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Posted August 13, 2010
This satisfyingly straightforward, no nonsense guide to managing sales growth in a period of economic decline belongs on the desk of every manager who is dependent on a staff of salespeople to survive. Author Tom Connellan is known as a 'tough talking and truth telling' keynote speaker for motivating managers and salespeople alike to improve the strengths they already possess - and just may not know it or not know how to maximize their strengths.
Connellan starts with a basic premise, an observation he backs up with facts: firstborn children have proven to be more successful than subsequent siblings as far as being high performers. Why? Because parental expectations, time spent with attention not divided with other children in a family unit, and the goals that initially inspired the beginning of a family are very well established on the first born. Seems like a fact we should have all expected, but it takes a mind like Connellan to use information such as this and apply it to the workplace. His postulate is that there are three 'secrets' that can be applied to bringing out the best possible performance in staff sales people. These secrets are 1. Positive expectations - communicating with staff in a non-punitive but very positive way that changes toward growth are very possible, 2. Responsibility and accountability - supportively following the progress of each employee to reassure they are taking responsibility for the goals they have set and are accountable for their successes and shortcomings, and 3. Feedback - congratulating staff when they show positive results, feedback that can been honored on many levels that make the staff feel important in the success the new level of performance the company is achieving. Connellan's postulate (or basic observation) is that the ability to be a successful achiever is not genetically determined, but instead is environmentally shaped.
The remainder of the book takes the time to explain each of these secrets and how to implement them. The style of writing is very easy to read, yet set apart by little graphic elements that 'star' the essential message up to that point. It is a solid technique for explaining a process and Collennan has it down to a science! Looking back to the front and back cover of this fast reading book reiterates that quality of the content: the back cover poses important questions for every leader and follows that question with listing the page inside the book on which the question is addressed. But even more important is the full title of this book; TURBULENT TIMES LEADERSHIP FOR SALES MANAGERS: HOW THE VERY BEST BOOST SALES. Note that the author has already placed positive expectations, responsibility and accountability, and feedback in his statement 'HOW THE VERY BEST BOOST SALES'! A tricky but very smart guy, this Tom Connellan!