“Sales & Marketing Leadership Competencies”….2014 MUST HAVES!


Let me just state upfront I’m a HUGE “Position Competency” supporter, fan, and cheerleader. During this time of year many companies are starting the year-end performance review process with their employees….probably the year’s most stressful time in corporate America. There are companies that do an absolutely fantastic job in evaluating the yearly performance of their employees because of a system called “Competency Modeling” that’s followed throughout the entire year. One of the challenges of measuring let’s say the performance of a VP of Sales after a year, is the tendency to only look at year-end profit or sales that that VP of sales was responsible for….and quite frankly this should be a critical guideline. However, too often what typically happens is that there is a critical miss of additional data points that should be taken into consideration along with sales results in order to have a complete/thorough assessment of that VP of Sales’ year-end performance. Just to be clear I do NOT budge from the notion that year-end sales results don’t matter on the contrary when you don’t sell…..you have BIG PROBLEMS. What I’m “Selling” to you is there are additional parameters based on overall competencies of the job that also should dictate ones performance, which I’ve highlighted below at end of this post.

We often hear these 2 buzz words in corporate America “Succession Planning”, and being a child from corporate America I can tell you “Succession Planning” is wildly interpreted differently depending on the company. In some companies “Succession Planning” means “Favoritism”, “Nepotism”, Menteeism”, and all the “ism’s” you can think of rather than….COMPETENCY or PERFORMANCE. Yeah, you can probably sense a little of consternation in my tone but interestingly I’ve benefited and been on the short end on the various forms of “Succession Planning” so I can relate to both sides. Make no mistake it’s sometimes a challenge to evaluate year-end performance of an employee especially if you “personally” like them….and therein lays a big problem I see today. I’ve actually literally had a sales director almost do cartwheels before me singing the praises of his sales rep trying to convince me that the rep’s poor sales performance wasn’t indicative of their skill level and that it was due to unforeseen circumstances…..seriously. This sales director was so blinded by his over the top affection for this rep that he could not be objective in his evaluation, when I completed his evaluation I made note of this. Having structured and thorough “Competencies” in place would have avoided this subjective evaluation and provided a sound “coaching tool” for the sales rep.

The reason why this subject is SO IMPORTANT going into next year is that we as corporate leaders have to do a better job evaluating, placing, and hiring those folks who have the measured skilled competencies in place, and avoid making bad decisions based on subjective/non-scientific approaches. Now, I’m not inhuman to think that “Gut Feelings”/”Sub consciousness Thinking” don’t have merit (THEY ABSOULUTELY DO) sometimes that little person on your left shoulder is right. All I’m saying is do your due diligence in making the best informed decision when providing that top performance rating, awarding that lucrative promotion, or hiring that perceived “Superstar”.

Below, I provide some areas to review after you’ve obtained 2013 year-end sales/profit results:

Competencies To Review:

1. Sets Strategy and Direction
a) Creates and communicates a clear, shared vision for the future consistent with the values and mission of Company X.
b) Leads and promotes customer-focused strategies, and ensures strategic imperatives are transformed into actionable business plans.
c) Maintains a balanced perspective between short- and long-term priorities.
d) Manages the dynamic tension between stretch goals and realistic plans.
e) Adapts quickly to new situations and changes in broader business. environment.

2. Fosters Innovation and Continuous Improvement
a) Quickly assembles information and leverages the diversity of others’ experience, backgrounds, and expertise when problem solving.
b) Develops new insights and formulates innovative solutions by analyzing, synthesizing, and integrating data and information in the context of overall goals and objectives.
c) Encourages and promotes creative problem-solving and breakthrough ideas, development of new systems, programs, and processes.

3. Manages Business Complexity
a) Makes timely, insightful decisions based on the best information available, and takes effective action incorporating reasoned risk-taking.
b) Establishes and ensures adherence to corporate guidelines and processes within and across functions while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit. spirit.
c) Plans for growth and expansion, and acts as a catalyst for positive, constructive change.

4. Inspires and Motivates
a) Communicates with optimism, compassion, and sincerity across all levels. Creates energy, excitement, and personal investment in others.
b) Instills a sense of urgency, focus, and optimism; even under adversity.
c) Builds a culture of confidence, loyalty, and enthusiasm through constant training, development, support, reward, promotion, and individual consideration.

5. Drives Performance
a) Sets clear and challenging expectations and holds self and others accountable for meeting or exceeding them. Consistently delivers on commitments.
b) Develops and applies new and unique methods and thinking to executing plans and strategies.
c) Continues to drive performance until objectives are met – does not back down in the face of adversity or obstacles.

6. Collaborates Across Boundaries
a) Identifies and eliminates silo thinking, creates company-wide solutions, and builds long-term alliances throughout Company X.
b) Partners with other departments, functions, or businesses to create action plans and achieve business objectives.
c) Seeks multiple perspectives and engages in open and honest two-way communication to consider differing points of view.
d) Consistently develops and sustains cooperative working relationships.

7. Coaches and Develop People
a) Develops self and others to accelerate performance in current and future roles.
b) Provides others with candid, timely, and constructive feedback.
c) Reinforces, recognizes, and rewards positive development in others.
d) Maintains a talent mindset – consistently considers current team strength and future talent needs relative to business goals and aspirations.

Checkout my “Commercial Excellence Plan” I do emphasize “Competencies” in the “People Development ” section:

You can also checkout my background/work by clicking on the following links:

Andre’ Harrell
AH2 & Beyond Consulting


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