Dear Manager,

I’ve met or worked with dozens of sales agencies nationally over the past year, and have had a clear view of their passions, pleasures, and frustrations. Having my own sales agency for nearly thirty years has assisted me in relating to their frame of reference and reality. NOW can be the time to lessen the distractions and frustrations, enhancing the pleasures and passions. Perhaps this is a recurring theme, but perhaps the need continues!

While sales agencies are certainly a group of independent thinkers, innovators, and professionals, the vast majority of how their individual businesses are orchestrated reflects amazing consistencies. What separates them, what brings each definition, is their ability to define their roles.

When I owned my sales agency, my difficult challenges always seemed to be “different,” or perhaps greater, than those of others. I’d often look enviously at my peers who, I concluded, weren’t dealing with the same intense issues as I was. I was totally wrong! I was convinced that either my approach was all wrong, that it was because I was a male manager and couldn’t relate to my all female staff, or that I occasionally couldn’t translate my objectives to my team. What I now know is that most of what we do is simply “part of the job” and “the role of the company.” Note how I differentiate the role of the manager and the role of the company. They aren’t all-inclusive, or in any fashion one and the same!

There can be a tendency for managers to confuse their role. The company as an entity has a role all unto itself; it’s stable and, much of the time, predictable. The manager’s role is fluid – ever changing – ever in transition to meet “the company’s” current needs. Consider the contrast of managing one’s self as compared to managing an organization of a dozen or dozens. Our role is in constant transition. The priority, values, and fundamentals of the company are without change.

What differentiates companies and sales agencies nationally is their ability to effectively administrate and implement the nuances of the organization’s role and its current needs. It’s all about focusing ones limited time and resources on the areas of greatest impact. It’s creating an effective culture, climate, and chemistry for your organization to rise above your competition.

If, in fact, this significant percentage of our company’s functions can be considered “rote,” shouldn’t our mission be totally focused on those areas that bring differentiation to our companies? Can’t we hire a qualified individual to manage the day-to-day, freeing us up to find fulfillment, impact, and distinction in our company? “The company’s role” can bring distraction and camouflage the priorities at hand, and over time become utterly mundane for the average professional. The excitement for most veteran managers is in the hunt, the sizzle, and the execution. Isn’t it time to bring “our highest and best use” to the organization day in, day out?


At a time when productivity and efficiencies have grown significantly, have we proceeded to squander this additional capacity by expanding our participation in minutiae? If we have, and while there would be satisfaction in blaming this on some inanimate object, place, or thing – or the company’s role – we can only blame this one on our “take charge” decision process and ourselves. It’s clearly our decision as managers to manage our time, priorities, and areas of expertise.

Some might argue, “I own a small organization and can’t afford a general manager or qualified assistant.” How can you afford NOT to? This is tantamount to suggestion that you can’t afford to hire a salesperson, a receptionist, or a computer operator. Each person with the ability to carry his or her own weight will bring the organization a corresponding return on investment. How much more revenue could you generate for your organization if you could detach yourself from many of the day-to-day oppressions?

There are those who protest, “But this is what I’ve always done within my organization, and I’ve trained everyone around me to stand clear of my duties.” Well, THIS certainly justifies a continued personal commitment to these tasks!!!! Extrication from former duties and responsibilities can be a difficult process for both you and your team. The alternative, however, has the potential to compromise the future potential of the whole. Could it be possible that some managers are personally threatened by giving up current tasks for those requiring them to grow and expand their proficiencies into new areas of expertise?

From a personal perspective, I’m the first to admit that I’m guilty of some of the above (now you can understand how I can write about it with such passion!). I see much of my former self in many of you. In some ways it may be too late for me, but it certainly isn’t for you.

Can you begin to feel the self-imposed pressures of “doing and being it all” begin to fall off your shoulders? I hope so! No one told you all this responsibility was yours; you’ve always simply been the one to pick up the slack. Well, it’s time to give back the slack.


Dedicate time in each of your days to recreate your own personal business plan, priorities, areas that bring you the most pleasure, and your “new management role.” I think you’ll find, as I did, that those areas of our business that bring us the most pleasure are often closely related to our areas of greatest expertise.

What would you consider to be the most mundane, repetitive, and least productive aspects of “the company’s” role? Do you have capable staff members to assume many of these duties? If not, consider adding or replacing members of your current staff. Once you’ve defined your new and more productive (and fulfilling) role within your company, it should be formalized.


Conduct a meeting with your staff and be candid regarding how your role has evolved, even blaming no one but yourself, and explain that it WILL change. Times have changed, priorities must be adjusted, and they must change how they perceive your “former and current self.” This is also a suitable time to carve out additional personal time for yourself, creating the balances that we all know are in your and your company’s best interests.

Failure to formalize your plan with your staff creates confusion and the tendency for everyone to fall back into the old patterns of their former roles. I would also encourage establishing “gate keepers” to assist you in your transition. Receptionists and assistants should now take a much more active role in deflecting or in assuming new responsibilities. You may wish to consider a formal announcement of your new role, and those of your key staff members, to individuals with whom you will now be working less than in the past. This should include basic job descriptions, a list of their new contact personnel, and a positive analysis of its conclusion.

It’s natural that managers see their role fall out of balance in meeting their personal and organizational needs – how could it not, with the ever-changing needs of your organization? The final, and most important aspect of this transformation, will be in your own dedication to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk. You’ll need to be vigilant in reinforcing your new role, at times turning a deaf ear to your former day-to-day administrative issues.

A few months into this transition, you’ll have recreated the model for your organization, meeting the timely needs of you and your company. I’ve seen this process work in many organizations. Its success is consistent with quality assistants and your own personal resolve to execute its global objectives. No one should want this more than you!

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2011. 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