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Leveraging the Value of Your Sales Meetings

Conference room

By Nicola Bonfanti - Talent Dynamics for Sales

Lots of sales people make the mistake of talking too much in the first meeting with a new prospect, anxious to tell them everything about their company, products or services. The big opportunity of a first meeting is to discover the real scope of the prospect’s problems, by talking at them they will miss opportunities.

So use the first prospect meeting as a fact finding mission rather than a chance to roll out your usual presentation.

You are there to identify opportunities and find a mutual fit to see if and how you can actually help them. They should be doing most of the talking for 4 reasons

  1. So you can get a proper understanding of their issues so your proposal back to them can be tailored to those
  2. So you can lead and guide the meeting in the direction you want it to go
  3. So you don’t give away any of your expertise content now but just explain to them what they need to do, not how. That comes once you are working together
  4. If you don’t already know what their Talent Dynamics profile is, you will be able to get an idea from their conversation.

If you do know their Talent Dynamics profile, plan your questioning to accelerate the rapport building.

Dynamo Prospects

Start by focusing on them

  • Ask them to give you an overview of where the company is at and their role in it
  • Do they see big changes on the horizon?
  • What are the key issues that matter to them?

When talking about a product or service you have to help them,

  • Use a few key points to give an overview
  • Let them know the significance of the product or service to them personally as well as to the organisation
  • Point out new or innovative features and why that will benefit them
  • Speak in an animated manner and at a fairly rapid pace

At the end of the meeting ask them:

“How do you see us working together?”

Blaze Prospects

Start by focusing on them

  • Ask them to tell you how things are at the organisation, pick up on specific events or people you’ve heard about or that they’ve mentioned and ask about them
  • Ask them what they have heard about you and your organisation

When talking about a product or service you have to help them,

  • Give specific examples and case studies of other customers’ good experiences
  • Be personable and smile a lot as they will see that as a sign of acceptance
  • Speak in a casual, frank and friendly manner
  • Stay on task and don’t get too distracted by stories

At the end of the meeting ask them:

“Have you heard enough to make a decision about moving forward together?”

Tempo Prospects

Start by focusing on them

  • Ask them what they thought about the information you have sent them so far
  • Involve them in the process by asking what they thing about things in the organisation today
  • Ask them what would they change if they could

When talking about a product or service you have to help them,

  • Take time to go over a full list of advantages and benefits
  • Explain any side benefits or peripherals that are pertinent
  • Provide testimonials that highlight facts
  • Move at a steady, even pace

At the end of the meeting ask them:

“How would you like to take the next step forward?”

Steel Prospects

Start by focusing on them,

  • Ask them how business is doing
  • Ask them what improvements they are looking to make this year or this quarter
  • Ask them what they know about you so far

When talking about a product or service you have to help them,

  • Know your stuff, winging it will not cut it with them
  • Be able to show a bottom line on prices, features and benefits to them
  • Highlight any productivity benefits to them
  • Show them all the specifications
  • Take your time

At the end of the meeting ask them:

Do you need any further information to take a decision to move forward together?

Then make plans for the next meeting together.

Who will you try this approach with first?

More information about how you can leverage the value of your sales meetings at

Nicci Bonfanti will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

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DT’s Tower: Divergent, Profiling and Talent Dynamics


I recently went to see the film “Divergent” in the cinema.  The plot in summary:

“In a futuristic dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave), based on their personalities. Beatrice Prior is in Abnegation, the faction that looks after the poor and the factionless, as well as runs the government; though she has always been fascinated by Dauntless.

Young 16-year old citizens have undergone aptitude test using a serum to indicate which faction they would really fit and which they would need to choose on the Choosing Ceremony.   Beatrice’s test has resulted different attributes of several factions (Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless), which means she is Divergent. Since Divergent people can think independently and government cannot conform their thinking, they are considered threats to the social orders. These are the reasons why she needs to keep her true test results a secret.”

The film deals with one of the big objections to profiling, individuality and conformity.  How can a test capture the unique characteristics of an individual?  Can you really reduce a person to a category?

The short answers are “it can’t” and “you can’t”.  But underlying these questions is a more powerful question.  ”Why take a profile test in the first place?”

In the film the answer is because that is how society is ordered.  On the surface this does seem like a good idea, and fits with Talent Dynamics’s philosophy.  People doing what they are good at are more productive and happier.  If you can understand yourself to a greater depth, you will grow.

Now, in our society it is not compulsory to take a profile test.  So why take one?  Again it is down to understanding yourself and others.  In Talent Dynamics it is about finding out your route to Flow, a route to a more focused, productive and stress-less work/life.

The film’s profile offers no recognition of individuality.  If you don’t conform to one of the profile types (or Factions) then you are dangerous as the profile is there to control you and society.

And this is where people often get unstuck.  The Talent Dynamics profile is not an end point but a starting point.  It’s not trying to put you in a box.  Here’s why:

  1. Your profile is made up of characteristic ‘energies’ Dynamo (Creativity), Blaze (People), Tempo (Timing) and Steel (Information).  Within the profile is an energy frequency or mix as EVERYONE is different they will have a different mix of these energies.  The profile is simply a trend towards the strongest energy.
  2. Sometimes a profile will resonate with you more strongly than the test result.  A profile debrief with a Talent Dynamics consultant can help challenge the results and unpick why you are drawn to another profile.  It could just be that the profile is wrong!
  3. The profile describes how you work, not who you are.  I am a Lord in a creative industry… doesn’t mean that I can’t be creative but my approach is more methodical and slow than a Creator (though I have quite a bit of Dynamo in my profile).  Your profile can help you find a role you are better suited to OR let you explore different ways of working to the strengths of your profile that will naturally help you into Flow.
  4. Although many people who take the Talent Dynamics profile test have an ‘a-ha’ moment when they get their results, the profile is not a quick fix or a one shot answer.  It is a road map that can help you learn more about what makes you tick, guide you through challenging situations or when making important decisions.

Oh … and the film is pretty good too! :)

How about you?  Do you try and conform to the Talent Dynamics profile or are you ‘divergent’?  How do you approach this?

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Are You Challenging Enough?


By Nicola Bonfanti - Talent Dynamics for Sales

Last week I attended the global online conference “The Sales Acceleration Summit”. The first  keynote speaker was Matt Dixon, co-author of “The Challenger Sale” and almost every talk I attended after that made reference to the most effective type of salesperson – the Challenger.

So what is the Challenger sales person, why is it important if you are involved in selling at all and how can knowing your Talent Dynamics profile help you become more challenging?

Why does it matter?

According to the CEB research*, and this is what has been sending shock waves through sales departments globally since its publication in 2012, the typical relationship builder salesperson, i.e. Making sure the customer is happy, being of service, keeping relations sweet, (what most of the sales training of the last 10-15 years has been based on) was the LEAST effective sales person type, particularly in an economic downturn, and not only with complex sales but in almost every sales situation.

Instead the MOST effective type of sales person in every situation proved to be the Challenger type who understood the customer’s business, pushes the customer to think outside the box, doesn’t ask them what keeps them up at night but teaches them what should be keeping them up at night and is not afraid to build constructive tension with the client, to make them think.

What is a Challenger sales person?

A Challenger salesperson excels and outperforms other sales types in 3 key areas:

  1. Teaches for differentiation – is an expert in their field and brings a new perspective to the client and educates them in other ways of doing business.
  2. Tailors for resonance – understands what drives value with different customers and adapts their message accordingly  (which your understanding of your client’s Talent Dynamics profiles will help you do).
  3. Takes control – not afraid to take control of the conversation or discuss pricing and cost concerns with the customers on their own terms.

How can you be more challenging?

Before you try and take on these 3 areas it’s important to remember what your strengths as a sales person already are and how you can build on that to become more challenging. Which is your strongest energy in your profile?

Dynamo profiles
(Creator, Mechanic, Star) – you will be naturally good at teaching for differentiation, will have great ideas for improvements and changes. Your challenge will be to listen more to the client and understand their specific values and to tailor your proposal to their needs rather than your ideas.

Utilising your knowledge of Talent Dynamics profiles and applying that to your clients will help with listening.

Blaze profiles
(Supporter, Star, Deal Maker) – you will naturally be good at tailoring for resonance, adapting your ideas to the client’s specific expectations.  You may be fearful of taking control of the conversation and discuss finances, not wanting to “spoil” the relationship.

Having courage to talk finances for the good of the client and your ongoing relationship will help you overcome this.

Tempo profiles
(Trader, Deal Maker, Accumulator) – you will naturally be inclined to make sure the customer is well served, is happy and there are no tensions there.

In order to win and keep the client you need to explore with them new ways that your products and services can resolve not only their current issues but issues in the future.

Steel profiles
(Lord, Accumulator, Mechanic) – you will be comfortable about taking control of the sales meeting but may not have enough knowledge or ask enough questions to tailor the proposal in an original and stimulating way.

Use the data and research you have to demonstrate to your client how they could be using your products and services in different ways.

More information about how you can become a more challenging salesperson at

Nicci Bonfanti will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

*CEB research in “The Challenger Sale “ (2012) by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

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Corey’s Story: Talent Dynamics for Young People


By Teejay Dowe – Talent Dynamics for Young People

This is the story of Corey who’s mum and dad were worried about him because he was struggling at college, spent too much time alone in his room and was generally uncommunicative. Well, that’s what they thought anyway.

Corey’s Story

Corey’s mum had had a Talent Dynamics profile test done 12 months before and loved the difference that it made to her when she discovered she was a Mechanic profile. Because her son was doing engineering, seemed to like to be by himself and didn’t really engage that much in conversation she assumed that he must also have a lot of steel energy and be either a Lord or Mechanic and in order to try and get through to him both mum and dad communicated with lots of details, facts, figures, measures and so on.

And wondered why they just got a grunt back! A few weeks ago, when things were really coming to a head at home and at college Corey had the opportunity to be profiled too. And boy were they in for a surprise that was! He is not a Lord or Mechanic, he’s totally a Star!

The Talent Dynamics for Young People Profile Test

Mum and dad were really shocked at the time but then, it all started to make sense!

“Out of curiosity they began to change their communication style with him started to show him information, talk to him bigger picture and not go in to lots of detail about everything”

Low and behold he’s starting engaging in the conversation again to their delight. Mum realized that the exams that he had really excelled in had been oral exams where he had to present the topic and speak about the subject and he loved the attention and found it really easy. It made her think back to when he was little and would read him stories and it was the short stories he loves not the long ones with lots of facts in them. She thought back to his prom and how he was the one who had chosen not only a really loud suit to wear but insisted on the awesome top hat that went with it.

Beginning to Change

With this new found knowledge of who Corey really is life is beginning to change. Not only are they talking to him in different ways but they are encouraging him to explore job roles that are more in line with his star profile. If he is going to do engineering as a career perhaps his role will be in promoting new ideas, new systems, shining the light on the engineering world and it’s accomplishments. They are encouraging him to start a video blog reviewing and promoting new games, and advancements in technology.

“He has a great way with words, loves to be on camera and is awesome at sharing what’s good about a product and how to make it even better.”

Plus he has the technical knowledge to add credibility to his passion and therefore be really influential.

Really Starting to Shine

She told me that they had limited him in their expectations because of their assumption about who he was. Its funny, now that they have given him the gift of the profile, they said they couldn’t believe that they didn’t see it before and that they totally see the Star – they can’t believe they missed it. Well, maybe that’s because in trying to get him to live as someone else the Star lost his shine and now he’s getting it back again and life is easier, more exciting and definitely more in flow for him.

I wonder how many other young people are there like Corey who are struggling because we have judged them for who we think they are or expect them to  be instead of who they really are and should be allowed to be?

Teejay Dowe will be leading one of the Break- Out sessions at the Trust Conference on September 11th.

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DT’s Tower: Trust and the Boy Who Cried ASAP

ASAP calendar

With the tickets for the Trust Conference 2014 going on sale this month and my last blog post about the power of ONE, my mind has been bouncing between applying Trust and the best way to get things done.

One of my little pet niggles is ASAP or A.S.A.P.  We all know that on the surface ASAP stands for ‘As Soon As Possible’ (or humorously ‘As Slow As Possible’).  Some of us pedants might also know that ASAP is a military acronym first appearing in print from Captain Annis G. Thompson’s account of the Korean War, The Greatest Airlift, 1954:

“Emergency drops required no paperwork, merely a telephone call from the 8th Army in Korea. Most drops were made on an ASAP or ‘as soon as possible’ basis.”

So the root of ASAP is connected to an emergency situation.  Re-prioritise everything with this at the top,.  The problem I have with ASAP is that it is waaaaay overused.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else… but I’m trying!

What ASAP REALLY means

When we say ASAP we want it to mean urgent.  As in now.  Yet not many of us in business work in a military environment.

‘As Possible’ is open to a degree of interpretation.

Is that ‘your possible’?  Or is that ‘my possible’?

If we mean ‘my possible’ then that destroys trust as the key quality of transparency is missing.  We are not thinking about the other person’s timetable or schedule.  It also breaks flow in the same way a massive rock falling into a stream disrupts the flow of water.  This creates stress.

Then multiply this by the number of people who use it i.e. everyone.  How do you prioritise multiple ASAPs?  Is it really a matter of life or death if these ASAPs aren’t done now?  Also think about how often someone might hear ASAP.  That is going to diminish the importance of the phrase…

‘Oh yeah?  You want it ASAP?  Cool, I’ll just put that behind all the other ASAPs that are needed this morning.’


Well what about ‘your possible’?  I have to admit this is how I use/ take it most often.  And I’m a Lord.  Unless you light a fire under me (and give me some detail baby!) I will review the schedule, consider the possibilities and consequences, set a deadline and then move on.  Its unlikely I’ll let you know when I have set the deadline as I have done EXACTLY what you have asked.  This will be done ‘As Soon As Possible’ for me.

Problem is this breaks trust as well.  There is the disconnect between your expectation of ‘possible’ and my expectation of ‘possible’.  Someone is going to end up being disappointed.

Where ASAP REALLY comes from

To my shame I have used ASAP.  I haven’t come from a military background.  I have never had to use ASAP in a life or death situation.

And I’m guessing neither have you. :D

When I have used ASAP it is usually because I haven’t thought about when I realistically need it.  I just want it done quickly so I can scratch it off my to do list… which probably has more than ONE thing on it ;)

Yet ironically, if a little time is taken to apply a deadline that works for both, this builds trust.  A specific date and time shifts the request from ‘what needs to be done’ to ‘how it needs to be done’.  This means that it will more likely to be done when it needs to be done.

Which in turn deepens trust.

So this is your chance to confess, like me!  Have you ever used ASAP without thinking about it?  Is there a time where ASAP should be used?

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DT’s Tower: The Power of ONE

to do list

I’ll give you a warning.  This post is a bit on the hard truth side.  If you want to read something uplifting don’t read a Lord’s blog in the New Year!

Resolution: Clarity or Disparity?

January is easily the month of ‘to do’ lists.  We start out with such good intentions and make resolutions.  Do we keep them? :)

I’ll throw some statistics at you… the chance of you keeping your New Year’s resolution through the first week?


That means that 1 in 4 of us don’t make it past the first week!  By the time a month has gone by (so about now) only 64% of us are keeping firm to our resolutions.  And I bet we feel a bit smug about it (its OK we’re human)… yet according to Forbes only 8% of us will ever fulfil our good intentions!

That means only 8 out of 100 people will do those things that they feel strongly enough to say at the beginning of the year THIS needs to change (gym’s and fitness centres look to your Direct Debits!)

So if that is the chance of us achieving personal goals we feel strongly about… what chance does our business to do list have?

TO DO: Write a TO DO list

Most ‘to do’s’ aren’t really objectives.  They are ways for us to feel like we are exerting control over our environment and to move something from our head to something physical.

So we can forget about them.

Or so we feel productive rather than be productive.

Harsh truth maybe but I think something we can all relate to.

(by the way writing a to list should NEVER be on a to do list)

ONE Thing

Good advice from Jack Palance!  Although we don’t have the luxury of only doing one thing in business what a lot of to do lists do is overwhelm us from the important tasks.

“Sorry but that to do list will never be done.”

More things will add to it and some will fall off as circumstances change.

Scan through your to do list and ask what ONE thing makes a real difference.  Quickly work out what that difference will be in tangible terms (more opportunities, more revenue, more time etc)  Then get it done.  Don’t try and get rid of your to do list  as soon as possible.  Get that ONE thing done.

Then repeat.  Get another ONE thing done.

The way I look at to do lists is that they are a list of ONE things.   Each makes a real difference.  The sense of accomplishment of being productive and the benefits of the tangible results fire me up and moves me on to the next ONE thing.  Which means I get more done.

The Power of ONE

Before Christmas I admit I fell into the trap of a massive to do list, trying to get things done before the holidays.  Did I manage it?  Not really… I made progress on everything but didn’t finish anything.  My ONE resolution this year is to not fall into that trap again.  Since focusing on only getting one thing at a time I’ve managed to get more done with better results.

“My to do list was getting in the way.”

Rather than focus on ONE thing I was getting distracted by everything.  Treating my to do list as only getting ONE thing done today meant that I got more done in a day as the amount of time the task takes usually doesn’t take me all day.

I know I’m stating the obvious but we all fall into the trap of trying to get too much done at once.  I also know that this approach isn’t right for all people and certainly isn’t right all the time.  If your to do list is growing.  If you don’t feel like you are getting anything done, focus on ONE thing… and everything that needs to get done will get done.

“Better to get 1 thing done than 10 things half done”

How do you handle to do lists?  Have you ever focused on ONE thing?  What tips can you share for a more productive 2014?

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DT’s Tower: How Computer Games Helped My Business

Dawn of War

I have a confession to make.  I have recently become addicted to a computer game called ‘Dawn of War’.  This blog post is a blatant attempt at rationalising the hours I spend huddled over my laptop getting quizzical looks from my other half.

‘Dawn of War’ is an RTS (a Real Time Strategy game) where you take command of an army and have to not only fight a battle but manage and build your resources.  I find it completely engrossing and although it can be challenging (I won’t use the word ‘stressful’ because… it’s “only” a computer game) I find myself afterwards refreshed and energised.

The Point

As a Lord profile I resonate with the detail.  Small decisions and minor changes with huge impact is what I love.  In addition I’m introverted, which means although I can work as part of a team, I like my own company.  This is what gets me into ‘Flow’ (hence why time vanishes, I switch off the game feeling energised… and my better half has been ignored for 3 hours).

After a few marathon sessions of this game over a weekend I dragged myself into work.  And I noticed something.

My thinking was clearer, I could make decisions faster (and for a Lord THAT is no mean feat… I’ve let people go in front of me in the coffee shop as I decide what I want) and I found myself prioritising faster with better effect.

Although this ‘game’ is just that, it actually helped me perform my accountabilities more effectively.  In essence it is like a ‘work out’ for me as a Lord, training myself to manage resources, make decisions under pressure and have confidence that those decisions are the right ones.

… at least that is what I told my partner :D

Find your Flow

Now not everyone likes computer games and I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy ‘Dawn of War’ (even though it is BRILLIANT) but consider your profile and what you do to relax and enjoy yourself, the kind of enjoyment where time flies and you are completely refreshed.

Then think about what it is about that activity that connects with your profile.  I bet (not money, I’m a Lord don’t you know?) that something about your hobby, interest or past time connects with your profile.  This insight should help you to find your flow, not only to recharge out of work or business but IN business as you recognise those tasks that will give you energy rather than take it.

The next step is to talk with other profiles in your team or network.

See where you can help each other to stay in flow by taking those activities that fire you up and delegating those that flatten you out.  Give them to another profile who thinks that what you find taxing is the best thing since sliced bread.

Rationalisation (Confession) Over!

What profile are you?  What do you do to relax and how does that fit your profile?

And now of course I’ve made the computer game relate COMPLETELY to work :D

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A Lord’s Story


Some of you may know me, some of you may not.  I’m David (DT) and I handle a great deal of the content that Talent Dynamics generates.  My business is a video and content marketing company.  Sounds creative?  It is.  Am I a Creator?


I’m a Lord.  I discovered this insight about myself 4 years ago and a great deal of things fell into place but not straight away.  I’m still thinking about what makes me a Lord and what it means to BE a Lord.  I thought it might be quite useful to share what I’ve come up with so far and start a discussion that would be beneficial to others.


Profile Test

I always thought of myself as quite creative so when I first took the Talent Dynamics profile test I thought, “Simple, I’m a Creator.  It is after all… what I do“.  I had managed to read about all the 8 profiles (this, I didn’t know, was a very Lord thing to do) and this seemed to be the best fit.

… then I found out I was a Lord.  All the other profiles had stuck with me a little but the Lord didn’t register when I first read it.  Don’t get me wrong I liked the sound of being a ‘Lord’ but what did it mean?

Re-reading the description it read a little… boring.  I managed cash and loved detail?  Well, yeah that was true but not earth shattering and certainly not as cool sounding as the Creator.  I was creative, worked in a creative business… how could I not be a Creator!?!

Then came my first insight…

“What I do and how I act are two different things”

You can get Lords in all different sectors and industries, they might be attracted to some more than others (it’s telling that when first starting my business I kept moaning I should have been an accountant) but they are not excluded from being creative or working in ‘unLordly’ areas (if there is such a thing).  Rather, how they approach what they do will be in a very Lordly way.  Methodical, disciplined and detailed.

I’ll give you an example that always makes people laugh:

I am not a very ‘quick’ person.  I have one speed.  My own. I hate being rushed or being on someone else’s timescale.  To be creative I need a certain amount of time in order to generate one or two ideas.  There is no ‘flash’ of inspiration for me but rather there is a process I follow of thinking, researching and developing.  I know exactly the minimum amount of time I need for this.  4 hours.  I know.  I timed myself and averaged the results.


What Creator would do that?  And that is the point of flow, or the path of least resistance.  You can do whatever you want.  You might even enjoy it.  But it still might not be easy for you. Maybe not your Flow.  I need four hours to generate the 1 or 2 ideas while the Creator could do it in 4 minutes.  I still do generate ideas but I’ll often work closely with Creators do get me started…

… on average that saves me 2 hours :)

A Lord in a ‘world’ of Creators

One of the reasons that I took the profile test 4 years ago was that the team at the time wasn’t as efficient (!) as I’d have liked and there were frequently ‘vigorous discussions’ that took a while to get through and left an atmosphere.  We all took the test.

They were all Creators.

Now Creator’s are great at starting things (the 4 minute rule from above) but not so great at finishing things.  They get easily distracted.  They have more great ideas and rush after them like so many dogs chasing cars.

For a Lord they were loose cannons.  Very powerful but unpredictable (and I do love certainty).  Now for the Creators they felt that I was too controlling and slow.  I ‘sucked’ the fun out of things and didn’t accept the the freedom they needed.  I was a straight jacket to spontaneity.

Then came my second insight.

“Lord’s control.  Data, Assets and Cash are solid.  Predictable.  People aren’t”

The problems were coming from the fact that although we liked each other, we didn’t understand each other.  We were all ‘right’ and 3 Creators against 1 Lord will always end in a win for the Lord (or at least a stalemate) because Lord’s are stubborn and worse can be a little arrogant because they have taken the time to know the detail (and think they know it all).

So I went back to the profile test descriptions and looked at my opposite profile.  The Supporter.  They are in most ways the exact opposite of the Lord.  They easily know and understand the people around them (because they like to talk… and listen) but can get carried away in conversation and miss the detail.  They also delegate really well, matching the task to the person who will not only do it well but enjoy it the most.  They involve the people in the decision to take on the task so they get buy in from them.

A Lord doesn’t do that.  Easily.  What I was doing was making decisions for the team, moving people around like they were assets with skills and abilities.  I didn’t consider that the Creator’s would want to talk.  Or more accurately I didn’t want to talk.

So I made a conscious effort to include people (even if I wasn’t comfortable doing that) and praise them for good work rather than saying words to the effect of ‘Satisfactory.  How can we do it better next time?’

The Oxymoron

And that’s the point about flow.  You can only reach the path of least resistance by helping others to be more effective, improving their performance rather than yours.  ’You can’t get yourself into Flow, you can only get others into Flow’ BUT if you do just that, the chances are that those you help will help you get into Flow too.

I hope this has been useful.  Are any of you Lord’s or work with Lord’s (even if that is just  a suspicion)?  What are other Lord’s like?

I’ll let you guess how long it took me to ‘create’ this blog and what I did to ensure it took the least amount of time. :)


Jans Corner: Which Profiles makes for the best Leader?

We often get asked which of the Talent Dynamics profiles are the best leaders. On the surface the answer might seem very easy. Of course, the Supporters. Given their people focus, blaze energy, and extroverted action dynamics, Supporters are best at leading teams and organisations as they bring others together and motivate them to be their best naturally building collaboration, trust and loyalty critical for sustained high performance.

High profile Supporters, such as GE’s Jack Walsh, eBay’s Meg Whitman or Microsoft’s Steve Balmer, have shown how much they can accomplish if they put their talent at work.

This natural talent, however, doesn’t give Supporters a monopoly on leadership. Everyone can be a leader. Businesses are complex ecosystems and different talents come handy at different times and in different situations. All profiles can bring a valuable perspective and energy that can be used to build performance and increase flow depending on the teams focus, task at hand, nature and stage of business or season of the economic cycle.

Let me give you a few ideas about how to make the best use of the leadership potential of the other seven profiles (apart from the Supporter) in the team or businesses context.

Creators might not be the best people-people or data-driven analysts, but they lead best by setting the vision and a high standard to reach for. Being task focused to start things they lead others to reach their goals. They are best at the helm of new projects and initiatives, thinking out of the box and out of the ordinary. They are the best initiators and pioneers.

Stars are fast and often don’t wait for their team to catch up or bother with the details, but they will give energy and credibility to new ideas, projects, programs or strategies through the power of their personality. They can improvise while leading upfront to build and maintain excitement, momentum and buy in when it matters. They are the best promoters.

Deal Makers are true people’s people, but they are more private than a Star or Supporter, and prefer to work one-to-one. They bring people and opportunities together and lead best when they are able to be in constant conversation whilst listening closely to what is happening around them. They are the best connectors and negotiators of win-win solutions.

Traders thrive when they can build and grow a connection with their team or customers. They might be paralysed when facing a blank sheet to fill, or strategy to create, but will quickly make sense of what is going on around them. They lead best when immersed in daily action, when timing is of essence and when they have ongoing input from their environments and people to inform their decision-making. They are the best operations leaders and excel as hands-on troubleshooters.

Accumulators are excellent project managers given their analytical skills and sense of timing. They are reliable and will find the way to deliver what is needed on time. However, they have little interest in and are ill equipped to handle office politics. Accumulators lead best when a well defined task or project needs to be accomplished and when the detail and risk management are critical for success. They are the best planners, and project and risk managers.

Lords are great at finding inefficiencies because they patiently track data, analyse the detail and strive to stay in control. For this reason, Lords are best at leading through the numbers instead of through conversation and collaboration. Lords almost always value process and policy over people, and are great at providing leadership when resources and finances are tight and success requires efficiency and precision. They are the best data-driven analytics and efficiency leaders.

Mechanics constantly look for improvements and as a result they are continually challenging the status quo on the way things are done. This can be very stimulating for some, and very frustrating for others. The best way to for them to lead people is to make it easy for others to collaborate and perform indirectly, not through motivation but by perfecting the underlying processes, procedures and systems. They are the best systematisers, improvers and finishers.

If you currently experience frustration or ineffectiveness of leadership in your team or business, it might be that you are trying to put a square peg into a round hole. As businesses and demands evolve so will the need for the appropriate leadership. Chances are that you will not need to re-organise the whole team or organisation. For a start, just notice whose talent can help most with the task or challenge at hand and provide them a space to contribute it at the right occasion. Build from small opportunities, for instance, just allowing the right person to lead a meeting or spearheading a project – and then expand from there. The reward will be a more resilient and better performing team as well as increased engagement and flow of everyone in it.


Unas Spotlight: Why Innovative People Fail

I was intrigued when I recently read this Forbes article titled ‘Why Innovative People Fail’ to see that the author and commentators were so close to a workable solution, yet so far at the same time.

While the idea of getting another person involved to complement the innovator’s strengths is mooted, the concept of how a team could add value is not fully explored.

Perhaps this is partly because the ‘idea monkeys’ (and as a Star profile I’m one of them!) do enjoy significance & freedom and they could feel that a team would tie them down. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is interesting how I have learned that every time you wish to switch up a level, you often need to do the opposite of what you were doing before. Counterintuitive I know…

Where the right team dynamics can really add value is not just in supporting the execution of an idea but in actually helping to select the best ideas to carry forward in the first place.

The innovator, often a Creator profile, can be amazing at generating new ideas and strategies. However, their sense of timing is frequently off, usually with them being ahead of the crowd and more importantly the market.

In addition to having great timing, dealmakers and traders are also closer to the customer and so can assess the Creator’s ideas from that viewpoint. Stars can ensure that the idea is marketable and Supporters that the best team is in place to execute it.

Of course what is also essential is to have an Accumulator/Lord and/or Mechanic to ensure that the best use of data is made and the right systems and processes are in place for repeated success.

Unfortunately, what happens in many teams is that the Creator can be sensitive to criticism of their idea or strategy, which stops feedback in its tracks and consequently prevents their plans being more robust. This increases risk and the likelihood of failure.

If the team is unaware of the value that they all add to the innovation process, then there is the danger that they will be constantly moved from working on one idea to the next before anything has the chance to be completed.

An idea could be brilliant, however it may simply cost too much to execute and/or to promote, especially if this means entering new markets. It could even be taking the company totally off track in terms of where it as an organisation adds the most value to the marketplace.

The three Dynamo energy profiles, Mechanic, Creator and Star, will all innovate constantly. The trick to innovation success though, is to have the right structures and parameters in place to ensure that their innovation reaps rewards.

Understanding how value and leverage lead to accelerated trust and flow provides parameters that often result in six-and-seven-figure returns.

Having the right team dynamics gives you a structure that supports identifying and executing the best opportunities for your organisation over and over again.

So before you automatically dismiss or jump on the next great idea, consider with your team is it really the best idea for your team, for your organisation and your market at this time?

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