As I started hiring salespeople, I thought my enthusiasm and ambition would rub off on them, that they would see the light, and that vision would be enough motivation for them to become an achiever like me. They’d come in every day, fired up, bringing fresh ideas to the table. I would simply manage them as I wanted to be managed – which is to say, be provided resources, encouragement, and then left alone to perform. Everything would just grow and grow! It was going to be amazing! Right?
Newsflash for you: they’re NOT YOU. There are people like you and me that have the vision, the dream, and we take the risk and actions to make it happen. We’ve started a business or more than one.
And there are people who work for companies. They’re not the same as us. Being a business owner takes so much more risk, guts, problem-solving skills, determination, and stick-to-it-iveness than most people could ever imagine. They want different things.
And, that’s good. They can’t all be us. We need people to believe in us, work for us, and help create the companies that we desire. And many don’t want all the hassles we deal with! That’s ok too. We’re an ecosystem. We need leaders, and we need followers.
(I realize this may sound polarizing, but that’s not my intent here. This is not black and white. It’s a gray area for sure.)
But, back to my point: You can’t manage others the way you want to be managed. Management is part art, part science, and there are some rules.
- Reward good behaviors and results.
- Discourage/punish poor behavior and results.
- Be clear about what is expected.
- Provide the resources and tools they need.
- Communicate clearly and often.
- Be fair, consistent, and respectful.
- Praise in public; criticize / reprimand in private.
- Document your meetings.
You can’t just leave them alone to follow their own motivation. They need your guidance, encouragement, reassurance, knowledge, and yes, you have to remind them of their minimum obligations and give them a figurative kick in the backside from time to time.
Some carrot, some stick.
Jack Welch in his book Straight from the Gut talked about his days as CEO of General Electric (GE), and how they created a performance management culture by firing the bottom 10% of performers every year. (Stick.) He also promoted the top 20%. (Carrot.)
While I don’t subscribe to forcing a certain number of people out of your business every year (as I find it fear-based and not practical for most small businesses), I will say you need to get poor performers out of your business when you see they are not going to improve.
I heard a saying once that I very much liked: “Mediocrity drives out talent”. Top performers, motivated and independent as they may be, get discouraged when underperforming co-workers around them are not dealt with. These talented top performers want to work for, and be associated with, a company with similar values to their own. They, frankly, want to be pushed and challenged to do better themselves. A business owner or manager who lets poor performance slide is one not 100% committed the company’s success.
Don’t be that person.
Work with your salespeople.
Find out what motivates them, what they want to achieve, where they want to be next year, how much money they want to make, and what would be an audacious goal for them. Do your best to encourage them and help them achieve.(Carrot.)
And also let them know the techniques, volumes, ratios, methods, activities, and results that you expect, as a minimum, and be ready to “help them with a career change” if they can’t get it done. (Stick.) Link to:The Best Time to Fire Somebody is the First Time You Think About it.
Manage your people.
The way THEY need to be managed. Build a Performance Business!
- Have a question about hiring, compensating, or terminating salespeople in your business? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Until next time, make it a great day!