Archives for October 2012
I just returned from a week-long trip that contained 3 days of intensive education for about 90 employees one of my newest customers. They are a large, regional auto parts chain that plans to grow its sales of heavy-duty truck parts. The president of this company decided that intensive education of his salesmen and managers was a critical component of his growth plan. Time will tell the truth but I think he is right.
The contents of the courses had the following attributes:
- Content created specifically for the customer’s biggest opportunities.
- Specific, detailed information that permits the student to be confident about a new topic and appear that way very quickly.
- High-quality educational materials in the form of presentations, product literature, real product to touch and feel and tools for improved effectiveness.
The results of the classes were astounding. The attendees were engaged, asked excellent questions and participated in some very good discussions. The president of the company was energized about the participation and the promise of increased sales. These attributes plus an audience who participates and wishes to improve themselves is a recipe for success.
These are some of the little things that can be added to a presentation to help the customer/student retain the information.
- Create some hands-on activities or an exercise that engages the class.
- Provide packages of USEFUL tools that help them remember and use the information.
- Provide the training material following the class so they can refer to it and continue their learning.
- Make it fun for them and for you. If you are having a good time, then your enthusiasm becomes contagious. Unfortunately, the converse is true as well.
One of the more daunting challenges of management of a product line or business unit is ensuring your near-term and long-range business plans are in harmony with each other. As Peter Drucker put it, “If a manger does not take care of the next one hundred days, there will be no next hundred years.”
The goal should be to put together long-range guidelines for your business growth. These guidelines give general guidance to the thought process for business and/or product line growth. If developed with rigor, they provide a framework into which the shorter-term projects, initiatives, promotions, etc to fit.
There will always be a trade-off between or balancing of the long-term and short-term goals. One mustn’t forsake long-term and profitable growth for short-term or immediate gratification unless the business’ dire circumstances require it for survival. Conversely, one should not be so “thoughtful” about the long-term business that current performance suffers. The manager’s individual personality and experience can have a great deal of impact on this balance/imbalance such as it may be.
This balance is something I struggle with at times in some of my endeavors. Only by forcing myself to look at the current business and asking “what should I be doing to make a difference now?” do I bring the two realms back into a profitable balance.
Ask yourself, “how do I balance the short- and long-terms?” and “am I more of a thinker/planner or a doer and how can I better balance the two sides?”.