This weekend I was heading outside to mow the grass. My 3-year old son looks at me and asks if he can mow with me. As a father who wants to teach his kid how to do things, this is a great question. As a guy who wants to get the yard work done quickly, this is a bad thing. So I tell Carter to put his socks and shoes on and let’s go mow the grass. I get the lawnmower started and Carter stands in front of me and grabs hold of the handle of the lawnmower and off we go…slowly. (Yes Grandmothers we were very safe and very careful). As I was mowing with him, my mind began to wonder as it does often when I mow the grass. I was thinking about my son and how I hoped an event like today would leave a lasting memory in his mind. I remember working in the yard with my dad, I remember fondly the first time my dad let me mow the yard by myself. Carter is not at that stage yet, but I pray that he will still want to mow grass as he gets older. I remember my dad teaching me the fine art of mowing in straight lines and making sure you overlap the mower onto the already cut section to make sure you did not get any “loose hairs.” I remember looking fondly over the yard when I was done and admiring the good work I had done.
In today’s hustle and bustle and overpacked schedules, it is so easy to want to do it myself and get my yard work done so we can go on to the next task. But on Saturday, I was glad that I took the extra time to let Carter mow with me. He loved helping me carry the grass clippings out to be dumped and when we got done, he was so proud of the work that he did.
As we prepare for Father’s day this coming Sunday, my mind wandered a bit further and thought how can the job of a father be compared to that of a sales manager? I am a little bit bias but all three of my kids are very smart (They got it from their mommy). They seem to learn things very quickly on their own. I did not have to teach Carter how to walk with a mower, he learned that with his Fisher Price Lawnmower, my job is to instill in him a desire to want to do it, want to have a well-maintained yard and to take the time to do it right. As a sales manager, many of your sales professionals know how to sell, they know how to take an opportunity through all of the steps in the sales process. Your job is to tap into the motivations of each sales rep and help them find the desire to want to do more, to take pride in working for the benefit of the client and to help them do it right. For each sales rep, just like children in each stage of their lives, your role as the sales manager changes. You need to move from showing them how to do it to showing them some of the fine arts of selling. You need to move from rewarding them for doing something to helping them find the internal motivation to do it without being told.
So to all of the fathers out there. Keep showing your children the ways of the world, keep teaching the value of hard work and doing things the right way. To all of the sales managers take time to work on the fine details of the sales profession, focus on the individual motivations of each of your reps and help them become the best sales professional they can become.
I will leave you with this quote from William Shakespeare: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” Taking a little bit of creative license: It is a wise manager that knows his own reps.