Headquarters versus the field: replace "versus" with "working with" for great results

By William Seidman I’m working with a company that has both a very strong corporate headquarters culture and a very strong sales and field operations culture.  But these two vitally important parts — headquarters and sales — are often disconnected from one another and, even worse, at odds with what should be shared goals. Headquarters designs programs that are forward-looking and innovative but, according to the people on the ground, are difficult to deploy.  The result is that the people in sales – in the field – are so focused on daily survival that they tend to produce great short-term financial results, but have neither the time nor the energy to learn new things. Conflicts between headquarters and sales and operations result in good ideas from headquarters being derided as “fads of the week.” Often the innovative concept is discarded or, if the new idea is tried, immediate revenues may decline. But when headquarters and the field align around a new idea, the synergy can be powerful. How to get them to align?  Headquarters needs to be more aware of what’s really going on in the field and adjust programs to fit these conditions.  Headquarters must reduce its constant pressure for immediate numbers. The field has to be given support for learning something new. This takes time and often results in lagging numbers. Both changes in behavior are difficult for executives to manage because they require everyone to take some risks. Cooperating for a change can be nerve-wracking for companies since it simultaneously puts immediate revenue and the future at risk. But our experience has shown us that this cooperation ultimately produces great results.]]>

Share this...

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.