Leading Remote Teams

Nov 25, 2015

To download the Mp3 audio, click here (right click and choose 'save link as')

 

Sales veteran Matt LeBeau leads a team of successful salespeople and sales managers spanning from coast to coast across Canada. His company is LeBeau Excel. Like many new companies today, his team is mostly remote and virtual. So how has he managed the grow a successful business with these geographical constraints?

In this interview Matt shares his story, his tips and tricks (and ongoing challenges) in leading a team remotely. We dive into the technology, systems around hiring, collaboration, planning and accountability.

If you have people working remotely, you'll love what Matt has to share. Enjoy.

Note: in the interview Matt references a reporting system he is using. That system is Tableau.com. I can also recommend a similar tool called Klipfolio

You can find out more about Matt and his company here:

LeBeau Excel

Matt LeBeau - Twitter - LinkedIn

 

Tips on differentiation … how to make your business stand out to your ideal customers!

Oct 13, 2015

If you've read or studied marketing in any way, shape or form, odds are you've learned or been told that it is vital that your company has a point of difference. Otherwise you are left to compete on price ... and that's a tough way to be profitable.

I'm going to reinforce that same concept. I believe, before you spend any money or time on marketing, there are two things you need to know:

  1. Who is your ideal customer?
  2. Why are they going to choose you over the competition? i.e. what makes you different and better?

In order to gain some real world teachings, I reached out to lead generation and marketing guru Cheryl Cappellano from Idea Factor. Cheryl has 28 years of experience in opening doors and getting people's attention. She's done it amazingly for her own business and she does it consistently for her clients.

In this interview, Cheryl shares her story and her best tips that you can take and adapt to your own business. She shares examples and how to's on how to stand out from the crowd. Thank you Cheryl.

 

Are you Ignoring a Better Version of Yourself?

Aug 4, 2015

The great thing about the world we live in, is that we don't need to look too far to find out where we need to improve. All around us, the world is giving us feedback which can guide us on the actions and decisions which will generate a better business and a better life.

In the world of business the feedback comes from our customers, suppliers, website, comments on your blog (or lack of - see below), bank account etc. In your personal life, it may be a spouse, your kids, your friends, acquaintances...

Now the trick to this feedback is that it may not be coming to you in an obvious way. In fact it may not be given to you directly at all. More often than not you have to actively look for it. It might be in what someone is not saying or what is not happening as much as what is.

This is not a complicated science. You don't need a degree to be able to translate and decipher it. But you do need to be aware and in tune with the people and events around you.

Take for instance your spouse. Are they smiling at you, giving you non-verbal cues that they feel loved, or are they distant and detached? Are your customers giving you referrals, written testimonials? Are they haggling about price or are they willing to pay a little more based on the value they perceive?

It is common to see this kind of feedback as one-off events or something that's beyond our control. In fact, the reverse is true. Every event around us is a reflection of us. It's a reflection on how we think, on the quality of our actions, and it's a reflection on the value we are creating.

One of my favorite feedback mechanisms is the bank account. Now money is not the only measure, I realise that, but in the world of business it is a critical measure and one that does not lie. It is hard to say you are doing well if your account is empty. And if the account is healthy, it may be an indicator you are on the right track

Another favourite mechanism it to look at your team. Do you have long term employees or is there constant turnover? Have you investigated the reasons for turnover? Is there as much smiling in your workplace as you'd like to see. This feedback is more subte but equally meaningful.

The lesson (and I'm writing this as much for myself as for you) is to conduct life and business with our eyes open. Receive the information and feedback that we are getting from even the non-obvious sources. And use it to create positive change within ourselves that will inevitably bring positive change in our businesses and lives.

Feature Image Source: Flikr/Peter

Are You Feeling Dangerous or Defeated?

Jun 29, 2015

When you experienced your most recent success—think back to how you were feeling leading up to that event.

Were you feeling skeptical, afraid, or tentative? Or were the feelings more like 'confident, excited, anticipation'?

It might sound like a silly question. You might be thinking "well of course I was feeling good".

Well, the next question is "How important were those feelings in creating those successes?"

This second question might be harder to answer, but in my experience, most people acknowledge that when you feel good and are thinking positive, good and positive things happen. Think to a time recently when you met with someone who was trying to influence you in some way (you shouldn't need to think too hard, we are always trying to influence each other in same way), how did their energy (an outward projection of how they are feeling internally) affect how you felt about them and what they were communicating? Did it affect you? Of course it did. It always does. You tend to get a 'feeling' about someone or a concept. How much you tune into that feeling will vary from person to person, but there is always a level of subconscious intuition going on.

The same goes for you. How you feel and think affects how others feel about you and how they are influenced by what you are communicating. Whether you are working on developing a team member, or trying to put a deal together, how you feel in the moment has a massive impact.

One of the philosophies I train my clients on is this:

Your Results = (Your Skillset x Your Mindset x Your Activity Level) x Your Current State.

This overriding variable in results is how you are feeling in the moment. So here’s my question to you: How do you need to be feeling to maximise the chance for success? And how do you check on this and manage it to work for you?

Here's how I do it:

Each morning and throughout the day, I ask myself the simple question ‘Am I feeling Dangerous or Defeated?’ These are obviously words that resonate with me, but you get the idea. If the answer to that question is not "Dangerous" (meaning I'm ready to blast through brick walls) then I've got a few rituals I use to get into that state. I'm not always looking for a 10/10 on Dangerous scale but I definitely want to be at an 8 or higher.

If I come back with a 7 or below, here are my go-to actions to boost me up a few notches:

  • Revisit my vision and why I'm doing what I'm doing. This is by far the most powerful and sustaining of all the strategies. Keep in mind, this will only work for you if you are extremely clear on your vision (what you are working to create) and why you are doing it. See Simon Sinek's TED talk 'Start with WHY' to learn more about this.
  • Review my plan. Similar to the point above, but my plan is a shorter timeframe (3-12 months) vs. my vision, which is years out.
  • Think about how I want to be remembered by my kids. This is another plan that is similar to the first point. It is a real motivator for me.
  • Exercise. This can vary between a full workout or a 5 minute walk. Usually the secret is to get the blood moving and get out from in front of the computer screen.
  • Listen to something inspiring or educational. I love listening to interviews with successful people. I also have some go-to audio books and books that lift me up a couple of notches. If you'd like some recommendations, comment below or email me jamie@jamiecunningham.com
  • Coffee. Notice this one's down on the list. For me, if I'm in a low mental state and I have coffee, sometimes it can just make the negative thoughts happen faster (not good), so this one is used more if my energy feels sluggish. Again, not one I aim to be dependent on.

If you've got some strategies to add here, I'd love to hear them. Comment below and share your own successes and strategies.

Make it a great day!

 

The Top 5 Technologies That Could Disrupt Your Business and Industry

Jun 17, 2015

There are massive technological changes coming and they are happening faster than you think. The good news is there is just as much opportunity in these changes as there is risk for your business. I recently spent two days in Melbourne studying with Roger Hamilton, where he shared these technology trends. For more detailed reading on each of these check out Peter Diamantis's latest book 'Bold'. In this book Peter gives a great road map on how entrepreneurs can go bold with these opportunities.

Here are the top 5 to keep an eye on:

#1 - Crowdfunding and sourcing - The ability for ANYONE to now raise capital on an idea means that even if you are in an industry that is capital intensive, the barriers to entry have been leveled. Further, the connectedness of people (the crowd) via the internet means access to skills and labour is abundant like never before. When you start seeing lawyers and accounts outsourcing overseas, you know it has become mainstream.

#2 - 3D Printing - This one is going to be an absolute game changer. Anyone in construction? Check out this video. The pace of change within this technology is blinding. Already since 3D printing became somewhat 'mainstream' (if you can call it that yet) the technology has increased in speed by 100x. And knowing Moore's law, this is only going to speed up. To give you an idea, doctors are already using the technology to print replacement joints and bones.

#3 - Cognitive Computing - Meaning websites and software that preempt what you are looking for. Where this becomes a disruptor is from a competition point of view. How are you serving your customers better by using technology to learn their preferences? The market is starting to expect things tailored to their needs and wants. The days of general information and services is going by the wayside. If you are not keeping up, you'll be perceived as not caring about your customer.

#4 - Sensors and Camera - In everything. From the garbage truck knowing how full the bins are on its route and rerouting to be more efficient, to the wearable sensor technology that tells you you're low on magnesium. The world of 'knowing before you do' is upon us.  Think about your products and services - how can you incorporate this technology with #3 to innovate your business?

#5 - Robotics and Automation - Sick of chasing your dog down the street? Get the cheetah to do it for you. This robot can run and jump over obstacles faster than Usain Bolt. When you mix this with #3 and #4, you start to understand why futurists are saying within the next decade or two, 47% of jobs will be replaced by robots. Now okay, that is not a short term threat - or is it? Foxcomm (Chinese manufacturer of iPhones) says within 3yrs it plans to make 70% of assembly line work done by robots?

So I hear you saying ... well that's all great Jamie but those changes don't really apply to my industry. My only comment to that is, "be careful". Young minds are thriving on these changes and industries are being turned upside down. Be the disrupter not the disrupted.