Archive for the 'Sales Staff' Category

“The Differences Between an Independent versus a Dependent Personality Type and its Impact for Management” Vol. XCIX

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Dear Manager,

Have you ever considered the difference between the dependent and independent personality types found in your organization?  Having primarily worked with self-employed contractors over the years – relatively independent souls by nature – I have a distinct affection for their thought process over the alternative.  Certainly, not all who are self-employed are independent thinkers, no more than all employees are dependent thinkers.  Their contrast to one another, however, brings a vastly different set of perspectives and priorities to an organization.

As young children, we are totally dependent on our parent or guardian.   If they don’t provide the food, we don’t eat!  That first taste of “dependent independence” comes in our teenage years, with a bit more flexibility in schedule and modes of transportation.  Remember the insatiable appetite for additional freedoms, and what we perceived at the time to be “our independence?!”  By the time college comes around, we can hardly wait for “total independence.”   Oops, wait a minute.  Can we financially and emotionally support this new level of authentic independence?  As I recall, that was an issue I didn’t want to discuss around the dinner table!

While finding independence from parents is likely (we’re all adults by now!), does this automatically suggest one is authentically independent?  I would say no.


At some point, one of these adults will find their way to our doorstep.  Convincing us that they can provide a positive impact and experience for our companies, they will be hired.  What remains to be seen is whether they will become a dependent drain, or an independent resource, for our company.

While we should be able to assume that an adult would have become independent by now, think twice, no, three times about this assumption.  It is possible that, as managers, we have simply taken on the parenting role for a dependent few.

There is a percentage of our culture that never fully assumes complete financial and emotional independence.  I am not speaking of those who need government care in order to find a degree of independence in their lives.  I’m talking about Joe and Betty employee, the few who have simply never been willing to accept their role and responsibility in life.  These individuals would never admit to being a dependent personality type and, in fact, would argue strongly with those who suggested otherwise.  These are the individuals that drain management’s vital time and resources.


I can’t think of a single instance where I have “owed” a person in my employment.  If I haven’t borrowed anything from my employees, how can I possibly “owe them” anything?  Certainly they deserve respect, a safe and productive working environment, and to be paid the negotiated wage.  Some have deserved significant compensation and severance for a job very well done.  To deserve suggests choice, owing can only suggest obligation.     

I find nothing more disconcerting than to hear someone complain about an employer or job.  On more than one occasion I have thought, “is someone holding a gun to your head in order that you work for this employer?”  I don’t understand a thought process that suggests the government, ones employer, ones school, let alone ones parents, owes them anything!  While there are certainly legal and ethical rights, the word OWE in this context has taken on new meaning and life of its own. 


With authentic independence comes the realization that if we were involved, and if fault is an issue, we must always share in the end result.  We cannot have selective participation in only life’s up side.  If we have chosen an environment, made a commitment, or been a willing participant, in the vast majority of cases we were in a position to have chosen in our own participation or to have shaped the outcome.

Have you noticed how often people get duped in some form, only to turn around and blame the “duper?”  Be it a quick fix, easy money, a shortsighted decision, or poor evaluation, we must share in the eventual consequence.  Those with a dependent personality find it very difficult to accept this.  (Tell me again how it’s McDonald’s fault you’re overweight?)

We are fully accountable and fully responsible for all outcomes in our life, with the exception of an act of God.  I guess blaming Him wouldn’t help much either.

Think about the people who make excuses and complain about a bad day or a bad life.  What they don’t realize is that all of us, in order to find any sense of success and independence, have endured frustrating circumstances.  Are they looking for sympathy?  The second-to-last thing I want to do is bore people with my day-to-day aggravations.  The last thing I need to hear about is theirs.   Now, present me with an opportunity to discuss circumstances that can create a positive outcome and solution, and I am eager to assist.

There is value in understanding this element of our culture.  Experience has taught me that this limited group of chronically dependent individuals has little sustaining value for most managers.  I believe we have a responsibility to our organizations to eliminate this draining influence.  While often difficult, we have a moral and fiduciary obligation to do so.  The bottom of the barrel never gets any fresher.

As managers, we work with very limited resources, and economically we have a very limited number of positions for key people within our organization.  We cannot afford to sacrifice even one of these positions for an individual who is mired in their own, and often self-defeating, agenda.  We all know that a single individual can poison our companies’ momentum, and the independent and responsible personalities that we cherish.


Personal Regards,



INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2013.  Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM

“A Reasonable Balance between Perfection, Expectations and Reality” Vol. XCVIII

Consulting Strategies, Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Sales, Sales Management Abundancy, Sales Staff, Sales Strategies, Uncategorized No Comments »



Dear Manager,

I believe we all strive daily for the highest level of performance, both for ourselves and for those we manage.  If you are anything like me, there is a desire to reach for perfection in the hope that the final result might come close!  Too many of us have “expected” perfection only to be disappointed by a less than perfect world.  Although I finally gave up trying to achieve perfection decades ago, the ongoing search and the subsequent benefits continue to reward. 

I was recently working with a client – a perfectionist by nature – who was completely frustrated with sustaining time lines in her Product Development department.  She had established these time lines in order to insure her products would get to market well ahead of their selling season; her performance evaluations would be based on her ability to meet these schedules.  As is common, there were diverse parties and factors influencing the outcome, with priorities that sometimes varied from her own.

Meeting marketing time lines comes as close as there is to having to find perfection.  Customers (not to mention Christmas) won’t wait for you to get your act together.  Our discussions revolved around having the ability to impact those areas over which you have some control.  If you have a huge rock in your path, you must find a way within your control to get around it; the rock is not going to move, nor can you let it stop you.

So, if we accept that perfection will not happen, we can strategize around it.  My client and I discussed the possibility of asking for greater input in defining her timelines, knowing full well when her drop-dead dates were.  In anticipation of resistance and misfortune, the plan included backing up the dates to a time line that would insure success.  No one needed to know the absolute drop-dead date other than her.  The “soft dates” would become, for all intents and purposes, her published time lines.


The initial challenge this individual encountered was that her predecessor had not created any degree of urgency or accountability in this process.  Having failed to do so, this individual had very effectively trained her partners to believe that they had no personal ownership in the outcome.  This is also very likely why this individual had been replaced!


The objective then became searching for progress with each and every obstacle, as compared to perfection.  She would begin by meeting with members influencing her time line, ask for their input, and share her appreciation for their support.  She would then ask what they thought would be “reasonable” for her to expect with regards to her schedule. If they were in her shoes, how would they proceed?   She also had to determine if they were indeed committed to their participation, and determine a completion date that would be workable for all parties.  She then wrote down the date of the meeting, their commitment, and the date agreed upon.  A copy would be given to each person for future reference.

Back at her desk, a calendar was established with all the dates that had been committed to.  Additionally, she noted dates on which to contact these individuals for a status update.  In each case, she would reference their prior meeting, and the agreed to time line.  Was she being a “nudge?”  Probably, but she was also taking much greater control of her own destiny.

Once the ground rules had been established, her team began to understand that she was absolutely serious, conscientious, and committed to their collective success.  They also realized they did not want to be the one person who fell short of their commitment.  A winner is born!


My wife and worked on the restoration of an early 1900’s apartment building.  It was a wonderful project with many surprises and even greater potential rewards. We’d done other restoration projects, yet nothing of this magnitude.  As general contractor, I worked on the design, city code, bid process, purchasing, and staging, with over fifty independent contractors.  If there was any doubt about where the word chaos was coined, it had to have been on this type of project!

It can be a matter of orchestrating a diverse group of pieces, players, and parts, into a semblance of cohesion.  In a compacted time line, the process becomes an ebb and flow of forward and stalled motion.  My wife is convinced that our experience in staging trades shows is what  saved the day.  (Thank goodness someone was paying attention to our trade shows!)

If just one piece of the puzzle falls out of place, it quickly impacts the next three stages of the process.  I began to realize early on there could truly be no sense of confidence in meeting even reasonable expectations and time lines.  This said, I have also learned a great deal about how to quickly shift and find flexibility in the development process.


With perfection seemingly out the window, it was time to plan a workable strategy. If I could expect challenges on a daily basis (a proven fact), how could the process be staged in such a way as to anticipate and prepare for these obstacles? We certainly weren’t going to head home at midday whenever “an issue” arose.

The objective became to create as many as three workable options in staging contractors, finding parts, or actually completing the specific work.  Fortunately, my lead contractor is someone I had worked with for years on other projects, and I am proud to say that we only “had words” once during the entire process!  His patience with me, consistently sharing appreciation to all the players, and their collective willingness to overcome obstacles – to be flexible – made all the difference.

The final weeks of the project produced results that exceeded our wildest expectations … and was only a tad off budget. While my wife and I had labored over the smallest of details (seemingly thousands of them), success has been in the ability of the team to implement our collective vision.

Never underestimate the potential of a group of professionals with a single purpose.  So, how did they ever complete The Panama Canal?


Personal Regards,



 INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2013.  Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM

“Of Course Patience Will Both Challenge and Reward Us as Managers,” Vol. XCVII

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Dear Manager,

A very real challenge for experienced managers (let alone those of us qualified for subscriptions to Modern Maturity) is patience.  I know my own patience threshold, if left unchecked, is significantly less than it once was. 

My personal assessment suggests that a combination of factors impact our ability to find patience in the hectic lives we lead.  Failure to exhibit a dose of patience on a regular basis will only serve to negatively impact us personally, professionally, and possibly even medically.


Society today seems a bit less patient be it terrorism, war a difficult economy or just the much faster pace that we find in all our lives.  Patience would suggest a level of satisfaction and acceptance in the most simple of pleasures let alone surviving a traffic jam on Friday afternoon.  We have all seen the speeding driver who is destined to arrive five minutes before we do.  What could possibly motivate the urgency and these five minutes?  Ultimately left unchecked “the crankies” are likely to set in for a time.  Now won’t that be fun for those we work with let alone those whom we are devoted to at home.

I believe one of the greatest losses for patience with maturity is the self perception that we have “seen it all.”  While not true, I’m here to tell you it can sure seem that way on occasion.  How could this knucklehead try to pull this stunt, is he fresh off the planet of Zubadar?  Tell me this has never crossed your mind!


Our challenge as it relates to patience is in our failure or lack of desire to forgo judgment of others.  It becomes increasingly “convenient” to pass judgment upon others based upon our own frame of reference and the experiences factors that have established our own foundation of base values.  Obviously no one can possibly have the benefit of our experiences let alone expertise as if they were their own!  We may see an individual perform a task in such a way that we also would have done so similarly earlier in our lives.  We have now learned that this similar approach could not, will not work.  We know this to be true, but it may or may not be our position to now right our own former wrong.  If in fact you at one time approached this scenario similarly, how can we possibly pass judgment, failing to be patient in this very similar situation?


I have been involved in board and executive meetings where I have clearly deferred to others in those areas of consideration for which I have little or no experience.  Obviously the experience and input of others should carry the stage.  One of these areas was often financial and auditing issues.  I had little or no valuable input and clearly suggested so.

On other occasions financial people would involve themselves heavily into the sales and marketing areas for consideration.  There were instances when it was clear the meetings direction was in direct conflict to what every fiber of my body suggested could possibly find success.  This is where diplomacy and patience must rule!  We have all been here; we have all fidgeted in our chairs.  How does one possibly sit still when the iceberg is in full view but seemingly can only be seen by you?  If this isn’t the ultimate test of patience, I don’t know what is.


I find this example and lack of patience to be my own greatest challenge.  Managers devote their lives to finding and nurturing success.  While not always accomplished, it comes with greater and greater frequency for the seasoned manager.  We know our areas of strength, we avoid the alligators we chase the doves. 

The targets become much larger the opportunities become much more realistic.   A kid in the candy store mentality begins to consume us with potential.  Yes we want all the candy we can possibly hold and maybe just one piece more.  There have been times when patience was required not just in the form of days and weeks but in the form of years.  On reflection these were also some of the greatest lessons learned, regardless of my patience in the process.


I’m not sure if further discussion is required, so I won’t.


… accepting the frame of reference of others. I have known individuals who speak in what would seem to be a very different language.  While I consider myself mostly computer literate, this continues to develop at a fairly elementary pace.  I will sit down with a tech person, and it can become almost comical.  Their frame of reference is so much more sophisticated to my own, that most of the basics that I am looking to absorb is lost in their fourth generation examples.  They may leave without a clue to the fact they have provided me with less than 20% of the meetings potential.  I’m sure that they think I am some kind of moron.  Have I done the same to others as it may relate to meeting their fundamental needs and meeting the potential for mutual success?  There is no question that I have failed others in the past.


We can all appreciate the truth in this old axiom.  Having said so I have also known individuals who have “patienced” themselves right into mediocrity.  You can begin to understand my challenges in finding the correct balance between patience and boredom. 

There is middle ground that all of us must find if we are to be the most effective manager we can become.  Is there a simple formula; if you have found one I beseech you to contact me.  I would certainly not want my patience to run out.


Personal Regards,



INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2013.  Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM


Management Rewards, Management Strategies, Sales Staff, Sales Strategies No Comments »


Dear Manager,

With this month’s issue I’d like to try to tackle something that’s bedeviled me for many years. While I’ve made progress, I’ve never been fully satisfied with its current state, and perhaps never will. The battle continues.

I believe most of us hold a high standard of “professional performance” for ourselves and for those with whom we come in contact. Certainly this has paved the way for our current success. What some call high standards, others see as being a “perfectionist.” Duty is in the eye of the beholder.

I learned years ago that within the context of our greatest strength are elements holding equal potential to exhibit our greatest weakness. This weakness is found in the potential for excess. Similar to the “candy bar” phenomenon, if one bar tastes good, just imagine how much better two must taste! Over a period of time, as we continue to escalate our standards of productivity both personally and organizationally, there may not be enough candy bars in the pantry to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Personal Perfection

In a practical world, the reality of perfection exists only in our dreams. I made this most difficult realization a number of years ago. Each of my days was begun with a very high degree of anticipation for fulfilling or exceeding my expectations, not only for the day, but also for the month and year. When I got close to my goals, I’d raise the bar, for surely my expectations were too low. I must have underestimated my own potential. It finally dawned on me that, “This is never going to be achieved on an ongoing basis!”

Along with my perfectionist’s dream world came the reality of heightened frustration. I’d consistently head home feeling as if each day had failed to meet my high standards. If this sounds familiar, proceed. If not, I greatly admire you and you can now skip to the next section.

My resolution to adjust came with the understanding and acceptance that I simply couldn’t move forward with this rigid perspective because it was based on a fallacy. What I also realized was that these high standards, effectively monitored, can also be a great advantage. By sustaining high goals, even with their predestined failure, I’d provided the foundation for what success I’d already achieved. Certainly we can all lower the bar – not the candy bar – of expectations, achieving our objectives by noon, just in time for a round of golf.

By holding a high standard, my 80% fulfillment effectively made me that much more productive. Rather than lowering my expectations, I created a new approach, almost like a game or competition with myself, to see just how much I could accomplish. As with any competition, some days I’d win, some days I wouldn’t. The personal challenge became the motivation, win or lose.

I’ve always felt most productive when my plate is full. It’s amazing how easy it is to putter through a slow day, accomplishing very little. Optimum performance can only be achieved with a full and challenging schedule. This is when I developed the rhythms of my day, finding the most fulfillment. While the “unexpected encounter” always loomed, on balance I’d finally found the vehicle that met my expectations.

Now, rather than pressure, I enjoyed the contest because it was a competition I couldn’t lose. Fulfillment came much more often, while still maintaining similar expectations; they’d just become more productive. If our own professional perfection can’t exist, at least on this scale, we can easily surmise that it can’t exist in our expectation of others. With perfection out the window, then, what can we ask our team members to strive for?

Peak Performance

Defining the “best performance” of others would certainly be considered very subjective. I’ll never forget hiring an additional person to provide support for my “finely tuned machine” of a data entry department. Within days, this new individual had literally revolutionized my perception of peak performance in her area of expertise. By month’s end, I’d reduced staffing in this department making this individual my shining star. Ten years later, even after my company’s significant growth, this individual continued to control a huge percentage of this vital function, just as she continues to do for my former agency. Thanks Traci.

As managers, we can never completely understand or assimilate peak performance until it’s become fully exhibited, comprehended, and established. Time and again I’d find myself astonished by a salesperson’s performance when I was convinced they couldn’t effectively compete with their predecessor (to include my own former sales territory!) This single reality suggested to me as a manager: never underestimate, never accept a standard of anything less than the potential available only in peak performance.

Are we ever going to achieve peak performance across the lines of our organizational team? Probably not, but this shouldn’t diminish our vision with each hire, with each staff evaluation, of realistically establishing this standard as our legitimate goal.

Progress versus Perfection

There are secondary professional relationships where we have much less control over peak (let alone perfection) performance, because we don’t have a primary role in the ultimate outcome and the collective potential for growth. Examples would include a consultative relationship, a client, or a relationship with a vendor. In essence, a professional relationship that holds opportunity in some form.

Clearly we can’t hold these individuals to a standard consistent with those maintained for our staff. We simply aren’t “their boss.” I’ve maintained a number of these relationships over the years. While often very fulfilling – and sometimes less so – they too must maintain a minimum standard of performance that provides tangible value to all parties. This minimal standard can and should be quantified as progress.

You might be amazed at the number of business relationships that can’t sustain this basic standard of coexistence. This is the minimum standard! Management should walk away from any relationship that can’t support this reasonable objective. Progress is quantifiable; progress sustains interest, anticipation, and the potential for future growth. Anything less and realistically there’s no professional relationship to protect.

We can’t always sustain a standard of peak performance from all of those with whom we come in professional contact. We can expect a commitment to progress in each and every professional relationship we maintain, including the professional relationship we have with ourselves.

Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2012. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM