Harvard Business Review Blog Post Gets Salespeople Wrong

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Aug 09, 2011 @ 07:08 AM

The Blog at the Harvard Business Review recently ran this article about the top seven personality traits of successful salespeople.  Thanks to Peter for sending this along to me.

Regular readers know how much I cringe when anyone attempts to suggest that personality tests are or could be predictive of sales performance.  If you haven't read it before, read this series of articles and especially this article along with its embedded links that expose the truth about using personality assessments for sales.

Back to Harvard's Blog.  Is their article any different from others I have debunked?  No!  They make the same mistakes.  They lead people to believe that if they identify someone who is modest, conscientous, achievement oriented, not very self-conscious, curious, not very gregarious and who doesn't get discouraged, they will have a top salesperson.  Surely, they can't be serious!

The biggest problem with this particular article wasn't even the personality assessment.  It was the qualification for top performers.  In most companies, the top performers are some of the weakest salespeople on the planet!  These are the people who have inherited the biggest and best accounts, who manage the sweetest territories, or who have simply rested on their laurels.  Isn't it more likely that this article simply looked at some of the common traits of an effective account manager?

Personality assessments are wonderful.  Just don't use them to determine whether a salesperson will succeed in your particular sales role!

Topics: sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, HBR, harvard, preditive of sales performance, personality assessment

Directors Want Better Boards - and Rightly So!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Oct 20, 2009 @ 20:10 PM

I'm off topic a little bit for this Blog, but not off topic for the work we do in companies each day.

Frederic' pointed me to the October 19 edition of Harvard's Daily Stat - "Directors Want Better Boards". One of the quotes from this article is, Boards should view the current crisis as an opportunity to review the way they function. A healthy self-assessment can go a long way toward improving a company's performance.

It's that self-assessment phrase that makes this post only slightly off topic.

One of the many issues we identify is when Board Chairs and CEO's take the lead in areas in which they don't have the strengths or skills to justify taking the lead.  They often discount the contributions, thoughts and ideas of directors or executives who are stronger than they are in that area. As a result, the company is not always choosing the best strategies and ideas, or having the right discussions, asking the right questions, or making the right decisions at the right times.

Another issue we identify is where the board or executive team doesn't have anyone who is particularly strong in an area. These voids need to be filled, either from inside or outside, in order for the board or team to function at its fullest capabilities.

These issues are examples of board and team limitations which, in normal times, only cause delays and missteps. But in these trying times, these limitations can be fatal.

Objective Management Group has a unique, kick-ass assessment that we conceived, developed and refined specifically for boards and executive teams of organizations.  There are even versions for profit and non-profit boards and they identify the limitations discussed above and many more like them. This powerful, insightful assessment will get boards and executive teams firing on all 8 cylinders very quickly.  

If you would like to learn whether our Key Management Dynamics Assessment can help your Executive Team or Board, simply send me an email.  Please include your zip code.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Topics: kurlan, Executive Team, harvard, board effectiveness, board assessment, CEO's and boards

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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