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Award Worthy

Impact Instruction Chalks Up Another APEX Award Win

apex16Our clients know we deliver top-notch programs and services. And our industry peers know it, too.

We’re proud to announce Impact Instruction has received a 2016 APEX Award of Excellence in the category of Campaigns, Programs & Plans – Education & Training. This award recognizes our work with the  Strategic Leadership Excellence for Women we developed and facilitated for Deloitte.

Impact Instruction Group was selected to create a leadership program for Deloitte that specifically addressed the critical behaviors needed when stepping into a leadership position, or participating in high-visibility projects and stretch assignments. The program was funded by Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative (WIN), an element of Deloitte’s inclusive culture, which encourages opportunity, enrichment, and new thinking.

APEX Awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. With more than 1,600 entries this year, our recognition speaks volumes to the collaboration with our client, as well as the caliber of the program. This marks the fifth time Impact has been honored with an APEX.

Thanks to Deloitte and all our clients for allowing us to be your strategic partners for sales performance training and leadership development.

You can read more about Impact’s award-winning projects here.

Profile: Franko Shares Path to Leadership in TD Magazine

td featureWhat makes Impact Instruction Group’s founder Amy Franko tick, and what are the trends she sees in talent development? TD Magazine profiled Amy in its July issue.

Flip to the “Upward Bound” feature to read Amy’s Q&A. In it, you’ll learn how Amy founded our firm, what experiences shaped who she’s become, how the industry has changed through the years, her advice for those starting out, and more.

Read the full article.

You can learn more from Amy by reading her insights on our blog.

Our Founder Featured in NAWBO One

IMG_4412What does it mean to be a leader? Amy Franko, our Founder and President, shared her insights with NAWBO One, a publication of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

In this profile, Amy talks about her own experiences, as well as where she sees women leading the way.

See the full feature on NAWBO One.

On Monday, Sept. 19, Amy will present “Leading with Impact and Influence” at the NAWBO Women’s Business Conference in Columbus.

Learn more about the conference.

Strategies for Standing Out in the Sales Field

light-bulbs-1125016_1920 pixabay freeConsider the habits needed to cultivate self-leaders and stand out in the sales field. One of the primary building blocks of leadership identity is your leadership brand.

There are literally millions of sales professionals in the world. You need to ensure that you’re one that your customers and prospects know, remember, respect and trust.

In an article for Training Industry, Amy Franko explores strategies for standing out in the sales field by building a leadership brand.

Read more.

 

The Road to Sales Enablement Success

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They say the road to success is always under construction. In the world of sales, that’s definitely the case.

How can we keep driving forward? Sales enablement and effectiveness are the engine of a sales organization, and when executed well, they create an environment of productivity and success. Though they are often described interchangeably and do crossover, sales enablement and effectiveness could have different applications depending on the organization.

Amy Franko thinks of enablement as a highway—helping us get to the desired destination. The design quality and the upkeep of the system ultimately help determine the quality of my travel and the roads I may take to get there.

To read more about her tips for traveling the sales enablement highway, read her new article on the ATD Sales Enablement Blog.

This article is the second in a two part series. You can read part one here.

Survey Says: Women Leaders Drive Corporate Profits

CompassBy Amy Franko

For the last decade, leadership development for women has been a focus of mine—both in my career and personally. Whether I’m delivering a corporate program or serving in a volunteer capacity on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Ohio Heartland Council, I love to make a difference by empowering emerging leaders with the tools they need to succeed.

The women I meet are smart, savvy and driven. So I wasn’t surprised when I saw the results of a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. It reveals that gender diversity in business is profitable.

In fact, “the results suggest that the presence of women on corporate boards and in the C-suite may contribute to firm performance. The impact is greatest for female executive shares, followed by female board shares; the presence of female CEOs has no noticeable effect,” the report says. “The estimated magnitudes of these correlations are not small: For profitable firms, a move from no female leaders to 30 percent representation is associated with a 15 percent increase in the net revenue margin.”

Yes—15 percent. That’s a significant boost. Here’s why, according to the report. “The positive correlation between the presence of women in corporate leadership and profitability could reflect the existence of discrimination against women executives, which gives nondiscriminating firms an edge. Alternatively, it could be that the presence of women contributes to superior performance via functional diversity.”

The bottom line is that diversity and nondiscrimination can pay off.
Unfortunately, even as recently as 2014, too few organizations were making gender diversity in the C-suite and the board room a priority. Of the firms surveyed by Peterson, about half had women in leadership positions, and 60 percent had no female board members.

What’s the reason behind the gap? Why are women in corporate leadership positions relatively scarce? The report cites a few reasons:

• At the firm level, the size of the company and the size of the board are robustly correlated with the presence of women on boards and in the C-suite (though not as CEOs).
• The results also suggest that a set of national characteristics—including high scores on math assessments, concentrations in degree programs associated with management, and the ratio of female to male income, which could be interpreted as indicators of institutional openness to women’s success—is robustly correlated with these outcomes.
• The results also point to other correlates that could be overlooked, including discriminatory societal attitudes, the importance of paternity as well as maternity leave, and openness.

You can read a story in CLO Magazine here.

Take a look around your office. Are women represented at leadership levels? If not, consider advocating for leadership development programs targeted to women. Contact us for help.

In the meantime, I invite you to watch this short video about transforming your leadership presence.

Impact CEO to Talk Mentorship in Twitter Chat

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Looking to strengthen your leadership abilities through mentorship? Spend an hour with Impact Instruction Group’s CEO, Amy Franko, on Twitter next week.

Amy will be the special guest on #BizGalz chat Monday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET. BizGalz is a global community of women challenging limitations and making big changes.

We hope you’ll join us for an engaging chat!

Manager or Coach? Strike a Balance for Best Results

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By Amy Franko

Athletics have always played an important role in my life.

As an adult, running is my passion. I’ve been honored to “give back” through this sport I love by volunteering as an assistant coach for the Girls on the Run program. Girls on the Run teaches life and leadership skills within the context of a running program.

We’re gearing up for the next running season, and it gives me an opportunity to think about the practice of coaching. It’s a term that made its way from athletic fields to business offices decades ago with the introduction of executive coaches. Lately, however, we hear more about a coaching approach being leveraged within business on a daily basis. And coaching is often celebrated as being superior to the practice of “managing.”

So will managers go away to be replaced by coaches? Some trend reports say yes.

But I don’t see this as an “either / or” proposition. There’s no getting around the fact that there will always be projects and issues to manage. Today’s leaders will need to both manage and coach.

Easier said than done, I know. As a leader, it’s difficult to avoid getting sucked into managerial minutia. And then the coaching gets pushed to the back burner. The key is continually rebalancing our priorities.

Effect on the Sales Team

From my experience, one place this happens more than others is within sales organizations. Pressure to produce in sales is always strong, and it’s not unusual for top performers to be elevated to leadership positions, without receiving any leadership training.

Take for example one of my acquaintances, who is a sales representative and serves as an individual contributor on his team. For years he had a great boss; a manager who trusted his people. That manager made time for each of the 10 members of his team individually, and kept up through regular team calls, too. He was eager to help them grow, and looked for development opportunities. The team was happy, and successful, too. The manager struck a beneficial balance between coaching and managing. But then that manager left the company for a different opportunity. Enter the new manager, who has no previous leadership experience. All coaching-related activities for the team were pushed to the side. And yes, productivity has declined, as has team engagement.

It’s a frequent scenario. Individual contributors who are meeting and beating their number are promoted to leadership. There’s an automatic assumption that because they know how to sell, they also will be stellar in a leadership role.

But there’s a gap. As an individual contributor, a person is responsible only for himself. When promoted, he becomes responsible for eight to12 others as a frontline leader. He probably doesn’t have individual customers—he’s now leading team. A mindset shift must take place.

How can that be turned around? Upskilling sales leaders to become coaches and mentors is as important—if not more important—than focusing on individual contributors. Like many frontline leaders, sales leaders are often under-invested in, despite the fact that they have the most direct access to those who generate revenue for the organization.

Make sure you have curriculum and performance resources that specifically address the sales leader and empower them to coach individual contributors.

A Matter of Time

One tactical way to start addressing this issue is for sales managers is to know where their time is currently invested and where it’s wasted. Track a typical week in the life, and write down everything you’re doing– capturing a snapshot of your time. Then analyze.

You will likely be surprised at what you find.

What is your time being dedicated to? Meetings? Individual contributor tasks? Leadership tasks? Next, categorize the tasks so you can understand the balance. For example, do you just spend a small percentage of time coaching, but 50 percent of your time in meetings? Look for opportunities to delegate, outsource or delete any non-productive tasks.

The reality is a lot of us are busy, but not necessarily productive.

Try one of these tools to help track your time and boost productivity. Or, you can be like me, and go decidedly low-tech. I keep a good old-fashioned tracking sheet for my activities.

High Priority

As someone in leadership role, you must make conscious decision that you want to devote time to coaching your team and make it a priority.

Make it meaningful. Look at ways to better prioritize your week to allow meaningful time to coach. It’s mindset and skill. Then think about what will happen if your whole team analyzes how much of their time is being invested to move business forward. Help them analyze and reprioritize, too. (That’s coaching!)

It takes teamwork. Sales, especially, is seen as an individual sport. My old boss used to say that sales people are “coin operated.” There’s some truth to that statement. They most likely are “Type A” folks, mainly focused on their piece of the pie. But as a leader, you need your contributors to perform individually, as well as a team. Help them understand there’s something bigger at stake. That’s how you build a more cohesive team.

Mind the gap. Determine where skill gaps exist on your team. It’s your job to advocate that they get the training they need to advance and be their best. On the flip side, when you see a team member with a notable strength, give them the opportunity to model for the rest of the team. Not all the coaching has to come directly from you. Peer-to-peer coaching is a beneficial option, too.

Individual empowerment. It’s important that the team members can articulate their greatest opportunities, challenges and obstacles. Part of the coaching process is encouraging others to make those realizations themselves, so that you’re not saying, “I’m the expert, and I have all the answers.” Rather, help them shine the light and let them share their ideas. Ask them how they see themselves making goal and what solutions they recommend for their challenges. By doing that, you have turned the conversation around and empowered your team to be creative problem solvers. As the coach, you can help to refine solutions or remove obstacles.

Let it go. A word of caution: you might think you have the better answers. (And you very well might.) This is the time to embrace your self-awareness and allow your team to develop ideas and implement them. If it doesn’t work? They will learn from their mistakes, just like you did. As the coach you have to step back and allow them to try even though they might fail. Risk, after all, is integral to growth and learning.

This quote from Sir John Whitmore sums it all up well.

“Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them learn, rather than teaching them.”

What will you do today to incorporate more coaching into your routine and unlock your team’s potential?

 

Bridging the B2B Sales Gap

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By Amy Franko

Before I became a part of the learning and leadership development field, my background was in sales. It’s a tough job, but one that has always been a passion of mine.

Of course, much has changed in the sales landscape in recent years. We are seeing shifts in our customers’ habits, processes, and expectations. In turn, we must change the way we approach selling. It affects roles across the organization: field sales, inside sales, pre- and post-sales, marketing, and sales leadership.

What can we in the training and development community do to better equip our sales teams?

In the current climate, organizational success will become dependent on our ability to evolve. My latest article on the ATD Sales Enablement Community blog shares some of my observations on today’s B2B sales environment, a profile of the modern seller, and how the learning function helps sellers connect to increasingly savvy customers.

You can read it here. Watch for a second article soon. And in the meantime, tell us, what trends are you seeing in the B2B sales arena?

 

How Our View of Risk Correlates to Business Growth

A Recap of the 2016 Columbus Chamber Annual Meeting Keynote Address by Mark Kvamme

canva 1x use blog 021116By Amy Franko

Midwest nice.*

The Midwest is full of nice, well-intentioned, and welcoming people. It’s why I love being from the Midwest, from Ohio, and making Columbus my home.

But does this mindset hold us back? Make us less willing to take a risk? Does it make us less of an entrepreneurial region?

These were the questions we grappled with this morning during the Columbus Chamber’s annual meeting. Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital shared his insights on risk and how we can move forward as a city, region, and state.

This post shares some of my key takeaways from his talk.

  • “Do you view risk and failure as a badge of honor or a scarlet letter?” Mark’s perspective is that areas of the country like Silicon Valley view risk and failure as a badge of honor, something to talk about openly and with confidence. Whereas, here in the Midwest, it’s often seen as the scarlet letter, something to be feared and avoided.
  • What makes the Midwest, and specifically Columbus, unique? One of our gems is that our well-known community business leaders willingly and excitedly invest their time in talking with, mentoring, and cheering for our region’s up-and-comers. That’s almost unheard of anywhere else, and truly representative of what makes this a supportive environment in which to succeed.
  • Believe. You have to believe that deep down, you’re in the perfect place, that you live in the greatest part of the country in which to do business. Mark shared that Columbus is within one car drive of 60 percent of the country’s GDP.
  • Our degrees of connection are even closer that we think. We now have only 3.5 degrees of separation from practically any person on the planet. The barriers to connectivity are lower than ever, and we can leverage that connectivity for the greater good.

And finally, one point that I see from a different perspective.

It was mentioned that Columbus is often seen or labeled as the next “Silicon Valley.” From my perspective, while I want for Columbus, and Ohio, to thrive, I also want our city to stay true to what makes us unique, our Midwest Nice. It has a place here, and we need to leverage that into our own uniqueness, while not allowing it to hinder smart risk. In the words of one of my favorite athletes, Skylar Diggins: “You Do You.”

Let’s do us in a way that helps us to shine.

* Credit to Mark Kovacecvich of Improving for that phrase!