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One of my recent recruiting and training deals brought me to a Dealer that was dissatisfied with his staff. While this is not unusual, I greatly prefer coming in to grow a staff to get more business. In this case hiring of new Sales Consultants was meant to "shake up the lot lizards".
I felt it was necessary to select a book, and write about improving an under-performing staff. Anyone who has been in Management has been through this. Everything from big to small stops consistently happening, hard to get Sales Consultants to talk to clients, follow up falls through the cracks, more talk around the water cooler than honing the craft.
How do we turn this around?
This week, for suggested reading and great advise on the subject, we are going straight to the top, Top Performance that is, by Zig Ziglar.
This book is filled to the brim with great ideas, but one stands out for turning those pesky Sales Consultants around. Zig writes about running a seminar with a group of Managers frustrated with their employees, listing out all the negative things that going on, talking about how they are lazy, don't care, unmotivated, lacking in detail, etc..
The answer is panning for gold. Zig asks the group if they understand the concept of panning for gold, of course they all answer yes. You sift though tons of dirt to find gold. Zig goes on to talk about how it is tough, there is much more dirt to through than gold to be found, it takes time and energy, and all anyone ever talks about is getting through the dirt. He then asks the audience, why are we talking about the dirt? The activity is called panning for gold, not looking for dirt.
I think this is very profound. We spend all day looking at what is negative, what isn't being done, the traits our employees don't have. We spend all our time and energy on the dirt, when we should be focused on the gold.
Are our employees honest, do they have integrity, are they hard working, do they care, are they motivated? When you talk to Managers that are dissatisfied with their staff, they say no. Zig would tell you a resounding yes!!
If they were all these things, would you replace them? No way, you would never let them go. Let's take a look, every employee you have has been honest, every employee you have has had integrity about things in their lives, every employee has worked hard, every employee has things they care about, and every single person from porter to president in your facility has been motivated. It is just taking the time to find the times and situations to build on, how do I as a Leader find the ways my employees are honest, have integrity, have worked hard, have cared, and were motivated.
In a meeting talk about those moments, in reviews write out the good, in talking to co-workers and outsiders tell the great story. If you expect the best in your employees, talk about the best in your employees, tell others about the best in your employees, they may just live up to it.