April 4th, 2014
A Discussion between a CEO and CFO, Part II
After the day passed, the chief financial officer (CFO), determined to learn more about why sales training is a good thing, jumped in his car and headed home for the evening. After an uneventful dinner, he moved into his office and wanted to wrap his brain around the resistance he always had to sales training. As he was accustomed to doing, he made a list of some of the reasons that he was opposed to paying for sales training:
- It is costly.
- It is time-consuming.
- It is not permanent.
- It is better to just add more sales professionals.
His mind went blank. As he stared at the list for what seemed like an hour, he reasoned with himself that these were convincing enough. His fingers started to type before he could move away from the computer. “The CEO mentioned Motorola before, so let’s start there,” he told himself. He finds this staggering statistic on the Internet. He stares heavy at his screen. A sigh comes from deep within as he faces the fact, “Motorola invests about 7 percent of payroll in training.” He stops there and quickly does the math in his head.
Was that knot in his stomach from the dollar figure dancing in his head, or from the dinner he doesn’t even remember eating? “Wow”, was all he could muster. “Seven percent of payroll invested in training,” kept bouncing in his mind like the neighbor kids baseball hitting the garage door. “Motorola must have a pretty darn good reason to invest that much money,” he thought to himself. So he re-focused his attention on the computer screen and started the sentence again that he was reading. “Motorola, which invests about 7 percent of payroll in training, has averaged a 20 percent productivity improvement over the last four years, compared with a 2 to 5 percent improvement for its competitors.”
If his head was not spinning before he read this, it sure was now! “If someone offered to trade me their $20.00 bill for my $7.00, would I take it?” he asked himself in a simplistic kind of way. “Absolutely,” was the first word that actually came out of his mouth. He looked around to make sure that no one in the family was in the area, as he did not want to be found out that he talks to himself.
His trusted calculator was at his side. Within minutes, he was hitting the keys on the adding machine faster and more deliberately than usual. He was waiting to see the investment return should his company have similar results to Motorola. Then, with the same anticipation as a Grand Finale on the Fourth of July, came this number that just stared at him. The number just looked back at him, almost daring him to prove the formula wrong. “Over three times a return on my investment,” was all that he could see in his mind.
He looked back at the number again, just to make sure that it was correct, and it was! The home phone rang and it jolted him in his seat, causing him to leave his dreams for a moment and get back to thoughts of the family. “Who could that be,” he wondered as he got up from his chair to focus on a new task …