A topic that was recently featured in the Training & Development group forum on LinkedIn was “Believability” in Leadership.

One of the members of the group, who  had initiated the discussion, said:

I’m working on a model of leadership which includes ‘believability’. What does this mean to you if a person is believable. What do they say and do to make them believable?

Below* is my response:

Believability in Leadership:

Believability is aligned with credibility.  Leaders possess credibility or ‘believability’ not so much because of what they say–rather it is more about:

1), What they DO.
2). What they have DONE.
3). How they COMMUNICATE.

Armchair theorists do not necessarily possess, or project believability. Someone in the trenches–who gets RESULTS, is one who is believable. An individual who has an actual, consistent track record of accomplishments has credibility.

What is said is less important relative to being perceived as being “believable” than what is–or has been done/accomplished.

However, if what is said or communicated by the leader closely resonates with the experiences and aspirations of his/her listeners or followers, the worthiness of having belief in the leader  is  often reinforced .

If one “talks the talk” without “walking the walk,” believability–or actual credence,  is much less likely, though not impossible.

A notable exception would be an astute orator, actor, dynamic speaker or “con man” who says all the right things, simultaneously  exhibiting supportive body language, that reverberates within the hearts and minds of an audience or group of followers.

Charlatans and hypocrites have masqueraded as “believable” luminaries of one sort or another for centuries, often without any positive, tangible track record in alignment with their message–or authentic concern for the interests of their audience/followers.

In summary, the genuine Leader possessing credibility or believability is one who “has been there, done that.” An individual who happens to be an excellent communicator, who additionally possesses verifiable experience and accomplishments, is the most likely to be perceived as believable.

*Edited a few minutes after posting on LinkedIn with minor changes.

Some Additional Thoughts We must be vigilant regarding whom we trust as our leaders, particularly in the political area.  I do believe that Inspirational Leadership can be a very positive force for good in the business world, yielding  many positive, tangible results.

However, in the political spectrum, we must be especially careful when “leaders” tell us they want to initiate “fundamental transformations” in our society.

History reveals a plethora of tyrants and demagogues who, when they appeared on the scene, claimed they wanted to help the masses; many were effective in inspiring throngs and great multitudes, but their “transformational leadership” in reality solidified their own power, ultimately  leading to the bondage and slaughter of millions.

The same “credibility principles” apply when assessing a political leader: Take a look at What do they DO; what have they DONE; how they communicate.

Similarly, the fact that charlatans and hypocrites have masqueraded as “believable” luminaries of one sort or another for centuries should encourage us all to adequately scrutinize the backgrounds of those whom we elect or appoint in leadership roles, especially in the realm of government and politics.

There is no need for paranoia–nor bias, as we examine what our potential political leaders have said or done.

Due diligence minimizes risk and uncovers weaknesses that may not be apparent when staring at the outer veneer.  When we consider hiring someone for a job in sales, marketing or other business role, we check out their track record.

Especially during times of economic uncertainty, we should be most careful about whom we entrust with navigating the many challenges facing our country and the planet.  One way or the other, our selections will surely impact our lives–and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

America's Leading Biz Dev Consultant

John A. Fallone, Traininguru

John A. Fallone is a Biz Dev Consultant, marketing strategist, sales executive, turnaround specialist, training guru, motivational speaker, legendary sales manager, copywriter and Founder, President, & CEO of TRAININGURU. http://www.traininguru.com/

Contact:

John
_____________________________
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John A. Fallone: America's Leading Biz Dev Consultant

I recently wrote a piece for Associated Content, discussing the harsh realities facing the long-term unemployed in America today.

Entitled, The “Inconvenient Truth” Regarding America’s Long-Term Unemployment Situation, its subtitle is, What Neither Congress–nor the Media, Are Saying About America’s Long-term Unemployed. You may read it by clicking HERE

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Check out my website at  http://www.traininguru.com/

Traininguru is a Biz Dev Consulting firm that solves business and interpersonal problems, specializing in creating simple, yet highly effective business strategies to accelerate revenue growth while reducing costs.

A Dilemma:  In today’s uncertain economic climate, many organizations are facing a dilemma, wondering if they should increase headcount to foster growth and revenue creation. Some are concerned that hesitating to do so may yield unintended consequences, sacrificing a possible competitive advantage if and when the economy begins to turn around. Additional employees can raise costs considerably, especially in connection with training, insurance and other benefits.

Traininguru is able to resolve this apparent “no-win situation.” For a fraction of what it would cost to bring on board even one additional employee, Traininguru’s strategies will increase revenues, lower costs–enabling small and midsized firms to remain competitive–and become more profitable.

Traditional cost-cutting measures employed by businesses can have an adverse impact on employee morale, customer service and sales.

Traininguru will review your organization’s Biz Dev Strategyidentify key barriers to sales growthand recommend the implementation of alternative methodologies that unleash accelerated sales, while reducing costs associated with the former approach to business development. 

For additional information about how to increase revenues, while lowering costs:

Contact:

John A. Fallone
President, Biz Dev Consultant & CEO

Office:    1-203-274-6098
Mobile:   1-203-536-1093
jarfallone@gmail.com
_____________________________________
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http://twitter.com/Traininguru
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What are the Considerations When Designing Incentive Compensation ?

Management must have a clear vision regarding what it wants to accomplish.

The ideal, properly designed incentive compensation plan for the sales team, consisting of base pay + incentives, will attract and retain top sales talent, reward behaviors that promote organizational objectives, improve morale, enhance customer service, increase revenues, deliver a respectable ROI—while lowering the cost of sales.

A poorly crafted incentive comp plan, on the other hand, will tend to have the opposite impact—and will be exceedingly costly in more ways than one.

After deciding specific revenue targets for the sales team, management must develop an appropriate  way to measure the desired results.

Once management acknowledges the importance of accomplishing these goals, the key is that they  make a commitment to pay a desirable incentive  for the achievement of  these clear, organizational objectives.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18  – Lack of vision has resulted in many organizations perishing as well.

Unfortunately, many management teams do not design incentive compensation with the clearest  of visions as a point of departure. Hence, mistakes are all too common.

The Top 5 Mistakes in Designing Incentive Compensation

1). Failure to explain in writing—and in a meeting, the company’s compensation plan.

While this should be obvious, a written statement reflecting management’s philosophy regarding the idea behind the incentive plan, plus details how the program works, is crucial for getting off to a good start.

It is best to create written plan documents which include plan goals, definitions, payment structure, exceptions, assigned quotas—and whomever leads out in the compensation meeting should allow ample time and be prepared to answer all questions posed by the sales team.

2. Setting unreasonable quotas and uneven goals. Not clarifying which behaviors the company wishes to reinforce and reward is an indication that management is either “winging it,” immature, clueless or incompetent.  To maximize success and ROI, a sales incentive plan must be absolutely unambiguous, uncomplicated and fair—containing reasonably attainable goals.

If quotas and sales performance measures are not plainly and rationally standardized across a team of Account Executives, in no time flat, a spirit of discontent will permeate the ranks of the sales force. Interestingly, those who are the most diligent members of the team will tend to be most offended by management’s lack of fairness and failure to comprehend realities.

3. Failure to launch the plan in a progressive manner. Sales and Account Executives must be given adequate time to acclimate themselves to a new pay for performance comp plan. If you just decide to randomly  “start the program one day,” instead of promoting a gradual implementation, you can expect loads of trouble when unanticipated adjustments need to made, such as correcting quota inequities, clarifying objectives and other unanticipated comp plan glitches.    

4. Failure to creatively align the employee’s self-interest with the company’s business strategy and self-interest. After carefully defining the goals, objectives, delineating company strategy  and explaining how the sales team members’ performance is linked to company goals and objectives, the compensation plan must reward sales reps precisely for doing what you said you wanted them to do.

If there is any ambiguity regarding what sales team members are expected to do on order to reach the goals, get paid a bonus and commissions, you will impair the plan’s ability to drive consistent, sustainable accelerated revenues. A longer term negative impact will be poor morale and high turnover.

5. Designing an inappropriate type of incentive compensation for a particular worker category. This last mistake would almost appear to be ludicrous, absurd—even comical—if it weren’t such a disastrous flaw that is clearly no laughing matter.

However, if your goal is to inflict a severe wound to the life-blood of your organization (i.e. shrink the revenue stream and rapidly destroy credibility with clients and employees), pay attention to this grievous error…it could have a fatal, catastrophic impact on your revenue stream with little or no warning :

Team Sales/ Customer Relationship  Management

In the last several years, companies have recognized that you can exponentially grow sales and accelerate revenues by shifting to a multi-faceted, team sales/account management, support model.

A few years ago, I has the opportunity to work closely with a national technology company. One of my responsibilities was to create a Biz Dev. strategy to grow sales while simultaneously lowering costs.

I proposed the creation of a client support position that would handle day-to-day customer issues, after the National Account Manager landed a new account. The incentive compensation plan I designed consisted of a small override on the accounts that had been sold and handed off by the National Account Manager, to be paid out every quarter. In addition, any up-selling to these clients would reward the client support rep with a more generous commission on top of the quarterly bonus.

Client Support Incentive Compensation The client support incentive compensation was deliberately designed to NOT be associated with a quota assignment. The reason is simple—the support position is not a sales job! Competencies for client support and account management personnel  do not include the capacity to land new accounts or develop new business from scratch.

The best client support specialists and account managers serve as a a crucial, single point of contact for existing clients. They should possess superb communication and negotiation skills, but their focus should not be revenue growth–their priority should be Customer Relationship Management.

Customer Relationship Management CRM is extremely important because it costs significantly more money and  involves many more  resources to bring in brand new business, than it does to maintain existing accounts.

However, if an inferior, uninspired, exhausted, overburdened  or careless customer support team precipitates the loss of existing client business, the revenue disappears–and the higher cost “hunter” Account Executive program must go into high gear to generate new sales in an attempt to offset the lost revenue.

The Value of a High Performing Account Management Teams

A high performing team of Client Support , CRM Specialists and Account Managers ensures the revenue stream associated with existing clients remains intact—and even incrementally grows to the extent that upsells, upgrades and some new “farming” opportunities trickle in and are handled professionally.

Quota Based Incentive Compensation is Contraindicated for Customer Relationship Management Teams A quota in such circumstances only serves to distract the team from their chief, central, extremely critical, Customer Relations/Client Services/Account Management role: keeping existing accounts happy, solving their problems, offering valuable solutions—which translates into keeping the revenue engine flowing steadily!

Instituting an incentive comp plan involving a quota in a Customer Relations/farming/maintenance/account manager position is confusing and discourages  account management/client services team members.

Invariably, there are a few “satisfied” account managers who inevitably “luck out” with being handed an unusually hot book of business that almost automatically grows with minimal effort on their part. Needless to say it is not in the company’s overall best interest to place so much wonderful, flowing recurring revenue at risk–and in potentially serious jeopardy.

Why it is inappropriate to assign a quota to someone in a Customer Relationship Management Role.

If in order to get a decent bonus,  Account Managers end up to concentrating their primary efforts toward growing revenue,  the Customer Relationship Management/client retention strategy becomes severely compromised.

When Account Managers feel compelled to shift their focus to a sales/new business development scenario, overall client support tends to suffer. 

Such a shift is counter-productive, because it is downright dangerous to de-emphasize caring for the many existing clients whose business generates a stable flow of  revenue, in favor of concentrating on dealing with fewer accounts, with the hope of growing the revenue of the overall book of business.

Long Term Consequences: Eroded Client Relationships and Lost Revenues:

Initiating a quota based compensation plan for client services or account management teams will invariably result in deteriorating customer service, because the comp plan rewards revenue growth instead of  properly building, supporting, managing  and strengthening client relationships.

Is your company at risk?

Properly designed and appropriately implemented incentive compensation programs in the hands of a talented, professional team of sales representatives/account executives, will have a positive, tangible business impact, yielding exceptional sales growth; however, if your company is currently guilty of one or more of the Top 5 Mistakes in Designing Incentive Compensation, you may be at risk relative to losing a significant chunk of recurring revenue—or at best, you are not optimizing human capital—therefore not maximizing your potential for accelerating revenue growth, improving customer service, enhancing employee morale—while simultaneously lowering costs.

Traininguru, Training Guru Trainingguru

John A. Fallone: America's Leading Biz Dev Consultant

John A. Fallone is a Biz Dev. consultant, marketing strategist, Web Solutions Expert, sales and training executive, turnaround specialist, motivational speaker, legendary sales manager, copywriter and Founder, President, & CEO of TRAININGURU and THE HUMAN FACE OF TECHNOLOGY

For more than 20 years John has assisted successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, IT & business leaders implement proven, powerful high growth strategies—while lowering costs, increasing profits, improving employee retention and enhancing customer service.


Contact:

John
_____________________________
John A. Fallone
President, Biz Dev Consultant & CEO

THE HUMAN FACE OF TECHNOLOGY
Office:  1-203-274-6098
Mobile: 1-203-536-1093
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