EP 127 As I sit in a hotel room waiting to work with a group of sales professionals, several thoughts came to mind.

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I'm traveling today I'm in Charleston, South Carolina working with a group. So I'm in a hotel room that looks like a million other hotel rooms I've been to. I'm just going to talk with you about managing, because that's really what's top of mind for me. I'm going to be working with a sales leader of an organization, his managers and their team, trying to help them perform better.

SEGMENT 1. Now, as a sales leader, What's your job? As a sales manager, what's your job? Well, a manager's job is to enforce routines, to enforce habits, to enforce the behaviors that gets results. What is your job as a sales leader? As a sales leader, your job is to choose people who will be hired, who are inspired to do great things. Thus, your job is to inspire them. After all, when push comes to shove, you can't motivate people, you've got to choose people who've got that fire in their belly to do great things. Motivation is overrated. No motivation translates into "Do it. Do it. Come on, do it, Please, please do it.
The fact of the matter is, you can't motivate for any length of time. Eventually those people start resisting again and they go back to their old ways. Why? Why do you want to keep hammering it over and over again, with people who can resist you? Your job as a leader is to choose people who are inspired to do great things. Your job as a manager, is to help those people with habits that are going to help them get the results that they want. Motivation should not be part of the equation. Inspiration should be.

SEGMENT 2. One of the ways that managers fail their teams is setting them up for failure. They quote old platitudes that have no relevance whatsoever. Like, when I started off in recruiting, you know, one of the senior guys told us the story about how when he started in the field, what they used to do was hire 20 people on a Monday, and the first one who put the phone down was fired. Then, progressively, it was the second person to put the phone down. And then the third. Basically, what they let you know, is that you have to be on the phone all the time, or else you were gone.
Now, telling that story today sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? For many of you, why would you be on the phone, if you were in a role trying to market or sell or promote something? You would be online in one way or another doing it. Maybe, you'd have your stories from more modern times, than the story about the first one who puts the phone down is fired.
But quoting the old stories, doesn't work except to mock those days. What you need to do is to help people win. If they've got the wrong strategy, or if they're failing, you've got to help them transition, you have to have the resources or the tools available to help them to win.
It's like at the very end of my recruiting career, I was still associated with a firm. The way that we needed to find candidates was in one of two ways, or actually one of a couple of ways. Number one was asking for referrals, of course. If that didn't work, we progressed to our database, I had a personal one, the firm had a general one. My personal one was, frankly, better than the firm one, because it was individuals who I personally cultivated over the course of a career.
From there, we might try a job board or LinkedIn. When the firm started to cut back on resources that they would provide, basically leaving us with a little more than a desk and phone to work with (And I wasn't even in the office, I was working remotely. So I was even getting the benefit of the desk or the phone) I know you have to pause for a second and ask, "What is this firm doing to set me up for success? What are you as a manager doing to set up your team to be successful and help them?"
Is it telling old stories that are useless to them or is it providing them with tools and resources that will help them be successful? When you look at your team of people, be honest with yourself. When you look at them, what do you say? Who are the winners? Who are not the winners? Who are the ones who have that spark within them to succeed? And who doesn't?
Be honest, recognize the people who have the spark, and see if you can help them turn it into a flame. Because the result winds up being, the people with the flame, you can cultivate into carrying a torch into the world and leading the people who are well, they've got everything extinguished, who you're basically fighting to get them to thrive. You're fighting to get them to live? Well, they're going to be hard to turn around.
The question is, can they be salvaged? And by what time? The answer is generally No. You can scare the bejesus out of them, and just see if you can shock them into life. It's kind of like, you know, putting one of those electrical stim devices over someone who has no heartbeat. They've stopped living, and they try and resuscitate them. Well, maybe scaring them can resuscitate them.
I know I worked at a firm one time, where I went into a slump. It was frustrating. It wasn't that I wasn't doing the work. I just wasn't getting the results. I had a weekly meeting with a manager who asked me, "So, you're going to give up?"
"No, because I never given up before my life about anything (except getting contact lenses in my eyes. It was just something beyond my capabilities to do). But you know, the reality is I've never really given up, given up the idea of winning itself. And I certainly wasn't going to start developing that habit now."
For you, as a manager, be honest. See, if you need to replace people. Without looking at that, honestly, without being candid. And then we're viewing where "the miss" was, how you hired someone who wasn't suitable, or, if they weren't suitable, how you extinguished the life in them, you're going to keep repeating the same patterns over and over again. It's going to become dismal. And that's not what you want, is it?
What you want are people who've got that spark within them, that you're able to enliven even more, so that they have a flame that they carry. And then they can light that flame into a torch that they carry into the world. Those your best people by far,


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

coach for NoBSCoachingAdvice.com. He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

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