Marketing New Basics Aren’t All That New: Think – Feel – Do

HBR’s new July-August 2014 cover depicts Think-Feel-Do as the new basics of marketing. The interesting thing is that those of us who work with the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory or MBTI® have known this concept for many years now.

See HBR Facebook post here:

Post by Harvard Business Review.


The MBTI tells us that we have preferences in how we focus our energy, how we prefer to take information, how we deal with the world and how we like to make decisions. We know that how we make decisions is based on our Thinking (T) and Feeling (F) preferences. Are you aware of where your strengths lie between T and F and what your strategic marketing approach should be based on your customer’s type preferences?

To learn more about type and how to take the MBTI assessment, contact us today or visit our MBTI Assessment Page.

2014 Workplace Attitudes Results – Part II

We are continuing our series on Workplace Attitudes.

Who took the Survey?



An overwhelming number of participants were from the USA, but the responses from other countries offered very similar responses to all the questions as their USA counterparts.

The Findings: Assertive Behavior

This is the first of the findings from our 2014 Workplace Attitudes Survey. We asked people: Do you think you are assertive at work? Why or why not?



We identified that the answers to this question could be categorized into 3 major areas: Knowledge, Pressure and Passion.







The responses indicate that what makes them most assertive is the level of expertise they perceive to have in the matter at hand. The responses indicate that more a person knows, the more assertive they feel about what they are doing and planning to do.


The next highest score goes to feeling a need to do the task or perceiving that there is pressure to complete the task. The pressure could be an impending deadline or the feeling that the task is important enough that it merits completion. This perception makes people feel assertive about moving forward with a plan and completing a task.


The third highest responses indicate that assertiveness is also driven by passion. The responses indicate that if you feel strongly about the task at hand, you’ll feel more assertive about completing it.

Lacking Assertive Behavior

The survey also indicated that what tends to make us less assertive fall into three areas. First we have Collaboration. When there is strong teamwork there is less of a need to be assertive, as things move ahead in a natural way. Next, when there is Conflict, or if people perceive the Potential for Loss, they may feel less assertive. Finally we have Lack of Positive Pressure. If there is no motivation or incentive, positive or negative, there is less of a need to be assertive.

Do you want to be part of the survey and get all the final results? Follow This Link And Participate Now.

Are you sure you are a team player?

Have you been told you are not a team player and felt surprised by it? You might think you work well in team settings, but how can you be sure?

Being a team player is something leaders demand from their teams. However, not everyone is aware of disruptive behaviors they engage into that others perceive as lack or team spirit.

This free 20-question assessment looks for indicators of team effectiveness in your behaviors during team interactions. Take a look, see what you learn about yourself and then challenge yourself to become a better and more effective team member.

Follow this link to take the Assessment

team assessment

2014 Workplace Attitudes Survey Results – Part I


In the first half of 2014, Learning4Managers surveyed leaders from government and corporate fields to understand what factors make staff assertive, confident and overall more productive.

At Learning4Managers, a division of Accolade Institute Inc., we believe that attitude and performance go hand in hand. Gaining a clear understanding of factors that affect our attitude at work can provide us insight as to what may help improve or affect work performance.

The survey intends to give us a first glance at what leaders perceive to affect assertive behaviors, confidence and motivation. This first glance will allow us to further study and inquire about more specific work performance enhancers and hindrances.

The Survey

In regards to workplace attitudes, the following questions were asked in the survey:

Do you think you are assertive at work? Why or why not?

Part of the definition of assertiveness is the refusal to be intimated by others. Lack of assertiveness is a known factor that could lead to issues such as bullying in the workplace. 37 percent of workers have been bullied at work, and 45 percent of the targets reported stress levels that affected their health (U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey:  September, 2007). Assertiveness is generally accepted in the Western world as a necessary quality for leadership.

We decided it was important to gather an initial view on what makes people feel assertive at work and what would keep them from feeling assertive. The survey question was open-ended allowing participants to elaborate as much as they felt needed.

Describe what type of situations make you less confident at work.

Lack of confidence is generally associated with lack of assertiveness. We added this question to our survey to further inquire about factors that might make people feel less confident. Furthermore the question is open-ended and allows participants to elaborate on behaviors and/or circumstances that may impact their confidence.

What are the things that make you less productive at work?

We also wanted to know from our participants what factors play a role into decreasing their productivity at work.  We expect to identify the top three issues that most directly affect productivity in the workplace.

Think of a person who motivated you to perform better. How did they motivate you?

Finally we wanted to hear from participants examples of what managers can do to help employees feel motivated for higher performance. Speaking of specific examples would help us extrapolate a list of best practices.

In the next article we’ll start discussing the results of our survey and we’ll start with our findings about Assertive Behavior.

Customer Satisfaction is Bad for Business – Part 2

In the first part of this article we explained how we need to “Aim Beyond” customer satisfaction.  We need to understand what it is that the customer is really looking for from us. Once we start asking the right questions, we start to learn what strategies will help us be more successful.

Let’s take a look at some data. Forbes Magazine recently published the results of a study that tried to determine the real value of training. The study conducted by Dr. Marshall Fisher involved over 63,000 retail sales associates across 330 stores in a two year period. Here are some of the findings according to Forbes Magazine:

  • 50% of customers are looking for expert advice on what to buy when they enter a store
  • 73% of customers say product knowledge is what they need most from a sales associate
  • Sales people who engage with targeted product education sell up to 123% more than those with no training
  • If an associate started training on a specific brand, that group sold 87% more of that brand than their peers.

Here is a link to the full article in Forbes Magazine: Click Here

The study findings are a coin with two sides. One side clearly points to the real impact of training. On the other side we see what customers value most: helpful information and expertise.

Our goal should not be to just have satisfied customers. What we really want are customers who trust our judgment and who will expect us to be their expert advisors. To be able to provide that expertise we need to provide training and support to our staff.

While they may already have basic competencies we can count on, to gain a competitive advantage we need a sound training strategy that builds on those basic competencies and helps them become not just a source of information but a source of trust.

This is true not just of sales staff. HR Managers, IT technicians, Teachers, and everyone who provides a service or a product can benefit from this information. Learn to become a trusted advisor to your peers and clients and you no longer need to worry about their satisfaction. You’ll have gone far beyond their need to be satisfied and become loyal to you thanks to your ability to provide expertise and guidance.

So what specific steps can we take?

  • Review your current training strategy. How does it improve the ability of staff to turn satisfied customers into loyal customers?
  • Promote training and communicate to staff the importance of having expert knowledge of your services and products.
  • Measure the results of your training to see if it is on the right track, and adjust as necessary.


3 Questions to Ask New Managers

The next time you promote someone to fill a management position, ask these three questions:

  1. Do they know how to interview and hire someone?
  2. Do they know how to manage conflict?
  3. Do they know how to handle low-performing staff?

Let’s explore these questions.


1 Do they know how to interview and hire someone?

A few years ago I overheard a new team leader asking HR to help him hire more female account representatives because his clients liked working with women better than men. This led to an interesting coaching session.

2 Do they know how to manage conflict?

Surveys tell us that up to 70% of a manager’s time can be spent on dealing with conflict. As they transition form figuring out their new role they will have to mange former peers and their issues.  Sending new managers unprepared for conflict is setting them up for failure.

3 Do they know how to handle low-performing staff?

The fact that this new manager was promoted might be an indication that this person was a good performer. But being self motivated and driven does not necessarily mean they know how to motivate others.

There are many other aspects these new managers need to learn. Learning4Managers offers specialized training for new managers and for experienced managers wanting to sharpen their skills. Take a look at our Onsite and Remote training solutions for more information.


10 Tips for a Healthy Career

Tip #1: Define your vision and mission

Success is… knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”_ John C. Maxwell

After consulting for many small business owners, I am no longer taken by surprise when they can’t articulate in a concise way what they do or what their business is about.

Your mission defines what you do. Your vision defines the ideal of what you want your business to become. Once you can explain in a brief way what you do and the direction you are heading, will others be inspired to follow you.

Tip  #2 Have a strategy

If you aim at nothing you will hit every time.” _Zig Ziglar

To accomplish your mission and vision, you must set SMART goals. Without clear and measurable goals, you’re bound to waste time and energy without clear results.

Tip #3: Get to work

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” _Walt Disney

Some people spend far too much time preparing and planning waiting perhaps for the perfect solution to the perfect time. Don’t let perfection paralyze you. Plans are useless unless they are put into action.

Tip # 4: Project an image of professionalism and credibility

We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”  _Stephen Covey

We all have only one shot at making a first impression. It is not enough to want to be professional. We need to appear professional too. Make sure to always project an image of professionalism and credibility. Without these, you’ll lose your customer’s trust.

Tip #5: Spend within your means

Never spend your money before you have earned it.” Thomas Jefferson

Don’t spend more than you need to, and you’ll have enough to spend on what’s necessary. You don’t need to buy a building if all you need is to rent an office. Spend wisely, get the most you can for your investment,

 Tip #6: Don’t compromise on quality

Be a yardstick of quality.  Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” _Steve Jobs

While it is true that you need to spend wisely, it does not mean that you should compromise on quality.  Focus on the value of what you invest on, not the price.

In a similar way, you should also ensure you offer your customers the best quality you can provide. Note that we are not talking about perfection. Nobody is perfect. Instead, pursue excellence.

Tip #7 Develop healthy Web and social media marketing habits

Overnight the digital age had changed the course of history for our company. Everything that we thought was in our control no longer was. But within a year we had invested in social media and digital experts. Now Starbucks is the number one brand on Facebook.” _Howard Schultz

In today’s business world it is nearly impossible to thrive without a strong online presence. That presence today is most felt in social media. However, you can easily get trapped in the social media world for hours without being productive.

Make a plan and budget your time spent online and in social media. Make yourself known, but be mindful about limiting how much time you dedicate online.

Tip #8: Avoid distractions

Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant.” _Collin Powell

It is good to develop habits that help you prevent distractions. It is also good to look at your work environment. Is it conducive to productivity? Or will it keep you from getting things done?

When you are distracted, you miss the details that can make or break the next deal.

Tip #9: Take reasonable risks. Don’t let fear stop you

We don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” _Richard Branson

Fear can stop you from taking risks. But without taking some measure of risk, growth will be limited. Limit your exposure to risk as much as you can, but don’t stop taking risks. Just be smart about what risks you take and when.

Surround yourself with a network of advisers who will help you plan ahead to manage risk wisely.

Tip #10: Enjoy what you do

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” _Dale Carnegie

Have fun  and learn to enjoy what you do. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. Life is too short and we work too many hours for us not to enjoy every moment.

Customer Satisfaction Is Bad For Business – Part 1

While working with an entrepreneur to set goals for her business, she talked about “customer satisfaction.” When asked what that meant, she simply said, “I just want my customers to be satisfied with the products and services we provide.”

This mindset is very common and yet it can be detrimental to your company.  To understand why, we need to take a closer look at what customers really mean when they are satisfied.

Before we talk about satisfaction, let’s ask ourselves this question: Is “not unhappy” the same as “happy” in the mind of the customer?

Not unhappyHappy

Happy: When you are happy with a product or service, how do you act? You tell others, you want others to share your happiness. The happier you are with the product or service, the more you like it, to the point of becoming a fan.

Not Unhappy: When you are not unhappy with a product or service, how do you react? You might not ask for your money back, but you might or might not use the same service or product again. And if a friend tells you of another similar product or service they are happy with, you might even switch.

As you can see, there is a big difference between one and the other. Now let’s go back to being a satisfied customer.

When we talk about customer satisfaction, we think of it from the company’s perspective. We often forget the customer’s view.

Are you satisfied with XYZ product/service?  Customer Response: Yes

What the customer is thinking: What the company hears:
I am not unhappy with XYZ, but I am not exactly loving XYZ either. The customer is happy with XYZ. They love us!

In essence, we are asking the wrong question and therefore we are getting the wrong answer. Furthermore, we hear what we choose  to hear and build up a skewed perception. What’s worse is that we believe our perception of the answer and feel betrayed by the customer when they leave for a competitor. We blame them for something we did not get right in the first place. Ironic, isn’t it?

The solution is simple: stop thinking in terms of customer satisfaction. Our motto is “Aim Beyond!” We should look for more than a satisfied customer. We need to focus on breakthrough results. Look for customer loyalty, and for fanatical appreciation of your products and services. In Part 2 of this article we’ll discuss strategies that can you help set higher expectations and get better results.

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Don’t forget to participate in our 2014 Survey!

2014 Survey