Boudreaux and his wife, Mabel was having dinner together.
“Boudreaux, I have some news about Thibodeaux’s new baby. It was born today and it is a healthy little boy.”
“May, dat sure is some good news! After dinner we are goin to go over dare to introduce ourselves to their new baby. The Thibodeaux’s must be so proud.”
“Yeah, they are. But before we go I want you to know that unfortunately, the baby was born with no ears so I don’t want you to say something stupid when you see the baby for the first time. You know how you are…sometimes you can say things without thinking first. I don’t want you to say anything about that poor baby’s ears. Do you understand?!”
“Now Mabel, that hurts my heart that you tink I would do that…you know Thibodeaux is my best friend. I would never say anything to hurt their feelings.”
“I know dear, but just to be safe, not a word about anyone’s ears. Boudreaux, I mean it, nothing!”
“Yes dear. Now let’s go.”
At the Thibodeaux’s home, Boudreaux leaned over the crib and touched the baby’s hand. He looks up at Thibodeaux and his wife, “So dat’s your baby? He sure is kinda cute!”
The mother says, “Thank you, Boudreaux.” But Mabel, knowing her husband well, shoots him the evil eye.
He then says, “So dat’s your baby? Dis boy looks like he has perfect hands made for dat football and some big feet made for runnin fast. Why, I bet dat when he grows up he is goin to play football for L, S and U. Do tink he could be da quartaback Thib?”
The father was so proud, “I believe so Boudreaux. Dat would be somethin, woodn’ it.”
Mabel is getting nervous, knowing her husband is likely to say something he shouldn’t, she pulls him toward the door. “We best be get’n home Boudreaux.”
As they are leaving the room Boudreaux turns around and asks his friend, “So dat’s your baby! Did the doctor say if he can see good? You know to be da quartaback you got to see the ball.”
Thibodeaux say, “May yes indeed, the doctor said he can see 20/20.”
Stepping out the door, Boudreaux says, “It’s a damn good ting, cause he
sure won’t be able to wear any glasses!”
Boudreaux wasn’t trying to make a joke about the baby’s misfortune; he loved his best friend’s family. He would never intentionally hurt the feelings of his best friend or his wife. He, like so many of us, just doesn’t always think or understand how our thoughts, words and deeds will be received by others. In today’s world, we would say he was not very politically correct.
It can be said that we have the very same situations that happen every day in every business around the country. Leaders of large companies, small businesses and independent practices love and care about their organization’s success; they would never do or say anything to intentionally cause harm. While at the same time, that may be exactly what they are doing and in most cases, they do not have someone like Boudreaux’s caring wife who’s willing to point out their misdirection.
For over thirty years, I have been on the sales side of the Financial Services profession; a side that has undergone massive amounts of change and the section where everything begins. Throughout that time I have watched, participated or, in some cases, led the changes that we have experienced.
The biggest lesson that I have personally learned is that the human race is plagued by various types of problems and some of these problems have not changed one bit throughout the centuries. It is extremely hard for any leader to admit and correctly identify the things that must change while coping with the things that they cannot change. Successful solutionaries become very good at recognizing the difference and they learn to depend on the Wisdom of Power of Three.
As an example, every company faces the same three problems which has never and will never change; they have to hire more quality people, retain more quality people and sell more of their products or services. If and when they solve all three problems at the same time, they will have won the trifecta.
So why can’t we permanently solve these three known problems?
It is pretty simple really; sometimes the leaders, like Boudreaux, both speak and act before they think things through. There can also be the situation when they think they know better than previous leaders and / or they intentionally look for different problems to solve; unknowingly directing their teams focus away from the true problems. In essence, just like in Boudreaux’s case, the problem was not that the baby had no ears, the problem was Boudreaux. The true conclusion is that sometimes the leadership can become the problem. Oh and by the way, if you are a one man business…you are the leader and thus you may be the problem. I know because at once I was that guy.
How do we fix this?
Well first the leadership has to come to the realization that they cannot be like a jar of cold peanut butter. Have you ever tried to use cold peanut butter on a slice of bread?
Even this wonderful treat has to conform to the Wisdom of the Power of Three; it is delicious, while at the same time extremely difficult use and in the process will be very destructive. Peanut butter will look and taste wonderful even cold but when you try to use it for its main purpose, to make a sandwich, it will prove to be very difficult to spread and usually will require so much pressure to apply it will destroy the bread in the process. The best leadership of any company, group or family should realize that they can be changed by the outside forces brought about through selfish actions. When their selfish nature is not controlled their decisions will become difficult for others to deal with and destructive outcomes will take place. New hires thrive best in a smooth flowing environment for those very reasons.
Speaking about the profession that I know and love best; it is nearing a hundred years of professional status. During that time many companies have cracked the code but due to constant leadership changes, very few have been true to the solutions each and every year.
- Hire more quality people
- Retain more quality people
- Sell more of your product / service
Regardless of what some would have you believe, it is not purely a numbers game. Sure, you have to keep the activity levels high enough to satisfy the ratios provided through the Law of Large numbers but there must be an entire system in place and it must be adhered to by the key players. So before we get to the point of worrying about the numbers; the hiring managers must first know the characteristics of their ideal candidate, understand the pitfalls the candidate will be faced with and have an education, training and coaching system ready to go that focuses on solutions to those pitfalls. Once in place, this professional development system must be habitually followed.
This developmental piece of the puzzle is so important because it acknowledges that it is okay to let the wrong people go and helps you to quickly identify who they are. Even if you are a true master at hiring quality people, some of them, for a myriad of reasons, will not be able to adapt, conform, and excel in your culture but one thing is for certain; if you do not educate, train, and coach them correctly, many of the potential great ones will leave you for someone who will. I have found that ten percent of the quality candidates that you hire will fail no matter what you do. On the top side, ten percent of these people will excel no matter what you do. It is the middle eighty percent that require your the winning formula of development in order for each of you to succeed.
To implement this award winning combo you have to have the buy in of the key people; senior leadership because they have to provide the means to pay for it, the field managers because they are the ones that have to transfer their skills while monitoring the activity that will eventually create the successful habits and finally the new hires because they are the ones that have to be educated, trained and coached. What helps in fostering this team’s buy-in-attitude is the fact that when you are hiring sales people who are paid according to their sales; the more they sell, the more money they make, and the longer they will work for you. Income is the number one reason sales people stay on the job and adequate sales is the number one reason why companies grow and thrive.
Where can you find a professional development program like the one I am describing?
The American College of Financial Services has just the ticket. Their Financial Service Certified Professional (FSCP®) credential curriculum; when delivered appropriately can increase production over forty percent during each of the six, eight week courses.
With this single training system, a company or firm can solve multiple problems while also increasing production during the implantation stage. This is unheard of in most training programs. Usually the return on investment happens later down the line, once the producer is finish the coursework. The beauty of this design is that the sales are expected during the program study period, they begin to accumulate during the coursework and continue throughout the producer’s career.
Another big stumbling block to developing quality producers is to do so without burning out your sales managers. The FSCP® allows companies to develop a system to better educate their new managers and revitalize seasoned managers on a broad level of knowledge; training them in the art of teaching complex topics in simple terms, how to monitor activity levels and how to transfer skills without actually making the sale for the new producer. A key component of the delivery of this system is the easy to follow moderator’s guide that allows your new managers to learn and sharpen their skills while being an effective team leader. Sadly, many times we promote a sales manager because they were a high producer but the skills that made them a winning producer are not the same skills needed to transfer sales skills to others. When a company applies this new agent training system, conveyed by the sales manager, they are, in essence, training both the producer and their manager at the same time and at no additional cost. This becomes a very effective delivery system.
The biggest problem that this solution solves is the main reason people fail…they never establish the right habits due to lack of effective coaching. With the sales and activity projects inserted throughout the program, the manager and the producer are educated, trained and coached all at the same time to focus on the key drivers of sales. To complete the program requires forty eight to fifty weeks providing almost a full year of activity. Psychologists tell us it take eighteen to twenty one repetitions to develop a habit. This program delivers that requirement hands down.
I can speak so vividly about this program because it was this system that made me an award winning producer, a consistent top five finisher in sales management and a confident leader of sales teams. I am a believer because I thrived by the results of this program. It works by solving your problems and it provides an enduring fix year after year.
Here are a few more thoughts to ponder:
Never make things harder than they need to be.
Look for that wonderful moment of experience, when you finally realize that the things you could not change…changed you!
So that’s your baby!
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”