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How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

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How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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STRONG PERSONALITY VS. STRONG PERSON: THE MAKEUP OF A LEADERSHIP COUNCIL

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT BALANCE OF PERSONALITIES

Originally published on Forbes.com

As leaders of mid-size professional service firms begin to form leadership councils, they often ask me, “What type of person should be on our council?” That is a very important question. Most mid-size service firms have 50 or more staff members to choose from. So they usually have plenty of options, given that my advice is to have around seven people on the council.

I usually list several criteria for who to invite onto the council, having to do with tenure, position, responsibility and institutional knowledge. But there is another criterion I’ve started to recommend, after having formed numerous leadership councils. One factor I’ve seen determine the effectiveness of these councils is the blend of personality types who end up in the room. Personality blend often determines how effective the council actually is for the business.

After analyzing my experiences with more than 70 mid-size service firms, I’ve arrived at a simple conclusion. If you are forming a leadership council of seven people, no more than two of them should be strong personalities. Everyone else needs to be a strong person. What’s the difference between a strong person and a strong personality? For me, it comes down to four core leadership qualities:

  • How they talk to people and gather information
  • How they handle tension
  • How they address opposing positions
  • How they define a win

How They Talk To People And Gather Information

Strong persons practice what I would call an inquiry-forward communication style. They are far more inclined to ask questions of others than they are to flatly state their position, especially before they have all the facts they feel they need to take a formal position on any topic.

They want to know why someone feels the way they do and how they formed that opinion. They’re listening for motive as much as for facts. They want to understand others more than they want to be understood. They also usually take into consideration how someone’s background and childhood experiences shape how they think and make judgment calls today.

Strong personalities practice what I would call an advocacy-forward communication style. They are more interested in making sure their position is clearly stated and fully understood by everyone in the room than they are in understanding other people’s reasoning and ideas. They speak with passion and conviction—which is often deemed to be their most outstanding leadership quality. They are often quite persuasive and convincing. But more than anything, they are relentless. They won’t let it go.

How They Handle Tension

Strong persons embrace tension. Strong personalities typically do not. Over the years, I’ve noticed that people with strong personalities have a very noticeable gift. They can often see how the pieces of any puzzle fit together in seconds, with little research or additional information needed. They have a sixth sense—call it intuition, gut instinct or just a lucky streak. But here’s the thing: They’re usually spot-on in their assessment of situations that others find befuddling. This is why you want them on a leadership council. They have real personal genius.

In fact, they are often so confident in their assessment that they find other ideas to be ludicrous. They’re not afraid to say so. Once their mind is made up, they can’t seem to understand why other people’s minds are not made up just like them. They see any attempt to belabor a decision or a complex topic as a waste of time.

How They Address Opposing Positions

Strong persons tolerate opposing positions and seek to understand them. Strong personalities usually do not. I’ve seen this firsthand across literally thousands of important decisions that come up on leadership teams. Most important decisions have just a handful of options that make sense. The goal of a leadership council is to determine which option will produce the best outcomes for the company. This is called deliberation.

In my experience, strong persons make great deliberators because they are not threatened by any one position. For me, this is most clearly played out in a crucial moment—summary. At some point during deliberation, leadership councils characterize their options. They briefly describe each option as a means of summarizing choices they might make. Usually what follows is a discussion of likely outcomes from options A, B or C.

But before they can even project outcomes, the option has to be summarized in a few words—just to make it clear and simple. Here is what I’ve seen. Strong persons describe an option as objectively and sympathetically as possible. They want to deliver an accurate and unbiased description. Strong personalities, on the other hand, usually present a straw man summary, custom-designed to show the inherent weaknesses in the options they already discount.

How They Define A Win

For me, the most striking difference between a strong person and a strong personality is how they define a win. Strong persons don’t want to be right about things that they projected would hurt the organization. They are saddened to hear that what they feared would come true, as a result of a decision they felt was wrong, actually came true. They take no pride in this. It makes them sad that they were right.

Strong personalities, on the other hand, triumph in being right, even when it hurts the firm. They are quick to say to others: I told you so. They say things like: “Why don’t people listen to me? I knew this was the wrong decision and I said it over and over again.” Being right about something that hurt the firm is a vindication of their personal genius.

Be Careful Who You Choose

If your organization is considering forming a leadership council, I recommend that you think very carefully about personality types. Strong personalities do indeed possess an undeniable personal genius. But they are often so over-confident that they need a lot of coaching to do more good than harm on a council.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?