Thank God It's Monday™ e-zine by Roxanne Emmerich
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Issue: 95
September 13, 2010
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Dear Roxanne,
I've recently been promoted to departmental manager and I want to get this right, but there seem to be so many directions to go. What are the most important things for me to focus on?

-- Dan B.

Dear Dan,
My heart swells just to hear that question ASKED! Too many new managers just plow ahead, following orders issued from above and solving crises down below. The key is to become an agent of transformation. A recent study laid out the essence of what you need to do. I'll bring it to you in this week's column. I hope it helps!

--Roxanne

Do you have a question about how to handle a situation or a relationship in the workplace? Ask Roxanne!

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A Winning Focus for Frontline Managers

Would you like to make a small change that could make a big bottom line difference?

Most of the companies that approached us for a performance transformation were already in the top 10 percent of peer group performers when we started working with them. They knew there was much more potential, and they wanted to seize it quickly.

But every once in a while, we take on a serious turnaround case--and that's where the learning happens.

What's the biggest difference between the two groups?

When a company is not thriving, one bottleneck is more predictable than any other: middle management has no idea how to make the strategy happen. As a result, they're sinking in quicksand.

It's not that they don't try. They're nice people--but they are often woefully unskilled at how to manage people or processes. They remain technicians with a management title with no concept of how to think strategically, set expectations, and coach higher performance from their people.

A recent McKinsey report has shown that "empowering frontline managers to make decisions, anticipate problems, and coach their direct reports (rather than simply following and giving orders and solving crises) generates higher productivity and other benefits. However, the results of this survey indicate that most companies do not enable frontline management to focus on the right priorities and become more productive." Respondents say the most common role for frontline managers consists merely of "performing assigned tasks, identifying and fixing problems, and successfully confronting unexpected, everyday challenges or crises as they arise."

"Only 11 percent say their companies' frontline-management roles are structured so that managers focus on coaching and developing their direct reports."

They found that "while frontline employees receive extensive training and development, their managers--who may have had no previous experience leading others--do not. At all levels, executives believe that the little training they do receive fails to prepare them to take on leadership roles successfully."

If processes and people aren't managed, no amount of strategy adjustment, cost cuts, and marketing investment will do you much good.

Of course, the first thing to be cut when budgets are tight is education. In the process, low-performing companies cut the highest potential ROI line item right when it is most needed––a virtual guarantee that they will remain low-performing companies. And those that do continue to train often limit it to frontline training.

High-performing organizations know that to win, you must have great execution. Great execution requires managers to be adequately educated on how to manage sales and marketing processes, operating efficiencies, and the performance of each direct report.

Without that education, most managers after promotion stay in the role of technician. They're still just "doing the work" as opposed to getting exponential results for their departments by bringing up the effectiveness of their team through setting expectations, coaching, celebrating, and other key management roles.

One competitive advantage improves results more than any other--educating middle managers on how to lead. It's the key to being extraordinary.

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Three Keys to Effective Management on the Frontline

The McKinsey study zeroes in on three keys to success in middle management:

  1. Decision making authority. If the frontline manager has to run to Papa every time a decision needs making, productivity goes out the window.
  2. Ability to anticipate problems. Great leadership requires the ability to see what's coming and to plan accordingly.
  3. Willingness to coach direct reports. Great leaders are great teachers.

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Roxanne Recommends

Switched-On Selling

Switched-On SellingImagine how great it would be if you could think like the best salespeople of all time! Did you know that it’s possible to re-wire your brain so you can easily make cold and warm calls, answer questions, ask for the order--and get it, and even handle rejection--all without losing any momentum!

My friends, Jerry V. Teplitz, JD, PhD and Tony Alessandra, PhD, have just released a great cutting edge book that will have a huge impact on your profitability called Switched-On Selling™: Balance Your Brain For Sales Success. Be prepared for some life-changing synergy now that these two master sales gurus have come together to guide you to greater success. Jerry’s expertise is in re-educating your selling brain while Tony shares his proven sales techniques and strategies (he’s written 20 books). It’s a powerful combination that will immediately switch you on!

Mark your calendars to start the process and discover how you can apply this information to change your bottom-line results. Go to http://book.switchedonselling.com this Wednesday, September 15th and get your copy.

P.S. NY Times best-belling author, Ivan Misner, had this to say about Switched-On Selling--"No other sales book I’ve seen gets to the core of what drives real results more powerfully than this one. The concept of Switched-On Selling™ is brilliantly cutting-edge; Teplitz and Alessandra have combined proven scientific research with their years of experience in sales mastery to produce a book that is in a league of its own."

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If you are in frontline leadership, find ways to focus on those three principles in your own leadership development plan.
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