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Don’t Fire Them, Fire Them Up! Essay

Frank Pacetta is a mastermind at managing sales teams, but his methods can be used on any group in any environment as long as a goal is set. Pacetta’s ideas can be used in the military, in small, mid-size, and large business environments, even in a household where the family is the team. Being a team is the first order of business according to Pacetta.

His important principles of leadership include: treating your employees or workers like a team, realizing people come first, setting a mutual goal for the team, realizing customer satisfaction is essential, allowing healthy internal competition and external competition, taking action not just talking, honesty, and finally delegating. Pacetta proves that these principles can be used in any environment with any group to accomplish a goal or many goals, as long as there is a mutual vision. Pacetta begins by explaining how respect for others is important.

“Leadership starts and ends with people” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 55) he says. “What you need…is respect for people. If it’s not there, please do something else with your career. Forget management” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 55). With these words, Pacetta is forthcoming about the importance of respecting your employees or team. Start by respecting the employees and then teaching them to work as a team, not separate individuals. In a team, everyone works together and holds each other up. There is intertwining support from managers and team members.

In Pacetta’s viewpoint in a well-built and well-run team “you’ll feel the loyalty, the togetherness, and the we’re-all-in-this-together attitude” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 103). With such an efficient team, the salespeople are supporting each other, offering advice and listening to woes. Managers are backing up salespeople and offering suggestions to problems or stepping in to speak to customers if necessary to help out a sales member. If one person fails then we all fail is the attitude. This attitude keeps the leader in touch with the customers too.

To really find out why a sales team member is having troubles finalizing sales, a manager needs to speak to the customers and see their point of view. This suggestion also leads to the principle of action and not just talk. Any manager or leader can sit at a desk and push papers all day, but Pacetta suggests, “…a leader has got to walk like he talks. Don’t just tell them, show them” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 58). By showing employees that you mean what you say and are going to be involved and available for them and the customer, you are a supporting member of the team. Support between team members does not mean there is no internal competition.

Pacetta suggests that “Internal competition gets you sharp and keeps you sharp” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 201). By having competition between team members, each individual has a small goal to strive for and to achieve and be awarded for. This helps to end complacency. For example, if a top sales rep is afraid others will be coming after his top record, he will continue to strive to be better so that he remains at the top. But, as Pacetta points out, “You may be the biggest kid in the house, but a midget outside in the real world…External and internal competition are essential” (Pacetta, 1994, p.

201). Keeping abreast of the external competition is logically going to make more sales for the team if the team is focusing on being better than the competition. Being a part of a team and the leader lays a large responsibility on the shoulders of the manager. The responsibility to be honest. Supporting a team member goes beyond offering suggestions to succeed, but also involves realizing when some one may be wrong for the job. This is a difficult aspect, but necessary for the team. But Pacetta cautions to give the person lagging a chance to prove himself first.

For example, if a sales rep is the only one not working up to par on his team, to maybe give him a smaller territory, but be honest with him that he needs to show he can get back his larger and more important territory. If he still fails, he is simply not the right person for the job and changes need to be made. Also, honesty with the group is important. If prospects are low or there is a problem, be forthcoming so everyone is aware and can do their part. Hiding negativity from the team members is not helpful and not being an effective leader. Empowering lower management and even the reps themselves is also important.

It is essential to building the self-reliant team. If the leader expects to be the only one supporting and managing, he will fail. That is not the definition of a team. Furthermore, the sales reps need empowerment; they need the right to make decisions when out in the field. Of course, “First you find good people-then you empower them” (Pacetta, 1994, p. 104). Pacetta makes a good point when he explains that empowering someone untrained and unmotivated can make empowerment fail (Pacetta, 1994, p. 104). However, empowering can work when distributed properly.

These principles of leadership are all based on building a great team. And the honesty and empowerment involved are all based on good communication between team members, and the customers. But this can easily be used in any environment including a military environment where the soldiers are the team, the people they are protecting are the customers, and any unfriendly body or country is the competition. As seen above this works in a sales team environment, but with the analogies above it can work for the military and even in a family, as long as a vision is clear and goals are set.

I have seen these principles work in my own work environment. We are referred to as team members not as employees. Meetings are called to discuss visions or goals whenever these are changing, and the leaders are open communicators being honest with the team as well as involved in the work and with the customers themselves. Team members are encouraged to work together crossing over into each other’s fields as necessary and assistants are given empowerment to make certain decisions immediately per customer satisfaction.

Competition is discussed often in meetings, and plans to overcome the external competition are revealed. Internal competition is a point system where we earn prizes for getting points when a customer praises us to the leaders and President, or another team member praises our behavior or actions in some way. Overall, many of Pacetta’s principles are already being utilized in my work environment and it is a most satisfying place to work. Because I feel excited about my workplace each day, I am living proof that Pacetta’s plan works.


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