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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How to Fix What's Wrong With Management?

A Japanese company and a United States company decided to have a canoe race on the St. Lawrence River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. How does this relate to radio? Let me explain.

A team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. So, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

They advised that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

To prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team?s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.

It was called the ?Rowing Team Quality First Program?, with meetings, dinners and free pens to the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices, and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated the American management laid off the rowers for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles and cancelled all capital investments in new equipment. The money saved was distributed to senior executives as bonuses and next year?s racing team was outsourced to China.

I found that on a website called tickld, in their section called ?funny.? Sadly what?s funny about it is that we all can relate. We all have a story about some management misstep that we?ve made, or that we have experienced from others. How you manage and coach your team clearly has a significant impact on their development.

We think of Vince Lombardi or Phil Jackson as coaching giants. But YOU can become a coaching giant to every member of your sales team. Unlock your sales team?s potential by doing more coaching than training.

Coaching works better than training in many situations.  Master the art of coaching and you can take ?putting out fires? off your job description. If you find out exactly how to get into your salespeople's heads, you can influence their thinking and their behavior.

Shared this with your managers:

?The first step in influencing your salespeople?s thinking
?The secret of getting your salespeople to do what you need them to do
?How to eliminate "Got a Minute" meetings
?The five types of one-on-one meetings
?The best time to coach-when coaching works best
?The 7 critical differences between coaching and training
?How to free up massive amounts of your day by spending a little more time coaching
?The best definition of coaching we've seen
?The 7- question coaching rule that changes everything
?What mentors do

It?s Christmas week. As my gift to Radio Ink readers, I would like to provide you with a free copy of a one-hour webinar on this topic, complete with the slide deck and all the resources and tools we shared with our managers.  Just shoot me an email and I will send you the link.  It?s been my honor to be with you every week sharing ideas and engaging in discussions about sales and sales management. Creating a better sales team, generating greater revenue, and having your best year ever starts with a commitment to grow your skills. This free gift can help.

You?ve no doubt already ?set your course? for 2015 and determined where you want to go. Knowing where you?re headed is the first step to getting there. Equally important is knowing how many rowers you need and how to get the maximum performance out of your rowing team.

Merry Christmas!

Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner with Chris Lytle at Sparque, Inc. At Sparque We believe in challenging the status quo and thinking differently about sales and sales training. We believe training should be an investment based on a desired outcome rather than something you ?buy by-the-hour.? You can reach me at

Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt

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