Saturday, October 23, 2010

LinkedIn Question: Do closed pay-packets drive Performance/ Competition or Discrimination/Exploitation?


Consider the employment contract as a private business deal, between the employer on the one part and employee on the other. Should then the details of all private business deals in the country be made public in the name of transparency?

One gets what one can negotiate. The current system of closed pay packets is a self-authenticating language that has evolved over ages. Attempting to 'even the playing field' by making pay packets open would not work to motivate or retain the right people, as one man's perception of 'fair play' does not match another's.

Those that know how to play the game (read 'successful professionals') view closed pay packets as an 'entry barrier' that they have learnt how to overcome. If someone wanted to find out what figure they should be making, given a particular industry, year, their experience and specialisation, they most certainly could - if they knew where to look, whom to ask and how.

The average and poor performers, on the other hand, would have good reason to justify their performance no matter what kind of system they work in.

Now consider the alternative:
What if there were open pay packets in an organisation?

This would only work to motivate the right people, if performance in every role could be measured and compared on objective terms. Promotion to a higher pay cadre might then be perceived as 'fair' by the majority of the average and high-performing employees.

This, however, is not practical for most industries and companies.

Bottom line: closed pay packets drive performance and competition, but as a part of a larger system that includes compensation benchmarking, good talent management practices, focus on learning, and strong visionary leadership.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

LinkedIn Question: Key Account Management: What most often gets overlooked?

The question in detail:

There are so many different KAM courses in which experienced sales people are trained / educated / retrained / re-educated and otherwise coached in how to sell. There's SPIN selling, there's Funnel selling, there's Miller Heiman selling, there's every form of selling imaginable, but still in my opinion there's something missing...

For me it's all about PEOPLE and when KAM courses get hung up on processes and systems, I think that they fundamentally overlook the people dynamic - to sell you have to build a relationship, to build a relationship you have to relate to people, to relate to people you have to understand them, to understand them you have to yourself, etc.

Is it my imagination or should every course on KAM, every book and every YouTube video on Sales not come equipped with a mandatory mirror?

Thoughts, comments and opinions welcome!

Clarification: And of course the answer to the rhetorical question is "understand" in other words what most often gets overlooked is the "understand yourself" piece!


Key Account Management is very different from Account Management. While the overall objectives remain Reach, Extraction and Depth, the Key Account Manager is required to go much further in establishing and building the relationship between his/her organisation and the client, at various levels. He/she becomes the fulcrum around which the service provider engages the client strategically as well as operationally.

This means not just 'better selling', but a whole of lot of changes in the internal systems and processes of the service provider, centered around the Key Account Managers.

Of course the people dynamic is critical to the success of a KAM initiative. But we must understand that KAM is essentially about building systems in the company that:

  1. Take advantage of the people dynamic at different levels in the best possible way, and
  2. Bring stability and scalability to the KAM relationship thus built.

LinkedIn Question: From a HR perspective, what is the difference between a Manager and a Leader? and which is more important is this day and age?

The managerial function involves using today's resources to solve today's problem. The leadership function is about developing today's resources to solve the problems of tomorrow.

An undermanaged, over-led company would descend into chaos; an over-managed, under-led company would find itself irrelevant within a short period. Thus both are critical, but at different proportions at different levels in the organisation.

Most important, there is no ‘HR Perspective’ in this day and age – there is, and always has been, only the ‘Business Perspective’!