Leadership Taking Responsibility: How to Overcome Team Struggles And Failures.

larry levine Jan 29, 2024
Leadership Taking Responsibility: How to Overcome Team Struggles And Failures. Larry Levine Larry Levine
“The price of greatness is responsibility."
Winston Churchill

Sales are the engine. Sales drives profits, growth and success. Without sales, there is no company.

Just like the engine in your car, your team needs maintenance on a routine basis to keep them performing at optimum levels.

Any mechanic can tell you that the best-maintained engine can break down due to the unexpected failure of certain parts.

As we kick off our time together, allow me to ask you the following:

  • When's the last time you conducted any type of routine maintenance with your team?
  • When's the last time you gave your team a sales health check-up?
The health of your team has a direct bearing on the health of their sales pipeline.

MEDIOCRE RESULTS, ARE YOU TO BLAME?

We can all agree that it's impossible to close every sales opportunity. Question becomes, what can be done to improve the ratio?

A professional baseball player with a consistent batting average of .300, sets themself up for massive financial rewards. What happens to the other 70%?

  • How many on your team are closing 30% of what's in their sales funnel? How many of you would even know?
  • How many on your team have holes throughout their sales funnel that resembles Swiss cheese?
  • How many on your team continue to carry the same opportunities month over month on their pipeline reports?

These lack of opportunities can be pin-pointed back to one thing - prospecting.

I'm concerned that many in sales have developed the dreaded disease called Lackitis Prospectitus.

These dreaded disease attacks 1 out of every 2 on your team. Lackitis Prospectitus doesn't happen overnight. 

You see, it's a slow growing, self-induced disease. Through years of scientific research, I've pinpointed the root cause, identified the culprit and even created a name for the culprit.

Allow me to introduce you to... Managementus Enablementus - otherwise known as enablement by management.

When your team spends much of their time baby-sitting current customers, moaning and groaning about how busy they are, not paying attention to new business opportunities, cross-selling opportunities or referral opportunities because of all the so-called stuff they're doing while subsequently being rewarded extravagant President's Club trips, I call this Managementus Enablementus.

My leadership friends, might you be the reason why many on your team fail to close more new business?

Have the leaders of today hypnotized themselves into believing what they're not doing doesn't work?

TIME TO GET REAL

"Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be."
Jack Welch

Looking back at previous years, what percentage of the sales team was at or above their budget numbers? Are they on track now?

I'm concerned, that many in leadership have been bitten by their sales sins of the past. You've fostered complacency, as your egos and fear have set in. You've allowed this to get the best of you.

The way it is now is the not the way it will be.

Curious, when's the last time you examined the way each team member engages with their clients?

When's the last time you had a conversation with one of your clients regarding how the sales team interacts with them?

The status quo, it's not working and quite frankly, it might be getting worse. 

I encourage you to say no to complacency and fight back. Look for better ways and concepts to improve sales results. 

LEADERS TAKE OWNERSHIP 

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”
Denis Waitley

Are you fostering a culture of accountability?

Are you proactive in working with your team?

Are you creating a culture of continuous improvement?

Responsibility is not placing the blame, pointing fingers or drowning in excuses. 

Responsibility is to ensure that problems are solved, and team goals are being met. Responsible leaders create accountability that strengthens the performance of the entire team. 

Reflect upon these questions, possibly in front of a mirror:

Am I creating a reactive or proactive environment?

Am I creating an environment of accountability? 

The person who is ultimately accountable for an outcome is the same person who assigned responsibility for that outcome to others.

Accountability creates new opportunities which creates new outcomes. To fulfill the accountability vow, leaders must create and develop new habits for their salespeople and honor the commitments made. 

Ask yourself:

What can I gain, what do I want to learn, and what opportunities will be lost if I, as a leader, prevent myself from taking new actions to produce new results?

How will this positively or negatively affect the sales team?

LEADERSHIP... DEVELOP A NEW MINDSET

Leaders who continually develop new mindsets, soon develop a team who achieves new results.

Are you feeding your mind through education? Are you uncovering new ideas and trends within your specific industry?

Effective leaders are continuously adopting new competencies and skill sets. In turn, they take ownership to pass on these new skill sets to their team to help them become better.

Imagine the head coach on any professional sports team... if they aren't enhancing the level of their teams' play, what usually happens to them? Need I answer that for you?

Being open to new ideas does not come easy. In fact, change plays mind tricks but without the right mindset, learning will not occur. Simply put, your team will not grow.

"I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."
Michael Jordan

Today's leaders must develop the mind of a champion. They must adopt and develop a growth mindset, or face the wrath, as they set their team up for struggles and inconsistent growth.

A growth mindset is based on the belief that you can cultivate your team's ability to learn. 

It’s not about getting things right the first time, it’s about continual learning over time. You must realize, for your team to succeed within this highly connected, rapidly changing business world, you must adopt a new mindset.

 

LEADERSHIP... ADAPT TO CHANGE

The gap between relevance and obsolescence is growing wider every day. 

If your sales team are to remain relevant, they must adapt to change. They must do so before change beckons the call. What this means, is you must adapt to change as well. 

For your sales team to remain relevant, they must adapt and self-educate themselves with emerging trends inside their industry; to anticipate new direction and foresee the writing on the wall which demands innovation.

Effective leadership is about coaching your team to stay relevant and adapt to the rapidly changing environment by:

  • Welcoming and learning from failure.
  • Asking for help and soliciting feedback.
  • Becoming voracious learners.
  • Becoming focused on the process of growth.
  • Becoming extremely accountable to themselves.
  • Checking their ego at the door.

To be adaptable is to be able to recognize, react, and adjust to the emerging trends, new innovations, and industry shifts within your marketplace.

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."
General Eric Shinseki

LEADERSHIP... ADAPT TO BUILDING AND LEVERAGING SOCIAL NETWORKS

The way we grow, nurture and develop business has changed. 

Today's business world is riddled with technology. We're digitally empowered and for many of us, we leverage the power of our social networks.

Leaders recognize these changes and empower their team to fuel their growth by leveraging new tools and methodologies.

Social networks offer leadership an excellent opportunity for their team to demonstrate their expertise.

In the business world we live in today, failure to cultivate, nurture and grow social networks will become a recipe for disaster within your sales team.

Leaders... You are directly responsible to ensure all your salespeople meet or exceed quota.

The use of social allows your team to expand their reach exponentially by using certain platforms that allows them to socialize on a grander scale.

Modern leadership is about coaching your team to develop the mindset and skill set to tap into their social networks to help grow their business.

This allows your team to:

  • Discover where their clients hang out online.
  • Discover opportunities to listen, listen and continue to actively listen to what is being said online by their clients and future clients.
  • Reach out, start conversations, build relationships geared towards moving to an offline conversations.
Social intelligence is the key to unlocking conversations.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Are you accepting complacency as opposed to adopting and adapting to a growth mindset?

A status quo mindset, it's a sales death sentence.

I encourage you to conduct regular retrospectives to reflect on both successes and challenges within your team. Use this time to learn from past experiences and continuously improve team processes.

Remember, overcoming team struggles is an ongoing process. By fostering an environment of continuous improvement, leaders can guide their teams through challenges and create a resilient and high-performing team.

Lastly, set aside and squash “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. 

This would be acceptable if your current sales conversion rates for profitable new business was 2-3X higher year over year.

What will you do about it?

Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.

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