Top 10 percenters (T10p) have the right attitude. When looking at opportunities either within their current organisation or external, they don’t put barriers up. They don’t blame the organisation, the systems, the culture, the economy, you name it for their losses. They just get on with it. Fix what needs to be fixed and take accountability. Instead of looking at what they don’t have they focus on what they do have.
T10p have the right attitude and communicate in a positive way.
Your mind set could be what is holding you back or taking you forward. We live in a world were criticism is becoming second nature. It is so easy to criticise what your boss or the organisation is doing and not taking any responsibility for the direction of the organisation. You may not be in a position to make the changes that you want, but you still have a voice to make recommendations.
If you want to be a T10p then go into a company with the attitude that you have been hired to do a job and to do it well. In return you will be paid a good salary and the company will provide you with a good culture and opportunities. If there is a problem then a T10p would go to their boss with the problem and bring in the suggested solution. You also need to make sure that the company’s values match yours or it will be difficult to be a T10p in that organisation.
No manager wants to be surrounded by complainers. Leaders have ideas and solutions. When you are not satisfied with the company’s product, systems, and management philosophies then don’t just sit back and complain, do something to make a positive change. Always think of yourself as a business person not just an employee. The mind shift will make a difference in your approach. As a business person in order to progress, the organisation also needs to progress, so you need to provide value to ensure the success of the organisation.
Always communicate a positive solution. A lot of the times it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Pay attention to your tone, the words you choose and the delivery. Communicate the problem in a positive way and it will not come across as aggressive or arrogant. For example:
The wrong way to communicate
• I am finding it impossible to make my sales target this month as I simply do not have enough support and I am getting bogged down with admin and internal meetings. I need to hire more people.
The right way with a solution
• I really want to make my sales target this month and feel I could. Currently my team needs to spend two days in the office in meetings and on admin because we are short staffed and I understand that we do not have the budget to bring more staff on. If we look at consolidating some of the meetings to fortnightly meetings with a more structured agenda, it will give each team member an extra three hours a week. I would be happy to co-ordinate this and put the new format together.
If you really are short staffed then your solution would need to show the benefits (return on investment) that new staff would bring. Don’t just say ‘we need more people’.
There is always a solution, you just need to be prepared to find it and speak up. Someone else will if you don’t. Be careful not to take the critical route. Find the solution, make suggestions and take responsibility. I can’t believe how many people won’t speak up but will spend hours, days, weeks and sometimes months complaining to whoever will listen about all the terrible things the company or the boss is doing. I know there is fear of loss of your job and bills to pay and children to feed, but if you want to be a leader or T10p you need to have courage to do your job the way you were hired to do it. Fear of loss could actually prevent you from doing something that will actually help you keep your job. Who do companies keep in time of restructures?
Don’t put barriers up
T10p utilise what they have. Ever heard someone in your team say, we can’t do that, they won’t approve this, that will take forever, they are too busy , I tried that already ten years ago and it didn’t work – sound familiar?
During economic down times there are still companies’ achieving good profits over their competitors. What do they do differently? The T10p within high performing companies focus on keeping a positive communication flow within their team to ensure motivation is kept up. In other words we are all in this together. Don’t put the economic barrier up.
Obviously the product or service needs to be commercially viable. I am not suggesting that if you aren’t in a position to change the product that it’s not hard for you to be a top performer. However, companies with dud products and services are relying on the T10p to turn things around or make recommendations up the line. For the purpose of what we are speaking about today, let’s assume that the company’s product and services are commercially accepted.
When interviewing candidates who are responsible for sales results over the years it is evident who are the performers and who aren’t. Patterns form. Non-performers put barriers up and say the same thing when confronted with what their results have been. There is always an excuse why something didn’t happen and usually nothing they could have done would have made a difference in their opinion. T10p will know exactly what their figures are and the activity that went along with it. If sales are down because of the market they will have other achievements to highlight.
T10p apply for roles that are a stretch for them. For example, they don’t put up the barrier that they aren’t ready, the company always goes external, they want a male or female, it’s a boys club, it’s a girls club, the timing isn’t right, I am in the middle of a project (aren’t we always in the middle of something?), so many barriers that I couldn’t even list them all. If you put these barriers up you will never be a T10p.
T10p concentrate on the issue at hand and not what might happen (another barrier). Consider ‘how can I get through this the best way possible now?’ If the market is low then we need to increase our activity, get out there and see our clients, and provide a higher level of service. T10p know how to communicate what is happening in the market and what needs to be done. They visualise the solution and take away the barriers. They motivate and bring staff together in tough times. I hear you saying to yourself, ‘easy to say but how?’ Actions and encouragement will motivate. T10p practice what they preach. They role their sleeves up and work with the workers to get the job done and thank them for their efforts. By doing this they will ensure loyalty from their staff in high times and lessen the risk of being pouched to the competition.
There are many barriers that we put up and if you think about what you did today, how many did you put up? What stopped you from moving forward? Did you make excuses? Stop thinking about the negative and start thinking on how you can get things done and you may be on your way to T10p.
Part two will cover T10p are confident and not arrogant and why that makes a difference in results.
About Judith Beck
Judith Beck has placed hundreds of executives over 20 years and is Managing Director of Financial Recruitment Group, Founder of Financial Executive Women and Chairman of Eon Mentis. Judith is a key note speaker on various subjects, such as How To Be A T10p, Stakeholder Management, Building your internal and External Brand to name a few.