Are You Thinking Presidentially?
This is Critical for Anyone Leading or Managing a Team
By Tony Cole, President, Anthony Cole Training Group
Are you thinking presidentially? Not the Obama, Bush, Lincoln, and Washington kind of presidential. More like the thinking of Larry Ellison, Alan Mulally, and Beth Mooney. All are or were chiefs and, at one time, were also presidents. But, prior to that, at some time in their careers, they were managers of something.
What separated them, I’m guessing, is that they thought presidentially – they looked at the role of manager through the eyes of a president. In other words, I’m sure they thought, “If this were my company, what would I do?”
In a conference I attended earlier this year, there was a break-out session on the second day just for “partners”. It was a chance for owners of companies to sit and discuss the challenges they are having with building, growing or sustaining their businesses. As I was looking through my meeting notes from that day, I came across a list of items necessary for growth and sustainability of a business.
- Diverse Revenue Generation (products) – Are your people selling only one solution to your clients? OR are they developing multiple financial relationships through multiple solutions?
- Diverse Revenue Streams (people) – As a manager, are your numbers (or is your success) dependent upon the few? The 80/20 rule may be a “rule”, but your numbers can be killed if you lose 1 or 2 sales people from the 20% side of the equation.
- Systems and Processes – Think dashboard, not just odometer. Knowing how much has been sold and how much is in the pipeline is a look back. What systems and processes do you have in place to help you predict?
- Reasons to Stay – If you have only 2 or 3 people keeping your sales numbers healthy, what are their reasons to stay?
- Management of The Firm – If something were to happen to you, what would happen to the team? If the answer is “nothing changes,” is that because you are having that little of an impact on the outcomes or because you have built a structure that allows for sustainability?
- Financial Predictability – This is tied to systems and processes. If your president asked you what you thought would be in the pipeline in 6 days/weeks/months from now, what could you tell her/him?
- Cash Flow – How do the “presidential” numbers look? In other words, the “sales numbers” are just part of the equation. You have business contracted for, realized revenue, and profit. Ultimately, it isn’t contracts sold or just top-line revenue – it’s also “How much are we keeping?” and “When is the money going to be realized?”
- Risk Management – Where are you at risk today? Competition, losing key sales people, pricing, economy, investment in bad hires? Are you aware of the risks and, if so, what are you doing about them?
When I saw the list this morning, I felt comfortable that, as President of Anthony Cole Training Group, I am addressing many, if not all, of these items. Some of the items we’ve looked at for years; others we have just recently been spending time on as a result of my attendance at that conference.
More importantly, however, I read this list and thought, “Wow, this has to get into the hands of our clients, prospects and networks. This is critical thinking for anyone that is leading a team or managing a team.”
Now is a great time of the year to work on your business. If you are a September/October fiscal company, then you are done for the year – pretty much. If you are a December/January business, then you are closing out your year very soon.
Take a look at the list and do an honest evaluation of where you are/how you stack up. This maybe not be the end-all list of things to consider when building or managing your sales team, but it’s a great start.