Monday, January 24, 2011


One thing that each of us in the organization struggles with is making the time for personal and/or organizational improvement.  It is so easy to get consumed by the day-to-day duties required to meet the expectations of our managers, co-workers, partners, and customers.  In a sales organization, this is particularly true because the longstanding metric of success is the "numbah."  In many - if not most - sales organizations, this is the sole metric of success.  The "numbah" can become all-consuming and it becomes very easy to default to the short view and lose sight of taking the steps necessary to become better long term. 

One thing we as a team are trying to do to make the time for improvement is a program we are calling 2-1-1.  At the end of 2010, we asked each member of the team to answer the following in preparation for their Q1 planning sessions:

2: What 2 things do you do really well that have a huge impact on your success in your job? (can be anything – trait, habit, approach, etc)
1: What 1 thing do you find yourself saying, “I really need to do better on this,” that would greatly improve your effectiveness in your job or happiness in general?
1: What 1 recommendation would you make to help improve the overall effectiveness of Varrow Sales?

Every member of the team answered these questions and then during each of their individual planning sessions we discussed his/her 2-1-1 answers and identified one goal each person would strive to achieve before the end of the quarter.  The only ground rule for the identified goal was that it needed to be one with a very high probability of achievement.  The idea here being that we don't want to add yet another stressor (the "numbah" is stressful enough), but rather prompt each individual to carve out the time to achieve the goal and not just put on the backburner day after day, month after month, quarter after quarter.  It's really about making the time for improvement.

If every individual on the team achieves his/her 2-1-1 goal, the team as a whole will be rewarded with a team reward (still have to figure out what the reward will be).  We want people helping each other out and rooting each other on as they strive to achieve their individual goals.

Here is the list of goals the members of the team have come up with so far (our inside sales reps and our data center solutions principal have their planning sessions this week, so their 2-1-1 goals are not yet identified):

*organize a local technical training for the sales team in Charlotte

*organize an afternoon at the driving range for Varrow employees and provide lessons to those participating

*bring along the new sales rep on 10 sales calls and the inside sales reps on 5 sales calls so they ramp quicker

*get meetings with 3 of your top prospect accounts

*talk to all the engineers at Varrow and create a list of companies where they have relationships or have worked at in the past and with whom Varrow is not currently doing business

*get 5 of your customers out of the office and spend some time having fun

*introduce in-person your technical consultant into 10 of your long-standing accounts and your inside sales rep into 3 of your accounts

I still have to identify with the team my own personal 2-1-1 goal and add to the list.  I hope this is effective - I am optimistic it will be, but we shall see.  In the meantime, the dialogue itself was extremely healthy and look forward to having it every quarter throughout the year.

1 comment:

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