Accountability: A reader’s response
Accountability—or its perceived lack—was the topic of our discussion early this month. Kuya, the CEO of a family business, feels that his younger brother Bunso, the sales head, has not been performing according to expectations.
A candid discussion with Bunso reveals that he prefers to do sales rather than manage the sales team.
I point out to Kuya that instead of blaming Bunso, he should align company systems to enable Bunso to meet family business expectations.
Dennie Dy, a reader, gives a thoughtful response to the issue, as follows:
“I read your article and I would like to give my two cents. I assume Bunso is still in his late 20s or early 30s. His strength is in sales, but his job title and his responsibility is sales management.
“It is very obvious that Bunso is not able to perform effectively his management task and responsibilities. He is only doing what he is very good at (as evidenced by good sales) and I assume he enjoys it.
“And he likes to be outside where the action is, instead of sitting inside the office.
“If matters were left up to me, I would let Bunso continue to focus on his sales activities and give him the task to further increase them more than what he has achieved so far.
“As sales is very important, because they are the lifeline of the company, it is important to have a very talented person who also loves sales. Kuya should nurture Bunso and let this attitude grow.
“Bunso will eventually pick up other skills, like product concepts, marketing and customer satisfaction as he is very close to the customers and the marketplace.
“For sales management, it would be good to hire an outside professional to help Bunso manage the sales.
“There are lots of CEOs, great leaders in corporations who came from sales, such as previous heads of IBM, Chrysler, Motorola, etc. They came from sales, and they had to spend decades to be transformed into good leaders of companies.
“I would just like to give my input, that Bunso might not yet be ripe to do management, and at this stage, his love is in sales.”
Thank you, Dennie Dy, for your response. Bunso is 36 years old, with more than 10 years of experience in their family business. Kuya often compares Bunso to himself, saying that at the same age, he was already vice president of the enterprise.
I tell Kuya to refrain from doing this, but Kuya says he cannot help but be disappointed that Bunso still acts like a “fresh graduate who wants to do fun things like sales but disappears from the office and lets his people fool him.”
You have pointed out the logical course of action. Encourage Bunso to stay in sales and increase targets. I agree that in their company, sales is the lifeline. Kuya also agrees with this.
However, only Kuya and Bunso are left running the family business started by their parents. Kuya is wary of nonfamily professionals, and says he has “no choice” but to demand that Bunso be more of a manager rather than a salesperson. He believes that given Bunso’s lengthy tenure with the company, it is about time he learns to focus on “building the team rather than going it alone.”
I have given Kuya your message about multinationals wherein several CEOs started out in sales. Kuya himself started out in sales. Kuya appreciates your pointing this out, but worries that Bunso might not have enough time to become a good CEO in the future if he prefers to go his own way.
Right now, Bunso is being trained to manage people better. I am helping Kuya and Bunso to put appropriate accountability systems in place.
But we have set a timeline: two years. If Bunso still does not like—and does not perform well—in management after two years, I agree with you that Kuya has to consider hiring a nonfamily professional to manage the team and have Bunso grow sales, which he likes to do.
On behalf of Kuya and Bunso, thank you again.
Queena N. Lee-Chua is on the Board of Directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” at www.lazada.com.ph or call National’s Jennie Garcia at 0915-421-2276. Contact the author at [email protected]
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