CONSULTATION : Budgets And Buzzwords

My manager wants to increase my sales budget, I am not happy. What can I do?

This is an interesting question and the short answer is that it all depends. There are two schools of thought on sales budgeting. One that suggests “top down” with management deciding what is needed to run the company and secondly “bottom up” which is essentially field sales people advising what their customers are likely to purchase through the next financial year.
I favour using both approaches to get more balanced view that is realistic but aligns with company needs. I guess from your question, that your manager has taken the first approach. However, before we challenge that thinking, are you sure your manager isn’t privy to some instinctive use of “foresight” planning?
My suggestion is that you look seriously at what you believe is possible to achieve. Consider your products, their lifecycles, any promotions planned, sales trends, prospects, new markets and build your own sales target. You will need to ensure you are being realistic. proactive and positive sales person will also include in their calculation some stretch and growth (more than simply using CPI or inflation figure as this is actually just marking time) and will know their market positioning and growth potential.
Try thinking “what if?” That is, what are the best and the worst case scenarios. Having completed this exercise I would encourage you to look then at what the “company” requires with its proposed sales budget for you and check the variance between those figures and yours. Where you have identified significant difference either up or down (by product group or line) then I suggest you meet with your manager to discuss and agree. If you could demonstrate an increase in market share through proactive planning and some real potential over and above the proposed sales budget that would be fantastic – and good career move.

Why have employees been labelled “human resources”?

The terms “human resource management” and “human resources” (HR) have largely replaced the term “personnel management” as description of the processes involved in managing people in organisations. In simple sense, HR management means employing people, developing their resources, utilising, maintaining and compensating their services in tune with the job and organisational requirement.
HR is the organisational function that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organisation development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.
However, I’m not particularly fond of the reference terminology. “Human resource” is very impersonal. Because I think people are the most valuable assets company can have, I refer to our team members as “colleagues”.
But HRM is actually based on ideas and techniques developed to enhance worker motivation, productivity and performance. The HRM model emphasises:
• The need to search for new ways of working.
• The central role of managers in promoting change.
• The treatment of workers as individuals rather than part of collective workforce.
• The encouragement of workers to consider management as ‘partners’ rather than as opponents – ‘us and us’, rather than ‘us and them’.
Some buzzwords (or phrases) used by HR practitioners include:
• Added value – usually referring to the analysis undertaken by management of the cost and contribution made by employees involved at each stage in the process of producing product or providing service.
• Appraisal schemes – an individual’s performance as reviewed by their manager. Their past performance is examined and future goals are set.
• Benchmarking – measures standards of performance against others doing similar work.
• Continuous improvement (Kaizen) – requires employees to constantly seek ways of improving the quality of the product or service.
• Delayering – the removal of middle layers of management resulting in ‘flatter’ management organisation.
• Empowerment/Enablement – strategies aimed at giving people more control and responsibility for their work.
• Management by objectives – each management team identifies its key tasks and goals and uses these as yardstick against which performance is measured.
• Multi-skilling – the increase of the skills base of the workforce, usually bringing in new technology.
• Outsourcing – occurs when management invites external contractors to undertake work previously done by in-house staff.
• Performance related pay (PRP) – links an individual’s performance with their pay.
• Team building – brings together employers and employees, with the goal of increasing performance by strengthening relationships within the workplace.

Kevin Vincent is CEO NZIM Southern.

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