In the past few blog posts, I’ve been exploring the topic of employee retention with regards recruits who are Millennials, also known as Gen Y, (born, give or take, between 1981-95).

Figuring out retention is a big challenge for businesses today, with the analytics and advisory company Gallup estimating Gen Y turnover to be costing the US economy alone, 30.5 billion dollars annually.

In earlier posts, I have covered retaining Millennial loyalty by clarifying career prospects and inviting their input. Now we come to the most important element in keeping Gen Y on payroll… and that is: providing mentoring.

Most companies know, by now, that Millennials’ earliest experiences – in their families, at school and in university – was a constant, targeted, structured stream of feedback, letting them know how they were ‘performing’ in their studies and extracurricular activities, and how to refine and improve such performance.

Most companies also understand that Millennials therefore carry an expectation of being mentored in the workplace.

But what many companies have not yet realised is the depth of engagement that mentoring provides – not just with their Gen Y hires, but across all generations on payroll.

Put a different way: mentoring doesn’t just keep a Millennial colleague more connected to the organisation longer-term, but fosters an adaptable, continually evolving work culture in general, across every level of a company.

So… where’s the problem in implementing an effective mentoring system in organisations? Surely it’s an obvious win-win for any company to include in its employee offerings?

It is… but when it comes to building a culture of mentoring in the workplace, there are a number of challenges to overcome.

Often, the investment of time to mentor is seen by too-busy managers as just as great of an obstacle as the investment of budget. Surely, there should be more self-sufficiency and taking initiative, and less ‘hand-holding’ and ‘checking in’ for employees who are, after all, supposed to be adults?

To that, I would reply that, at the end of the day, time management is always a matter of priorities. Mentoring does not have to mean ‘micro-managing’, neither does it have to mean extended, one-on-ones with each Gen Y employee.

A related concern, for managers who are ‘naturally’ inclined toward mentoring, is ‘tying them up’ when their expertise is demanded on competing, equally important tasks and responsibilities.

But mentoring does not require one permanent ‘elder’ assigned to a mentee indefinitely.

In fact, Millennials are used to passing from one mentor’s guidance to the next – just as they were at home, at school and on campus. Implementing such rotational or progressive mentoring though, is not going to happen ‘by accident’. It has to be designed and built into the long-term career progress paths of a Gen Y-friendly organisation.

Keep in mind that, despite the stereotypes that Millennials are ”arrogant’, ‘self-important’ and ‘narcissistic’, too impatient to do the slow, often unacknowledged work of figuring things out on their own… Gen Y recruits are actually humble when it comes to the limits of their own knowledge and experience base – that’s why they’re hoping you’ll mentor them!

While they are very comfortable researching solutions on the internet and via their network, they know there is key institutional knowledge they don’t possess about the organisation, and that there are standards of performance that are not going to be clear outside of specific feedback about what adjustments or improvements to make.

Meanwhile, beyond retention, and in terms of the broader benefit  to companies, mentoring gives Gen Y hires a chance to share their generational interests, affinities, values and fears with their mentors, while simultaneously educating their guide in turn, drawing on their own tech expertise and awareness of innovation trends.

This last point is known as Reverse Mentoring – something I plan to discuss in a future blog.

For now, it is important to keep in mind that in managing and retaining Millennials, the role of a mentor, as one whose greater mission is to further the development of the less-experienced mentee, is one that, if undertaken, rewards the mentor as much as the mentee.

Retaining the restless, endlessly creative and innovative Gen Y (as well as their more conservative, cautious and their equally mobile successors, Gen Z) is demanding unprecedented levels of adaptability, open-mindedness and investment in human capital.

Fortunately, mentoring is one of the solutions whose reward ranges far beyond merely engaging and refining of the talent it hopes to retain.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

Leading organisational consultant, speaker and author Simon Sinek has an excellent video about which professional traits are genuinely appreciated in the workplace, and which are actually valued in terms of rewards and promotion…

What he discovered was a profound disconnect in how we evaluate those who ‘hit the numbers’ and those who are great people to work with or be managed by.

To give you the gist: in the workplace, the parameters of ‘performance’ and ‘trust’ are what set a ‘value’ to someone’s contribution.

As expected, those employees who score high in terms of both their performance and how greatly others trust them, are those seen as the most valuable, and this is reflected in their pay, status and responsibilities.

Those who are the least able to fulfill their responsibilities and who inspire a minimal amount of trust, are the most ‘unattractive’ people. Their diminished contribution and trustworthiness is also reflected in their lesser status and reward.

But then Sinek zooms into something contradictory.

And that is that, very often, professional norms reward those who score high on performance… but whose indifference to their teammates’ feelings or comfort levels rank them low in terms of ‘trust’.

These are the ‘toxic’ yet ‘high-performing’ leaders who push their people relentlessly to achieve targets, but who noone actually likes, or who actually inspire fear or anxiety, who demean and diminish their teammates’ self-respect, confidence and dignity.

Up to now, such people have often been rewarded handsomely for their high scores in ‘performance’… despite their long-term negative effect on their colleagues.

Conversely, there are those people who may not be as high-performing in terms of the numbers, yet, in the eyes of their colleagues, nevertheless score very highly in terms of trust, and who their peers know will be at their side when the pressure mounts, and unexpected trouble strikes.

These are the people who will not play blame games and seek to throw others under the bus at times when mistakes are made or losses are suffered. Who are generous and gracious when others are exhibiting weakness or pain.

And they are the same people who will share the praise and lift up others when things are going well, rather than claiming all the credit as their own.

And yet… these same high-trust-scoring people are often valued and rewarded far below the toxic ‘high performing’ people by organisations, despite the long-term cost to the team’s well-being. And even though, given enough time, the high-in-trust people can even potentially ‘overtake’ the toxic people in terms of performance.

The takeaways from these insights?

For an organisation to have a healthy work culture in the long-term, i.e. able to carry out its mission while sustaining its success… it is vital for people to feel ‘safe’ working shoulder to shoulder with each other.

It is vital that they can ‘trust’ that their leaders are as invested in their well-being as in achieving company goals.

In other words, it is vital to ‘reward’ the ‘trust’ generators and not overlook their irreplaceable contribution, because this will also signal to potential high-performance toxic people that their technical achievements will not excuse their negative relations with their teammates.

In a day and age when it is more challenging than ever to build a sustainable work culture, organisations prioritising performance at the expense of trust, will eventually fall victim to competitors optimised for trust.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

 

In my previous post in the Millennial Code series, I discussed the first factor involved if companies want to retain their Millennial talent: giving them a clear picture of their career prospects with the organisation.

In this post, I want to outline the next important element in engaging Gen Y and keeping them on payroll.

And that’s listening to their input, their suggestions and their insights.

Gen Y, also known as Millennials, are the generation born roughly between 1981-95, and their unique traits and preferences are slowly but surely transforming the workplace.

If companies are going to thrive in the fast-moving era of organisational disruption and especially if they are going to hang on to their A players, they need to keep their ears and channels of communication open to the younger members of their team.

You may have noticed that Gen Y hangs in packs. They’re tribal, and they share. They like being listened to.

This doesn’t just go for publishing snaps of their morning workout or weekend brunch on Instagram, as the stereotypes have it.

It also goes for discussing life, tech and business innovations, warning each other when crisis or change is around the corner, and inviting suggestions before taking a decision or committing to a course of action.

Tips on where to have dinner in town? Most efficient car-sharing experience? Hottest app for better sleep management? Best city for computer engineers to relocate to? Friendliest company to work for?

Posing such questions and the hive of data that returns in the form of answers and responses is both natural to Millennials and yields a wealth of insights for those willing to listen and interpret.

Meanwhile, what Gen Y learns, recommends, reviews and builds excitement around very quickly builds significance across other age groups because, as a generation, they are constantly connected community of peers and are therefore influential.

They’re also used to being listened to by friendly, on-their-side authority figures – keep in mind that, growing up, there were none of the traditional distances between them and their elders. ‘Father’ and ‘Mother’ were not simply there to tell them what to do. Consequently, Millennials participated in family decisions and voiced their preferences or opinions from an early age.

And they expect a similar experience in the workplace.

This is good news for companies of all sizes – after all, Millennials’ interactions with each other means companies have an ongoing, real-time research and development team, learning, experiencing, discovering and creating new social and innovative opportunities that can enhance their services, products and work culture in general.

But Gen Y’s interest in sharing their opinion or soliciting peers’ points of view or input could also be a challenge. This is because ‘being listened to’ traditionally came only after an employee had ‘paid their dues’, ‘worked their way up the ladder’ and ‘put in the time’. In short, it was a perk of seniority.

However, take it from me, as someone who trains Millennial recruits across a range of industries on a weekly basis… this kind of thinking should be relegated to the past by any organisation hoping to keep their best employees on board for the future.

Because if you don’t allow your Gen Y hires to voice their suggestions, their insights, you will not just lose a valuable opportunity to gather data about your target market, you will also alienate your human capital who will be only too ready to accept an opportunity elsewhere – perhaps with one of your competitors – who will value and engage with what they have to say.

Everyone, irrespective of age or experience, feels empowered and appreciated by having the chance to share their observations – to be given a voice. And we live in an age where if you have something valuable to share, it’s easier than ever to do so.

The key for companies who want to retain their Millennial talent is to ensure such insight is shared with the blessing of the organisation, as opposed to being marginalised and banished from it.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

When it comes to managing others, there are so many factors that can influence whether or not workplace teams fail or succeed.

Each group has its own dynamic, its own character, its own preferences and strengths, dislikes and weaknesses.

Change one person in the line-up, and you can dramatically amplify or diminish the self-belief or confidence of the individual members.

Place them in a new environment or set them unfamiliar expectations or responsibilities… and the transition can either inspire or oppress, delight or provoke them.

Nevertheless, in the nearly two decades I have spent as a corporate trainer, I have learned that managing teams to express their optimal performance comes down to four critical keys.

1. Getting communication right

Teams are made up of people, and people have their own personal aspirations and individual concerns, pressures and fears. A manager has to make the time to check in and communicate with those who will be looking to him/her for direction, motivation and feedback.

Funnily enough, effective team-related communication is not just about a manager asking the right questions and listening attentively to responses… it’s also about timing. Knowing when to ask the right questions, is as important as knowing which questions to ask.

A crisis is hardly going to be the ideal time to learn about a teammate’s background, or their more personal or family circumstances. Conversely, when things are going smoothly, not inviting team members to share their professional opinions and suggestions, is a squandered opportunity for effective, team-boosting communication.

Establishing good channels of communication, and making it safe to share views and show up authentically at work, is a vital component for the health, unity and impact of a team.

2. Aligning company vision and purpose

Does a team believe their organisation is setting the right goals? Do they feel its purpose and vision are aligned?

Noone wants to work for a company that, deep down, they believe is failing to live up to, or is out of touch, with what it says it wants to accomplish.

There are those who believe that the only things employees should care about are a steady pay cheque and a stable job position. But this is a cynical and very short-sighted perspective, and produces teams who fall apart at the first sign of crisis or disagreement, or whose members simply disappear when a financially more attractive offer comes along.

In order to get the best from its people, an organisation has to continually challenge itself to ensure that what it says it stands for, is being expressed in the goals and initiatives – i.e. the purpose – that it professionally undertakes.

And managers must rely on effective communication, to ensure that awareness of such alignment reaches their team.

3. Aligning company’s and employees’ goals

This also works the other way.

A manager who has taken the time to discover each team member’s dreams and aspirations, must also demonstrate how the company’s goals are aligned with, and serve to advance, each individual’s own personal targets.

The performance momentum that this builds in terms of team members’ goodwill, focus and willingness to invest individual energy and creativity and stamina – often outside of their ‘official’ responsibilities – is immeasurable.

And finally…

4. Maintaining organisational transparency

This is, perhaps the biggest hurdle to ensuring the unity and high performance of teams.

Large, long-established organisations often have a culture of secrecy baked into their structures, and the higher one rises up the ranks, the greater the ’emotional’ distance between the leadership and employees.

Just as people prefer to work with companies that have integrity, and whose initiatives, practices and stated vision all line up… they also prefer to be employed by organisations where they feel confident they know where they stand, and where the ‘higher ups’ don’t seem to be distant or making unspoken ‘deals’ or taking covert decisions about their future.

The other side of this is that people need to feel like their input and suggestions matter, and in work cultures where the leadership is on a metaphorical ‘mountain of Olympus’ while the employees are framed as powerless, insignificant cogs in a machine… resentment, mutiny and abandonment for better opportunities will be unrelenting dangers, undermining the cohesion and high performance of a team.

Managing isn’t an easy task, and getting the best out of people of varying backgrounds, abilities and aspirations is one of the hardest responsibilities to undertake.

Nevertheless, applying the four keys mentioned, over time, and with patience, persistence and dedication, will yield a team that is empowered, inspired and motivated to give its best not just when things are easy, but, even – and perhaps especially – when times are hard.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

Let me tell you about Millennial so-called ‘disloyalty’.

You know what I’m talking about… the job-hopping tendencies of this generation, (also known as Gen Y, born roughly between 1981-95) whose CVs and resumes often read like fusion cuisine menus.

What looks like a problem with retention is to misjudge or simply misunderstand this generation’s values. In other words… this is not so much a problem with Millennials’ ‘disloyalty’ as a problem of Millennials’ ‘disengagement’.

This is a generation that values impact, experiences and profound self-development. And they are a generation in a hurry. Why wouldn’t they be? A whole world of information and potential experiences has opened up to them, thanks to the technology they so confidently use. Meanwhile, the online landscape where all of the opportunities exist, is at their finger tips.

Remember also, this generation is nomadic and tribal. They love travelling and experiencing new cultures, and are constantly swapping information with each other, sharing good and bad experiences, letting peers know which new skills, self-development strategies and chances to grow – professionally and personally – are around the corner.

Of course, for established, legacy companies, led by older generations for whom a reasonable pay cheque, stability and predictability of environment, were enough to expect from a job… these tendencies, and the urge to move on to new pastures after only a short stint with a company, represents a considerable loss in terms of training and investing in Gen Y.

But the fact remains… Millennials were not brought up to be satisfied with mere job stability, predictability and a pay cheque. Their parents and teachers, growing up, taught them to expect great things of themselves, and to be constantly on the alert for the next chance to manifest something significant.

And until the Great Recession of 2008, when the first Millennials were about to enter the workforce, these bold visions of having great impact in their lives, remained unchallenged.

Flash forward to today, and many Millennials have experienced the disillusionment and burnout from that period: the debt, the lack of jobs, the inflexibility of the working world, the financial inability to move up the social ladder…

But this doesn’t mean Gen Y’s values have changed. They still yearn for peak experiences, a chance to unleash their expectation to impact the world through their work and to grow and lead as soon as possible.

And catering for these values should matter to companies, because most statistical predictions place Millennials as the largest generational cohort in today’s job market, worldwide.

So, the first piece of advice I offer companies that want to retain Gen Y hires is… give them a clear picture of their career prospects within the organisation.

In other words, traditional, vertically-organised, top-down, command and control companies need to let new Millennial hires know how and when they will rise through the ranks of the organisation (remember also that Millennials prefer horizontal organisational structures).

Given that the Baby Boomer generation (born over 1946-64) still lead several legacy companies, and Boomers’ own values include basing self-worth on long work hours, titles and accomplishment… it can seem to Millennial hires that their own chances to be promoted, exercise influence and impact are likely to be delayed indefinitely.

But there are ways to accommodate the experience of Boomers, (and Gen Xers – born roughly 1965-80!) while satisfying the desire for impact of Millennials.

One solution is to give Gen Y recruits a clear roadmap of their career journey within an organisation, including criteria and timelines for rising in leadership roles.

Tell them at the hiring interview and during the on-boarding process and remind them at feedback sessions thereafter, where they fit in the structure of the company and how their ability to serve and impact clients will evolve and grow as they continue with the organisation.

Too many organisations leave recruits in the dark as to how the organisation will advance their career beyond an income. A progress roadmap signals to Millennials that, just like in their childhood, their workplace is invested in opening new professional doors for them the longer they remain.

I will explore the next factor to help retain Millennials – giving them ownership and encouraging their input – in my next post.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

You know what you never see in a James Bond movie? Go ahead, suggest something.

No, it’s not the beautiful ladies and glamorous hotels. And it’s not the futuristic cars and weapons.

It’s not even the smartest, most cutting-edge gadgets and inventions that save the secret serviceman’s life, mission after mission.

Give up?

I’ll tell you. The answer is… you never see Bond solve problems, build alliances, defuse crises and argue, defend, motivate or inspire… using the spoken power of his words.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably smiling by now. After all, nobody goes to a Bond film to see our British spy hero save the day by giving speeches…

And yet, dive into everyday work life… and the power of clearly structured, attractively-presented and audience-tailored speeches and presentations is both obvious, and obviously significant to any corporate team.

Whatever department you’re in, whether you’re dealing everyday with customers, managing teams and operations, or behind the scenes, taking care of HR, compliance or R & D… what you say to others, how you say it and your ability to connect with listeners while you’re saying it… matters.

It can be the difference between sealing an important deal, or losing an account.

Persuading a talented team member not to hand in their resignation, or see them join a competitor.

Taking charge of a crisis and motivating an out-of-the-box response… or allowing a problem escalate out of control.

The truth is, in our everyday lives, the fate of the world may not rely on us… but the fate of our business, and our key business relationships with customers and colleagues – surely does.

Which is why, after being brought in as a consultant to help companies put out the fires of miscommunication and lack of customer retention over almost two decades… I created my training programme: ‘Public Speaking: How to Educate, Inspire & Motivate Your Audience’.

And when I say ‘audience’ I don’t just mean those you find in boardrooms or at industry exhibitions, but also those at other, less official, yet professionally significant times, too – such as at team meetings, brainstorms and debriefings.

Over two dynamic days, working in groups as well as one-on-one with me, participants in the ‘Public Speaking: How to Educate, Inspire & Motivate Your Audience’ workshop:

  • learn the elements of effective public speaking,
  • understand the critical audience research needed before preparing a presentation
  • analyse the pros and cons of the most important types of presentation
  • deliver on-camera speeches on a variety of topics
  • receive immediate feedback on their progress and shortfalls
  • study enhanced audience engagement strategies
  • practise body language and vocal techniques
  • receive a step-by-step blueprint eliminating all the guesswork from writing a presentation

The ‘Public Speaking: How to Educate, Inspire & Motivate Your Audience’ workshop is always fast-paced, hands-on, focused yet compassionate, and takes everyone – myself included – to new depths of self-awareness and appreciation for work relationships and professional opportunities.

Ultimately, public speaking… the ability to present ideas clearly and confidently to a specific, well-researched audience, in a way that demonstrates respect for their attention and belief in our purpose… is the secret weapon every corporate team can use to enhance their work culture and maximise the value offered to customers.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

Have you ever wished you could turn back time, so you could ‘unsay’ something?

In only a moment, what you thought was an obvious response and the correct thing to say to another person, turns out to be a disaster.

And the other person doesn’t just hold a grudge, but perhaps tells others as well, or uses it as leverage against you in future interactions. Or even breaks relationship with you altogether.

I’m guessing you’ve had a variation of this moment – because getting communication right is one of the hardest skills we are challenged to develop in our day-to-day lives.

Saying the right thing… or keeping silent and listening attentively, can make or break relationships, and reward you with new levels of understanding and appreciation with family members, loved ones and friends.

And in business, in pressured environments where saying the wrong or right thing, or allowing someone else to share their views – including criticisms and complaints respectfully – comes with truly high stakes, the potential impact is even greater.

After all… customer relations, sales, but also improved leadership, management, team dynamics and intra-departmental collaborations rise or fall on the efficiency with which values, targets and debriefings are passed across.

Unfortunately, unlike with physical or structural instabilities, where a skilled team of engineers, if given the right budget, can diagnose and fix the problem… communication gaps or worse – communication failures – can be a far more difficult challenge to accurately overcome, because their sources are often hidden or buried under other layers of other problems.

In almost two decades as a corporate trainer, I’ve seen these problems up close and personal and I’ve observed, tested and developed a toolbox of hands-on strategies to identify and resolve them.

Over the course of two days, my Up-levelling Communication in the Workplace programme teaches the mindset and tactics needed to navigate the minefield of errors and missed signals that undermine teams, while passing on the processes for maximising effective interactions, for the benefit of both colleagues and customers.

Through a dynamic, packed format that includes:

  • learning the fundamentals of effective communication
  • group discussions,
  • role-playing exercises,
  • individual presentations as part of simulations of communication crises

Participants learn, interpret and apply:

  • the behavioural and neuroscience behind effective communication
  • the key elements of Emotional Intelligence
  • the game-changing power of active listening
  • the clues and signals of body language
  • the strategies to communicate with each of the four main personality types

By the end of our time together, we have broken down, analysed and practised the flexibility and intuition needed in managing what we say, how we say it, when we say it and why we say it… with the additional requirement to understand the benefits of not saying anything at all, and instead listening, for maximum impact!

To recap… so much can change, in a moment, by what we choose to express or suppress.

Done right, effective communication creates the perfect momentum to align a company’s vision, renew the commitment of its human capital and enhance its inspiration to serve clients, deliver maximum value and achieve its brand’s unique mission.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

When did the big boss in the big office with the big cigar at the top of the corporate organisational pyramid start to go out of style?

One answer is: probably since the rise of the internet and the early 2000s.

The online world made easy access to information a new source of empowerment for the global workforce and… given that this was also the time that the Millennials (also called ‘Gen Y’ – born roughly between 1981-95) were hitting the job market… it signalled a slow erosion of the traditional, top-down vertical, command and control organisational structures.

Of course, in large-scale, legacy businesses, pyramidal structures are still in use and will take time to evolve into a more decentralised form.

But with the numbers of Millennials now having surpassed those of the Boomers (1946-64) and Gen X (1965-80), it’s clear that this younger generation’s preference for horizontal structures should be taken seriously.

What are the reasons for such a preference? Several, as it turns out.

Gen Y is by now famous for:

  • their collaborative, teamwork-loving ways,
  • their lack of familiarity (and reluctance to accept) traditional rank and age-based authority (their parents and teachers were their friends and mentors),
  • their desire to have personal impact in implementing a company’s mission and
  • their need for individual self-development and feedback throughout their time with an organisation

These characteristics make them feel far more at home working for organisations that have flatter organisational structures. Which is why start-ups have been so appealing to the entrepreneurial, innovation-driven Millennials. And, given their limited size, the flat organisational structure, with everyone taking multiple roles, is a natural fit for a start-up.

For larger, established companies, with more traditional work cultures that are based on a silo approach, horizontal structures can be seen as disruptive and unappealing, raising the threat of a lack of clarity, loss of control and role confusion across their personnel.

Yet one of the reasons organisations have such a problem retaining Millennials is their vertical organisational structures leave little room for Gen Y’s need for:

  • collaborations that are unlimited by seniority and rank divides,
  • opportunities for personal growth and development, and
  • to have a wider impact and say on the company’s performance

In contrast to older generations in the workforce, accustomed to ‘paying their dues’ and ‘working their way up the ladder’… Millennials are much more comfortable thinking of work as a ‘lattice’ of opportunities in every direction to contribute and perform.

To them, it only makes sense – after all, flatter structures allow for quick and more democratic decision-making, as well as greater employee ‘ownership’ of the company’s mission. And as the traditional workplace continues to be disrupted, trends point to such decentralised and more mobile organisational structures becoming the norm.

This may be uncomfortable and threatening to consider for more traditionally-organised organisations and their leaderships.

But with Millennials’ prime work years still ahead of them, it can only be a good thing that their native preferences will help evolve companies to flatter, more adaptable structures, able to survive and thrive in the fast-moving era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

There is no easy way of saying this… but most consumers of goods and services in the 21st century are tired of being sold to.

Sure, it has technically become more easy than ever to buy things… just connect your smartphone to a payment app and click ‘add to cart’.

But on the business side of that equation… has it become as easy to sell?

I would argue, given the over-saturation of marketing messages and ads, and explosion in competitors in almost every sector… succeeding in sales remains as challenging as it ever was – possibly even more so.

Nevertheless, any business that wants to thrive and grow relies on maintaining and adding to their customer base.

That’s where my two-day Sales workshop: The Multiplying Power of Adding Value comes in.

Offered under my EVOLUTION track of services, the workshop empowers sales professionals to becoming the most effective ambassadors for their company, raising the organisation’s professional profile in the eyes of customers and harvesting the reward for their satisfaction and loyalty on a recurring basis.

Research-based and tailored to the specific needs of an organisation, its unique products and services, market dominance, competition, target clientele, profit goals and, above all, the aptitudes and team dynamics of its sales team, this sales programme is a hands-on deep-dive into not just closing, but also multiplying the value offered to customers.

Integrating the power of leading sales approaches – including Jordan Belfort’s acclaimed straight-line system – and grounded in advanced communication, behavioural psychology and neuroscience – the programme’s highlights include:

  • Cultivating an effective sales mindset
  • Best positioning of products & services
  • Creating an accurate client profile
  • Learning engaging presentation tactics
  • Designing & executing an effective close
  • Handling clients’ objections
  • Choosing client-specific pricing strategies
  • Maximising customer satisfaction
  • Cultivating loyalty and repeating sales

The fact is, sales, when seen as part of a long-term, service-oriented and customer-centric strategy of growing the excellence and value associated with a company’s offerings, can be the most rewarding process for everyone in the equation.

Far from being a series of tricks and coercion, it actually becomes an experience that clients appreciate having with a brand, rewarding it not only by returning or additional sales, but also giving a company a multiplying, practical advantage in the competition for market share.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/

“Put your smartphone down, when I’m speaking to you!”

Did you assume the hypothetical person with the phone was… a young person? Perhaps even… a Millennial?

Also known as a member of Gen Y, born (roughly 1981-95), stereotyped as self-absorbed young professionals, preferring to edit Instagram photos than pick up the phone to clients?

(That really IS a stereotype, by the way.)

To answer the question… the person absorbed in using their smartphone could have been of any age.

From a Millennial to a Gen Zer (the generation born roughly 1996 to 2000), to Gen Xers, Boomers and members of the Silent Generation, too.

Almost EVERY generation by this point, whether in or out of the office, has discovered the benefits of, and formed a certain level of dependency on, their smart device of choice.

Why? Chiefly because of the convenience such devices provide, but even more because of the connection, and the empowering feeling of having a say in shaping that connection.

Which brings me to the point of this post… Purpose. More specifically: Millennials’ demand for and near-religious devotion to it, whether in or out of the workplace.

So great is their need to find purpose in their work, accuse their critics, that Gen Y will walk away from perfectly well-paid, stable jobs, leaving expensive vacancies for HR to re-fill after spending only a relatively short period of time with a company.

Yet… if we are honest… EVERY generation of workers appreciates meaningful employment, and for their efforts to have a purpose beyond profit. Why? Because this is a very human need, no matter how old or young we may be.

It’s just that… unlike Gen Y, older generations were born in more authoritarian and less-technologically-empowered times. Eras where you earned your dues over time, and a J.O.B. was perfectly acceptable – even if all it did was pay the rent and put food on the table, and wasn’t going to win you a Pulitzer prize or reinvent the toothbrush.

Millennials, on the other hand, were brought up with a very different picture of the world and their role in it.

Gen Y were taught by parents and teachers that they would change the world, and were groomed to expect to be agents of innovation. So, given their relative youth and ambition, not to mention, their ease in creatively collaborating with peers, finding ‘purpose’ in their work is a ‘luxury’ they believe they can afford, while staying in a job without ‘purpose’ appears a far greater threat to their future longterm.

This can certainly be a headache for HR departments, tasked with filling job positions that might have been retained by recruits of older generations, not to mention, spending time and money retraining replacements.

But it’s just as much an important warning sign to a company itself, that perhaps it’s not as aligned with its original vision as it needs to be.

Or perhaps that it needs a different ‘Why’ in Simon Sinek’s words, beyond merely turning a profit.

After all, Millennials are not just potential employees, but customers and consumers, too. Their perspectives on what is important, their values and their unique approach to work and life, can neither be ignored nor dismissed.

Meanwhile, retention headache or not, we can all stand to benefit from their desire to make time, creativity, education and effort count towards a meaningful initiative.

Because finding purpose, just like the ease and connectivity offered by smartphones, is something that ultimately appeals to every generation.

To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/