Dave Anderson is President of Learn to Lead, author of 14 books, a world-renowned speaker, and trainer, and an expert on the topic of leadership.
Dave joins Joe Gumm in the ASBN studio today to discuss the biggest challenges facing today’s managers. They explore ways to prepare your team for management roles, training your managers to lead more efficiently, long-term growth, and your staff’s ability to take their teams to the next level in 2018.
Well, if you haven’t made your resolutions or goals for 2018 just yet, this is the perfect timing. Or maybe you have made them, well you might want to change them after hearing the great content this guy’s about to share with us. He is the President of Learn to Lead, the author of 14 books, a world-renowned speaker and trainer, and an expert on the topic of leadership.
We absolutely enjoy having him on when we can and appreciate all the great content he provides for our audience. Dave Anderson, thank you once again for taking the time to join us.
Thanks so much for having me back.
Alright Dave, so what’s the biggest challenge facing today’s managers?
They don’t know how to lead. As odd as that sounds, I think the biggest challenge with people in leadership positions today, is they haven’t been trained how to lead. They don’t know how to cast vision, hold people accountable, motivate. They certainly don’t know how to hire very well. They are really good in the management aspects, the reports, the budgets, the scheduling, the technical parts of the job. But, and usually they excelled in that role, and they got promoted up into management. But all those skills I mentioned a moment ago don’t come to you in a dream one night. They can be learned and developed. And so you have a lot of managers struggling with trying to lead people because they’ve never really had some good training in how to lead.
You know, here’s what’s interesting, a lot of business leaders, the people that are doing the hiring, and this is, again, going to sound odd, they don’t know what the heck they’re doing. They’ve never had real training in how to interview anybody.
They hire people they like, they hire people with years of experience, and I just believe you’ve got to focus more on past accomplishments, than experience. That an interview should be designed to determine if the person has the traits you can’t teach them, things like character, attitude, drive, energy, talent, passion. You can’t teach those things, so you better be hiring them in.
But we hire people with long resumes, and some of these people are pretty good talkers, and we like them, without enough regard to what they’ve done, what they’ve overcome, what impact they’ve had, and do they have those essential non negotiable traits, that are highly predictive of success in any role.
Alright, Dave, this topic seems to be on everyone’s mind. On the back burner, but I guess it’s still relevant, how can managers recruit more females into the retail business, and what has to change?
The culture. I mean the culture has to change. We’re trying to recruit 2020s type of quality employees, with a 1970s schedule. 1970s culture, 1970s language, 1970s antics, 1970s throw you to the wolves, there’s no training going on, type of nonsense that we have going on. And so, your culture attracts what it is, not what it wants. And so if you have an old school, backward, beat ’em up, chew ’em up, spit ’em out type of culture, that’s what you’re going to attract.
And if you do manage to trick the right kind of person into coming to work there, they’re going to figure it out and they’re not going to stay. But if you have a culture that is anchored in values, in surrounding people with the right people, where people are empowered. Where there’s really capable leadership that can engage, it’s very engaging. Engagement is getting the emotional investment of those team members. Then, that’s what you are going to attract and retain.
If you want better people, you’ve got to change the culture. Normally, to change the culture, you’ve got to change the manager.
Well that makes total sense, Dave. Alright, so does a candidate for sales manager have to have spent time as a salesperson on the floor before he or she can be considered for a management position?
Well, you know, I think it’s preferred, it’s not required. I mean, think about the leadership skills. A lot of times we promote people from within, and they don’t have any management experience, but they know the frontline position. I would prefer to bring someone in, let’s say you have someone running a Verizon retail store, and you’re bringing them in to run a car dealership, for instance, okay.
And that person knows how to hire, they know how to motivate, they know how to cast a vision, build a team, they’re skilled at holding people accountable. I would far rather have that person with those leadership skills than the person that I promoted from the floor, that doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing when it comes to being a leader.
On the other hand, it’s preferred that they have the credibility that comes with knowing what’s going on in those people’s positions and being able to better connect and earn trust with those people at that level. So, that’s why I say it’s preferred, but not required.
And when I talk about hiring likable people, I don’t mean, just hire them because you like them, obviously, because there are a lot of likable laggards out there. Nice folks that you really don’t want running your organization. But they have to be relatable, they have to have likable qualities. Especially in sales. People buy, more likely they’ll buy, from people they like.
So, I’m looking during the interview. What type of body language, what type of eye contact. Can they relate, can they communicate, is there warmth, because you really can’t teach warmth. And warmth comes over the phone. Warmth comes certainly face to face, and so people are more likely to want to do business with people they actually like and trust. And I don’t think we give enough regard to that.
If someone is stiff, they really don’t care that much about people, it’s strange how many people we hire that really don’t like people. And so, it comes off, it shows. And so, likability, how likable are you. And there’s some things we can do to become likable, and some things we can do to become really unlikable. I think people with the right values, people with integrity are far more likable, far more believable, and so we gotta really look more closely at that likability factor.
Yeah, no doubt about that. Alright Dave, what’s more important? Compliance to the house rules, or performance?
You know, you have a lot of business leaders, managers, that as long as someone is performing really well, they don’t really hold them accountable for the values, right. They let them bend the rules and break the rules.
Listen, I don’t think it’s either or, Joe. You gotta have both, alright. Cause in my book, Unstoppable, I talk about the toxic achiever. This is the person who is a top performing, maybe the top performer, but they don’t live the values. They continually come in late, they don’t care about anybody else on the team. They’re the ones holding the meeting after the meeting, right. Spewing all the poison. You have a lot of gutless managers, unskilled managers, that don’t know how to handle this situation, that let it go on, because the person produces well. And this breaks momentum, it lowers morale, it makes people feel they’re in a less special place, and certainly destroys the leader’s credibility. So, it’s not either or.
And I’ve had people say, “Yeah, but David, if I try to hold them accountable for the values, and they don’t want to live them, and they leave, what’s going to happen?” I said, “Let them go. It’s like the trash taking itself out. Let them go.” Everyone will respect you for that decision. So, obviously, we have to have some non-negotiables, Joe. And things like being to work on time, living our values, respecting one another, those can’t be negotiable, I don’t care what you produce.
Yeah, those are obviously important things. Is trying to recruit and train good sales people as important as it was 10 to 15 years ago?
I actually think it is more important, Joe, and here’s why. With all the digital, all the technology, businesses are becoming more and more alike. And so the great differentiator is going to be the quality of that person. Okay, the information available to the customer is more vast, it’s more in depth. The products available, the services that are available are more alike, more than ever before. Everybody’s building a pretty good product, and so what’s going to be the great differentiator? The quality of that individual, alright. How well they can earn buy in, and trust, and relate to that customer.
And so I think it’s more important than ever before. And if I can elaborate on that, I’ve even had people say, “Yeah, Dave, I have a small team, we don’t have a lot of people. Do I really need to spend the time with training, and so forth. It’s just a small team.” I think small teams, you’ve got to even get better at training, you’ve got to get better at hiring, because there’s no margin for error. I mean, if you have 100 people on the team, and two of them are bad, alright, the other 98 can perfume the stench of that mediocrity.
But if you’ve got four on the team, and two of them are the wrong people, you’ve got a serious issue. So I think it’s more important than ever before.
Alright. How do you sell your sales manager, Dave on a career path forward if you know there’s absolutely no place for the manager to move up in your store?
You know, and that can be a challenge sometimes, and what I like to work on, you have a lot of people wanting to move up when they have not come anywhere near maximizing their current position. And so we need to create the training, we need to create the expectations, to where people still see, there’s a lot of room to grow within their current position. There’s a lot more money they can make. There’s a lot more impact they could have. There’s a lot more of an individual they can become, by really maximizing that current position.
In the absence of having somewhere else to move them. You really don’t have much left other than doing what I just said, and really coaching them, setting the expectations, giving them the tools they need to do more where they’re at, and to challenge them with that aspect. And reward them well for excelling within that aspect.
How often, Dave, do managers need professional training?
How often they want to get better. It’s incredible, so many businesses they train the frontline people, and they don’t train the managers. The fact is, nothing gets much better in an organization until the managers do. Because the managers are creating the culture, they’re attracting the people, developing the people, retaining the people, and so it needs to be ongoing.
An occasion seminar here and there is nice, but what are we doing in between those seminars? How are we holding them accountable? Are they getting the coaching they need. You get the managers better, everything starts to change, but they need it more often. We send them to a two day event, we think, “Oh, he’s trained. She’s trained.” And here’s the deal, Joe. Events are wonderful, they’re essential, they create adrenalin. But process creates change. So it has to be ongoing. We have to have a management training structure within our business that systematically grows people. And we’ve got to put a priority on that.
I tell people, if you have a limited training budget, train the managers first. Because you get them better, they’ll get their people better. If you’re training the people under the managers, it’s foolish, because now what you’re doing is you’re taking live eggs, you’re sticking them under dead chickens, and you’re wondering why they don’t hatch. And it’s not a good philosophy.
Not at all. Alright, so Dave, finally, you speak a lot about the power of motivation. We just wrapped up 2017, a lot of salespeople just got rewarded for having great accomplishments and accomplishing goals throughout the year. It’s a New Year now, so how do salespeople keep their troops motivated?
I’ll even peel back a little bit from there, Joe. You’ve got to hire motivated people. The best way to keep your troops motivated is to hire people who are motivated, that don’t have to be hugged and burped and wound up every day and you don’t have to give pep talks to everyday. And, so, you gotta hire people who have that drive, who have that why within their life, and they are more internally motivated.
We still want to externally motivate them, but that stuff should be nice, not necessary, right. It’s the cherry on top, it’s not the nuts and bolts. And so if you’ve got motivated people, here’s the goal, don’t screw it up and demotivate them. Alright, one of the best things to motivate people is not demotivating them. By micromanaging them, alright. By not giving them what they earn and deserve. By never giving them any positive reinforcement, only telling them what they missed. How they could have done better.
Sometimes, we have motivated people and unskilled managers demotivate them. But if you’ve got the right people, if you’re hiring people that have got something going within them, because we can’t teach drive, alright. We can draw it out, we can’t put it in. And our number one objective is, “How do I continue to do the right things and create the right structure, to where I do not demotivate this person? I don’t want to put the fire out.”
External motivation’s great, but if you rely on that, as soon as it’s gone, so is the motivation. You have to hire people who are bringing it from within, and then don’t screw it up.
Yeah. Said from a guy who is on fire, and fully motivated. Dave Anderson, President of Learn to Lead, author of 14 books, including his latest, Unstoppable, which you can get anywhere you want because all of his books are out there, especially Amazon.com. Dave, we appreciate you taking the time. We know 2018 is going to be a great year. We appreciate you being a part of it with the content you share for our audience.