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"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."
-- Jean Giraudoux
Achieve Positive Sales Growth & Improve Your Future
What's stopping you from making the changes your business needs to thrive? The most dangerous move in business is the failure to make a move at all. The history of business is filled with companies that are no more because their leaders refused to enact change when the writing was on the wall. Fear. Apathy. Lack of personal responsibility. These simple human flaws can turn a good company into a dead company.
To manage change and implement positive growth, Selling Power interviewed global business celebrity and former Fortune 100 C-suite executive Jeffrey Hayzlett, whose expertise puts him at the forefront of the change revolution.
A leading business expert, Hayzlett has been cited in numerous books, magazines, and newspapers worldwide and is a frequent television guest and commentator, having appeared on shows including MSNBC's Your Business, Fox Business News, and NBC's Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump. With a strong following in business and social-media communities, he's recognized as one of the top 10 C-suite tweeters and a key influencer in the social-media landscape.
In this exclusive interview, followed by expert commentary and a bonus book excerpt, you'll learn why embracing change and adapting yourself to it can make your future.
Selling Power (SP): Do facing change and learning new things get tougher as people age? How should more experienced people deal with change?
Hayzlett: I think age makes [adapting to changes] easier. I don't know what I don't know, so I must be more aware and look more closely. With the right mood, I can learn something new, and then I can do something new or do it better. With the right mood, the newness itself isn't new; it's just the specific experience that is new. I look at it as constant change. For me it's a blast. It's like a drug. If I don't have [change], I want it. So as you get older, you get more and more used to it.
SP: In your new book [Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits (McGraw-Hill, 2012)], you discuss 20 questions to ask before launching a project. What is most important to consider?
Hayzlett: It depends on the situation. The key thing to know is that you are doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time. A lot of businesses know only one way to do things, so they do things the same way all the time. You've got to get out of that. I want to create tension, because that leads to improvement and doing things differently. So you should ask questions that drive a debate. When you get people talking, then everyone is trying to improve, and people contribute more.
SP: Is there a conflict between maintaining confidence and doing your homework thoroughly? Do naturally confident people get a little overconfident?
Hayzlett: What happens is we don't want to take the time to do our homework. And if we do our homework, we find out there are things we don't know. Some people are overconfident. They just want to do deal after deal. But how can you improve if you don't know what you need to know?
You need to be more aware of what you're doing. Take the time. It will be painful sometimes. You need to get focused on how to step back and do the research. Ask questions. Spend some time at a competitor's place. Go to a store and see how your partners are selling your product.
The best businesses are focused on how to grow top-line revenue, and that should produce bottom-line net profit. A lot of businesses would produce more profit by just increasing sales. I don't know of a lot of problems that could not be solved by stronger sales.
SP: What do you look for in a team, especially a sales team, in terms of both skills and personalities?
Hayzlett: I look for people who are problem solvers, not problem bringers. I want people who bring the problem and its solution. I want cheerleaders, people who can rally the other people on the team. And I want people who span silos, who can work across the business. I want people who can work in the seams of the business. Those are the key attributes I look for.
SP: If being a jerk works, why should the jerk change?
Hayzlett: It doesn't work for the long term. People will leave. My goals for my life are to build wealth for my family, because that is how we keep score; grow professionally; and have fun. Jerks are abusive and hard-core all the time, and people will not follow them forever. When people have an alternative, they will walk out.
And in the end, the only way we separate ourselves from competitors is our people. We have mostly the same products, services, terms, and conditions and, increasingly, the same prices. We differ by people, and jerks cannot keep good people long.
SP: If you work for a jerk, how do you maintain confidence and keep moving?
Hayzlett: Get out. Keep on learning and learn what not to do, and then get out. We can have this experience with a boss or customer or vendor. I got a request recently from someone who wanted me to represent him, and I didn't want to. He asked me why not, and I said, "No hard feelings, but I don't like you." His style of management was not something I wanted to be around. Working for a jerk is like a bad marriage. Get out.
SP: How do you know when your approach is not working and you need to change it?
Hayzlett: It comes down to satisfaction. What are the promises you made to your customers or yourself? You should have a list of these promises that drive change. If you are not meeting these promises, it is time to change. If more people put time into developing this list of promises, we would waste a lot less time. We may be delivering a lot of nice things, but [the things we're spending our time on now] may not be (continued on page 2)
– Henry Canaday
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