A critical topic in executive development relates to a very difficult decision and resulting course of action to be taken by Senior Managers in their corporations. I’m referring to the “Entitled Top Producer”. Many of us in our business careers have run into such individuals. They are excellent generators of business with strong bottom-line implications. They are recognized by many within a company as a “Rainmaker” – but a Rainmaker with no heart. Simply put, these entitled top producers do generate notable profits but at the expense of fellow sales and marketing professionals and administrative staff. The behaviors of these high profile business generators are tolerated because their dollar contributions are so crucial. Yet their ultimate contribution to the company is highly questionable and needs to be addressed by senior executives in a timely manner.
When such entitled top producers go into the market place, they do so initially under the auspices of their company’s good reputation, strong supportive resources and ability to deliver what is being sold by the Rainmaker. When dramatic success results, it’s not uncommon, in fact it’s all too common, that this entitled top producer ascribes his/her success exclusively to their own efforts. This fallacy is frequently supported, inadvertently, by management as it rewards such Entitled Top producers with financial and perk benefits. What’s really happening in the case of these Entitled Top Producers is that their uncaring actions deflate the morale of sales and marketing counterparts, reduce administrative help to feeling servile and, generally, fracture the fabric of the marketing organization. Often these Entitled Top Producers give their clients the clear impression that they are clients of this individual, not necessarily the firm. Unilateral actions taken by such an entitled top producer may cause the client to perceive the corporation’s values and image as being quite different than they originally understood. The executive development reality here is that such entitled top producers need to be given two options:
1) Relearn the measurements by which they will be judged, which are not only based on revenue generation but also encompass contributions back to the firm by sharing successful marketing and sales strategies with younger members of the sales group. Mentoring those junior sales professionals through hands-on involvement with their progress and taking time on frequent occasions to recognize the powerful contributions made by administrative support staff will foster excellent bottom-line performance together- as a team.
2) Senior executives need to make it clear to entitled top producers that the subjective criteria mentioned above are as important as empirical revenue measurements.
Executive developmental lesson: The entitled top producer has to be clearly led to recognize that his/her continuing role in the company is based upon the two criteria we’ve outlined. If that individual cannot willingly and actively endorse those criteria he or she is not going to be a long-term fit. The values, standards and expectations that are representative of the company’s presence in the market place must be consistently supported by every member of the sales and marketing staff, from the top producer to the newest sales person. Lack of clarity about the corporation’s standards and values can diminish or destroy the viability of the corporation over time.
Executives, take positive, thoughtful action in solving this issue or your marketplace will soon react negatively.