I was on the phone with a senior leader from Texas yesterday. I asked what he was doing over the holiday. He answered in his Texas drawl, “Well I’ve never been big on New Year’s celebrations but this year, I’m gonna spend my mortgage on fireworks. I need to blow some shi** up.”

I’m not the only one who wants to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. I’m afraid of coming within 10 feet of fireworks so there won’t be any Roman candles at my house. However, I certainly share the sentiment.

2020 is going out in flames.

Before we turn the page, it’s worth reflecting on how we’ve changed this year. …

All the cool kids have purpose. Or so it seems. As more organizations begin to adopt corporate purpose statements, we see announcements on social media, a push for purpose-driven hiring, and CEOs deliver inspirational townhalls.

Yet for many front-line leaders, keeping an aspirational purpose alive in the cadence of daily business is challenging. Much like keeping your fitness goals or parenting aspirations front and center during a pandemic, an inspirational purpose sounds great on your best day, but in the face of stress and uncertainty, it often falls by the wayside.

The economics of pointing an organization towards a higher purpose have been well documented. Aligning your team around a noble purpose bigger than money drives greater employee engagement, better customer retention, and improved competitive differentiation, all of which translate into better financial performance. …

Here’s How to Truly Unplug

We know that disconnecting from work can reduce our risk for burnout, jumpstart creative, innovative thinking, and overall, make us happier and more grounded people.

Yet for many, particularly high achievers, disconnecting sounds easier than it actually is. If you’re trying to unplug for an evening, or even for a week or two over the holidays, you may find yourself frustrated by your brain’s inability to “comply” with your scheduled vacation.

Here are five tips to help:

1. Write down your thoughts

If you’re lying awake at night thinking about all the things you have to do the following day, a good old-fashioned to-do list is the remedy you need. Writing something down lets our mind loosen the mental grip on a particular thought; we have security that we won’t forget. …

There’s no open bar, no opportunity to see your old pals, and no chance for the top revenue producers to bask in the glow of their applauding (and envious) peers.

This begs the question, should you even bother with a sales meeting?

The resounding answer is YES. Your sales team need motivation and connection now more than ever. However, if you think you are going to replicate what you did in person, in online format, forget it. Let’s be honest, those one-way information dumps weren’t great in person. On zoom, they’re excruciating,

Traditional sales meetings often (unintentionally) send a message to the sales team: all we care about is the numbers. This is a fatal error. It leads to lack of engagement, a transactional sales force, and ultimately, lower revenue and less customer retention. …

When you’re a sales leader and you’re behind on the number, it can become a downward spiral. A Chief Revenue Officer we work with summarizes his weekly meeting saying, “Eight months ago our dashboard was a mix of green and yellow. Today, every single item is red. When my team sees themselves in the red week after week, it starts to feel futile and they become demoralized.”

A demoralized sale team isn’t well positioned to win business. A sales team (and people in general) respond to what is being measured. The metrics tell the team what’s important right now.

As sales leaders think about metrics, particularly the metrics they broadcast to their teams, it’s important to remember that revenue, and even weekly win rates, are lagging indicators. They’re a reflection of what’s happened in the past. …

Working for a disorganized or disengaged boss can be frustrating, but dealing with a toxic leader can be downright awful.

If you’re waking up each day bracing yourself for the inevitable crisis du jour, it may be time to reassess.

Here are three signs of a toxic leader and how you can keep them from dragging you down.

1. They Ghost You (Except When They Need You)

Your 1–1? That needs to get pushed back. The report your boss is behind on? That’s top priority. …

How High Performers Handle High Stakes Conversations

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”

When opposing ideas clash, it’s tempting to believe that comprise is the answer. But that’s a mistake. High performing individuals and organizations recognize, there’s a big difference between compromise and cooperation. Compromise waters down your ideas, cooperation makes your ideas better.

In his address to the nation, Joe Biden said, “I believe that is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to COOPERATE.” Yet multiple news sources translated his call for cooperation into a mandate for compromise. To use these terms interchangeably is a recipe for failure. …

One of our clients said, “When this is over, and we’re back in the office, I’m never eating lunch at my desk again. I want to be in the break room with you people!” referring to her colleagues.

If you find yourself really missing the camaraderie of the office, you’re not alone. Even the introverts on my team are findings themselves longing to actually be with our clients again. Zoom just….isn’t the same.

Sure, working from home means no commute and pants optional, but it can also come with deep loneliness and feeling less connected.

Being a well-connected (remote) team takes an extra layer of intention. Here are a few best practices to keep you from feeling like a lone…

Is fear a good motivator? It can be.

Many years ago, my old boss said, “If you really want to get people to do something, make them afraid.” He wasn’t wrong. Fear does prompt people to act. The problem is, they’re only acting to alleviate the fear. When the threat subsides, they go back to their old ways.

Fear of failure will jumpstart activity; yet it has a chilling effect on long-term behavior. Fear ignites your amygdala, the most primal, self-serving part of your brain, often called the lizard brain. The lizard brain has one job, protect your safety and your ego at all costs. …


Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa is an advisor, consultant, and speaker who works with senior executives and sales teams around the world. She is the author of five bestselling books.

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