Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

The Best Focus On Getting Better

5117ec57cab7b.imageI just had something very interesting happen. I finished up a sales training class for a client I have worked with for the past 12 years and after the class several of these attendees thanked me very much and said they had taken pages of notes and learned some very valuable ideas. Then, later in the evening I attended their annual sales awards dinner, and again several folks told me the session that day had been wonderful and two of them actually told me that, through various programs I had delivered for their company, they had learned some “career-changing” ideas. I was extremely flattered and glad to know I had helped, but what happened next was career-changing for me!

As the CEO stood at the front of the room and announced the company’s top sales people and managers I was amazed to see that most of them were the very same individuals that had thanked me for the workshop. In other words, the most successful people were also the ones who wanted to learn the most, even though many of them had been in the field 20 years or longer.

Earlier in the day as I was teaching the workshop I had noticed that many of the “older” sales people were furiously taking notes and nodding in agreement every time I covered a particularly important point. They were also the most eager to ask questions and engage in the workshops and group discussions. However, I also noticed that several of the “jokesters” took few notes, rarely participated in the discussions and did not ask a single question. Not surprisingly I did not see any of them win an award, but later at the bar I did hear many of them complaining about the comp plan, that their products were priced too high and that their competitors were “buying” contracts with lavish presents and dinners with purchasing agents.

 The mediocre thought they already knew it all, the best were eager to learn more.

 

The mediocre were resentful, the best were grateful.

 

The mediocre saw problems, the best saw opportunities.

 

The mediocre complained, the best succeed in the same arena.

 

I might have spent the day teaching, but I learned just as much as they did, well, at least the best of them.

How to have Much Less Stress and Much More Happiness

I know that right now many people are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and that is only natural given the incredible onslaught of difficult and depressing news we are bombarded with day in and day out. Although I am doing pretty good right now, there was a time years ago (actually my first few years of college) when I was struggling mightily to keep my life on track and moving in a positive direction. It was then that I decided that if I wanted my life to get better, I would have to get better. So I set out to learn everything I humanly could about how to build a happy, joyful and successful life. After reading hundreds of books and listening to hundreds of hours of motivational/self-help audio programs, I boiled down everything I had learned into my own personal “Strategies for Success” life-skills handbook. What I’d like to do in this blog is share two very simple workshops that I believe can have a strong positive impact on reducing the stress and anxiety in your life right now and giving you much, much more happiness and enjoyment. Continue reading “How to have Much Less Stress and Much More Happiness” »

The Foundation of Employee Accountability

For the past several months my email in-box has been full of requests from clients to put together a special program on “Accountability.” In just that past two weeks I have zigzagged across the country delivering custom sessions to State Farm, Verizon, Harman, and Abbott. It is obvious that with the current business climate, companies are trying to do more work, with less people… greatly increasing the pressure on every employee to deliver what is expected of them – on time and done superbly. Continue reading “The Foundation of Employee Accountability” »

Four Level Decision Making

A while back when I was running one of the Rockefeller foundations I had a fairly large staff but had designed our team with a very flat organizational structure. When a company is organized in such a manner, successful delegation and quick decision making is a must.  To foster such an environment I developed a pretty straight-forward four level decision making protocol to quickly identify who should be making which kinds of decisions. Continue reading “Four Level Decision Making” »

How to get your team to the top

One of my clients recently asked for my advice on how to get the people in his company motivated to take on the challenge of truly becoming world-class. A very tough question – here is how I answered him…
Continue reading “How to get your team to the top” »

Fear Factor

A few months back I was teaching a conflict resolution class for a Fortue 100 firm and discussing how to use I-statements” to share your feelings and concerns with another worker. One of the participants in the class had asked how to handle an aggressive and rude supervisor and I suggested that she, assertively but not aggressively, set some clear boundaries about how she wanted to be treated.

Continue reading “Fear Factor” »

Great Lessons from a Leading CEO

I was just reading the transcripts of a Q&A session that Anne Mulcahy, the CEO of Xerox, gave at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and was extremely impressed with some of her answers. Anne was recently named the fifth-most-powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine, so it is probably worth reading these comments very carefully… Continue reading “Great Lessons from a Leading CEO” »

Keys to Success at Skinner Nurseries

In another entry on this blog you’ll see a list of key business strategies from a CEO I admire a great deal, Carl Rapp of Philadelphia Gear Corporation – an absolutely super company, very successful, with incredible employees. Now, with all of the praise I just heaped on PGC, let me introduce you to another leader and organization that I am truly impressed with. Skinner Nurseries is one of the country’s leading suppliers of green goods for the landscape industry – they sell trees, shrubs and plants – and they do it extremely well. The President of the company is a very talented guy named Kevin Van Dyke, who is nearly obsessive in trying to understand and improve the business. Again, he has surrounded himself with a deep bench of the very best people in their industry and he works for great owners, but I also must give a ton of credit to Kevin for the culture, focus and success of Skinner Nurseries – he is definitely a driving force in the operation. Continue reading “Keys to Success at Skinner Nurseries” »

Keys Strategies of a Very Successful Company: PGC

Many of you that have been to my seminars have heard me talk about one of my favorite client companies: Philadelphia Gear (www.PhilaGear.com) and their fantastic CEO – Carl Rapp. I have a tremendous amount of respect for both the company and for Carl and recently asked him if he would give me a brief list of the key ideas that drive his business. Carl and his team (Also full of really super people) run a very successful organization in a brutally tough global market and I believe strongly that they have a firm grasp of what it truly takes to run a world class company. Take a close look at these key strategies… I think they are spot on. Continue reading “Keys Strategies of a Very Successful Company: PGC” »