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Developing Your Team


Do you have the right people on your team?

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins uses the metaphor of the business as a bus and the leader as a bus driver. He believes it is crucial to ask, “First Who, Then What?” continuously.

Let’s talk about “Who,” meaning the people on your team. As we begin a new year, it’s a fantastic time to assess your team. In a perfect world, your team would be comprised of professionals who can fill the roles of case opener, appointment setter, closer, planner, case design, marketing, and operations. Whether your team is ready for all of these roles or not, each functional area must be accounted for to sustain a successful practice.

As a leader, it’s critical to evaluate your current team to ensure they can help in executing the organization’s plan. I encourage my clients to begin by reviewing their annual strategic plan.

In your annual strategic plan, you should have outlined the necessary tasks that must be completed to achieve your annual goals. Those tasks require specific skills. Create a side-by-side comparison of goals (including tasks) and assign each task to a person on your team. Ask yourself:

● Where does the plan fall short?
● Do you currently have the people on your team who possess those skills, or do you need to replace or add to your team?

Now that you have an idea of any gaps or changes that you may need to make, another exercise to consider would be to have each member of your team create their version of their current job description and their plan. This should include any objectives/tasks they would be assigned to execute in the organization’s annual strategic plan.

It is then time to review and compare. Ask yourself if each team member understands the organization’s plan, and are there skills required that team members don’t currently possess? Is it time to realign or increase or decrease responsibilities? Does attitude or work ethic play a role in this evaluation?

On a side note, if you see that a member of your team is not positively contributing, consider, when in doubt, that it’s time to cut ties.

Accountability starts with leadership.

Accountability starts with leadership and trickles down [link]. A team can only be as big of a shadow as its leader. If you are truly ready to achieve your goal of creating a culture of accountability within your firm, you must understand that accountability starts at the very top. In a survey, 72% of people said they would improve if they had more supervision. Unfortunately, that same group said that 87% of the time, when they have supervision, it's because they're about to get fired, let go, or they're in trouble. Another staggering statistic is that 50% of leaders and managers do not hold people accountable, and more than 51% don't give constructive information and feedback when people are off course. That means half your leadership team is aware of what's going on and do nothing about it. These numbers are not acceptable. Developing a successful mindset within your organization is not as hard as you think. Most people stare at their underlings and say, “You need to be held accountable.”

Most leadership teams blame their producers for not meeting sales goals as the reason why the firm is underproducing in the areas of recruitment, retention, or new business development. The cold, harsh truth is that most leaders within a firm aren’t accountable people themselves. Take a look around the conference room table. How many of your peers sitting next to you are serial excuse-makers?

Make professional development a requirement, not an afterthought.

Lifelong learning requires embracing curiosity and a willingness to change. Are all of your team members willing to accept both?

Professional development is more than building relevant job skills; it also includes getting your team to problem solve in innovative ways, become more creative, or get to the root of what motivates each individual.

Consider assigning one person on your team to assist in the planning of monthly mini professional development sessions, which can be a 15-minute sales or customer service drills. Additionally, plan one in-depth quarterly training session and be open to bringing in an outside resource to lead the discussion.

Finally, each member of your team, depending upon their level of experience and/or role, may require different types of professional development. Hiring a Business Coach to work with your leadership team might be what is needed to get them to achieve new levels of success.

This entire exercise may feel like a daunting task, right? Not only do you have to evaluate each individual, but you also need to set new expectations, possibly provide training, and ultimately hold them accountable to perform in their new role.

Don’t get frustrated! You have to do more if you want more.

Remember to do a little bit all of the time, not a lot some of the time.

I’d like to hear how changing your behavior is working for you. Please reach out to me via LinkedIn and let me know how it’s going.

Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson

Glenn Mattson is a seasoned veteran of the selling profession, Glenn has personally built one of the leading offices for Sandler Training with his office ranking consistently in the top 1% of Sandler franchisees worldwide. He specializes in working with financial services producers and agency managers who want to shorten their selling cycles, grow their revenues, boost their productivity, and improve their operational efficiencies. Glenn's clients include many producers who seek to be MDRT qualifiers as well as Court of The Table and Top of The Table members who attribute a great deal of their success to the principles, practices, and, above all, the accountability Glenn brings to their practice. Glenn is based in Long Island, New York, but he's usually "in the field," working with clients all over the United States helping them to grow their business, revenues, and profits. Additionally, Glenn is a sought-after keynote speaker, available to speak to small or large groups on emerging business topics.