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You’ll only succeed in continually improving your results if you’re focused upon continually developing those who work for you – and you’ll not be able to help them to develop unless your own self-development is almost obsessional…

Here’s a selection of articles for leaders on all aspects of self-development.

Business Proposal Presentations

Business Proposal Presentations

Great business proposal presentations are critical. Having completed the whole proposal development and production cycle, producing a proposal which offers the client the best of all possible solutions, many proposal writers will put their masterpiece into an envelope and dispatch it by post or courier. But formal proposal presentations can often be the difference between success and failure – and where possible you should always look to make a formal business proposal presentation. What if I’m Not Allowed a Business Proposal Presentation? In some situations you will not be given the opportunity to make a proposal presentation – if that’s your current situation then I’d suggest you skip past this module and go directly to Module 11 ‘Write a Great Proposal Cover Letter’ . My book, Winning Business Proposals, becomes available in e-book form in Q1 2010. There is an entire section of the book devoted to a step-by-step approach to developing and delivering unbeatable proposal presentations. If you’d like to be alerted when the book becomes available please send me your contact details using the form at the foot of this page. Meantime, this is a very much shorter overview of how to create business proposal presentations. Building Your Business Proposal Presentations A successful business proposal presentation contain all of the eight elements illustrated in this figure . Each step is discussed in detail below. Part 1: Presentation Opening As with all interpersonal communications, the first few minutes of business proposal presentations often make or break the presentation – they set the tone for the whole presentation. Introduction. Your initial words in opening your business proposal presentations should... read more
ENGAGE THEM – PERSON BY PERSON

ENGAGE THEM – PERSON BY PERSON

If you want to truly engage people so that they positively want to give their all to their jobs then you must develop a positive working relationship with each of your direct reports that helps you maximize productivity person by person. And the best way to do that is to ensure that you spend sufficient time with each of your people one-on-one to get to really know them.  Genuine engagement is personal and those leaders who achieve it and get superior productivity from their people make a particular point of spending enough time with each of their them to know them almost better than they know themselves. Making 1-2-1 meetings engaging Besides the practical monitoring and management of the progress of each of your team’s objectives these sessions should be targeted at raising their self-confidence and self-esteem – confident and self-assured people are much more easily engaged and become much more productive. When you have such 1-2-1 meetings with your people try to build as many of the following features into the conversation as possible. Congratulate them.  Everyone does something worthy of note on a daily basis.  Make it your business to be aware of something notable they have achieved since you last spoke and, before anything else, congratulate them on it and thank them for their contribution.  In ‘Fierce Leadership’ Susan Scott says that “Sometimes the fiercest thing we can say to someone is, “I want to tell you exactly what I appreciate about you.”  Then she suggests you tell them exactly what it is you appreciate about them – without a ‘but’ or a ‘however’ within ten... read more
A KEY ELEMENT IN BUILDING PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS

A KEY ELEMENT IN BUILDING PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS

How do you build effective productive relationships with your people?  Here’s one critical element that is all too often ignored. Shelly Gable, an assistant Professor of Psychology at University studies “motivation and emotion in close relationships” – and what closer relationship should there be than between a leader and a team member they wish to engage and motivate to great productivity and results? Four ways of responding to good news Gable’s research shows that supporting people in good times, especially when they have good news to share, is just as important as being there for them in tougher times when the news is not so good. She explains that in responding to good news you have just four possible options – and which option you choose as a default when your people bring you good news has an enormous effect on your relationship with them. Let’s say one of your team comes to you and tells you “Hey we won the SAP account!”. Here are the four classes of potential responses: 1. Active Constructive An Active Constructive response is a genuinely enthusiastic response, e.g.: “Congratulations – that is the best news I’ve heard all day. What are the next steps? Did they tell you why you won the business? Will this help you win IBM too?” Genuine Active Constructive responses are typically accompanied by a lot of encouraging nonverbal behavior too – smiling. touching, laughing, making eye contact, being enthusiastic etc.  2. Passive Constructive Responding passively constructively is delivering a neutral and generally disinterested response: “That’s good news, well done” Passive Constructive responses are typically devoid of any enthusiasm... read more
Writing a Proposal – Developing a Winning Solution

Writing a Proposal – Developing a Winning Solution

Writing a proposal before development of a great solution is suicide – we live in a solution selling world. Happily, having completed your ‘Requirements Map’ the creation of an overview of your Solution becomes absolutely straightforward. Your process for mapping out a solution will precisely mirror the ‘Requirement Mapping’ process – and the work you’ve already done in needs analysis will pay off in making the solution development process much, much faster. You’ll go from your Requirement Map to a full-blown Solution Map in just four very easy steps – developing a clear picture of your solution to your client’s stated business problems. Step One: Prepare your work area Examine your Requirements Map, counting the number of columns (in our example there are four) and the number of rows (in our example there are seven). Then, on a whiteboard or clear wall area, use those column & row counts to create a blank ‘Solution Map’ like the one shown in Figure 1 below. Figure 1: Solution Map – working area Note that I have given each row and column an alphabetic coordinate – to make it easier to reference each ‘pain’ when discussing them with colleagues or note-taking – e.g. ‘B2’ on my sample ‘Requirements Map’ is ‘No IT Support or Programming’. Step Two: Match a Solution to Each Pain/Requirement Work through your Requirements Map matching the pain in each cell with a potential solution to that pain in the corresponding cell in the empty Solution Map you have just created. Initially, seek out requirements that are quite simply answered by particular features or any well-defined product or service which you are sure you are going... read more
NEGATIVE GESTURES-THE TERRIBLE 13

NEGATIVE GESTURES-THE TERRIBLE 13

What are your body language and gestures saying to those around you in your unguarded moments? Body language, and especially gestures, account for much more of the message you communicate than the actual words you speak. This 3-part series provides you with all you need to know to communicate a positive message through your gestures. In the first post we looked at a selection of ‘gestural phrases’ that you can combine to ensure that your gestures positively support whatever message you’re trying to convey. In the second post we looked at how those basic ‘phrases’ could be combined to create the ‘7 Most Powerful Gestures’. So far we have focused upon the positive side of gestures – on what you should do.  In this final post in this series I’ll give you a quick look at the ‘dark side’ – those gestures to be avoided in all situations, at all costs. The Terrible 13 Most of these are so incredibly obvious that you know instinctively that no one allows themselves to use these gestures consciously. That’s the danger of these ‘tells’ – most of them are used completely unconsciously. Hands near your face.  Rubbing your eyes, touching your nose, ears, hand or neck as you speak. Touching your nose is the typical “I’m lying” gesture you’ll see ‘super cops’ in TV shows use to identify in guilty suspects. Despite the fact that lying is notoriously difficult to definitively recognize from gestures or body language alone you should avoid all face touching gestures completely – especially when you wish to be believed or to persuade. Hands over mouth.  I’m unsure... read more
SUPERCHARGE YOUR PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY

SUPERCHARGE YOUR PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY

For any businessperson one of the frustrations is never having enough time to try out all of the ideas and projects you would ideally like to test drive to see if they’ll help drive your business. I’m certain that everyone reading this has reached the point where, for time reasons, they can focus only on the mass of day to day things they must do to keep the business working.  Sadly, this means that ideas and projects that might have had a positive impact upon the business go unexplored – much to your frustration I’m sure. Help is at hand! It’s important to remember that for everything you don’t get time to address there is someone out there who could undertake that project for you – producing results just as good as you would yourself.  In some cases even better – because they are experts focused in that specific areas. Services like Elance and Guru put a whole world of these skilled professionals within a few clicks of you. My personal favorite is Elance – I like the interface and in a few years of using the service have had only one or two less than excellent experiences – and even they were jobs where I gave 3-out-of-5 ratings; so they weren’t wasn’t complete disasters.  A good track record. The concept is simple: freelancers in EVERY conceivable field, with just about every conceivable skill, sign up to Elance and are clearly catalogued in an online skills marketplace application.  All you do is log in, search for the specific skills you need, post precise details of what you want – and wait. ... read more

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