“It’s better to leave a party too early than to stay too late.”
That is some of the best advice I ever received…and it’s not only applicable to social engagements but also to jobs and careers. Last week I talked about ways to kickstart your sales efforts for 2018…I’ll talk more about that next week. I also mentioned Planning Your Next Career Move and I received some requests to elaborate more about making a job change. More than a few people asked me, “When do you know that it’s time to go?”
There is no one correct answer to that question. There are many things to consider before making a change…for example, do you have any kind of stock ownership plan or pension (a few companies still have these) that will vest in a few years? If so, you may want to hang in there even if any of the following warning signs are there. Are you being promoted and receiving additional compensation annually? If so, then you may overlook some of the warning signs. But, regardless, it’s important to be paying attention to things going on at work that give you an uneasy feeling that maybe you need to update your resume.
- Abusive Behavior
- Lack of Trust in the Sales Organization
- Reality Distortion Field in Company Leadership
There is NEVER any excuse for abusive behavior on the part of anyone in any sales organization…period. I’ve been fortunate to never having worked for a leader who was abusive in either speech or actions…but I’ve heard plenty of stories about those types. Publicly ‘shaming’ or ‘dressing down’ an employee is not acceptable to me. I believe in publicly PRAISING team members and privately giving constructive criticism. I believe in the adage about learning about someone’s personality by the way they play golf or treat servers at restaurants. If I’m playing golf with someone who throws their cubs after a bad shot or assigns blame for that shot to others, that is a key indicator to their personality off the gold course.
If you are currently working for a manager, or someone higher up in the organization, who is abusive to either you or others on your team, you should consider taking this to your company’s HR department or to the abusers’ supervisor. If nothing is done about the situation, then you will need to make plans to look for another job. Life is way too short to subject yourself to a toxic workplace environment.
Lack of Trust in the Sales Organization
Sometimes sales individuals and teams are not achieving their revenue goals. This can be attributed to a number of factors, both internal and external. When this inevitably occurs, it’s important to watch how the company and its leadership react. Ideally, they will react with questions about they, as leaders, can better help support the sales team and what actions need to be taken. However, if their reaction is one of assigning BLAME and targeting people as scapegoats, then this is a warning sign that you may want to look around for another job.
Salespeople are true entrepreneurs even if they are working for a big company. The best salespeople I’ve known treat their book of business as if it were their own company. They are very careful monitoring their own business expenses and the normal ‘costs of doing business.’ I’d say that over 95% of the salespeople I’ve managed or worked with are prudent with business costs and expenses.
When your company radically changes and cuts expense policies or business travel this can be a warning sign that the company may not be hitting its revenue goals. Cutting sales costs and expenses appears to be an ‘easy’ way to get closer to reaching corporate revenue goals…at least to the finance types. Short-term, this is a normal reaction.
“Reality Distortion Field” approach from Leadership
I’ve worked at some great companies with very strong, talented leaders. I’ve also worked at companies with leaders that were living in their own ‘reality distortion field’ and seemed to be oblivious to actual market conditions. I’m a big believer in having sales leadership get out to meetings with customers. I always benefited from being out on sales calls with the team to listen to customer concerns and better understand how we could help them solve problems. Too often, the types of leaders who don’t understand the marketplace are those who are living in a world of internal meetings and inward facing discussions. In addition, this can also lead to the creation of unrealistic sales goals. It is completely appropriate to put together team, or individual, sales goals with a “stretch” target built into the goal. Every salesperson or manager needs to be challenged…that’s why we’re in sales. But, continuing to set unrealistic revenue goals that are
If you, as a salesperson or sales manager, are repeatedly being told things that aren’t true or contradict what you know to be accurate with your customers and the marketplace, then this is definitely a warning sign that it might be time to leave.
There are many things to consider when you’re evaluating your satisfaction at your current job. The most important things to me are the people, the culture, and opportunities for personal and career growth.