Charles van Commenee is considered something of a hard task master. He’s the Dutchman who guided Denise Lewis to Heptathlon Olympic Gold in Sydney. In return, she named him ”Volcano”. He’s currently the British athletic team’s head honcho. With a haul of 19 medals from last week’s European Championships, he ended underachieving barren years and surpassed the target set. All good on the road to London 2012.
Asked about his role in the success, Van Commenee insisted it was “minor”, but added: “It is quite simple. Remind them (athletes) what it takes to win, to be successful.”
“It’s about taking accountability for successes and also for failure in order to learn from that. It’s not only with the athletes, it is all the staff, the medical staff, the coaching staff, the people in the office.”
This last sentence is a cracker. In all the sales outfits I’ve known, hardly any would match up to that image. Think of all the support staff. How many of them are brought into the fold in this way? Even among the sellers themselves, how many times can you hear groans and undermining grumbles in the corridors and at the bars of sales meetings?
If you run a team, from the largest of corporate sales operations to the smallest of bid-team, you need to get everyone taking responsibility. Constant reminders of the process targets and focusing on what needs to be improved seem a pair of ideas that result in success.