Great Producer, Poor Manager Now What?

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Aug 14, 2013

Dear Barb:

I promoted my top producer to a management role in my company and he’s not working out. He doesn’t want to mentor, train or provide assistance, yet he loves getting a 5% override on everyone under him. I can’t afford to lose his production which represents 35% of our total revenue. How do I demote, but retain him? I discussed this with you at the Fordyce Forum and you strongly suggested this would be a mistake. Why didn’t I listen to your advice?

Frank C.

Dallas, TX

Barb Responds

Dear Frank:

Most top producers are focused on money and their own production. In many instances they are too selfish to mentor or train, but accept the promotion because of the override.

I would sit down with this person and explain the mentoring and training that is currently needed for your team. Ask him to compile a detailed training and mentoring schedule for each person, pointing out where each person needs to improve. Share your goals for each of the people he supervises.

When your top producer begins to react to the time commitment here, ask him if he’s enjoying the management responsibilities. Ask if there was a way for him to earn an additional 5% on his own production, would he prefer that to his current management role.

You then set up a graduated earning schedule for this top producer based on cash-in for the year. Over a certain level he receives an additional 2.5%, and if he attains truly high cash-in, you now pay an additional 5% until the end of the year. This type of graduated commission schedule all but guarantees record cash-in numbers for the month of December.

For the record, I’ve made this exact same mistake in my life, which is why I was trying to convince you not to make the same decision.

Barbara J. Bruno, CPC, CTS

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