The client I coached came to me seeking someone honest and objective who would light a fire under him to propel him past his perceived limitations. He knew he was capable, talented, and reasonably successful. But he was hungry for much more and restless to break out in a big way, leading his team and growing his business into an empire.
When he learned that I had been a senior Fortune 100 executive – in charge of designing and developing high-performance teams, opening new stores for Macy’s, and growing sales and profits – that gave him confidence. His passion and determination to learn and apply new lessons also inspired me. So we came up with an intensive plan of collaboration that gave him the tools and skills he wanted while holding him accountable for step-by-step progress as we worked on goals such as the ones outlined below.
Get Out of Your Head & Into Action
At first my client would call me and explain everything that was worrying him, because he was trying to think ahead of anything that might go wrong. But when I asked him how many times those setbacks or imagined disasters came to fruition, he said “None, so far, but I think they might.
I explained that only 10% of the things we worry about ever happen. I taught him to spend his time and energy focusing on the 90% of things that might go right, not wrong. I helped him implement strategically innovative solutions to overcome his problems, but kept the main mindset focus on positive actions. When you take action it’s impossible to stay in that fruitless worry mode, because you are doing something constructive.
Clarify Your Objectives
In marksmanship they teach that the smaller you can make the spot where you aim, the smaller and fewer your misses will be, too. Most people don’t drill down on specific business challenges and goals, and as a result they miss the target by a mile. I helped my client narrow his priorities and get very precise about his benchmarks. That allowed him to concentrate his thinking, human resources, and planning on where it mattered most and produced the most impact.
When you gain clarity and begin to design your plan that way, the “how to do it” shows up automatically. We brainstormed various options and I was there to guide him along the way. But as his focus crystalized he asked the right questions of me and began to trust himself that he knew where to find the way forward. He observed an interesting process that I see all the time. When you don’t know what to aim at, your vision gets clouded and confused. But the more specific your goals are, the broader and more expansive your vision becomes.
Develop the Potential Around You
Not only did we execute a plan to find new talent to join his organization as the business grew, we also intentionally designed a succession plan for advancing his top talent. That way as the company grew exponentially, it didn’t collapse under the weight of its own success as so many business do. Team leaders were constantly advancing into higher roles and new hires were quickly brought up to speed and developed to maximize their contributions and the company’s human capital.
To grow sales in a corporate environment or small business you have to work on your leadership skills and then pass those skills along to everyone around you. That’s why he incorporated training programs so everyone felt that they were given a chance to grow their careers within the company. That is an extraordinary motivator that fueled engagement, teamwork, and high morale – and ensured that his competitors didn’t poach his talent after he invested in those employees. To the contrary, that kind of intelligently-led workplace became a recruiting magnet.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand. Illustra Consulting Copyright © 2016, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected] This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.