BWM 32/100 – Overnight success

 BWM 30/100 – Build with me SalesTrainerIn
BWM 30/100 – Build with me SalesTrainerIn

Building a company is like many other things hard work. This hard work does not stop the day you register your company and change your job title to director. This is usually where the hard work starts. The real hard work.

It’s the same with every other profession – you have to work hard towards your goals to eventually achieve them. That’s it. There are no overnight successes out there. Do you know one?

Deep insight we all know they don’t exist. Why would we then still pressure with this picture of overnight success and use this fairy tale as a benchmark?

The stuff that happened before starting a company

This is something pretty personal and maybe not quite transferable to every single startup out there but to a whole bunch of them. Before someone decides to start a company this person has an idea. Ideas are easy. We all have them. All the time.

But to actually execute an idea it takes a bit more than just having an idea. You usually also have a feeling whether this idea might work, whether this idea might be something valuable. You usually will have an idea that is different from what’s available right now. This idea might ideally help solve a real problem.

How do you get such an idea and figure out whether this idea is valuable? You will probably get such an idea by having a clue of the area you want to solve a problem in. You will probably have a certain level of expertise and understanding of this area. And then you will have to test the idea and also test the market.

This means even before you actually start working and testing an idea you will have put in a certain amount of work already.

In my case this means for example having been in sales for 10 years – in different industries, roles and areas of sales.

Starting a company

Only because you then eventually decide your idea is worth spending more time on and eventually this results in starting a company the work you’ll have to put in won’t stop there. It then starts! You can be great in sales but it is something totally different to teach or train someone else becoming a great sales person. You won’t have immediate customers, supporters, concepts and products.

Therefore when a person has started a company they usually will have to figure out a lot of stuff. They usually will have to put in a whole lot of work to get the company ready to actually start.

You start from zero. NADA. There is no infrastructure given. There is no business model yet. There is no payment system. There are no contracts. There are no price calculations. There is nothing.

One month in already – are you already successful?

Depending on how you would define success I guess one could stretch the answer to this question. But the real case scenario is probably “No”.

Especially when building a company for the long run you won’t sell a totally lean version. Especially not when your product is professional service. You will of course adapt your products along the way and get better over time. But there is no point in rushing too quickly into things, loosing patience. This does definitely not mean to wait till your product or service is perfect – because it never will be. But it does mean that it must be OK to think things true, to get your toolkit ready, to build something presentable and sellable. You build a business. You change you life. You change your lifestyle. I’m in it for the long haul. And I’m in it to win it.

Patience and overnight success

This external pressure like “do you already have a huge client?” as well as my internal pressure to hit the road running has been part of my journey from the beginning. The pressure and impatience to get started asap, to have the urgency of making money. And I had to understand and learn that it’s OK that creating good trainings concepts takes some time. That I can’t compare my chapter 1 with someone’s chapter 189. It’s just not working like this. I am in this game full-time since a month. I am on a pretty good way, keeping up with my pace but it simply takes a lot of work and a bit patience and time. Building a company is not a sprint. It’s a life change.

This videos gives a pretty great impression of the overnight success fairy tale, hard work and patience. All credit goes to Gary Vaynerchuk!

 

 

Poor Performance – Beyond Lacking Ability and Motivation

Howdy,

in recent posts I talked about talent, potential and performance. As it has been said already job performance occurs in different stages and with different focus (task performance etc.). To see my other posts around this idea please check the category ‘talent’. Business Dictionary defines performance as ‘The accomplishment of a given task measured against present known standards of accuracy, complexness, cost and speed. In a contract, performance is deemed to be the fulfilment of an obligation in a manner that releases the performer from all liabilities under the contract’.

Well, this definition is quite technically and heavily focussing on task performance – how to perform in executing one task. Further research findings around ‘performance’ were pretty often in line with the model of MindTools – developed from ‘Developing Managament Skills’ by Whetten & Cameron, 2011. This model states:

Performance = Ability x Motivation

With ability being defined as a ‘person’s aptitude, as well as the training & resources supplied by the organisation’ and motivation defined as the ‘product of desire and commitment’.

Facts are:

  1. Ability and motivation are definitely important factors of performance.
  2. Performance is an absolutely essential measure of each company – no matter the company’s size.
  3. Individual’s performance can impact organisational performance.
  4. Many companies prefer focusing on good performance rather than negative performance.

Ability and motivation are important and regarding the fact that many companies are not keen or don’t have the financial resources to focus on too much employee development and training it is essential that abilities and motivation are in place. However, I don’t think this can’t be it. During selection processes we focus mainly on ‘who to select (in)’ – who is the right match for our company / role – whom to pick.

But when we review the impact individuals performance has on a whole team or even organisation shouldn’t we focus more on the parts that trigger poor or even negative performance? Shouldn’t these factors be at least as important as the ‘good’ factors? Shouldn’t we also focus on who to ‘select-out’? Whom to let go?

HR Zone states that good performance does occur on 3 levels:

  1. Relationships between individuals and their boss
  2. Relationships between individuals and their team
  3. Relationships between individuals and their wider organisation

I absolutely like this wider idea of performance. As it does say a lot about the underlying behaviours that form the relationships. Behaviour and soft skills are somehow developable as well as ability is somehow trainable and flexible. Motivation can somehow be increased through external factors like money and other rewards. But shouldn’t we focus on what motivates an individual from the insight? What are the internal motivators? Where does intrinsic motivation comes from? What are the underlying personality traits that form the person’s behaviour, thinking style and finally motivates a person?

In all these definitions above I miss the personality part of performance. Especially the parts that could lead to derailment and contra productive work behaviour which definitely can impact performance – negatively. The relationship levels give a first, nice indication about how people behave in contact with others but to get a real picture of this they must already be employed.

One of my favourite books  is ‘Why CEO’s Fail: The 11 Behaviours That Can Derail Your Climb to The Top & How to Manage Them’ by Dotlich & Cairo (2003). CEO’s who are obvisouly top performers by definition – how else could they have climbed up to the company’s top – are mainly not failing because of lacking ability or motivation. CEO’s mainly fail because of derailment, contra productive workplace behaviour. The  11 described behaviours like e.g. arrogance, mischievousness,  and perfectionism are formed by underlying maladaptive personality traits. Let’s just summarise – an individual’s performance can influence the performance of the whole company. How big also could be the potential damage when a CEO is not performing appropriately but is rather performing bad? Not bad in the definition of not hitting targets or not setting a vision but in influencing others negatively? Shouldn’t we focus, besides ability and motivation, on personality too? Personality traits are stable and unchangeable. This means we can’t change them with training or development. Shouldn’t we pay more attention to ‘whom select out’ in our selection processes rather than ‘who has the ability and motivation to perform’? Isn’t personality a main factor? Aren’t people the most valuable asset of each company? Aren’t people the ones who interact with your customers and who sell your products? So, why is the measurement of so called ‘maladaptive workplace behaviour’ not mandatory in selection processes?  So many companies use psychometrics like personality testing for their early stage selection process but focus in doing so mainly on the desirable traits they would like to select in rather the negative traits they would like to select out. Quite a few companies are not happy to admit that they do have low performers and are less happy to take action. I guess this is something that should be changed. What are your thoughts about this topic? How do you measure performance? I’m absolutely keen to get to know your view.

 

Personnel Selection and Performance

When talking about ‘getting the right people into the right place’ its mostly linked to the goal ‘to get job done’. So what does this exactly mean?  People differ in their ‘talents’ – their knowledge, skills, abilities and others differences. Therefore in order to reach this ‘getting it done’ goal personnel selection should define the relationships between the needed ‘talents’ and the performance outcomes they should ideally lead to.

Viswesvaran and Ones (2000) defined job performance as “scalable actions, behaviour and outcomes that employees engage in or bring about that are linked with and contribute to organisational goals”. Performance could either be related to specific tasks and goals or be a factor that influences goal achievement maybe indirect (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993).

So, to make the right decision in a selection context companies should define:

  1. What are the company’s goals? And are they transparent communicated to the HR departments?
  2. What ‘talents’ are needed? Was there a proper job analysis conducted to find out?
  3. How are these ‘talents’ gonna be found, attracted and got on board?
  4. What would be a good way to identify if it’s the right ‘talent’ before being hired?

Are those elementary first steps not done this could lead to high costs of poor selection.

Furthermore shouldn’t we think one step ahead and instead of just considering what ‘talent’ is needed in this actual moment? Shouldn’t we focus on the future? Wouldn’t it be useful to define what ‘talents’ or qualities will be needed to perform effectively in more than just one future role? Shouldn’t we focus on ‘potential’ rather than ‘talent’? Shouldn’t we consider a look at what performance a candidate is maximal capable of? Or should we focus on the typically shown performance? And which environment would be needed to support maximal performance?

I am keen to get to know your thoughts about ‘Personnel Selection and Performance’.

Stephanie