“Have I Created A MONSTER….did I make a mistake”?!
I had one of the top sales reps in the country reporting to me early in my career….this lady was awesome. Yes, the complete package, smart, relentless, focused……and unabashedly beautiful. At the time she had completed about 3 years into the job and exceeded almost every competency under the sales rep responsibility model and her sales performance far surpassed anyone in the nation at the time as a matter of fact they use to joke that she would schedule her “President’s Trophy” trip in January before the sales year even started. So, it wasn’t even a stretch at succession planning time that I made the decision to promote her to district manager where she became responsible for 10 sales people….the same sales people she was once a peer with (I’m sure you see where this is going). I felt at the time because of her relationships with her previous peers and the fact she was well respected among them and even considered a leader the decision to have her step into the role as their district manager seem “commonsensical”……biggest mistake I made in my career hands down. I took her under my tutelage from mentoring to sending her to developmental seminars to weekly follow ups, what I didn’t do is properly prepare her prior to moving her into the new role. She pretty much governed her team like “General Patton”, which was interesting because if you remembered these folks were her previous peers so she literally pulled a “carrie” (the horror movie) and changed 360 degrees for the worst. I actually asked myself “Have I Created A Monster….did I make a mistake”, and to make matters worst my job was in jeopardy because of the decision I made….she was that nightmarish. Job vacancies were rampant in her district as people who she was close to prior to taking over the role was fed up with her antics and decided to leave the company for “stress free pastures”, this ultimately created poor district sales performance and the result was me letting her go. As you can imagine not only did this tax my conscious as I felt responsible for her failure in her new role and ultimate firing that I considered putting in my resignation, which as “Karma” has it I ended up leaving my current position for a lateral move at the guise of my management (a fati accompli career move).
That experience was years ago and I haven’t forgotten about it in fact for the past 12 years or so I have dedicated my career to educating, teaching, mentoring and consulting others on the importance of “Personal/Career Development”. I consider myself the “GOD-Father” of competency modeling” complete with pre-development training programs designed to prepare succession planning candidates for leadership roles prior to moving into them. I’m unwavering in my commentary that it’s a crime to promote people who aren’t ready for roles just based on prior success without putting them through a proper development plan process.
Below is a brief caption of an article I wrote for a sales magazine in 2007 followed by a link to a “Competency Modeling” exercise I conducted with a great deal of success:
“Do Successful Sales People Make For Potentially Successful Sales Managers”?
This is an ancient argument that has been debated from the very tops of organizations and while most agree that success at a certain position “may” predict with some certainty success at the next level…it’s rarely guaranteed.
There are characteristics that appear to be consistent among successful sales people for example: focused, competitive, driven, “failure is not an option”-attitude, strategic etc…all characteristics you would love your sales leaders to have. However, the big piece missing here is what I call “human connective tissue” how do you drive those same characteristics through others….at the end of the day LEADERSHIP.
Leading others is one of the most challenging and rewarding positions one can undertake but is does offer developmental opportunities that are critical for any new manager. In my previous position it was identified right away that the organization was promoting successful sales people to sales management roles without properly developing/training them prior. Those decisions were disastrous the vacancy rates skyrocket, HR issues became the norm, new managers became burned out….all because of the lack of proper development/training.
We devised a plan to attack this issue head on by incorporating “Competency Models” which addressed the development/training issues but importantly improved the morale of the effected audience…”the salespeople”.
The attached article provides the granular detail on “How Competency Models Can Transform An Organization”.
We also have conducted a podcast on “Do Successful Salespeople Make Good Sales Managers…take a listen!
AH2 & Beyond Consulting