My Scrappy and Resilient – Driving Strong Results Discovery by Mariellie Rodriguez Mundy

 

A few months back I received an invitation to explore an opportunity (I call it my “shiny object”) to join a Private Equity firm’s platform company as their Chief Financial Officer. The role seemed to meet many of my criteria for great jobs in my career, but most importantly it also had a very high degree of challenge and learning opportunities. I felt that my entire career had led me to this opportunity, and I was confident enough to give it my all.

The first step was an interview with the CEO and several key stakeholders. This was a lengthy process that included several phone interviews, in-person meetings and traveling to meet several board of director members at the firm’s headquarters.

As part of the process I completed various assessments. I’ve done many of these in the past, and have embraced the opportunities for self-awareness that they offer.  But something was different this time. This was the first time that I was scheduled to meet with a consultant as part of the assessment, “the guy from Boston” hired to form an opinion about my ability to meet the requirements of the CFO role.

It makes sense that an investment firm would want to do this kind of research before they make a substantial investment in such a key position. Naturally they’d want to know what kind of professional they are getting.

Fast forward a couple of months . . . on a Friday afternoon I was advised that the investment firm decided to pass on both of the two final candidates, including myself.  Ouch! The “shiny object” was gone. Gone, gone, gone. It was a moment where rejection and self-doubt overwhelmed me.

I was alone in my car driving around aimlessly when I decided to just park. As I sat there I decided to challenge my thinking and acknowledge my emotions. The great thing about embracing the fact that I felt rejected and incompetent was the deeper connection to the many “Why’s?”. I felt an irresistable need to find wisdom in this experience.

Days later, after I had time to process and understand how this experience was going to add value to my journey, I decided to reach out to “the guy from Boston” for feedback. He had met with me in Florida a month prior, and after four and a half hours of intense questioning about my life journey, he had drafted a report for the investment firm. He agreed to a call to debrief with me his assessment.

And this is where my scrappy discovery took place. The headline of his report to the investment firm described me as: “Scrappy and Resilient – driving strong results, will deliver against all odds”

Scrappy, what did he just called me? I’m scrappy? I was referred to as “scrappy” by a perfect stranger, and this was his professional opinion that he shared with a group of investment professionals! Is that even professional?!!

This man just met me, and after four and a half hours he concluded that I was scrappy. “Scrappy” was not what I had in mind as I put on my business jacket, my best watch, and arrived with confidence to meet the consultant from Boston sent to assess my ability to deliver results.

Many experiences have had a great impact in my life and the day I was called a “scrappy one” is one of those. The more I thought about it the more wisdom I found in this scrappy word. A quick google search for the definition of scrappy yielded synonyms such as feisty, tenacious, determined, persistent, dogged, aggressive, and forceful. Dictionary’s provided the following definitions:

“Having a strong, determined character, and willing to argue or fight for what you want” – Cambridge English Dictionary

“A person who is little, but can really kick some ass” – Urban Dictionary (Yikes!)

I thought I would be clever and write about how impactful this word was to me, but then I discovered an entire website with the intention of connecting scrappy women to each other. Led by Kimberly Wiefling, the founder of scrappywomen.biz, here I found a bunch of women who were unapologetic about being scrappy! I couldn’t stop smiling when I found an entire community of other remarkable, inspirational businesswomen who are not afraid to share their scrappy wisdom with others.

During the past few years I have spent a significant amount of time learning about my role as a servant leader and my effectiveness as a conscious leader. I’ve deeply considered my ability to understand the world around me and my ability to make an impact. Here’s what I am absolutely sure of . . . that there is so much more I still have to learn! And nothing excites me more than looking forward to spending the rest of my life learning – learning from others, learning from past struggles, from success, and most importantly from failures. There is so much wisdom in each moment, and every experience we are given is an opportunity for growth.

I am a businesswoman, and an entrepreneur at heart. I’m sure I was born with a shovel in my hand so that I would be ready to assist my father in mixing concrete when necessary. Ever since I can remember I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. It was simple to me, “I love construction and playing with the cash register.” I wanted to be a top financial executive of a construction firm! I lived my dream for many years, and my heart still wears a hard hat. That heart with a hard hat is eager to explore the next steps and bigger challenges.

After 20 years of a successful progressive career as a finance executive in the construction industry, and most recently CFO of a large national electrical contractor, I have decided to pause for a moment. I am determined to take the time I need to search deep within myself in order to align the second half of my career with my personal values and purpose. As someone in a field and a role where certainty and risks are constantly being evaluated, defined, measured and accounted for, I have decided to embrace uncertainty and take a risk in order to build a legacy of which my children will be proud. This journey is not shaped by a new job or even a well-defined business plan at the moment. It is a fluid process filled with wisdom and inspiration from many sources.

Today I have chosen to challenge my lifelong thinking of what I had previously assumed success looks like. I’m not sure what the future holds, but one thing is certain in a world full of uncertainty – when you are scrappy, you work very hard and will deliver against all odds! I am committed to continue to be a scrappy woman in business with a big servant heart. And I’m thankful to “the guy from Boston” for sharing his feedback.

For many years now I set my intentions for the year around three words to live by.

In 2017 I’m committed to these 2 words: Create, Connect and be Inspired.

I look forward to continuing to serve the industry I love while creating a legacy for my children, intentionally connecting with the community around me, and finding the wisdom and inspiration in each moment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marielle Rodriguez Mundy was the former CFO of Miller Electric Company.  She is a business professional, who is scrappy and resilient – driving strong results, will deliver against all odds!!  Currently, she started her new venture, she consults for a family own business assisting with strategy oversight, exit and ownership transition from the CFO perspective.

Mariellie R. Mundy, CPA, MBA
The Mariellie Mundy Company
Mmundy@marielliemundy.com
904-608-0080 

 

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How to Extract Prejudicial Data from a Political Survey by Yael Ben-Shachar?

How can you extract prejudicial data from a political survey? That was the challenge I faced when I began my summer internship with Tobias Konitzer of the Stanford Communications Department. At first, I was unsure about how a mathematician like myself could contribute to a study about politics. But I was both surprised and delighted to find out that math was the secret ingredient in solving the problem.

Before digging into the work itself, I first had to master a challenging statistical program called “R”, which would play a major role in helping us squeeze bias out of existing poll results.  I also had to learn the ins-and-outs of a proprietary algorithm that Tobi had developed for collecting and organizing large-scale data quickly and accurately.

Still, I had my questions about what we were attempting to do. I asked the project head: “How can polls be biased when the data is a reflection of the people being polled? And, if there is bias, how are we supposed to ferret it out?”

“Most people view polls or surveys as sources of scientifically-developed data,” Tobi explained. However, the history of political polling tells us otherwise because results frequently underperform our expectations. For example, pollsters were far off-base in the recent Brexit vote by British citizens. Furthermore, while the average national results of the Obama vs. Romney presidential election were largely accurate, many individual polls were consistently wrong.”

“If polling is a science, how could so many polls provide contradictory results, and how could polls such as those in the United Kingdom be so far off the mark?” I asked.

Tobi had the answer: “Bias of one form or another is often built into the polling instruments themselves,” he told me. “Such bias can result from the choice of questions posed by pollsters, how those questions are phrased, the groups that are selected for the sample, the size of the sample, and whether polls are self-selected or randomly selected in a scientific manner by a third party.”

Now, this project was getting interesting, and Tobi had my full attention.

The goal of my summer internship at Stanford was to use “R” to mathematically strip all possible bias out of a poll for the upcoming presidential election, and thus produce a more accurate result. The data we used was biased towards one side of the political spectrum because the poll was published on a website viewed almost exclusively by voters who shared that point of view. I used the algorithm to manipulate big data sets containing demographic data for both Republicans and Democrats. Then, I put my math skills to work, using the “R” program to squeeze out biases. After a substantial amount of work, we began to see different results, and my concerns about our ability to actually find and remove bias faded.

Several weeks into the project, I was thrilled to find that the polling data began to shed its built-in favoritism and actually lean towards the opposite side of the political spectrum, as was reflected in more well-regarded polls. With additional work, the data would eventually contain almost no bias, making the polling much more objective and reliable.

Although the results we were seeking seemed anti-intuitive at first, it turned out that the meticulous process we used, helped along by my love of and expertise in math, could achieve what had seemed impossible when we began. Additionally, I realized that I had developed a new skill set using the “R” program and Tobi’s algorithm for data collection and analysis. These skills could have applications in many other areas, including data gathering for school assignments, or analyzing future polling results.

I now realize that our work could have a genuine impact on the accuracy of critical information and that math could be even more powerful than I thought. Meanwhile, I’ve personally learned to take most polling data with a grain of salt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Yael Ben-Shachar is a senior at a Silicon Valley High School. Volunteers for Boys and Girls Club teaching students math and reading skills and training other volunteers. Works with special needs children, specifically a boy with autism all year.
Learned how to squeeze prejudicial data out of large polls using sophisticated statistical programs at Stanford.
She is a Journalist for her school newspaper.

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The Success Story of the Owner of a Synergy HomeCare Franchise by Saili Gosula

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My name is Saili, and I am the owner of a Synergy HomeCare franchise.  My business is now 6 years old, and I’ve gotten to the point that I feel that I am running a real company, and that I can delegate and provide a living for a lot of people.  It’s like a real company now!  I even took 3 weeks away for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  I did work some, for sure, but I was able to go to another country, spend time with family & friends, watch a bunch of soccer games, read 4 books, and get a tan.

I want to start at the very beginning – going back 50 years ago to a couple of different continents.  My parents are Indian, and I grew up in Brazil.

In Brazil at the time I was in high school opportunities for college were very limited, so they had a strict process for kids identifying their interest and then applying to college in that specific field. Admittance was based on a large test of all the subjects you ever learned in school, weighted based on the field you chose to study.

The problem is we were 16 years old when we had to choose what we would do for college, and changing majors was not permitted. You had to start over and get re-tested if you did that!  So being a math wiz from a math family, I decided I would study computer science.  I had never seen a computer in my life, but I’m a bit competitive. That was the most sought after field, with 30 slots for the entire state, and I was going to try for that.  I got in, started college in Brazil, but then ended up coming to the US. I moved straight from Brazil to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I went for college.  I ended up with a double major in math and computer science, and a masters in computer science.

I got a job right out of school and worked in several companies over the next 20 years in several IT roles.  I started out as a programmer, analyst, then consultant, and then project manager.  I even did a 2-year gig in HR at one company because it had grown so fast under me, and the people trusted me with their problems.  I learned a lot in those 2 years in HR.  As a matter of fact, all of those different jobs I had over the years prepared me for what I do today.

In my last job in corporate America, I was director of inventory systems for Gap, Inc.  If my systems did not work, no clothes went to any of the Old Navy, Gap or BR stores worldwide.  It was a good job, with lots of recognition and visibility, but the product that I delivered was not exciting to me. The most important thing I did was getting jeans to the store on time.  As the years went on I kept thinking that what I was doing wasn’t really a good fit with the person I was becoming over time.

In the meantime, I started doing lots of work with non-profits, community organizations, and school PTAs – and I loved that stuff!  I was coaching soccer, a volunteer webmaster for a theater company, on the board of the theater company, and eventually president of the board of the theater company, creating yearbooks and playbills, and spending way too much time volunteering on top of my demanding job.  Even within Gap I used to lead all the volunteer events for our very large IT department, and planned all our social events.  I never stayed within my box.  The thing is that I loved being part of the community, and I would stay up all night because I believed in what I was doing.  I knew I had to do something different, but it is very difficult to leave a good paying job with lots of prestige, 6 weeks of vacation, and all kinds of benefits that large corporations provide.

And then I got laid off.  I was scared but also so excited!  This was the defining moment when I was free to reinvent myself.  I actually had been hoping for this opportunity because I knew I’d get a nice severance package that would buy me time to figure out what to do next. This was my chance.

I pretty much knew that I wanted to own my own business.  I felt that everything I’d done up to that point – the computer skills, the HR, the management, the team-building, the event-planning, the yearbook and playbill editing, the budgeting and project management, and the board experience at the theater company – it gave me enough of a well-rounded skillset that I could run a company.  But what was I going to do?  I couldn’t come up with an idea.  I knew I wanted to use my one greatest strength – my people skills.  That was the # 1 requirement.

So I ended up going to a franchise broker.  They reviewed my priorities, which were: community, seeing the impact firsthand, creating jobs, managing people, and finding something I could be passionate about.  They brought me a few ideas, and through a 60-day process I ended up buying into a Home Care franchise.

I am going to explain briefly what we do because I am not here to sell, but it helps to understand how this was such a good fit with what I was looking for:

I own Synergy HomeCare, which is a provider of 1-1 caregivers.  We provide caregivers that go into people’s homes and help them with the little things they can’t do for themselves, or that are difficult for them to do for themselves. The bulk of our clients are seniors, but we do serve people of all ages, including children. For our seniors, we help them with personal care such as bathing, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, errands, and going to the grocery store.  We do short, occasional visits, which we call respite, or we can be there 24×7, or anything in between.

So 6 years ago I decided to do something that I’d never done before, something I had no formal training in, and that my college education definitely did not teach me how to do.  The franchisor did provide training, but then you’re on your own to get your own clients and caregivers.

People used to tell me that I had a lot of guts to make such a change.  At the time I must have had this puzzled look on my face because I didn’t understand that.  To me, it was a matter of survival.  I couldn’t go on giving so much of myself to something I didn’t believe in.  I needed to feed my soul.

But it was really hard in the beginning!  Being a people person in IT, I was popular.  Mine was the office that people walked into all the time to talk to someone, or ask work questions. My phone was always ringing, and my email was always full.  Then I started the business, and I was in this tiny little office by myself.  Nobody stopped by, nobody called, and I questioned my decision. I felt a little scared . . . and lonely.

What I did to compensate for this was that I started networking.  I joined a networking group, and I have been with that group for almost five years now. It was a community of business owners, and I could trust the people in that group to actually provide services for me as well. I then felt that I wasn’t as alone.  And I loved to find reasons to refer business to other people in that group.

After that I tried a few other groups. Now I am also very active in the Chamber of Commerce for our city, and that is another wonderful group. I always look forward to talking with these people. I go to business mixers and chat with both people I know as well as connecting with new people, and now I am no longer lonely at all.

To be truthful, I’m a crazy networker.  It really helps!  It may be a little uncomfortable at first, but it grows your business, and you learn who you should partner with. And the more you go the easier it gets. Everybody is there for the same reason – to expand their network.

The other thing that was hard in the beginning was doing everything myself.  It was exhausting!  I was on call 24×7, and my mind was spinning from all the different things I was responsible for.  I started paying people right away to do things for me.  I was fortunate that my circle of friends included competent people excited to help me start my business. I paid them, but not what they were worth. I also started paying my high-school-aged son to work in our office.

Eventually I hired full-time staff.  I almost always hired the next person before I could afford them – I just knew that I couldn’t grow without them. And none of my office hires came to me in a traditional way, by applying for a posted job position. I would meet someone that was available and just know that this person would be a good fit for my team. I couldn’t afford not to have them! This enabled growth.

My staff is top notch. I can be out of the office all day and know that the company runs smoothly without me.  Oh, and gradually I’ve worked myself into a place where I am never on call anymore, though I am always the escalation point.

I now have five full time office staff that help run my operation. I always have a couple of part-time people that are available to help when needed.

Now we have about 60 caregivers working for us, another 100 that we consider active and available, and another 400 that have worked for us occasionally in the past who we could possibly call on again. In our 6 years in business we have served over 600 clients.

Advice

Find out what your strengths are, and find a career that uses those strengths. It will feel much more natural, and you will be better able to sustain your effort in it.  Me, I am a people person to the extreme, so I chose a profession that would have me always talking to people, connecting with people, understanding people and having them entrust me with their most prized assets – their parents. I can connect with all the different people that all different levels, and that makes me very successful in this field. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Saili Gosula is the owner and Executive Director of Synergy.  She had a successful career in IT until 2009.  Always an avid volunteer in the schools and local non-profits, focusing on people and the community eventually became more important to her.  She made a career switch.  She is passionate about her new career in home care.  She differentiates herself by her tirelessly giving and positive approach.  This has quickly helped her to grow her business and provided her with many loyal fans and followers, across clients, associates, and employees.
Saili@SHCSanMateo.com
www.synergyhomecare.com/SanMateo

 

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Good Job: How to Accept a Compliment by Mildred Lynn McDonald

AAEAAQAAScappy Women Mildred Lynn McDonald blog 2016-06-07

*This post was originally published in UCSC (University of California, Santa Cruz) Extension in Silicon Valley Project Management blog.

I’ve never had a problem accepting a compliment, so it came as a surprise to discover that many people find this basic interpersonal skill challenging and uncomfortable.

After a bit of reflection, I decided that cultural orientation aside, accepting compliments is second nature to me. Why? Because I don’t try to figure out the reason behind the compliment, other than the goodwill that is presented to me “in the moment”.

At first glance, this might seem naive, but I assure you that accepting these little bouquets of acknowledgment with a smile and a sincere “thank you” has served me well over the years with both friends and co-workers.

As author Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I believe that this sage observation captures the essence of accepting a compliment exponentially because when a compliment is received with grace and generosity, both the giver and the receiver feel good. Really good. Hmm, perhaps this is because as human beings, we are simply “wired” that way. I’d like to think so.

Trouble Accepting a Compliment? Here’s a Tip

If you find yourself stammering, filling the air with pregnant pauses, or discarding many of the compliments that come your way, here is a tip: When receiving a compliment, try to clear your mind and focus on the other person rather than yourself. Think about it. If you focus on the other person, you are not making a judgement about your worthiness to receive a compliment, the accuracy of the compliment or anything else that might make this potentially enriching interpersonal exchange “less than” it is. Plus, and this is a big plus, you are now in a position to make another human being feel good.

We all know what it feels like to deliver a genuine compliment to a friend or co-worker only to have our words diminished by “Oh, it was nothing.” or “Anyone could do this.” or “It is OK, but I really wanted to do xyz.” It can make you feel so let down … just like a deflated helium balloon!

If you have trouble accepting a compliment and are asking yourself “how to” accept a compliment in a positive way, check out these scenarios by K.T. Bernhagen:

  • For a job well done: “Thank you. I was hoping this was what you were looking for, and I really like it too.”
  • For a speech, performance, article, or work of art: “Thank you. I really enjoy (writing, performing, speaking, whatever), and I’m glad you liked it!”
  • For your help: “Thank you. I’m so glad that I could help.”
  • If you caught a mistake that was missed by others: “Thanks for noticing. I’m glad I caught it, too.”
  • In any other situation: “Thank you. I appreciate it!” Enough said.

Here are a couple of other scenarios for your toolbox by author Jack Griffen:

  • If someone says “You deserve it”, consider replying with: “I’ve had a good example set for me. You have given me a lot of support. It’s meant a lot.”
  • If someone says “I don’t give praise lightly”, consider replying with: “I know you don’t. That’s why I am thrilled with your remarks. They mean a great deal to me.”

Like most things in life, all you will need to master the art of accepting a compliment with grace, generosity and goodwill is a little time, attention and practice.

I’d like to end on a comical note, so here’s a quote about compliments by the incorrigible Mark Twain: “I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel they have not said enough.” Ha!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mildred Lynn McDonald – Catalyst & Life Coach | Internet Radio/Podcast Host & Producer

Mildred Lynn’s life adventure whisked her across North America, through the industries of Health & Fitness, the executive halls of Fortune 50 high tech companies, and into the intriguing arena of Life Purpose, Energy Medicine and Environmental studies. She has an advanced degree in Science & Nutrition, training in Adult Education, graduated as a Certified Integrative Coach, and currently combines all three as a Healing Conversationalist.

The common thread has been a love of people and the sincere desire to help everyone live their passion, find balance, and experience life fully and completely. With a little time and patience, she transformed her passion, intuitive gifts, and coaching skills into a vibrant mentoring and life coaching practice. Today, it is her great pleasure to produce/host four popular Internet Radio shows/podcasts devoted to all things mind-body-spirit on BlogTalkRadio, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Podbean. Website: http://healingconversationswithmildredlynn.com

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How to Align Your Organization’s Strategies, Products, and Services to Address Climate Change by Marianna Grossman

Marianna-G20132016 promises to be a breakthrough year for global action to address the challenge of climate change. In December 2015, representatives of many of the world’s countries gathered in Paris and agreed to significant action for both developed and developing countries. Now the challenge is to make the changes to our energy systems and how we design, make and distribute products and services. This is the year to push for dramatic advances in the way we manage and use water and how effectively we protect natural resources and ecosystems, including forests and oceans.

We applaud the leadership of California’s Governor Jerry Brown in establishing the Under2MOU for states, provinces, counties, cities and others to dramatically reduce green house gas emissions (GHG) and to catalyze action for energy efficiency and clean energy sources.

Pope Francis authored an important call to action in his encyclical, Laudato Si. This inspiring document was issued on June 18, 2015 and urges all humankind to undergo an ecological conversion, to care for our common home. There is no business case for destroying the planet. And moral values require that we protect the precious Creation on which all life depends.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals issued in Sept. 2015 lay out a vision for a world that works for all people: to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

The Climate Mobilization is new group working to raise the bar for climate action, recognizing that we are facing a global emergency and must act accordingly to transform our entire economy to be regenerative and to end use of fossil fuels, to protect forests and to ensure a habitable planet for all.

As the United States elects a new President in 2016, Minerva Ventures is working to bring climate action to the forefront of the discussion of our shared goals and priorities. Every business leader should be pushing Congress and our political candidates to put forth bold policies and plans for a rapid transition to a clean energy economy and a sustainable future.

Let us know how we can help you address the risk of climate disruption and how you can take more leadership to create a more prosperous and resilient future for all. Join us on 2/24/2016 for an event to discuss the Resilient Path.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilient-path-meetup-tickets-21282511565

Contact: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariannagrossman

Twitter: @MGrossmanSV

Website: www.minervaventures.com

Email: mgrossman@minervaventures.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianna Grossman works with companies, cities and other agencies to align strategies, products and services to address climate change at the scale. For nearly 7 years, she led Sustainable Silicon Valley, a multi-sector network applying ingenuity to create a sustainable region and world. Formerly, she was Partner for Innovation and Sustainability at Minerva Consulting and had corporate roles in the automotive, computer and semiconductor industries. Board Service: Transportation Choices for Sustainable Communities, Sustainability Committee of the SF Bay Area Super Bowl 50, ILFI California Congress, Climate Music Project and climate advisory council for City of Palo Alto. Education: MBA, Yale University. BA, cum laude, with distinction in Policy Studies, Dartmouth College.

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How To Sell To Difficult People by Amy Walker

(First Published at http://amywalkerconsulting.com/blog/ on February 4, 2014)

Selling to the Stinkers

Ahhh, the Hecklers, the Know-It-Alls, and the Doubters.  They are not our favorite people to sell to.  I definitely prefer hearing, “This is exactly what I’ve been searching for!”  But in every event you are going to have a tricky person to sell to.  I know speakers and trainers who just let them go and work with the excited ones.  You can do that.  I also know that I have had some that were stinkers during the sales process and ended up being my most loyal and long running clients.  I’ve also closed stinkers who turned into stinker clients.  The key is to know which ones you need to let go and which ones really need you.

Why are they stinkers?

Most human beings are good and it is in our nature to protect ourselves.  When you come across crusty people, they are usually nursing some type of hurt.  Hecklers have often been through rejection or ridicule and had to laugh their way out of it;  Know-It-Alls often can’t handle being weak and imperfect; and Doubters have often been taken advantage of in the process.  The first step to handling a tough sale is to try to understand them and think of them as a good person.

shutterstock_114407182The Heckler: Makes Jokes, derails the presentation, asks completely irrelevant questions etc.

Remember that hecklers like to see you sweat.  They like pushing buttons.  The easiest way to handle a heckler is to get them on your side.  Laugh with them.  Joke with them.  Understand that they want to be seen and heard, and treat them with kindness.  When they like you, they will also sometimes be the most outspoken proponents of your products.

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The Know-it-All: Everything is great in their life, they don’t need help, every time you get close to finding their pain or problem they will block you

Know-it-alls have a hard time showing weakness.  They are usually strong and are used to doing things on their own.  They do not want to feel incompetent or wrong.  If you keep pushing to figure out their problems, they will put up wall after wall after wall.  When I come across these situations, I pull back and invite them to tell me what they see that isn’t working.  If they come up with nothing, I ask them what they want that they don’t have and then I ask permission to help them come up with solutions to get there.

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Doubters: Second guess you and your product.  Want proof.  Treat you like you are trying to pull one over.

NEVER sell this person into a product or service, you have to let them choose into it.  If you talk them into it, they will inevitable blame you for why their life has gone all wrong!  Ask them if they have had a negative experience before.  Listen to them and ask questions like, “What do you need from me so that this is a different experience?”  Keep asking them, “What else do you need to know before you can decide if this is right for you?”  Give them any type of reassurance they ask for.  If they want references, let them call your clients.  If they want facts, show them where to find it.  Your job in this situation is to inform where ever they need it and continue to invite them to get more answers until they have no more questions.  Then you ask for the sale.

When to RUN! 

Anyone that has worked with a pain in the butt client knows they make your life miserable.  Some of my favorite clients and people have fit into these 3 categories in the beginning.   But if they can’t pass my test, I will not work with them.  My test is simple.  Can they take accountability for themselves, or do they blame others?  If they blame others, they will blame me.  If they can take accountability I know we will be able to work together as soon as they are ready and I will move forward.  If not, I bust out of that sales call as soon as possible!

Happy Selling!

Amy Walker PicABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Walker is an International Executive Business Coach and CEO/Founder of Amy Walker Consulting.  As a Featured Professional Speaker she has shared the stage with some of the top names in the industry including Willie Jolley and Delatorro L. McNeal II.  Amy is a Master of Sales and has written sales scripts for billion dollar companies and organizations.  She has been regularly featured on television, radio, and print.  Amy is passionate about Women in Business, Making Businesses Thrive, and Balancing Business and Family.  She is the happily married mother of 5 boys.
Website: www.amywalkerconsulting.com
Facebook:  Amy Walker Consulting  – https://www.facebook.com/AmyWalkerConsulting
Twitter: @amywalkercoach – https://twitter.com/AmyWalkerCoach
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Youtube:  Amy Walker Consulting – https://www.youtube.com/user/awalker2911
Linkedin: Amy Walker – www.linkedin.com/in/amywalkerconsulting

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The Cost of Business as Usual by Melissa Heisler

heisler9404Most individuals in current business environments have the feeling of being chained to one’s desk for an inhuman amount of hours, running to endless meetings, and being bombarded by constant emails and calls. Many employees are doing the work of two or more people these days. Associates are being held accountable for unrealistic sales goals. Everything is a crisis. The result is stress. And a lot of it.

The irony is that the more hectic our day, the more stress we experience and the less productive we become. When we are stressed, our fight-or-flight system kicks in, the same unconscious system which takes over if we are in physical danger. All of our energy goes into our muscles to help us run or fight. Our digestive, reproductive, and immune systems are turned off. The longer we are stressed, the longer our basic systems are turned off causing ulcers and other digestive issues, along with a host of other physiological problems. The fight-or-flight system runs on autopilot so our cognitive mind is cloudy. Since our minds are constantly cloudy our work is slower, inefficient, and ineffective.

One great way to combat our daily stress is to disconnect from our fight-or-flight limbic brains and allow our normal bodily functions to return to normal. We can do this by simply taking a walk once or twice a day, or getting up from our desk every hour to do a few minutes of physical movement. Many employees can also find relief using meditation during the work day to help them disconnect from their reactionary stressed-based minds and reconnect with their effective, intuitive, calm cognitive minds.

Changing expectations about communication reaction time can also make a big difference. Many employees feel a prisoner of their electronics. When the communication pops up, they stop what they are doing, read the email, determine it is not urgent, and go back to the original project. When the next email pops up, the cycle repeats. The result is being constantly busy but getting nothing done. Working this way is an amazing waste of time and focus. Instead of constantly checking in with communications, turn off notifications for email, texts and social media, and instead carve out time slots during the day to check communications. This allows for better focus, more efficiency, and less stress.

When you do take a moment to look at the communications, open each only once and act upon it in that moment. Choose to either Do, Delegate, Delay, or Delete.

  • Do: Respond and complete the request in that moment.
  • Delegate: Is this the highest and best use of your time? Is there someone else you can delegate this to?  Is there an automated system you can put in place to handle a specific type of email?
  • Delay: If the email does not need to be handled right now, but it does need to be done by you, add a reminder to come back to it. Don’t just leave it in your inbox as you may then open it again in the future only to delay it again. Color code the email as a “future” and set up a follow-up reminder.
  • Delete: Does this need to be done at all? Is there really anything you need to address with it? If you find you are constantly deleting emails from certain sources, you may want to unsubscribe from the list or remove yourself from the project.

Adding in movement, disconnecting from the day, and shifting your relationship with communication, can help reduce some of your workplace stress leading to more productivity and increased wellness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa Heisler is a stress reduction expert, Type Me coach, speaker, and the author of From Type A to Type Me: How to Stop “Doing” Life and Start Living It. She is committed to guiding entrepreneurs and professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, find peace in their current jobs, and improve their business effectiveness all through reducing their stress levels.
www.ItsMyLifeInc.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissaheisler
https://www.facebook.com/itsmylifeinc

 

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How To Sell To Indecisive People by Amy Walker

 

Amy Walker Pic(First Published at http://amywalkerconsulting.com/blog/ on September 16, 2014)

They want it, they need it, but they just can’t commit!  It’s tricky.  I get it.  We don’t want to lose the sale by giving up too soon.  But we don’t want to be strung along missing out on other sales while we do everything in our power to get this person to sign.

Client uncertainty

The first key to selling to indecisive people is to recognize what type of indecisive person they are.

1. People pleaser: People pleasers want to make everyone happy with them and have a very hard time saying no.  Because they are taking you into consideration, they have a hard time getting clear on what they want.  You can sell to a people pleaser by manipulation, but DON’T!  You will have more cancellations, and dissatisfied clients if you take this route.  And both of those are expensive.  Instead use verbiage like, “It seems like you are having a hard time deciding.  If you take me out of the picture, what would you most want to do?  Because even though I would love to have you as a client, I wouldn’t want you to decide to work with me unless it is absolutely what you want.”

2. Co-dependent: Co-dependent people struggle to make decisions on their own.  They want someone else’s input.  Sometimes that other person really does need to be involved in the decision and sometimes they have no business being involved in the decision.  The key to selling to this type of person is to find out who the other person they need to talk to is.  The second step is to ask, “Does this person play a role in (your business, your household management, your daily hair styling etc.)?”  If they do play a role and should be involved in the decision, simply ask, “Can we get them on the phone or schedule a time when the three of us can meet?”  If they are not involved ask the question, “What do you think they will say, and why is it important to you to talk to them first?”  Honestly, I could write an entire article on how to close this one, but for the sake of keeping this article from becoming a novel we’ll leave it at that.  This will give you some crucial information to get the conversation started.

Accounting3. Over Analyzer: This person needs a lot of details!  They will want to read everything you have printed, they will want to interview your clients, they will want to scope out your website, and they may want to pull a back ground check on you.  To sell to this type of person DO NOT ask them to make a decision before they know what they need to know.  You will break rapport.  Asking this type of person to act without information is like asking them to jump off a cliff when they don’t know what is at the bottom.  Instead, ask the questions, “What do you feel like you need to know in order to feel good about this purchase?”  “What other questions can I answer for you?”  And “What type of information would you like on this?”  They may need to read through information on their own, but whenever possible try to get all of their questions answered during your meeting.  Make sure you set a follow up call with a very firm date and time.  Set the follow up call for a day or two later.  Don’t let them go a week, because during that time they will come up with another question, not have an answer and decide that it isn’t going to work for them.

4. Feeler: Feelers need to feel good about the purchase and no amount of logic or information will replace them having an internal confirmation about what is right to do.  These people will need to pray about it, sleep on it, consult their crystals, do muscle testing, or any other host of things that are completely unrelated to your conversation.  Believe it or not, I am a feeler.  I do get a lot of information and ask questions so I can see the big picture, but when it comes down to it, if I don’t get a good vibe, I will not work with someone.  But that is not the kiss of death!  Feelers need an internal confirmation, but they can also get that pretty quickly.  You just need to ask them questions that will get them looking inside right now.  Use phrases like, “I understand and I want you to feel good about this decision too.  Can I ask you a question?  As we have gone through the information about (my product, service etc) what is your heart telling you?  Are you feeling comfortable with me?  Do you want a few minutes alone to check in and see if you feel like this is right?”

Green light5. Green Lighters: This group wants the perfect time.  They want the stars to align.  They want all of the lights to be green before they start out.  This is the most challenging group for me to work with.  I will have people who really want to coach with me and just need to wait for the right time, and a year later they are saying the same thing and again the next year, same conversation.  It’s crazy!  Your goal with these people is to help them understand that if they choose not to move forward, they will not receive the benefits they are looking for.  I do everything I can to close these people on the spot because I have found they are the least likely to close at a later date.  I will ask them questions like, “Why does this feel like the wrong time?”  What would need to happen for this to feel like the right time?”  If they say something like, “The fall would be better.”  Don’t accept that answer!  They are just trying to put off making the decision.  If they have something concrete like, “I’m having a baby in 3 weeks and it’s not a good time.”  You will want to accept that answer, it’s legit!

All of us are indecisive at one point or another.  Don’t get frustrated with your clients, just patiently resolve their concerns.  They are human and so are you!  If you want to attract people who are more ready to make decisions, get clearer in your own decisions.  Don’t ask people to do what you are not doing.  What brand of indecision shows up for you?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Walker is an International Executive Business Coach and CEO/Founder of Amy Walker Consulting.  As a Featured Professional Speaker she has shared the stage with some of the top names in the industry including Willie Jolley and Delatorro L. McNeal II.  Amy is a Master of Sales and has written sales scripts for billion dollar companies and organizations.  She has been regularly featured on television, radio, and print.  Amy is passionate about Women in Business, Making Businesses Thrive, and Balancing Business and Family.  She is the happily married mother of 5 boys.
Website: www.amywalkerconsulting.com
Facebook:  Amy Walker Consulting  – https://www.facebook.com/AmyWalkerConsulting
Twitter: @amywalkercoach – https://twitter.com/AmyWalkerCoach
Instagram: amywalkercoach – https://instagram.com/amywalkercoach/
Youtube:  Amy Walker Consulting – https://www.youtube.com/user/awalker2911
Linkedin: Amy Walker – www.linkedin.com/in/amywalkerconsulting

 

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Shirley Wiefling, an Inspirational Early Women Entrepreneur!!

 “I’m particularly thrilled to see Shirley’s story here because . . . she’s my inspiration, my closest friend, and  . . . I’m very fortunate to say that I’m her daughter.  I’m so proud of you, Mom!” – Kimberly Wiefling, Author, Scrappy Project Management and Scrappy Women in Business

Mother by Day, Entrepreneur by Night: Shirley Wiefling Shares Her Inspirational Experience as a Woman at the Forefront of Business.

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Dr. Diane Pennica – 2014 DAA President’s Award Recipient

“Few people have such impressive careers as Dr. Diane Pennica! But what really impresses me about Diane is her humanity and her compassion for others. She is an inspiring world-changer whom I am proud to call a close personal friend.” – Kimberly Wiefling

Dr. Diane Pennica received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the State University of New York at Fredonia, her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island, and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology.

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