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The 4Fs - FUD, Friction, Failure, Firing

You may have heard of Form and Function from the Bauhaus movement.
There’s another movement - the 4F movement. Nothing to do with farming, I promise.

When companies miss plan, don’t make the number, and otherwise disappoint, the 4Fs will surely follow. The 4Fs are FUD, Friction, Failure, and Firing.

FUD is shorthand for Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Its what happens when people get confused, are being held accountable, and begin to get testy about it.
Friction is the general affect on interpersonal relationships. And generally crap flows down, warranted or not.
Failure is the best way to describe missing goals and objectives.
And Firing - thats the last straw - you’re out!

When companies miss plan once, its a blip. Nothing to see here, just move on.
A couple of quarters off pace, Attention is drawn and the scrutiny cycle begins.

Miss a 3rd quarter in a row, and by now it makes sense to:
  • Thin the ranks of sales people, fire all the C players.
  • Put the B players on notice
  • Raise Quotas (Why?)
  • Track everything thereby decreasing sales time in the field
  • Demand more reporting - another stupid act of demeaning the sales team by extracting what they know, and when they knew it. As if management actually knew what to do with the info in the first place…..if it didn’t matter before, it won’t matter now.
  • Put the VP Sales on notice: Shape up or Ship Out
  • Review all Revenue related budgetary decisions

Selling is a lot like hitting in baseball. When your over .300, your golden, a god with a bat!
If you’re in a slump, you get to listen to advice from the peanut vendor in the upper deck. Or the beer fairy who no doubt is sampling the product and running their mouth. Its no fun.

On point, FUD and Friction precede Failure, and a range of reactionary Firing of the hapless. And in firing people, the next reaction is to hire new ones to replace the slackers, those non-performers who wrecked everything. Accountability down, rewards up.

Why does this happen?
Part of it is that many companies fail to see Revenue Generation as Strategic as do their Boards. After all, money really does grow on trees…..until it doesn’t.

Without looking at the right information, the kind that identifies bottlenecks, game playing, inferior management practices, and values marketing and sales kinetics from a ROI / ROMI perspective, no useful change is likely to occur.

Hubris seems to dictate that what worked before will work now and into the future. Managers in the Wireless space that were amazing in a 17% market saturation, tended to suck as saturation hit 94%. Only the best of the best remained effective.

The information needed to manage Effort, the historical data point for sales people, are simply the wrong numbers to track. Yes, effort counts, yet measuring information workers as if they are lathe workers or unloading trucks won’t get you where you want to go.

You need analysis and deep insight.

In the executive suite, the 4Fs signal the end.

Get smart, get the trendlines that matter, and change your playbooks to match the business strategy you have, or need. Playbooks are the procedural expression of your understanding of what needs to be done. They represent management’s understanding of the customer, decision process, and value. Changing playbooks is much less expensive than changing sales people and sales directors. To change playbooks effectively, deep insight borne of meaningfull analysis is the only “managed” way to go.

With only your gut, you’re just winging it, followed by more FUD, Friction, Failure, and Firing.

Revenue Analysis and Insight is a much better approach. Look before you leap!

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