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HOW TO IDENTIFY AND OVERCOME SKILLS GAPS!

In life and in our careers we come across skills that we are good at some we are even great at and then their are those skills that we really struggle with. This could be communication, emotional intelligence, building rapport or just general communication skills and the worst one which has been shown to be one of the most feared skill of all is Public Speaking.

At times we have to get better at a skill because it holds us back from pursuing our dreams or its important to develop interpersonal relationships as we care for someone and if we don’t connect, we may miss out on something special. To go for that dream job we may need to be more confident, or learn how to articulate our self better. No matter what the gap is you can always find a way to build that skill just like you build a muscle.

Identify

swot_img2SWOT Analysis

Doing a SWOT Analysis can help identify our Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Once we identify things we are not so good at we can focus on what we need to do to develop this weakness and use our strengths to build on our weakness’s where possible.  If you have never done a SWOT Analysis before you could ask someone that will help you.
NOTE: This person should know you reasonably well and be willing to be honest and constructive, not critical.
Follow the steps below to discover more about yourself and have fun.
Step 1. Agree to be honest with yourself. This is not to make you feel bad or inadequate, this is to identify where you need to focus to obtain the skill or skills you want to be better at.
Step 2. Get a sheet of paper and divide one page into 4 sections, label each section as shown in the image.
Step 3. Start with your Strengths and write as many as you can, communication, organisational skills, time management, dealing with people, team building, things like this. if you have trouble thinking of any then start with what makes you happy.
Step 4. Then go to your weaknesses and list those, this could be, saying no, poor communication, always being late. keep in mind a strength and threat could be the same. An organised person gets more tasks given to them as they get the job done, this could lead to a weakness of taking on too much.
Step 5. Look at your Strengths and Weaknesses and list the threats. This can come from Weaknesses and can also come from Strengths, again if you are supportive and always there for friends this can be a Weakness as you could be called upon and not say no, therefore not putting your needs first.
Step 6. Look at all sections that have been completed and look where their may be some opportunities. If you never say no in fear of reaction of disappointing, you may need to learn to become assertive, if you have trouble communicating a communications course may be helpful. These are opportunities to address weaknesses and reduce threats.         
Here is an example of identifying a weakness and seeing the threat that is created.
A weakness may be you avoid conflict as you don’t know how to deal with it and if you say something you may upset someone. This can happen in personal environments and work environments.
The Threat could be this means you never ask for what you want as this may lead to disappointment of fear of upsetting someone or not pleasing them, so you feel disappointed and unhappy about not having things or not going places you desire. Holding back can lead to unhappiness and feelings of being unfulfilled in many aspects of life. Dealing with conflict can be done in a very positive way so that everyone is happy or at least satisfied and no one is missing out.

What is holding you back

Sometimes we hold ourselves back from doing what we truly desire mostly because of fear, What will they think, what if I fail, what if I look silly, what if i disappoint? sometimes we just don’t know where to start. The good news is you can start here, next is the library, or an audio program, career advice or a short course. Their are many ways to get started but you need to have a clear plan of what you would like to do, so fist identify what holds you back. Sometimes its excuses I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, in most cases its fear. Look at my acronym for fear and ask yourself if its real. In most cases its not but even if it is real you have to decide if you would like it to be different. Simply learning a better way to communicate can have a significant impact on everything that you do.
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

Overcome

Make a Plan

Part of making a plan is finding the people or the course or even the resources that can assist in the plan being able to come to life. Resources can be people or things such as books and audio programs a short course or even setting a goal. What ever you want, you must plan and take action on that plan for things to be different. As you may have heard before “if you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got”

So make an action plan on what you are going to do today towards just one of your weaknesses and you will be on the road to better things today.

Example
Weakness – doing to many tasks and not getting the important tasks completed.
Threat – Deadlines not being met and tasks not being completed
Opportunity – Learn how to prioritise and not get distracted
Action Plan – Plan my day before it started and prioritise and allocate times to be completed
Outcome – A more efficient day, completed tasks, less Stress

We hope we have helped you fill in some of the Gaps.

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 Donna Moulds – Mantra Training & Development

Getting a good head start could be the difference between achieving your goals and not. The power in writing them down in indescribable and to say the least powerful.

I am writing this on the 1st January 2013

al-inspiring-quote-on-how-to-achieve-greatness Yes that’s correct on the first day of the new year I am writing a Blog on Goal setting, not because I don’t have a life but more importantly that I have a great   life and want it to be better. The quote that is to the right is so true and I think we often forget that we do have a choice in everything we do. When we take 100% responsibility for our choices we take responsibility for our failures and our successes.

I have already set my Goals for 2013 and am in the process of writing them down in detail and then writing my action steps to move me closer to these each day. Last year seemed to go so fast and before I and many others knew it Christmas was here. So I decided that I didn’t want the year to fly by without a plan for what I really and truly want for me, my family and my team at Mantra Training & Development in 2013.

So I thought this is no better time than to do another more detailed Blog on Goal setting. I had written one in the middle of last year and as I still believe very much in goals and action toward them I would expand even further.

I once heard Anthony Robbins say that if you are not growing you are dying, and I am still growing every day and will continue to do so in many ways. We can grow in all areas of our life, Financially, Spiritually, Relationships can grow and most importantly our knowledge can grow .

You may think you don’t set goals but in one way or another we all set goals, they can be a small goals of getting somewhere on time if you are often late. It could be to get a pay rise or promotion in your current career. We set bigger goals for fitness, and exercise or to give up smoking or drinking for a Month, year or for good. many people will have a New Years Resolution (Bad idea as they are often short lived)

I have been setting goals since I was very young; however I am not sure that I knew I was setting goals. I would decide I wanted something or to go somewhere and then I would find a way to do it. As I have looked back over many years of doing this and also being a keen observer of others, I have noticed a few key facts that are fairly consistent.

Why do we achieve some Goals and not others?

 Let me see if I can shed some light on what I think are some of the reasons for success and failure to reach our goals.

 If you fail to plan you plan to fail “Jim Rohn”

 TRY and moving away from goals opposed to moving toward goals!

 TRY – This word drives me crazy and is used so frequently when it is an excuse word. What I mean by that is, it lets you off the hook….. I will try to get there…..I will try to lose weight…….I will try to stop smoking…….I tried to call. Lets look at each one of these and break it down.

Someone asks you out and you say “I will try to get there” what they may have wanted to say is “I don’t want to go but if I say I will try and get there and don’t make it I know I tried

I will try and lose weight, really! How do you try, you either do lose weight by doing something differently, like walking round the block each day and eating smaller portions, or you don’t!

The last one is I tried to call…… What about, “I called and you didn’t answer” or “ I Did call and left a voicemail message”

You see I use this activity in my training…..I ask someone to try and pick up a chair, they pick it up and I say no I asked you to try, so they pretend its heavy and can’t lift it, again I say no now you didn’t pick up the chair. I often get looked at with frustration until it clicks…..You either pick up the chair or you don’t….NO TRYING! “Anthony Robbins”

 Moving Away from Goals V Moving Toward Goals

 If you don’t achieve your goals someone else will “Jim Rohn”

 What do I mean by moving away from goals?

 When you are moving away from something it is generally because you have a negative outcome where you are, so you want to move away from it (use Fear or Pain as a good example). Take a heart attack for example, you may need to lose weight change your diet and exercise, which you were not doing before, hence why you have had a heart attack. So when you get away from the risk you tend to go back to old habits.

What we should be doing consistently is setting toward Goals with positive outcomes, let me give you an example;

In August 2011 I set a goal to walk the Kokoda track and I was specific about a number of reasons for setting this goal. I understand this is a big one however the same concept applies t small goals as well.

Smart format applied

Specific – To walk the Kokoda Track in April 2012

Measurable – Researched the most reputable company to do the trek with, costed flights, trek gear and time frames that fitted in with my daughter being away on school holidays.

Achievable – A plan was required with a deadline and results focused to ensure I would be successful (it was truly achievable with a plan)

Relevant –   It was relevant in a number of ways both physically and emotionally and also one of my highest values is growth “I was definitely going to grow

Timely – I had a number of deadlines and it was the perfect time in my life to do this journey

Whilst a lot more in-depth planning and reasoning behind this goal, I am sure you can see the concept. Take the time to think of a small goal you want to achieve and use the SMART format to set the goal. Then set some bigger Goals and have a clear action plan to start moving you in the direction of achieving them.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to ensure you keep momentum.

  1. Write them down and stick it on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day
  2. Take 10 Minutes a day to so something toward planning or achieving these goals, as little as 10 minutes a day can work.
  3. Say them out loud, tell people about it so they can support you getting there.
  4. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on track
  5. Even if you fall off the horse so to speak don’t give up just get back on the horse.
  6. Make sure you reward yourself when you achieve the goal or get to a major milestone.

I look forward to hearing about your goals and if you need any help to set goals feel free to contact Mantra Training & Development and we can help you not only set the goals, we can help you create a plan to achieve your goals in 2013.

Have an amazing year and remember to enjoy the journey.

  Donna

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Craig Munns - Sales Innovation

How are things going for your business? We hear a lot about how many businesses are hurting at the moment. Does that sound like your business? If so, what can you do about it?

A tight market is a great catalyst to think of new ways to do business in smarter ways. Your competitors are invariably looking to ‘batten down the hatches’ and ‘ride out the storm’ (apologies for all the sailing idioms). You can take advantage of this situation by looking at ways to capture new business, which can often be easier in this situation, as many businesses are just looking to keep what they have, and are not aggressively pursuing new business.

Looking for new business from a sales perspective is not going to cost you anything (or much more than you already spend). Your ‘hit rate’ may be lower, but at least you’ll be active, spreading the word about your business, getting some business, and preparing the market for the inevitable improvement, where you’ll be in a better position than your competitors.

The important thing is to be more active in this market (not less), and to keep track of what your prospects and clients are doing, so that even if they are not buying from you now, you will be a prime position to take their orders when things get better.

So see a tight market as an opportunity to gain more business, by looking positively at the market and the fact that many of your competitors will not be as active.

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Opportunity

Author  Donna Moulds

When opportunity knocks make sure you open the door.

 

Recently I have been listening to Donald Trump’s program “Think Big and Kick Ass” and he often talks about opportunity and making sure you take every opportunity you can so long as it is for the right reasons. I would add my personal opinion of, “is it for the greater good”? The greater good for me comes from my values. When opportunity knocks for me it has to be for the greater good. This could relate to a number of things such as my Family or my Team or my Business. Sometimes we are presented an opportunity that will also push us into a place we didn’t think we could go. Think Big and kick Ass, has made me realise how small I was playing in Business and since realising this, I have been thinking bigger and greater opportunities have presented themselves.

We have all heard the statement that “everything happens for a reason”, well this can be a subject for great debate, as I have heard many times in the past from various opinions. As this is a blog and my personal opinion, I have to say though, from experience everything does happen for a reason and at times we don’t know till much later on or with great reflection why! I also strongly believe that adversity brings great opportunity, such as self development and personal growth. We may feel uncomfortable or stretched physically and/or emotionally, however their will be a reason behind what is happening.

Do I have lessons to learn?
Do I want different results, therefore need to change what I am doing?
Have circumstances changed, where I need to adjust?

Opportunity can look different if you are an Optimistic V pessimistic person

Is your glass half full or half empty?

In the program The Shift, Dr Wayne Dyer spoke of people at a radio station loosing their job and how devastated they were and he made a statement about it being time to move on, and if you weren’t ready you would be forced by change. What I have seen in the past is optimistic people will accept decisions and find a solution sooner than a pessimistic person, who may take longer to find a solution and they also make statements about how this will impact them negatively or other statements that may place them in a victim mentality. Now let me also say, I agree loosing your job can be very devastating especially with bills to pay and a family to feed….

Tips…..When a situation occurs that may push our comfort levels slightly or significantly, try to ask a number of questions before you take action.

What specifically has occurred here?
Can I change the situation?
What resources do I have that I can tap into?
Who could I call on for advice or support?

Then break the situation down into the facts and take appropriate action. This strategy can also provide you with the mindset to see greater opportunity.

Till next time Bloggers

Donna Moulds

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Donna Moulds

I recently learned a number of lessons that have impacted my life in a positive way, even though pain was involved in the learning it was very worth while. I have been an avid learner and reader of other peoples life lessons for a number of years now and I hope this blog can assist your learning.

When I talk about learning I am not specifically focused on formal education, but learning life lessons as well as basic life skills. We learn many things over time but if you think about how, it is very diverse
Mentors
Parents
Teachers
Brothers and Sisters
Friends and colleagues
However the reality is sometimes we don’t have these examples or if we do they may not be the most positive of role models. We also may need more that what we are being taught at home or in school or out in the playground.

What kind of learner am I?
Do I learn by listening?
Do I learn by doing?
Do I learn by repetition and guidance?

What should I learn? Knowing what you need to learn can be a challenge as we don’t know what we don’t know. Thinking about your future and knowing we can achieve great things inspires us to learn, I think that is a big part of personal growth.

If we find our passion, we tend to become hungry for knowledge and it seem to be easier to learn new things, albeit scary at times but also exciting to know we love what we are learning and the direction this is taking our life, career and family.

Learning may cost money but far less than not learning and making the same mistakes over and over again. There is a great saying “If you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you always got” Is a great Philosophy to live by and be a constant reminder that when things are not working we need to change what we are doing.

What if we don’t know how to do things differently?….I asked this question at the CEO sleep-out. Sometimes we don’t know there is a different way to do something as we have no one to guide us or show us an alternative.

When lights go off, or you have that Ah ha moment great things are possible, so keep learning. Have a look at this brief clip from the CEO Sleep-Out where we are helping homeless men learn how to do things differently.

I want to leave you with a thought

There are no winners or losers in education only learners!

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This blog will give you some tips on how to work with larger business to clinch more business for your business! The tips can be used in any market, but the new NSW political scene gives you an idea on how to put it into practice.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell recently unveiled a 100 Day Action Plan to carry out key commitments made during the election campaign. This Plan features major construction and redevelopment projects, including:
•    ‘planning and budgeting work for the South West and North West rail links including the establishment of project teams
•    beginning negotiations on the M5 widening to reduce congestion
•    implementing the Better Hospitals and Healthcare plan which includes a $3 billion investment in city and regional hospitals, more beds and additional nurses’
(source: Liberal Party of Australia New South Wales website).

Working and partnering with the bigger players
The key to playing a role in the delivery of these multi-million dollar projects is to work or partner with the successful larger organisations to pick up the work in IT, construction or other development. Larger organisations, including big developers will outsource the expertise and SMEs can provide this expertise. Your expertise can range from sales, project management, to liaising with government lobbyists. Your main assignment is to sell your expertise to the bigger players.

Tips to get your foot in the door
One of the most important tasks you can do is to identify networking opportunities to meet the key people within these larger organisations. The big players are usually members of industry groups including the American Chamber of Commerce and NSW Business Chamber. You need to attend these industry events to identify and network with the right players.

As well as attending industry networking functions, you should attend information sessions about the projects. Go along to see who the other key players are. It is at these events that you can identify your competition or potential partner organisations. It is also beneficial to have already established networking relationships so you don’t get lost in the crowd. Larger organisations could respond more positively to SMEs who they already have an established relationship with.

You should also talk to organisations and individuals within your own network who you have a relationship with, to see if they can introduce you to the main players on a particular project. You can also use online networking to identify people through resources such as LinkedIn. An upgraded paid version of LinkedIn also allows you to send messages to people who you aren’t connected to or who aren’t members of the same network or group as you.

If you still aren’t making any connections, then make a phone call to the key players. You may be lucky enough to talk directly to a senior member of the organisation or someone who is in charge of the area you want to target. If you can only get in touch with an Executive Assistant then they can point you in the right direction or at least organise a meeting time with the relevant person.

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Sales Innovation has been providing services to many different markets for over 10 years,and we have found that not all products and services are suited to a ‘real’ person approach to sales.

Of course, all situations are different, but here are some fundamentals to work from:

Low cost.
If your product or service is very low cost (say, free to possibly a few hundred dollars), it usually doesn’t make sense to engage sales services or employ a salesperson as the overheads will be too high. We suggest a lower cost option such as a web based approach such as an approach through Google, EBay, etc (depending on the type of product or service you offer).
For example, McDonalds don’t engage salespeople, but promote their products through other means. A lot of low cost (high value) training is also offered in this way.
The myriad of ‘apps’ that are available for your smartphone are never sold through a direct approach as they’re very cheap. Quite often, low cost training is primarily offered online only.

High complexity or a new concept.
If your product or service takes a lot of explaining, it’s probably better to get a direct salesperson to at least ‘seed’ your target markets with messages to start the sales process. This way you can get a core part of the market to take it up. Then, once the market starts understanding the concept, you are then able to choose the most efficient ways to promote your product (which may or may not include direct sales). As well as this, if your product is new, getting direct feedback from the market via a direct sales approach will help you to refine the ‘go to market’ messages you can use in your future promotional activities.

High(er) price or selling lots to one organisation.
If your product or service needs a decision to be made by more than one person, or the price is sufficiently high that it will generally take some time for a decision to be made (such your prospect has to find the money from somewhere), then it also makes sense to engage a direct sales model. With higher priced items, a direct sales approach will generally make better economic sense as well. This also goes for the situation where you may have lower priced items (such as training courses or solutions for example), but want to package them into some type of solution for the market, therefore making them a more expensive item and needing a direct sales approach.

Artificially setting prices.
In some cases, it will make sense to set the price artificially to take advantage of one type of approach over another. This is especially true when ongoing overheads for the product or service are low or almost negligible (such as smartphone apps – all of the overheads are in the initial development and the ongoing maintenance). In this case, it may make more sense to lower the cost of the app, to attract a larger base. If you’re using the web to sell it, it will mean that you can also attract an international audience. This is a much better proposition than engaging a direct sales approach when it is not necessary.
The alternative is if you have a product or service that traditionally commands a larger price that has lower overheads for you. You can still charge a higher price (with higher profits), because that it the market expectation. In this case, you then look at the above criteria to see what type of sales approach is needed.

This is not the end!
I’m happy to tell all over a cuppa, so if you want to discuss your own particular organisation’s situation, please let me know, and we can have a chat.

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