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The Business Booster: John Baldoni

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Combining leadership and communication to improve teamwork and business is something that many salespeople can overlook. Pinpointing dynamic management techniques and helping create strong leaders, John Baldoni has been building up companies for more than 25 years.

Baldoni began his career in business communications, assisting executives with crafting speeches and presentations and designing meetings. After going back to school to study adult learning and organizational behavior, Baldoni earned his master's degree from the University of Michigan and got very interested in leadership development. Next, Baldoni started his own consulting company, Baldoni Consulting.

The core of Baldoni's teachings is leadership. "Leadership is all about you; at the same time, leadership is not about you. It's up to leaders to create conditions for people to succeed," he said. Baldoni teaches his clients how to build commitment in their teams and with their associates. Putting people in positions to succeed while always communicating what needs to be done, coaching and challenging them, and providing resources that they need are key.

Many sales managers forget that these principles apply to them too. "You've got to communicate the goals, you've got to provide the resources for people, you have to help them overcome obstacles; at the same time, you need to let them fly on their own," Baldoni said.

One of the most common problems that people encounter in sales and business is lack of communication, especially internally. Many times, managers will communicate goals, but they forget to explain how to achieve them. Though it's good for employees to have chances to make discoveries on their own, Baldoni suggests management should guide them in the right direction and provide them with the necessary resources.

Baldoni advises salespeople to constantly set goals for advancement. Developing a plan of action, whether it's to work your way up the ladder or make weekly quotas, and deciding what needs to be done to succeed are the key components of performance improvement.

Learning to become an effective and active listener is a powerful skill that salespeople can develop, according to Baldoni. Many times, salespeople forget to master this. Part of being an active listener is asking follow-up questions to learn more about a customer's situation.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I play golf whenever I can. I read a lot. I like going out with friends, skiing, and traveling when I can.
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. I listen a lot to radio.
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. The Economist.
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. I'm a sports fan, so it's whatever channel my favorite team is on.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My parents; that's easy. From history, there's a lot, like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Winston Churchill.

Throughout his career, Baldoni has developed a love of writing and has been sharing his teachings in his books. His latest work is a trilogy based on great leadership. Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders highlights some of the ways leaders develop, deliver, and sustain their messages. It also talks about how to relate to and reach an audience. In his next book in the trilogy, Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders, Baldoni explores how leaders create conditions in which others can do well. He also mentions ways to coach, give feedback, and recognize others. The last book in this series, How Great Leaders Get Great Results, describes how to get results by setting a vision, ensuring alignment, pushing for execution, instilling discipline, allowing for risk, promoting courage, and celebrating achievements.

Having been in the business for years, Baldoni advises young salespeople to start setting their goals early, whether they're short- or long-term. In doing this, Baldoni says, it is vital to prioritize and organize one's time. Discipline is the key to success.
On the net:Baldoni Consulting, LLC

Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

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