Archive for February, 2010


Management Strategies, Sales Management Abundancy No Comments »


Dear Manager,

As mangers, we have all been graced by that very special individual(s) within our organization who, for the lack of another term “simply sparkles.” When you see them or speak with them one can’t help but smile. These individuals bring us unlimited pleasure simply to be in their presence. We can’t seem to have enough of their involvement and participation. These individuals rise above the day-to-day challenges of life.

As life would have it, there are also those at the opposite end of the spectrum. From time to time, management must deal with an individual whose negative approach has the unfortunate posture to turn our highs into lows.

Yes, these are the contrasts of personalities that we all experience. Fortunately, most of us, and those with whom we work, fall somewhere in between these contrasting styles. The balance of styles within an organization can be considered its barometer. The higher the barometer’s reading, the sunnier the skies in your organization’s daily forecast; the lower the reading, the greater the chance for stormy skies ahead. It’s simply amazing how one individual can turn a very sunny day into a natural disaster.

The single greatest factor affecting the character and culture of an organization – yes, every day – is ATTITUDE.

Of even greater concern is the impact a single negative attitude can have on the psyche of others within the organization, including us. Combine this with the inordinate thought process and conversation they control, and you can begin to see how far reaching their impact becomes.

Generally, the stabilizing force of any organization is its managers. We provide the consistency, the global confidence that all is well, that indeed the skies are blue, or will be again soon…

My experience has taught me that failure to address an “attitude issue” directly not only destabilizes one’s ability to manage, but undermines the confidence and morale of others “victims” within the organization. We all get caught up with “what is in our face.” Even though we might have twenty shining stars, a single negative individual wields amazing power. It affects us all.

There is a tendency to work slowly through this challenge. No one enjoys conflict, we simply hope it will all “work itself out” with time. As often as I have tried this approach, I’m afraid that nothing ever worked itself out! In many instances, attitude issues often originate outside the workplace. When this is the case, it is obviously much more difficult to get to the root of the problem. The situations where I have found success, however, have been the result of addressing the issue swiftly, directly and confidently.

Certainly the victory comes with saving a potentially valuable relationship. While this is the goal, it is not always within our control. I recently read a quote from John Malfura, a Portland-area manager, which stuck in my mind. He has challenged his employees by asking, “If your job isn’t fun, then why are you doing it? This is supposed to be a fun place, and if you have fun and exude that, those around will also.”

Yes, it can be as simple as that. Some folks, however, have never learned how to “make their own fun.” They may believe that it’s the responsibility of others to “make it fun for me.” Similar to our holding teachers responsible for “making” us learn, or a spouse for “bringing” us happiness, these individuals are destined for personal dissatisfaction.

I use these examples for the sole purpose of illustrating that this type of attitude will never bring long-term benefit to an organization. These individuals, for no other reason than their own attitude, have taken themselves out. They will never be stars.


A star assumes full responsibility for their own happiness and making their own fun. These individuals understand that their circumstances are a result of their choices. If their circumstances can’t be positively improved upon or deemed acceptable, they have the option of considering other choices. What other effective alternatives are there? It all comes down to a positive thought process.

These are the individuals who nourish our soul. It is the stars who often require so little time and focus, and yet deserve the wasted time and energy devoted to the alternative. It’s time to tell the kids that can’t play nice to go home!


With all the tragedy we see via the news media, I believe it is increasingly difficult to simply keep it fun. Combine this with the constant link of technology, let alone financial pressures, and I believe all of our lives have become a bit more (too) intense. It has become increasingly important to take the time to enjoy and appreciate personal and simple pleasures. In today’s world, these are essential to a well-rounded and successful career, and survival.

As managers, we must take steps to insure that simple pleasures flourish in those with whom we work. The old school of thought would not have considered this life-saving (let alone attitude-saving) approach to business. In the past, we would simply have continued to ask for more. More time, more effort, greater commitment, constant communication and availability on call. We must accept the fact that the professional work place is all ready over committed!

I am not suggesting that all hope is lost, nor am I suggesting that we expect less or take an extended holiday. The professional bar for business success continues to stand tall. If counterproductive attitudes are no longer acceptable, the only question becomes how do we continue to meet our goals and protect the survivors?

We must learn to first appreciate our stars a bit more, and surround them with their peers! Personal growth for us and others holds the key. If we have no more time to give, the only alternative is to be much better and more focused with the time we have! While some with “an attitude” have come to believe they “have arrived” relating to personal abilities and growth, why is it that these are the individuals of whom I’m most suspicious?

Even in the most professional relationships I have, there is no one who does not have their own areas that need attention, this author included. We all need to take the steps to monitor and balance our personal and professional lives. This balance is the evidence that we know how to play. The new standards can then be set for all of those we work with as well. At all costs, save yourself and save your stars. It is the underlining positive attitude that is the true reflection of an organization.

As managers, we frequently can’t see any of the stars that sparkle due to a short term overcast. The overcast will come and go; the stars are constant.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2010. 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, Sales Management Abundancy No Comments »


Dear Manager,

Consider the balance of power in a buyer-seller relationship. It’s rarely discussed, it’s simply understood. Historically, one person is in ultimate control, making all the final decisions. I believe there has been a similar balance of power in a manager-managee relationship. Don’t look now, but management and this relationship have changed! We are far more interdependent than at any time in the past.

Today’s strong management is about sharing the responsibilities and the rewards. All members of an organization hold a greater level of accountability. Anything less… and there is no organization.

I considered my role as a manager to be much less than it once was. We hold very little power without the strength of those around us. This position of ultimate power is diminishing at an accelerating rate. Don’t be confused. The balance of power is shifting. We can’t be intimidated by it, we must understand it and find its own rewards.

My memories go back to long before technology took on the role it plays today in all of our lives. In those days, my peers were the customers and our manufacturers. Staff members and field sales associates received their direction from me. This was also a time when our organization was a third of the size it would develop to.

The current layer of field sales management support from our factories did not yet exist. In addition, the only functions provided by computers were invoice entry and manufacturers’ commission statements Annual goals were established by each of our factories for our entire region. As long as we achieved this single number, we were heroes.

In those days, I might have had problems with sales in multiple regions, yet as long as the total region’s sales objectives were achieved, no one seemed to react, or be aware! Once our office was computerized, the information relating to sales was very revealing. For a time, I was aware of sales deficiencies long before our manufacturers. This was a huge advantage. I had the flexibility to solve issues long before they became a specific concern of the manufacturer.

The 90’s changed all of this. This is when the balance of power began its shift. Soon computer-generated reports were spewing from my factories’ computers. Field sales managers appeared frequently to review the reports with our associates and me. The window of opportunity to close the barn door before the cows got out had been seriously diminished.

Additionally, our sales associates were developing much stronger working relationships with their factories. The power continued its shift. In many cases, these strong rep-manufacturer working relationships were a significant benefit to the organization. Over time, these newly developed ties took on much greater meaning.

I now had support from the factories in the management of our organization. All parties now took issues that were considered “only mine” in the past much more seriously. Can you feel the shift in power? I must admit, I needed and appreciated all of the support, as long as it was consistent with my own voice.

My conversations with my managers were now much more specific in nature, as I could no longer “hide” challenging, unresolved territories and issues. This sword was double edged, as it made me a better manager in addition to bringing significant pressure to respond in a timely manner.

With all this additional information and tools, our staff and sales associates were faced with facts, many of them for the first time. Some members were unable to survive this transition. Those who replaced them, along with those who persevered and survived, were now much more professional than their predecessors. We would all need to be better in this world of technology.

I soon began to adjust to the transformation of balance. Quality drives confidence. Doing so is a direct reflection of the distinction of individuals that I enjoyed working with in my organization. It is also a balance that is consistent with, and critical to, our successful business relationships in the future. Along with the changes in the balance of power comes a new balance of responsibility. With this transition, the single adjustment I looked for from my associates was their own ability to:


Before we can ask others to think like a manager we must be willing to perceive them as a manager. None of us will master our objectives without truly assuming full responsibility for our present and our future. This includes full responsibility and empowerment for the decisions relating to their business. As their manager, we continue to have every right to know their plan.

In the past, there may have been no plan. This strategy, or lack of one, will no longer suffice. Good management requires all its members to create a vision for continued growth. Without growth, there is no need for management. Without management there can be no need for anyone to manage.

This suggests that more than at any previous time, we’re in this thing together. There was a time when management’s role was to be a thorn in the side of those they managed. A lot of hand holding and babysitting is required in this form of management. This is truly old news and, in today’s world, demeaning to both parties.

As technology continues to assist us in the management of our territories, this is no place for the faint of heart. The advances in productivity alone will challenge us to produce at an even greater rate per workday than ever before.

My associates have proven the ability to do what I did twenty years ago, often better than I did. All have assumed a role that they deserve, as managers of their sales regions. This is now a fact of doing business in the twenty-first century. Those associates who choose to live in the past, abdicating power due to lack of interest or effort, will not survive. Management of dictatorship heritage will no longer retain first-rate professionals. The management/managee relationship has become, without question, a partnership.


As managers, we must continue to relinquish a portion of our power for the good of the organization, let alone our own peace of mind. In doing so, we also relinquish an equal share of the responsibility for our collective success. This certainly sounds like a good trade off to me! The balance of power is now very clear and, more so than ever in the past, it is in balance.

Personal Regards.


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2010. 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