Right Person, Wrong Role

Have I told you guys about my sister? She is just like me, except she is nothing like me. My little sister is scrappy and, as Bill would say, “wicked smaht.” She has lived on St. Thomas where she did a ton of scuba diving and then took up pest control. She moved to Miami Beach where she laid in the sun and then worked in a funeral parlor. Her talents are many, her background diverse, and she works harder and has a more intense work ethic than anyone I know.

For the past 8.5 years, she has worked for a company that leases office space to small businesses. You see these sites all over the country, and they usually occupy a suite in an office building in which reception and administrative services are provided to businesses as they get off the ground. This support helps small businesses to project a very professional image without having to spend lots of money on payroll and office leases.

Starting out a temp, my sister rose to operations manager and was selected to travel around the country training other managers and teaching people the importance of upholding the company’s standards, resulting in increased profits for the organization. As happens to many people, her role changed many times. The company would tinker with the compensation package, incentivizing the selling of virtual offices and shared meeting spaces, for example. Then her role would change again, and my sister would roll right with it.

But then, one day she realized that her job was ALL SALES—and she does not fancy herself a salesperson. Make no mistake; this is not the same thing as her not having the skills to be a salesperson. She absolutely could be one with the right mentor, training and support. However, the key element that was missing from her situation is that transition was all done without getting her buy-in. It was a decision made for her with no input FROM her.

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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  • Kristen Quinn

    Brought a tear to my eye Kelly. I have goosebumps knowing you are so proud of me and see me in such a great light. I am confident that I absolutely made the right move and I already feel more appreciated in 2 days than I did in a long time with my previous employer! Thank you for sharing my story and warning your clients of the perils of forcing someone into a role that may not be the right fit.

  • Bill Farquharson

    What a great story, Kelly! Good luck, Kristen!