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Leveraging Human Capital  

"Developing" vs. "Training" 

By Chuck A. Reynolds

Global change is driving the need to improve performance, in order to compete. With respect to the rate of change, former GE CEO, Jack Welch, once said "If the rate of change outside of an organization (or individual) is greater than the rate of change within it, the end is in sight for that organization".


The question is: "How do companies and managers improve the performance of their people ??"

"Nobody gets in good physical shape with only one visit to the gym." Nobody becomes an excellent golfer with only one golf lesson. Similarly, with respect to improving sales results, or management effectiveness, a single "training" session will not have sustainable impact on performance.

Are you aware that North American organizations spend an estimated $50billion annually on performance related improvement without much measurable job related results? People development should be an investment vs. an unnecessary expense.

Think about it. Development should cost your organization nothing. It should result in "saving" or "earning" your company revenues or productivity otherwise why consider it at all? Your objective is to improve performance results not to spend budgets on the activity of "training". Development is part of the route to taking you there, not the end result.

Some "training" companies or trainers will treat you as if the "training" is the end result (It made them money, but failed to enhance your results). A distinction must be made between "training" and "development". Some companies want to improve results and they turn to a "trainer" to get them.

The trainer then proposes a seminar that lasts a day or two and promises to cure ills. People enjoy the seminars, the trainer gets paid, however, a year later the ROI (Return on Investment) is not there.

This happens often. The company blames the trainer and says "next time we’ll bring in a different trainer to attain results." They then go through and repeat the same mistake with no change in results.

The question is, "Will a one or three day seminar, by itself, change habits that have been formed over several years?" By contrast, "development" takes the approach that in order to achieve results we must help change behavior.

To do this we must

  • Create the desire,
  • Equip them with new skills,
  • Overcome old habit patterns,
  • Allow them to practice, and apply them
  • Reinforce and coach them.
  • Celebrate achievement

This process takes more than a day, but it does get results. First, organizations must strive for a continuous learning process to achieve results that are sustainable. Secondly, organizations must equip leaders at all levels with effective Coaching skills.

In order for learning to produce results, organizations require a "coaching culture" to facilitate on-going development. To improve performance, your people need continuous coaching before, during and after learning sessions.

Instead of a short-term training band-aid that produces no results, partner with your organizational development people or outside experts for a reasonable period (six to twelve months) to design a solution process that achieves results.

Whether it is learning to golf, play tennis, raise children, develop superior sales  or management skills, the most productive way to change behaviors for improved results is commitment to a strategic development process that combines the elements mentioned above. Successful leaders are strategically linking continuous learning with their business objectives to improve performance.

On a scale of 1-10, how equipped are your managers in terms of ability to coach for continuous performance improvement?


Chuck Reynolds is Chief Performance Officer at Excel Group Development, a North American based Learning and  Performance Development organization that works with companies to enhance Management and Sales Team effectiveness.




Developing the Winning Edge     in Sales

By Chuck A. Reynolds

Without question, today’s business environment is constantly changing. With continuing global change, competition is relentless.

As a result, managers and sales teams are under more pressure to "produce greater results with fewer resources."

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Nevertheless, some managers and sales teams seem to consistently get superior results regardless of economic or competitive circumstances. The question then, becomes, "How can our sales team enhance sales results against our competition?"

Moreover, "What is it that distinguishes effective sales teams from mediocre ones?"

There has been a great deal of research into sales performance. Essentially this research can be summarized under two main categories:

  1. The attitudinal foundation of the sales rep or manager
  2. The skills they employ in selling (or managing).

What is it that will give your reps the winning edge? In his book, Advanced Selling Strategies, author, Brian Tracy, refers to the "winning edge concept."

When a racehorse wins first prize, it is often double the amount awarded to the second place horse. Does this mean the first place horse was twice as fast as the second place horse? Absolutely not.

Many races, whether it is horses or skiers, require photo finishes because there are only fractions of a second that differentiate first place from second place. In essence, to come in first, the winner only has to be a little bit faster than the one that came in second place to get twice the reward, if not more.

Similarly with your sales reps and managers, if your competition’s reps and managers are slightly better than yours are in their confidence level and certain key skill areas, they will get more sales in the market place. When your reps are selling in competitive situations, they will either come in first and get the sale (100%) or they will come in second place and not get the sale at all (0%).

How do we develop our people in the "key skill areas to increase productivity and sales?"

Most organizations have discovered how not to improve managers’ or sales reps’ skills. To get in good physical shape requires consistent exercise. One visit to the gym does not produce any lasting results. Those that are serious about getting in good physical condition commit to an exercise program that involves regular workouts.

Training your reps or managers for a day or two does not produce lasting results either. Organizations that are serious about improving sales skills take a long-term strategic approach with ongoing development. Skill development programs, when implemented properly, becomes an investment for increased sales revenues rather than just an expense.

The first step is to carefully identify what those key skills are for your team and industry before. Then, like a personal fitness test, the second step is to analyze managers’ or reps’ level of skill mastery in those areas that impact corporate objectives.

Finally, to improve leadership or sales performance, an organization’s management must commit to on going development and coaching of their people in these respective skill areas. This will make the difference between needless training expense that produces no lasting results, and investment in ongoing development that produces measurable returns.

If you want your thoroughbred horses to win the race, you must invest in their development. A one-day training of "seven habits of highly effective horses" will not do it.

Instead of standing in the winner’s circle, you may find yourself just standing in manure.

Chuck Reynolds is Chief Performance Officer at Excel Group Development, a North American based Learning and  Performance Development organization that works with companies to enhance Management and Sales Team effectiveness.

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