Archive for September, 2008


Management Rewards, Sales Management Abundancy No Comments »


Dear Managers,

Preparing for a new year brings a sense of anticipation; a time to reflect on the past year and to prepare to build the fortunes of a new year. What can I do today to prepare to meet these future objectives, while maintaining a close eye on our current expectations? Let’s start by examining what is going well, and what is not.


Probably not. A manager’s daily emphasis must often be on those areas that are just not working. They become nagging anxieties, like a headache that won’t go away. Difficult issues require added focus and attention. They have a tendency to become magnified by the fact that they never completely pass; with every solution comes a new area of concern ready to take its place.

On balance, these areas of concern are a small fraction of the whole picture. Most areas are working very well. Similar to a medic who deals with life and death each day, our perspective can easily become skewed by constant problem solving. As a result, the many successful areas neither command our attention nor prompt our sense of satisfaction.


It is essential to begin by bringing greater focus to those aspects of your life and business that deserve your full satisfaction. Develop a comprehensive list of those areas that you feel good about. Essentially, this is a list of all your non-financial business and personal assets. It is time to search for your nagging fulfillments rather than your nagging anxieties! This process will only serve to enhance, replicate and renew itself with proper focus and attention.

Your list should include:

• Areas that have exceeded your expectations for the year
• Individuals who have established increased value to your organization, making
your job easier and more effective
• Steps you have taken that have proven to be successful to your organization
• Personal victories that at one time seemed insurmountable
• Clear benefits you enjoy due to the success of your organization
• Even the smallest of pleasures from both a business and personal perspective

I guarantee that as you develop your document, those areas that may have loomed very large have now been knocked down to a much more realistic perspective. Having spent months in the throws of a very difficult time, the potential exists to retain your sense of anxiety and concern well after the problems are solved. You may awake one morning to realize the crisis has passed … only you didn’t take the time to notice!

Be sure to keep this document for reference in the future. It is all too easy to lose a balanced perspective and overlook the many areas that are working well.


With the satisfaction document close at hand (Glued to your forehead! Pinned to your shirt!), begin to establish your objectives for the year.

• Define the areas that will best prepare your organization for the opportunities a
new year holds.
• Define and evaluate areas that have not lived up to your expectations.
• Separate the minnows from the whales; know your impact priorities.
• Project your priorities six months in advance – what preparation is required?
• Finalize your agenda and plan of action for the new year.
• Begin to establish your areas of focus for the short and long term with your
staff members.

Now that the two documents are complete, be sure to compare the results. I have no doubt that your bottom line looks pretty good. Sit back and enjoy the many assets of your organization and what you, and those with whom you are associated, enjoyed and accomplished.


Prior to the end of the year it is essential that your entire staff be on the same page. They, too, have the responsibility as professionals to define their individual objectives and strategies for the new year. Establish your expectations for their participation in the planning process. Is it time to redefine the job descriptions of your staff based on their individual strengths and potential?

Review each member’s major and minor roles within your organization. I often find there is a desire to assume a greater responsibility for their roles when I share my confidence in their individual and professional skills. By nature, many underestimate their own potential or don’t want to step on another’s toes. Explain that steel tipped shoes may be required in your organization!

Obviously, the most qualified individuals to establish goals and objectives for your sales regions are the sales associates servicing those regions. While the overall company objectives will need to be established in your office and shared with your associates, it is only their expertise, knowledge and commitment that will allow these goals to be implemented and achieved.

In preparation for the new year, all parties should make the effort to write down the specifics of their individual goals. Schedule a meeting with each associate and ask that they come prepared with their objectives clearly defined. You may find instances where some goals are too lofty, or your perception of a territory’s potential has been overestimated, but a common ground can be found.

All parties gain a much greater insight for having participated in the process. Professionals expect and deserve to be a part of the process that establishes their goals for the year. No one wants to simply be told what their region must produce.

HO, HO . . . HUM!

Outside of the holidays and all they entail, has the month of December become a productivity wasteland? I have found that it completely breaks the rhythm nurtured over the previous months, and can take up to three months to re-establish. We all enjoy the holiday season, but is there a way to make this month a bit more rewarding professionally, retaining our focus and rhythm? With this concern in mind, I implemented two ideas.

Several years ago I began a December Promotion program which offers special incentives to our customers. The key to the program is that customers must see their representative and place orders during the month of December to receive the benefits of the promotion. Creating a sense of urgency (now) and the reality of a missed opportunity (don’t you dare), can be a very productive tool in gaining your customers’ attention at an undeniably hectic time of the year.

In addition to our December Promotion, I decided a year ago to change our company’s calendar year for forecasting purposes. Rather than starting our forecasted year on January 1, it begins December 1. By doing so, I believe it brings greater energy to a difficult month, and a heightened emphasis to starting the calendar portion of our year on the right foot. The objective is to insure that everyone is at full speed by January 1.

Not only did this maintain a better rhythm for the group, I found it to be much more efficient to prepare the forecasts a month earlier, as it preceded the clerical crunch inherent with a new year.


The time to finalize your plans is well in advance. Use the excitement and anticipation – that back-to-school feeling – to maintain rhythm in your current year. It will allow you to begin your new year at full stride.


Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2008. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Management Rewards, Management Strategies No Comments »


Dear Manager,

The demands on management’s time can be voracious and unrelenting. What was once our priority must now be delegated to maintain balance and perspective toward the ever-changing needs of our organization. To say the least, this is very difficult. Have you ever completed a day and, in review, been unable to determine if an event occurred on that day or a previous day? As your organization continues to grow, so do the demands and expectations on your time. Everyone seems to want you. Are you effective in disciplining your time for those areas and individuals that can provide the greatest benefit to the organization as a whole?

From a personal perspective, I believe that on a daily basis this is management’s greatest challenge. My expectation to maintain a personal and intimate relationship with all aspects of my business is no longer realistic. What was once my ability to work closely with customers, manufacturers and sales associates must frequently be delegated to qualified assistants.

Certainly, I could make the effort to accomplish it all, and have, but in doing so the quality of my efforts and personal satisfaction diminish, and the greatest asset to my organization, its planning, takes a sabbatical. This chain of events occurs at some point for all managers. A lack of professional purpose and personal satisfaction can best describe this feeling. Conversations seem to become surface in nature, my creative juices dry up; what brought fulfillment in the past is now redundant.

For the manager, fighting these periodic cycles (and we all have them) signals a prime time for reevaluation. If we are unwilling to step back and redefine our personal and organizational objectives, we are destined to continue to accept our current set of circumstances.

In your estimation, have you made time available to focus on the aspects of your business life that can truly make an impact? I have found myself for periods of weeks and months in what can only be described as a “low impact” cycle. I worked as hard as in the past, the company wheels continued to spin and, upon reflection, my greatest achievement was that all disasters were avoided.

Ask yourself: Are any of these low impact cycles fulfilling? Are these periods meeting your long-term organizational needs? Because of a very demanding schedule, have you accepted a cruise control attitude towards your organization’s future? Have you instigated plans and procedures to accommodate all foreseen and potential circumstances? Are you willing to allow your business to simply take its own course?

This is not to suggest that within all organizations there is not daily planning, often low impact in nature, taking place. This month’s Interpersonal is dedicated to the “high impact” responsibilities for a strong business. The high impact aspects of business receive the least amount of our attention, yet without question hold our greatest opportunity. We must develop the resources that will insure our company’s future, energize those around us, sustain our fulfillment, and maintain our personal satisfaction.

As a business owner or manager, beyond all the individual needs and responsibilities of our associates and employees, what is the single priority for yourself and these individuals? There is only one: the continued profitability of your company. If our companies are no longer viable and profitable in the marketplace, all of the peripheral concerns become meaningless. Similarly, I have always stated my absolute and sincere desire for our manufacturers’ profitability, for in the absence of their profitability, my position no longer exists! If we are unwilling to commit the time to those resources that will insure our own financial health, our organization’s collective future is in jeopardy. Find and develop these resources; create a Circle of Influence.


Whether you are the company’s owner or manager, I believe all of us have peers to whom we truly listen; people with whom we have a primary relationship. When we are involved in conversations with these people, their words ring true. They have a much deeper understanding of our daily lives and offer an objective, non-emotional viewpoint of our current direction. High impact management is a product of strong primary relationships.

There are two very distinct qualities in a primary relationship. These individuals have earned our highest regard for their opinions and approach to their profession. Their words and examples challenge us; their thought process is fundamentally sound and their judgment and integrity consistent with our own.

The second quality these individuals provide is the courage to be honest. Their objective opinions can address a very specific, immediate topic or offer a general assessment of our current direction. These individuals have the rare quality to almost feel our pain, and to enjoy our success as if it were their own. And yet, their greatest influence is in their ability and willingness to tell us when we are off track, and we listen. As we mature in our career, these are the individuals within our industry who will assist in illuminating our path. These are the peers who should make up our Circle of Influence.


There are individuals who, from a personal health and financial perspective, can often individually or collectively impact your life and business at an even higher level than yourself! Unlike a circle of peers, your personal circle includes professionals outside your specific industry for whose time and guidance you most likely pay. Building and maintaining an ongoing relationship with your personal lawyer, accountant, banker, clergy or physician can hold keys to your ultimate success. Depending on your position within your organization, it is not uncommon for many of your personal/professional relationships to impact your company as well.

You will note I used the word “personal” to describe each of these professionals. Have you personally chosen these advisors? It is more common than we are willing to admit that these relationships are not chosen, but are developed purely by chance. NOW is the time to analyze your existing primary relationships. Are these the individuals whose advice you would trust? On a daily basis, are these the individuals who are capable of assisting you in making the very best possible decisions for you personally and for your organization? Unfortunately, it is human nature to make use of their services only in times of need or personal crisis.

We all know individuals who have suffered the effects of bad advice. In times of crisis your options are reduced, yet decisions must be made. I would be willing to guess that most of us decide to proceed with what is familiar, hoping that what is familiar is good enough! Establishing confidence in your circle is essential.


Now that we have discussed both the personal and professional influence in your circle, take the next step by writing down their names on a piece of paper. With your current list complete, resolve to make it a priority to meet with these individuals on a consistent basis. Outside of your family, are there relationships more important than these?

Your Circle of Influence will reward you, strengthen you and, when given the chance, lead you. There is so much opportunity for the low impact aspects of our lives. Resolve to give equal billing to the high impact and influential aspects. What greater priority can we bring to ourselves individually, or to our company, than to surround ourselves with a group of personal and professional advisors who will strengthen the whole? There is never enough time to meet all of the expectations in our day. Now could be the time to change our priorities, making time for the obvious impact that only these types of advisors can provide.

So much of our lives seem to be left up to fate (and often default!). There is huge benefit in maximizing the strengths of this group towards one single purpose: our future. One of the greatest values in these relationships is inspiration. We can all become so involved in our life and business that a new perspective will be both enlightening and refreshing. These individuals should challenge you and, by doing so, will bring you personal satisfaction for having made an impact on your personal and professional lives.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2008. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM