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Archive for Coaching


Does your course ‘fit’ the adult learner?

May is my designated Trainer Appreciation Month. So, I’m writing a blog series to help trainers teach and write great courses. And, I’m offering special discounts on my resources for trainers. See them here.

Most real estate courses are not written with adult learning principles in mind. So, let’s look at these truisms and write our courses to reach the adult learner effectively. This is one of the areas we address in my resource on how to write a course (click here to see it).

From writing courses for most of the major real estate franchises, and training thousands of real estate instructors, I’ve found some undeniable truisms. Here’s one:

Why Write a Course for the Adult Learner?

Benefits to teaching to these principles in your course:

  • Adults aren’t bored (!)
  • Adults feel important
  • Adults pay attention
  • Adults retain more
  • Adults feel protected; low risk environment
  • Adults like you better
  • Easier for you to teach!

The Big Principles to Keep in Mind

Adults learn through association.

We learn what we already know. Two fellows teaching community colleges instructors how to teach shared that one with me. How insightful!

How do skilled presenters accomplish this in a course environment?

Do you relate what you’re teaching to the adult’s prior experience? Or, do you jump right into a complex theory and expect your students to keep up…..

Adults learn by doing

Life is do it yourself. Do you have your students doing an action in class? What happens in your course to assure the students are doing? How do you know they can do whatever it is you are teaching them to do? Observe it in class, of course!

Retention soars when adults do and say something at the same time. How are you using this principle in your course?

How much doing of significance do you have planned in your class?

Big principle: How we retain information is directly related to how we acquire that information.

Would you say that instructors are most concerned with short-term, or long-term student learning?

Adults learn from each other

Use teaching methods to encourage information exchange.

How do you assure students are exchanging information? Are you using various alternative delivery methods (not lecture) to assure students are learning not only from you, but from one another?

Adults learn through repetition

Use several approaches to the same concept/process. Does your course offer review and repetition to assure students are really learning?

Adults learn through rapid recall

What rapid recall methods have you seen used in the classroom? Do you do this so you ‘tie up’ each section before you move on?

Adults seek to satisfy individual needs

Experience levels vary greatly. How would an instructor find out each student’s individual experience levels prior to getting into the classroom?When I’m teaching Instructor Development Workshop, I provide each attendee a ‘pre-conference survey’ at registration, so I can see the needs and level of learning of that person. Even the words used give me some powerful hints about each attendee’s priorities and beliefs!

Adults learn practical information.

They want information and skills to directly apply to their lives–right away.

How have you seen instructors assure that the information is not only applicable, but that the student applies the information to their challenges, while in the classroom? Are you assuring that each of your attendee translates the course information/skills into action plans?

Go back to the course your teaching or writing and see if you are adequately addressing how adults learn. Doing so is one of the attributes of a real course, not just an ‘information overload!

Expert Guidance to Write that Great Course–at a $30 discount this Month!

If you’re serious about writing that great course, this is the resource for you. Step by step, Carla Cross, who has written courses for Re/Max, Better Homes and Gardens, Keller Williams Realty, GMAC, Royal LePage, and CRB, shows you exactly how to create your course and your outline. And, for those Washington state instructors, she shares tips on how to get your course approved for clock hours.

This resource is digital. You will get access immediately.

May Trainer Appreciation Month bonus: Keys to a Killer Introduction

This ‘how to write a course’ includes:

2 instructional videos
Templates to use as guides for course creation
Examples of courses
2 ‘cheat sheets’ to write your course modules

Tips on how to write teaching methods right into that course, so you can sell it!

Guidance in how to get your course approved in Washington state.

With 95 pages, this resource, along with the 2 instructional videos, shows you exactly how to create a course that has substance, sizzle, and ‘sell’!

May Trainer Appreciation Month price: $99.95 with coupon create course. (Regularly $129.95. Save $30)

Click here for more information and to order. You’ll get immediate access to the 95-page resource guide and 2 instructional videos. Remember, to get your discount use the coupon code create course.



Here are the 5 great performance principles I learned from my piano teacher.

Why are these so important? Because, as trainers, we want to

change behavior,

 

 

not just impart information!

Big questions right now: Are you training with methods that actually change behavior, or are you just imparting information you think will help your students?

PS. If you want creative training techniques that really do change behavior, check out my unique course, Instructor Development WorkshopOr, see my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. Both qualify instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state.

Why Some Get Results–and Others Don’t

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance (which is what you want to shoot for when you teach!).

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them.

Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc.

Trainers and coaches: What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them. They won’t let the students perform in front of others if the student has not reached compentency levels.

Trainers and coaches: How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Trainers and coaches: Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. So, each one of these 5 principles is in my initial online training program for newer agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. Check it out. Your agents will be performing better and faster with this program and principles.

Is Your Initial Training Program Getting the Results you Want?

Or, a better question: Do you know what the results are? With my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, you see the progress your agent is making each week. You measure the results in concrete terms. Check it out. It will save you time, and money, and give you much greater retention!

Challenge: How would you teach this? Without lecturing!!!

In a month from now, I’ll be doing a training on how to make your courses come alive. Why? Because, unfortunately, most real estate courses consist of someone at the front of the room droning on…..and on….and on. Now, I don’t think that’s the instructor’s fault, to an extent. I think it’s the fault of the course writer.

The Challenge: Few Courses Written for the Instructor to Teach

You innocently pick up the course outline (it’s big and heavy, of course), and you start talking. How long does it take for your audience to quit listening and play with their phones? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Probably no longer than that.

It Doesn’t Matter if You’re an Expert–or an Expert Lecturer

In truth, our attention spans have shrunken–and continue to shrink. So, we instructors just can’t talk through that outline and expect to keep the audience’s attention. But, what do we do instead? In this series of blogs, I’ll show you how to take part of that outline and make it more interesting.

In Most Cases, YOU Have to Also Put in the Teaching Methods

Since few courses have these teaching methods written in, you’ll have to develop the skills to take that boring outline and put in various and varied teaching methods. Find out how to do that in my upcoming course: Beyond the Basics: Advanced Skills to Make that Course Come Alive, coming up April 23-24 (approved for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state).

Divide and Conquer: Using the Task Force

One of the reasons our real estate audiences get antsy is that they don’t like to sit quietly. But, you’ve probably seen the room get out of control if you encourage wild, unabated discussion! So, how do you help them talk and still control the situation? Divide and Conquer. Instead of having them all talk in open discussion, use the small group method. That’s called ‘task force’, because you’re literally putting them into small groups to work on a task they can accomplish.

Here’s an example of how to take the facts in that outline and throw them to the audience to reveal. Think of it this way: Instead of you–standing up in front of everyone and telling, and telling, and telling, you ask small groups to tackle parts of your topic and come up with solutions.

The Example of a Task Force

I teach Instructor Development Workshop, (coming April 9-10 in Bellevue, Wa), which certifies instructors in the state of Washinton to teach clock-hour approved courses. In one part of the outline, the topic is How Adults Learn. I have 3 pages in that outline that innumerate all the ways adults learn, including obstacles to adult learning.

Your turn: If I were to give you that outline and ask you to teach it, how would you proceed? You might just talk through those 3 pages, reading what I’d written. Hate to tell you, but that would be so boring! (And you wouldn’t learn what your audience does and does not know!) Instead, here’s how I do it.

Using the Task Force to Explore ‘How Adults Learn’

Here’s how I teach this section. I divide that topic into 4 areas: How adults learn, the obstacles to adult learning, the attributes of the real estate adult learner, and effective retention techniques.

See the slide from my Insructor Development Workshop I use that gives instructions to the task forces here.

Here are 2 Keys to doing Task Forces:

  1. The tasks must be something that the attendees can accomplish from information they already have
  2. The tasks must be meaningful to what you’re teaching

Task Forces Must be Meaningful: And a Springboard

Look at the last sentence in the slide. That’s my ‘springboard’. I’m asking the attendees to figure out ‘what does it mean to me?” That’s the relevance of the exercise.

In later blogs, I’ll give you tips on using this and other ‘divide and conquer’ methods to make your teaching–and their learning–much more enjoyable! You’ll get great reviews and return customers!

Let me Help your Instructors Put Pizazzz into those Courses

There are 2 ways I can help you: If you’re in Washington state, come to my class April 23-24. Or, invite me to your company anywhere in the US or Canada and I’ll customize a special session for you. I use YOUR outlines and we actually put in the methods and teach them. You’ll get much better attendance at your courses, have excited, enthusiastic instructors, and find it easier to get return business!

Contact me to find out how I can help. Let’s make your courses shine!

Not a speaker? Here are four tips to present like a pro.

We’ve all been there. We’ve been asked to speak for ten minutes to a group of people. Our first reaction is extreme fear. Our second reaction is,

1.Slow Down

Most speakers, amateurs or professionals, speak too fast. Slow down. Pretend you are speaking to a huge room and project your voice to the back of the room. You’ll find yourself going slower and using more inflection (vocal dynamics) . Better delivery!

2. Get Persuasive

There is a process for everything, including crafting a persuasive presentation. It’s simple. It’s the structure of your favorite popular tune: ABA. In other words, it starts with a theme, develops the ‘bridge’ in the middle, (supporting information to your point of view), and ends with the same theme.

Free giveaway in this blog: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

3.Launch with a Great Start

How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning. Post the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations.

4. Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”…..Remember, it’s just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close with reminding the audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Remember, your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade. And, here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. Otherwise, simply read a book!

Let Me Work with Your Trainers to Create Better Presentations

Are your courses boring? Are those presentations great for taking a nap? Are you instructors talking through every outline? And, most importantly, are your courses not filling up? It’s time to invite me to work with your instructor group.

Contact me and we’ll work out the best solution for you!

Share this with your presenters: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

 

Here are 4 ways your meetings go wrong, and a planner to assure they go right.

This month, I’m focusing on the main responsibilities of a real estate manager. If you’re going into management, how are you going to make your meetings exciting, interesting, and participative?

Death By Meeting…….

If you haven’t been in a meeting that went sideways, you probably haven’t attended enough meetings! I just attended a meeting that was almost painful to experience. It went on and on, with little organization. The speakers had no rhyme nor reason to their presentations. And, finally, I wasn’t even sure what we were to do as a result of this meeting!

As I sat there, I thought, “How can I help meeting planners/managers/presenters avoid the mistakes I’m experiencing and plan a meeting that works every time?” I came up with this Presentation Planner and Promotion form. Using it with your presenters will assure that you avoid these four big mistakes:

1. No promotion to your target audience for the meeting
2. No focus to the meeting–no theme, no stated benefits to the target audience
3. Presenters do not have a format from which to create their presentations–so they just wander around in a vast wasteland of facts and figures
4. There’s no call to action as a result of the speaker or of the meeting

Promoting Your Event

So, my Presentation Planner includes a section on promotion. After all, as you plan your presentation, you’ll naturally think:

  • Who is the event targeted to?
  • What are the 3 major benefits to this target audience?
  • What will they walk away with?
  • Where will I promote it?

The planner I created will help you avoid the 4 common mistakes listed above. It not only assures a persuasive presentation, it helps you promote the event, too!

Click here to grab your Presentation/Promotion Planner.

I’m Here to Help You Become a Great Leader!

If you’re new to management, or you’re being challenged in management, I can help. My Leadership Mastery individual, custom coaching program will help you master the major activities of management–stepping you from ‘maintenance management’ to true leadership. Check out my program here. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Going into management? How are you going to motivate?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

As managers, we agonize over how to motivating our agents/employees. Yet, we generally know little about how motivation really works. Here is one psychologist’s view on motivation, with tips on how to make it work for you in the workplace.

Different strokes for different folks. We think people are motivated by whatever motivates us. If we like to be up in front of hundreds and receive those number one trophies, we assume others do, too. Not true. MCClelland, a psychologist who wrote lots about motivation (see Achieving Society, Power is the Great Motivator), observed that people were motivated by one of these motivators:

a. achievement
b. affiliation
c. power

Identifying Who’s Who

What are some actions that achievers demonstrate?

What are some actions affiliators demonstrate?

What are some actions power people demonstrate?

Which one are you motivated by? How do you know? Think of a time in your life when you were very motivated by something. Was that ‘something’ categorized as achievement, affiliation, or power? You can ask your team members that same question, and find out their dominant motivator (and just observe them in action, too!).

Managing to the Motivators

McClelland said, that, if you’re managing an achiever, you should:

  • provide clear-cut goals
  • give prompt feedback

Managing an affiliator? You should:

  • treat him/her as an individual
  • be emphathetic
  • provide encouragement

With the power person, you should:

  • set clear guidelines
  • talk about how to win
  • speak in terms of results

Who Challenges You?

To really put this to work, pick a person you manage that you find challenging. Pinpoint their main motivator. Try the actions McClelland suggests. I’ll bet you’ll not only get more cooperation, you’ll start to feel ‘in tune’ with that person–and provide the atmosphere for them where they can be motivated–their way.

For your next sales meeting: Explain McClleland’s approach to motivators. Ask agents about 3 times in their lives when they were really motivated to achieve something. Then, explain the 3 categories, and ask agents to choose their dominant motivator.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

If you’re a new manager. You’ll want to cut your time frame by interviewing more effectively. You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.

How much time should you spend in these management activities I’ve listed in the handout below?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

In my Leadership Mastery Coaching program, I provide several analysis tools to help new managers get started right with the best practices. At the end of this blog, grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Where Managers Go Right–and Wrong

In my most popular book, Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan, I divide all the activities an agent could do into two categories: business producing or business supporting. Business producing are those activities where the agent is finding, working with, and closing clients. Business supporting are all the rest of the activities. Where do you think agents go wrong? They spend too much time in business-supporting activities.

Now, let’s compare that to the categories and activities managers do. They also divide themselves nicely into busininess-producing and business supporting. (Take a look at my handout at the end of this blog).

How do You Spend Your Time?

From working with hundreds of managers in my Leadership Mastery program, I see that successful managers spend the majority of their time in business producing activities. The failing managers spend most of their time in business supporting activities. In fact, they become masters of the technical aspects of the business, and spend lots of time preparing and playing technology. (Sound familiar to those of you managing failing agents?) There’s nothing wrong with knowing the technical aspects of real estate and using technology. But, the failing manager focuses and ‘lives’ there.

What’s Your Conclusion?

Let me know how you used this analysis tool. General managers: What did you find when you had a manager use this tool? What changes will you help them make?

Grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Resources (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Want to go into management? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor.

. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Here’s a straightforward job description for a successful leadership-manager:

Find and develop people

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you devleoped those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen

What personal benefit are you giving your agents?

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Just Following a ‘Template’?

As a musical performer, I know you first have to learn the music (the ‘template’). But then, you have to add YOU. That is, you have to add the interpretation that ‘speaks’ to you personally. Otherwise, it’s just notes on a page. So many times, I’ve seen leadership and salespeople merely follow the template. That’s great for a beginning, but it doesn’t create a connection to others. In fact, it creates a dissonance. You know what I mean. You’ve heard a salesperson say, “Does 1 PM or 2 PM Tuesday work for you?” You probably want to scream (as I do), “Be human, you’re not an automaton.” Now, it’s fine to give people choices, but, if you sound as though you just memorized those words, and are not actually interacting with another human being, you’re creating distrust, not rust!

Adding YOU, the Personal Benefit

As a leader, you bring to your associates some very unique and valued attributes. However, many times leaders do not use these attributes to commnicate and gain trust. Instead, they rely on the old ‘templates’–those cliches and sayings that we just don’t find ‘ring true’. For example: You have a background in art. Are you using that background to communicate and ‘share’ YOU with your agents? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to relate. And, in this day in age, relationships are what hold a person in a company.

Here’s a great quote that expresses what I’m suggesting:

Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. ― Steve Maraboli

What’s YOUR Music?

When I’m teaching people how to be great instructors (Instructor Development Workshop), I give them ‘templates’ to follow to create course modules. However, I tell them to just ‘listen to the music, not the words.’ Translation: I don’t want them to memorize each word. Instead, I want them to feel the rhythm of the process and follow that. The outcomes: Great presentations with relaxed presenters!

Your Turn

Look back on your life.

What life experiences have added to your success? What skills do you bring to what you do today? How can you communicate those as a benefit to those you serve?

Want guidance in how to teach with verve and confidence? Check out all my training guides at my website, carlacross.com.

Just for Fun

Last night at Carnegie Hall, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost.

Harold C. Schonberg

When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.

Bob Hope, on Phyllis Diller

Remember Jack Benny and Phyllis Diller? They may not have been concert artists, but they used their musical talent to differentiate themselves–and make light of it, too!