I met with an SVP of a software company the other day. Our discussion revolved around how his job could be made easier.
I spoke with him about some of the activities that he needed to perform. I then asked for some other areas that were required that he could self identify as being total wastes of time as well as adding no value to the customer. (He was in a sales and business development function, and by his own admission, being customer facing was his most pressing objective.)
He identified a meeting tracking tool as being the bane of his existence. My response,”Tell Me More.”
He went on to say that this tool was mandated by the board, no it was not Saleforce, I asked, and that it was a total waste of time for his entire team. I wondered why as this guy seemed like he was no enemy of tech and he acted like he wished he was using Salesforce.
I asked how he used this internal “tool.” His response was that there is a requirement that each salesperson have a meeting each day and a proposal each week. This tool is where this data is recorded. If the salesperson is tracking at a lesser rate on this activity, there is an alert posited by flashing a red light next to the salesperson’s name. The SVP said that he logs in each day, and if any of his reports are glowing red, then he needs to do something. Otherwise, he logs out and goes on with his day, trying to delight customers.
Of course, this system is not intuitive and requires detailed input, so it will take a few hours of work each week by each salesperson- and from their boss the only reason is so that the light does not flash red. (They still forecast with a spreadsheet- this is merely an activity measurement tool.)
Are you serious? I should mention that the salespeople are all senior with at least 10 years of experience.
I could attack this process on a number of levels, but I will say this. If you treat your people as cogs, some will start acting like easily replaceable parts in your system. By that I mean this kind of “management” will drive good employees away and you will be left with the duds, who are happy to meet their job requirements by entering meaningless data.
How will that grow your business? Companies need to start treating their employees like living, breathing people. If your focus is like this towards your employees, I wonder how they treat their customers?