ICE 2012 Sales Enablement Zone Blog Series 2/23

The Root Cause Why Sales Managers Fail at Coaching by Mark Wayland Session W210: Four Reasons Sales Managers Fail at Coaching – and what you can do about it! Ill bet something like this has also happened to you. At a recent family gathering my favourite aunt said, Gosh, you look just like your father! And it didnt stop there. She also audited my habits, expressions, and demeanour. It became obvious that I (the whole package) was far more than the result of a simple case of genetics. Along with physical resemblances Ive discovered that my beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour have, in part, been forged in the same way: Youre acting just like your father! Ill bet youve all heard these kinds of comments. Now Id like you to hold those thoughts and now imagine youre at a sales managers gathering. Ignoring physical similarities; have you noticed how many beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours you have in common? Youre acting just like your manager! Why do sales managers think the way they think? And how does that affect how they coach and manage? Sure, in part, they absorb attitudes and beliefs by osmosis from those around them; from senior managers that they admire and from the way theyve been coached and managed. The other surprising part is to realise that managers are also the product of over 200 years of management thinking habits created in the factories of the Industrial Revolution. And that thinking is still in use today. In the late 1800s F.W. Taylor, with the Industrial Revolution in full swing, applied a stopwatch to factory production tasks, making them far more factual and more quantifiable than ever before. His studies culminated in 1911 with The Principles of Scientific Management (the first modern use of management). Taylor believed that tradition-based decisions (weve always worked this way) and rules-of-thumb should be replaced by precise procedures developed after a careful study of the quickest/ most efficient worker. Thinking (like creativity, initiative, and imagination) was done by the bosses, while the workers did the doing. Interestingly, firms that adopted Scientific Management found that while productivity increased (and the workers wages) trust between the bosses and workers dropped. Taylor expressed the workers role as, every day each man should ask himself 2 questions. First, what is the name of the man I am working for? and then, what does this man want me to do, right now? The spirit of management was therefore set. It was a device that promoted efficiency by reducing waste and losses incurred by mediocre factory workers. Managers, then, were somewhat detached, analytical as they controlled workers performance in a mechanical kind of way. Performance, in turn, could be maximised by focusing on the task rather than the people. Managers had a mantra of control. We see this today when (eg) a professional code-of-conduct breach notice is received. In truth, they may feel awful, not because a mistake was made, rather because others may think that, as a manager, they werent in control. In many business cultures, control is the weapon of choice to maximise task performance. Has management thinking changed? (progressed?) It sure has; as has our society and the business environment. A far more collaborative and adaptable approach is necessary. Much of it, though, is still rooted in the Industrial Revolution of factory work and production lines. Its difficult to ignore heritage. We now practice engagement, coaching, and partnership to increase productivity. Here are 3 examples of the changes in management thinking: Bottom Line: The sales management job today is far more than making sure the representatives are working hard, calling on 6(?) targeted customers a day. Its not a case of doing more. Sales managers must value the idea that people and relationships, not just the companys products, make the difference. Coaching and managing these relationships to create continuous improvement are now the core function of management; not control. Its just that when sales managers are stressed or under pressure you may see some of the old Industrial Revolution command-and-control behaviours squirt out and become the sales manager default behaviours. And its this excessive need/ belief to be the boss and be in control that stops managers from coaching as best they can. If you’d like more, please consider attending ASTD 2013 where you can hear Mark Wayland at his session

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