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Dear Lee, I have a tenured sales person who has a history of overachieving his sales quota for the past three years. In fact, he has been one of the top performers in the company and is excellent at closing business in competitive accounts. However, his service after the sale and his follow through is the worst on my team. Clients have complained frequently about feeling as if, he only cares about them when he is selling them something and then he disappears, doesn't return phone calls, etc. I have attempted to coach him on this deficit but quite frankly, he doesn't take criticism very well and I have seen no improvement. How can I counsel him to improve without damaging his level of high performance? Frustrated in MN Dear Frustrated, As a Manager you have to always manage with the following three pillars. First is the CLIENT, second is your TEAM and third is th... (more)

100 Ways to Kill Your PPT Presentation

A CEO once asked me, "As an executive coach, what are the top mistakes you've seen when business leaders give a presentation"? He was expecting just a few insights, I'm sure. But once I got thinking about all the mess-ups I'd seen, I just could not stop writing them down. What started as a Letterman "Top Ten List" took on a life of its own. So, for all you executives getting ready to present, here are 100 of the top mistakes I've seen over the years. 100 Ways to Bore Your Audience Don't have a story Show lots and lots of slides Don't have clear messages Have plenty of bullets and lists Don't break your deck into sections or "chapters" Have 100 disconnected slides Don't have an introduction that "wows" people Read the slide word for word To make a point read the slide twice Don't close with a strong and memorable ending Don't use examples Make sure you use at least 1... (more)

So You Want to Be a Consultant

I’ve been consulting successfully for over 20 years now. That makes me an old-timer in many folks’ perceptions. Friends and associates often come to me for advice on how to start their own consulting business – mostly around how to position themselves as an expert in the market. Here’s the advice I give: Focus. The first inclination for any new consultant is to try to ‘do it all’. After all, you’ve dabbled in a number of different aspects of your field, right? Wrong. In my experience, the best way to be successful is to focus first on a narrow set of skills and areas where you can add the most value. You need to evidence your experience and success in a few key areas to get started. So focus on the areas where you’re strongest and most well-known by associates and peers – where you can have the most compelling references. You can always expand over time. Evidence yo... (more)

CRM Market Grew 12.5 Percent Globally in 2008 - Gartner

Apparently, companies realize that front office solutions that help capture more buyers and understand their needs are critical to their success regardless of the recession. Hopefully, these companies are focused just as much on the process and training as the technology. CRM is a long term strategic play and should be viewed as part of a shift to a more disciplined approach to revenue management. Growth Driven by Technology Focused on Customer Retention, Analytics and On-Demand Solutions STAMFORD, Conn., July 15, 2009 — Worldwide CRM market revenue totalled $9.15 billion in 2008, a 12.5 percent increase from 2007 revenue of $8.13 billion, according to Gartner Inc. Analysts said that market growth was driven by enterprise investments in technologies focused on customer retention, analytics and on-demand solutions. “Despite financial market volatility, the worldwide CR... (more)

Leadership Lessons from the Newsdesk

The death of Walter Cronkite got me thinking about his leadership qualities and how business leaders can take a few cues from "the most trusted man in America." I posted on Ulitzer about what IT professionals can learn from the legendary newsanchor, and even if you are not in IT, "Walter Cronkite's IT Career Advice" might be an interesting read. But from a purely leadership perspective, Cronkite is a fabulous role model with lots to offer anyone in any management position. Leaders Set the Tone Cronkite as a leader of news, created an atmosphere of trust and honesty. His long-time friend and Face the Nation host, Bob Schieffer said, "A leader always sets the tone. That's the most important thing that the leader does. And Walter always set the right tone. He set the right standards." You can set a leadership tone in a number of ways, but the one Cronkite set was a tone ... (more)

Is Berlusconi the Leader Rascal or Rogue?

Government on Ulitzer More allegations about Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Premier, have emerged in recent days. This time he is alleged to have exchanged business favors for sex from an escort. Call it sloppy management, a devil-may-care attitude or just bad luck, the whole episode reflects back on the vessel under his leadership. What business is it of ours how leaders behave on their own time? Surely they are entitled to a private life? Of course they are, as long as it remains private. Berlusconi has proved over many years that he is a flawed leader. He seeks the limelight and has frequently been accused of insensitivity, abusing his position and shady dealing. What, therefore, is his duty to those he leads? The first principle of leadership is to demand the utmost of oneself. At one level  it encapsulates the idea of setting an example. It is a very simple idea tha... (more)

Top Sales Executive to Share His Insights on Ulitzer

Lee Novak, one of the top sales executives in the country, launched his Ulitzer blog to share his experience, insights, and sales coaching tips. Lee Novak, a Sales Management Executive for 25 years, uses a proven people-first, client-first philosophy. Lee has a reputation for building teams that not only are high-performance groups but also that do business the right way, at the right time and for the right reasons. Novak publishes his Ulitzer blog posts on his two topic sites: Lee Novak on Ulitzer (http://leenovak.ulitzer.com) Team Building (http://teambuilding.ulitzer.com) Sales Coaching (http://salescoaching.ulitzer.com) He received numerous awards for his sales leadership, innovativeness and measured performance while working in various executive roles at ADP Dealer Services (a Fortune 500 company in the technology and service sector) for 21 years - where he was... (more)

Hire Execs Who Love Your Product

That’s the title of Dave Winer’s most recent post. To which I say: Amen. Bunches of people who work for a company are going to be doing it primarily for the money. That’s how our economy works. But if you’re at the top and you’re doing it just for the bucks, you’re depressed and you don’t know it. And you’re going to communicate that attitude down. Oh, there are undoubtedly exceptions. But they’re the exceptions. And I know that there are CEOs who are turned on not by products but by processes. I’ve worked for some, and they did a fine job. At least they’re excited about something. But, it’d be better for the company if they got giddy about what their company does. Then maybe the rest of the company would think their product is worth building, worth extending, worth supporting. And CEOs are in a privileged position for making connections difficult for those who don’... (more)

The Science of a Team

During a speaking engagement to a Fortune 500 company I told the story  of a Sales Manager who I knew, that gained invaluable insight regarding the importance of a establishing a strong team - during a health challenge, he’d experienced years earlier. The health issue came about very suddenly and consequently, the Sales Manager was faced with the daunting prospect of, finding the right team of specialists who could treat his condition and perform the life saving operation. Thankfully, the Sales Manager was able to find a reputable neurologist who in turn, recommended a highly skilled surgeon whose primary practice was located in the world-renowned medical center in Houston, Texas. The Neurosurgeon had an excellent staff, which included an anesthesiologist, a tenured nursing, and recovery team, as well as, numerous highly skilled professionals who’d assisted in ov... (more)

[2b2k] YouTube leadership

I had dinner last night with a couple of people writing a report on the future of leadership for a Very Large Company. I argued once again against the importance of leadership, at least in its traditional sense. I believe less and less that there is some masterable set of skills that constitute leadership, especially as the organization gets larger. Further, I think it’s almost always useful to replace the question “What skills does a leader need?” with “How should the group be organized to best achieve its goals?” Sometimes the answer to that latter question will be, “It needs as strong leader,” but more often the traditional tasks of leadership will be distributed among members of the group, or will become a property of the group itself. (For example, in a collaborative or emergent group, decision-making is a property of the group.) (Tony Burgess of Company Comman... (more)

Building Next-Generation Tech Leaders

I spoke to Mike Lim, VP for Engineering at Exist, who by the way is currently enrolled at the prestigious Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA program, about this and here's my non-verbatim summary of our short exchange: Give people the opportunity to lead, even with small projects. Assign him/her a role, instead of giving tasks. This will give the person room to be creative and innovative. This'll give him/her a chance to demonstrate what he/she can be capable of. It's not having the title of a "manager". One can be a mentor to another, give inputs and share his/her experience to a peer, and not have the role of a manager. That's why "we get people to work as a team, so that we can see the dynamics." Implement "shadowing". New hires and folks fresh out from college need to be ramped up to the way we do things, technologies and tooling that we use -- and shadowing gives the... (more)