Sales VP Becomes a True Leader

The difference between "doer" and "leader"

Case Study

Larry was the top salesperson before being named a full partner and vice president of sales for a custom home company in Michigan. But being a salesperson does not necessarily equate to becoming a great vice president of sales,. As Larry was soon to learn, leading a large sales organization is a completely different skill set from being able to close sales.

He assumed the position of "boss" when he should be become a leader. Things did not work out, but at least he knew he needed help.

The Symptoms.

When customers called with concerns about product delivery, the progress of their home, or financing issues the new VP would intervene with customer service or the financing arm, many times not informing the Salespeople resented his interference. Customer service saw him as a voice to air their concerns to the owners as when he took the new position he purchased a partnership in the company.

The other partners did not like him working with departments other than sales as they thought he should be focused entirely on the sales process and developing salespeople.

Before long his disposition as a cheerful salesperson had faded into a VP that hated his job. The self-esteem he had built as a leading salesperson had turned away complete lack of self-worth as he found himself battling other departments, his other partners, and his resentful salespeople.

He was ready to quit.

The Diagnosis.

Online personality assessments were used to investigate the talents, personality, career fit, and motivational factors of the new, struggling VP. Based on the results it was quickly determined that this individual is a personal skills and interests to become a great sales vice president. People like to work doing things they are comfortable with and Larry was no different. His focus was limited to his comfort zone -- the actual sales process.

The Prescription.

Larry and Max decided we would take some time together to see how he might move from boss to leader. We began by setting some goals and objectives. During our bi-weekly meeting I would learn of the VP's adventuresome side. He was an avid boater, skier, hiker, scuba diver, and more.

Their discussions would move from an office to a patio overlooking a lake. As things progress the VP stopped looking at his new position as a job and saw it more as an adventure. His coach carefully tied his strengths and adventurous spirit toward the real on-the-job challenges that he faced.

Future Prognosis.

By the end of our meetings Larry once again was in love with his work.

“I have the fire in my belly again,” he said. “I get up each morning and ca not wait to get to the office!”