Sales Champ or Destructive Hero?

Let’s take a moment to examine what one manufacturer describes as the “destructive hero” (DH) syndrome.

What is a destructive hero?

It’s someone with such marked, predictable behaviors you could readily profile them on a simple pro-con chart.

We’ve all met, worked with or worked for someone like this. Let’s take a closer look.

On the pro side, DHs always come through. They sell high volumes of product and are the acknowledged sales champions. They may be responsible for as much as 25% of all sales for any given period, and they deliver predictably high volumes with great consistency.

On the con side, DHs can also be counted on to do many things that aren’t so helpful. As they go about the job of selling such high volumes, they cause widespread disruption and problems throughout the organization.

They expect instantaneous responses to questions, problems and issues – and they often wait to the last minute to bring these issues to the forefront. They make extreme promises to customers (“I guarantee you’ll have that delivery in two days”). These promises require extraordinary effort to fulfill, and are made without considering the costs of or ramifications for the individuals involved and the organization as a whole.

At every turn, they expect special treatment and become difficult (translation: childish, temperamental) when it's not forthcoming. They demand special monetary arrangements, in recognition of their selling performance. They use their track record as a bat to browbeat others into compliance, cooperation or submission.

The destructive hero’s special demands and arrangements consume time, energy and money, and tilt the organization out of balance. DHs blow in like a hurricane and leave chaos and destruction in their wake. Then, a few weeks or months later, they do it again. And again.

The manufacturer described destructive heroes as a mixed blessing, then asked: Are the problems worth the payoffs?

That's a great question. What do you think?


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