Friday, December 17, 2010

KeFactors Friday (Rewind): Don’t Overlook Your Human Capital

Today is the last post of 2010 on the Sales Is Not For Sissies Blog. I decided it might be fun to wrap up 2010 with the first KeFactors Friday post that Ms. Lucy Key ever posted for us.

Most businesses are so intensely focused on developing new revenues, leadersand managers typically overlook a hidden corrosive that will cost plenty if left unaddressed.

Aggression is valued in sales teams—and why not? Sales really for “sissies”or the faint-hearted; it’s demanding, vigorous work.

But there’s a danger in becoming a workplace culture so reverent of aggressionthat it tips into tolerating or even encouraging uncivil behaviors.

Low-intensity incivility ranges from stealing someone’s food out of the break-room fridge to leaving shared work areas untidy and depleted of supplies. High-intensityacts include sending nasty e-mails, hogging credit, or yelling at and publicly humiliatingcolleagues and subordinates.

Intentional or not, incivility exacts a huge toll: authors Christine Pearson and Christine Porath (The Costs of Bad Behavior) state rudeness is on the rise and estimatethe tab at $300 billion/year for U.S. employers in expenses related to lost time, loweredmorale/productivity, and employees fleeing a toxic workplace.

Fact: Chronic offenders will alienate other employees. Teams need trust(“psychological safety”) in order to learn and to reach peak collaborative skills, andoffenders kill this, especially if they’re team leaders. Coping behaviors can includeavoiding the offender; withholding effort, help, or information; or sabotaging theorganization for tolerating the offender.

Fact: Witnesses to rude behavior register the same physiological stress reactionsas targets, and few customers will continue to do business with an organization thatpermits rude behaviors, even from their high achievers.

Fact: Employees who are habitually targeted by rude behaviors will leave, andthe costs of replacing them are high, to say nothing of the relationships and networks thatleave with them. Pearson & Porath’s formula for quantifying this: 150% the annual salaryof a low-ranking employee; 250% the salary of middle management; and as high as 400%the salary of upper management.

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