Characteristics Needed For Success

This article originally appeared in Credit Today, the leading publication for the credit professional.
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By Peggy Morrow

Do you have what it takes to succeed in the ever-changing business environment? Here are a few behaviors and characteristics I have noticed in successful people. How do you rate?

1. You have the ability to juggle multiple assignments. It seems as if everyone has too much to do today. It is important to prioritize duties and negotiate with the people who assign you projects. Spend some time brushing up on your time management skills.

2. You keep learning and growing in your knowledge of new technologies. The better you are at using new technologies, the more successful you will be.

3. You demonstrate an ability to adapt to change. I feel we are experiencing a cataclysmic time of change and it is not going to go away or slow down. Develop more flexibility by exposing yourself to new interests and taking more risks. Organizations want people who can quickly adapt to the whirlwind of change going on in the world.

4. You push yourself out of your comfort zone by deliberately changing your routines. Make it a point to reach out to people who are different than you. Go to lunch with different people than the usual gang. Even something as simple as changing your normal route home can make you more adaptable to change. Learn something new. Get out of your rut.

5. You are an exceptional communicator. Polish your presentation skills, writing ability, and personal appearance. Remember these channels of communication–your words, tone of voice, body language, and image. Are they all sending the same message that you are a competent professional?

6. You get along with your co-workers. Surprise! Not everyone is easy to work with. Compliment your co-workers on their work, let your work habits be a model to others, and stop criticizing others.

How did you do? Pick one you think you could improve and start working on it.

Peggy Morrow, CSP, is a professional speaker, seminar leader and author of the recently-released book, “Customer Service: How To Do It Right!” To have her work with your group call (281) 280-8190 or email peggy@peggymorrow.com

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CMA President’s Blog: The Survey Results Are In, by Mike Mitchell

Here is a follow up from my column last month, when I mentioned a survey to determine which core skills members feel are the most important to credit managers. First, I want to thank all of the 133 members who took the time to respond to the survey. Second, I wanted to share the results and let you know how we will use the information to guide our development of skills training programs this year.

As a reminder, we asked members to rate 15 functional areas of the credit and collections cycle as “Very Important,” “Somewhat Important,” or “Not Important.” From the nearly 13% of CMA members who responded, “Communications Skills (verbal/written)” was rated most important (119 very important), followed by “Credit Basics” (116 very important), “Collection Techniques” (112 very important), “Customer Service Skills” (107 very important), and “Negotiation Skills” (105 very important). All other areas received ratings under 80 for very important (the complete list of results appears below).

survey skillset aggregate

To keep things interesting, the dozen in-depth interviews with CMA’s Board of Directors reflected some of the results above, also placing high value on Communications Skills, Collection Techniques, and Negotiation Skills. However, the group of CMA leaders rated Financial Skills (analysis and forecasting) much higher than the larger member sample, and appear to place a higher value on Leadership and Management Skills. Interestingly, Legal and Compliance issues received average ratings of importance, but we live in a nation of laws and operate in a business environment that is prone to legal risk and liability, so we’re going prescribe legal and compliance training anyway for the overall health of our members.

So what does this tell us about the training needs of our members’ credit operations? We believe that an online credit training program that initially addresses six core disciplines will benefit the vast majority of members who are charged with creating and conducting credit training programs without having the often significant time, resources, and expertise that are required to take on that responsibility. The CMA Credit Training Program will offer skills training in 1) written and verbal communications, 2) credit fundamentals (customer investigations, credit decisionmaking, setting credit lines), 3) collection techniques, 4) negotiations, 5) financial analysis, and 6) legal and compliance.

Look for more details later this summer, but in the meantime, I have a request. Part of the success of our recent CreditScape events was the contributions that experienced credit practitioners made to the workshop discussions. Sharing success stories and career-long best practices have added significant and unique value to our in person education sessions, and I would like to bring that same dynamic to our online credit training courses. If anyone reading this message feels that they have valuable experiences related to one of the core disciplines listed below, and you would be willing to work with me and other members to share those experiences and best practices with CMA members through this new program, please reach out to me so we can discuss a possible contribution.

I want to thank you again for your participation, as I look forward to helping evolve our education program into one that provides members with the topics they value most.