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Top Rules for business and starting your career

25 Oct

Today I thought I’d share the two top-10 rules that I have saved and posted in my office. One is from The Daily Beast on Steve Job’s rules for business. The other is a speech attributed to Bill Gates but was actually an op-ed letter by Charles J. Sykes written to college graduates.

Motivating The Troops

30 Jul

I was invited to sit in the back of the room for a new-year sales kickoff meeting. Unbeknownst to me, the sales team had finished the prior year ranked 16th of 16 teams. The local VP had been relieved of his duties about 3 months prior so the area VP was in town to talk with the team. By the end of the area VP’s 30 minute kickoff speech I was shaking my head in amazement regarding the number of bad Sales Manager 101 cliches he managed to use.

He started the meeting by telling the group that he enjoyed being a jerk and that this particular group brought out the worst in him. Although he called himself something worse than a jerk, a word that rhymes with donkey. He ranted about how bad the team was, how embarrassed he was that they were on his team and that things would be different in the coming fiscal year. Then he had them all watch Alec Baldwin’s (in)famous speech in Glengarry Glen Ross.

 

 

When a region does that poorly in sales, I wonder where the fault lies. Is it with all of the reps who did so poorly? Can it be the entire office’s fault? Maybe the sales trainers did not do their job properly? Perhaps it was the marketing group because they delivered bad leads? Did some microeconomic event strike this region while leaving everyone else unscathed? Or maybe the fault lies with the area VP who passed down quotas that weren’t based on in-depth market study and analysis?

I also wondered how things were going to improve. The entire sales team of over 20 people except for 1 rep remained. Quotas were unchanged. Training was pushed out till the next quarter. A new regional VP had yet to be hired. How quickly after they came on board would they be able to positively affect the efforts of a 30-person sales team? Would the area VP be delivering the same speech in 6 months?

Clearly, his sales management style can be summed with the Dilbert-esque comment:

 

(photo credit: SJT Enterprises)

Doing a Good Job Enough

19 Mar

Is doing a good job enough…to get recognized, rewarded, appreciated, respected, trusted?  Earlier this week, Seth Godin’s post on “Are you doing a good job” ended with, “Doing a good job is no guarantee of security, advancement or delight.”  Two of my colleagues discovered this themselves recently to their disappointment and confusion.

One works long hours and even weekends. They’re the go-to employee when the problem is a little harder or the customer a little more challenging.  And it’s been that way for years.  And their recent reward?  A small bonus check, the same as the rest of the team’s bonus, slipped under their keyboard.  I’d bet management would be surprised to find out that my colleague is now upset and bitter because of their lack of appreciation for a job done well and often.

The interesting question to ponder now is whether the problem lies with the employer or employee.  If you are in management, do you think about how your rewards might demotivate your staff instead?  And if you are the employee, are you communicating your expectations or assuming management can read your mind?

The Job Hiring Front is Improving

11 Mar

I believe that job hiring is picking up the pace, based on anecdotal evidence from my LinkedIn account.  I’m getting 2-3 InMails from recruiters a week from LinkedIn and there’s nothing in my profile to suggest that I’m looking for a new job.  I’ve spoken to colleagues and they’re getting the same increased attention from recruiters.  Let’s hope that these data points are true across a wide swath of professionals and lead to an improvement in the economy.

How about you?  How many recruiters are reaching out to you from LinkedIn InMail?

And a small pet peeve.  Why are recruiters sending me invitations to connect as a friend as an enticement to review their job posting?  First, I prefer to connect to people I know.  Second, my colleagues and boss are my LinkedIn connections.  So when they get that LinkedIn update email that says I’m now connected to several recruiters all of a sudden, they’ll all assume I’m looking.

Performance Reviews – Does Anyone Like Them?

26 Jan

Does your company do performance reviews?  Is there anyone out there who likes them?  Most employees like to receive them.  Most managers hate to do them.  And even employees don’t like to do them when it’s the 360 peer review. Regardless of how you feel about performance reviews, if you are a manager at a company that requires them, then they’re just part of the job.

But should they just part of the job?  Are your team members apprehensive when  it’s time for you to deliver your review of them?  Do you think there will be any surprises for them?

Good managers will never surprise a team member with a bad performance review.  Why?  Because communication between manager and team member should be happening throughout the year and not only during an annual performance review.  I don’t like surprises from my salesreps, especially during forecast time, and I know they don’t like surprises like this as well.

If you are not surprising your team during performance reviews, then how are you communicating to them during the year?  Via one-on-one meetings?  Team meetings?  Hallway conversations?  Email?  Ideally, you are communicating (and listening) on a consistent and frequent basis.  Which will make writing and delivering performance reviews easier for you and less stressful for your team.

(photo credit: jokemail)

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