Beyond The Language Barrier

With an ever increasingly globalised business world, language barriers are important. You’re reading this in English, which is the current global language of business, yet language is only one element of the cross cultural challenge of working globally.

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The greater challenge can be in understanding the more subtle differences of expectation and perception. Working in line relationships with people from different countries and cultures can prove to be a real communication challenge, beyond the language issue.

Cultural differences such as the degree of openness and directness expected can make giving and receiving feedback difficult. Understanding how people relate across age and seniority levels in different cultures can avoid causing offence and lead to more effective decision making.

People around the world are currently investing time and money in themselves and their children to improve their English and therefore their prospects. Some English speakers are learning other languages to increase their employability, yet few organisations invest in helping their people understand where their colleagues and customers are coming from, a factor which can deliver real competitive advantage.

Working Around The Problem

Many organisations offer management training programmes to their employees; some offer management development programmes, sometimes there’s a difference beyond the name. The key determinant of their effectiveness is whether managers are doing a better job. Employees are often the best judge of this, and where employment levels are high they may vote with their feet.
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In other situations talented employees will simply work around ineffective managers, delivering results for themselves and the organisation in spite of a lack of effective management, but this is rarely sustainable as motivation dips along with direction. Key frustrations can be:

  • Managers are promoted on their technical rather than managerial ability, then spend their time trying to do my job rather than theirs
  • Managers spend lots of time managing me, asking how I feel, developing me, but have no idea how we’re doing in terms of delivering against our objectives
  • Managers lack creativity, and discourage it in their teams
  • Managers are great in the day to day but don’t seem capable of communicating and contributing to the overall vision

These issues are often not discussed in organisations, but identifying them gives an opportunity to address the current problem, as well as allowing the business to work on the root causes of frustration. If you would like to discuss further contact us.

The Role of The Account Manager

Is there a difference between being a salesperson and being an account manager? We think so. Account managers:

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  1. Must be multi-skilled salespeople
  2. Should strive for continuous improvement.
  3. Need to know as much about the customer’s business as they do.
  4. Be aware of external issues affecting themselves and their customers.
  5. Project themselves as influential leaders with insightful views.
  6. Be familiar with use and capability of IT systems.
  7. Agree, maintain and review service performance measures.
  8. Continually connect with management in the client organisation

For more information on how to be a successful account manager is today’s competitive market why not attend Structured Training’s Selling…The Essentials for Key Account Development. For more information please contact us.

Motivation Techniques

Motivation may be described as ‘having sufficient reason’ for doing something.

Nobody ever does anything unless he or she has a reason for doing so:

to motivate is ‘to furnish with a reason or motive’, i.e. ‘to make somebody want to do a particular task’

You may find a certain task either enjoyable or unpleasant:

  • If enjoyable, you will need very little motivation to make you do it (or a strong penalty to stop you doing it);
  • If unpleasant, you will need a powerful motivation to carry it out (and very little excuse to avoid doing so).

Therefore management has a basic choice in motivation of either offering some nature of reward for carrying out a task, or making the threat of some form of penalty for not doing so (the traditional ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’ philosophy).

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But although the ‘big stick’ may have worked well in the last century when unemployment was high and there were few if any social security benefits, it is almost totally ineffective in the economic and social environment of today.

This is not to say that ‘fear’ does not motivate. When used occasionally and selectively it can provide a spur to the poor performer who has the potential to do better; and fear can – and should – be used in disciplinary matters. When used continuously, however, it can ‘motivate’ the best performers to find another job, and demotivate the others into giving minimum acceptable results.

There are many theories behind positive motivation to include:

  1. Motivation is achieved by the promise of satisfaction of individual needs.
  2. Each individual has different needs and wants.
    (and these may change from week to week and from year to year)
  3. Each individual has a different level of drive.
    (the effort which he/she is willing to apply to achieve each need)
    Motivation must relate to the promise of something in the future
    (people are not motivated by things which have already happened)
  4. Group motivation can be based on the common needs of the group
    (but additional attention must be directed to individual needs).
  5. Fear can be used as an occasional short-term motivator
    (but in the long term it leads to friction and dissatisfaction).
  6. Removing any cause of dissatisfaction will not motivate
    (it will result only in a ceasing of the demotivational effect).
  7. There is a level beyond which each individual can not be motivated
    (if any need is reasonably satisfied, further reward has no effect).

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To learn how to be a motivational sales manager our Field Sales Management course is a great choice.

How To Manage Your Time More Effectively

Before you start to plan how you are going to get more control over your time, it is important to identify which areas are in most urgent need of attention. Putting the issues into an order of priority and dealing with the most pressing ones first will make your action plan seem far less overwhelming.

Read through the questions and mark yes or no for each one:
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Your Priorities
1. Are you sure what your main work objectives are?
2. Are you clear about the amount of time you spend on the different areas of your life?
3. Do you know what you will be doing in one year’s time – and in the next three to five years?
4. Do you find it easy to identify which tasks are the most important?
5. Do you spend more time than you should doing routine jobs?
6. Do you find that you have enough time to spend on important thinking and planning tasks?

Overload
7. Do you often feel anxious or worried about getting work done?
8. Do you know if you really have too much work to do?
9. Do you always say “yes” to additional work, even if you are fully loaded?
10. Do you cancel leisure activities in favour of work?

Delegation
11. Do you prefer to do jobs yourself rather than give them to others?
12. Do you see delegation as an important part of your role?
13. Do you plan what and how to delegate well in advance?
14. Are you willing to train and support others while they are learning how to do a task you have delegated?

Planning
15. Do you always know whether you have time spare to fit in any additional work?
16. Do you often take work home or stay very late to finish something?
17. Do you find it impossible to get through all the work you have to do in a day?
18. Are you often late for appointments?

Techniques
19. Do you often put off work till tomorrow?
20. Do you find it difficult to end a conversation?
21. Do you allow people (or phone calls) to interrupt you at any time?
22. Do you feel that meetings often waste your time?
23. Do you have a large part of reading material to tackle?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions – the activity has simply led you to identify the approaches and attitudes that you already find useful and those areas where you may want to develop new behaviours. The “ideal” time manager would have answered:

“yes” to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, and 15

“no” to questions 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

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Hopefully the quiz has made you realise that you are probably not such a poor time manager as you might have thought! However it should also have given you some clues about the areas you might find it useful to work on.

If from taking the quiz you think you could do with development in this area but don’t have the time to attend a course, our suite of e-learning modules could be just what you are looking for. With a suite of 20 modules, to include TIME MANAGEMENT, our e-learning will give you high quality material that is accessible, challenging and engaging that will make you want to come back for more. To take a look at an e-learning demonstration or discuss the available modules please contact us.

Eleven Business/People Orthodoxies – Where Do You Stand?

  1. Command & Control Management Style. Management gurus and business schools have for 20 years been saying the modern organisation needs to be run on different lines, so why, apart from some notable exceptions (which tend to be start-ups), is it so slow in changing?
  2. Managerial Status Symbols. Reserved car parking (admittedly actual name plates are rarer now), office space linked to seniority, (quietly) booking the better rooms at company conferences. Different classes of travel depending not on need but again on seniority.
  3. The closer to the customer the less likely your job is valued, the people the furthest away from customers often earning the most.
  4. Saying ‘people are our most important asset’, oh really? Demonstrated how?
  5. That how much somebody earns is a reflection of their quality. ‘We have to pay the market rate for world class managers otherwise we can’t attract them’. There is no data to support this contention.
  6. That people don’t like change. What people don’t like is badly organised, poorly communicated uncontextualised change, attempted by people they have little respect for.
  7. That job security is still attainable. The phrase job security should be deleted from the business lexicon. Managers can’t deliver it and everybody else can’t acquire it. We can only focus on employability, managers in helping to stimulate it, and everybody else taking personal ownership for developing more for themselves.
  8. That being a graduate is a proxy for being better at a job than somebody who isn’t. It isn’t.
  9. That leadership is critical. So why are so many businesses still over managed and under-led?
  10. That service can be a defining source of competitive advantage. If so, why do so few organisations make the required investment to deliver something materially better than what went before?
  11. That on-going training is only for younger, more junior people. See What Should Keep The CEO Awake a Night?

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