently contribute these four strengths:
Click here to see the article, “Decoding leadership: What really matters”.
Leading the charge in today’s climate of mission-critical corporate change can be a career crowning or a prematurely graying experience. My 20 years of coaching senior executives highlights this as an ever more frequent challenge.
More importantly, Vital Corporation’s self-profiling data from >28,400 executive clients highlights which of their personal traits can become either stumbling blocks or stepping stones in their leading change at full A+ potential.
Underlying these predictive traits, we’ve discovered one trait which sets A+ leaders apart from those “performing at potential”. And I suspect this theme underlies all four of McKinsey’s top leadership traits.
To ensure that ambitious, often disruptive changes take root, A+ leaders separate themselves from the pack by their ability to attract and consistently engage results-focused followers. Whatever the size of their egos or of their past achievements, A+ leaders accept and rely on one fact: “Change is as change does … and the people do the doing”.
Virtually every executive knows, intellectually, that leaders need followers. However, for 34% of our executive study group, two sets of factors seem to make putting this insight into action difficult for them. They may know it, but they do it inconsistently; often waking up at 4:30 A.M, still second guessing themselves about “How can I make these changes actually work?”
When coaching individual executives or designing a boot camp workshop for high-potential leaders, evidence-based diagnostics focus the Vital Corporation approach. Findings from our profiling data base [N = 28,410 Canadian executives] highlight two factors strongly predicting which executives report top quartile [A+] vs. bottom quartile success as evaluated by their peers and their company.
Boxes “A” and “B” above are snapshot summaries of these two predictive factors and of the percentages of executives who report them as stepping stones energizing their day-to-day performance. Box B traits – on-the-job leadership style – clearly impact McKinsey’s effectiveness markers. These “B” traits showcase how this 65% group of A+ executives relate to and are seen by those they lead: as “someone I want to follow”.
More importantly, the Box A traits signal how deeply personal being an A+ leader really is. These four traits summarize what we call their “personal ROI in working life”. Not surprisingly, what they feel “I’m getting back from what I’m putting in at work” flows directly through to outcomes in Boxes “B” and “C”. When personal ROI is a stumbling block, leadership potential is unnecessarily hamstrung. After all, following a low “personal ROI” leader is not attractive to staff.
Getting to the root of this follower challenge with these 35% of executives is typically straightforward:
Leveraging full A+ leadership potential depends on insightful front-end diagnostics which a) clarify an evidence-based personalized roadmap for each participant, and then b) deeply motivate and enable them to enjoy working at their full A+ potential.
Publish Date: January 8, 2016 5:00 AM
The problem is as follows: you promote your best salesperson to sales manager; however, once they start working in their new role, you find they’re actually a bad sales manager.
Now, you’ve not only gained a bad sales manager, but you’ve lost one of your best salespeople.
It’s a double whammy, and it can be one of the biggest (and most expensive) problems your organization faces.
You may be inclined to think that your best salespeople would naturally make great sales managers. Unfortunately, the data reveals a different story.
Based on our 35 years of historical data and research, we can confidently say that we have found zero correlation between top sales performance and top sales management performance. Zero!
This is an example of why it’s so important to look at what the data is telling us. In some cases our intuition just doesn’t hold up, like when we assume great salespeople must make great sales managers.
Here are a few statistics from the data:
As you can see, you cannot predict management performance from sales performance. In fact, the top sales producers have a lower likelihood of being strong leaders than the average across the company.
Top salespeople are often strong personalities who like to do things themselves, lacking the patience to get things done through other people. They typically show the “power” attributes of personality, such as competitiveness, goal orientation, achievement, drive, energy, and ambition.
On the other hand, good sales managers typically show strong power and strong patience attributes. They have the patience to delegate tasks and trust their team to work toward their goals.
So while a salesperson should be at least average before being considered for a sales management role, you don’t necessarily want to promote your top salespeople. They may be most effective right where they are – in sales.
When companies realize they are losing their top salespeople and gaining bad managers, it can be an uphill battle to change the promotion system to eliminate the problem.
Here are the top two challenges you must overcome to avoid falling into this trap:
The problem often starts in the hiring and recruiting process. When companies hire new salespeople, they may dangle the carrot of a sales management position in the interview or on-boarding process. This sets up an expectation right away that the career path in the company is salesperson to sales manager.
As a result, the best salespeople are thinking about moving into a management role because they see it as the next step in their career – even if they don’t have the potential for management.
If you have a corporate culture where the career path is to move from salesperson to sales manager, it stigmatizes the sales role for those who are best suited to remain in sales. Rather than disturbing the best salespeople and telling them they can or should be a sales manager, the company culture must shift to show how much career salespeople are valued.
Once you’re aware of this issue, you can take a number of steps to improve the succession plan within your company, change your company culture, and refine your selection process.
Create new best practices that reward excellent career salespeople without moving them into a management role. Remove the stigma that not being a sales manager – or trying as a sales manager and moving back to sales – is “failing”. You may also consider instituting a mentorship program where the top salespeople can become mentors for newer salespeople, rather than becoming sales managers.
Hand in hand with changing the company culture is changing the narrative you tell candidates and new hires. Don’t give the impression that the career path is from salesperson to sales manager in your organization. Make sure they know that being a career salesperson is acceptable and encouraged.
To select effective sales managers, companies need to build a tool into their selection process that assesses the management potential of candidates. Using this strategy, you will know from the beginning which of your salespeople is more likely to be successful in a management role. Then, you can only suggest management positions to those specific individuals and avoid disturbing your great career sales professionals.
These changes may not come overnight, but once you commit to them you will find that you are no longer losing your top salespeople and gaining bad sales managers in the process!
Self Management Group can help you select the right salespeople and sales managers with our validated selection tools and profiles, such as the POP™ for selecting competitive salespeople or our Management Pro™ for predicting management performance.
Get a free trial of our assessment tools!
Publish Date: November 12, 2015 5:00 AM
Some employers use surveys once in a blue moon to see if their people are engaged. Budget spent. Box checked. But if employee surveys are well-developed, with smart analytics, these multi-purpose, diagnostic tools can address many questions and concerns that keep managers awake at night.
Take a gander at our list, below. How many of these questions have been asked by your senior team at one time or another? All of these questions can be answered to some extent by conducting a rigorous and comprehensive employee survey.
We know what some of you are thinking. “Employee surveys are useless.” They sometimes get a bad rap on blogs and LinkedIn posts. Yet, nearly all of the complaints that we’ve seen have to do with bad surveys (the ones that ignore nearly a century of measurement science). We’ll profile the good, the bad, and the ugly surveys in an upcoming blog on the 10 Deadly Sins of Employee Surveys.
But for now, why not really put that survey budget to work for you? What questions do you have?
If you’re asking any of these questions, it’s time to consider an employee survey and get some answers!
>> SMG is launching our new employee survey tool, the Positive Work Inventory®. For a limited time along with standard reporting, we’re offering the PWI with an advanced analytical report at no extra cost! Contact us today to administer the PWI at your workplace.
Publish Date: October 26, 2015 5:00 AM
Self Management Group is pleased to announce Dr. Richard Earle as a new consultant and associate. His work helps us to offer tools safeguarding Corporate Vital Signs in successful
corporations and in the staff who make them successful.
Vitality is defined as “the capacity to renew, endure, and succeed when challenged,” and is a crucial component of any effective employee or organization. Richard is an authority on the stress-of-change and controlling its impacts on wellbeing and performance.
Nowhere today is vitality more challenged than by mission-critical corporate change. From ERP re-engineering to mergers and acquisitions, only 23% of organizations achieve their planned success.
Through partnership with Richard, SMG provides access for our clients to Vital Corporation, of which Richard is Principal. His consulting and training engagements are global, spanning Japan, India, and Saudi Arabia to the EU and from Argentina to Iceland.
Vital Corporation focuses on revitalizing challenged corporations to improve team engagement and employee’s productive wellbeing – leading to improved measures of retention, work satisfaction, mental health, and so on – by leveraging 35 years of applied research. Applying robust diagnostic tools, Vital Corporation and SMG can tailor evidence-based solutions to precisely support each client’s strategic success.
Success-factor research highlights one watershed fact: change is as change does … and the people do the doing. Vital Corporation’s Capacity-for-Change formula distills the science this way:
With Vital Corporation at our side, SMG’s mission is to use science-based insights and internationally proven tools to ensure client organizations can count on having essential capacity and vitality on tap in their corporate DNA.
Here are some of the tools and solutions that are available to SMG clients:
Dr. Richard Earle, Ph.D. is an internationally respected and published authority on the stress-of-change and controlling its impacts on wellbeing and performance both in individuals and in rapidly changing workplaces.
He is the Managing Director of the Canadian Institute of Stress and Principal in the Vital Corporation. He also provides executive coaching services with the Medisys Health Group and trains senior health and HR professionals globally via the internet as Certified Stress and Wellness Consultants.
See Richard’s full bio here.
>> SMG provides the best talent management tools available. Contact us to discuss how we can help your business.
Publish Date: October 9, 2015 5:00 AM