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Archive: Aug 2018

How can you get your team motivated?

Posted: August 24, 2018 7:27 am
Most businesses today are structured around teams. They can be an incredibly powerful way to deliver business goals and create positive community and values in an organisation. However, motivation can be a big issue within team structures. When it begins to drop away this can have a broad effect on the entire business. So, how do you motivate your team and make sure that the momentum remains?

Provide a quality working environment

It’s not difficult to see how physical discomfort (e.g. poor office furniture) or a challenging environment (poor light, overheating etc) could have an impact on motivation. So, one of the simplest ways to help keep motivation levels up is to ensure that your office is a pleasant place to be and one that is conducive to work.

Provide opportunities for advancement

It’s easy to underestimate the value of training and skills development to employees. If everyone in the team is given opportunities to improve skills, understanding, knowledge and abilities they are much more likely to remain engaged and motivated. From job specific training, to courses that relate to the wider industry, giving employees the opportunity to grow on an ongoing basis is incredibly motivating.

Be wary of micromanaging

Employees thrive when they feel a manager has trust and confidence in them and most dislike the constant pressure of having someone always looking over their shoulder. In fact, 38% would rather take on an unpleasant job than sit next to a micromanaging boss. So, if you want to keep your team motivated it’s important to learn to let them work autonomously.

Goal setting is crucial

Employees need to have clear goals for their own role and to be aware of the objectives for the wider organisation. With an understanding of how they fit into the context of the broader business, they will be motivated to do more to positively affect its future. On the other hand, employees without goals have nothing to work towards. And those that don’t understand the goals that have been set will most likely do the minimum required to achieve them.

Failure is natural

Punishing failure can quickly demotivate a team and leave very little room for the kind of experimentation that often leads to exciting innovation. Creating an atmosphere in which failure is seen as natural – even encouraged as part of the process – will motivate employees to take risks and explore new ideas.

Teams must learn to collaborate

Without collaboration, teams fail. Employees are always more motivated when they feel that their contribution is valued and that they are encouraged to speak up and make it.

Focus on engagement and happiness

There are many different factors that go into creating engaged and happy employees but the outcome is always the same: they are more motivated and productive. From pay and benefits, through to business culture, the freedom employees have and making them feel like they matter, it’s possible to create a business environment in which happiness and engagement thrive. Our Motivation Skills course will help you to understand what makes people tick and how great managers motivate.

What are key productivity challenges in the workplace and how can you overcome them?

Posted: August 20, 2018 9:48 am
How productive are you at work? If you’ve ever finished a working day feeling like you just haven’t got enough done, or you don’t seem to have made any progress on a To Do list, then productivity could be an issue for you. Learning how to manage your time so that your resources and energy are used productively is essential for getting the most from your role. These are some of the key productivity challenges you might face, as well as some solutions for overcoming them.

Challenge: getting everything done

Solution: focus on one task at a time Multi-tasking is the reason that many of us can feel incredibly busy in the space of an hour but seem to have achieved very little at the end of it. Some scientists even believe that multi-tasking is not something the human brain is capable of. If you’re struggling to get everything done then you might find it easier to just do one thing at a time - and don’t move on to a new task until you’ve finished the last one.

Challenge: the big goals

Solution: break everything down into smaller tasks and objectives If you’re going to get to the big objectives then you need to map out the small steps that will take you there and focus on these one at a time. Otherwise you may find yourself staring at the “finish project” goal for hours and achieving nothing because you don’t know where to start. Instead, focus on what you need to do day-by-day and step-by-step to get you there.

Challenge: working long hours

Solution: regular breaks Productivity cannot be sustained over a long period of time without being refreshed. If you plan regular breaks into your working day then you’ll give your body and mind the chance to refresh and revive. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the fact that regular breaks will, not only help you to concentrate and be more productive but also improve your mood, so schedule these in every hour or so and get away from your desk.

Challenge: wasting time

Solution: the two minute rule If your response to having a couple of free minutes is to jump on social media or browse online then you could be wasting valuable time that could make you more productive. Entrepreneur Steve Olenski says that you can save time by finding and immediately completing tasks that take two minutes or less – over the course of a working day that could build up to significantly improved productivity.

Challenge: avoiding the most intimidating tasks

Solution: tackle them when you’re feeling most alert Avoiding the jobs that are the most complicated or time consuming can end up setting a project back days, weeks or even months. If you’re continuously failing to start because you’re leaving the most intimidating tasks to the end of your daily list then your productivity will be severely impacted. Instead, prioritise those heavy or complex tasks for the times when you feel most alert and you’ll be surprised by how painless they are, and how quickly you can complete them. Our Working Productively course is designed to help you assess your individual productivity challenges and to identify the best ways to overcome them.

How to sell face-to-face to your customers without seeming pushy

Posted: August 14, 2018 9:36 am
Effective selling is an art that involves much more than just a pushy sales patter. Everything, from how you prepare to what you say and do, will have an influence over whether or not you excel at face-to-face selling. The key to achieving great face-to-face sales is to get your message across without being pushy – that way your customers are much more likely to take positive action.

Know your customer

Effective selling is not just about knowing your own business, products and services, it’s also crucial to have a good understanding of who you’re trying to sell to. What do your customers want and how can your business give it to them?

Be concise

The most effective salespeople understand the value of keeping the conversation short when it comes to making an impact. Don’t waste your customer’s time – or your own – with a lengthy sales pitch that is only 30% information and 70% useless or pushy chat. Align your products or services with their need A sales pitch that focuses purely on how wonderful a product is will be almost useless if there is no alignment with what this particular customer actually needs. So, make sure you highlight how your products or service will help them specifically.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Interaction is key to engagement and asking questions is a great way to get customers to be more focused on the conversation. Use questions to find out more about customer needs, for example, “I noticed your website states ____ - how are you currently achieving this?”

Make sure you answer any questions the customer asks

If you’re faced with a direct question, always answer it. Dodging the issue or fudging an answer will immediately impact on customer trust and impede any potential sale. Answer the question with information, data, explanations and examples. Avoid waffle or spin.

Show your customer how much you care about what you do

There are few things that are more convincing than someone who is genuinely passionate about a product or service. If you really believe in what you’re offering then the chances are that your customer will too so don’t be afraid to let that passion show.

Be creative when you’re selling

A dry, uninspiring sales chat is rarely effective – you can increase your chances of success by being more creative in the way that you approach pitching your product.

Know your market

It’s important that you’re able to show an understanding of where your business sits in the market so that you can demonstrate why your products and services are unique and better than competitors. Regardless of the outcome always follow up It’s not always possible to accurately interpret customer reaction to a sales conversation so it’s always worth following up. What may have seemed like a rather unenthusiastic response could have changed, since you spoke, into a firm commitment. Our “The Client Meeting - Face to Face Selling” course is designed to help anyone improve selling face-to-face to customers without being pushy.

5 leadership practices that will make you an exemplary leader

Posted: August 9, 2018 12:16 pm
Great leadership is something that can be learned and nurtured – it is not personality-dependent. Anyone can master the skills of leadership, no matter what your age, gender or background. Taking the time to do so could be life changing in the course of your career. These five practices provide a crucial foundation from which you can go on to great things in leadership.

1. Providing a structure for others

Change can be difficult but is essential to development and growth – and an exemplary leader has a big role to play in facilitating this. Great leaders set standards and establish goals, whether that is with respect to the way that people should be treated or when it comes to establishing a path to get from A to B. They identify and remove bureaucratic obstacles and clear the road ahead of red tape so that progress can be achieved. Crucial to being an exemplary leader is the ability to identify the long-term objective and then create a series of interim goals so that others can achieve small wins as they move towards the larger target. When others are unsure how to proceed – and how to get to a long-term goal – great leaders will signpost the way.

2. Fostering collaboration and teamwork

Fostering great teamwork and a spirit of collaboration is fundamental to the qualities of a great leader. This means ensuring that others are actively involved and that you are creating an atmosphere of mutual admiration and respect. Being an exemplary leader means showing others the way when it comes to establishing an atmosphere of trust and openness, giving others the tools to feel capable and competent to strengthen the overall team.

3. Inspiring others with a vision

Perhaps the most defining element of exemplary leadership is the ability to inspire others with a single shared vision. Skills such as quiet persuasion and the ability to effectively describe a vision that could change the course of an organisation’s future are crucial for enlisting others in making that vision a reality. Great leaders inspire others to share their own vision and values, and to work towards making them happen.

4. Innovating the status quo

The greatest leaders don’t simply follow established practices and processes but look for new ways to improve and innovate. They are aware of the necessity of taking risks when it comes to overthrowing the status quo and able to weigh up and analyse the risks involved. Exemplary leaders learn that failures and mistakes are an inevitable part of progress, as well as an opportunity to learn and grow.

5. Making people feel like heroes

Perhaps the hardest leadership practice to master is that of making everyone feel like a hero. Progress and transformation can be tough and it is usually down to a leader to ensure that everyone remains engaged, focused and enthusiastic so that goals can be achieved. From celebrating the small wins, to learning how to recognise accomplishments, an exemplary leader understands how to make everyone feel like they’ve done an incredible job. Our Essential Leadership Practices course is designed to help you to understand and appreciate the core skills and practices of effective leaders, improving both confidence and results. Get in touch with PTP today to find out more.