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Carl Robinson, Ph.D. on Leadership 2/12/2013
 
We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.  Some of our related business services include: executive coaching, executive team coaching and executive assessments for development and selection.


Carl Robinson, Ph.D., Managing Principal
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Seattle, Washington
206-545-1990
carl@leadershipconsulting.com

In This Issue:

Managing Stress to Build Assertiveness & Confidence

Analyzing Employee Performance


Book Review - To Sell Is Human

There are few professions in the world that draw the attention that sales seems to attract. Every employer wishes their salespeople were busier, more influential, and more successful. But are they doing so without understanding what "salesperson" means in this modern age?
 
In his newest book, To Sell is Human, author Daniel Pink suggests that we may need to break from our traditional thoughts of how to motivate our sales staff.
 
The book starts with a simple point: Getting someone to provide you with something you want, in a reciprocal exchange for something they desire, is not a modern thought. Just the contrary – it has existed within us along every step of our evolution.
 
In the age of information, our perception of the “salesperson” has changed. We no longer rely on them to provide us with technical data. We no longer fall victim to scams and false promises. Abilities and traits of successful salespeople have changed along with the speed of technology – and although we all realize it on a sub-conscious level, we still look fill our sales staffs with the types of employees that would have been better off a decade ago.
 
A new school of thought on the subject has uncovered some fantastic findings in regards to success in sales, including the potential negative effects of commission, a new resistance to “pushing” information, and the need to effectively mix our desire to fix problems with a need to connect empathetically with our customer.
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Managing Stress to Build Assertiveness & Confidence

Chances are, you know you could be more assertive. If you are like nearly every American polled (91%) you can even identified at least one person with whom you need to be more assertive. All you need now is the confidence to take it to the next level.
 
So, how can you build your confidence?
One approach would be to rely on some standard stress management practices. Remember, a little stress is not necessarily a hindrance: many actors find that a bit of performance stress in fact helps them perform much better on stage than they might have done in a film or television studio.
 
Here are some tips for keeping stress to a manageable level:
 
Know your stuff: The better prepared you are in terms of the details of a situation, the less you will have to fear unexpected developments. Tennis great Arthur Ashe once famously stated “One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
 
Relax: Or relax as much as you can. Be aware of over-stressed behavior (rapid, shallow breathing, and tense muscles) and modify this by slowing down your breathing and progressively relaxing your muscles (tense your toes, and breathe in; relax your toes, and breathe out; repeat this sequence for calf muscles, buttocks, stomach, fingers, arms, neck, eyes).
 
Watch Your Diet: Avoid beverages or food that might “wind you up” or make you feel ill. Fast foods can leave you feeling dragged down, and too much caffeine can artificially raise your levels of anxiety.
 
Stay Positive: Reject fantasies of failure and any self-destructive messages to yourself (“I always mess this up; I’ll never succeed at this”). Imagine what it will feel like to succeed or to achieve the kind of results you are looking for.
 
Gaining confidence through risk-taking
Another way you can become a more confident person and, thus, be more assertive is by taking small, manageable risks in your daily life. This does not mean placing yourself in dangerous situations: it simply means that you begin to push the limits of your comfort zone and gradually become comfortable with more stressful situations. The more you do this, the more likely you will perform better in encounters with problems of all types.
 
Your Assertive Rights: Another way in which confidence can be boosted is to be familiar with your assertive “rights.”
 
I have the right to:
 
1. Be treated with respect and to respect others.
2. Ask for explanations for things I do not understand.
3. Change my mind.
4. Make mistakes, be responsible for them, and learn from them.
5. Say “No” without feeling guilty.
6. Express anger, appreciation, and other feelings when and where I think appropriate.
7. Express my ideas and opinions and have them listened to.
8. Make reasonable requests, and the responsibility to acknowledge other’s rights to refuse.
9. Not assert myself.
10. Be paid what I’m worth.
 
Remember, a right is something that you are entitled to. It’s not a privilege. Remember also that rights need to be balanced with responsibilities. If we do not accept this balance, then assertiveness simply decays into aggression or selfishness. If you know what your assertive rights are and become determined that you will no longer have these rights violated, then you are well on the way to being a more confident and assertive person.

Analyzing Employee Performance

Managers have to know how to deal with employees who do not perform up to standards, even if it seems like an uncomfortable part of their job description. This article outlines some best-practices used by performance consultants. Whether you area dealing with large or small scale performance issues, using these steps will provide you with a valuable methodology for solving problems.
 
Step 1: Establish desired performance levels.
• Identify expectations.
• Review performance indicators.
 
The first step in establishing desired levels of employee performance is to determine how employees should be performing, according to expectations held by the organization’s customers (or stakeholders) and according to established organizational performance standards.
 
Once you have identified your stakeholder expectations, you can establish performance indicators, however before you go about the process of creating new performance indicators, you should determine if they have already been established at some other point in time.
 
Step 2: Determine current performance levels.
• Select measurement techniques.
• Collect data.
 
After you have identified the desired performance levels, the next step is to develop a clear picture of what is actually happening now.
 
You need to consider:
• How are people presently performing?
• What results are now being achieved?
 
The first decision to make will be selecting a technique for measuring current performance. Types of measures could include run charts, Pareto charts, flowcharts or any other type of measure that you currently utilize. You may choose to utilize several different methods at once in order to form a more complete picture.
 
After you have selected your measurement technique, you are ready to begin collecting data. Although oftentimes you don’t need to collect huge amounts of information, it’s true that collecting some data is always better than having no data at all.
 
Step 3: Identify performance gaps.
• Analyze the data.
• Calculate the performance gap.
 
The next step in the process is to determine if there are gaps between how people are currently performing and how they should be performing. If your analysis of the performance data indicates that a gap exists, you will have to determine the extent of the gap and determine how you want to address the issue.
 
Check the data. To check the quality of the data, give the data an overall “eyeball” appraisal and ask the following questions:
• Is the performance data accurate, complete, and current?
• Are the data and reported events close to your expectations?
• Are there any unexpected differences from any data collected earlier?
 
Confirm the data. If you find discrepancies among the data, or if you want to confirm the data, you should:
• Check the collected data against another source (e.g., work samples, error reports, complaint records, supervisor feedback, etc.).
• Collect another sample of the same data so that you can determine the degree of accuracy and reliability of the original performance data collected.
• Review any similar information that may exist about the job (e.g., job descriptions).
 
Summarize the data. Once you have validated the data you collected, you are ready to organize and tabulate it. Quantitative data can be summarized using simple descriptive statistics found in spreadsheet programs. Qualitative data (not numeric) should be presented using an approach logic such as by chronological progression of steps, cause-and-effect, or grouping similar items.
 
Once you’ve reached this point you are ready to determine the distance between the current performance, and your desired level. You’ll also be much better positioned to determine whether or not a training intervention is a viable solution to correct any issue you may encounter.


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http://www.leadershipconsulting.com/
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