Scott Ritchey 2016-06-07 06:51:33
Structure breeds accountability In last month's "Behind the Counter," the importance of knowing you sales team's mindset was discussed and how critical it is to grow your business. Top-performing sales teams have growth-minded salespeople. At Plumbers Supply, we have a saying that in order to be successful we must have "the right people in the right seats on the bus." But where is the bus going? Without a plan or structured approach to where the bus is going makes it quite difficult for our growth-minded sales team to perform. A structured approach offers the team the road map to follow while providing leadership a performance metric to track, hence the phrase "structure breeds accountability." Two issues usually arise when leadership mentions accountability. The first is the sales team's perception that "great big brother" is watching us. "How can we do our job if we have to keep reporting our activity?" Next is the common mistake sales managers make when placing accountability. They look to individual accountability instead of team accountability, making the individual salesperson beholden to them rather than their teammates. But in team sports, a key motivation for player performance is not letting their teammates down. They understand for the team to be successful, everyone must do their job and recognize their peers know when someone is not performing. They do not need a coach, or in our case, leadership to put pressure on them because it already comes from teammates. So how do you build team accountability into your sales plan that produces the results you want? Authors Chris McChesney and Sean Covey offer suggestions in their book "4DX: The 4 Disciplines of Execution." The first discipline is the easiest. It's the goal - that exact place where you want the bus to go. For sales leaders, it's the growth plan you want to achieve. Discipline 2 is acting on the lead measures that are the precise activities your sales team must perform to achieve the sales plan. This is the fuel that powers the bus. It is the hardest discipline of the 4DX process, but most critical to reaching your sales goal. Develop activities your sales team must perform each week that are necessary to meet your goal. There are many activities to consider such as the number of face-to-face contacts each week or a set number of quotes per week. The challenge is picking the best activities that give you the greatest results. Discipline 3 is keeping a compelling scoreboard. This is the discipline that drives team accountability. Once you have developed the team's activities to perform, you must have a way to track them. A team scoreboard that measures both individual and team contribution does just this. Setting minimum limits on the number of times an activity must be performed each week allows you to create a minimum compliance score for each activity, say 90%. Anything less than 90% gets highlighted for all team members to see, revealing the weak links of the team for that week. The peer pressure alone from teammates and the individual's willingness to not let the team down will eventually drive the compliance score to a level that achieves plan success. Discipline 4 creates the final step to accountability. This discipline asks the individual to make a weekly commitment to perform an action that will help the team reach its goal. This commitment is reviewed the following week to ensure the individual actually performed the commitment. As you examine your sales strategy, pay close attention to the structure your top performers will operate in. Remember, top performers love talking strategy and will adopt platforms where their actions get results. It's more reason to understand that structure breeds accountability. Scott Ritchey, MBA, is the vice president of corporate strategy and sales coach at Louisville-based Plumbers Supply Co. Email him at sritchey@ plumbers-supply-co.com INNOVATIONSTRATEGIES BY DIRK BEVERIDGE Does your world make sense? I’ve been chastised more than once for it, but I often say our distribution industry is incestuous. We hang out with the people we know and are comfortable with. It’s human nature. It makes sense. But right now, our world doesn’t make sense! To become the disruptor rather than the disrupted, we have to not only embrace but become comfortable with uncertainty. We have to stop making sense. Instead, we have to change. We have to stride boldly toward our future, willing to make mistakes, willing to break out of the cycle of sameness and commoditization. We’re being held back by doing what we’ve always done. It’s not working anymore. Once we accept that, and commit to living in the uncertainty change inevitably brings, answers come more easily, possibilities become reality, innovation can thrive and we can go from mediocre to great. It doesn’t come without discomfort, but what success comes without a price? And isn’t it worth it? I like to ask people (who are the people who make up the companies they work for) what they stand for. What drives you? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Do you give in to the tyranny of the urgent, get sucked under by the pull of the status quo or do you forge new paths? Are you open to innovation and new ideas? I firmly believe we need to change how business is done. We need to do it together. No one man or woman is “the company” and can change the company by themselves. Not one of us is as smart as two or more of us working together. In order to achieve meaningful and relevant change, we need to get everyone involved. We need to create bold visions and purposely share that vision with the people we work with — from the C-suite to the warehouse floor. This is how we’ll lead our teams to better futures. This is how we’ll learn and grow. As I speak to groups each week, I often open by saying “I came in biased. I see the world in certain ways. Am I right or wrong? If I’m wrong, tell me. That’s how I’ll learn. That’s what will personally move me forward.” I have to take a stand if I’m going to ask others to. I spend so much of my waking day thinking about how we can change our business models and reinvent our industry. It drives me. It’s been the foundation of the work I’ve done these last five years. It’s why I research the state of innovation. It’s why I jumped on reimaging partnerships with a variety of different companies. It’s why I dedicated an entire year of my life to conducting the first-ever research into innovation for the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence. I’m driven by my belief that we must reinvent our businesses or someone else will. I created our annual innovation summit, UnleashWD, to bring together like-minded, forwardthinking distributors who are driven by change and innovation — distributors who see the writing on the wall and are ready to paint over it and chart their own destiny. Every year it blows me away to hear from the “ordinary” and “regular” people who are doing extraordinary things, stepping into their purpose and speaking boldly and honestly about what they envision, what they’re afraid of and what they’re driven by. They fi re me up. I’ve put together a short video showcasing a few of these bold leaders. They inspire me every time! Short, pithy and full of wisdom. This is why I get up every morning. Check it out at: http://dirkbeveridge.com/ time-change-rules/. Dirk Beveridge is leading the movement of change, innovation and transformation throughout distribution. He can be reached at www.dirkbeveridge.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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