How to make employment fair in an age of contracting and temp work

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on mars 28th, 2017 by admin

Every day, many of us eat at restaurants, stay at hotels, receive packages, and use our digital devices with the assumption that the company we pay for these services — Hilton, Amazon, Apple, etc. — also employs the people who deliver them. This assumption is increasingly incorrect: Our deliveries are often made by contractors and our hotel rooms are cleaned by temporary employees from staffing agencies.

This phenomenon is what I call the fissured workplace, the cracks upon which today’s economy largely rest, and it leaves so many without fair wages, a career path, or a safe work environment. And while it’s true that low wage workers — an estimated 29 million people in just Fiss A10 industries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Economist — have been hard hit by the consequences of fissuring for some time, those with college and graduate educations, even in professions once regarded as protected from the ups and downs of churning labor markets, are being affected as well.

My exposure to this seismic shift in our economy is not just via my research as an academic. I saw its negative consequences first-hand as President Obama’s head of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the agency responsible for enforcing our nation’s most basic labor standards (minimum wage, overtime, child labor, etc.). What I’ve learned can help both policymakers and business leaders understand why and how this is happening — and what steps we must all take to make work a fair deal for all.

First, a quick look at how we got here. Over the past few decades, major companies throughout the economy have faced intense pressure to improve financial performance for private and public investors. They responded by focusing their businesses on core competencies — that is, activities that provide the greatest value to their consumers and investors— and by shedding less essentially activities.

Firms typically started outsourcing activities like payroll, publications, accounting, and human resources. But over time, this spread to activities like janitorial work, facilities maintenance, and security. In many cases it went even deeper, spreading into employment activities that could be regarded as core to the company: housekeeping in hotels; cooking in restaurants; loading and unloading in retail distribution centers; even basic legal research in law firms.

Like a fissure in a once-solid rock that deepens and spreads, once an activity like janitorial services or housekeeping is shed, the secondary businesses doing that work are affected, often shifting those activities to still other businesses. A common practice in janitorial work, for instance, is for companies in the hotel or grocery industries to outsource that work to cleaning companies. Those companies, in turn, often hire smaller businesses to provide workers for specific facilities or shifts.

Because each level of a fissured workplace structure requires a financial return for their work, the further down one goes, the slimmer are the remaining profit margins. At the same time, as you move downward, labor typically represents a larger share of overall costs — and one of the only costs in direct control for satellite players further from the mothership, so to speak. That means the incentives to cut corners rise — leading to violations of our fundamental labor standards. At my former agency, we saw violations related to fissuring in the form of failure to pay janitors, cable installers, carpenters, housekeepers, home care workers, or distribution workers the wages and overtime they had rightly earned — losses typically equivalent to losing three to four weeks of earnings. For a family struggling to get by, that translates to more than five weeks of groceries, a month of rent, or five weeks of child care.

Being split off from the main firm doesn’t only affect labor standards compliance, however. It can lower wages and access to benefits. When you work as an employee for a major business, decades of research shows your wages and benefits tend to increase over time, regardless of whether that large employer is a union shop or not. But earnings fall significantly when a job is contracted out —even for identical kinds of work and workers. Opportunities for “climbing the ladder” fade because the person in the mail room (or, more likely, at the IT serviceFiss b desk) is now a subcontractor without a pathway. That not only means lower wage growth and reduced access to benefits, but also diminished opportunities for on-the-job training, protections from social safety nets like unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, access to valuable social networks, and other pathways to upward advancement. Taken together, the fissured workplace contributes to growing earnings inequality.

However, there remains a critical paradox for the companies that shed so many activities to other organizations. If the mothership provides the satellite businesses upon which they depend exquisite detail in the timing, specifications, quality, and of course price for their contracted services — and my research and experience say they do — shouldn’t the company have some responsibility for compliance with laws? Shouldn’t they provide opportunities for advancement for “temporary workers” who may work within their company on a full-time basis, often for years? At the Wage and Hour Division, our view was yes, they should. You can’t shirk your responsibility for employees within your establishment if you also dictate how that work is undertaken at the same time. As a result, we focused our efforts — drawing on the laws we enforced and subsequent court rulings on them — to address the impacts of fissuring using multiple approaches.

We sought to make sure that independent contractors were truly that and not simply misclassified employees. We conducted investigations of businesses that sought competitive advantage through misclassification, often taking them to court and negotiating major settlements insuring that they would correctly classify employees in the future. We worked with state agencies (in both red and blue states) in charge of workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and tax revenue to fight misclassification by sharing information on problematic employers and industries, and coordinating enforcement on companies that misclassified workers.

We also aimed to make sure that all parties affected by the fissured workplace understood their roles in assuring compliance. In many circumstances, for example, we used the law and well-established court opinion to assert joint employment, ensuring that both motherships and satellites had responsibilities for their workers. We did so with staffing agencies and the companies that hired them, and in rapidly growing industries like fracking where — in keeping with its name — fissuring practices quickly spread. In these and many other industries we sought to get the businesses that determined much of the working relationship (e.g. shipbuilders hiring staffing agencies, retailers using logistics companies to run their distribution centers) to play their role in compliance.

We also observed that many highly successful businesses were embracing their responsibilities. They chose partners in their supply chains, contracting networks, and franchise systems that complied with the law, and often exceed legal requirements. These firms may benefit from the flexibility afforded by fissured relationships, but they also understand their responsibilities as the center of gravity within those relationships. The Wage and Hour Division had numerous partnerships with major companies who stood up and accepted their important roles in setting the table for all that happens around them, providing compliance assistance, providing training opportunities, and setting business relationships that allow all parties to do well — and do right by workers.

Take the case of Subway. In an industry characterized by low-wage work and widespread non-compliance, Subway entered into a voluntary agreement with the Wage and Hour Division to raise compliance among its system of 27,000 franchisees. The agreement involves a combination of training, outreach, information sharing, and joint problem solving to let new franchisees understand their responsibilities — and workers their rights under the law. It also provides both parties with information to identify and address continuing compliance issues, particularly among franchisees with significant and persistent problems. We also worked with companies in the agricultural sector, sometimes arising out of enforcement actions and litigation, to find and keep supply chain business partners who obeyed the law.

These examples demonstrate that common interest in compliance can exist between business and the government. But because those players’ good behavior can be undermined by competitors who choose not to participate, there’s a continuing need for vigilance by government agencies in our fissured world.

This brings me back to the people left behind by the long economic recovery — and well before. If the Trump administration truly cares about those people and hopes to help them, it must address the fissuring forces that helped create today’s inequality. While we can’t roll back economic history, we can seek ways to balance the benefits of new working arrangements with the interests of millions of workers who create enormous value each day for major businesses, their investors, and their customers. Otherwise, a growing part of the labor force will be left further behind. We can start by honestly recognizing the fissuring that has occurred right under our noses — and beneath the feet of imperiled workers — before the growing divide becomes an unbridgeable chasm.

Source: Harvard Business Review, March 2017
Author: David Weil

Ökade krav på styrelsearbetet

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on mars 23rd, 2017 by admin

“Sitter du i styrelsen eller arbetar du i styrelsen”?

Det går inte en vecka utan att vi läser om ett ökat ansvar, snabba och många gånger oannonserade VD-byten, digitaliseringsutmaningar, johan_mathsonsvårigheten i att hitta en optimal sammansättning av styrelsen, den effektivaste styrelseagendan och arbetsformen. Aldrig har styrelsearbetet varit så utmanande som idag!

Då är det ingen överraskning att intresset för faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar ökat närmast explosionsartat de senaste åren.
Lagercrantz Associates har sammanställt utvecklingen inom nordiskt styrelsearbete (baserat på drygt 140 faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar 2012 – 2016). Resultatet är både intressant och till delar förvånande.

Minskat intresse för internationella ledamöter
Ett par av de orsaker som anges är bristande engagemang (till viss del kopplat till, i en internationell jämförelse, låga arvoden) och språkbarriärer.

Styrelsens strategiarbete
76% anser att strategiarbetet inte håller en tillräckligt hög kvalitet. Denna bild förstärks av att 55% av alla VD inte är tillfreds med det ”strategistöd” man får från sin styrelse.
”För att utveckla styrelsens strategibidrag ser vi hur allt fler styrelser släpper rutinen med en årlig strategidag och istället har två, tre eller t.o.m. fyra strategidagar per år” berättar Johan Mathson, partner på Lagercrantz Associates.

Utvärdering av VD
59% anser att man inte har en tillräckligt effektiv process för att utvärdera bolagets VD. Under de två senaste säsongerna ser vi ett kraftigt ökat intresse för VD-utvärderingar. I regel görs de samtidigt som den årliga styrelseutvärderingen. Flera styrelseordföranden motiverar detta med bl.a. att en årlig, faktabaserad och effektiv VD-utvärdering, avdramatiserar utvärderingen av VD (vilket annars kan upplevas som att ”nu är det nog något på gång”).

”Utöver att bedöma VDs insats blir det allt viktigare att säkerställa ”alignment” (samsyn) mellan styrelsen och VD / den verkställande ledningen vad gäller ägaragendan” berättar Johan.

Successionsplanering (verkställande ledning och andra nyckelpersoner)
En så stor andel som 93% säger sig sakna en tillräcklig väl dokumenterad sucessionsplan. Här ser vi en stor skillnad på styrelser med en ordförande (eller andra ledamöter) som i praktiken ställts inför successionsproblem i tidigare styrelseuppdrag. I dessa fall brukar successionsplanen vara av en betydligt högre kvalitet.

Styrelsens hållbarhetsarbete
Generellt sett det huvudområde där man ser den största andelen kritiska styrelser (55%).
”Vår erfarenhet är att styrelsen måsta arbeta sig igenom tre faser för att nå en tillräcklig kvalitet i sitt hållbarhetsarbete:

Att helt enkelt lägga mer tid/ett större fokus på dessa frågor.
Definiera vad hållbarhetsbegreppet betyder i den bransch man verkar och för just den egna verksamheten.
Säkerställa att hållbarhetsarbetet blir en naturlig del i den affärsdrivande verksamheten och att den skapar konkreta värden” berättar Johan.

70% av nordiska styrelser anser att man måste lägga mer tid på att förstå och diskutera kund, kundpreferenser och vilka kundvärden man vill skapa. Som en viktig del i detta anser 65% att man behöver mer och/eller bättre underlag från den verkställande ledningen inom detta område. Här bör styrelsens kravställande öka.

Huvudorsaken till denna självkritiska bild är bl.a. att områden som regleringar och compliance tagit (och tar) så mycket tid i styrelsearbetet. Johan berättar om en styrelse man arbetar med där man har 8.000 sidor obligatoriskt inläsningsmaterial per år. ”Jag tror inte att vi nämnt ordet kund i styrelsen under det senaste året”, uttryckte en frustrerad ledamot, berättar Johan.

Detta är några av de slutsatser Lagercrantz Associates drar av sitt arbete med Faktabaserade Styrelseutvärderingar med syftet att stödja styrelser i att öka sin effektivitet och bidra till ökat värdeskapande.

Lagercrantz Associates:

Lagercrantz Associates är en svensk boutiquefirma som arbetar med:
– Rekrytering (Board search och Executive search)
– Assessment (Styrelseutvärdering, ledningsgruppsutvärdering och Management assessment)
Kunder är svenska, nordiska och internationella bolag med en fördelning på 62% noterade bolag, 28% PE-bolag och 10% statliga bolag.
På årsbasis genomförs faktabaserade styrelseutvärderingar med ca. 350 styrelseledamöter.

Källa:, 22 mars 2017

Why are boards coming up short in performance?

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on mars 16th, 2017 by admin

No board member sets out to be mediocre. And yet as institutional shareholders and activists are “grading” board performance on a steeper curve than ever before, their view is that many boards are coming up short.

ISS, government regulators, the press, and others are exercising much greater scrutiny over whether boards are executing their fiduciary responsibilities and really acting in the best interests of shareholders. While activist shareholders traditionally were able to hold sway and demand board seats in smaller companies outside the Fortune 500, today we are seeing this happen with venerable names such as Procter & Gamble, Yahoo!, BMC Software, and JC Penney.

In this climate of stakeholders’ taking a much tougher stance on what they deem to be “underperforming directors,” it’s worth it to examine the causes of mediocre performance on boards today. Why are many boards missing the mark?

Looking at the structure and process of many boards today, the following emerge as the greatest areas of concern:
• Knowledge gaps
One of the major causes of board underperformance is uneven knowledge on a subject; because some directors are way ahead of others, discussion around the table becomes limited. While it is not expected that everyone will be at the same level of knowledge about all board topics, a certain baseline is important for meaningful discussion. We have found a number of companies addressing information asymmetries by adding mandatory board education sessions on specific subjects—whether it’s M&A issues or a new geography the company may be entering or new regulatory developments. This greater leveling of content knowledge allows more robust discussion on the core issues. But the key is that these sessions become mandatory because when one or two directors miss a session, it sets everything back to zero.

• Lack of self-assessment
ladda ned (5)
Boards of directors are continually pushing their CEOs to assemble the best team around them and also ensure that the top executives are being rigorously assessed and developed. Yet the paradox of corporate governance is that when it comes to the board assessing its own performance, it is often done using a check-the-box exercise with some form of gentle peer review. These reviews are frequently conducted by law firms focused on compliance rather than specialists in assessments. To better ensure director effectiveness, the best boards today are implementing truly rigorous assessments with substantive data on their performance rather than the kind of rubber-stamping sign-off that is so common—but is viewed with increasing impatience by board observers.

• Self-delusion
Because the role of a director is multifaceted and not easily quantified or measured, a psychological effect can come into play which is called illusory superiority. While it’s impossible for most people to be above average for a specific quality, people deluded by this effect think that they are better than most people in many arenas including work performance. This problem is exacerbated by the lack of honest feedback—fellow directors may comment behind the back of an underperformer but won’t confront him to his face. What is even more interesting about this psychological effect is that the most incompetent people are also the most likely to overestimate their skills. The fix for this problem is employing hard performance metrics for directors. Getting specific about what makes an effective director and then training, educating, and assessing against these criteria gives directors feedback on their performance that is useful and actionable.

• Committee inexperience and recruitment shortcomings
One of the most important conditions you need for performance is “content for the role;” for boards, two of their most important duties are strategy and succession planning. Yet when you examine the real experience that directors have when it comes to succession planning, very few actually have deep experience. What is even more concerning is that you rarely see succession expertise as a criteria for being selected to a board. Additionally, the committee members in charge of succession planning are usually there by default—those directors who did not have the qualifications to be on the specialist committees (such as Audit). Finally, during succession events boards often choose to “go it alone” rather than utilizing outside advisors, something they do for every other activity the board engages in (Audit, Risk, Compensation, Legal, etc.). The combination of not having the proper expertise and the extreme stress that succession events can cause can lead to board underperformance and outright ineffectiveness at a time when shareholders need them at their best.

• Leadership issues
Out-of-touch board leadership can be one of the most problematic issues for a board, even when there are outstanding individual directors around the table. Whether a board has chosen to split the Chairman and CEO role or to utilize a Lead Director, it is very important that board leadership be taken seriously. These are typically directors who have been developed purposefully through various committee leadership roles, combined with deep and broad governance experiences. The very best Chairs and Lead Directors are able to focus the board, draw out people’s points of view, re-direct when things are off track, and deal with issues as the come up in order to maintain a productive and constructive board environment. They are active in their roles engaging individually and collectively with directors and management. They have the pulse of the board and management and are able to guide the board through stressful situations using these events to bring the board together and galvanize it versus it become a divisive and unproductive situation.

Finally, and it should go without saying, people who “need” a directorship for financial reasons should not be on the board because they are compromised before they even begin. You should always recruit directors that have no financial motivation for being on the board. A company needs directors who choose a board because they are passionate about the company and have real skills and experiences that align with the needs of the company and the CEO.

Author: Stephen Miles is founder and CEO of The Miles Group, which advises chief executives and boards globally.

Är “Det typiskt kvinnliga ledarskapet” en myt?

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 16th, 2017 by admin

En diskussion om de här frågorna kan lätt bli infekterad. Vissa menar att personliga egenskaper kan kopplas till kön, medan andra anser att de föreställningarna är fördomsfulla och fel. Då kan det vara bra att luta sig mot forskning.

En stor dansk undersökning, baserad på svar från drygt 2 000 mellanchefer och 300 vd:ar, slog för ett tag sedan fast att det inte finns ladda ned (4)något som kan kallas ”kvinnligt ledarskap”. Kvinnliga toppchefer är minst lika synliga och tydliga i sitt sätt att fatta beslut och leda (som sina manliga motsvarigheter).

Genusforskaren Klara Regnö tror på dessa resultat och tycker att fokus borde ligga på mäns och kvinnors olika villkor som chefer.
– Bara det faktum att det finns något som uppfattas som kvinnligt chefskap är en spegling av manlig ledarskapsnorm. Så kallat ”kvinnligt ” ledarskap blir något som avviker från det vi ser som ”vanligt” ledarskap, säger hon till tidningen Kollega.

Även då kvinnliga chefer når samma resultat som manliga så uppfattas det inte alltid på det viset. Klara Regnö säger att som kvinna på en mansdominerad arbetsplats sticker man ut, vilket påverkar arbetsvillkoren. Man måste prestera, eftersom man har ögonen på sig – men inte alltför bra, eftersom det kan utmana majoriteten.
– Men du får inte heller misslyckas, för då riskerar du att ses som en representant för vad alla kvinnor på chefsposition kan prestera.

Källa:, mars 2017

Are your leaders trustworthy?

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 12th, 2017 by admin

Trust is a challenge in today’s organizations. Even though trustworthiness is generally recognized as an important managerial attribute, the reality is that leaders are falling short in this area. According to Tolero Solutions, 45 percent of employees say lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting work performance.

Two new research reports just published by The Ken Blanchard Companies point to strategies that learning and development leaders can use to improve the level of trust in their organizations. Drawing on an 1,800-person survey, the study looked at the connections between coaching and trust behaviors and employee intentions to:
– Remain with an organization;
– Apply discretionary effort;
– Be a good organizational citizen;
– Perform work at high levels; and
– Endorse the organization as a good place to work.

Results of the survey show that trust in one’s leader has a large degree of correlation to the five intentions as a distinct unit.
The research also looked at the impact coaching behaviors had on trust as well as the positive or negative emotion experienced byladda ned (2) followers. There was a strong relationship between the coaching behaviors of facilitating, inspiring, and guiding—and it was found that individuals are more likely to trust their leader when they perceive the leader exhibiting these coaching behaviors.
Despite the strong connection between coaching behaviors, positive intentions, and trust, organizations sometimes have trouble getting managers to use coaching behaviors. In a Harvard Business Review article entitled “You Can’t Be a Great Manager If You’re Not a Good Coach,” management coach and consultant Monique Valcour states “…Coaching isn’t part of what managers are formally expected to do. …Managers think they don’t have the time to have these conversations, and many lack the skill. Yet 70 percent of employee learning and development happens on the job, not through formal training programs. If line managers aren’t supportive and actively involved, employee growth is stunted.”

Madeleine Blanchard and Linda Miller, co-creators of The Ken Blanchard Companies newly redesigned Coaching Essentials program, believe that to be successful, managers must move away from traditional assumptions about leading others. Instead, they must adopt a coaching mindset of asking, not telling, and of helping others identify ways to solve problems instead of solving problems for them.
To help develop this mindset and skill set, Blanchard and Miller teach four essential coaching skills along with a four-step coaching process.

The first skill, Listening to Learn, requires a shift in mindset.
“This skill includes listening for different perspectives, new ideas, or insights, and—most important—listening with the intention of having your mind possibly changed,” says Blanchard.

The second skill is Inquiring for Insight.
“Great managers ask questions that allow their people to share insights and ideas that can benefit projects, tasks, and performance in general,” explains Miller. “With this skill, managers ask open-ended questions, emphasize what and how rather than why, and focus on moving forward.”

The third and fourth skills are Telling Your Truth and Expressing Confidence.
Telling your truth is about sharing observations or giving feedback that will help the employee accomplish a goal or task. Expressing confidence means acknowledging a direct report and maintaining a respectful, positive regard regardless of the type of conversation being held. It’s important to separate the subject matter from the person, say the two authors. Their favorite quote on this topic is “People are always okay; it’s just their behavior that’s a problem sometimes.”

In addition to the four essential coaching skills, Blanchard and Miller outline a four-step coaching process managers can use to conduct ladda ned (3)structured conversations. Even though the process is not always linear, managers should strive to carry out each conversation by Connecting—asking questions and listening to demonstrate attentiveness and interest; Focusing—identifying topics to be discussed; Activating—drawing out ideas and collaborating on a plan of action, and Reviewing—ensuring clear agreements and accountabilities.

“This is a process that provides some structure for conversations so managers are more effective and efficient,” explains Miller.
Randy Conley, Blanchard’s trust practice leader and content advisor for the newly redesigned Building Trust program, believes that effective communication skills create a high trust environment. In Conley’s experience, better conversation leads to higher levels of trust and transparency, which benefits the individual as well as the organization.

“The way we communicate with others is the primary way we build trust. What we say, how we say it, and how we respond to what others communicate can make or break trust.”

Source:, March 2017

Fortfarande ovanligt med kvinnliga VD:ar

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 9th, 2017 by admin

En undersökning från revisions- och konsultföretaget Grant Thornton visar att andelen kvinnliga vd:ar nu är 16 procent, men 95 av 100 försäljningschefer är män. I en annan undersökning framgår att byrån själv leder jämställdhetsarbetet i revisionsbranschen.

Trots få kvinnor i de tillfrågade företagens ledningsgrupper har andelen kvinnor på vd-posten i Sverige ökat till 16 procent – den högsta andelen som uppmätts hittills i Grant Thorntons årliga undersökning. Högst andel kvinnor på vd-poster finns i Stockholm där var fjärde vd är en kvinna. Men även Göteborg och Malmö har högre andel kvinnliga vd:ar än övriga landet, slår undersökningen fast. Utanför storstadsområdena är motsvarande siffra bara 15 procent.

Förutom att andelen kvinnor på vd-posten har ökat i Sverige, har även andelen kvinnor i företagsledningar ökat till 28 procent från 26 procent föregående år. Värt att notera är dock att andelen låg på samma nivå 2015 som i år, så sett över en treårsperiod är läget oförändrat.

Kvinnliga försäljningschefer är däremot sällsynta. Bara fem procent av företagen har en kvinna på denna roll.ladda ned (1)

Vanligast är att en kvinna har titeln CFO – Chief Financial Officer. Hela 40 procent av företagen har en kvinna på denna position. Näst vanligast är CHRO – HR-chef – med 27 procent.

Det är samma länder i topp- och bottenskiktet år efter år. I år toppar Ryssland med 47 procent kvinnor i ledningen och sämst är Japan med sju procent kvinnor. I Japan saknar hela 67 procent av företagen helt kvinnor i sina företagsledningar. Även länder som Tyskland och Storbritannien ligger dåligt till med 18 respektive 19 procent kvinnor i ledningarna.
I Grant Thorntons egen bransch, revisionsbranschen, finns ett genomsnitt på 23 procent kvinnliga delägare inom de sju största aktörerna – 2 procentenheter mer än förra året. Det skriver tidningen Balans.

De byråer som placerar sig i den högre delen av skalan, ovanför medianvärdet, är just Grant Thornton, Mazars och Deloitte.

Grant Thornton leder och har under det gångna året ökat andelen kvinnor bland delägarna med fyra procentenheter. Byrån har nu totalt 28 procent kvinnor i partnerkretsen. Mazars intar andraplatsen. De har ökat andelen kvinnor bland delägarna med 2 procentenheter, från 24 till 26 procent. Deloitte ökar andelen kvinnor bland delägarna från 22 till 24 procent.

Lisbeth Larsson, som är informationschef på Grant Thornton berättar för byrån arbetat med jämställdhetsfrågan under flera år, för att få ökad jämställdhet på partnernivå, i styrelse, ledning och bland övriga chefer.
– Det gäller att ha jämställdhetsglasögonen på hela tiden för att se det som man lätt annars missar, säger hon.

Hon fortsätter:
– Till exempel kan det gälla nomineringar till ledarposter, partners eller till andra utnämningar. Här får man ta ett extra varv för att se om det finns kvinnor som kan vara aktuella som inte kommit upp i första omgången. Ofta leder en andra omgång till att fler identifieras, som uppfyller kriterierna. Jag tror det handlar om normer.

På Grant Thornton ser man att det behövs läggas extra kraft på att stötta kvinnor att bygga sin affär. Det är relativt lätt att få kvinnor på chefspositioner, men en större utmaning att få kvinnor som tunga uppdragsansvariga, berättar Lisbeth Larsson.
– Här kan man se kopplingen till Grant Thorntons egen undersökning. Det är märkligt att vi inte ser fler kvinnor som försäljningschefer/direktörer.

Källa:, mars 2017

Customer meetings: How the best sales reps approach them

Posted in Aktuellt, Försäljning / Sales on mars 3rd, 2017 by admin

Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Our focus and energy needs to be on the things we CAN control. Attitude, effort, focus – these are the things we can control.” -Tim Tebow

In selling, there are many areas where sales reps truly have all the say in the level of impact they can make to maximize their chances of winning the deal. Of course, effort isn’t everything and hence Tebow’s call for attitude and focus are especially notable. After all, a flurry of activities doesn’t simply equal progress. So the key is channeling effort to the right areas, whereby your hard work will pay dividends with meaningful impact, resulting in progress and success.

imagesThere is one particular area that is far too often and easily neglected in this regard: Customer Meetings.

In a deal cycle, each meeting with a prospective buyer is a milestone activity and a successful one propels the opportunity forward. The meeting is your live “at bat”. With each one, you’re either moving the opportunity forward or you’re not. You’re either edging out your competitors or being edged out.

We begin by establishing the anatomy of a meeting. In sales, it’s helpful to establish a broader view of what encapsulates a meeting. In other words, it’s not just about what happens during a meeting; what you do before and after the meeting matter just as much. We define the anatomy of meeting in three major parts: BEFORE—DURING—AFTER. In the first part of the series, we cover what you can do BEFORE the meeting to set yourself up for a successful, productive meeting that will propel your deal forward and ultimately win.


5W1H: This is where the good old journalism 101 comes into play: Who – Why – What – When – Where – How. Who are you meeting with? Why are the two parties meeting? What is the objective of the meeting? When and where? What is the agenda for the meeting (How)? For any given customer meeting, you should be able to answer all of these questions well beforehand.

The who entails the company, the persons, and the team you’re meeting with. With the exception of a few products, most of the purchasing decision is a collective effort made as a team.

Understanding the company – its product and market – and the people behind the decision helps to prepare the right set of questions to ask in the meeting and proactively identify any important information you may be missing. In turn, you’ll be equipped to better align and position your solution to the business drivers, the needs, and the objectives that are at the heart of the deal at hand. Furthermore, your research can uncover certain tidbits that can help you connect with your prospects in a more personable way – mutual connections, similar experiences, shared local knowledge, etc.

Ask yourself:
•What does the company do? Where are they based? What are some interesting and notable recent news about the company?
•Who are you meeting with? What are their roles and responsibilities? What personas will be involved in the meeting? What are their prior work experiences? What are some of the interests and hobbies that they have publicly shared – i.e. Linkedin Profile

The why entails the business drivers and the motivations of your prospect. There is a reason why the prospect has agreed to meet with you. If it’s an initial discovery or qualification meeting, you will not have all the answers. However, you have general knowledge of how your solution aligns to certain industries or teams or initiatives. Look to some relevant and similar key customers and partners that will help inform how to best sell to the prospect.

If you’re walking into subsequent meetings having already qualified the prospect, this becomes all the more critical. ALWAYS understand why your solution matters specifically to the company and the people you’re meeting. Remember, your prospect is likely evaluating your competitors with similar features and functionalities. Vendor blur is a real thing. This is your opportunity to elevate the conversation. It’s much more compelling for prospects to buy a product from someone who really understands their goals and challenges.

Ask yourself:
•How have we helped other companies in the same market or with similar challenges and strategic initiatives?
•What part of our solution typically resonates with these types of companies/roles?
•What are some common objections we encounter and what is the best way to handle them?

The what entails the purpose of the meeting. This is a TWO-WAY street. Are you anticipating a discovery call while your prospect is expecting a product demonstration? Having a prospect walk away from the meeting feeling like they didn’t get what they needed can really hurt your chances. More importantly, it’s one you can easily avoid.

A great salesperson will help the prospect accomplish their objective for the meeting while also accomplishing their own without losing control of how the selling is carried out. The first step towards doing this is identifying whether you have a clear understanding of the prospect’s objectives for the meeting.

Ask yourself:
•What is the prospect expecting to accomplish in this meeting?
•What do I want to accomplish in this meeting?
•What is necessary for me to prepare in order to make sure I can meet these objectives?
•Is there an internal resource I ought to involve?

If the above is unclear, consider it a BIG red flag. Thankfully, the remedy is rather simple: ask your prospect via email – “Hey Sarah, given that we have an hour scheduled, my goal in this meeting is to establish a good understanding of your needs and challenges so that I can better tailor our solution to what matters most to you. What are some things that you would like to get out of our meeting on Friday?”

The how entails the tactical elements of how you will execute the meeting. Most organizations have a sales process and best practices to help you maximize your chances of winning the deal. However, one element that is universal to any productive meeting is an agenda that is aligned with the WHY and the WHAT. This also allows for you to gain a clear understanding of what you want to tackle first. We’re all too familiar with people jumping in and out of meetings or having to cut it short. So it’s important to make sure that you have a plan in place to cover the most important items first.

Furthermore, a clear agenda helps you steer the meeting back to the objectives at hand, lest it is derailed by tangents and detractors. It may not always make sense but whenever possible, confirm the agenda with your prospect. Giving them a say is a way to implicitly gain their commitment to stick to the agenda. An agenda that is appropriately aligned to the WHY and WHAT will equip you with the ability to facilitate and execute a productive and successful meeting that results in a Win-Win for all parties involved.

Ask yourself:
•Based on my objectives, as well as that of the prospect, what is the best order of operations? What should I cover first?
•Do I have buy-in on the agenda from my prospect?
•How much time do I have and what should be the appropriate allocation of time for each item on the agenda?
•Am I meeting with a few people or a conference room full of several people? If so, how should I engage in asking questions?

The when and where are pretty straightforward and, therefore, we run the risk of overlooking some critical pitfalls. The last thing you want is for seemingly minor logistical or technical details to cripple or completely derail what would otherwise could have been a productive meeting. Access to internet, proper adapters, and working audio/visual are just a few examples. It pays to be vigilant with the small details.

Ask yourself:
•Will my prospect be able to join the conference call without a problem? Certain meeting tools require a prior install and there can also be security blockers that can keep your prospect from being able to join a screen-share.
•Will there be multiple people sitting in a conference room? If so, will I be heard clearly?
•(if meeting in person) Is the environment at the place of meeting conducive to a focused meeting or will my prospects be easily distracted?

The level of research and preparation may differ depending on the type of meeting and even the type of product you sell. The more we put this into practice, the more it becomes ingrained as a natural part of our workflow and approach to each customer meeting. As we become more efficient in this area, we have more influence in the outcome of the deal than ever before. Plus, we have no shortage of tools today to help automate much of this research work. As mentioned earlier, this is about effort and focus and you have full control., March 2017
Author:Ethan Kim