Prior to running my own business, I was employed for over 30 years. In that time, I had many bosses and probably learnt something from all of them. However, there were only a very small number of people that I could say were a major influence and help on my success in the job and my overall career. I’m talking about the type that really made a difference in terms of transforming me from what I was at the time, to what I later became.
Transformative managers change the way we think and act by providing us with knowledge, guidance, and discipline.
Managers who are able and willing to share knowledge that can be applied when doing the job add tremendous value. However, not all managers have sufficient knowledge and many managers are unwilling to share what they know should they be outshone by those they are sharing it with. However, if you are lucky enough to work for a trusted resource or hired external coach, who makes it their way to feed you with as much knowledge you can eat, then you are indeed lucky.
Similarly, not all managers provide good guidance. Whilst we all like to think that we can work unsupervised and make all the right decisions we all need good guidance, and therefore if you are able to turn to a manager or external coach who can guide you when you need help, then this too can make a massive difference.
The third element, ‘discipline,’ is on the face of it a strange one. The word ‘discipline’ has many negative connotations, so the question may then be, “why use it?”
Let’s look at what I mean by the word ‘discipline.’ To me discipline means keeping to proven methods of working. In sales and marketing, this is extremely important. Good salespeople often refer to ‘the steps of the sale,’ and marketing people similarly refer to the many different ‘stages and steps’ that they use for marketing work.
Bad managers make the same word sound and feel like some form of abuse because what they are often looking to do is to allocate blame, however good managers make the word ‘discipline’ sound and feel professional because they understand the importance of prioritising good process.
We tend to follow the example of those who have influenced us and so since creating Hargreaves Marketing in 2012 I have quietly worked away at building an extensive set of knowledge resources that I can share with my clients. Individually, these resources are basically documents including guides, playbooks, templates, and of course literally hundreds of specialist sales, marketing, and strategy books.
Of course, trying to absorb all this knowledge all at once would be impossible. It would as the saying goes be like “trying to drink from a fire hose!” However, if we choose to be selective by cherry picking what we need at just the right time, then of course that makes far more sense. Providing this type of guidance is one of the things my clients value most.
Similarly, I find that compared to continually being pulled in different directions within a chaotic environment, people really appreciate working with proven methods and keeping to a structured approach. Quite simply people get more done faster. They are happier because they know what they are setting out to do, can measure their progress and take pride in their achievements.
Businesses that are intent on improving sales and marketing at both functional and people levels can make sustainable progress by focusing on these three criteria.
Adrian Hargreaves is an experienced sales and marketing consultant and owner of Hargreaves Marketing Ltd, which is a strategic sales and marketing consultancy based in Blackburn, Lancashire, UK, offering a unique blend of consultancy, specialist services and one-to-one coaching to transform your sales and marketing at both functional and people levels.
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