5 Tips on Converting Low Performing Teams into High Achievers by Asif Khushnood
Managing the team is a full-time job. Throughout my career as a sales professional, I’ve seen, headed, and mentored many teams.
Some of them needed little to no guidance. Some of them drove me to the limits of my capabilities and some of them humbled me and left me with more lessons than I could’ve imparted to them.
Having a driven and high performing team is the ultimate goal. But the reality is far from rosy. More often than not, teams are disorganized, low-performing, and lack vision. This affects not only the sales department but the company as a whole.
How do you solve this problem? How do you take a low performing team and transform it until every member working under you is giving his best?
Here are five rules I follow when it comes to building high performing teams. And they work like a charm.
Create a Definite Criteria
At the end of the day, resource hiring has two purposes: (a) creating a smooth experience and (b) increasing your reach and revenues. Which is why it’s imperative that you judge your team based on their outputs, because those results decide the company’s growth and future.
But how do you create a criteria that is fair and just?
The first step is to make sure your feedback loop is based on numbers.
While qualitative skills and results should matter and play an important part, it’s the figures at the end of the day that differentiate the superstars from the low performers.
Define the purpose of your team. Is it an x number of sales in a week per person? Is it related to analytics? Or reach? Or a certain conversion rate for prospects?
Once you’ve narrowed down the purpose, allocate daily/weekly/monthly targets to each member of your team. These key point indicators should be clear and to the point and should leave no room for speculation or misunderstanding.
Communicate the Criteria Well
I’ve spent a decade and a half in sales. And all my observations boils down to this: The only difference between good managers and mediocre handlers is attitude. Attitude counts. And it counts a lot.
As the leader it’s your job to create a hospitable and warm environment for your employees. It’s also your job to make sure your team is well updated and on the same page as the company.
This entails communicating effectively and setting clarity as the benchmark for everything.
Your employees should be crystal clear on their roles and KPIs. So much so, that there is no room for objections or excuses.
At the end of the day or week, you don’t want an employee telling you they’ve underperformed or broken a rule just because it wasn’t explicitly specified or was ambiguous.
The key problem when it comes to performance and team alignment is the fact that the members work in isolation.
You don’t know your colleague’s numbers, his approach, his process, and his outcomes. And he doesn’t know yours. This means if he’s bringing in 100 prospects a week and you’re only managing a bare minimum of 20, there’s no way for you to approach and learn from him.
Performance visibility is a prominent ingredient in team building. Here’s how you can achieve it:
Transparency: every employee or team member should have access to his and his team’s performance. This creates a sense of competitiveness and a need to prove yourself.
Collective Effort: the best part about transparency is that you can create an environment of collective effort. Everyone supervises the other and strives to help them give their best performance. Pair your star performer with your low performers so he/she can act as a mentor and help the latter work on his/her process, and other weak areas.
Build a Role Model
A good leader knows his team’s strengths and weaknesses. He’d never set unrealistic goals or task them with something he’d never do himself. And while the leaders are the ones who set the precedent, it’s imperative that every team has someone from amongst them who can be used as a benchmark.
Choosing someone from amongst them, someone with the same skill set, capabilities and time, and using him/her as a role model not only proves that achieving a goal is possible but inspires and drives the team members to do the same.
This helps weed out liabilities and eliminates cause for excuses. If your partner or colleague can do it, so can you.
Reward and Recognition
If your low performers and high performers receive the same feedback and incentives, why should the high performers work extra hard to bring in additional results? Why aim for 20 prospects or conversions when 10 is okay and gets the job done.
Acknowledge, appreciate, and reward your superstars. And address your low performers, helping them improve.
And if someone still shows zero inclination to better himself and is draining the company’s resources, give him ample warning then finally let him go.
Reward and recognition is vital to building an efficient and consistent team.
Sometimes none of this will work. Why? Because at times you need to step ahead of the corporate culture and embrace a more humane approach.
There will be bad days. Emotional days. Days of personal juggernauts and days when your team will need you. Put aside the goals and objectives every now and then, and focus on building relationships.
At the end of the day it’s all about them. Whether it is sales. Or the corporate world. Cheers.