Write Right: Roger Shapiro

One on One With Public Speaking: Brian Baldinger

Speak Masterfully: Pamela Enders

Take Boring Out of the Board Room: Eileen Sinett

Grow As a Leader, Grow Your Business: Stephen Payne

Help Wanted: Leaders w/ Vision — Teti, Hyman

Good Leaders: To Thyselves Be True — Teena Cahill

Beyond Buzzwords: Joanne Smikle

Great Thinkers, Lousy Managers: Dan Treadwell

Five Key Traits Of Top Performers: Jeff Tobe

Why Women Are Opting Out: Mary Hartman

Sales Training, An Ongoing Process: Jim Barnoski

Corrections or additions?

These articles have been adapted from the weekly Survival Guide

section for 2005 for the January 4, 2006 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

All rights reserved.

Launching Your Career

Thanks to the Internet, everyone with a keyboard can now be a

published author, and anyone with a webcam and a broadband connection

can be a video performer. While the Internet may make books, and even

this newspaper, eventually obsolete (or take on a radical new form),

the Internet will also demand more from us as writers and spekers.

Every audience is bathed in information and entertainment around the

clock, making it increasingly more difficult to get – and keep – their

attention.

We begin this section on personal and career growth with advice on how

to deliver a message that will cut through Information Age clutter and

reach its mark.

Top Of Page
Write Right: Roger Shapiro

`Your words should reflect who you are," says Roger Shapiro. In the

age of E-mail this fact is worth thinking about. "Before beginning a

writing project, you need to understand its objective," adds Shapiro,

the founder of Mitchell Rose, a communication consulting firm at 2500

Brunswick Pike.

"Often a client will come in and ask for a brochure. When I ask them

why they need it, they don’t know," says Shapiro. A brochure, or other

piece of marketing literature, should not just share information. "It

should have a purpose," he says. "It should be designed to generate

leads or to increase sales, but sharing information just for the sake

of sharing information is a waste of money."

Founder of the Mitchell Rose full-service marketing firm

(www.mitchellrose.net), he is also an instructor at Mercer County

Community College, and is the author of "Write Right: 26 Tips You Can

Apply Right Now to Improve Your Writing Dramatically."

His book doesn’t suggest that there is only one way to write well.

"Everyone has a different style of writing and no one can replace that

creative genius," says Shapiro. While not everyone has a talent to

easily and quickly write creative copy, there are technical aspects to

writing that can be taught.

"You can do concrete things right now to make your work stronger," he

says. These are simple things anyone can do to make sure that writing

achieves the desired results. His book is divided into one to

three-page tips that can be applied easily to a particular project.

Some of his tips:

Issue a call to action. How often have you received a brochure or

other piece of advertising in the mail and wondered why you received

it? What does the advertiser want you to do? "You must direct the

reader to take action, motivate them to do something," says Shapiro.

Make sure your copy includes statements like, "Place Your Order Now,"

"Click Here," or "Call Today."

"Know what objective you want from your reader. What words will

motivate your reader to that action?"

Make your phone number easy to find. While at first glance this may

seem obvious, Shapiro says he is amazed at the number of times it is a

challenge to find a company’s phone number on a brochure or

advertisement. Remember, if they can’t contact you, the most well

written advertisement is still a failure.

Eliminate prepositions. Words such as "at," "by," "with," "from,"

"on," and "in" make your sentences longer and keep the reader from

getting to the primary message right away, says Shapiro. "While you

can’t eliminate every preposition, evaluate them and decide if they

are really necessary."

Watch your language. Make sure your grammar is correct and that you

have used words correctly and consistently, says Shapiro. "A reader

may not consciously notice it," he says, but sloppy writing will

reflect badly on your company.

E-mails are one area of business writing where sloppiness abounds,

says Shapiro. "An E-mail can be a very powerful and persuasive

sentence or two. Your approach to writing still should not change. You

are writing because you want a response back, `Yes, I will meet with

you.’"

People are often too casual in writing letters or E-mails, he says.

"They don’t proofread and there are misspelled words and other

mistakes." Even if the E-mail is less formal "it should still be

grammatically correct." Shapiro recommends the AP Stylebook as a great

resource for correct grammar and usage.

Use statistics. Numbers are "a hook that a person can easily latch

onto and quickly grasp a concept,"

Write for one reader. Writing good advertising copy is "like playing

one-on-one basketball with your reader," says Shapiro. "You need to

personalize it and create an emotional link with your reader. Each

person cares most about his own needs and requirements." He suggests

using words such as "you" and "I" rather than "us" and "them" to help

make that connection.

"Even if you are writing copy for a billboard, think about making it

personal," he says. "Maybe 100,000 people will drive by and look at it

but you are writing for that one right person who will make a

connection."

"If you adopt even one tip, your writing will improve," says Shapiro.

"When you use them all each time you write, you will propel yourself

into the unique class of writers who develop communications that

generate measurable results and achieve objectives."

Top Of Page
One on One With Public Speaking: Brian Baldinger

Knees and joints only last so long. Few men have had this point

pounded home more forcefully than NFL offensive lineman Brian

Baldinger (www.footballstories.com). After a lifetime of playing

football and basketball, including 10 grinding years for the Dallas

Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, then the Philadelphia Eagles, it was time

for a new career. Sports announcing would make a graceful retirement,

he thought. But to be one of those rare ex-jocks who make it in this

competitive field, Baldinger realized he needed more than an

encyclopedic knowledge of the gridiron.

Seeking a new coach, he turned to Nadine Fischer, founder of Nadia

Communications Inc. of Westhampton (216.7.162.75) Baldinger,

with coaching from Fischer, has succeeded at making the leap from the

playing field to the announcer’s booth. He announces for NFL Europe

for FOX, is a game analyst for the NFL, hosts Sports Talk NJ for CN8,

and co-hosts the new One-On-One-Sports radio show.

Fisher herself is the equivalent of an NFL-level player in the

communications coaching field. A native of Morristown, she earned her

B.A. in speech and dramatics from Montclair University in l969,

followed by a masters in speech and language pathology from the

College of New Jersey. She has gained a host of professional study

certifications including psycholinguistics and the neurology of human

behavior from Harvard.

Fischer draws a sharp line between talking and communicating your

point. Just because you talk a lot, doesn’t mean you’re very good at

it. An active executive may speak 25,000 words during the work day.

The question is: How many of these words are actually communicating a

message? And how many of those messages are the ones you intended? As

with anything, sheer dint of repetition will only carry your speaking

skills so far.

Message mapping. "We live in a data smogged society," says Fischer.

"Amidst all the stuff thrown at us, you have to thoughtfully encode

your message and make it memorable." The biggest blunder Fisher sees

with speakers, however brilliant, is the tendency to gush. They add to

the data avalanche, rather than editing their speech concisely.

Message mapping primarily entails setting priorities. First determine

your message. This is not so much what the speaker says, but what

concept he wants the audience to carry away. What understanding do you

want your communication to create? From there, work out a process

leading your audience to the conclusion of your message. Too often

speakers get fixed on a medium before even discerning their own

message.

All too familiar is the thought pattern of "I’m going to make a

PowerPoint presentation; now what should I say?" PowerPoint is merely

fascinating wallpaper. Let the main theme serve as the foundation, and

choose your wallpaper to enhance it, suggests Fischer.

The precious pause. Ours is a society that urges us to fill every

moment with sound. Since we can’t keep our minds racing as fast as our

speech, we often stop and still try to keep control of the

conversation with verbal pauses: "Ahs" and "Uumms." Unfortunately,

such paralanguage only distracts from the speaker and his words. It

takes practice, but it is worth working at eradicating these words.

"Most people need to slow their speech to the pace of their thought,

and effectively employ poignant pauses for emphasis," says

Fischer.When actor John Wayne was first given one-line parts, he

deliberately made pauses to give his face more on-camera time. Later,

after learning how powerful these pauses made his speech, he kept them

in.

Examine the instrument. "Your voice is a powerful instrument, "says

Baldinger. "You have to look inside yourself and find those qualities

you naturally have that appeal to an audience. It’s almost a spiritual

journey."

For the visually oriented, speakers must create colorful images; for

the auditory learners, speakers must offer a rich resonance. And for

those who react most strongly to emotional speech, speakers must imbue

their voice with sentiment.

Visualize the audience’s response. Coach Fischer is a great believer

in recording her pupils’ voice and letting them hear themselves as

they truly sound to others. She also shows students their voice

patterns on a spectrograph. During our interview, Fischer noted that

this writer’s voice has a tendency to trail off at the end of

sentences. By watching my speech pattern on screen, I could practice

delivering a stronger finish.

For students requiring an entire change of tone, Fischer employs a

visualization technique. One speaker complained that his recorded

voice always sounded preachy and pompous, as if his every word

required a podium. Her solution: "When you speak, envision yourself

out from behind that podium, sitting in a chair, shirtsleeves rolled

up, conversing with your audience."

Brand your speech. "James Earl Jones is probably the best example of

voice branding," says Fischer. "All of us recognize his voice

instantly – and we pay attention." Such distinctive voice branding

should not involve taking it beyond its normal pitch or forcing it

into something unnatural. But it is possible to study and exaggerate

various aspects.

Tony Curtis began as a striving actor with a "dese, dem, dose" accent

straight out of Brooklyn. To give his speech more leading-man

erudition, he emulated the wildly successful, British-born Cary Grant

and ended up with a Brooklo-Yorkshire tone that invariably marked him

as cultured, suave, yet American.

Both Baldinger and Fischer advocate a more self-developmental

approach. Study, but don’t wholly imitate the best. Rather, try for a

distinctively individualize style based on natural speech.

"It’s all in the training – hard training," says Baldinger. "You would

laugh if you saw me in the car when I’m driving. I’m always doing

vocal strengthening exercises."

In addition to the sound, this athlete trains equally hard on his

content. He has a mental list of 1,500 players complete with personal

anecdotes, and is ready to add them into his speeches and game

commentary. He studies yoga for breath control and avoids "hard

partying" to keep his voice pure. "I said that when I went into this

business, I was going to be better than I was as a player on the

field," he says. His growing list of network contracts suggests that

he has met his goal.

Top Of Page
Speak Masterfully: Pamela Enders

When a psychologist starts to wonder about her own performance as a

singer, she does what she’s trained to do – she noses around in the

literature until she finds out the whats, whys, and wherefores. In the

case of Pamela Enders (info@pamelaenders.com), it was sports

literature that helped her move from performance anxiety to relaxation

and enjoyment. She now applies what she has learned from this

literature to performance in both corporate and performance situations

through workshops and individual and group coaching.

Mental toughness is a term that emerged from research in sports

psychology. Enders defines it as "the ability to consistently perform

toward the upper range of your talent and skill regardless of

competitive circumstances. It is the constellation of psychological

and cognitive qualities that determine one’s competitive edge." She

cites five mental factors necessary for excellent performance:

Reboundability. The ability to mentally bounce back from setbacks and

mistakes.

Ability to handle pressure and stay calm in the clutch.

Concentration. The ability to focus on what’s important and block out

everything else. Trial lawyers in the middle of a trial, for example,

must concentrate on cross-examinations no matter what else is

happening in the courtroom.

Confidence.

Motivation.

Says Enders, "the good news about mental toughness is that these

skills can be trained and taught."

Enders’ work is based on psychological theories, one of which

describes concentration, suggesting that it can be focused either

internally or externally, and either broadly, looking at the big

picture, or narrowly, focusing on one thing. This theory implies four

types of concentration:

Broad, external. Used to quickly read and react to the world around

you. When lawyers walk into a courtroom, they use this to size up the

jury, see who the witnesses are, and see what the other side looks

like. Basketball players would use this to decide where to move the

ball on the court.

Broad, internal. "Lawyers and CEOs tend to favor this one," says

Enders. "It is used for big picture work." It involves taking

information from the environment and using it to analyze issues, solve

problems, and plan strategy for the future.

Narrow, internal. Used to rehearse an activity or a speech. It focuses

on only one thing and involves systematically repeating the activity

internally.

Narrow, external. Used to hit a ball, shoot a basket, or sink a putt.

When balls are coming to batters, they must ignore the fans screaming,

the other team, and focus only on the ball.

"It is important to know what type of concentration is required for

each kind of action," says Enders, "and to become aware of what might

interfere with concentration." She cites two major types of

distraction: external, which includes things like noise, people

talking, or the weather; and internal, which involves things like not

feeling well physically or engaging in internal dialogue.

Enders tries to help people become aware of negative thinking that can

undermine their performance. "It is often so automatic that people are

not aware of it," she says. "They are just aware of the consequences –

anxiety and depression." A batter in a dugout who is up next with

bases loaded and a tie score in the ninth inning may be thinking,

quite unconsciously: How can I possibly get a hit? I struck out last

inning. But if the batter is aware of these negative thoughts, he can

change them into something positive, like thinking about his RBIs and

hits during the preceding week."

"Changing this way of negative thinking," says Enders, "you must be

able to dispute and debate your negative thoughts." The first step is

to evaluate the beliefs expressed in these negative thoughts. Enders

describes the thought process you might use to debate these beliefs:

Evaluate the evidence to see if the belief is true. Although the

baseball player did not do too well in this game, in the previous

three games he had RBIs and a home run, and he has a contract for $X

million. "Most of time you will have reality on your side," says

Enders.

Think about alternative explanations for the belief. "Many events have

many causes," she says. The baseball player may not be doing well

today because of a pulled muscle, a bad cold, fatigue, or simply

because he didn’t practice enough the previous day.

Analyze the implications of the belief. For the player it is that he

will be lousy today in the batter’s box. If the negative belief is

correct, which it sometimes is, then the person must decide what steps

to take to address the problem and to develop an action plan. The

batter might need to work closely with the coach, get feedback, and

find out what is wrong.

"Too often," says Enders, "people give up." She advises developing an

objective, dispassionate perspective – as if someone else has the

problem.

Top Of Page
Take Boring Out of the Board Room: Eileen Sinett

`My vision is to take the boring out of the board room," says Eileen

Sinett. As a speech and presentation coach she has worked for over 25

years to "give people comfort and authenticity in speaking to groups."

Sinett’s Plainsboro-based company is Comprehensive Communications

Services (609-799-1400). "I want the speaker to transcend the

information," she says. "The speaker should be as memorable, and as

remembered." Her advice includes:

Begin with the end. Think about what you want to leave behind. What is

the outcome that you want from this speech? The map, or plan, of the

speech is the final step in preparation. "This is not an outline like

we learned in high school," says Sinett. Instead, she sees the plan of

the speech "more as a landscape or a flow chart. It allows you to use

both the right and left sides of your brain."

Sinett suggests a number of formats to help the speaker plan the

presentation. She sometimes uses the outline of a hand to illustrate

her point. The thumb is the opening and the little finger is the

closing of the speech. The three fingers in between are the major

points of the presentation, while the webbing that connects the

fingers are the transitions from one point to the next.

Use a map strategy. Changing from an outline to a map strategy of

speech planning, "gives you double the benefit with no additional

effort," says Sinett. A second possible format for her presentation

map is a quadrant, with boxes or circles above and below for the

opening and closing. "You can color-code your quadrants and as you

them, you see everything you need at a glance," she explains.

By using color, text, and shape to develop the presentation, "you

improve your retention" of the content of the speech, she says. It

becomes one less thing to be worried about when making your

presentation.

Limit the number of concepts. A speech or presentation should include

no more than one to three concepts, says Sinett. "Most people can

retain three to five ideas, plus or minus two. That’s between one and

seven ideas that they will remember. If your presentation involves

more concepts, you risk your audience not remembering them," she adds.

Stand up straight. A major piece of the presentation is "what the body

is doing in front of the audience," Sinett says. "Speaking in front of

a large group is not the typical routine for most of us. There is

adrenaline and excitement. The body reacts unconsciously to that."

Unconscious mannerisms can often become distracting to listeners.

Small mannerisms, such as picking at nails or straightening a tie,

will distract the listener. The speaker may move too much, or may not

move enough, making themselves "seem dead," she says.

Add energy. "The presence and connection between the spirit and the

body is the essence of the message," says Sinett. "You want to make

your presentation be alive. That is what makes it different from

watching something on a video or reading it in a paper. It should be

memorable and charismatic."

Top Of Page
Grow As a Leader, Grow Your Business: Stephen Payne

Leaders are heroic, strong, and flawless. On the battlefield, we

envision Alexander; in the board room, it’s giants like Morgan,

Rockefeller, and Gates. The rest of us think we must muddle along as

mere managers. But Stephen Payne, founder of Leadership Strategies

(609-921-3399), which has its offices at Research Park, just doesn’t

buy it.

Ask any hunter in England. For generations, the Payne family name has

marked the finest in hand made sporting guns. It is from this heritage

of individual craftsmen working with pride on precision instruments

that Payne developed his ideals of what breeds success in business.

"Probably the greatest misconception about leadership comes from a

system that assures us that we are no good at leading and there is

nothing we can do about it," says Payne. A leader is someone, anyone,

who can get the right people behind the right project and inspire them

to do their best. Most of us have done this sporadically already.

Payne merely wants executives to expand it into their major goal.

Hand in glove. "Simply, your business will never grow if you don’t,"

says Payne. To head a bigger company, you yourself must become a

bigger person and a stronger leader. First, you must discover your own

strengths and define them sharply. Then, define with equal clarity the

precise goals of your business. Every meeting you call must be aimed

toward the goal. And your personal strengths must be applied to those

areas of optimum effect. In short, you will be constantly thinking,

and it will become contagious.

Flawed leaders. Every year thousands of consultants pocket millions of

dollars by pointing out some employee’s weaknesses and trying to coach

them into strengths. Payne believes that people were not born to be

crammed into petrified job descriptions, but rather that descriptions

should be flexed to the individual. Each executive should vigorously

define his weaknesses, along with his strengths, and then should note

exactly what he can do best. The rest should be delegated.

You may be a remarkably inventive entrepreneur who cannot crunch

numbers or market to save your fiscal life. You can invest time and

funds and raise yourself to almost adequate in either of these fields.

Or you can seize the leadership opportunity and set some accounting

and marketing experts on the fast track of their own personal

strength, teaming them with yours.

The great fertilizer. An aged university professor once remarked

sagely: "Out there among us right now are better poets than Homer and

better playwrights than Shakespeare. It is our job to find them."

Payne sees this as the goal of every business leader as well. In his

view, a good leader walks the floor of his plant looking at each

employee and saying "what can I do to help you perform, or lead

better?" Much of this entails matching each individual to his greatest

capabilities; then creating the ideal soil in which workers will grow

and achieve.

While Payne believes strongly in leadership meetings and specific

training, he takes a dim view of retreats and team building exercises.

Climbing a wall or going camping is artificial and can prove

distracting. Any group incapable of solving its problems, as he puts

it, "at the kitchen table – in the real world," has something sadly

lacking, and may not be the right team to begin with.

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Help Wanted: Leaders w/ Vision — Teti, Hyman

We know how to get there; we just don’t know where to go. Twenty years

ago, the business crisis was inadequately-trained managers. Faced with

global growth, companies pined for executives who could adapt,

negotiate, and compete on a worldwide scale. In answer, MBA schools

rolled up their sleeves, repackaged their curricula, and the corporate

realm quickly got all the properly trained managers it required. They

knew how to guide their firms anywhere.

But today’s business crisis is leaders. There is a need for people

with the vision to point us in the right direction. James Hyman,

president of the Hopewell Community Bank (www.hvcbonline.com), and

Joseph P. Teti, CEO of Triangle Reprocenters (www.triangleart.com),

provide a map for developing leaders.

Teti is always on the lookout for capable new leadership talent. He

admits that he seeks leaders endowed both by nature and nurture – a

mix of learned skills and inherent traits.

Entrepreneurial spirit. While difficult to define, Teti finds this

trait easy to spot. His company includes 11 franchise branches, and he

says that most of the franchise owners have been working class people,

with no family role models of ownership or management. "At the same

time," he says, "their abilities were great and we had not enough

slots in house to hold their ambition."

This is a company owner’s most delicate dilemma. How is it possible to

let the leader forge ahead on his own, yet keep him bound enough to

the firm to bring the others along with him? For Triangle, the

franchise option has proved an excellent solution.

Urge to please. This may not fit the swashbuckling image of America’s

legendary capitalists, but for both Triangle’s Teti and Hopewell

Community Bank’s Hyman it is a top leadership attribute. "Each

individual, whether employee or customer, is unique," says Hyman.

"Each must be motivated in a different way. And a leader has to have

the interpersonal skills to do it."

Accuracy. The larger the business, the more important the details

become. A good business leader constantly absorbs enormous numbers of

facts on which he bases his decisions. The more precise his knowledge,

the better not only his decisions, but those of all the staff. A

passion for accuracy is contagious, Teti says, and it comes from the

top.

Inherent in this striving for accuracy is the ability to carefully

select and delegate to able individuals. If he truly is a leader, the

executive will acknowledge his own weaknesses and surround himself

with experts who can fill in the necessary skills.

Initiative. Annual reviews can bring up the employee mantra: "But I’ve

done everything you’ve asked. What more do you want?" Neither Hyman

nor Teti are seeking the individual who just performs all the tasks or

does his job by rote. "A leader must be able to maneuver within

policy, reason his way through to a solution, and do it on his feet,"

says Hyman.

As a final thought, Teti ticks off the obvious, but unfortunately rare

skills that an outstanding leader possesses – an absorbing interest in

the business, ability to meet deadlines, a non-threatening, congenial

persona, and just plain hard work.

"Not everyone has to lead others as an executive," says Teti, "but

everyone can exhibit leadership qualities – being there physically and

mentally, at their best, five days a week."

Top Of Page
Good Leaders: To Thyselves Be True — Teena Cahill

Add an entrepreneurial spirit to a teacher turned psychologist and you

get Teena Cahill (609-683-0970). In her 50s, having taken time out of

her career to care for her sick husband, she decided she wanted to be

a "top speaker" – nationally. Her first step was to hire a hall in

Florida, invite her friends and neighbors, and give a talk – with all

the action documented by a wedding videographer. She impressed an

agent, and after six months of "begging people to speak" and "trying

to figure out what a hot speaker looks like," she hit the big time.

"Leadership is not about you; it is about the people around you and

what is best for your company," says Cahill. "It is about listening,

developing other people, and setting up a succession so that many can

take over when you are not around." Leadership does not require a

particular personality type, but it does demand self-understanding,

self-care, internal balance, and optimism.

Cahill explains a number of these necessary ingredients for successful

leadership:

Find your own strengths. The first step is to "find the power to say

no to unrealistic expectations, to distractions, and to things that

suck up time, like the computer," says Cahill. By clearing this

temporal space, "you can say yes to the things you’re really good at"

and that "you love to do." She believes that people can only be

leaders consistent with who they are and what they love to do. "If you

have a passion for something, you will lead about that," she says,

adding that everyone has the capacity to lead, and it’s just a matter

of finding your own strengths.

Understand the need for self care. "If you’re not taking care of

yourself, you can’t be available to anyone else," says Cahill. She

describes an incident in the wake of 9/11 where her own anxieties

prevented her from correctly assessing her granddaughter’s needs.

Picking up her granddaughter at school, Cahill grabbed a globe and

showed her where Afghanistan was, only to be interrupted by "Grandma,

do you want to watch me to do a handstand?" Her granddaughter was

fine, but Cahill’s own fears blinded her to that possibility.

Challenge yourself to look at the world differently. Cahill believes

that although we are hardwired to overcome crisis, this is not true

for the irritations, oppositional people, and communication

difficulties we encounter daily. Through a "cognitive reframe,"

however, we can transform pessimism about these difficulties into

hope, allowing us to move forward despite them.

Learn to be optimistic. "When pessimists make a mistake, they think it

is personal, permanent, and pervasive," says Cahill. Optimists, on the

other hand, look at a mistake and ask: What did I do wrong? What can I

learn from this? "People who are incredibly successful rarely had

success on the first try," she continues, but they learned from their

errors and moved on.

Focus on what you do well. Many people look at themselves and say "50

percent of what I do I’m good at, 50 percent not." Instead of focusing

energy on your weaknesses, Cahill’s advice is to do what you’re good

at 75 percent of the time.

Clump periods of intense work and relax in between. "When you’re in

the middle of a great performance, it’s not time to relax," says

Cahill, except for short breaks every 90 minutes or so. Once the big

job is finished, however, take a serious time to relax, maybe even

going away for a few days. "Those who succeed take breaks," she says.

If you go from intense work straight to more intense work, that leads

to burnout. Downtime used to be built into the system, but now stores,

cell phones, and computers keep us going 24-7, unless we choose to put

on the brakes.

Balance expectations of men and women. Cahill believes that the sexes

are more alike than they are different. "Men and women are both from

Earth," she says. Beyond that, she adds, "in today’s world, when you

start playing the gender game, women lose." Her goal is to maintain a

neutral standard by using neutral language.

Top Of Page
Beyond Buzzwords: Joanne Smikle

And the buzzword for today is "leadership." Bored with "empowerment,"

"managerial skillsets," and a raft of other cliched terms, it seems as

if every business improvement gathering must have "leadership"

somewhere on its flip chart. Several consultants have sheepishly

confessed that having this term in their talk’s title actually allows

them to charge more for their advice. For veteran corporate trainer

Joanne Smikle, owner of Smikle Training Services

(www.smiklespeaks.com) and author of "Calamity Free Collaboration" and

"Value Driven Leadership," such buying into buzzwords indicates that

companies are desperate to keep on the edge.

Smikle sees corporate improvement as a mental process that begins in

the brain of every worker and flows out through the company structure.

If you want to call that leadership, fine. She calls it effectiveness.

Self assessment. Using everything from very honest self-analysis to

standard testing tools, each executive and owner must determine

specifically where his personality strengths and skills lie. Smikle

employs several tools, some proprietary, to determine personality and

leadership style. Do you lead as an innovator, a facilitator, a

motivator, or just a terminator?

Link to mission. Once one’s personal competencies are established, the

individual can begin to examine how they fit within the corporate

mission. This is assuming, of course, that the company has a corporate

mission. A business’ mission, insists Smikle, is not the same thing as

the goal of its president, which he has quietly ascertained and which

is filed only in his own mind.

It is a publicized, examined, and reshaped set of goals that every

employee and client knows. It gets infused into every action of the

company. Because the mission is made by and for individuals, it stands

not as a work of stone, but is a malleable dynamic that radiates from

the firm’s operations.

Play to strength. "Face it, George W. Bush is not the sharpest pencil

in the box," says Smikle, "but he is smart enough to surround himself

with experts in every field and to and consider their advice." Even

the very brilliant Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she points out,

surrounded himself with his fabled "brain trust." Very few

entrepreneurs are naturally wizard accountants or business people. Al

Capone would have been lost without Frank Nitti.

Once an owner has ascertained his best role in the company, the next

task is to bring together that brain trust and determine how each

person’s ability can best fill the mission. Then, working in a ripple

effect, executives and all employees must discover how each action

affects the mission. This collaboration creates its own time-motion

study and leads to effectiveness. People analyze their actions

according to the total picture, and begin to weed out unnecessary

projects based more on tradition than need.

Top Of Page
Great Thinkers, Lousy Managers: Dan Treadwell

You want the woman who is searching for a cure for cancer to be

passionate about the efficacy of her investigative methods; you want

the computer designer to be convinced that his ideas on incorporating

usability features are sound. "You want technical people to have an

opinion," says Dan Treadwell, "and heaven knows, they have an

opinion!"

Treadwell, principal in Treadwell Consulting and Training

(609-737-9268), has found that this trait is "both a blessing and a

curse." It gives pharmaceutical researchers, computer engineers,

aerospace scientists, architects of mathematical models, and their ilk

the passion to power forward – and to change the world.

It can also make them lousy managers. It is generally excellence at

their work that wins technology workers the promotions that put them

in a position to supervise others, points out Treadwell. But that

expertise all too often fails to translate into leadership.

Whenever possible Treadwell observes the executives he is coaching

leaders while they are working with their teams, always stressing that

the coaching is a positive thing, that it means his skills are so

highly valued that the company wants to retain him. Here is the advice

that he gives:

Listen openly to other people. No one is really great at this key

skill, says Treadwell, but technology experts may be a little worse

than the general population. "They’re trained as problem solvers, as

linear thinkers," he says. They have had success with their methods,

and often try to push them onto others – with the best possible

intentions. "They really want to help," he says.

This attitude can make it difficult for the technology manager to

listen to others’ ideas, and to respect other ways of doing things.

"Technology people really love the work they are doing," says

Treadwell. Sometimes that zeal can backfire, though. "They may think

their way is the best way," he says, "but there are always a variety

of ways to do things."

The good manager needs to be able to step aside as the expert. "That’s

hard for all of us," says Treadwell, "but to motivate tech people, you

have to let the experts be the experts. It’s key."

Demonstrate the value. No one likes to be told to do something

"because I told you to do it." Everyone wants to see the big picture,

and this is especially true with intellectually gifted people in

technology fields. The effective manager takes time to let his people

know why the tasks they are assigned are important, and how they fit

in with a bigger goal.

If a manager has to pull a scientist off a project in which he is

passionately involved to take care of something else, he has to tell

him why it is important. "This is a `show me’ population," says

Treadwell. "You need to be able to answer that `why’?

Create breathing room. Micromanaging is a trap that ensnares a number

of technology managers. Step back, is Treadwell’s advice. Set goals

for your team members, and then let them work toward them without

interference.

Provide support. The opposite of micromanaging, creating a supportive

atmosphere involves making sure that workers have the tools and the

environment in which they can flourish.

"Be an advocate for your people," says Treadwell. "Find out what they

need. Clear space for them to succeed. Accomplish this and everyone

looks good.

Top Of Page
Five Key Traits Of Top Performers: Jeff Tobe

He was thrown out of his first job for being too creative. Jeff Tobe

(www.jefftobe.com) looked at his initial paycheck from the Chubb

Insurance company and realized one big problem: it was too small to

pay his rent. Tobe’s solution? He auctioned off his paycheck and the

$1,000 note netted him $1,200 in ticket earnings. He met the rent and

all seemed fine until the state nicked him for running an unlicensed

lottery and the stodgy folks at Chubb decided they didn’t need anyone

publicizing the paucity of their remuneration.

In l992 Tobe’s friends convinced him to take up a career in corporate

training and speaking. He moved to Pittsburgh, set up the training

service "Coloring Outside the Lines," and has recently published a

book of the same name, "Coloring Outside the Lines: Business Thoughts

on Creativity, Marketing and Sales."

Defining the edge. Tobe distilled five pervasive skills and traits

held by all those who simply were unbeatable. Foremost was that they

were all creative – they always had a second answer, perspective, or

solution for the customer. Also, they probed constantly, asking the

right questions to home into the client’s exact need. Third, they all

listened intently, which led to the next trait: they all understood

the potential client totally, beyond just his product need. Finally,

the top performers were experts at marketing themselves. Each one had

developed a selling persona, but he never let it conflict with the

customer’s buying style.

Change quotient. Creativity leads to change and change invariably

leads us out of our comfort zones. To remain in the traditional mode,

Tobe says, businesses commonly erect anti-innovation walls. They may

develop internal myopia, focusing on only the immediate problems.

Executives may be infected with psychosclerosis – a hardening of the

attitude, which greets each new idea with "We’ve been down that road

before." They may reflexively intone the five most petrifying words in

all commerce, "Sir, it’s not our policy."

Each of us has our individual ability to cope with varying amounts of

change. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, we look forward to the changing of

the seasons, but we also rest secure in the permanency of each season

being the same as last year. Tobe agrees to this balance, but feels

that most of us strangle our company’s creativity by not working to

expand our change quotients and be more tolerant.

Creativity vs. innovation. "I cringe every time I walk into an ad

agency and see a door marked `Creative Department,’" says Tobe.

"Everyone, including your receptionist, should be working creatively.

And if she is not, fire her." For Tobe, creativity is the mindset that

says if it ain’t broke, break it and build it better. It is that juice

that leads to a constant flow of ideas. Innovation is the next few

steps that gather the ideas together, sift for the best nuggets, and

assemble them into a working plan or prototype. The processes are

different, but should not be relegated to separate teams of

individuals.

Service vs. experience. One of the innovative marketing trends Tobe

points out is the shift from customer service to enhancing the entire

customer experience. The former asks "What can I do for you?" The

latter works to improve every touch point between customer and

company, making it more to the customer’s liking. You can get your

coffee at McDonalds, where the customer service is excellent. It comes

hot, quick, cheap and if you don’t drop it in your lap, it tastes just

fine.

But instead folks increasingly flock to Starbucks, where the act of

settling into a nice cup of Java becomes a whole – very pleasant –

experience. There are comfy chairs inviting you to stay, fun machines

to watch, T-shirts with odd sayings, and a clubby atmosphere.

Everything from the cup design to the website sets an interesting,

we-know-what-you-want tone.

Tobe warns that customers today have evolved into a more skeptical

group, armed with more sophisticated tools. Thus the buying experience

companies provide must go beyond net price. Is the website not just

easy to peruse, but does it establish itself as an information

resource? Does the voice mail lead the caller back to another contact?

Is the branding not only distinct, but inviting? If not, it may be

time to get out the crayons and coloring book.

Top Of Page
Why Women Are Opting Out: Mary Hartman

For women, the "door to leadership at the top levels has squeaky

hinges," says Mary S. Hartman, who has worked with issues of women in

leadership in both business and the political arenas for over 30

years. She adds that in recent years women’s progress has stalled in

many areas.

Hartman is director of the Women’s Leadership Institute

(732-932-1463), based at Rutgers University. She has been active in

women’s issues for many years. She is the author of "Gender,

Household, and Power: A Subversive View of Western History;"

"Victorian Murderesses: A True History of Thirteen Respectable French

and English Women Accused of Unspeakable Crimes;" and "Talking

Leadership: Conversations with Powerful Women," which includes

interviews with Patricia Schroeder, Anna Quindlen, and Christine Todd

Whitman.

The recent controversy over remarks by Harvard University president

Lawrence Summers underscores the broader issues of why so few women

have reached top level positions in business, politics, and education,

says Hartman. Summers suggested that intrinsic differences between

males’ and females’ abilities in science might account for differences

in how few women are found in the highest levels of the hard science

disciplines such as physics and engineering.

The business world has, in fact, "been more welcoming" to women than

have the worlds of higher education and politics, says Hartman. But

she notes an exception at the very top levels of the corporate world,

where the numbers of women in high level positions still lags

significantly.

There are many reasons for these differences, says Hartman. Lack of

flexibility in the workplace is one of the most obvious and important

reasons. The world of business is structured for the single

breadwinner family, where one person goes out to earn a living while a

support person stays at home to take care of the details of personal

and family life.

"It is difficult to advance to the uppermost levels without having

that single focus," says Hartman. To get to those higher levels, women

have often had to adopt the patterns and lifestyles of men. "They have

a lifestyle that mimics that of the single breadwinner," she says.

"They have fewer children, and often they have a spouse who is already

retired." The fact that so often the single breadwinner in a family is

male reflects the fact that society still assigns different values and

different genders to various types of work, she adds.

Another possible reason for the differences in women’s and men’s

positions in the workplace is differences "in priorities and

attitudes," says Hartman. "Our work style is not healthy and many

women are realizing it sooner (than men)." The "opt-out generation,"

younger women who have chosen to leave work to stay at home with their

children, is one example of this new realization.

Hartman suggests that changes in the workplace to add more balance

between our public and our personal lives could help to end the gender

gap. "There is a need for greater flexibility," she says, to account

for the fact that fewer and fewer women can afford to opt out. While

opting out completely can be career suicide, working up a career

ladder while at the same time raising children and maintaining a home

is a difficult task. Says Hartman: "Handling both a personal and a

professional life is often a delicate balancing act."

Top Of Page
Sales Training, An Ongoing Process: Jim Barnoski

According to Jim Barnoski, consultant with Somerset-based Performance

Selling (732-764-0200), "anybody can be a salesperson if they have

four things: desire, commitment, humility, and accountability. But,

really, that’s life, isn’t it?"

"People sell every day," says Barnoski. "Our training methodology is

not just about sales and business. It’s really about ongoing

reinforcement to sharpen your skills and is a never-ending effort,"

says Barnoski. "Without it, you don’t grow. A lot of sales people

believe that once you know sales, and have been selling for one or two

years, you’ve got it. That’s crazy. You have to be able to grow and

face your fears, and move out of your comfort zone to get to a higher

level."

Barnoski says that every piece of training has to include some element

of coaching because every person is dealing with his own demons. Every

salesperson has to overcome his own discomfort. "For instance," he

says, "they may have a problem talking about money, or have a high

need for approval. They might have difficulty making decisions by

themselves, or they may get emotionally involved instead of staying

objective on a sales call. So they don’t think clearly and don’t say

what they need to say, because they heed the voice in their head

saying, `be careful, you almost got it.’"

Sales professionals deal every day with how to get people to make

decisions and how to get people to reveal their real problems. They

need to discover their true level of commitment to fix those problems.

"We speak to `how do you get the truth?’ because, it really doesn’t

matter what the product is, we’re dealing with process and behavior

and overcoming our own fears."

Overcome fear. According to Barnoski, that’s what sales is really

about: overcoming fear and being able to ask certain personal

questions to try to break through. "Selling means you have to be a

little bit of an actor, and a little bit of a psychologist to

understand what drives and motivates people."

Learn to develop strong salespeople. Barnoski says that many times

sales managers, particularly in small businesses, were superstar sales

people at one time, or technically brilliant. But they don’t

necessarily know how to hire people. They don’t know how to develop

them or make them accountable. "Superstars expect that everybody will

perform at the same level they did," he says, "and most people don’t

have that level of desire and commitment."

Qualify your prospects. Who are your ideal prospects? He talks about

how to size up prospects within minutes of a first meeting, and how to

qualify them. "One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is chasing

prospects who are never going to be their customer," he says.

Sell to the customer’s needs. But people buy for their own reasons,

not for the salesperson’s reasons. Unfortunately, says Barnoski, many

inexperienced salespeople sell features and benefits that are of no

interest to the prospect. "We talk about identifying and tracking the

personal behaviors they need to be successful. What behaviors need to

take place for them to get in front of enough qualified leads to make

their numbers."

Explain the benefits of prospecting. Many salespeople may not want to

make cold calls, or go to network meetings, or ask for referrals.

"They don’t understand how their behavior today produces an outcome

two to three months from now," he says. "They think they’re making 20

cold calls because their boss told them to. They resist it and find

reasons not to do it. They haven’t determined that 20 cold calls a day

can result in an extra $5,000 to $10,000 in their pocket a year."

Move out of the comfort zone. That’s one reason why training often

fails. "Most trainers give technique, when the problem may be improper

team culture, or it might be the inability of salespeople to find new

accounts because they’ve spent their entire career working an account

where they knew everybody. They need to be taught prospecting."

Says Barnoski: "You don’t get better until you change. If you keep

doing the same thing, you can’t expect different results. That’s the

definition of crazy."

Be patient with new salespeople. The first three months of a

salesperson’s life with a new company, he should not be left to his

own devices. "Maybe they’re coming from a world that’s different from

the one they’re entering, and they are confused and going in the wrong

direction," says Barnoski. "Typically the manager just gets frustrated

with the salesperson, when actually they’re at fault. We talk to

managers about account planning and how you manage behavior, because

behavior drives everything in sales."

Barnoski says the two most important things required in successful

selling are guts and humor. "You have to have guts to be effective

because people are constantly trying to pull you down. Even more

important, is a sense of humor. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing

it wrong."


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