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The most powerful way to increase productivity within your sales organization is with an effective and proactive performance review and coaching system.
Most organizations provide their employees with an annual review – a look back at the past year’s performance. While somewhat useful, this strategy does not support employees in changing habits that may have stood in the way of optimal performance. Rather than looking backward at what didn’t work, people need proactive, consistent, measurable feedback that supports the organization’s culture and financial goals.
To proactively grow and increase productivity, sales teams need a coaching system that measures attitude, competence, and effort. These three traits define job performance and focus on the specific behaviors that create consistent success.
Your performance coaching system should foster frequent discussions and create coaching opportunities for leaders to consistently focus on the development of their team. Both the leader and team member should complete an assessment of the team member in each of the three areas – attitude, competence and effort, and then compare results.
Human nature is to allow performance issues to go unaddressed and build until they become too big to ignore any longer. Your performance coaching system should show the different perceptions the leader and team member have and allow them to address those differences before it becomes a crisis. Conversations should be focused on proactively providing coaching and improving performance, not reactively handling issues and fixing problems.
Your performance coaching system should create ongoing coaching for each team member, with a focus on increasing specific behaviors and habits that lead to consistent growth and success in their job. Leaders should be held accountable for guiding and developing their people to their highest potential, while team members are accountable for working to improve in specific areas.
To increase accountability, it is important for each member in the sales organization to know the attitudes, competencies, and efforts that are needed for the success of each role. These can be set at the organizational level and used as guideposts for coaching and growth.
Your performance coaching system should allow employees to complete a regular self review. With a clear understanding and consensus on the attitude, competence, and effort expected for their specific role, each employee should rate their performance on each measure, with their team leader also providing ratings on the same qualities.
With the self review and team leader ratings on attitude, competence, and effort, your performance coaching system should trigger a one-on-one meeting to compare responses. In this session, the team leader should provide feedback, recognition, and areas for improvement, along with actions for the next period.
This feedback is the most important part of the process. To ensure your leaders are equipped to give effective coaching and feedback, your organization or a third party must train the leaders to be effective coaches. Without this skill set in your leaders, no performance coaching system will accomplish the ultimate goal of increasing productivity.
Along with the feedback on the self review and team leader review process, recognition is a key step in creating behavior change and reinforcing the desired attitudes, competence, and effort within your team. Your performance coaching system should provide recognition for all team members who scored a specific level or higher in their review. Marked improvements can also be recognized, even if they do not reach a specific level in the rating system. When it comes to recognition and rewards, team leaders can get creative and develop monthly, quarterly, or annual awards for improvement and performance.
The performance coaching system needs to provide detailed reporting and historical data for tracking progress. And most importantly, it needs to provide a process for coaching, growth, and recognition that empowers your team for success.
When a person regularly evaluates their own performance, they end up taking more responsibility for that performance, or lack thereof. People create an identity for themselves with their scoring that they will work hard to live up to, especially if they have to convince their team leader to let a higher score stand. The consistent, objective review using the same criteria each period helps people create new empowering habits and turns reactive behaviors into proactive, conscious choices.
Ultimately, your performance coaching system should support your organization in meeting the basic human needs of your team. It should support:
To learn more about the A.C.E. performance management system from NASP, please contact us at www.nasp.com
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.