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Want to Grow Your Leadership Pipeline? Listen to What Millennials are Saying about Global Leadership!

pipelineBy: Tracey Wik

The man (Jack Weinberg) who coined the phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” is now 73. This may shock some of you who listened to Jack give his speech, or quoted yourself early on in your career. While those born at the end of the generation are teenagers, early Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are now part of that group. Does this mean we don’t trust what they have to say because they are now part of the establishment?

The sentiment of that statement dates back to an earlier time, but given the business press is filled with stories about the need for global leaders, we must find new ways to develop people sooner. By all accounts, leadership development is more art than science. A Millennial’s point-of-view on collaboration and organization offers practical ways to build our leadership pipeline.

First of all, it is time to examine our thinking on mobility. In the past, mobility was a key variable to leadership development and succession planning as it was seen as a pathway for acquiring the requisite skills to lead bigger and broader teams. Mobility is still important, but mostly for senior leadership. Today mobility is more often seen by organizations as too time consuming and expensive for its return. With flatter, more matrixed organizations, employees are collaborating with colleagues across time zones in different business units from day one of employment. Their roles demand they collaborate with peers on projects without having the formal influence to direct and control the outcomes. Add to the flow of work the endless productivity improvement made available by technology. Quite simply, one doesn’t need to leave his or her desk to learn the skills of global leadership.

Millennials did grow up in prosperous times with many options available, but they are no longer new to the workplace. The early Millennials are well established in their careers being over 30. This means they have been working for close to a decade; consider the preferences of this demographic group as being inclusive and public merits consideration in your leadership development strategy.

Given the flat inclusive demands of today’s marketplace, designing leadership development with self-selection criteria rather than manager nomination criteria allows more people to opt in earlier, giving you bigger pools of talent to develop. To break-out of command and control thinking, and  structure leadership development as the development of skills needed by anyone, a portfolio of skills is needed regardless of title, rank, or geography. The criteria for selection into leadership roles can be the same, but structuring the roles to allow for an employee’s self-selection gives the responsibility for success to the employee. It is no longer granted by title, but by merit.

This degree of agency over one’s career is something Millennials, in particular, appreciate having. In fact, why not make the success criteria a public conversation managed amongst the pool competing? The notion that Millennials want a trophy for showing up is not only insulting, it is not accurate. They want to compete on merit for things that matter to them. Being part of a select leadership cadre is a game worth playing.

How to Specialize Your Sales Force to Meet Company Objectives

how-staffing-agencies-recruit-for-sales-positionsCompanies emphasizing growth and specific business initiatives often find it appropriate to segment sales activities beyond recognizing the four broad segments of customers. Extensive Chally research of more specialized sales forces has identified 14 specific sets of sales and service skills that are required to succeed in specialized sales roles. The sales specialist “map” below demonstrates a decision tree that allows a sales executive to identify the one unique profile best suited to accomplish a specialized sales initiative.

A series of no more than five questions will lead to the best match

  • Is this position field (outside) sales or inside (tele) sales?
  • Is the position proactive (outbound tele or direct sales contact) or reactive (inbound tele or indirect field sales through a distributor) or primarily customer service?
  • Is the position primarily responsible for a full line or a specialized product or service?
  • Is the sales effort account based (strategic or major accounts) or geographically based (territory sales)?
  • Is the salesperson’s responsibility primarily to acquire new accounts (hunter) or maintain and grow existing accounts (farmer)?

Sales Specialty Map


Roles and Requirements of Specialized Sales Positions

Indirect Sales (via distributors or resellers) Acquires skills at training cus­tomers (on sales and programs), making joint sales calls, sales motivational and presenta­tion techniques, product knowledge, and the ability to maintain repeat sales

Strategic Account Manager Strategic relationships are built with major customers through initiative, a willingness to work long hours, proactive assistance and support, a willingness to further develop technical competence, and an emphasis on sharing information that is pertinent and will have lasting educational impact

New Business Development (Hunter) Demands individuals who can develop leads, find opportunities, pene­trate prospects and customers, and be willing to put in long hours as well as problem solve and close

Account Management (Farmer) Requires excellent customer rela­tions skills focused on working internal systems on the customer’s behalf, and effec­tiveness at explaining and clarifying issues to the customer; this is driven by the desire to increase business and the ability to work long hours when necessary to accomplish that

Territory Consultative Product Sales Focuses on establishing a credible image, developing new business through effective qualifying and presentation skills driven by the motivation to be an effective consultant

Territory Relationship Product Sales Calls for a disciplined and systematic approach to goal achievement and a focused response to customer needs in a service capacity, as well as effective communication skills and the ability to work a sales plan in account penetration; removes objections and gives permission to buy

Territory Consultative System Sales Demands the skill to develop business through effective lead generation, qualification of profitable prospects, and tailored presentations; willing to work long hours to meet objectives, sets ambitious goals and achieves them through effective selling, and understands sales strategies and tactics

Territory Relationship System Sales Adapts image to accommodate customers, gives personal attention, and takes hands-on responsibility for assuring continued customer satisfaction; knowledgeable of sales strategies and pushes to set personal records in sales; comfortable with the recognition of a high-profile role

System Specialist Focuses on assum­ing the leadership to learn customer needs and goals, stays continuously aware of the market and spends the long hours it takes to influence and train others

Product / Service Specialist Customers look for individuals who provide reliable information, learn their business, know the market, and communicate effec­tively while remaining dedicated to their own sales results
Product / Transactional Specialist Demands initiative and perseverance to develop leads, qualify, and close on an ongo­ing basis
Outbound Telesales Takes the initiative to present benefits and answer objections in order to grow the business; willing to learn the products and services; can persevere for as long as necessary to succeed

Inbound Telesales Requires an image conscious vocal demeanor in a service oriented individual who is interested in learn­ing the customer’s needs, solving problems, and making the appropriate (and profitable) recom­mendations

Customer Service Representative Calls for a focused commitment to take personal responsibility for satisfying all customers, regardless of their attitude or style; solutions must be intelligently thought out, often quickly, and presented with a positive attitude