In my house there’s a sign in the kitchen given to my wife as a gift from a friend that reads, “Wine without a meal is called breakfast”.
My wife’s friend knows us too well.
I sometimes think that “urgency” is the sales manager’s wine, however, breakfast included. A day in the life of a sales manager is a combination of a timed obstacle course with hidden traps and the game Chutes and Ladders. To be effective they often have to make quick decisions with limited information, not knowing what’s coming around the corner. And then they roll the dice and have to back up 5 spaces.
But can urgency be a misleading stimulus? Like when you’re really thirsty after mowing the yard in August and a few swigs of an ice cold Coke feels great at first, but then you need another swig, and another, and another…then you realize you’ve picked the wrong drink.
I think urgency can be misleading when it’s all about the results. Yes, that thing that at the end of the day the sales manager’s job is all about. Git ‘er done.
A focus on results isn’t really what creates the results. A manager’s focus should be on salesperson behaviors that lead to the results.
When I played competitive golf in high school and college I tracked my performance – the things I did that would lead to the results.
If I hit 10 or more fairways out of the typical 14 on a golf course (don’t count the typical four par 3s) I normally shot my average or below. I was hitting my second shots from a favorable position. Even if I didn’t hit the greens from the fairway I usually missed it close and then had a high percentage of getting up and down for par.
If I hit those fairways I was walking off the tee in a positive mental state too instead of kicking myself for a bad tee shot. That had to have a positive effect.
Focusing on the results is like having forecasting calls and thinking they’re calls about the health of the sales funnel.
Focusing on results is like celebrating the win and not taking just a little time to learn what went well. Or focusing on the loss and not on the learning that could come from it.
I saw a blog recently that suggested managers help their salespeople define learning goals instead of just results goals. This makes sense. Learning should lead to better performance, which should eventually lead to better results.
Why not give it a try?