Friday, August 10, 2007

In praise of praise

For the last year, I have been coaching some of the principals in a manufacturing business just outside Toronto. Recently we engineered a change in sales management: a junior salesperson who seems to have his act together took over as sales director. (To make room, the incumbent is moving more into marketing.)

This was a bit of a gamble, intended to shake up the sales team. The new director is quite young and new to the business. I was confident he could do the job, but not certain.

Until yesterday, when I met with the new guy for a debrief. I found that he’s structuring more regular meetings with sales staff, setting new targets and devising new incentives. All based on instinct.

So I asked, “What do you think is the key difference in approach between you and your predecessor?”

His answer made me smile. “Where he would harangue and complain, I support them and praise them.”

I think he is going to work out just fine.

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