Developing today’s managers into tomorrows leaders
Having been involved in Sales and Management within the Electrical Industry for over 30 years, Barry Hall, Pinnacle’s Sales and Management Trainer, has always been driven by a passion and desire to unlock and motivate talent which, he believes, lies within us all.
Take a moment and think, what does a ‘Branch Manager’ really do? This may seem like a simple question, but when we actually look in detail the answer is far from simple. Branch Management is all encompassing; their job description would include Sales Manager, Financial Controller, H&S Officer, HR Manager, Purchasing Director, Chief Motivator, Mentor, Coach and Customer Service Manager, to name but a few.
The role of a Branch Manager is, in the main, as close as you can get to totally running your own business. However, the skills needed to be truly successful in the role are often not areas that are taught to the person as they progress up the career ladder. A new approach large percentage of promoted Branch Managers move into the position because they’ve shown a flair for sales and growing business. However, the key skills for managing teams and driving high performing branches are very different from a purely ‘sales driven role’. In an ever more competitive and demanding business world, the approach of ‘here are the keys: sink or swim’ is just no longer acceptable. It can clearly be seen that companies who invest in their current and future Managers, developing them into skilled and effective leaders, prosper and gain a weighty competitive advantage.
A great Branch Manager is the key to a successful business, they set the atmosphere of the branch, the motivation of the team and, as importantly, the relationship with the customer. After all, people love to work for great Managers.
Continuing the chain
Many of the skills and knowledge needed to be a great Manager are ones that can be learnt or developed, we are not born great Managers – we develop into them. For owners and senior management teams the need for a structured approach to ‘succession planning’ is more vital now than ever. The next generation of Managers need to be ready to step up before they are required to. No business can afford to wait until someone retires before starting to plan their replacement.
At Pinnacle, we have spent over 18 years helping Owners and Senior Managers of Electrical Wholesalers to develop their talent. One question we have always faced is how can a business, be it an independent or national, find a professional development programme for their existing or potential Managers that was bespoke to wholesaling but could enable them to send just one person.
This was a challenge as Barry explains “We had a large number of customers who wanted to develop one or two members of their team. They wanted a programme that covered a wide breadth of management skills and knowledge that were not just delivered in a one-off hit. They wanted a long-term learning and development experience where their people’s progress could be reviewed and measured. “The programme needed to fully involve the delegate’s direct line Manager so action plans could be tailored to the individual business and ensure maximum implementation”.
So, has the challenge been achieved?
Barry continues, “We designed a totally bespoke 12-month Management and Development Programme that we are calling 'The Pinnacle Academy'. Designed specifically for existing and aspiring Managers within the Electrical Wholesaling Industry”.
The programme is split into four quarters with each quarter focusing on a specific area of management as shown below:
Q1 – Delegation and Empowering Your Team
Q2 – Setting Branch and Team Expectations
Q3 – Branch, Company and Sales Objectives
Q4 – How to Develop and Grow Your Business
Each quarter consists of a combination of workshop-based training, a comprehensive and challenging quarterly project to ensure learning implementation and reinforcement, on the job coaching and quarterly one-to-one review meeting by Pinnacle and their line Manager.
The first ‘Pinnacle Academy’ commenced in March as Barry explains: “The first phase of the Pinnacle Academy got off to a flying start. It was attended by current and aspiring Branch Managers and located in the Midlands”
“The feedback from the delegates on the content and structure was superb. It was recognised that no such Management Development Course currently exists in the electrical wholesale industry, yet all agreed that –even after the first 2 days of training – all had learnt valuable techniques to take away with them. They now have a comprehensive quarterly project to put into practise for the next stage of the training. The trainees have gone away enthused, motivated and ready for the next challenge, with one quoting “It’s probably one of the best things I’ve done in my working life to date!”