In a perfect world, your boss should be coaching you with every 1:1 session. This, in itself, is an evaluation and enables you to work on things biweekly and continually grow and get better.
Most sports teams are not a perfect world, and 1:1 sessions are more ‘what’s in your pipeline’ than actual here is what I am observing and here is something to work on the next 2 weeks to continue to grow. The most important thing a leader can do for their teammates is to help them grow.
So why do we wait until year-end evaluations to make our statements, good or bad? Why do we use numbered evaluations that often leave you at the mercy of a supervisor who has preconceived notions on numbering. I’ve met some who, on a one to five scale, believe no one should be above a 3. I’ve met some who said there is no point in giving anyone a five or they won’t try anymore. I’ve never been thrilled about evaluations unless you have strong 1:1’s with coaching. Then, it’s a true evaluation of how you have grown during the year.
Tied with the evaluation is an opportunity to get promoted, whether it be to manager, director, VP, senior rep, full-time from part time…the list goes on. Announcements are made, some are excited, and what happens next? You either stick it out another year hoping to get promoted or you move on. In a world of losing good reps in sports sales and retention, what is our logic? Why do we wait till the year-end eval to do our promotions?
If a rep is clearly achieving throughout the year, would it not be wise to first challenge them with some new initiatives they could work on to see how they manage as well as show trust in them? If they are able to manage it, why not give them the promotion at that time when it is definitely tied to work above and beyond? Why not send the message to all your reps that great work will be recognized, no matter the time of year? What does this do to culture? It enables accountability and personal motivation. It gives the team an ‘all in’ attitude. It says to the team, ‘we are appreciated and recognized for our work, no matter when.’
In looking at teams I have worked with over the years, some are staff turnovers and some are low turnover/high results. What is the difference? The difference is the challenges given to their staff, the recognition of jobs well done no matter the time of year, and the knowledge that good work will be recognized at any time. These are the teams that the staff has no desire to move on, and would go through walls for their supervisors/organization.
Look at it this way. If you are a minor league baseball player, you don’t get called up at one time of year. If you are killing it in the minors, you continue to move up. If you are killing it in AAA, more often than not, they move you up to the ‘bigs’ because they can’t afford not to. Sometimes, they come up and go back…used temporarily, but with the knowledge that they have a definite future.
Your staff is a team of minor league players. Don’t call them up one time of year. Call them up as needed, as deserved. Let them know they have a definite future. Coach them weekly, just as they do in the minors. Help them get better. They are there to be coached and learn as much as they can so they can grow. Giving them steps to achieve along the way, be it a title of ‘jr, sr,’ or whatever ideas you come up with (level one, level 2, level 3) enables them to know they are achieving and moving forward.
In suggesting Level one, Level two, etc…..I know many businesses who have these titles. With each comes a pay raise and more responsibility. It’s a sign of achievement and gets the employees excited and want to keep growing. Think about it. If we did this in sports, there could be constant promotions based on where each individual is or what they are achieving. I’m a fan of this in Inside Sales also. Why do we group everyone together as we open each area to sell? Why don’t we have them achieve a certain sustainability before we bump them up to the next opportunity? With that could be a pay raise and more responsibility in the sales process.
Waiting once a year is discouraging for anyone. It’s time to re-energize our ways of improving culture, promotions, and coaching. With the new year, let’s bring a new energy to our sales and retention teams, as well as a new thought process. Let’s keep our staff energized and happy. Feel free to contact me to discuss this more. Let’s get our teams ready for 2020 and beyond!
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating
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