Hiring Millennials with Solid Character – Ken Blanchard and Phyllis Hennecy Hendry

Hiring Millennials with Solid Character – Ken Blanchard and Phyllis Hennecy Hendry

What infectious personalities both Ken Blanchard, co-founder of Lead like Jesus, and president/CEO, Phyllis Hennecy Hendry, have! I had the privilege of meeting Ken for the first time at a recent Lead Like Jesus event in Palm Springs.

I met Phyllis previously, having interviewed her for Millennials Matter. Here are a couple of extra insights on character-based leadership that stood out during our interview, that couldn’t be included in Millennials Matter due to space limits.

In a recent Forbes article, I noted the importance of strong character as a business and sales advantage. How can you ensure you hire sales people with strong moral fiber?

Character is important

 “In my experience, courageous character is the foundation of business and leadership success. It impacts every move we make, every decision we take and every relationship we establish. Business owners, top management and sales leaders must be attuned to character development in their emerging leaders. It is a business advantage.” 

Hiring sales people with character is a business growth strategy. But it’s also an ongoing process. Some people think it’s insulting to talk to others about character development. I believe it’s an essential part of our leadership coaching and mentoring processes. Phyllis agrees.

Phyllis says it’s not our mistakes that cause us to fail or make businesses, organizations, or countries completely fall apart. She submits that it is a failure of character that ignites the chaos.

Phyllis Hennecy Hendry
“Millennials care about the character of the people who lead them. They want to see that people are who they say they are.” ~Phyllis Hennecy Hendry

In our Millennial survey, we conducted our own study asking business leaders to list all the frustrations they experience in working with Millennials. 271 Business owners, CEOs, presidents, and business advisors responded. Of those, 60 percent said they have deep concerns with how to work with this generation. The majority (45 percent) of the responses can be linked to character-based issues that will inevitably also stall profitable growth. You might see it manifest in these areas:

  • Lacking grit and determination to tackle difficult projects
  • Making decisions that compromise ethics and cause a loss of respect
  • Damaging the brand because of the negative impact of poor choices
  • Blaming anything or anyone other than themselves for low performance
Ken Blanchard
“Millenials Matter is packed with tips for connecting with, mentoring, and developing the leaders of the future. I know from experience that for seasoned leaders, there is no greater joy than mentoring a first-time manager. Why? Because mentor and mentee learn so much from each other in the process! Danita Bye has written a fabulous guidebook for leaders in every generation. Read it and make a connection!” – Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager and Lead Like Jesus Revisited

Connecting character strength to leadership success

Based on the work she does for the “Lead like Jesus” organization, I asked Phyllis for practical tips that might assist experienced leaders to develop character in their up-and-coming salespeople.

Here are some of her recommendations that I found helpful:

  • Millennials are looking to follow and work with leaders whose words and actions match.
  • Character and integrity will eventually make or break a leader.
  • Character is the basis of every real, trusting relationship that we have in our lives.

Hiring character-based salespeople and building solid character in your emerging sales leader is a challenging task in a world that is riddled with flawed leadership examples. I was inspired by what Phyllis said about our working relationship with our Millennial sales leaders: “If people want to have good results and consistency in their businesses you have to talk about the character of your leaders.”

If you want to learn how to get it right when hiring salespeople, pick up your own Millenials Matter.  Or, if you already have a copy, refer to pages 134-137. Phyllis shares a wealth of concrete and inspiring insights on developing solid, sustainable character-based leadership principles in your up-and-coming salespeople.

You can also find more leadership inspiration by listening to these podcasts of interviews I had with Karin Connelly:

Why leaders must prioritize the Next-Generation.

Becoming an effective mentor and coach.

Sales Leadership Corner
Do you need to hire salespeople who can and will get bottom-line results? I invite you to join me on April 19th for a live presentation of Sales Selection best practices, hosted by Dave Kurlan, CEO of Objective Management Group. For more information, or to register, go here.





Leadership Lesson: Developing character-based emerging salespeople ensures good results and consistency in your business.

Leadership Question: What steps are you taking to invest in the character development of the Millennial sales leader on your team?

© Copyright 2018 Danita Bye

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