Creating Team Results

A few years back when I was managing a high-performing sales team, I had one particular fellow who was wildly talented, yet was underperforming.  Our compensation plan was amazing — our sales team could literally make as much money as they wanted depending on how hard they worked.  After two months of poor results, I finally called this “weak link” into my office to talk.  Although my other sales folks where killing it, without all of my team hitting their numbers, we were still going to fall short of achieving our team goal.

How many times have you found yourself in this situation with your team and what have you done to get out of it?  I discovered a very simple solution:  For the “weak link”, having more vacation time and flexibility in his work hours was exponentially more important than making a ton of money in commissions.  So we made a deal:  Provided he made 100% of his quota in the first three weeks of the month, he could work a flex-schedule that we both agreed upon.  And for every 25% he was over quota, he would earn an extra hour of vacation time.  Finish the month at 150%, earn two hours of additional vacation time and so on.

What do you think the results where?  Not only did this fellow consistently hit his quota at or above 125%, he did it faster and more efficiently than his teammates.  As a matter of fact, his “rising tide” lifted all the ships by starting a friendly competition within my team to see who could achieve 100% of quota the fastest.   We had exquisite teamwork, positive attitudes, and a whole lot of fun.  And if you run a team, division, or company that has monthly or quarterly goals, how great would it be to achieve that goal a week or two ahead of schedule?

As I’ve written before, to achieve team results with velocity, ease, and efficiency, you have to get your team excited because they see the benefits for themselves.  There are TONS of ways to do this — my real-world example above is just one way.  Share with me your “best practices” on creating team results by posting a comment below or tweeting me @mpveltri.  Or if you are stuck and need help in getting your team up to speed, go ahead and also post below or tweet me your question — I promise to get back to you.