Last year, in a very non sales management training related move, we made the decision to leave home, travel cross country for a year and homeschool our two grade school boys.
We figured that instead of paying the $20,000+ per year to pay for the to go to a perfectly nice private school on Cape Cod, we’d save that money, indulge in our passion for travel and see the country instead.
So as part of that, we decided we would take our kids out of school for a year and home school them along the way…even though neither of us are teachers.
Sales Management Training and Homeschooling
All summer long, as we visited National Parks, new cities and had a real good time, we knew September and “back to school” would soon arrive. Both my wife and I work from home so we figured with the kids the ages they were, now was the time to do it before they (or we) got too old.
The real difference for me was when September rolled around…back to school time.
As the guy who used to be a sales management professional in the medical and other health related industries, my “teaching assignment” was math and science. And because I write and teach for a living, I was also responsible for grammar.
Bear in mind, I have never taught homeschooling…after all, I’m a sales management training guy, so homeschooling is really not my thing.
The funny thing is that as a complete novice home schooling “teacher”, I fell into the exact same sales management traps that so many sales managers fall into when teaching, coaching and leading their salespeople.
What does homeschooling have to do with sales management you ask?
On the surface…nothing. But if you really look under the hood, they are actually very similar. And you make the exact same mistakes as well:
1. Lack of Preparation
Despite what I preach as a sales management training guy, I was never fully prepared for any of my lessons. I just showed up and winged it.
Even worse, I set zero expectations for the class. In many cases, I only realized what I would be teaching, or at least which workbook I woul have the kids do only a few minutes before the lesson started. Never a good plan.
Always prepare ahead of time.
You fail to plan….you (yes, I know its cliched) plan to fail.
2. Highlighted Weaknesses and Forgot Strengths
A capital boo boo here.
When I first started correcting homework, nothing gave me more satisfaction that marking a big red “X” right smack in the middle of a wrong answer.
HA HA! (I would think to myself) I am so smart and you are so stupid!!!!
Is this a good way to correct mistakes? Not really. Is this a good way to instill confidence and build up my students self esteem so they feel good about themselves and self motivate to push to new height of academic greatness?
I have written countless posts on this one, but did I take my own advice?
3. Was Stingy With My Praise
How many times have I written about the value of praise on this blog? There are dozens of posts on this subject.
Not only did I not praise when they did something right, I didn’t even “catch them doing something right”. I swooped in and became a “seagull homeschool teacher“.
4. Made It No Fun
Don’t you remember your best teachers when you went to school? I do.
I had an American history teacher in college who was so entertaining in his stories about the Civil War that to this day I remember him. His lectures were a mix of humor, suspense and disbelief at many the atrocities and ironies of that war, all delivered in vivid detail. I still remember many of the funny stories and gruesome tales he told the class.
To this day, I am still a Civil War buff and I owe it to him.
Did I make my homeschooling lessons interesting or at least maybe a little bit fun?
5. Spent The Least Time With My “A” Player
The biggest mistake of all was that I spent most of my time, in fact I would say 80% of my time with my son that had the most difficulty learning new things.
I am not going to say he is a “C player” because he is far from it.
He is a (no bias here at all I assure you) brilliant, imaginative, creative, kind, wonderful, sensitive, energetic kid who will be an enormous success in his life…its just that school isn’t really his thing.
My other son, I would tell him to do assignment 1 and 2 and he would do both of those then do 3, 4 and 5 as well…because he had the desire and pure love of learning.
An “A Player”? Perhaps. You be the judge.
Where did I spend the most time with? Not with my “A” player.
Another mistake…a HUGE mistake so many sales management professionals make.
You Can Change Your Sales Management Training Mistakes NOW
After about a month, my wife (the boss) gave me some advice:
Hmm. It was right then that I woke up.
Sometimes, it takes someone else to tell you that you are really screwing up to see that you are really screwing up.
In your case, don’t wait for your boss to do it. Do it to yourself.
Are you committing all the above mistakes in your sales management life?
If you are, then its OK. There is time, you can change.
There is plenty of sales management training around to help you fix your mistakes.
All you have to do is start now. I just wouldn’t suggest you get any crazy ideas about homeschooling your kids though…
Just stick to sales management instead.