You have been through the scenario before. Your sales people make their business plans, you review them together, and six months later, nothing has happened! They are doing all of the things they did the year before! All of the great intentions of contacting new prospects, expanding their business base, and initiating a marketing program are still on paper, but they were never implemented. Before we point the finger at a lack of follow-through, look in the mirror first. Did you create any accountability with their plans? The answer is usually no.
When anyone wants to make a lasting change, start a new activity, or even make a New Year’s resolution, he or she usually leaves out the accountability factor. Remember when you had a workout partner? You were far more likely to get to the gym at 6:00 am than you would have by yourself! What about that project where you had to team up with two other employees? You worked hard to fulfill your part of the work and completed the project on time! It is no different in sales, fitness, work, or personal endeavors. We all tend to follow through if we are held responsible. How do we do this as managers and leaders? The answer is creating a chain of accountability.
The chain starts at the top. Do not expect anything that you do not inspect. As leaders, we sometimes become too busy to lead. One of the greatest leadership traits is being a living example. If you have asked your sales team to take certain actions, you become the example by participating in their plan and activities. Your participation is in the form of meeting with your team weekly to review their activities. At that time, either reward them for their success, or hold them responsible to perform if they are behind on their goals and activities. What’s that? You say you do not have time? Then you are not being a living example. You are not walking the walk of pushing your people to become their best. Great leadership has a “multiplier” effect. Meet with your people, do not let them off the hook. Refocus them if they are off track. Never stop being involved in what they are doing. The “multiplier effect” exists when the production of each individual on your team only increases by a small amount, but when multiplied by the total team, there is a dramatic increase!
Start today by creating a simple accountability plan. Agree to meet with your salespeople once a week for just fifteen minutes. Ask focused questions about the goals and actions they had planned to complete each week and create a reward or a “readjustment” of actions. In other words, do not let them off the hook, but do help them change behavior. If you are actively involved in the dreams and goals of your team, they will reach new heights!
About Ken Taylor: