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Archive for March, 2014

“Good judgment”…

I have written recently about sales management best practices (a few worst practices, too).  I believe the topic primarily relates to the attribute of judgment:

Rule # 1 – Use your good judgment in all situations.

There will be no additional rules. 

Bob Nelson

But what is judgment to begin with let alone “good judgment”?  According to merriam-webster.com, the definition of judgment includes:

judg·ment     noun 

The act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought 

The ability to make good decisions about what should be done

Careful thought; the ability to make good decisions – key metrics we use when judging the quality of our sales managers, true?  Our favorite Unknown Sage suggests this is the origin of judgment:

Good judgment comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgment.

Ok, but are we destined to acquire good judgment from “trial and error” only?  Can we learn from the experience (and judgment) of others?  Hoping the latter is possible permit me to offer a few of my experiences (if not judgments) on the topic of a sales manager’s biggest challenges.

Challenge #1 – Integrity – our greatest challenge: 

In my judgment, our integrity is always on display.  Performance is important; knowledge and skill contribute to performance; but what our people notice most is our integrity:

Don’t wait for the last judgment.  It takes place every day. 

Albert Camus

Challenge #2 – Changing sales territories: 

It’s an annual ritual isn’t it?  Raise quotas; shrink territories; modify compensation plans.  Quotas and comp plans may be sore spots for our sales reps; but territories can be downright well, territorial.  Ever notice that sales reps speak of territory in singular-possessive terminology (i.e. “my territory”)?  After careful thought I have come to the judgment that in reality it’s the sales manager who actually “owns” the territory.  We then permit sales reps to “rent” it – under a limited, 12 month lease – with a performance clause to boot!

Challenge #3 – Fairness: 

Territory challenges can lead to sales rep accusations that their sales managers are “unfair”.  Guilty!  I believe it is impossible for a sales manager to be “fair” to everyone on our team.    When I managed my teams I didn’t even try.  Nope, I operated under the “Principle of Equal Unfairness”.  When everyone on my team complained that I was unfair, then I knew I was being equally unfair – and in my judgment, that was fair.

Challenge #4 – Turnover: 

Turnover is inevitable.  Whether due to territory changes, (un)fairness, or even promotions; in my judgment sales managers must constantly prepare for roster moves.  So “ABR” sales managers – Always Be Recruiting.  Find good people; enjoy them while we can; help them succeed and advance; then go find some more!

Challenge #5 – Managing under performers: 

It precedes turnover – ours or theirs!  The reality is not everyone can do this for a living.  As a sales manager, our job is to get the job done.  Now I’d just as soon get it done with the people on my team.  But if I have an under performer, then I must find someone else who can perform.  In my judgment I can’t wait for the under performer to quit; I must initiate the action:

Among the chief worries of today’s business executives is the large number of unemployed still on the payrolls. 

Unknown Sage

Certainly, there are more sales manager judgment challenges.  These are my Top 5 – what are yours?

GAP

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

Full measure…

Our favorite, Unknown Sage once said,

Life can be measured by the number of moments that take your breath away.

Based on that metric, I enjoy a very, full-measured life.  Today is my 41st wedding anniversary.   And I met my high school sweetheart when we were both in the 7th grade.  She still takes my breath away.  Happy anniversary, Debbie!

Over the years, I have occasionally rocked the foundation of our comfort zone – failed investments; family feuds; job changes; you know the usual stuff.  There have been happy surprises, too – dream vacations; company promotions; flowers with a nice card – just ‘cause.

She’s half Irish; and I know I have provided her many opportunities to invoke that Irish Blessing:

May you never forget what is worth remembering, or remember what is worth forgetting.

So permit me to pause from the weekly drum beat of business, finance, sales, and the pursuit of career fulfillment and devote a few thoughts toward never forgetting what is worth remembering, OK?

Relationships – whether formal or informal; between husbands and wives; among parents and their children; bonds between brothers and sisters; shared with colleagues; or with our BFF’s; no matter.  Let’s pause for a moment to focus on those special people we know that have taken our breath away.  Yep, it’s time to give them a call (no voicemails please); write them a letter (texts don’t count – they deserve the ink!); and let’s give out plenty of hugs – just ‘cause.

Relationships – family, friends, colleagues.  The currency of a fulfilling, meaningful life, don’t you think?  And like any other “bank account”, there are deposits and withdrawals that relationships have on the balance of our lives.  I have benefited often from the deposits those relationships that surround me have made.  And in so doing, each of these special people have enriched my life.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our careers.  Often our jobs hold a powerful grasp over our minds, bodies, and sometimes even our souls.  Our daily routine captures us.  We have good intentions; we just seem to run out of time or run short of energy, and we don’t get to those special people before bedtime.  We wake early the next morning and repeat the pattern.  Before you know it, a lot of time has passed between meaningful interactions with our loved ones.

Now don’t get me wrong – I believe that being successful is very important to those that have emotionally invested in us.  It’s very important to them to see us succeed.  We’re one of their sources of pride and joy.  They don’t complain often (if at all).  They’ll just silently, wish us well and wait for us to focus on them once again someday.  And when we do – it warms their heart!

So today I’m focused on my wife of 41 years – staying married to me, she has certainly earned it!  And I’m thankful for the good fortune to have her, my family, my friends, and my business colleagues in my life – they have made me a rich man.  And I salute those of you who enjoy long-lasting, loving marriages, too.  Perhaps we would agree in Harold Nicholson’s revelation:

The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.

Let’s go buy some flowers and a nice greeting card for our wife, or husband, significant other, or BFF – just ‘cause.

GAP

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

I apologize…

Recently, I wrote a little ditty titled, “You’re Fired” (http://thequoteguys.com/2014/02/youre-fired/ ).  That headline seemed to inadvertently impact several of my readers.  Were you wondering if I was referring you?

I like titling my weekly pieces of peace with a headline that is both a sound bite as well as a summary of the main point.  No easy task for me – if you look up the word verbose, you’ll likely see my picture!

We live today in a sound bite world.  Our audience constantly has us on the clock, don’t they?  (OK, OK – keep reading, please.)  “What’s the point?” they ask.  And a preference for a 144 character tweet is their hoped-for response.

“I don’t have time to talk to you Gary; text me – I’m in the middle.”  And that was from my wife!  It’s no wonder our business relationships are challenging to communicate with.  In a sales situation where we’re trying to gain access to a prospect, the setting is even more intense.

Is my style of writing these short essays (aka “little ditties”) doomed in our technocratic era?

I just finished reading Idea Guy©, Paul Allen’s autobiography; a fascinating, behind the scenes view of Microsoft’s co-founder.  The sound bite, “idea guy”, merely scratches the surface of Paul’s magnificent accomplishments.  And his magnificent accomplishments, merely scratch the surface of his amazing ability to wonder.

However, even Paul wonders about wondering:

The Complexity Brake 

Faster, “smarter” computers and the accretion of more data don’t automatically spark fireworks of breakthroughs… A good analogy… can be found in cosmology… With more data and better tools, the universe keeps getting bigger than we thought it was.  Our rate of breakthroughs gets “braked” by our growing knowledge.

It’s our wonder I suppose, that ultimately pushes us past these periodic complexity brakes.  Wondering is powerful; fun too – here are a few examples from our favorite, Unknown Sage:

EVER WONDER…

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why don’t you ever see the headline, “Psychic Wins Lottery”?

Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do practice?

Why is it that to stop Windows, you click on Start?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

When dog food is new and improved tasting, who tests it?

Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?

If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Headlines and sound bites might make us wonder these days; even if they’re from the “Department of Unintended Consequences”, like my recent “You’re Fired” headline.

But the power of wonder continues to drive people like Paul Allen; who continue to drive the advancement of our way of life.  I wonder how I could say that in a two word sound bite?

GAP

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