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Management Decisions, Training & Mentoring (#4-29-14) Newsletter #152

Posted by Douglas Wick on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

In Finding People to Lead & Manage we discussed the difficulty in finding and hiring managers. Gallup discovered that companies fail to choose the right management candidate with the right talent for the job 82% of the time! In my personal experience in being hired, then managing, and hiring managers along with coaching managers and leaders, I’ve learned a lot of lessons.  There is critical value in having support, a mentor and tools available to improve your leadership and management capabilities.  Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned:

McKeown Managers Role Defined resized 600

My management career started as a sales manager.  While not being a particularly great sales person, I was sincere and persistent.  Looking back the reason I believe they moved me to sales manager was to prevent me from taking another job.   Perhaps the timing was right to do that, however I can’t help believe that some of the orchestration happened due to the possibility I might leave since I’d been offered a sales opportunity the previous year. 

I had some definite opinions on how I was going to be a sales manager.  One was to avoid the autocratic style the previous manager had.  For some reason I felt I could allow sales people more freedom, and in doing so they’d respond better and produce more sales.  Computers were just becoming the rage at the time.  There was a desire to master the data and reporting ability they offered.  Being in control of reporting I felt I could get my salespeople to produce better results. 

My first year was a disaster.  At the end of the year in a review with my General Manager (the former sales manager) he indicated if my team didn’t improve their performance I would be let go.  I was fortunate at the time to have someone who was patient with me, and a good sales team to work with.  I’d always been a learner, possessing a ravenous desire to figure things out and do better.  Investing in self-development books and tapes, I’d purchased Tom Hopkins complete set of audio tapes to improve my sales skills.  One of my clients ran a car dealership with his brother.  He was the sales manager.  I asked him for help running sales meetings. He provided a structure remarkably similar to what we recommend our clients follow for weekly meetings.

The first portion of the meeting focused on specific good news the salesperson had achieved the previous week.  Then we reviewed their numbers, how were they today versus last week.  We also discussed how they plan to meet their monthly goal.  We had a specific time for learning: we’d role play, listen to an audio tape or presentation on sales or radio, plus discuss specific objections or problems the sales team was having.  It was a mini stage for collective intelligence.

We eventually agreed to build a sales presentation that got everyone involved to help build their belief in radio, the station, and how to sell better. 

That year we grew sales like never before.  When I announced at the end of the year that I was leaving to take another position the feeling my sales team gave me was extremely gratifying.  There was a sense of loss and yet an overwhelming feeling of joy from how I’d helped these four salespeople achieve more than they thought they had been capable of.  It is one reason I enjoy coaching so much today.

Had I not had a manager who was patient with me, had I not been so ravenous about learning, and had I not found a mentor who pointed me in the right direction to conduct better sales meetings I certainly would have failed.  I suspect I would fall into that group that did not have the innate skills(one in ten) to be a manager, and was more the two in ten that exhibit some characteristics of basic managerial talent and can function at a high level if their company invests in coaching and developmental for them.  In my case my company provided the patience.  I discovered the coaching and development plans on my own.

Dave Kurlan runs Objective Management Group, a leader in evaluation and candidacy test in sales.  In a recent blog The Real Impact of Coaching Your Salespeople, Sales Managers Kurlan notes, “My own data shows sales managers, who consistently and effectively coach their salespeople, grow revenue by an average of 26% annually.  However, according to Objective Management Group's data from evaluating more than 100,000 sales managers, just 18% are capable of the effective part of the equation and even fewer are willing to invest 50% of their time on coaching.”  Not surprisingly he adds, “That's a huge problem!”

The problem with sales managers he offers, “For many of them, their ego screams, "I don't need any help.  I know how to do this.  I don't need anyone telling me to do it differently.  I'm probably better at it than they are."

I’m afraid that can be true for any manager, not just in the sales field.  This suggests that when selecting someone for a management position we need to be acutely aware of their openness to learning and guidance.  If a candidate is unable to be open to instruction, coaching, and training you better hope they know everything they need to about managing people and getting results or you’ve definitely chosen the wrong candidate. 

Kurlan offers several questions as a test whether you are providing effective sales coaching. These same questions I feel can be adjusted to any management position.

We know that when the coaching is really effective and impactful, the following things occur:

  • Salespeople can't wait to come back for more. 
  • Are your salespeople begging for your coaching?
  • Coaching leads directly to positive changes in behavior. 
  • Do your salespeople change after each coaching session?
  • Your coaching has a direct impact on your salesperson's ability to close a deal on their own. 
  • Do your coaching sessions lead directly to closed business?
  • Your sales force becomes exponentially better. 

The question:  Is your sales team or any other management position producing better results?

Is that happening?

Kurlan asks what is the single biggest sales skill gap.

It is knowing and recognizing what to listen for.

Could the argument be this is the same skill gap necessary for any management position?

Positioning Systems and the Rockefeller Habits coaching principles offer a disciplined approach to developing your people and building a successful organization. 

How are you developing your leadership and management team?  Is it time to consider a more disciplined approach to grow your next managers and achieve the success you want for your business?

Topics: Training, Leadership Training, leadership, Objective Management Group, Dave Kurlan, manager, training and education

Missing Ingredient:Training & Education (#1-28-14) Newsletter #149

Posted by Douglas Wick on Mon, Jan 27, 2014

Education resized 600Positioning Systems and Gazelles coaches work with thousands of mid-market Growth companies from all over the world.  Top performers commit to 3 key disciplines (habits) that both differentiate them AND lead to their consistent success: #1 They consistently apply the Four Decisions content and tools to their daily operational routines; #2 They build into their leaders’ schedules a regular, ongoing commitment to executive education (learning); and #3 They develop and utilize an ongoing accountability relationship with an outside, independent business Coach.  In this newsletter we look at why training and education is so critical to growing your business: 

Michael Dell is a great example of ongoing Executive learning and education to provide Dell a competitive edge in the PC market. Michael’s quote sums it all up…”Start with smart executives and then keep them smart.

Any mid-size business that wants to be successful recognizes and applies the principles of training and education to their staff. Leadership succession, growth, and competitive edge come from growing the people in your business.  Learning today is one competitive advantage that keeps your business sharp, insures progressive improvement, breeding a culture where knowledge and action produce dynamic results.

One of my clients, Fleck Sales, a beer distributor, takes growing and educating its people seriously.  The beer industry is extremely competitive.  Craft Brands have introduced new competitive pressures and expanded SKU’s complicating and increasing inventory, turns, and obscuring the retailer’s decision-making on what products to carry.  In addition recent trends to sweeter alcoholic beverages put increased competitive pressure to improve last year’s numbers and increase market share.

It’s critical that their sales, merchandising, and delivery people have knowledge of the increasing number of brands they carry to help their retailers make the right choices to improve their bottom line and revenues.

Their distributor Miller Coors provides excellent resources for training and education.  Yet these tools are

worthless if they are not resourced and utilized by their staff.  Fleck Sales recently embarked on developing training programs not just for entering employees, but mandating each supervisor require a specific designation of courses to be completed by each employee dependent upon their experience and development level. 

Several of the staff has already truly embraced the opportunity to learn.  Can you guess where these people are headed in the development of their careers at Fleck Sales? 

With the number of selections now available with the emerging Craft Brands, Fleck recently required all of their sales staff to be tested to earn the ascending titles of Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone, and Master Cicerone. 

The practice of learning and education is continuous in this organization.  Monthly leadership meetings frequently conclude with the CEO providing a learning and education element.

Too many businesses profess conviction to training and education, yet fail to practice it in action.

Monthly and Quarterly Meetings utilizing Positioning Systems and Gazelles meeting rhythms process embrace and implicitly respond to this fundamental practice.  Learning and Education should be a critical part of your Strategic Learning process.

Have you experienced the disappointment of hiring a candidate whom you felt had great potential to succeed in your business, yet never realized their potential?

Perhaps the fault is your businesses inability to provide them with a path to follow to unleash their possibilities through training and education.   There’s nothing worse than failing to provide development to someone who is yearning to release their capabilities!

What restrains your business from providing the training and education your people can benefit from? 

For a limited time Positioning Systems with the help of Gazelles Growth Institute is providing our readers with several free learning courses as a gift to you.

Outlearn your competition, click here to select a class including:

Patrick Lencioni’s - The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

Liz Wiseman’s - Multipliers

Seth Godin’s - Purple Cow

Jack Stack’s - The Great Game of Business

Fred Reichheld - The Ultimate Question 2.0

Geoff Smart and Randy Street’s - Who: The A Method for Hiring

Sign up for free and choose from these selections to present to your staff at your next leadership meeting. 

Positioning Systems is committed to helping our clients have the best people through providing top thought leadership and best practices to our clients.  Learn how you can improve your staff’s performance through education and training by selecting a class to develop your people now.   This is our gift to you.  Do something about it NOW!

Topics: quarterly meetings, Strategic Discipline, People, Training, monthly meetings