Today we are sharing a blog post from The Competitive Edge written by our wonderful Pillar Partner Patrick Sweeney of Caliper Corp. Patrick spoke at our Fall 2010 Sales Coaching Summit and has been a feature instructor for our monthly sales management webinar series. His message speaks volumes about the importance of continuous growth and development for you and your sales management team.
EcSELL Institute's Sales Management Research Study asked sales reps to rank 12 items that would help them improve their sales performance
#1…”if my Sales Manager was a better coach and leader”
Please enjoy this guest blog post by Caliper Corp. We know you will appreciate Pterick Sweeney's perspective.
The other day, I was with one of our clients, participating in a leadership development program. I was so impressed with their commitment to it that I have to share their story.
Like so many others, this is a company that is in the process of reinventing itself. But, unlike most, they are unwavering in their willingness to devote time, energy and resources to develop their leaders and build their teams.
This company, with offices around the world, does not let a year go by without bringing its leaders, managers and supervisors together in a program that emphasizes self-awareness and enables them to improve as leaders.
This training has become an annual tradition.
I find that level of commitment extraordinary.
They have managed to create an environment that allows for pausing, listening, reflecting and learning.
And in the day-to-day rush this is not an easy thing to do.
As we worked with the participants in the program, I could tell that there were three types of mindsets in the room.
1 – This is ok, but I have too much to do to be here right now.
2 – Those who were treating it like a New Year’s Resolution, as if they were signing up at the gym with the best of intentions, go for a few weeks, then get sidetracked.
3 – Those who were seeing themselves – and others – differently.
For those people who let themselves connect with what was happening in the room, it was a fascinating thing to be part of.
Kim Butler, one of our coaches used an analogy that I particularly liked. She compared us all to icebergs, and said that most people see just the tip of who we all are – and of our potential. There is really so much more down below that no one sees, and that we often don’t even know about ourselves. These are things that drive us and make us unique.
You could tell that aside from just being there physically, the executive leadership team was there emotionally as well. It wasn’t something they could fake. It was all very real.
Geoff Ernest, the president of Taminco, helped set the tone. He was able, in a light-hearted way, to talk about the issues he knew he needed to work on. He said he could definitely benefit from a time management course—if only he had the time to schedule it. Although he was able to make light of it, he realized that was a real problem for him. So, he has an executive assistant who keeps him on track. This gives him the freedom to focus on strategy, looking into, for instance, whether now is the right time to expand into China.
Participants in the program were able to see similarities and differences with each other across the same and different jobs. They reflected on how they were leading their own teams, what distinguished them as leaders, and how they were at managing projects and holding people accountable.
For some of us, it’s a matter of recognizing where we need support to help us play to our strengths. For others it’s taking the time to reflect on ourselves, our peers and our goals that gives us the push we need to grow.
Even at the top of their game, any top athlete or musician practices. In an orchestra, there is a whole tuning up period before the performance. It is not just tuning their instruments, but also getting in tune with each other, with the resonance of the instruments around them. We have to get in tune in order to perform at our best individually and as an ensemble.
After the training program, each person came out with a clear understanding of one thing they wanted to change. Just one thing they could focus their energy on to improve.
As a final note, an effort such as this needs to have someone in the organization who wholeheartedly believes in developing leaders for the company’s future – and who drives the initiative and makes sure that it happens.
Committing to development like this is a very wise thing to do. Particularly now that the economy is seeing some signs of improvement.
Otherwise, you’ll find that employees who don’t feel valued and appreciated will start to look elsewhere.
And you absolutely want to make sure that those who are looking are not your top performers.