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October 8, 2014

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish… well, you get the picture.

fish 2I was having a conversation with my good friend and colleague, Brian, who founded a marketing services company in the financial industry. In addition to running the company, he also manages the sales team that makes sales calls on behalf of his clients.

All of his sales reps have years of experience and are evidently hitting it out of the park for his clients. Chatting with him on the phone this morning, he mentioned he was heading to the office for a sales meeting. I asked about his agenda… and he mentioned he was doing a lesson on ‘how to leave an effective voice mail.’ What?! He’s managing a team of experienced, proven sales reps and he’s presenting a ‘Sales 101’ lesson on voice mails?!

But he’s right. No one ever knows it all. Everyone can a little better at what they’re doing – even super stars. And as experienced professionals, sometimes we get a little complacent and refresher courses help to get us re-focused.

And here’s the thing… this doesn’t just apply to your sales team. It applies to every discipline in your firm. Think about your:

  • Operations personnel (PDs and PMs)
  • Marketing people
  • Admin staff
  • Accounting team
  • Even your senior executives

What processes are in place to keep them at the top of their game? To keep them on the leading edge of what’s going on in our industry and in their discipline? To keep them excited about what they do?

There are so many ways to help enhance the knowledge of your employees: conferences & workshops (real and virtual), webinars, magazine & newsletter subscriptions, reading blogs, in-house training, hired training & consulting and so much more.

As we approach the end of the year – and the prospect of all of those employee annual reviews – keep in mind their training and development in 2015. Discuss with them what they need (and want) to help them to do their jobs more effectively next year. Then put a plan in place and commit to helping them achieve it.

Will you need to spend some money? In some cases, yes. But the question isn’t whether you can afford to invest in employee development… it’s whether you can afford not to.

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