Category: Grit

Change is Everywhere, But Nothing Has Changed About Staying Safe

 

As a virtual safety change management speaker, I know that in these uncertain times, nothing is more important than staying safe on the job. Unfortunately, because of stretched resources, layoffs and communications in the “new normal,” staying safe is harder than ever.

I’m not alone in that opinion.

EHS, the international developer of environmental, health and safety management software said in their April 21, 2020 blog, Why Safety Is More Important Than Ever During Tough Economic Times, stated:

“During a crisis, your business will only survive if you can keep your employees engaged and motivated. One of the key ways to keep teams engaged is to stay unified, and the only way to do that is by showing employees that you care. You need to show them that they are valued and that you’re ready to go to bat for them.”

Engaged and Motivated

How are you keeping your employees engaged and motivated about safety with all of the changes going on around them? How are you showing them that you care?

Are you determined to go the extra mile make a difference? Does your vision for a safe workplace match the difficult forces of change?

Safety is not a casual exercise; it must be daily focus of everyone in the organization.

Due to the corona virus pandemic, the majority of safety departments are having to make do with less. The way safety messaging is being conveyed has also changed. Safety talks are often virtual rather than in-person, or at best, in-person and distanced with masks. It is easy to lose touch.

Melissa Raffoni, writing for the Harvard Business Review (May 1, 2020), talked about the obstacles created by trying to communicate virtually. Among the several points mentioned in the article, she emphasized:

“For some, it’s uncomfortable…for many of us adults, who didn’t grow up with that same [virtual] technology, it [communication] can still be quite uncomfortable. This lack of comfort makes it harder for some to open up, connect, trust, and communicate with each other virtually.”

Safety, as we all know, is an agreement to look out for one another and for ourselves. Raffoni continued:

“Interpersonal dynamics are harder to manage [virtually]… You can easily lose people’s attention. It’s challenging enough to engage people in a face-to-face meeting, but virtual meetings often come with a plethora of new distractions.”

In these changing times, when safety is more important than ever, when we must be engaged and motivated, conditions have caused many of us to be less trusting, less communicative and easily distracted.

This combination could be an extremely hazardous or even deadly combination of factors.

Overcome the Forces of Change

The only way to keep the workplace safe in difficult times is by meeting the challenge head-on. This means that everyone in the organization must develop a safety mindset. The organization must be determined to communicate safety by every virtual means possible and it must strive to find a way to convey the messages in person, whether socially distanced, wearing masks in one-to-one meetings, whatever it takes.

Finally, overcoming the changes that are affecting safety takes grit; we must all be resolute that despite the challenges, our daily goal is to protect our most important asset: the lives of every individual in our organization.

 

Scott Burrows, Safety Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

Small Business in America: It’s Gut-Check Time

 

Being a small business resilience speaker and having my own business, I relate on a personal level to one of the tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic: how it impacted small business across America.

By May 12, 2020, the Washington Post reported that at least 100,000 small businesses had shut their doors.

A small business doesn’t necessarily mean a “Mom and Pop Stationery Store.” The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as having as many as 1,500 employees and $35 million in sales.

When a small business goes out of business, it is a tragedy. A business isn’t a “thing,” it’s people trying to build something for themselves and their families.

It is Time for Small Business to Go Big

In July 2020, the United States Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey entitled “Small Business Corona Virus Impact Poll.” The poll reported that of the small businesses that survived the first wave, “Two-thirds of small businesses (65%) are concerned about having to close again or stay closed if there is a second wave…”

The survey reminds us that after the initial lockdown occurred, 85 percent of small businesses were forced to temporarily close. They don’t know if they can survive a second onslaught.

However, there is optimism in this bleakness. Businesses are taking action to anticipate the second wave: 32 percent are purchasing extra inventory, 29 percent are updating websites and improving social media profiles, and 25 percent are refining and boosting e-commerce.

While I’m pleased that small businesses are taking steps to look ahead, there is much more that can be done. In an Associated Press release, entitled “Ways Small Businesses Can Fight Back Amidst COVID-19 and the Retail Apocalypse,” Nebraska farmer Steve Buchanan had some interesting insights including the implied need for local businesses to have the determination to reach out to local communities and to make an impact.

There is great wisdom in reaching out locally. In fact, Mr. Buchanan now sells his produce almost exclusively online.

When I speak to small business associations, I encourage each organization to develop a mindset that envisions success. Does your small business have a vision that looks beyond the current challenges to overcome the challenges?

While buying extra inventory, updating websites and boosting e-commerce are necessary, they are passive.

An important part of having the mindset to overcome challenges is to be creative, to be willing to be an active participant in finding new ways to get customers “in the door,” and to share that vision with every member of your organization. This is called resilience.

Whether you have a dog grooming business with three employees or 300 grooming businesses with 500 employees, there must be a shared vision. To be truly resilient means that everyone in the organization must be determined to pull together to encourage opinions and to believe in your mission.

My heart aches for those small businesses barely holding their own, but I would feel even worse if the only thing standing between success and failure of a small business in the coming months was a lack of resilience to meet the challenges.

Let’s all be determined to have the daily grit to make the vision work and the resilience to do what we need to do to get through this time together.

 

Scott Burrows, Small Business Resilience Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings for associations and organizations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

In Sales, Some Things Change; Resilience Doesn’t

 

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I know that of the many qualities a salesperson needs, resilience – and the daily grit to remain resilient – are never mentioned enough. Perhaps it’s because resilience, the skill of being flexible, isn’t thought of as being cool. It is, and in fact, business resilience yields huge benefits.

Get Tough

I’d like to open these thoughts on resilience and grit by quoting Gary Galvin, CEO of Galvin Technologies:

“While salespeople will find success when they lead with empathy, they’ll find greater success when they respond with resilience.”

He is on the money. When I was in the insurance and financial services industry, I qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table through the resilient pursuit of my sales goals. Of course, I was sympathetic to situations involving my clients, but it was far more important to be flexible to their needs, and to put in the effort to immediately respond to questions and changes.

If I was going to be successful as a salesperson, I had no choice but to develop a flexible mindset.

Michael F. Kay, wrote an article for Forbes magazine (11/7/17) entitled: “Resilience Is A Mindset Of Awareness And Practice.” Kay listed several ways in which this mindset can be nurtured. Among the top methods for cultivation of resiliency are increasing our sense of control: you are not powerless when your sales plans change, you can change with it; it is important to maintain perspective in a changing situation; and you must develop a positive self-concept.

I would also add that if you are part of a sales team, associate with those who also have a flexible mindset. It is easy to be surrounded by negative or inflexible people. They cannot help you. The winners on your team will see opportunity even in adversity.

Get Gritty

However, to be resilient also requires the grit to keep going and to see the big picture rather than the immediate problem. Kori Miller, writing for Positive Psychology, presented a wonderful summary of grit as a component of resiliency:

“Grit is about sustained, consistent effort toward a goal even when we struggle, falter, or temporarily fail.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back after we have struggled, faltered, or failed. It is being able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, take a moment or two to collect ourselves, and then get back to the business of pursuing our goal. It involves optimism.”

We cannot be resilient without grit nor can we possess a “gritty mindset” without resilience. As any successful salesperson knows, in real life we may misquote an important benefit, miss an appointment or inadvertently park in the CEO’s parking space. Those things unfortunately happen. It is how we respond to those struggles that count, whether it amounts to making a detailed correction, profusely apologizing (without fabrication) or sending a dozen roses.

In the end, resiliency and grit are about the courage to stand up after you have been knocked down and to keep smiling.

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Resilience and Grit for your next industry meeting, connect with his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Adversity Builds Character: What You Can Learn From It

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that you’ll find very few people who actually appreciate adversity. Why would anyone want that? No sane person would want problems. And often, people wish for the day they have everything they desire, no wishes left ungranted.

To many, that’s the very definition of heaven: a place of bliss and peacefulness without disease, war and want. So, who in his right mind would want adversity?

Adversity is the opposition to progress — or so it seems.

The idea that adversity actually builds character and a more meaningful life has been around for more than two thousand years. The first inkling of such an idea seemed to have come from the ancient Greeks, specifically the Stoics. We now think of someone as “stoic” if they face adversity with a positive attitude (or at least without complaining).

So yes, adversity can build character. But how does that work? Why do problems present an opportunity to build one’s person, one’s character?

Stoics would say the obstacle is the way. The idea is that in facing an obstacle, one learns important lessons about themselves — about how they approach and solve problems. It’s not such a far-fetched idea if you think of it this way: An obstacle isn’t just a meaningless challenge or an annoyance, but also represents your limits. The obstacle literally refuses for you to pass unless you find a way around it, over it or through it.

The very experience of meeting your obstacle head-on and thinking about where you want to go opens up new avenues of thought, new ideas, new perspectives. The mind is a problem solver. It desires to uncover any question, any challenge and any problem. And from that new set of thoughts come new beliefs about your abilities, about how you treat others and what your responsibility is to them and yourself, and about your purpose.

This belief gives birth to a new resolve about your purpose, your desires and your actions. It all comes together into a conviction that turns into a strength that is visible for everyone around you to see. When you embrace the challenge that adversity places in front of you and do your best to overcome it, you have literally taken on a new character.

If you let it, adversity opens you up to a new life where your thoughts, words and actions bear new fruits you never would have thought possible. That’s how adversity builds character, which, in turn, leads to a new life with bigger and better possibilities.

Take a look at real-life adversities people are facing every day. Real people are facing real problems. How can this adversity lead to character development and a better life?

For one thing, there are no guarantees in life. But as long as you don’t give up on yourself and on others, there’s always a possibility — and opportunities are still there to be had. The realization that you’re not powerless even in a tough situation is incredibly empowering and transformative.

The reality is there are people in the world today who have faced similar adversity to your own, and somehow they overcame them. They might say that there seems to be some luck or fate playing its part. But I would like to think more often than not, we create our own luck or at least set ourselves up to have a “luckier” outcome.

If you open yourself up and let the adversity you’re facing shape your perspective in a positive way, you too can find a path that not only helps you deal with the problem at hand, but actually changes your character for the better.

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Overcoming Adversity Speaker, contact his office today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

What Will It Take for You to Reach Your 2020 Goals?

 

The Mindset of Success

As a motivational speaker on setting sales goals and sales achievements, I am a believer in developing a goal-setting mindset before anything else, and having the determination to see it through. I am not alone in this way of thinking.

Business writer Jason Alten recently discussed what he considered to be the seven most important goals for any sales person to reach their full potential. The first goal was simply this: “Start with the end in mind.” To quote in part from his comments:

“Ask yourself what the end result you’re looking to realize is so that you can make decisions and set goals that will help you get there. Too often businesses set goals that aren’t connected to the overall vision of where they want their business to be in a year, or even the next quarter.”

If you lack the mindset, the overall vision to define where you want the business to go in the months ahead, as well as the determination to reach your long-term goals, the results could be poor at best.

Kristen Baker in her sales article entitled, “The Ultimate Guide to Setting and Hitting Sales Goals” asks:

“What’s one thing virtually every business does — no matter their industry, target customer, or product or service? They set goalsGoals ensure employees are driven, on-task, and producing work that impacts the business’s bottom line. They also ensure your business is constantly striving to grow, improve, and most importantly:  boost revenue.”

Who Will Take Charge?

While both Jason Alten and Kristen Baker are correct in that without having the mindset and the determination (or drive) to set goals there will be lackluster results, I would add an additional dimension.

When I began in sales. I had only recently been discharged from rehab after an automobile accident that left me a quadriplegic. In the hospital, going through months of rehabilitation, I realized it wasn’t just a matter of mindset and vision, or even determination that would see me through, but the daily grit to make that happen.

My physicians and physical therapists could only do so much for me. It was up to me to develop the grit through good days and bad to reach my goals.

I was successful in the financial services and insurance sales industry; in fact, in just five years I made it into the industry’s Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). I applied the same lessons I learned in my rehabilitation to setting my sales goals in as a financial adviser.

I had to develop the vision to see myself getting better each day, the mindset to do what needed to be done to realize the vision, and the determination to endure the many sessions and the pain associated with the rehab. But what moved and sustained me was the grit to grind it out and tell myself that some days would be good and some days would be rough. There was no choice but to keep going.

Grit must come from within. Grit will help every sales person reach their goals. The best of the best will have rough days, and grit will encourage you to stand up to it. Grit makes each sales person better than they ever thought possible. No one can give you grit, you must make it happen.

 

Meeting Planners: to book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Speaker on Setting Sales Goals and Achievements for your next meeting, contact him today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

What Does it Take to Lead Organizations Through Change?

Do you have what it takes to lead your organization through change? As a leadership and change management speaker, I ask executive leaders if they have the determination and the vision to lead their organizations through change.

Why Vision?

“Demanding” that organizations respond to the challenges in front of them has never served upper management in bringing about effective outcomes to difficulties created by mergers, acquisitions, technology or other major changes. It requires the vision and the daily grit to get everyone on the same page and to see things through.

Several years ago (August 2014), Entrepreneur magazine identified at least eight factors needed to bring about a positive outcome to major changes including:  the creation of a plan; understanding the goals and objectives the plan will address; clear communication; identifying key players in the organization to lead the charge; the specific tasks to be delegated; the objectives of the plan; the management of desired expectations and most important, accountability.

I would add “mindset” to the above change management outcomes. Is the organization of a specific and singular mindset to ensure that the outcome is successful?

To that point, business writer Camille Nicita for Forbes magazine (July 2, 2019), stated:

“When you’re creating change, your employees need to authentically embrace what they are being asked to do. Left uninspired, employees may take on the mindset that ‘they told me I have to do this, so I have to do it.’ Rather, employees should understand how the change affects — and more importantly, benefits — them. They need to believe in the higher purpose the change ultimately serves. Uninspired employees can almost always be compelled to comply, but I believe only an inspired workforce can turn change into a sustainable transformation.”

Who Needs Inspiration?

Ultimately who needs to have the collective mindset and vision to bring about change in their organizations? Everyone. No employee or department should be overlooked in buying into the tasks at hand. It is called “ownership,” where there is a shared vision and mindset throughout the organization.

In October 2017, McKinsey & Company wrote an article entitled “Secrets of Successful Change Implementation.” Among the important points they shared:

“For both successful and unsuccessful [organizational] transformations…the single most significant factor influencing a transformation’s outcome is the degree of ownership and commitment of the organization’s leaders. To be clear, ‘ownership’ and ‘commitment’ involve much more than just ‘alignment.’ Commitment is a level of psychological investment that drives personal, proactive action—and becomes even stronger when failure may have adverse consequences. At a very basic level, successful transformations typically reinforce ownership through clear accountability for specific targets and individual incentives for key players that are strongly aligned to success.”

To lead an organization through change, the executive leaders must convey a sense of ownership. It is a commitment that says, “We’re going to be successful, and I need your determination to help me reach that goal.”

Change is inevitable, and in today’s world, it seems constant. It takes a buy-in and without a plan to bring everyone on board, change is more wishful thinking than reality. Get real. Commit to your vision.

Book Scott Burrows, inspirational Leadership & Change Management Speaker for your next through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Are You Determined to Make a Difference in Someone’s Life?

When I deliver keynote addresses as an inspirational insurance and financial services sales speaker, I often encounter attendees new to the industry who ask me why I was attracted to the industry in the first place?

It is an easy question to answer: “I believed then, as I do now, that having the right coverage can make a real difference in someone’s life.” I carried that belief when I first sold insurance and financial services. I made it into the Million-Dollar Round Table within five years.

Now that I speak to groups across the country, I believe it more than ever!

Selling insurance is a valuable profession filled with purpose providing the sales person has the vision to help people and is determined to sell what insurance can do. In 2017, insurance broker Ryan Stewman wrote an article on his blog “Hardcore Closer” that I wholeheartedly endorse. Stewman said:

“Here’s the cold hard truth: no one wants insurance. What they want is what the insurance provides. Insurance is forced on the consumer and I’ve never heard a person say they would love to have more insurance. What they would love is for their car not to get in an accident, or their belongings not to get stolen.” I would add that no one wants to get hurt, experience a business fire or see their roof collapse either.

While some might argue that insurance is a “necessary evil,” I don’t see it as an evil at all. As an insurance and financial services speaker, I reassure everyone in the profession that what they do matters. To be successful they must possess the grit to influence every prospect that not having enough coverage or the right coverage can be catastrophic. It can be a life changer – and not for the better. Why then, are so few insurance salespeople willing to develop that grit?

Low Motivation

In 2019, the “Agent Survival Guide” website listed four reasons why so many agents walk away from the profession. These include a lack of resources, having too high expectations and poor management. However, the number one reason was low motivation. The article stated:

“As an insurance agent, you have daily opportunities to change your clients’ lives for the better. You can expect to get out of this job as much as you put in. That means if you truly care about your clients and put your best foot forward in finding a plan that will fit their needs, you can find joy in the fact that you’ve made a positive impact on them and their future.”

If you view a prospect not as an income stream, but as someone whose life you can positively impact, then you will make a huge difference. Do you have the vision to make that difference?

Finally, the Kaplan Financial Education website (March 29, 2019) gave five reasons why selling insurance is a great career. My favorite reason is that you can make a difference. KFE stated:

“Insurance policies protect people from financial loss because of unexpected events and circumstances…the research you do and recommendations you provide have a real impact on a client’s financial well-being down the road…insurance agents have the potential to help people achieve their financial and personal goals. They also prepare clients for unfortunate events and provide a measure of comfort to clients during such events.”
There are few professions that will make such a difference in someone’s life. Insurance sales is one of them. Do you have the determination to make that difference?

To book Scott Burrows, Inspirational Insurance and Financial Services Sales Speaker for your next meeting or convention, contact him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169,

Do You Have the Grit to Win?

 

As an inspirational speaker on having determination in pharmaceutical sales, pharmaceutical sales reps usually find it funny when I use the word “grit” in conjunction with an industry known for its ultra clean manufacturing and production.

However, having the sheer tenacity and the daily determination to go out and sell in good times and bad is having the grit to win. Do you have it?

In their September-October issue, the prestigious Harvard Business Review in an article entitled Organizational Grit, had this to say about healthcare:

“In health care, patients have long depended on the grit of individual doctors and nurses. But in modern medicine, providing superior care has become so complex that no lone practitioner, no matter how driven, can do it all. Today great care requires great collaboration—gritty teams of clinicians who all relentlessly push for improvement. Yet it takes more than that:  Health care institutions must exhibit grit across the entire provider system.”

As a pharmaceutical sales rep, the provider system is relying on you to bring them new innovation and information. Your grit must match the grit of the health care practitioners who are looking for better solutions. They value your collaboration providing you are willing to go the extra mile.

Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth has spent her fine career analyzing grit. She recently stated:

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

As a pharmaceutical sales rep in the digital and connected age, it isn’t enough to present the same studies over and over again. You must push yourself and become an invaluable asset.

The topic of grit has also fascinated The South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP). The organization feels strongly that predicting success in a group of students, pharmaceutical sales reps, healthcare professionals or virtually any occupation it isn’t a matter of who has the highest IQ but ultimately, who has the most grit to rise above the crowd.

Can Grit Be Cultivated?

According to SACAP, even if a pharmaceutical sales rep (or any other professional) has never thought of themselves as having grit, it can be cultivated by having the determination to focus on five important drivers:  courage, conscientiousness, perseverance, resilience and passion.

Courage has nothing to do with how heroic you are. It relates to how thoroughly you know your product; how much work you’ve done above and beyond everyone else so that the HCP relies on you. Consciousness is a statement of how seriously you take your mission; how aware you are of the importance of what your product represents. Perseverance is more than making appointments; it is telling those you call on that you are in this for the long-haul and that you will be there for them. Resilience represents that you will “go out into the world” not only when times are great, but when numerous obstacles and challenges are in your way. Finally, Passion. Do you love what you do? Do you believe in what you do?

Grit is the ground it out, daily affirmation that what you do and what you sell matters. If you are determined, if you have that desire, you will become that special pharmaceutical sales rep among many.

 

To contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Pharmaceutical Sales Speaker on Grit and Determination reach him through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169