A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
A short follow-up piece in yesterday’s New York Times Bucks blog blew my mind.
The Girl Scouts of America do not approve of parents selling their kids’ cookies in the office.
I mean. What? This is a devastating bit of news, if you ask me.
According to the spokesperson quoted in the article, Amanda Hamaker, manager of product sales for Girl Scouts of the USA, “we don’t approve.”
Well, Ms. Hamaker, I don’t approve of your not approving. Parental outsourcing is the only way I get my hands on your cookies. And fine, perhaps this practice doesn’t help the salesgirls learn to sell directly to customers, but I’m sure they’re doing that in other client channels. What you’re overlooking is what they do learn by letting their parents guilt coworkers into ordering their wares.
1. Outsourcing, as mentioned above. Or call it “delegating.” In today’s business environment, employees are expected to sell more, move faster, and do it with fewer resources and staff. A young executive could go crazy trying to balance the new standard workload without understanding how to delegate whenever possible and outsource to qualified domestic partners as budgets permit.
2. Resourcefulness. Not only are client lists dwindling, but clients’ individual budgets are shrinking, too. A resourceful salesgirl is a successful salesgirl. She understands the value of tapping into every possible outlet. The fact that she cannot be everywhere at once shouldn’t stop her from taking advantage of potential sales.
3. Networking. The buzzword du jour. It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. A young entrepreneur needs to build relationships within a vast and ever-spreading network. How can she do this without appearing overeager or stepping above her station? Why, send in a representative already familiar with management and have him or her make the entree and manage the relationship as he or she would naturally do better than anyone else less familiar with the territory.
4. Making the rules work for you. There will always be rules and regulations. Corporations need to put forth some form of a written code of conduct and ethics, otherwise there would be mayhem. But savvy employees understand how to effectively bend those rules (within reason) in order to deliver what the head office really wants to see (see #5). It isn’t wrong, it’s entrepreneurial. It’s showing decision-making and leadership skills. If we all followed the rules to the letter, a lot of great minds would never have been able to shine.
5. The importance of the bottom line. At the end of the day, what the brass really cares about are numbers. Did you meet your sales goals? Did you exceed your goals? The job market is TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT, and there isn’t room for excuses or explanations.
In conclusion, leave me and my Thin Mints in peace.