How much do your managers know about the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of every member on their team? How much do you know about the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the folks you lead? Too soft? Who cares? You should – and here’s why.
The job market has shifted dramatically in the past 6 months. We are now in a candidate-centric job market, which means if you’re not engaging your team members and helping them connect the dots between what they do at work and why they’re working in the first place, you may soon find yourself scrambling to replace key team members.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Make the decision to get started and then focus on making incremental progress. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
- Weekly Coaching Rhythm – our practice has traditionally focused on the coaching rhythm between sales managers and sales people (although that’s changing with the addition of our new partner and rock star Topgrading expert Jenny Rodriguez-Vargas), but establishing a weekly coaching rhythm is a best practice for nearly every department. Most managers will fight this, saying they “talk with the team when needed” and that “they always have an open door.” Don’t give them a pass. They should continue the ad hoc, got-a-minute coaching they’re already doing - and they should also add a brief, 30-45 minute structured coaching conversation with every team member. Ideally this would be every week, although circumstances may require a bi-weekly rhythm. It can be face-to-face, on the phone, or Skype.
- Weekly Priorities – nearly everyone in your company is keeping some type of weekly “To Do” list. And more often than not these lists focus on activities rather than results. And many of the items listed get dragged from week to week with little actually being accomplished. Change this to instead focus on the 6-8 “Big Accomplishments” a team member will prioritize. Think outcomes and results, NOT activities. For example, an outcome would be “have 3 CEO conversations by Friday” and an activity would be “make CEO calls.”
- Quarterly Progress Goals – most teams we work with have some high level goals defined. For sales teams that might include revenue growth targets, account retention targets, net new account targets, additional sales targets to existing customers, etc. More often than not these targets are established during an annual budget planning session, quickly forgotten, then measured at the end of the year. What would happen if your managers broke these targets down to quarterly progress goals (i.e. where should we be by the end of March, June, etc.)? What corrective actions could they take if team members were falling short?
- Personal Goals – when managers take time to learn the personal goals of their team members, it becomes much easier to engage and retain them. When your team members see your company as the means through which they can reach their personal goals (rather than just a job) the conversations between your managers and their team members change dramatically. People work for their reasons, not ours. It sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget. Nobody is going to push harder so you can increase EBITA by 2% year-over-year, but they’ll work their ass off when managers understand what they’re working for (more time with an aging parent, the ability to coach their son or daughter’s team, taking the vacation of their dream, saving for their child’s education, etc.).
While this may seem like a long list to begin with, as you start to utilize these each week it will become second nature. We’ve recently built a custom platform, Intelligent Coaching System, which makes this easy. This dashboard allows your sales people to track everything in an accessible format – and allows your sales people to keep their notes in one place (accessible by you). For more information, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.