Articles By Hal
Business Reality Check
Everyone knows the tough times we are presently facing and
the recession we are in that no one wants to admit to. It is time to address the problems
so we can be more on the offense rather than playing defense or "catch-up" in
First let's start at the top or the highest up we can go on
the chain of command. Who is running the show? Is he or she qualified, or did they get
there by the promotion fairy going "POOF" you are now a manager or the
"leader." Leadership skills are brought to the table before the position is
filled, not during especially in this uncertain business climate.
It is humorous to me how many companies have the wrong
person in the top highest positions in the company. I have worked with many Fortune 100
companies whose president, senior VP of sales or marketing is an ex. accountant,
consultant or even an engineer. Don't get me wrong, these are incredible and prestigious
careers, but why are then running the show? Is it they were really qualified or were they
in the right place at the right time and there was no one else able to fill the position?
As an example let's say a former accountant is presently
the president of the company, and part of that job description is the responsibility of
sales for the organization. Have they ever been through a sales course by an outside
professional, or even a sales management class or program? If they don't understand the
process how can they administer the action plan and relate to the progress or lack there
Many "top brass" only look at the "bottom
line" numbers and cannot understand why they have the problem or really how to fix
it. Sometimes they simply rely on the person or people who caused the lackluster sales or
marketing efforts to repair the damage they created in the first place. Yep, the old dog
chasing the tail. Or worse yet some companies actually bring in new people or consulting
firm with less of a clue, to fix the situation.
Most of everything I have learned has already been done by
very wise people in top organizations with huge budgets for training and development.
Let's go back 30 years or so and look at these outstanding
run companies and why they also had the best-trained people. These names should ring a
bell. Xerox, IBM, Proctor and Gamble, AT&T, NCR, 3M, and Disney. At present, one
company is near bankruptcy, another lost tremendous market share, one was split up by the
government and never recovered, two of them tried to sell too many unrelated products etc,
and lost their direction and focus, and they last thought carbon paper was the future and
not copy machines.
Oh yeah, one company is still strong and still renown for
their training and their world-class customer service
These companies I just mentioned were the best of the best
with incredible sales and management philosophies that got the job done. But overtime,
whether they lost the competitive edge, due dropping the ball or lack of R&D, they
lost their direction, and never regained the incredible prestige of past years.
Why did this happen? One major problem was cutbacks in
their incredible training or a "different direction they might have taken."
Years ago, if you were ex. IBM or Xerox, you got to pick your job if you left because your
new employer knew you were "trained."
The plan was simple!
*Managers were in the filed as coaches. They did not go in
for a player; they were on the sidelines and observed the employees do their respective
*Today we talk about executive coaching and still very few
top executives have gone through any time of coaching or shadowing by an outside expert.
*Think more of your family. We spend more time with our
staff than our kids and yet we "show our kids how to do things and we still tell our
employees what to do."
*The best run companies spend more time with employees as a
coach or an observer, rather than being in an office or a meeting and managing paper.
*Lastly think of training as a golf lesson. Which would you want, someone telling you how
to swing the club, etc. or a golf pro giving you a lesson and watching you practice the
In summary: The better trained we are, which is an ongoing
never ending process, along with less unproductive meetings, and our management acting as
coaches, the better run the business will be
plain and simple!
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