….Or what gets measured gets done

I’ve been working with a business who wanted to develop the skills of their managers.  I was pleased to agree a series of outcomes and plan training to help those be achieved.

As the first day unfolded it soon became clear that this training wasn’t what was needed at all (or at least not yet!).  Managers were telling me that they saw no need for the kind of skills we were working on.  The view seemed to be “we just need to get on with our jobs and so do our staff”.


So what are their jobs?  They all have MANAGER in their job title.  Without exception they have all been  promoted from the staff teams they were in and it became clear that the reason they were promoted was where the difficulties began.  They were all ambitious and keen to get ahead in their careers which they see as being through promotion to manager.  They were also all fantastic top performing sales people who got great results when they were selling.

Guess what – now they are managers what they REALLY still want to do is SELL!

There is little recognition within the business for the skill of managing and certainly the biggest financial rewards are still given for highest sales.  Targets are about sales activities and results, meetings are about sales figures, the appraisal questions focus on sales performance….

What gets measured gets done

These managers keep on selling and view managing as an inconvenient side activity to be done as little as possible.

So where are they now?  Well we’ve begun a much more fundamental process of reviewing business processes, organisation structure, pay and rewards, career progression and company values.

It is early days yet but I am delighted that the senior management team in this business are really willing to listen and take action.  They want their business to be the best in the market, the best in the region and the place that people want to come and work.  They are keen to get it right and come out of what has been a tough two years in their industry fighting fit,  focused and strong for the future.

They recognise that strong management is essential and they are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that.  I believe they will succeed and I’m really pleased I’ll be on the journey with them.

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