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Archive for January, 2014

What not…

Much has been said and much has been written about what makes great leaders and effective sales managers.  One of my readers John McCall, offers us stellar coaching from another perspective – what not to do.

It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.

Dick Cavett

I trust leaders and sales managers will benefit from this synopsis of John’s coaching points:

10 Sales Management Sins that Kill Sales Morale and Performance

  1. Ignoring what’s been working… 

Sales organizations can benefit from an infusion of new ideas and even new management. However, a common misstep is to discount the institutional memory and the very people that helped to build the organization’s revenue stream in the first place. 

  2. Cancelling meetings last minute… 

Every time a call or a meeting is cancelled at the last minute, the sales manager’s ignorance about the value of his salespeople’s schedule shows. This act sends two other signals:

      • Coaching time with my reps is not a priority.
      • As your sales manager I am overwhelmed and can’t manage my own schedule. 

  3. Treating salespeople like an expense…

Tinkering with commission plans; arbitrarily raising quotas; limiting incentives and you’re now speeding down a slippery slope.  So is your chance of hitting the company’s sales objectives; all to “save” a little. 

  4. Unfair comparisons 

All salespeople are different. While they undoubtedly share key sales-athlete traits like determination, self-motivation, and persuasiveness, they act and sell differently.  If sales management strips them of their uniqueness’s by categorizing them unfairly against their peers, resentment in the sales ranks accumulates faster than snow in Buffalo. 

  5. Playing favorites 

For a variety of reasons sales managers will sometimes favor certain salespeople and extend them privileges in multiple forms (i.e. leads, praise, promotions).  Never going unnoticed, other salespeople speculate about the motivations and the extent of the favoritism – and they despise it.

  6. Compensating unfairly for comparable roles 

The minute two peer salespeople learn one is compensated much better than the other for an equivalent job level you have a problem that jeopardizes retention – of both.

  7. Siphoning deals 

“Unassigned” Accounts (aka “ghost” or “house” accounts) can be a sales management sin. Trust is broken and your reps stop fighting for you.   After all, why would they when you aren’t fighting for them? 

  8. Hijacking a meeting 

New sales managers are hired to take control and run things better. The dividing line is the well earned relationship the salesperson has built up with his clients.  Overzealous sales managers often swoop in and control meetings where the conversation and the established relationship get hijacked. 

  9. Punishing in public 

Don’t do it – ‘nough said.

10. Labeling a sales rep with legitimate concerns as a whiner 

Dave the sales guy contemplates for months his idea of approaching sales management about things that could be improved to drive the company’s sales performance. He talks to his peers. He weighs the pros and cons. Then he schedules time with the Sales VP and tactfully but unashamedly points out ways things could be done better.  The Sales VP acknowledges his concerns, expresses appreciation for the candid feedback then does exactly nothing and labels Dave a problem to be dealt with. 

We can all do better by not doing what we shouldn’t be doing while leading our teams, yes?  Thanks for the coaching John!  He also offered What to do, which I will post next.

GAP

 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Cowboy Up!

 

We’re past the midpoint of Denver’s National Western Stock Show & Rodeo.  Never been?  If not, you should definitely add it to your fantasy list that I spoke of last week (see 2014 – A Year of Fulfillment?).

Denver’s National Western is a great opportunity for those of us from urban roots to walk a mile in the shoes of those with rural roots.  As a bonus, you can mingle with cowboys large and small!

Hayden-1-14-2014

There’s much we can apply today that originated from the farm; the ranch; and the Old West.  James P. Owen in his book, Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn From The Code Of The West© does a better job than I can in describing many of these applications.

We don’t have to be a cowboy to “ride for the brand”; and “the brand” can be both our professional brand as well as our personal brand.  Much has been written about the term brand (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand ).  I would summarize it simply:

Brand identifies what makes one distinct from others.

What makes your personal brand “distinct”?  What is the cowboy in you?  Do you use cowboy logic when sizing up situations?

Cowboy secrets to life’s success:

1. Don’t let your head strap your hand to anything your butt can’t ride.

2. Never corner anything meaner than you.

Unknown Sage

This excerpt from my book I try to apply to my personal brand every day:

Dedicated to the American Cowboy – may we all learn to be more like them. 

Now, I’m no cowboy; but I know one.

Cowboys are quiet, polite – men of few words; comfortable just listening while others around them bark at the moon nonstop.

No, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve heard one.

Cowboys have a reserve of strength far and above the average person – physical strength to be sure; but also great emotional strength.

I’m definitely no cowboy; but I’ve seen one.

Cowboys have the ability to remain in control even while every living thing around them, man and beast, spooks in mortal fear.

True, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve been protected by one.

Cowboys remain focused even with adrenaline rushing through their veins when they’re bull riding, or racing flat out, one-handed on horseback, to rope an escaping calf.

Yes, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve lived with one.

Cowboys are fearless especially at the age of 15 when they look down in the chute and prepare to mount a bare back bucking bronco at their very first high school rodeo competition.

Absolutely, I’m no cowboy; but I’ve filmed one looking down that very chute.

Cowboys always believe they can.  The cowboy feels that sigh of relief when he’s all twisted up in the dirt, having fallen off a stumbling horse and the rodeo announcer comes on the PA system and says, “Well folks, he’ll have an option for a re-ride.”

So, I’m no cowboy, but I’ve sat next to his Mother in the stands when we heard that Rodeo Announcer come over the P.A. System to say, “Well folks, he’ll have an option for a re-ride.” And as the announcer glanced down to the stands to see her reaction he quickly added, “But his Mother says NO!”

You see, I know a lot about cowboys.  That’s why I’m so sure I’m not one.  No, I’m no cowboy, but my son Kevin is.  And every day I try to be a little bit more like him.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

2014 – A year of Fulfillment?

Welcome to the New Year!  Will it be our best year yet?  I must admit, mine started off pretty darn good – I checked off one of my lifetime fantasies on January 1st – I attended the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California.  Watched it on TV for as long as I can remember – always wanted to be there in person.  This year – I was – and it was awesome!

Of course when preparing for an excellent year, I always recommend starting at the beginning; in this case writing our 2014 Annual Achievement Plan.  Planning our year is more than simply thinking about a few goals.  Unwritten goals without corresponding milestones are just “hope”, and as the business book title suggests, Hope is not a Strategy©:

http://thequoteguys.com/2011/01/1st-rule-of-personal-business/

Nonetheless, our 2014 Achievement Plan should start with a point of reference: 

The first and most important thing about goals is having one.

Geoffrey Albery

Then, to advance our Plan we should write down our goals.  And when writing our goals, I believe it’s wise to incorporate the “Principle of Balance”:

Bus Plan quadrant

At work, many of us write business plans thinking only in terms of Financial Success, true?  Yes, Financial Success is important.  I remember while leading top sales teams, I would occasionally hear one of my Producers say that being Family oriented was more important.  I agree however, I also believe one of the best ways to care for my Family is to be successful.

Financial Success and Family are connected; but beyond finances, I believe in establishing personal goals for my Family role, too.  Writing down goals for our Family is quite personal – but just as important as any other quadrant in our Annual Achievement Plan.  Go on – take a moment to write down your 2014 goals for the role you will play with your Family; we’ll wait.

The importance of the Personal Development quadrant in our Plan is another key to success – as the business book title suggests, What got you here won’t get you there©.  Personal Development is personal; yet writing goals in our Personal Development quadrant reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Leading us to Fulfillment – Doug Larson put it this way:

Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours.

Although I advocate writing an Annual Achievement Plan; with measurable goals; corresponding milestones; striving to make each year my best year.  I also believe in the power of imagination; the presence of magic; and the purpose of Fulfillment.

The idea came from a former colleague of mine, Peter Goodwin.  He believed in the annual planning process, but added a unique twist to his that I have since incorporated into mine.  Each year I write down lifetime fantasies that if I could be so blessed, I will achieve – like attending the Rose Bowl Parade!

And when I do realize the Fulfillment of one of my fantasies, I don’t check it off the list.  No, it remains on my Annual Achievement Plan with the date of Fulfillment; serving as a constant reminder of the power of fantasy; the presence of magic.  And it reinforces the Principle of Balance.

Go ahead – update your list of fantasies in the Fulfillment quadrant of your 2014 Plan.  And “DREAM BIG!” with these goals.  James Collins in his book, Built to Last©, called them:

Big, Hairy Audacious Goals!

So here’s to 2014 – may it be our best year yet!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

Here’s to you – Business Travelers…

I’m just back from a Pasadena “fantasy” trip (more on that next post); headed out on my first 2014 business trip.  Oh yea, now I remember what air travel was like!  Let’s take a moment and salute our army of business travelers (aka “Road Warriors”).

Thankfully, I’ve been off the road and lost all of my 1K; Platinum; Gold; Premium; Preferred status levels.  Back in the day business travel used to be tolerable.  Back in the day, business travel also played a role in our relationships:

The key to a successful marriage is a husband who travels.

Lisa Kwiecien

It’s difficult for those of us who don’t have to travel for a living to fully appreciate the hardships of those who do.  The Road Warrior works an extended day; starting early to beat traffic to the airport; working late to catch up on emails.  Preparing for tomorrow’s appointments after completing today’s.  Hearing from the spouse about what broke at the house; unable to assist with the repairs.  All done during different time zones, before or after what everyone else considers “normal business hours”.

Yes, being “on the road” is tough.  At least such challenges don’t dampen the Road Warriors’ sense of humor – nor that of the airline employees working on their behalf:

After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction.  The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor.  Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers. (By the way, this airline is the only major airline that has never had an accident.) 

P = The problem logged by the pilot.  S = The solution and action taken by the engineers.    

P:  Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.

S:  Almost replaced the inside main tire. 

P:  Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough. 

S:  Auto-land not installed on this aircraft. 

P:  Something loose in cockpit.   

S:  Something tightened in cockpit. 

P:  Dead bugs on windshield.

S:  Live bugs on backorder. 

P:  Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.

S:  Cannot reproduce problem on ground. 

P:  Evidence of leak on right main landing gear. 

S:  Evidence removed. 

P:  DME volume unbelievably loud. 

S:  DME volume set to more believable level. 

P:  Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.    

S:  That’s what they’re there for. 

P:  IFF inoperative.    

S:  IFF always inoperative in OFF mode. 

P:  Suspected crack in windshield.

S:  Suspect you’re right. 

P:  Number 3 engine missing. 

S:  Engine found on right wing after brief search. 

P:  Aircraft handles funny.  

S:  Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious. 

P:  Target radar hums.  

S:  Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics. 

P:  Mouse in cockpit.   

S:  Cat installed. 

P:  Noise coming from under instrument panel.  Sounds like an elf pounding on something with a hammer.  

S:  Took hammer away from elf. 

Unknown Sage 

Yes here’s to you, Business Travelers; to a stellar 2014; to getting there and back; traveling home safe; thank you for all that you do.

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website based on my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.