We Are Who We Hire


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The other day I received a call from a troubled CEO. He ran a small company. “My sales people aren’t producing results! My sales manager is worthless! Can you help me straighten this out?” After asking a few questions and probing a little further, I politely declined, I made some excuse and suggested he find someone else.

I didn’t take the project because as I spoke to him, I discovered the root problem was the CEO. Yes, there was a problem with the people. They didn’t have the skills, they didn’t have the attributes, there were a lot of problems. Some appeared to be doing things that skirted some ethical and business practice issues. Others were just plain lazy or sloppy. Potentially 75% the sales team was wrong and should have been terminated. The manager was all wrong as well. He wasn’t doing what the owner expected, he wasn’t doing what he should have been doing.

There were a lot of problems with the sales organization. It started with having the wrong people. But I couldn’t help this CEO fix these problems. He basically was the root problem–he had hired all the people, he had created the environment in which all these people operated.

The people we hire are a reflection of us and our companies. They are a reflection of what we value, our culture, our operating style, what we think of our customers. We tend to hire in our own image. If we are hiring all the wrong people, what does that say about us and our company? What does this say about what we think of our customers, or how we want them to be handled.

Too often, I see people complaining about their sales people, when the root problem is them. It starts with bad hiring decisions, it continues with providing them poor leadership, not defining performance objectives, not managing performance, not taking action with problem performers.

When I see this problem, systematically, in an organization, while there may be problems with the sales people, the root problem is with management.

Are you hiring the people that will represent you and your company the way you want to be represented?

Are you setting the right performance expectations, providing the right tools, systems, processes, training?

Are you providing the leadership, coaching and developing people, making sure they are acting in a way that is consistent with your strategies, values, and culture?

Do you act on problem performers?

If you see lots of problems in your organization, the first place to look in fixing the problems is in the mirror.

For a free eBook on Coaching For High Performance, email me with your full name and email address, I’ll be glad to send you a copy. Just send the request to: [email protected], ask for the Coaching For Performance eBook

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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