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Berkshire | david.davies@sandler.com

In these 'Business Unusual' times the spotlight has shone directly on leadership.

Expectations are high, but change has been slow.

Too many are stuck in the preceding model of leadership. You know, the top-down, silo-driven, 'command and control' mode of thinking.

It will not cut it; if in fact it ever truly did.

In the current environment leaders need to accept that the success of their teams will rely heavily on striking a truly collaborative, sharply coordinated balance between creative strategic thinking and effective implementation.

Here are 5 steps we are seeing collaborative leaders take right now.

These steps are helping them and their teams adapt to, and thrive in, these 'Business Unusual' times we all face.

1. Sales Solves So Many Problems

Of course, we need to prioritize revenue generation. That means we want to double down on sales management.

Sandler research suggests that 43% of sales managers do not receive effective training prior to taking up the role.

32% of sales managers report that the ongoing training they do receive not effective.

That is unacceptable in normal times, but it is strategically irresponsible right now.

As organisational leaders, we need to make absolutely sure we are giving our sales managers the support they deserve, by providing them with all the training, all the tools, all of the coaching and all the support they need.

2. Open Up and Innovate.

What is your organisational mindset and corporate culture, right now?

Are you hearing phrases like, “We have never done that,” “It won’t work,” and “That didn’t work last time we tried it,”?

That kind of closed off thinking needs to be abolished.

We need to start connecting the dots, even when they seem to be completely un-related. We need to create new perspectives, view our situation through a different lens.

We need to look to, or for, alliances that we might have disregarded in the past.

For instance, business arrangements with people you once regarded as “competitors” may make more sense now. Because you each do things that are slightly different, you might collectively find that you have a better service offering in partnership.

We should be enhancing the communication between our revenue people and our product people.

Create a constant ‘closed loop’ of feedback between those who create new offerings and those who first hear the voices of the market.

Innovation rarely, if ever, happens in a vacuum.

3. Clear the Smoke.

For most people the word 'accountability' holds 'dark portents'.

You say "accountability", they hear 'I'm going to micro-manage you'.

In order to hold people accountable, you must set crystal clear expectations.

The best way to set and re-enforce expectations is to hold brief daily meetings with your direct reports.

Take the VIP approach to those daily briefings.

Victory - "What did we accomplish yesterday?"
Industry - "What are we trying to accomplish today?"
Possibility - What tools and support do we need to achieve that?
3 simple questions that will help propel all the tasks and behaviours that need to be done on a daily basis.

Success has its rewards. Failure to deliver has consequences.

Repeatable, sustainable success comes from being accountable to specific, measurable actions. Not one; all.

4. Don't Clog The Pipes.

There is a temptation, right now, to go and get the latest 'bright, shiny, objects.

If we all rush about introducing the most “up-to-date” platforms and technology possible for each of our teams, we may find that we are making it harder, not easier, to communicate and collaborate across and within the organization.

It's overkill. The learning lag alone is killing productivity. And it is a recipe for disaster when rapid change is required.

What we don’t want is to silo ourselves into micro-groups within our organization, each using a separate communication or project management platform.

Our primary goal, as leader, to make it easy for people to communicate, collaborate, across and within the organization.

'Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can'.

5. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify.

Express the following idea to your team members:

“We need to follow the ball. Whenever our goal is to do ‘X’ we need to identify the steps to make sure 'X' happens. What is step one? Step two? Step three?

We need to write that down in a playbook and then circulate that playbook to all the appropriate people.”

When there is no playbook in one of the functional areas of our business, we are basically asking Fate to take a hand.

Strike a collaborative, coordinated balance between creative strategic thinking and effective implementation.

It might be harder given the constantly changing market environments we all live in and the need to implement new initiatives frequently.

However, not impossible.

If you would like to discuss Leadership in more detail with Dave please drop us an email at david.davies@sandler.com

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