When Work Friendships Hurt Your Company

Mike Kotsis People Issues, Small Business, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

coworking friends at a table | friendships hurt your company

We’re just over the halfway point of the year. Are your revenue and profit numbers on track? If not, your Sales team is certainly under a lot of pressure to fix the issue and make up for the deficit, quick. That kind of stress can quickly put a department back into a reactive, symptom-solving mode that they lived by before implementing EOS®.

I had a team that was struggling to meet their annual revenue goals. This team was made up of good people who were passionate and wanted to make a difference. Their leadership team of four had worked together for 14 years, so they knew each other quite well. They were friends in and out of work. They would go to industry conferences together, volunteer together, and do fun social activities outside of work.

Because their work relationship and social relationship lines were blurred, it became difficult for the Integrator to hold the team accountable—particularly the sales leader.

Are Friendships Fatal to Your Business?

I took them the through the Sales Dept Checkup™. The Sales Department Checkup is a lesser known tool, but it’s incredibly helpful for the Sales team—and the entire company, as a result. This tool contains a checklist of 8 items to ensure your sales team is running efficiently and effectively. Each item on the list lets you answer yes or no to quickly bring clarity to your sales issues.

As we were going through the Sales Department Checkup, we only made it to the first item on the checklist: “A sales manager (one person accountable)” Right Person Right Seat, GWC™.

There was an inkling that the Sales Manager wasn’t the Right Person in the Right Seat anymore. It was a conversation that the team knew was necessary, but they were clearly uncomfortable going there. Why? Because they genuinely liked each other. Their personal relationships were the very thing that got in the way of clear accountability between them. After all, it can be awkward to hold a friend accountable.

Handpicked related content: Are You Avoiding Your People Issues?

The checklist alone didn’t address the root of their issue until we pulled out the People Analyzer. When the team analyzed the Sales Leader, despite her energy and excitement towards the vision and plan, it was clear that she didn’t GWC her seat.

What Went Wrong?

Here’s why it was so hard – she clearly WANTED the seat, and had the CAPACITY for the seat, but didn’t GET IT. She used to “GET IT” when the company was smaller. She helped the company grow to where it is today, but it had plateaued. She couldn’t seem to break through to the next level of growth. Why? The company is now bigger and more complex, with more moving parts and more people to manage – which was beyond the intuitive grasp of the sales leader. She didn’t GET IT.

The conversation that followed was difficult for the team, but the Sales Checkup Tool and the People Analyzer gave them an objective way to uncover the root cause of why their company had Hit the Ceiling. The tools also helped them to separate their social and professional relationships so they could see the real issue.

The team ultimately parted ways with the sales leader. Six months later, the company is ahead of its revenue and profit plan for the first time in two years. They are experiencing a new level of growth they hadn’t seen in years—and they haven’t hired a new sales leader yet!

Protect Your Business and Your Relationships

The leadership team learned a valuable lesson: don’t blur the lines between personal and professional relationships. Keep them clear. Everyone must GWC their seat, and just because someone once GWC’d their seat, that doesn’t mean they always will. Reevaluate all your direct reports every quarter, or your company will Hit the Ceiling.

Need a hand Implementing EOS more effectively? Find out how I can help your company get to the next level with EOS!


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