For those of you leading organizations in growth mode, you are continually having to balance efforts between the business you are and the business you are becoming. As your team expands, you’ll need to consider new and exciting (yes, they can be!) iterations of your org chart.
I recently worked with a corporate team coaching client. We were tasked with building an interdependency journey in Mural that would allow leadership to measure where interdependencies were happening on their global finance team. Interdependency is not only a function of a team, it’s also a quality that emerges at the higher stages of team development (think storming, norming, performing, etc.).
If you’re familiar with McKinsey’s innovation horizons, you know that each level of product or portfolio planning requires new or different team members, leadership styles, mindsets, language, business systems, experimentation frameworks, and management methods.
Just as in innovation, interdependency has a similar way of scaling. According to the 1967 book Organizations in Action by sociologist James D. Thompson, for each level of team interdependence (pooled, sequential, or reciprocal), there are different levels of coordination required (standardization, planning, or mutual adjustment).
Pooled - This type of task interdependence combines separate parts. Business units perform separate functions, not necessarily interacting or overlapping. Like a gymnastics team, however, their individual performance can negatively impact the rest of the organization.
Sequential - Like an assembly line, this type of interdependence means that one unit depends on the output of another before they can do their part. Planning and scheduling become vital to avoid bottlenecks in production.
Reciprocal - These units are highly interactive and reflexive. It’s sequential, but with the addition of multiple rounds or cycles. Teams or departments may adjust as the situation changes (think sales, marketing, product development, R&D, etc.) and if one department underperforms, the house of cards could come crashing down.
A lack of agreement between the types of interdependence and levels of coordination can reduce results, bruise relationships, diminish well-being, or shutter businesses.
For now, consider these questions:
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THE 7 TYPES OF INNOVATION
ISO TC 279 defines innovation as "a new or changed entity realizing or redistributing value."
At Illustrious, we define innovation as the act of creativity and experimentation that turns your best ideas (and even your best failures) into value. This means that whether we’re talking about corporate innovation or a small business that encourages innovation best practices on small teams, you can’t have innovation without the ability to 1) generate and elevate new ideas, 2) iterate ideas into process maps and prototypes, and 3) validate and scale those idea prototypes into the right audience fit.
Innovation strategy falls into numerous categories. These include:
THE 3 HORIZONS OF INNOVATION
An organization’s innovation strategy also falls into what McKinsey and Company call horizons. These are the time-bound areas of focus for innovation efforts.
The first horizon (H1) is the home for any short-term innovation strategy and includes both “incremental” and “notable” shifts along the value scale. Incremental shifts include improvements or additional unique features to products and services (think a toothbrush with rubber grips or a flipchart with handles).
According to Magnus Penker, author of How to Assess and Measure Business Innovation, “notable” shifts include a “distinguishable advance in design, process or business model” (think the RAZR phone or disposable hearing aids).
The second horizon (H2) includes mid- to long-term innovation efforts and results in significant or “radical” shifts. This means there is an advance in the product or experience design as well as to the process or business model (think Southwest Airlines or iPod/iTunes).
The third horizon (H3) is where we see game-changing transformational shifts. The hallmark of the third horizon is that at least two important advances are made in a combination of design, process or business model. (Think market disruptors like the razor and blades model or the light bulb and electrical grid.)
Each of these corporate innovation types requires a different leadership style (entrepreneurial, democratic/participatory, coaching/charismatic, etc.). Each type requires a decision to buy, build, partner or do “open” innovation (collaboration outside the walls of the business). With each leap, what got you there will not get you where you’re going. At each horizon, you will take on new or different team members, mindsets, language, business systems and management methods.
When you commit to the practice of innovation, you are not only committing to changing your surroundings, but also to changing yourself.
If you’re ready to have a conversation about the inner work required to lead innovation in your business, we’d love to help you shine.
by Rachel Blasco
From updating your strategy to scaling your team, growth is change and change is hard.
Visual Consultants are hired to “facilitate the organization to perceive, understand, and develop the organization’s business and human processes, in order for the client to improve the situation themselves, as they define it.”
Visual Consultants work with clients to (quite literally) paint the picture their teams are trying to describe in vivid details that is clear and easy to understand. In other words, visual consultants are the map makers and cartographers for our ideas in order to define and put plans into actionable stories.
Visual consulting is at its essence, storytelling. The practice developed out of the constant need for innovation in businesses that want to remain not only at the top of their game, but to continue to move the ball forward in their field.
Visual consultants are at the intersection of three fields that have given rise to a new way of working: Visualization, dialogic practice, and change consulting. The outcome is both rewarding and inspiring to executives and teams alike. Visual storytellers and consultants both design and lead change in organizations and communities that may otherwise feel unmotivated or simply unclear on what the objectives and expected outcomes of the group may be.
Ultimately, this is an orientation in process thinking and process leadership. So, clients seeking alignment on new visions, process transformation, innovation, culture change, and sustainable results get the results they are looking for in hiring a visual consultant to bring order to the chaos.
Why Seeing is Believing
In both high profile corporate coaching and small personal development circles, creating a clear picture around your goals and steps to get there is a central topic. Look at the vocal facilitators and consultants as pros at this. Navigating both verbal story and visual landscape, these experts bring design thinking and creativity to the gray landscapes of corporate agendas and enhance team enthusiasm and commitment.
An article in Forbes, Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them, discusses the research behind describing or picturing goals and the strong association with goal success; and, people who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish what they set out to do. Think about visual facilitation and storytelling as the map to your destination. It’s much easier to get to where you are going if you have a better picture of what to expect or look for. It helps our monkey brains process more efficiently, and focus on what matters.
If you are experiencing the following, you may need someone to consult with on your vision, culture, story or strategy. Some of the main complaints among brands and businesses that would benefit greatly from visual consultants are:
With all of this in mind, and especially if you are experiencing any of these issues, it makes sense to hire visual consultants to facilitate innovation workshops and improve overall team output and performance while defining what the next chapter of your business will look like.
If you still don’t know where to start or what this might look like for your organization, we’d be happy to schedule a quick 30-minute call.
Do you sometimes feel like the people in your business are speaking different languages or reading from different playbooks?
Do you fear that, if asked, your team wouldn’t be able to tell you what your top priorities for this year (or this quarter) are?
You are not alone.
64% of leaders believe their team can tell them the top priorities from memory. Unfortunately, only 2% can do it.
Why the disparity?
Your business goals need to be kept simple. They need to be reduced to the fewest possible metrics, the fewest goals, the fewest steps, the fewest moving parts.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is a goal-setting framework used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes.
It all began in 1954 when Peter Drucker published his book The Practice of Management, which introduced the concept of “Management by Objectives.”
In 1975, John Doerr, at the time a salesperson working for Intel, attended a course taught by Andrew Grove where he was introduced to the theory of OKRs, then called "iMBOs" ("Intel Management by Objectives").
The development of OKRs is generally attributed to Grove who introduced this approach at Intel. Grove later documented OKRs in his 1983 book High Output Management.
Then, as fate would have it, in 1999, Doerr introduced the idea of OKRs to Google. The idea took hold and OKRs quickly became central to Google's culture as a "management methodology that helps to ensure that the company focuses efforts on the same important issues throughout the organization."
Doerr published Measure What Matters, his definitive book about the OKRs framework, in 2017.
Christina Wodtke, who worked at Zynga with John Doerr, published her shorter (and arguably superior) book, Radical Focus in 2016.
WHAT OKRs ARE (AND AREN’T)
OKRs are not a strategic planning, project planning, or performance evaluation framework. They are an alignment framework and are intended to get your team facing in the right direction and reading from the same page over the next 90 days.
Imagine a construction company - let’s call them ABC, the Amazing Building Company - with no foreman, no plan, no deadline, and no meetings. The workers may feel pulled in many different directions, working on many things at once, and never have a sense of what anyone else is doing. You may actually feel like that now in your business.
If half of the workers at ABC are digging holes over the next few months, and the other half are filling them, the company makes no progress on their plans to break ground. However, if they decide that there is plenty of time to move earth later and that for the next 90 days they need all hands on deck to dig, dig, dig, then they will make significant progress on the plan. The workers will expend the same amount of energy, but now instead of feeling like they are in a swirl of inefficiency, they will feel oriented toward a common goal and be working toward something together.
OKRs are an ideal solution for businesses needing to achieve a specific goal or finish a certain project, prove or disprove a hypothesis, or get everyone on the team leaning into a specific process or change (a.k.a. “steering the elephant”) over the next 90 days.
An aligned team is an efficient team. And an efficient team is a powerful team.
WHY USE OKRs?
In practice, using OKRs is different from other goal-setting techniques (KPIs, SMART Goals, OGSM, Balanced Scorecards) because of the aim to set very ambitious goals. When used this way, OKRs can enable teams to focus on the big bets and accomplish more than the team thought was possible, even if they don’t fully attain the stated goal. OKRs can help teams and individuals get outside of their comfort zones, prioritize work, and learn from both success and failure.
Plenty of leaders do not put in the time to do their OKRs well. They are busy hiring, dealing with emergencies and top priorities, or chunking their time in an attempt to leverage and maximize their activity to output ratio.
The best leadership doesn’t break when it comes to setting strategy and key initiatives. They put in the time to discuss important ideas with their top executives because they know that an extra day spent planning will reap rewards down the line if executed properly.
Taking the time to plan OKRs and adequately assess them after each time period is a sign of respect for your colleagues and employees. It means you respect the placement of their time and efforts.
OKRs are only as effective as your commitment to using them and your efforts in creating them.
If you need help implementing OKRs in your business, let’s set up a call to see if we can help.
You can also download our free e-book, OKRs 1.0: A Beginners Guide to Measuring What Matters in Your Organization, to learn more about the anatomy of OKRs and when to use them.
Guest post by Ashley Preston
You only have six seconds to capture someone’s attention.
It is a busy world out there and you’re competing against all of it. Information is constant in today’s day and age, and it is always coming at us. So how do you get people to look up and listen through all the noise? How do you get them to click on the link? How do you get them to care about what it is you’re saying?
I spent a lot of time in newsrooms writing the promos and teases that kept viewers tuning in and clicking articles, and I can tell you there are a lot of ways to do it – with some ways proving to be more effective than others.
These are the best techniques newsroom writers use to get you to look up, click the link, and see what they have to say.
First Thing First
The single most important thing you can do is create content that has value. None of these tips matter if you’re pumping out bullshit that has little to no value to your audience. If you don’t understand or care about what you’re writing about, there is a good chance your clients won’t either.
Make sure what you’re writing about is worth the paper (digital or otherwise) it’s written on. Make sure you clearly understand what the objective of your information is, and how it helps your customers. Knowing the value you're providing makes it easier to show others why they should take time out of their busy days to consume your content.
Sure, you can write bad content with interesting teases that get people to click or listen, but you can only do that so often before you lose credibility.
Now that we’ve gotten that important disclaimer out of the way, here’s how you capture the attention of your readers or viewers with gusto.
Imagine This Scenario
Imagine a scenario where a family’s house burned down right before Christmas.
The family got out safely after a daring escape through a second-floor window, but now they don’t have a home or any presents to give to their children for the holiday. The Red Cross is helping, and a local charity is collecting Christmas donations.
The reporter covers the story – talking to the family about the fire, their escape, and the overwhelming sadness they feel when they think about Christmas morning. The reporter then talks to the organizations helping the family get back on their feet and have a good holiday.
The goal of the reporter’s story is to let the community know that the family is devastated by their loss, feels lucky to be alive, and that the public can still help make the holiday a little brighter for them.
There are several ways you could write headlines and teases for this type of story.
1. Call to Action
People react when there is a way to positively respond to information that upsets them.
In this instance, you would let the community know that they can do something to make this situation better. Oftentimes people feel helpless, especially in the face of bad news, so when people realize they can help, they will. A tease like this would focus on letting people know there are steps they can take to make things better for the family.
Example: “A local family barely escapes a fire that destroys everything they own days before Christmas; how you can help make sure that their holiday is still a festive one.”
2. Important / Interesting Facts
People love a good story, and we are drawn to shocking information.
While it is always important to lead with the most relevant information, it is also a wonderful way to turn someone’s head. These are the facts that people will remember and make people care; use that to your advantage. A tease like this would likely focus on the family’s escape and the community outpouring that quickly came in.
Example: “They barely escaped with their lives; a local family jumps from their second-story window to save themselves from a fire days before Christmas – what the community is now doing to help.”
3. Emotional Story
This is, without question, the most powerful tease element you can include. Most people are caring and can relate to the pain of others. It’s why I can’t hear Sarah Machlachlan’s 1999 hit “Angel” without thinking about dogs in cages. It is why music stirs us like it does. We are moved by raw emotion.
Emotional statements from people directly impacted by the situation stay with you. They help us empathize better with people. They encourage us to act. They help us better connect with ourselves and with others. If you can use an emotional tease, the general rule is do so, because you will usually see results.
In this scenario, a professional writer would lead with a statement from the family, something talking about how both grateful they are to be alive, but sad that their children will have nothing, along with information that the community can still help.
Example: “We are so grateful we made it out safely, but I still don’t know how we are going to tell the kids that Santa won’t be coming this year – what the community is doing to help a family who barely escaped a devastating house fire right before Christmas.”
Ponder This When Writing Headlines and Teases
All these techniques can be used together – a fact and the emotional toll it took on you, a fact with an action you can take, a brutal emotional plea and action you can take, etc. but make sure you factor in at least one of these elements.
When writing out your headlines and teases, ask yourself:
If you’re looking for more help getting your content strategy in the right place, or improving your internal communication, let us know. We are a group of business coaches (with a background in media and journalism) who are here to help you clarify your ideas, articulate your message, and execute your mission. We would love to help you show the world that what you’re doing matters.
by Ashley Preston
Knowing how to clearly articulate your company’s mission is critical when trying to connect with your audience - be it customers, potential employees, or investors.
The mission statement is designed to describe a business’s purpose and help distinguish it from its competitors. It outlines places of potential growth and provides team members with common goals.
In his book, Business Made Simple, Donald Miller writes, "Teams that are not united around a compelling mission waste time, energy and money moving in random directions that do not serve the overall objective of the organization.” He continues, “A leader who can help a team define a mission and who can remind the team daily of what the mission is and why it matters is a valuable gift to the organization."
There is an art to crafting the perfect statement that is easy for you and your team to adopt. Here are three techniques to help you develop the impactful language you need to make a statement to the world.
Explain Who You Are and Why You Exist
Make sure you can clearly say who you are, what it is you do, and how it helps the client or customer. Lay out what main services you offer and define who those services are meant to serve. Explain why your offerings are valuable. Why should someone want what it is you are offering?
Make sure you are specific. It will make you more memorable and help you find the right customers and team members for your business. If you can clearly explain what you do and what someone can expect when using your services, you are more likely to end up with happier customers and satisfied employees.
Inspire Yourself and Others
All choices should be grounded in reality - but mission statements can be a powerful tool in inspiring those who hear them. It can serve as an encouragement to team members who are working with you to implement your solutions.
For instance, Patagonia says in its mission statement that it aspires to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
While the company is not promising to solve all the world’s problems, it is promising to do its part to make responsible apparel and help save the planet. Staff members and consumers realize through a statement like this that the company supports environmental causes, and by supporting them, they are also doing something small to help that cause.
There is a reason you started doing what you are doing. Make sure you can demonstrate how that mission can grow to better others and the world we live in.
Be Punchy to Be Memorable
Mark Twain once said that he sent a long letter because he did not have time to write a short one. While there are companies with mission statements that are paragraphs long, the best mission statements are ones that you could easily speak out in a sentence or two. It makes it easier for employees to relay and for customers to remember.
Using the right language becomes crucial in that case. Every word needs to be chosen for maximum impact and understanding. Try to be as concise as possible. If it is lengthy, pare it down to sharpen its delivery.
Once you have it in a place where you feel like it is short and sweet, make sure that the message is consistently used across all platforms and that the team is aware of the changes. Explain the value of aligning company actions with the mission’s intent – a mission statement is most effective when everyone is on board.
It is worth taking the time to develop a relevant, impactful mission statement. It serves as a reminder of why you founded your business and where you are headed. It is the kind of language that can guide you and motivate your team for years to come.
If you need help getting yours in the right place, let us know! Our experts can help guide you through the creative process and arrive at a mission statement that beautifully and efficiently describes your value and the impact of your work.
An Interview with Joran Oppelt by Ashley Preston
There are a lot of misconceptions around success.
The dictionary describes it as “the correct or desired result of an attempt,” or “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame,” but how it is measured is highly subjective to each person pursuing goals.
So the question becomes, “how should we think of success?”
That’s why I sat down with Joran Oppelt, the founder of Illustrious Consulting and an international speaker and author to get his thoughts on what “success” really is, how it is achieved, and what kind of mentality we should approach it with.
Here’s what he had to say about his journey, the biggest lessons he’s learned along the way, and some of the most common misconceptions he’s seen about what it takes to be successful.
Q: How can someone find success?
A: There might be a formula for sales, there might be ways to template out content, there are aspects of a business you can replicate and train, but no one can just hand you the roadmap to a successful business.
I wish people knew there are no gurus or experts that can turn them into an amazing CEO or business owner or manager. People are making things up as they go all the time – they’re building their airplanes in flight.
Relying on a step-by-step process pigeon-holes you into a certain way of doing things. The best entrepreneurs accept that there isn’t a precise process, there isn't an exact framework. It doesn’t work that way.
Q: Why is it important to find your own formula for success?
A: Everyone has different markets and segments, so one-size-fits-all approaches aren’t going to solve your problems. Success is found by those who are willing to go out on a limb.
You give your power away when you allow yourself to think that one person’s book or system can help you hit your goals. That puts your chance to succeed outside of yourself. You’re not taking responsibility for your own future. You're avoiding experimentation, which is a vital piece of this whole puzzle. It’s how you learn important lessons and collect valuable data. When everything is an experiment, all you get is results.
Q: How do successful people talk about their endeavors?
A: When I hear successful people talk about their wins, I hear how they worked to make their ideas fit – to get over whatever hump they had to – and come out stronger for it. They are unafraid to learn how to create a sales process or a marketing campaign. They are willing to experiment and to fail and to learn. It’s about seeing themselves as leaders.
Q: What kind of mindset do you need to be a success?
A: I’m a big believer in “how we do anything is how we do everything.” There is harmony and balance in the cosmos. At the micro level, if you’re intentionally steering the ship, those micro-adjustments will make a difference in where you go.
Are you messy? Are you late? Did your team hit its goals this year? Did you hit your goals this year? Think about your role in your own business and in your own life. I'll bet that you can draw a straight line from the attitude you have when you wake up to how you show up for your team or business to the results you see at the end of the quarter.
Q: What do you hope to instill in your coaching clients in order for them to own their own success?
A: My biggest coaching breakthrough is always when the client sees themselves as the kind of person they want to be. They can’t do that unless they put the work into changing their habits and thought patterns.
Once we understand the interconnectedness of intention and presence and strategy, then we have something we can build from. That mindset -- that kind of vision -- gives you a direction in which to experiment, the ability to see failure as an opportunity, and the opportunity to be reborn every day as someone who transcends their problems and includes what they’ve discovered along the way.
In a post-pandemic world, we are starting to see the effects of disruptive change take hold in organizations.
We are starting to hear things like the following:
All of these (and more) are signs you are entering into the season of renewal. Getting past the roadblocks, obstacles or disasters is only the beginning of the challenge.
According to the Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance model, the renewal stage brings closure to the cycle of work done by teams and usually includes things like adding new members, harvesting what you’ve learned, and celebrating endings.
Individuals and organizations need to pause and create time to assess, adjust, process, and recalibrate, before moving forward to the next stage. Looking at the Investment Portfolio canvas designed by The Grove, we see that in the bottom left quadrant (labeled “Plow”) the focus turns to things that are in decline, being displaced, underutilized or need to be repurposed.
As David Sibbet explains in his book, Visual Consulting, these elements of the business don’t need to go away completely, though some might. When we think about the process organically or agriculturally, these are the parts of the business that can be composted or tilled into something new. They are stretches of field that need to be replanted, possibly with new seeds. They are crops that may need to be scaled down or moved to a different plot. This requires strategy and your best thinkers using the data that’s been harvested throughout the other seasons.
You should use your season of renewal to reconnect with your vision, mission, and purpose. Reflect on what kind of leader you’ve been and whether that style of leadership is still required or whether there needs to be some adjustment (or inner work) on your part.
Here are some things you can do as a team to invest in (and celebrate) the season of renewal.
If you need help leading a renewal session, re-casting your vision, or facilitating or capturing a town hall or retrospective, reach out to us to schedule a 30-minute discovery call.
Guest post by Ashley Preston
I know you want me to write a simple how-to manual for lead generation right now – something that helps you lay out your plan in a neat, step-by-step fashion. However, I am here to tell you that it does not exist.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to closing sales because no business offering is the same. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not showing your company’s unique value the respect it deserves.
Creating more leads and converting them into sales is both an art and a science, so we must have the mindset of a mad genius such as Salvador Dali, in addition to the painstaking laboratory rigor of Marie Curie. It takes an artist’s view of layers, tone, color, experimentation, proactive and reactive adjustments, and a little bit of bravery to find out what works for you and your business.
Think Like an Artist Instead of a CEO
As an artist, I can tell you that there are plenty of times I have started a drawing, spent hours on it, stepped back, and realized something was still not quite right. When that happens, I am left with two options.
Depending on the issue and the medium I am working in, I can sometimes correct it and keep moving forward with that piece. Other times, though, I see that I will ultimately spend less time working by abandoning that version and starting from scratch.
In sales, sometimes we spend so much time in the rapport-building process that we lose sight of what we’re trying to achieve – a sale. It may be beneficial to step back from the sales process and consider what nuance or elements have been missing. Are you lacking the warmth of trust, the heat of authority, or maybe the cool shades of thoughtfulness. Treat the relationship like a creative collaboration, adding these new tones as needed.
You may also want to look at your social media channels and the message they are sending about you and your business. What types of posts are getting the most interaction from your audience? What is getting them to comment? Are they responding more to questions or product information or funny posts? What content is getting the feedback you’d hoped for? Adjust your content strategy as needed until you’re attracting the right attention to your business.
Pay close attention to the flow of your sales conversations. You may even record them and analyze the play-by-play. Pay attention to the language your customers are using when they are interacting with you. You can mirror those word choices to better connect with them. Pay attention to their complaints if they have them; they are sharing pain points you might be able to help resolve. Conversations can reveal so much when we allow ourselves to let the moment dictate our actions.
I will sometimes start a painting with little idea of what I want to create – letting the painting naturally materialize through experimentation. This is much like analyzing client needs – taking one step (and one question) at a time until that discovery process is complete and a richly detailed image of the client's problem has taken shape.
While I have been immersed in art since I was young, there are plenty of techniques and styles I have not touched upon yet. I will often pull out my old art tutorial books or watch a YouTube video to see how other artists tackled something, but even then, it is up to me to incorporate the information in a way that works with my own style.
You may consider watching YouTube videos by thought leaders and sales experts (Jill Konrath, Gary Vee, etc.) or watching some sales role-play videos to tighten up your practice.
As an artist, you need to be willing to make mistakes and adjustments. The process of creating is just as important as the result. Allow yourself space to let the process tell you what it needs. Give yourself permission to start over when it is called for and don’t waste time on something that no longer works.
Give Yourself Space to Experiment
Bravery is not the lack of fear – it is action despite that fear. It is terrifying to take risks. Even as someone who is comfortable with some risk, I still feel afraid when I take chances, even if I believe the odds are in my favor that things will be fine.
Often, successful people are willing to deal with short-term discomfort because they know there is no perfect approach. All knowledge is useful. Learning from your sales and messaging mistakes allows you to refine the messages that best land with your ideal clients.
Sales is not a numbers game. It has always been about quality.
Make time to experiment with new ideas. Each week, or each workday, testing out new concepts and playing with sales pitches can make a difference in the results you’re getting. Think of all the things you might experiment with -- your greeting, your signature, your subject line, the first sentence, the length of your message, the tone of your message, or the font you’re using.
It takes conscious effort to allow yourself to openly create, but the rewards you reap from that kind of healthy risk are tangible.
Use Data to Refine Sales Messages and Get Results
There is not much point in doing something if we are unwilling to learn from it. The beauty of that type of experimentation is that you can collect a wide range of direct data to help you refine or recreate your message.
Pay attention to what techniques and language are connecting (or not connecting) with clients. Maybe they are smiling or leaning forward when you use a certain phrase, or you notice that you have connected with numerous potential clients through a certain social media platform. You may leave a sales meeting feeling how much they love you, but then they go radio silent and stop responding to your calls. Use that information to tweak and refine your strategy.
Keep a list of pitches that have worked well. Take note when someone responds exceptionally to something you said. Track response times to see when potential clients are generally online. Track your follow up and the time it takes to get a response during the week compared to over the weekend. Use whatever information you can pull to test your experiments, and adjust your strategy as needed.
Stop Looking for The Perfect Sales Conversion Process
Just stop. It can feel lonely and stressful when making choices that affect your business, reputation, and even income.
However, it is important to remember that you did not come this far to only come this far. You have made difficult choices before, and you will continue to make choices that you think will best benefit your business.
And that is the whole point. Whether you are the Director of Development or the CEO, you likely want to be in charge and have some say over what happens to the clients in your pipeline. You know what is best for your clients and your business, so own it.
Be Comfortable with the Unknown
It takes effort and practice to have faith in your process. We often want immediate results and concrete proof that something will work before we even attempt it, but you will get much farther by trying new ideas, using first-hand data to pivot your message and approach, taking the reins of your business and doing away with the limitations of any out-of-the-box program or process.
It’s our mission to identify development opportunities and help our clients think like artists. The best artists are willing to shape, and even scrap, their own work. Find your power, formulate your plan of attack and throw away that dusty old playbook. If you need help getting clear on your next best steps or want to schedule a conversation, send us a message.
Guest post by Ashley Preston
You did it. You finally took a chance and hired a coach to help you. They are promising to help you turn your life and your business around, but as you work with them, you can’t help feeling like something is a bit off.
Are you having buyer’s remorse? Or is it something else? Are you comfortable talking to them? Are they making it easy for you to open up and share what you need to with them? Or do you find yourself hesitating to use the services you paid for?
If you’re having doubts, you might want to ask yourself if you’ve hired the right coach. Here are five signs it might be time to look for the exit.
1. They Bully You or Harshly Judge You
You hired a coach because they could help you in areas where you admitted you’re struggling. They are there to encourage you; not make you feel guilty or dumb for not knowing something in the first place. No one should make you feel inferior for owning up to your own shortcomings and getting help to improve those personal limitations. That’s how we learn and grow as people.
If your coach is making you feel like you’re inferior, if they are talking down to you, or dismissing your concerns without valid reason, you’re not dealing with the kind of person who should be working as a coach. You can’t solve your real problems when you can’t talk about them without fear, and you can’t be truly vulnerable with someone who doesn’t show you the respect you deserve.
2. They Minimize Your Experience, Education, or Training
Coaching takes a great deal of compassion, empathy, and patience. It requires the coach to step into your shoes and understand where you’re coming from. A good coach will point out your strengths and remind you how far you’ve already come. That coach would embolden you to use whatever tools are at your disposal in order to move forward with confidence while helping you sharpen up other areas in your life so you can be even more effective.
However, if you have a coach who is telling you that because your training or experience didn’t come from the “right” place, or it’s not valid, then you have a crappy coach. It doesn’t matter how you learned what you know. As long as you have your facts straight and are confident in your experience, your perspective is valid and your knowledge is valuable. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially the coach who was hired to highlight what you bring to the table. No one gets to dim your shine!
3. They Tell You What Kind of CEO You Should Be
Did you build a business? Did you make decisions and sacrifices to get where you are? Did you create something and see its success bloom? With all that experience, you have developed your own style of work and management.
While coaches can help you reflect on parts that might not be working, or help you see some fresh perspectives that you haven’t considered, it is not your coach’s job to change everything. Why fix something that isn’t really broken? Don’t trust a coach who can’t see your leadership potential and success.
A good coach will work with you to create a better mindset so you can be the best version of yourself, not tear you down and rebuild you from the ground up. Walk away from the coach who makes you feel like a terrible CEO when it’s clear that most of what you’re doing worked long before they walked into the picture.
4. They Tell You They Know Exactly How to Fix Your Business
One size doesn’t fit all. Some coaches want to believe that a one-size-fits-all approach will work, but it is simply a lazy approach that doesn’t take into account the complexities of your operation or the free market. While a good coach can provide feedback, structure, and advice, these things should act as guidelines. You should have the room to ultimately make decisions that fit your own business without feeling guilty or stupid for doing so.
If your coach is saying things like “just trust the program, it works for everyone” there’s a good chance that their system isn’t battle-tested, and they don’t understand the importance of giving you the power to make the choices that will ultimately serve your company best. Only you will know what that is, and a good coach will know when to encourage you to do so.
5. They Bombard You With Too Much Information
You need to walk before you can run. A coach is there to develop your potential. A good coach wants to facilitate the learning process by challenging your thoughts and creating an environment that enables you to take it all in. They know that you should master the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced routines.
Good coaches care about how much you get out of the program. A bad coach, however, will likely throw a massive amount of information at you, sometimes in no particular order. They do so because oftentimes it makes them feel smart, and if you can’t take it all in, then it’s not their fault that you don’t succeed. It is a lazy approach that leaves you wanting.
If your coach isn’t taking the time to explain things, and if they aren’t giving you information that is digestible, you’re not going to benefit from the program like you should.
There Are Too Many Coaches Out There. Don’t Settle for Bad Coaching.
You should get what you paid for. You should feel supported and seen by a coach. You should feel like they are there to help you. You should feel like they are learning from you as much as you’re learning from them. You should be able to trust them and their vision for you.
If you don’t feel that way about your current coach, then it’s time to make a change. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. Contact the team at Illustrious, ask about our Amplified Executive Coaching program, and let’s get you back on track with someone in your corner who believes in you.
ABOUT THE Author
Joran Slane Oppelt is an international speaker, author and consultant with certifications in coaching, storytelling, design thinking and virtual facilitation.