Last month, I shared with you my views on how investment in your people is the one key lever to focus upon and the one that has the power to propel your already good company into being a great company. Targeting personal development toward positive attitude and expectancy, commitment and persistence, personal passion, caring for people, and belief and self-confidence is the game-changer.
This month I want to focus on building, maintaining and accelerating the leadership capabilities of those in your field organizations. What are the key ingredients to accelerate leadership development and performance?
Expectation Influences Behavior
What drives our outcomes? What influences all our behavior, and thus, our results? Let me explain what I call the creation process. We all come into this life the same—naked and scared. What we do after that grand entrance determines the outcome and the life we experience. We are all creative beings. The outcomes we get are the ones we create.
So then, what drives our creative process? You’ve heard the expression and truism that expectation manifests into creation, right? That is, whatever you expect to happen in your life is the direction your creative energy gets pointed toward. What you expect drives your creative process, and in turn that produces the outcome in your life. Ultimately, you get what you expect.
The next logical question is then, What do we expect? What is informing our expectation? What we think about is what drives our expectation. This is why what we think about comes to be. This is also why so many of the pivotal personal-development books and materials focus on our thoughts—books such as Think and Grow Rich, The Power of Positive Thinking, The Magic of Thinking Big and As a Man Thinketh all focus on this key concept.
The question is: What are we thinking about? Obviously we can’t—100 percent of the time, 24/7, 365 days per year—be constantly governing our thought processes. It’s impossible. We’d get nothing else done; we’d all go insane. So we have to look at what activates our thinking processes, our creative processes, and determine whether changes should be made in that realm.
The igniting trigger to this entire creative process is input—what you put in front of your eyes and in your ears. The input you take in is what you think about. Those thoughts form your expectation, which drives your creative process, and ultimately, produces the outcomes in your life.
The grand challenge is today we are experiencing a constant bombardment of negative and sensational headline news and information. The fight for ratings and viewers has produced this negative approach. There used to be only a few TV channels and radio stations, and a few newspapers and magazines, but now there are thousands of each. Add to that the Internet, RSS feeds, mobile alerts, tweets, blogs and Facebook posts, and the competition for our attention has never been harder.
With over 3,000 studies and 50 years of research on input and behavior, we know that TV and media influence behavior. Whatever we are exposing ourselves to—and the media is a powerful exposure mechanism—it is influencing behavior. And the researchers include all behavior, including aggressive behavior, even attention deficit disorders—and most important for this discussion, poor work performance.
Here’s why all of what we see and hear influences our behavior: The mind is like an open glass. It will hold whatever we put in it. If we put cyanide in it, it will hold it. If we put mother’s breast milk in it, it will hold it. It does not judge or filter whatever we put into it. It’s an open vessel. So if we are exposing ourselves to negative media that is constantly conjuring up fear, worry and anxiety, it’s just like pouring dirty water into the glass. This is also true for your salesforce and their view of their potential and opportunity.
Now, their view of the world economic status and of their own efforts is all dark, worrisome and fearful. No wonder, creatively, they can’t produce positive results. They’ve got a muddy view of the world. As executives, this is your greatest challenge. What can you do about it? Since you can’t turn off all of their TVs and their radios and stop all of their newspaper subscriptions, what can you do? What you can do is help them find a positive, clear, fresh source of input to flush that muddy water right out of their mind.
Just like a dirty glass. If you want to clean that glass, the only way to do it is to put it underneath a faucet and turn it on and let it flush out the dirt by exposing it to the clean water. The way to clean a muddy mind is to flush it with messages of hope, abundance, prosperity, optimism and what’s right, wonderful, beautiful and miraculous in the world. With enough continuous flushing, finally, you will end up with a clean, positive and optimistic outlook on life.
So the key takeaway here is this: Find a source of clean, clear water that you can regularly, consistently and repeatedly flush through your organization and the minds of your people so they can start seeing the world and themselves in the light of different possibilities. As Publisher and Editorial Director of SUCCESS magazine, this is precisely what I and all of us set out to accomplish each month. The magazine is just such a resource, and there are many others available to you.
Turning Belongers into Achievers
A further benefit of providing this sort of positive training and development for your salesforce will manifest itself in the progress your people make through the ranks of your organization.
If you want to develop leaders, focus your training and company culture on these five traits: positive attitude and expectancy, commitment and persistence, personal passion, caring for people, and belief and self-confidence.
Many, if not all, of you have people who have been in your organization for years but have not made any progress. They have not become achievers—they have remained belongers. How do you take some of these belongers and turn them into achievers? By implementing a training and personal-development program that focuses on the skills necessary in the direct selling world. Remember last month I referenced the skills that are most often trained upon but are least effective for leadership? They included presentation skills, prior experience in this industry, sales experience, the high-level people they knew, or the understanding of the compensation plan.
I also said if you want to develop leaders, focus your training and company culture on these five traits: positive attitude and expectancy, commitment and persistence, personal passion, caring for people, and belief and self-confidence.
There is a tendency for a lot of people who have not considered the importance of developing themselves to join our industry. This means that in order for you to grow your organization by turning belongers into achievers, you have to develop the proper traits in your people.
The highest-performing companies in the direct selling industry understand this. They go as far as to describe themselves to be “a personal-development company that makes money selling products” or “a self-improvement system with a compensation plan.” The best companies and the best leaders know that to grow their business, they need to first grow their people—that is the main lever to sales, revenue and company growth.
Darren Hardy is the Publisher and Editorial Director of SUCCESS magazine, The New York Times best-selling author of The Compound Effect and Living Your Best Year Ever, a highly sought-after keynote speaker, and the author of the new audio program Making the Shift—Your First 7 Days: Developing the Entrepreneur Mindset.