My younger daughter started school this week and brought home her Friday Folder with what I thought was a very interesting assignment she completed. Her teacher had her class complete an assessment on their behaviors themed with animals and illustrated in an age appropriate way. This was fun for my daughter; she loved learning about herself and discovering what she knows she's good at but what she should also look out for. Turns out, my daughter is an Otter.
I applaud her 5th Grade teacher for being proactive in the first week, not only for the children but what a great way to prep herself to get to know the kids a little better before the real work begins. I see a lot of similarities with this exercise and one I recommend for all managers and salespeople. Assess your salespeople's talents, the natural strengths they have and coach them accordingly. Don't try to fix their weaknesses. Instead, help them find ways to use their strengths to overcome what's more difficult for them.
This is best done during the hiring process, so you know what you're getting yourself into, but can also be done with those you already hired. In order to get the best results, your salespeople or candidates will have to trust that you are assessing them to be a better manager for them and to help them be better at what they do. Otherwise, as the saying goes, "Garbage in. Garbage out."
In my daughter’s class, in addition to Otters there were also Lions, Retrievers and Beavers. As an Otter, she is enthusiastic, a good communicator, outgoing, personal, dramatic and fun loving, all of which I see in her every day. But I will continue to help her be organized, less reactive, more thoughtful to a potential outcome and excitable in appropriate settings.
As for whether or not she can sell, I do see some talents that could blossom into a future in sales for her. What I love most is her teacher sees this too and will help her make the most of the school year, just as a manager should of a salesperson's career!
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