Performance: Just meeting performance goals is not enough

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:45 pm

The following is an e-mail I received from my niece regarding my June 22nd Small Business Times column headlined, “Ask the ‘help me/hurt me’ question.” She added an additional perspective to this article. She mentioned that even if sales producers are hitting their activity and production goals, that doesn’t mean they are positive and valued members of the team. Here’s what she said:

“Hi Uncle Phil, I just wanted to provide you with some feedback regarding your last article. I completely agree with your message, however, I wanted to tell you about this lady I used to work with. Even though activity and performance may be up, this alone may not tell the whole story. Long story short, at the time I worked with this woman, she would bend rules, tell lies, etc. Our employee team literally banded together to her exclusion because she was such a negative and dishonest force inside the company. With the amount of evidence we took to our manager, this person still remained with the company because her activity and her numbers were good. Our manager was fully aware of this person’s unethical behavior yet she remains a member of our selling team because she was hitting her numbers.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was extremely frustrating to the rest of the selling team who retains a high degree of integrity while keeping our selling performance up. We’ve watched this lady get away with inappropriate and unethical behavior just because she hits her sales numbers. Needless to say, I no longer work there.”

As I read my niece’s e-mail, the following words popped into my head: corporate poison, dishonesty, poor reputation, no credibility, not referable. These words apply to both the unethical sales rep and the sales manager.

Credibility and reputation

We all realize that credibility and reputation is earned over time. It’s not something that is earned instantly the minute you walk in the door. A strong and credible foundation is built brick by brick. Each and every behavior and transaction helps to build your reputation, good or bad. Your credibility and reputation is a crystal clear reflection of your individual core values. You can’t hide core values. They are always being demonstrated. Team compatibility and ultimately corporate success requires that all employees behave in a way that supports the core values of the organization.

Management must reinforce the core values message

Core Values provide the answer to the question: What’s important around here?

Core values are guidelines that determine individual and organizational actions and behaviors. They aid us in the management of our business. Team compatibility and ultimately corporate success requires that all employees buy into the core values established by the senior management team.  If core values are not mutually shared by all members of a team, frustration, anger and even distrust can show up within an organization.

As in my niece’s situation, her core values were in direct contrast with the core values of the dishonest and subversive sales person and sales manager. And as mentioned above, if core values are not mutually shared by all members of a team, frustration, anger and distrust can show up within an organization. Frustration, anger and distrust brought on by a misalignment of core values almost always precedes a parting of the ways as it did in the above situation. 

My niece is correct. Just because a sales producer is hitting their activity and production goals doesn’t mean they are a positive and valued member of the team. Short term, the producer may be helping the numbers, but long term the mis-alignment will cause the organization to lose good employees and customers. Building and having credibility along with a great reputation is simply the ticket to the dance. In other words this is the minimum requirement to achieving long term success as a sales professional.

Phil Mydlach is a performance management and channel development consultant and is the owner of Waukesha-based Mydlach Management Advisors LLC. He can be reached at (262) 662-4646 or pmydlach@mydlachmanagement.com. His company’s Web site is www.mydlachmanagement.com.

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