Monday, 21 December 2009

Winston Churchill

I visited the Winston Churchill Exhibition at the Cabinet War Rooms on Saturday and I was amazed at the detail and level of information contained in the Museum, along with many of Churchills clothes, personal items and papers. From a discarded Cigar butt to the flag that draped his coffin it is an exhibition to see again and again.

I have long regarded him as the Greatest Britain of the 20th Century and seeing the rooms such as his bedroom, study, broadcast room, map room and cabinet war room it confirms my opinion that without Churchill there would have been jackboots on the streets of London. His leadership skills were unusual but very effective. In fact, if you are going to lead a country through a war and win it you are obviously doing something very, very right.

I have been looking at the leadership model of Churchill and find the following components...

A man of great Integrity Churchill was 65 years old when he first became Prime Minister. Despite his age he had enormous Self Belief. One may say that success is the result of good judgement, that good judgement is the result of experience and that experience is often the result of bad judgement.

There is no doubt that the extensive experience that Churchill had accumulated (including his mistakes and failings) were central to his leadership style. This experience helped to found his Vision . The lessons he learnt helped him to be Decisive and make the right decisions.

Leadership is nowadays all the rage. There are countless, books, articles, websites and conferences devoted to leadership and developing the qualities of great leadership. In light of his iconic status, the Churchill leadership traits exhibited in 1940-45 are set to be discussed and debated by scholars for years to come.


Of course leadership itself is neither necessarily good nor desirable (Hitler, Stalin, Mao et al). Neither is it all about "charisma". Of course many leaders have been described as charismatic many were not.

Churchill, like Abe Lincoln, was not a particularly charismatic leader. This is in contrast to the devilishly charismatic Hitler. While Churchill had a powerful personality and wonderful Communication skills, no one wished to award him dictatorial powers for life (unlike Adolf!). Hitler radiated an almost super-human charisma. It has been said that after meeting Churchill you believed you could achieve anything. After meeting Hitler you believed that he could achieve anything! Churchill used this inspirational effect to build vital Collaborations

This difference between Churchillian Inspirational Leadership and Hitlerian Charismatic Leadership is wonderfully explored in Andrew Roberts' highly readable, stimulating and entertaining book "Hitler and Churchill - Secrets of Leadership".

It can be argued that far from leadership being "about charisma", rather charisma itself can weaken effective leadership: often leading to inflexibility, over confidence, inflated egos and "spin" over substance.

So leadership is not necessarily a good thing nor is it about charisma. In reality its not about a specific list of traits either. No two great leaders will possess the same list of traits or competencies.

Leadership is ultimately about getting things done that Drive to Take Action - and get results and imrpove performance. Its the ability to influence, motivate and provide the tools and environment to others so that they can best contribute towards the successful attainment of the goals of their community or organisation. Winston Churchill was a man of immense Courage and Creativity, these and his other qualities shaped the war during Britains "darkest hour". They worked for the great man - and I hope they prove to be thought provoking for you.

I cannot recommend the Cabinet War Rooms to you highly enough. Take a trip there and you will be amazed.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Typical Call

Heres a transcript of a call...the opener...

"Hi, Its Dave Moore from Pulse Media. How are you?"
"Fine thanks."
"Good. Tell me, are you the person who handles the marketing for your company?"
"Yes, why? What is this about?"
"I am the publisher for XXXXXXXXXXXXXX for the NHS. I believe my readership, the NHS, is your target market, is that right?"
"Yes but I am not interested in advertising with you."
"I know. And the reason I know that is because if you were interested you would have called me. You would have been on the phone biting my hand off to get involved in the opportunity I have here."
"Yes, really. I know that you, like me, get lots of calls like this each day. Whats more, I have learnt that at least one of the calls is a special one; one that is worth listening to. This call is yours. Why dont you work more extensively with the NHS?"
"Its a difficult market to get into."
"I hear that a lot. Many of the companies that work with me had the same problem in the past. Fact is...I am already into the NHS on a number of projects and I can bring you in with us on this project."
"How would you do that?"


Is Your Sales Manager An Idiot?

Yes, its true, if you're a sales manager and encourage or require your sales reps to make more than 25 calls a day then I personally think youre completely nuts! Youre crazy and you know nothing about the sales cycle. For you, achieving your sales numbers is all about the quantity of calls, but not the quality of the call itself. You want the best of both worlds, but the reality is you cannot have both.
With "too much" quantity, you sacrifice quality and as a result, you're actually creating limitations on the success of both you and your sales team.
The sales cycle begins with research. Research allows you as a salesperson to engage your prospect with qualifying questions to uncover needs. How can you take a genuine interest in your prospect with the expectation of making more than 25 calls a day? It's just not realistic.
Making more than 25 cold calls doesnt preposition you for sales success, it positions you for sales failure. Such an unrealistic sales goal of 25 or more calls is a myth. It's a belief system that is incorrect. Its a 'DISBELIEF' system. It makes you less effective, leads to job dissatisfaction and contributes to false beliefs that cold calling is an ineffective way to generate new business.
Many years ago, I became a victim to this school of sales thought. It made sense to me. It was my world. I was told that I could not be successful with less calls and that the only way to make my sales quota was to fire up my telephone and make from 50 to 65 or more cold calls a day. If you had told me to make less than 25 cold calls then my first reaction would have been, "Well, its all a numbers game and how can I make my sales quota by dialing less than half the required cold calls?" That was my thought process then, but today, its the reverse. It's a whole different story.
How did I go from one extreme to another extreme?
Its actually a simple answer. I learned the hard way. This article will hopefully be an eye opener for many and you can use this information to speed up your sales success! The reason why I was a former believer was because I didnt have a clear understanding of the entire sales process. I didnt fully understand each stage of the sales process. As a result, I was more focused on the mechanics of picking up the telephone and how fast I could get to the next call rather than on the exchange of engaging dialogue with my prospect. I was not taking a genuine interest in my prospect, but rather, I bought into an unhealthy belief system that started with my sales manager.
This unhealthy belief system (more calls equals more sales) removes the most important part of the sales process and this missing element is called consultative selling. This type of selling requires research, engaging dialogue and makes you put the prospect first. It's a more productive way to earn new business and with the expectation of some Sales Managers that you need to make more than 25 calls a day to make your numbers is just not true. It's not realistic. Don't buy into their misunderstandings and fears. Your success is not about quantity, it's about finding a healthy and realistic balance between quantity and quality.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Fantastic response

I just spoke to a potential client and she said. "Sorry, I cant think and I cant TALK until February!"
"I said "When in February shall I call you?"
Silence at the other end...
"Have you started already?" I asked.