Four quadrants of success

In his book, Off the Bench Leadership: Be Better Than Your Best, Jerry Busone discusses four quadrants of success in sales: skill, capacity, value and effort. What really stood out to me was that of the four, only the last one is the responsibility of the salesperson. The other three are the responsibility of the managers and team leaders.

Some people simply do not have the skills necessary to be successful in sales. The same is true in any other field of endeavor. If they were hired without those skills then it is the responsibility of the managers to teach them the skills necessary to be successful. The same is true of capacity. Does the person have the capacity to understand what is necessary for success in their position? Do they see value in what they do, or are they simply interested in getting a paycheck each week? If they do not see value, then the manager has a responsibility to help them do that.

Effort is the sole responsibility of the person doing the job. No matter how well trained he or she might be, if that person is unwilling to put forth the effort to be successful they won’t be.

I’ve worked in many different jobs in my life, and I’ve owned a couple of businesses. I’ve seen a lot of people unwilling to do what is necessary to be successful. Successful people do the things unsuccessful people won’t do. They work both harder and smarter. They keep up to date on the latest trends in their fields. They are often the first ones at the job and the last ones to leave. If a person isn’t willing to put forth the effort there is little anyone can do. The best thing to do for the business’ sake and their sake is to let them go.

Sometimes a person is simply a bad fit for a job. He or she isn’t necessarily a bad person; they are just not suited for the position for which they were hired. Because of the poor fit it can be very hard for them to give the effort needed to be successful. Letting them go so they can find a position for which they are better suited is often a win-win for the business and the individual.

Let’s not focus on the effort quadrant and ignore the other three. Those are the responsibility of the manager and team leaders. Sometimes people are willing to put forth the effort, but they have never been taught exactly what they are supposed to do. Maybe they know their goals, but have they been taught how to best achieve them? Using this quadrant as a base, 3/4 of a person’s potential success is in the hands of his or her supervisors. If you have an employee who is failing, make sure the fault is not yours.

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