I asked my friend Greg Moses to write a guest blog for Developing Serving Leaders. I went to college with Greg and have been impressed over the years with how he approaches his life. When we went to college together, I got the impression from Greg that he was going to be successful no matter what he did. Not just because of the normal reasons you would expect like hard work or determination. But because he had an incredible attitude about his life and the blessings he had already received. He expected things to work out for him.
Long before I learned to the power of focus, I learned from Greg that working hard and caring for others would set him apart from most of my other friends. Then when w reconnected you could tell how well he did in life. The first thing he shared with me was his love for his family and how blessed the years had been since we last met. He shared the joy of his marriage and his two wonderful daughters, who were likewise doing amazing things with their gifts. Then he shared with me the books he was reading and I knew I had to have him share his winning philosophies with you my fellow readers. Thanks Greg. Here’s Greg’s first guest blog here at Developing Serving Leaders.
As we close out the year and set goals for the upcoming year I’m sure many of you, like me, try to evaluate what worked in your organization this past year, what didn’t work and make changes for the coming year. If something didn’t work, as true Servant Leaders, can we make adjustments that are relevant to our teams? Do we have what it takes to grab the attention of those we work with and help them rise to a new level of competency and ability? For me, I have taken a look at how I train and motivate the sales team with whom I work.
I broke down all of our training opportunities this past year to see if they provided benefit by reviewing the before and after objectives and results. I found that in some cases we received the expected bump in sales immediately following product training. In the cases we didn’t, I reviewed the notes from the training opportunities to see what we could change at the next session. I discovered the more “mundane” sessions gained the least favorable results. We were losing the attention of the folks that make the hay in our organization. Conversely, when things like opportunities for supplier plant tours were available, sales rose dramatically. Why? It really comes down to having a story to tell our customers. So, the more hands on the experience, the better the results were, for us, in 2013. Give the sales team a story to tell and sales are impacted. What kind of story comes out of a lecture?
For the coming year I plan to get away from all lecture/power point training programs. I have challenged myself, and our supplier community, to throw away power point slide shows (using them only as handouts with quick bullet points) and to get the sales team in front of the product with very hands on teaching.
Next, I took a look at motivation. When it comes to getting that extra sales lift you need, at the end of the quarter or during the “usual” slow time of the year, how do you motivate your sales team? The current business model for motivating employees is often called the “carrot and stick” method (picture hanging a carrot, or reward, in front of a horse to get them to move forward or maybe picture the rider has a buggy whip and it’s used to motivate the horse in a different way). Let’s face it, this makes sense, right? Put a reward or punishment in place to gain performance you desire. But, people are not horses. And, more and more, we’re learning that this behavior may not actually be gaining the long term results we desire. In fact, science is proving the opposite to be true.
In his book, Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink discusses Motivation; the rise of Carrots and Sticks and the science behind why they don’t work in today’s environment. Carrot and stick motivation has served some good purposes but it’s deeply unreliable. Three incompatibility problems arise with today’s work force.
1) How we organize our tasks – have you noticed how people today seem to have a strong need/desire to contribute freely, without external (extrinsic) rewards? Wikipedia is a good example. Who would have thought that an encyclopedia built entirely on volunteer contributions would have beaten out a highly financially backed “Encarta” from Microsoft? I remember Encarta. A nice CD disk set with some web access. My wife spent a good chunk of money in the mid 90’s to buy it. It’s in some trash dump now. Today, we see open source cookbooks, textbooks, medical research, and everything else. People want to share their ideas and organize accordingly. Do you allow for supportive sharing of ideas in your organization? How would two of your sales team members sharing a day to make sales calls together help each of them?
2) How we think about what we do – we, as a race, are predictably irrational in decision making. One would think a financial reward makes perfect sense, but we tend not to be so motivated by them. No really; we tend to hang onto bad investments longer than we should, we don’t save enough for retirement when, clearly, it’s in our best interest to do so. Exterior motivators should work – it’s in our best interest, but we seem to respond otherwise. Mr. Pink is not suggesting we stop paying our sales people. However, once a certain level of financial compensation is met, dollars can actually become de-motivating.
Greg Moses is a 27 year sales and marketing veteran, working for some of the top food manufacturers and suppliers servicing the Foodservice Industry and is employed by Gordon Food Service as a Product Specialist. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife of 26 years, Marlene, and their two daughters.
In our next blog, we share the third incompatibility problem we have to work with in today’s workforce. See you next week.