Consider the below statements as you imagine someone throwing you a ball:
Don’t drop this ball, or
Catch this ball
Both statements achieve the same thing. You want them to catch the ball. However, one is negative and focuses you on ‘not dropping’ the ball. The other is positive – assuming you’ll catch it.
As a sales leader – it is undeniable you need to measure both inputs and outputs and the quality thereof. What then becomes ultimately important, beyond the measurements, is the culture created around how and why you measure them.
Is the business more focused on celebrating success (catching the ball) or managing poor performance (not dropping it)? Is the culture one of success or fear? Are your sales team being motivated to run for the carrot, or avoid the stick?
In working with lower performers – leaderboards etc just constantly remind them they’re at the bottom of the pile. This is then often supported by ‘further management’ by a sales leader. Reinforcing it yet again. They begin to think and believe, and therefore act, like poor performers as everything around them tells them they are. They live in a fearful state.
What are we told about misbehaving children? Ignore them – praise the good behaviour that you want repeated. Why doesn’t this play out in sales culture to the same degree?
Sure, fear is a great motivator – however it only lasts for as long as the fear exists. Another analogy to consider around fear:
If you and I are running from a lion – do I need to be the fastest person in the world, or just faster than you?
Same applies in fear based culture – it only drives enough behaviour to stay ahead of the lion. Not enough to excel. To be the best. Just enough to avoid the stick.
Look at your language, where you spend your time when leading your sales team, what you focus on, whether success or fear gets more airtime.
Surely, as sales leaders, most of your time is best placed in working with your sales successes? Encouraging them. Accentuating them. Replicating them. Dangling the carrot.