Mental preparation for success

Mental preparation for success

Personal vision of Sales Manager 2. Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey’s second habit is at the heart of most coaching (sports and business) in achieving the goals you set yourself.

One of the many ideas in this habit is that you create things twice: once in your mind, i.e. you visualise your goals, your life’s work, your Olympic race, whatever it is you want to succeed in; then once in reality – you make it happen.  After the fantastic success of the TeamGB athletes in this years’s London Olympics, you will hear a lot of them talk about the importance of their mental preparation as well as their physical preparation in achieving their medals.

The most famous example is that of Mohamed Ali, his mental strength and mindset were what set him apart, in addition to his natural talent. Over the years in books and TV interviews he has revealed how he conditioned his mind before a match to give him a very high chance of success once he got in the ring.

He once described in a TV interview how he would focus his mind on the actual experience of being there in the ring. He would feel the sensations, see the reactions, feel the punches, be aware of the sweat, the sounds, the sights, the flashes of the cameras.

He would rehearse the fight in his mind as if he were recording each moment. He gave this mental routine a name which coaching experts have since picked up. He called it creating a “Future History.”

How does this help you recruit and train your new Sales Managers?

Before you promote your best person, or before you decide who to promote, get your potential Sales Managers to put in writing what they would do if they were made Sales Manager. Encourage them to visualise themselves in the role before you appoint them, how they would manage and motivate their team, where the big new accounts will come from, how they want to be remembered in that role.

This visualisation technique will give them ideas before they start, and give you a good idea of who is ready for such a role and what level of success you can expect from them.

You can get your external candidates to do this exercise as a pre-selection activity before their job interview too.  (Tip 1 of 49 in “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days”)

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Quick wins for new managers: 5 lessons from Roberto Di Matteo

QUICK WINS FOR NEW MANAGERS: 5 lessons from Roberto Di Matteo

Picture this: You have been promoted as a caretaker manager to a highly paid, highly skilled team of individuals who are currently underperforming and you have just a couple of months to change that culture, and turn that group into a highly performing winning team.  Where do you start?

Lessons all managers, particularly Sales Managers can learn from the recent success of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea F.C.

 

  1. Communicate – talk to your team members
  2. Listen to what they say and take action
  3. Focus on getting quick wins to turn  the culture around
  4. Have an unwavering positive belief that you can achieve great things
  5. Keep calm.

Communicate : talk to your key team members. Di Matteo has been praised for the huge turnaround  in attitude by his players, his team members and a lot has been said about the “magic” he has performed. Yet when the players are interviewed and asked what his secret is they all agree it was basic good management skills of talking to them, finding out why they were demotivated and not enjoying their jobs.  When a manager joins any new team, the first priority must be getting to know their team, what motivates them and only then does the new Manager know how to turn it around.

Listen: All staff want to be listened to and understood. They will reward that simple action with loyalty and an improvement in their performance. Especially if they see that the manager is taking action. There may be some element of their job they don’t currently feel confident in, through lack of skills (or fitness) so training, coaching, mentoring can quickly and easily be provided if it is holding the team back.

Quick wins. When a team gets in the habit of losing, just the fact of having a new manager in can sometimes break that pattern so a new Manager needs to capitalise on that fact. He or she has to  make sure everyone is focused on the next win, the next contract, the next prize, the next match. The manager can have a strategy for the long term future but the team must be focused on anything quick and relatively easy.  That way the habit of success can grow and build up to the even bigger prizes.

Positive mental attitude.  An underperforming team will start to have a negative, lazy attitude and stop caring about their performance. A new manager has to bring with them a positive vision of the future, a belief in the team that they won’t have yet for themselves and the strength of character to stick with that belief even when there are setbacks.  Coupled with the quick wins, the team members will start to believe in that positive vision themselves, their confidence will return and with it the best performance they are capable of.  As part of that, a good manager will always give credit to their team members when they perform well and take all or some of the blame when they do not.

Keep calm. With massive success or massive failure a confident and secure Manager will keep calm throughout, knowing that the strategy and path they are following will turn out to be the right one in the end.  That way the whole team stay focused on the next step, the next deal, the next match and not let the euphoria or the despondency of the previous event overshadow their thinking and performance for the next step. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do.   I don’t know if Roberto Di Matteo has a personal coach or mentor but I would imagine he has good advice from friends in the business that help him to formulate his strategy, stick to it and so stay calm.  When everyone else around the manager is losing their head and blaming others, staying calm and quietly positive will have results and show that the Manager is capable of even bigger things in the future….