January 11, 2010

Case for changing what highway supervisors are on

Consider this scenario: Ron works for a pharmaceutical company in Indiana. He's been with the company for five years as a sales representative. Six months ago, Ron was promoted to sales manager and relocated to the home office in New York. Upper management's rationale was that his success in the field would make him a top manager who would increase the productivity of three other regional teams.

It hasn't taken long for upper management to realize that Ron isn't the manager they'd hoped for. It took Ron's staff only a few months to come to the same conclusion. What went wrong?

Success depends on leaders who can create common purpose, identify opportunities and new markets, and motivate and engage their teams.

Ron is a great salesperson, but he is not a great communicator. He failed to articulate his vision to the regional teams and to involve them in the process. He managed by fear, setting unrealistic goals without input from his team. He sent a message in a memo, "If you don't like the goals, then consider looking elsewhere for a job."

It doesn't take long, either, for today's diverse employees to recognize a poor manager. Some of the company's top salespeople have already left the organization. Ron's heavy hand was his own style and did not reflect the values of the organization. As a result, the regional teams have missed their sales goals two quarters in a row. Ron has blamed the teams for poor performance, and he raised goals again without team input.

Upper management at the pharmaceutical company is looking to replace Ron, but the damage is done. Having a great person from the field doesn't always translate to great leadership. The truth is that this situation is not only Ron's fault. This has been a pattern in this company for over a year.

The company has stalled along the highway. Due to the economy the company chose to drop its leadership training program and suspended other training programs, citing a lack of time and resources.

What the company should be doing is practicing innovation (and transformation to boost its training division. Ron, and others like him, could have become a better leader if assessment and training had been in place to pinpoint needs for the following:

- Fundamental management and communication skills
- Goal-setting and performance standards skills
- Motivation for productivity skills
- Coaching skills

Time and resources need not be the fallback issues anymore. Today's technology provides innovative training options with blended learning with online training. In addition, asking seasoned leaders or team members to mentor junior leaders and staff through collaborative communication spaces, such as online portals, e-mail, webinars and online corporate communities, can give employees the precise training they need, when they need it. These solutions can be transformational and cost effective, turning lackluster performance into leadership and teams focused on business processes.

Realistic and relevant goals and measures as well as capabilities targeted for a winning strategy are within reach. See my next post for 3 goals your leadership training should achieve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be productive, employees need to be trained to become familiar with the core business of the company. Business documentary on this topic'' The YES Movie '' produced by Louis Lautman
at www.TheYESmovie.com