I just returned from Japan doing a training session for the Sales Engineers of a global network equipment corporation. The focus for the training was to help Sales Engineers shift away from being too technical in their presentations, and instead "tell stories" about how their solutions will deliver business results for customers.
Coincidentically, "story telling" is also a technique that can be used in rallying your team to overcome challenges, and change for the better.
Rather than making your people sit through endless, boring PPT presentations, "story telling" would be a way to engage and inspire your team. Rather than shoving down cold hard facts down the throats of your audience, enlighten them to what are the implications of those facts and figures, and what they need to do to create a better and brighter future.
Hence, this month's topics:
This issue's main article is on "Using Storytelling to Rally Your Team to Overcome Tough Challenges", and we explore how you can use story telling as an effective tool to lead and inspire your team.
Using Storytelling to Rally Your Team to Overcome Tough Challenges
by Larry Schuster
Imagine this. A top executive says: “Storytelling? We have no time for that right now. We’re going through a very difficult change. It is not pretty. Battles are breaking out everywhere.”
Storytelling is a highly effective, precise tool to energize
teams, refocus and revitalize demoralized companies, envision the future and
create winning environments. It also gives life to abstract values and
mission statements, and helps business speakers engage their audiences and more
clearly frame their presentations.
In 1981, in his first year as CEO of General Electric, on a
field visit to GE’s nuclear reactor business in San Jose, Jack Welch faced
leaders of that business unit who resisted change.
Looking back to the 1970s, the projections seemed reasonable,
Welch recalled. That business unit had sold three or four reactors each
year in that period. But two years prior to his visit, the US
experienced a major disaster at a nuclear power plant in Three Mile Island,
Pennsylvania. The public’s already cautious appetite for more nuclear
power plants vanished. The company had not sold a single nuclear power
plant in the two years since the accident.
In his career at GE, Welch retold this story numerous times
when he needed to get his leaders to face reality. Getting people to accept
change is the first obstacle to change.
we come to the office, we work and then we leave. We don’t tell stories,” one
senior manager at a multinational told me when I announced what I do. A
department head at another multinational bluntly told me “that won’t work here.”
"But everybody tells stories, right?"
You may say, “What’s the big deal?” Everybody has told and heard stories since
"Ok, who will tell the stories and when and where?"
Need help in rallying your team to overcome tough challenges? Simply e-mail email@example.com or call +86-21-6219 0021 or Skype: cydj001 and arrange to buy me a mocha. All information shall be kept in confidence.
Power Breakfast Hour: 18 Sep 2014
Using Storytelling to Rally Your Team to Overcome Tough Challenges
What kinds of skills, preparation and training you need, so that you tell stories that will resonate and are meaningful to the audience
How to capitalise on the many opportunities to use stories to engage and inspire your team... ...
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DATE: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014
TIME: 08:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
PRICE: RMB 200 ONLY!
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Tips for Sales People:
by c.j. Ng
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to conduct a sales training for a company in the building materials industry. Amongst the needs they have, they mentioned they would like to also make sure that their sales people could manage their time, and could hit an average of 20 customer visits per week.
When it's time to submit my training materials draft for review, their
Asia-Pacific boss (who
happen to sit thousands of miles away in Singapore when their sales force is in
China) said that there were no clear instructions that the sales people MUST
achieve those 20 meetings, and hence did not meet training requirements.
I patiently explained that we have activities to help sales people optimise
their time so that they could make the visit numbers, and that we have a lot of
skills training on how
sales people could
overcome those difficulties (which were gathered after making a number of phone
interviews with the sales team) they face, so they can deliver as expected.
He wouldn't have any of those "general skills" for the sales people. He wanted to make sure the trainer (me) orders the sales people to make 20 visits a week (something that their National Sales Manager and tried but could not get the targeted number of customer visits from the sales people), and that the sales call reports need to reflect the number of meetings per week, but he did not know that many sales people are feeding the system with garbage reports.
know that the job of the external trainer is to provide the skills, with which
his sales people could use to execute the orders of their National Managers.
And that if I don't put the strict orders to make the number of visits a week,
he will cancel the sales training (despite his team in China had committed
everybody to fly to the training venue on the scheduled date.
The good news was that at the end of it all, I managed to pulled in off, with the sales people writing in their action plans how they can achieve 20 customer meetingsa week, and that they will also provide meaningful sales reports on top of that. And I did so in the way that the boss did NOT envision, and even his sales people will be doing them in different ways than what he had envisioned too, but delivering the expected results. Of course, he knows nothing of these. All he will see, are the number of customer visits increasing, and the quality of the sales call reports improving.
Here's an excerpt of what their HR sent to me after the training:
"Thank you for your efforts to support our sales training. We were really impressed by your sharing on below topics:
Our participants were actively responsiveduring the training. Thanks a lot!"
My point in telling this story of this domineering, micro-managing and a**hole of a boss is not so much about how I had dealt with him. In retrospect, I would like to share some of the insights with people who are unfortunate/ fortunate enough to work under a domineering andunreasonable boss.
The boss that was mentioned here, although micro-managing for how certain things need to be done in his way, without flexibility of any kind, seems not to care how it was done. He just want to see numbers and didn't care how it will be achieved (bad for setting strategic goals in the first place), and why it needs to be achieved. He was not clear about the end objectives of achieving such goals.
Here are 3 things that will happen to such bosses:
Hence, on the one hand it's not an easy task working under such bosses, and it really will be a test of courage, will and wisdom when working under such bosses. On the other hand, such bosses are rather easy to hoodwink, especially when he's not working next to you.
More importantly, such bosses usually are not able to retain the best people,
and are most likely to result in employees to be disengaged at work, even if one
hired the most engaged employees for him.
In some ways, working with such bosses can be stressful and make you feel very
unappreciated. On the bright side though, it will give one plenty of
learning opportunities, be it in solving unsolvable problems and challenges or
in harnessing your reality distortion field.
Directions Management Consulting
Directions Management Consulting is the partner of LeadershipIQ in China and Asia. LeadershipIQ helps more than 125,000 leaders every year through the facts drawn from one of the largest ongoing leadership studies ever conducted is used to help companies apply resources where the best possible results be achieved.
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