human resources

Workplace Value Is Defined by These Two Things

I’m going to let you in on a secret about your boss and the other people above you; the ones who are busy and successful. They do not come to work seeking to meet new people and make new friends. They instead see you as someone who needs to deliver results for them and be a 'force for good' with customers and other staff. They may never say this to you but trust me, it’s what they think.

The human condition is mainly something to be overcome or redeemed. We need to be saved from the worst of ourselves – from our self-obsession, selfishness, greed, fears, prejudice, laziness and cowardice. You'll see dysfunctional behavior all around you... and yes, sadly in those above you. Leadership is not a title, it's behavior; and that's why anyone can lead regardless of their station in life or position in the company.

Here is a framework for how to define your workplace value. It's a formula for your work, not your family and real world social network. Here it is:

Work Place Value = Degree of Positive Influence x Results Delivered

You’ll notice that qualifications, knowledge, skill, experience, intellect do not appear in this formula. That's because they are all prerequisites for you to be able to function in your role – they're just a ticket to the dance. Workplace value is instead defined by a person’s degree of positive influence and the results they deliver – plain and simple – that’s it; the awful truth.

But I want to dare you to be brave enough to be the change that’s needed in your workplace by embracing the fact that the things that make a real difference are your values and attitudes. You need to choose love instead of greed, courage instead of fear, praise instead of criticism... here is an incredible case studyexplaining the dramatic contrast from one corporation which crashed and burned and another that soared with Angels.

Do you understand the complexity of what really drives you? Here is my article that will help you understand the elements of personal success: Leadership Secrets From The Inside.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

 Main image photo by Flickr: Giuliano Maiolini

5 Traits That Create Massive Success

Success is illusive for many... mainly because they don't have written goals and also because the human condition is wired to self-sabotage. It's easy to pursue a mirage or slavishly climb a ladder leaning against the wrong wall. Real success does not reside in our conquests, possessions or bank balance. It instead comes from purpose and who we are... the true value of anything we pursue resides is in who we become in the chase (The Joshua Principle).

Success is first about being the person worthy of it and making the decision to get out of our own way. In a previous article I wrote about Leadership Secrets From The Inside and this illustration shows the elements I believe create human success.

We don't get to choose the first three factors of family, intelligence and personality but we can choose our values, beliefs and attitudes. Regardless of your philosophical, political, religious or non-religious beliefs, here are five things that you need to be (embrace and live) in order to have the success that you seek.

  1. Humble. If you have to tell someone you're humble; you're not. Humility is the opposite of arrogance. It's all very well to challenge customers and the status quo but it needs to be done with finesse and in the form of intelligent questions that posit a hypothesis of value. Avoid being the challenger bull in the china shop. You can be well informed, strong and assured while still being humble.
  2. Grateful. Happiness comes from this trait and it's the opposite of having a sense of entitlement. Rather than demanding what you believe is fair or deserved, you're appreciative of every small blessing or piece of good fortune.
  3. Curious. Those who are fascinated by others and also by how things work are magnets for friendship and business. They can create value because they have an innate desire to understand through active listening and research before proposing solutions. Intellectual curiosity is an indicator of intelligence.
  4. Courageous. The most successful people overcome their fears and are intelligent risk takers; they know that persistence in overcoming rejectionand failure is the price of success. They embrace the difficult, knowing that difficulty is what excludes the masses. They take massive targeted action and are never single point dependent for success.
  5. Generous. Those who give their time and energy to others without an agenda attract the very best from those around them. The law of reciprocity is real

You'll notice that confidence is missing from the list and that's because, in the context of of professional selling, confidence is the paradise of fools. We need to instead be positively paranoid. Confidence is the dumb cousin is certainty. Rather being certain that we have the best solution or that our view of the world is right, we need to be open to new information and the perspective of others. Belief, rather than confidence, is what we should seek to fill our people and [potential] customers with; and we need to achieve it through aligned values. Here is my article on the one anomalistic trait to seek in sales people.

This is all foundational for creating great culture. The best CEOs embrace all this as they obsessively seek to understand best Customer eXperience (CX) and how their organization can deliver it through every channel. For anyone dealing with leaders, we must understand their language and what's important to them. The primary language of business is numbers, and leaders care care about delivering results and managing risk. Here is my article on Decoding The CEO.

Finally, choose a cause and serve it with everything within you. Belief in the value you offer and be clear about the values with which your operate. Differentiate yourself with the people you work with, the approach and methodology your use, and your ability to deliver business outcomes and manage risk. All of this coupled with massive intelligent action creates an irresistible force for success.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Don Burkett Eagle 2014

5 Tips For Avoiding Age Discrimination In Sales

In the hiring game, younger is usually cheaper but not necessarily better. Millennials and Gen-Y are renowned for being in a role for just weeks and wondering why their manager has failed to recognize their talent and not promoted them.

Wisdom requires age and has it's benefits especially in roles where buyers seek trusted advice to manage their purchasing risk and avoid implementation mistakes. The best employers recognize that their customers appreciate dealing with those who best meet their needs and who also provide insight beyond mere information. The smartest employers also value diversity (gender, age, culture, etc.) within teams to ensure they're not blind-sided by competitors. There are 5 things mature and older people must do if they hope to escape being typecast as past their prime.

1. Be fit and healthy with high energy. Arnie and Sly have both defied the age stereotypes. Physiology has a huge impact on your mental state so walk, jog, ride a bike, go to the gym. Walk briskly and speak with enthusiasm. Drink lots of water and as Doctor John Tickell once said: "Everything in moderation except vegetables, fish, exercise, laughter and sex... but not all at the same time; it makes a hell of a mess."

2. Embrace technology. The good old days weren't really that good. Be nice to the computers that may one day replace you... young people have more to worry about than you. Be the one who learns new software applications and mobile apps. Software is becoming increasingly intuitive and user-friendly. Have a good attitude toward learning which should be a life-long commitment. New technologies, including the interweb, open the door to an amazing world. Engage in social media, be the most active user of your CRM, and do research online.

3. Be curious and embrace change. Many within the generations below you are not readers, yet everything is at your fingertips online... be willing to go deep and bring something youth does not, context and wisdom. Variety is the spice of life and be the team player happy to be where the side needs you most. Tell your co-workers that you read 'who moved my cheese' every month and that you love uncertainty.

4. Have an infectious sense of humor. It's impossible not to like someone who makes you feel good. No-one wants to fire the person who brings joy and a positive sense of humor to the workplace. Laughter is infectious

5. Carry the culture. The world is losing its way with narcissism and relativism. Corruption in sport (FIFA, cycling, boxing), politics, unions, and big business is rife. Every workplace needs people of good values who act with integrity, reject gossip, build others up, and are force for good. Carry the organization's culture and live the values by driving them forward in your own special way!

Bunnings in Australia is a great retailer and they value the wisdom, patience, stability and loyalty of older mature staff members. My son commenced university this year and has been working part-time at Bunnings for three years. He loves working there and will do so all the way through university. The older staff members mentor and guide younger ones and there is a genuine team culture without discrimination.

Just like happiness, age is a state of mind. Set goals, pursue a passion and be inspired. If these three legends are still going... what's your excuse.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Roberto Rizzato THE DALAI LAMA (The Strength of Faith)

P.S. Yes, the main picture is the Dalai Lama... photo-shopped.

How To Operate With Gravitas Even If Young

Every career has a sweet spot where you're living in the Goldilocks Zone. Before and after this period you're battling prejudice... 'too young or inexperienced' or 'too old and past it'. I recently wrote about how to avoid age discrimination for those who are older and now we'll cover the topic for those at the front-end of their careers.

As I write this I'm speaking at an annual 4 day international leadership conference that's been running for two decades. It's been a privilege to share the stage with Michael McQueen who is 20 years my junior but in my opinion was the best speaker by far at the exclusive event. He delivers with genuine insight, gravitas and humility and I invested some time with him to understand how he operates beyond his years both on and off the stage.

Some people have 10 years of experience, others have 2 years repeated 5 times, but Michael has learned timeless lessons of embracing the wisdom of those who have gone before him.

He is an avid reader and student of success. He's worked hard on himself to become a masterful consultant and presenter. The main picture in this post is not a baby photo of Michael but here is what he told me he has embraced in his life form an early age to operate at the highest levels.

Remember your manners - it may not be sexy, but old fashioned good manners are a powerful way of achieving credibility and gravitas with older generations. remember, good manners will always open doors that a good education or great talent can not.

Be present - the danger of always looking for the next opportunity, the next key conversation at the networking function, your Facebook newsfeed or emails is huge. Make eye contact. Focus on the person you are speaking to and stay in the moment to build trust.

Aim to be interested rather than interesting - while you may been keen to show how capable you are, being a good listener rather will earn massive respect. Ask for questions, ask for advice, then listen. You will learn heaps but make the other person feel valuable.

Be humble - avoid the trap of appearing arrogant in your desire to seem knowledgeable and competent.

Don't take yourself too seriously - laugh at yourself and be willing to take some risks. And remember, you won't get it right every time.

Slow down - there is something disarming and attractive about a young person who can remain calm. It engenders strength without toughness and certainty without arrogance

As much as we may like to believe that it's not about age but instead about ability, you need gravitas and wisdom to succeed. Here is Michael in action talking about the next generation coming into the workplace. Book him for your next event if you're focused on generational change or market disruption and need an inspiring and brilliant speaker.

And now a brilliant piece of bonus content... these kids operate way beyond their years! There really are some brilliant ads out there.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Chris Madeley Evil baby!

Cultural Fit Is Not About Personality Matching

The biggest risk in hiring someone into a team resides in whether they're the right 'cultural fit'. This is because skills, qualifications and past performance are easily identified but assessing experience, values and attitudes is far more difficult. It's the less obvious factors that differentiate and determine greatness in any role or career – the things that come out under pressure or temptation.

"Many people who claim to have 10 years experience have 2 years repeated 5 times"

Experience and wisdom can be uncovered with the right interviewing techniques and there are many different profiling tools to identify personality. Here is a comparison of the most common personality descriptors. Hippocrates was first to identify the four basic types of personality in 400BC and his ancient terms of Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic are mapped in the illustration below. I've highlightedDr Tony Alessandra's terms in bold because I think they are the most intuitive for business people. Florence Littauer also mapped Hippocrates' terms and correlated them to the bracketed descriptors above each column which also helps to paint the picture.


Over three decades in selling and leading teams and companies, I've formed the strong view that Drivers are best for business development with Amiables to be avoided because they have a personality / operating style averse to creating any positive tension in a relationship or conversation. Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson found through their Corporate Executive Board (CEB) research that 'Relationship Builders' are least able to execute the Challenger method due to their amiable ways.

Success in business-to-business selling today demands that we lead with insight and a willingness to be positively provocative in creating value. We need to be the signal amidst the noise for customers who are seeking to be saved from the destructive forces of commoditization and disruption.

But in seeking Driver personalities for business development we then become vulnerable to the negative side ofLone Wolf Hunter Warriors who can have negative secondary 'look at me, look at me' Expressive traits or manipulative Analytic characteristics. Yes, every personality trait has both negative and positive sides and my table below provides a summary.


"But personality traits do not equate to values alignment or cultural fit"

I've learned that personality is only one part of what determines success... intelligence, values, beliefs and attitudes are far more important. I've written about Leadership Secrets From The Inside and here is the illustration used in the post. You can see that personality is only one part of the equation.

Here is my main point. When we hire people or become involved with others in business it's very easy to be lured by the facade or stand-out factors. We must take the tome and effort to go deeper.  Psychometric testing identifies intelligence and personality type, and the better tools add operating style (which provides clues about values). We can test for skills and knowledge and we can validate track record. But in focusing on these things we fall into a horrible trap.

"We tend to hire based on skills, qualifications and experience, yet we fire based on poor cultural fit"

The biggest mistake a manager can make is to hire the wrong person because they consume huge amounts of time and energy while damaging your personal brand. It's not easy to find the real person behind the facade and it requires more time and energy to get to the truth... but hire based on their values, attitudes and work ethic. Yes we need intelligent people but they must also be committed to continuous unlearning and relearning. They must believe that their value in the workplace comes from the results they deliver and the positive difference they make through attitude and effort.

Whether they be employees or partners, we need values alignment with people with whom we share our cause. This does not mean that we surround ourselves with mini version of ourselves. The best leaders value diversity and surround themselves with those who bring a different perspective and positively challenge to ensure the team is not blind-sided.

Next time you are considering a new hire or a potential partnership in business... dare I say next time you're qualifying a prospective customer; ask yourself whether they share your values. You first need to clearly define your own values which are the behaviors you exhibit and the way you operate. It will make a world of difference in building the right team internally and externally and protect you from failure.

"Don't confuse personality matching with cultural alignment and remember that just one person in your team with poor values can destroy your personal reputation and corporate brand."

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker

Main image photo from Flickr.