This week I thought I would share with my reader’s one chapter from my new book:  SLAMMED!!! For New Sales Managers.

When employees feel that the company’s president and its management team are in alignment, a natural energy will begin to filter throughout the organization

Over our many years of consulting, we’ve developed the following list of traits and values that characterize successful companies:

  • Corporate culture is deep and consistent.
  • Business strategies come first.
  • Effectiveness in business development is essential.
  • Best practices are consistent regardless of industry.
  • Sales is a corporate priority.
  • Structured process is key to success.
  • Teamwork prevails.
  • Training and recruitment are viewed as critically important.
  • Corporate image and branding are also viewed as important.
  • Compensation is linked to corporate objectives.

Please note that these traits aren’t necessary listed in order of priority.

Want to assess how your own company stacks up against these characteristics? Simply “grade” your organization on how well it does in each area, using a scale of 1 to 5 (where 5 is the highest). That will give you a quick snapshot of its strengths and weaknesses.

We’ve found that the most successful organizations—those that are accelerating in growth and profits—share two things: Strong leaders and high levels of motivation.

Many books have been written on leadership’s impact on organizations. (As an aside, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s book, simply titled “Leadership” (Hyperion, 2002), speaks about his efforts to improve New York City but offers lessons that can be applied to everyday business. It’s a quick read; I highly recommend it.)

If there’s one thing that’s clear about leadership, it’s this: Successful leaders have both a vision and a passion for their business. Without those two elements, individuals and their organizations will drift and be captive to the marketplace.

One widespread definition of leadership speaks to this clearly, describing leadership as “the ability to make things happen by encouraging and channeling contributions of others, taking a stand on and addressing important issues and acting as a catalyst for change and continuous improvement.” (In contrast, another common definition describes management as “the skill of attaining predefined objectives with and through the voluntary cooperation and effort of other people.” You can see the difference.)

Leaders stand out by giving others their vision, creating hope, sharing success, addressing the issues that need to changed, holding people accountable and being focused on making everything work more effectively both for their employees and for their customers. When employees feel that the company’s president and its management team are in alignment, a natural energy will begin to filter throughout the organization. The resulting sense of purpose will carry a winning attitude into the marketplace.

We believe it’s the leader’s responsibility to actively maintain the organization’s vision by focusing on the concept of belief. By that, we mean belief in what your organization does, why it’s the best in your market and why everyone in it must work together toward common goals. You must constantly reinforce this focus.

One tactic for accomplishing that task is holding monthly employee meetings where company leaders have an opportunity to voice their messages, reinforce their organization’s value propositions, move toward the desired culture and establish an environment where everyone feels the presence of leadership. At these meetings, all managers should speak about pride in their organizations and express thanks to other departments for supporting their efforts.

Once you’ve established an organizational vision, the next step in motivating people is helping them feel that they’re contributing to the organization’s success. To do this, create an atmosphere of accomplishment. Here’s how:

1. Define specific objectives for everyone in the organization.

2. Establish accountability by holding each employee accountable for achieving those objectives.

3. Provide recognition to employees who exceed those objectives.

Ultimately, leaders must carefully balance the approaches of building employee belief and requiring employee accountability to lead to what we call “aligning the soul of the individual with the goals of the organization.” When employees believe in the company’s vision and its potential to positively impact their lives and help them achieve their goals, that’s when real motivation will occur.


About the author

Ken Thoreson

Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the…

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