When a fast growth company is in danger of stalling it is easy to blame the team.    On the surface it might look like a team problem.   Or to Mis-Quote Marshall Goldsmith(*) – “WHO got you here won’t get you there”… or is it really a team problem?

While there might be one bad employee, when it comes to the team as a whole – the reality is often different.

Rather than a team problem, it is often part of the “growing pains”.  The owners have to develop as managers and leaders.

A Client Mini Case Study.

The good news is they are  fast growing financial services company that double revenue last year, and we will double revenue again this year.

The bad news: The orginial salesmen are just not as committed.  They just not interested in earning more, or to the ongoing growth of the company.  There is a core of the team that have become “nine to five”.

It all started well enough, but as business hotted up and momentum really started to  build that original team started to lose their “mojo”.  They are now are falling behind in terms of target and it is beginning to show in customer satisfaction .

It seems the sales team just don’t care as much as they did when they started.  In fact at times their attitude is just not good enough.

To make things worse they are also exerting peer pressure on the new hires “not to show up them up”.  Recently,  they have actively discouraged late working and were once overheard saying to a new salesman “don’t work so hard”

The Impact on the Business

This means clients, and prospects are not getting the service that they should be, leads are not being follow up on in the most timely manner. Fortunately, this behaviour has not yet shown up in customer reviews… yet.

Aside from the potential long term impact on the company’s brand, the sale team is leaving money on the table. Risking sales and customer satisfaction targets in the short AND long term.

What did that mean for my clients personally?

They (the owners) where working extra hours, staying late to “pick” up after the team… long after they had all gone for the day (at 17:00 sharp!)… all for? that right. No extra pay, just to stand still.

So coaching around the problem:

Me: so where’s the problem?

Him: “it’s the team, they can’t keep up, they dont want to keep up”.. Yes they could all earn more commission, but they are living fat and happy.

Me: But that’s not the problem is it? It’s just another symptom

Me digging deeper… “what has to be true for the team to behave in this way?, who sets the culture, the standards?”

Him: “erm, me”

Me: So what is going on? what is it you are doing?, or avoiding doing?

After some more digging both my Client realised he:

1. Doesn’t like conflict
2. Likes to wade in and “play Dad” when the team get stuck – in reality or not
3. Puts up with poor performance because he is loyal, and the original team members are “friends”, and when he was an employee he was treated roughly.
4. Is worried that IF he did hold his team to account they might leave and he would not be able to recruit replacements
5. No clear written #vision for the company… the team don’t know where the company is heading… or why they are going there (#mission)

So what steps did we initiate?

1. Review the sales compensation plan, metrics and team meetings
2. My client and his business partner clear on a SHARED vision of where the company was going
3. Planned a Team Offsite that shared the Vision of where the company is going. The Mission of the company – how we are going to achieve that vision. The company Why.
4. Then as a team created “rules of the game” – what is acceptable #behaviour. (I prefer behaviour to values as it is visible to everyone and makes it easy for everyone to hold each other to account. By everyone being involved in writing acceptable behaviour there was immediately a good level of buy-in
5. Investing in the team: Identified training for the team, communication and mindset tools
6. We also started to work my client’s mindset and having some clear accountability tools (easy to learn and get better at with practice)

In business coaching there is an old adage “the people change, or change the people”

It’s early days yet but seems like we won’t have to fire any one, as the team is now getting fired up, and pulling in the same direction. My clients has laid the foundation of a #winning #culture and is working on his own #leadership and #management skills

(Marshall originally said “what got you here won’t get you there: How successful people become even more successful”

Other blogs you might be interested in:

#growth #culture