Weekly Thought – July 21, 2020
Fred opened a management consulting firm in 1957, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, but working with companies with national and international reach. His ability to capture the sense of a corporate culture gave him a national reputation. One of his clients, GENESCO, reprinted the text of a speech given to their annual management conference. This excerpt is part three.
Management’s Responsibility to the Sales Force, part three
Respect for the dignity of the sales force is critical to a successful operation. In my experience, I find the attitude toward them determines the supervision policies. Able sales management finds many ways to express respect for the individual dignity of the sales team. Unfortunately, some are violated daily.
Personal and professional respect ties the sales force to the company, creating loyalty and camaraderie. It creates stability for the sales department and ultimately affects the success of the entire company.
Here are a few ways to show respect:
1) Ensure home office/sales force relationships reflect respect. The push/pull between home office staff and sales force creates a negative environment. Respect is breached with the sales force is by-passed in communication with customers, or used by executives to pass the buck. Home office negativity about the sales people should be actively discouraged. Respect is basically an attitude. Scratch the surface of shabby treatment and you find a shabby attitude.
2) Create sales meetings which recognize the professional qualities of the sales force, as well as the provision of helpful training sessions. Some meetings are so boring and demoralizing companies would be better to invest time and money somewhere else.
3) Use positive discipline to maximize performance. Many times we confuse punishment and discipline. Discipline is the fence we put around the sales force’s behavior and activities…broad enough to include the proper and narrow enough to exclude the improper. It is critical for management to clearly outline the definition of proper and improper. A good sales person appreciates organizational discipline. The secret of effective, constructive discipline is doing it according to our responsibility, not our authority. We discipline to be a championship team, not a tough boss.
4) Encourage personal development through delegation. Theodore Roosevelt said, “The art of good management is the ability to pick people and the humility to leave them alone.” Often management fails to delegate, not because the sales person doesn’t do the job, but because the manager wants to feel needed. Some sales managers treat the sales people like bird dogs to shoo up the birds while the sales manager shoots them. This violates individual development and dignity.
This week think about: 1) How well do I express respect for others around me? 2) What do others around me do to show respect? 3) Who is a model in my work, school, and community of respect?
Words of Wisdom: “The secret of effective, constructive discipline is doing it according to our responsibility, not our authority.”
Wisdom from the Word: “I know, Lord, that your regulations are just. You disciplined me because of your faithful devotion to me.” (Psalm 119:75 NET Bible)