Thursday, 13 September 2012

Sales management and personal accountability of elite Sport Coaches

The stories and successes of the sports stars from the summer of sport  2012 will not only inspire a future generation of elite sportspeople but will motivate many in other fields of endeavour - including sales.

Sales training programmes and sales conferences will no doubt abound in the next few years with photos , video clips and quotes from the Summer of Sport 2012.  Targets and forecasts will similarly be set. These sporting analogies will be used to spur on salespeople and sales teams.

Supporting the sports stars are of course the array of psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists and coaches.

Today’s salespeople similarly need their role models and heroes. They also need to build up their support network of gurus, mentors and coaches.

Those Sales Directors and Managers who see their job (or part of their job) equivalent to a head coach might well look to the example of head trainers in sports.

My Sketch of Charles van Commonee turned
 out to look more like Buddy Holly
 who was another Charles ( Charles Hardin Holley)
"That'll be the day"
But I wonder how many would live out the level of personal accountability that Charles Van Commenee has recently exhibited at Athletics UK.

Taking up his post as head trainer for Athletics UK  UKA just three years ago , Mr Commenee set a target for the team of at least 8 medals including 1 gold.

The team fell two short of the target. Yet the team achieved FOUR Gold medals !

Despite the wonderful achievements of Jessica Ellis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah, Commenee viewed these superb feats as a distraction to the underlying disappointments in track and field.

How many Sales directors, Sales managers and Sales trainers would behave similarly ?

Having observed many sales conferences it is more likely they would bask in the centre stage kudos of the Gold medals of their star sales champions presenting them with awards and trophies rather than feel they that should resign for the lack of overall podium places of the whole sales team.

Immediately after the Olympics, Van Commenee is reported to have said it was ‘weird’ that people still wanted him to stay at  UK Athletics after his athletes  missed  the target and agreed he would be undermined  by his previous pledge if he stayed in post.

“… I have worked hard to implement accountability as it is vital to the culture of elite sport, and this has been absolutely central to what we have achieved.

Whilst I have been thankful for the kind comments and wishes, I believe my decision has the interests of British Athletics at its  heart in sustaining this culture.

I am happy the future is looking promising with the talent that is about to break through now. But it needs the new energy and approach by the new leadership team through to 2017. ”

Cass Business School ran an ad campaign during the 2012 Olympics implying Business Management was perhaps even tougher than competitive sport.

Is  personal accountability in business management as rigorous as it seems for elite sports coaching?

I wonder how many Directors , Sales Managers or Sales Trainers  would live their accountability mantras to the extent Mr Commenee has ?

 I am not sure I have!       Have you?!

Related Links

 Click here for /Management Essentials Course


  1. This is a version of stand up and be counted, 'Stand up and be accountable' Managers and leaders in any arena who do not lead and manage properly are largely responsible for the shortcomings of their team and the individual members. That's a big load to carry and M & Ls need to be supported through quality training. Those who aren't provided with that are doing the best they can with what they believe they know. People leave their managers, rarely their jobs! The costs are huge ..... and not just in monetary terms. So who's leading the leaders?

    1. Brilliantly expressed Nushi

      Nushi does a great management essentials course by the way.


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