Sales and Sales Management Blog

November 11, 2008

Guest Article: “Managers Continue to Teach Their People How to Avoid Full Accountability,” by Keith Rosen

Filed under: business,management,small business — Paul McCord @ 9:04 am
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Managers Continue to Teach Their People How To Avoid Full Accountability
By Keith Rosen

“What is that guy doing now?” It was just an odd maneuver. Something out of the ordinary from what would have typically been an everyday experience at the drive through of a Burger King. (Hey, my kids love it and no, they don’t eat this ever day; just a treat!) I was on my way back home after spending the day with the family, unaware that within the next several minutes I’d be having a breakthrough which led to the development of many of the concepts and strategies you’re going to read about in my book, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions.

I watched the customer in front of me drive from the first to the third window of the drive through which happened to have been closed. “What an odd maneuver,” I thought, as I noticed that the typical handoff through the drive through window was not in play. Instead, the cashier came outside, headset in tact and bags of food in hand, to deliver it directly to the window. The customer, happy to receive his order, drove off.

As I pulled up, I wondered if I too would suffer the same fate as the customer before me. Then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a digital timer mounted above the cashier’s head near the window. At that moment, the manager at the drive in window waved me forward, without my food. “We will bring it out to you. Just pull up, please,” he requested.

The manager sent a young man out to my car and handed me my food. Wanting to understand this odd tactic, I couldn’t let it go. “I’m curious, why did we have to pull up, especially when there was no one behind me?”

“The timer,” he replied. “That’s how the manager is rated in performance. We’re supposed to serve each customer under a certain period of time.”

As a manager, is this truly a feat you’d want to be known for? This manager actually succeeded at beating the clock, yet at a greater expense and one that most managers are blind to. Then, with a puzzled look of disbelief, these managers are mystified when their staff doesn’t meet expectations of performance. This manager unknowingly or worse, consciously did his company, every customer, as well as every person on his team, a major disservice.

Is there really any wonder why there is such a shallow pool of real talent in the workforce? At some level, across every business unit, industry or profession, this is what our managers are teaching the workforce – how to skirt and dodge full accountability! And then they sit and wonder why they can’t attract better people into their organization who are fully accountable for their performance and success. Hmmmmmm.

Keith Rosen is the President of Profit Builders, LLC, ( a provider of leadership and sales coaching and corporate training. He is the author of Time Management for Sales Professionals. His last book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling has been featured in Inc. magazine and became a Best Seller on



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    Pingback by » Guest Article: “Managers Continue to Teach Their People How to … — November 11, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  2. This kind of craziness happens when management techniques are implemented mindlessly. I see this all the time when people quote by rote, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Instead of thinking about what really makes sense, management implements fads without really understanding how they should be used, and hence they often have detrimental consequences. I call the metrics obsession:
    Measuremental – fixating on metrics to manage your business, often at the expense of items that are not so easily measured

    Comment by karengphelan — November 11, 2008 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  3. Lead by example.
    If you are trying to find a way around the metrics so will your employees.
    If there is a problem meeting the criteria you are measured on look into fixing the problem so that everyone can meet their goal. A band-aid or work around isnt going to solve the problem yet it will create bigger issues later on.
    Again……Lead by example.

    Comment by Francine Rattenbury — November 16, 2008 @ 10:43 am | Reply

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