Welcome back!
Check the Facts
I was working with the CEO of a diagnostics company who had been hearing very negative feedback about a senior leader in their lab. Quite a few direct reports were upset with this person, so the CEO assumed they were the cause of the problem. Upon further inquiry, it was discovered that this leader oversaw putting some new lab standards in place. And while the new operating standards were important for the lab, they made some people’s jobs harder. As a result, blame was being unfairly placed on the person responsible for implementing the change. These situations occur regularly for leaders.
The lesson? Always check the facts. In this case, just because the feedback was given, doesn’t mean that it is correct. This is not to dismiss the feedback or deny how real the experience of the people on the team was. They were very unhappy with the situation. Rather, it makes sense to look a little deeper. In this case the problem had very little to do with the leader in question. The real problem had everything to do with challenges on the team and the fact that everyone had grown comfortable with mediocre performance. As for the leader, she could have certainly used a little more interpersonal skill in dealing with the team (couldn’t we all?). But she was not the real problem for the business.
As a leader, you are constantly pulled into challenging situations and forced to rely on information from those around you. It’s easy to let your initial thoughts or interpretations take hold. Be prepared to regularly ask yourself these questions:
  1. What is the event prompting my response?
  2. Is that absolutely true?
  3. What interpretations, thoughts, and assumptions am I making?
  4. Does my response and its intensity fit the actual facts?
It’s sometimes useful to take time to write answers to these questions when you feel hooked by an issue.
Making time to gather additional perspectives and check the facts is critical for leaders. And frequently, it opens the door to a more productive approach to a challenging situation.
Keeping the Focus on Your Target Market
Many companies pursue a lot of business outside of the target market. It’s an unfortunate reality, and if you want to execute a growth strategy, it’s something that needs to be immediately addressed by leadership.
To ensure that your company is properly focused on your target market and pursuit of your ideal client profile, I suggest the following:
  • Clearly define your target market and discuss it with all levels of your sales leadership team.
  • Require that anyone pursuing clients outside of the target market provides a rationale and obtains approval from management. Especially if resources are being used in the sales effort.
  • Keep your CRM clear of companies that lie outside of your target market, or give them an appropriate designation, so there isn’t confusion regarding who you want to be actively pursuing.
A laser focus on your target market will help align the actions of the sales team with your company’s strategy – a critical component to successful execution. Read more about this in my Harvard Business Review article, How to Get Your Salespeople to Execute Your Strategy.
LinkedIn Live
Join me on Friday, March 11 at 12pm Eastern. My friend Lisa Earle McLeod will be hosting a LinkedIn Live where we will be discussing the intersection of leadership and revenue. You can read a few more details about the event, Leadership vs. Revenue: Harnessing the Power of Graceful Growth here.
Current Read
I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Review called Leaders Don’t Have to Choose Between Compassion and Performance. A few things stood out to me.
  1. Being compassionate has everything to do with understanding the reality of the circumstances.
  2. Driving for results and being compassionate are not at odds with each other. Leaders can and should be able to do both.
  3. Compassion has as much to do with tone and the way we interact with others as the decisions that we make.
Read more about how to manage the demands of both compassion and performance in a sustainable way here.
Going on Vacation
I will be on vacation next week. So too will my newsletter.
Next Steps
Join me on Friday, March 11 at 12pm Eastern on my friend Lisa Earle McLeod’s LinkedIn Live.
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Edinger Consulting