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A Grand Week for Personal Leadership

Last week in my blog, I wrote about the importance for sales leaders to focus on building their sales teams' level of emotional commitment to and belief in their companies' products and services. On Tuesday, I spoke on the first day of a three-day national sales kickoff conference for a firm in Raleigh, NC. Even though I was leading off the afternoon with a keynote, I wanted to sit in on the first two hours in the morning to get a feel for the audience and theme of the event.

The first item on the agenda included a welcome by the VP of sales who created the perfect atmosphere by randomly asking 10 salespeople about their 2010 success stories. They had not been prompted. It was great to feel the mood in the room change from one of simply interest in the meeting to one of warmth, pride, teamwork and excitement about 2011!

In our sales management workshops, we speak about the need for sales leaders to create an annual "drive statement," which is a phrase that sets the tone or theme for the new year. This company's was "Soaring to New Heights." Doesn't that really make the point? This is a sales-driven organization that is adding salespeople, increasing sales, winning market share and is one that many competitive salespeople want to work for. It was a great experience for me to share my time and ideas on driving personal and professional success with this sales organization. The VP of sales for this firm possessed the personality aspects of a good leader and the professional requirements of a great team builder.

After that conference, I spent Friday through Sunday in Atlanta at the winter conference of the National Speakers Association (NSA). The NSA normally holds two events a year, and as a member I truly enjoy these conferences. The experience is also very strange; normally, I'm speaking at conferences or leading breakout sessions for my clients. But at this event, I was looking at schedules trying to determine what events I felt I needed to attend, taking notes, holding hallway and lunch networking events, and absorbing a ton of information. People like Brian Tracy attended along with so many other great people who were willing to share information to enhance the industry's level of professionalism. I attended a full-day session on thought leadership presented by Matt Church; he flew in from Australia to share his insights into the consulting, writing and professional-speaking businesses. Throughout the weekend, I met and listened to a variety of individuals with a vast array of experience and expertise, including Alan Weiss, Sam Horn and Mark Sanborn. Sitting at a table in the last morning, just two hours before the conference ended, I chatted with a woman who asked me a question about my business. I shared some information and she gave me a "breakthrough thought" for my keynote that was the highlight of my time at the conference, even thought I came away with two pages of to-do notes.

My point in mentioning this entire conference is to reinforce that you must always work to get better, read more and invest in yourself. You never know who will give you that gem of an idea that will help you win the next sale or even change your life.

Just a note: Our three new books on sales management and our Success Simplified book on my keynote are available on Acumen's Web site.

Posted by Ken Thoreson on February 22, 2011


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