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Is Your Team Infected With This?

September 30th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

There is a syndrome which can infect individuals or teams in the workforce.  It happens, most often, to sales people and their teams, but can infect people in other lines of work.  It is disastrous to productivity.  What is this crippling phenomenon?  It is “Hares” disease.

No, I did not misspell hare.  I am not referring to the over abundance of follicles on the bathroom sink after a shower.  The syndrome I’m talking about is named after the  Aesop Fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” . This disease’s main symptom is lack of consistency.

It is very common for sales people and sales teams to make a big push at the end of the month.  They want their numbers to look good for bonuses, etc.  This is a healthy thing.  It injects excitement and enthusiasm into the team.  The difficult part for the leader is to keep the momentum up after the push.  The first week of the new month, every one who participated in the sales push are suffering from PTPS, or better known as Post Tremendous Push Syndrome.  The team gave its all and is now putting more contacts and business back in their pipeline.  And, yes, feeling good about last month’s performance.  Left unchecked, it could spiral down into “hare’s” disease.

When a sales person becomes infected with “hares” disease, they lack consistency in their performance.  They’ll work really, really hard for a certain length of time.  They’re activity is like a jet plane going down the runway, preparing to take off.  The pedal is to the medal.  They start to get some momentum for career take off, and then, “bam!”, they let up.  They stop doing what they were doing to generate production.  Their jet plane bounces back down on the tarmac and has lost it’s take off momentum.  They’re tired.  It took so much effort they just can’t continue.  They take a break to rest up before they start again.  Every time they stop to rest, they lose momentum.  Their career never gets enough speed and momentum to take off and get any real results.  Just like the hare in the story, they have stopped to take a nap.  After a time, they will become discouraged with their lack of progress and quit.

There is a difference between a “rabbit” and a “hare” in this narrative.  Every team needs a “rabbit”.  They are the excited, motivated individual that will streaks out in front of the pack and makes it happen.  They set the pace for the team, similar to the rabbit at the dog track.  That rabbit always stays in front of the pack, giving the pack or team the incentive and the motivation running to keep up.

As a leader of a team, there are a few tips to keep your team going with consistency, like the tortoise, to get the job done.

1.  Know your team’s numbers.  How many contacts does it take to get appoints set?  How many of those appointments will turn in to sales?  How many sales does it take to reach the team goal and individual goals?  Keep those numbers in front of the team and reward them for  their activity in areas which generate results.

2.  Watch for the signs in their performance which happens right before they slow down for their “nap”.  When the signs are there, coach, encourage, and keep incentives in front of them to keep their motivation up.  Reward consistency.

3.  If your infected “hare” is hindering the performance of the team, and step 1 and 2 doesn’t work, it may be time to remove them from the team.  Harsh as that may seem, it may be the only route.  This syndrome can be catching!  The last thing a team needs is a group of infected “hares”.

We can get frustrated with team members who seems to be a slow plodding pace, but consisitency will win every time!  This Aesop fable is a reminder, steady performance with a focus on the end result will get the job done!

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