Weekly Thought – July 28, 2020
Fred spent much of his last years immobilized and limited to his hospital bed at home, in a wheelchair, or in dialysis. Yet, the disciplines he constructed earlier in life allowed him to manage his time and his attitude, bringing his wisdom as a blessing to many. God implanted Fred with the ability to think, process, and communicate effectively in order to move others to healthy living. This final excerpt from his speech to GENESCO management draws together his challenge to supervise rightly.
Management’s Responsibility to the Sales Force, part four
I call this final point “providing healthy motivation.” Management must distinguish between motivation and manipulation. The latter is a counterfeit which artificially or temporarily moves people. My psychiatrist friend Dr. Howard Rome says motivation is a person’s thirst. If we are to understand true motivation, then we must understand what causes the thirst and know how to supply the answer.
In the hiring process we must ask these questions: 1) does the applicant have a thirst we can satisfy? 2) Is this person’s thirst compatible with our philosophy and organizational structure? 3) Is there a conflicting thirst which will eventually create a problem?
Here are a few thirsts we can check:
1) Compensation – money is important and says much about the applicant. To many it scores the accomplishment and social ranking. To many it represents attainment, power, and independence. Studying the subject of compensation in relation to its motivating power within your organization is key.
2) Competition – most sales people are naturally competitive and want to know where they stand in the organization. It is a healthy, productive motivation, but must be guided rather than exploited in an anti-social way. Competition is for excitement, not incitement… to build spirit, not tear it down.
3) Participation – Sales people like to feel a part of “what’s going on.” Sales forces can become lonely and detached. Management can reduce this by implementing feedback channels which then can increase the enjoyment, learning, and retention.
4) Recognition – There is an old sales adage: people work for gold or glory. Most sales people desire recognition from others in the organization, particularly upper management. Management has a responsibility to create systems which bestow recognition widely, and not just on the top producer or two.
5) Attention – I could say communication, but what I am pointing out is the need to listen to the sales force. There is no shortage of “talking to” with memos flying daily. What is often lacking is the focused, intentional time spent listening. It is an extreme compliment which too few of us pay to too few. We choose to listen up the chain, ignoring those who aren’t influencing our future moves. The sales force is a critical element in any organization’s success and often has important information gathered from front-line communication with customers.
The relationship between management and the sales force is a mutual responsibility. The sales team owes the company: productivity, a fair trial of the prepared tools, effective use of time, a clear and accurate presentation of the sales proposition, as well as appreciation for the opportunity to earn a living, develop talents, and utilize abilities.
This week think about: 1) How do these principles apply to me? 2) What can I do to better practice my responsibilities? 3) Who could benefit from these words from Fred?
Words of Wisdom: “Competition is for excitement, not incitement…to build spirit, not tear it down.”
Wisdom from the Word: “A laborer’s appetite has labored for him, for his hunger has pressed him to work.” (Proverbs 16:26 NET Bible)