I found this anecdote interesting, in a meeting the business leader provided the following guidance to his team as they were thinking about growth: “Be the architect of your own rescue. The cavalry ain’t coming”.

It is an interesting statement to ponder. I have personally always adopted this approach, but have witnessed many people who come to the table with the problem and not the answer. The true leader frames the problem and provides options on how to get to a solution. Another cliche that is applicable “Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”

In my business review last week, I faced this. On my overview, there were many challenges. As I looked at the format of the review (It was provided) I decided to take each challenge and add in the ‘Action’, whether it be an ask of another team, resource ask or an action that my team was undertaking to address that challenge. It drove home one message: our team has challenges, but our team also has a plan to be successful.

So, part of the solution or the problem? The cavalry isn’t coming.

MOTIVATION ADVICE. (from the archive)

An executive gave me a great piece of advice the other day, and I think this applies to sales managers and to sales people (actually – employees in general):

When he first started into management – his biggest shock was that not everyone is motivated in the same way. He was motivated by wanting to move up and to take on bigger challenges. But many of his people, who were solid performers, did not want the same thing. Many of his people were happy with their life the way it was, they did not need a promotion, they did not need a change in job role or a big challenging project – they were happy. What motivates people is often different – some people want to climb the corporate ladder, some people are motivated by money, others by family, charity, church and their life outside the office. And that is alright.

Diversity should be cherished. To be effective in sales or management, I believe that you really need to understand what motivates people, and understanding that everyone is different should always be at the forefront of one’s mind.

SUCCESS = 15 (Part 2)

All companies talk about work life balance, but we all know it is a bit of an oxymoron. The company wants you to take the vacation and spend time with your family, but loves the guy who works 75 hours a week, will take that Saturday conference call and gives his life to the company (As evidenced by email activity at 1AM).

I don’t buy it. In fact – when I see someone working really really hard, all the time, I start to wonder about that person’s skill level. What are the compensating for?

Using the Success=15 model, if you do invest the time then the effective person begins building skill. If skill grows over the years to an 8 and the person is still putting in an 8 in time, then one of two things is going to happen:

1. They are going to be **wildly** successful and march up the corporate ranks (Or in the case of sales – make a ton of cash).

2. They are going to burn out and then time & skill plummet.

That being said, the top two alternatives do not represent the majority of cases. In my experience, the person who puts in that ‘8’ in time year in, year out is compensating for a skill level that has plateaued. That plateau in skill can be attributed to many things: not becoming a sales expert or good sales manager, not being able to prioritize work (i.e. spending countless hours doing unproductive work), etc.

So, be wary of the time investment. If you remain at the “8” level, ensure that you are on the path to **wild** success. Ensure that you do not need a reality check around the plateauing of skills (Questions to ask: Is this the right job? Am I doing the right things? Am I productive? What training do I need to get on the right track?) or that you are on the verge of burning out.

Shooting stars go from very bright to black in a shockingly short time.

SUCCESS = 15 (Part 1)

My first and greatest sales mentor once taught that success can be thought of as “15” in sales. We break the sales job up into 3 component parts, each worth “5” points, with success being obtained when you reach 5 in each category (5+5+5=15).

In sales, we can think of the three components as:

  • Territory: Everyone gets a 5 for this. We must assume that the company that we work for is fair and therefore, everyone gets a 5. We must assume that everyone is set up for success.
  • The other two components: Skill& Experience and Time – each worth 5 points.

So, in the words of a successful rep: I know what I am doing – I am quite good at what I do. Therefore, I would rank my skill at an 8, which means that for me to overachieve (Go higher than a total of 15), I simply need to invest a 3 or 4 in time (Meaning: I can work less and still crush my numbers).

The lesson was then focused on me (As a new rep): You however are a 1 or a 2 skill level, so you better be investing a 9 or 10 in Time if you want to succeed. As you learn, your skills will increase and you will be able to adjust the skill to time ratio. But you cannot avoid investing the time if you want to be successful.

This lesson has stuck with me through my 16 years in business – as I believe that it can be applied to sales or management. When I take a new position, I make it a habit to remember that I am back in the learning stage and need to compensate for what I don’t know in the only way possible: investing more time to secure success.

I also review my progress continually to ensure that I am learning and growing my skill – so that my time can shift back to something that allows me to a) be very successful while b) attaining work life balance. That review becomes my plan for success.