Improving your efficiency or effectiveness is only as good as your method of determining and evaluating success. It’s easy to earn a win here or there, but repeated success over a long period of time can only be done through hard work, analysis, and reinforcement. Below, I have outlined five ways to gauge the success of your team, how you got there, and what to do to keep it up.
1. Establish a clear baseline.
First, you must establish a bottom line. This should be the level at which you expect your team to operate, if nothing changes. This is very much like a control group in a scientific experiment – an unadulterated sample for you to track along with actual performance. Giving yourself a subset to compare against will allow you to ballpark the level of achievement. However, we want to do a lot more than just estimate success. That leads us to step two.
2. Quantify what success means for your team.
Now that we’ve established what normal performance would look like, we can set our sights on determining what level of accomplishment we would consider successful. Without predetermining what it means to be successful, you will be hard-pressed to track progress, never knowing if your team is on track with internal expectations. Setting a quantifiable and measurable goal allows your analysis to be more precise. It also allows you to hold your team accountable, since they have something specific to work toward.
Another way to quantify success for your team and make it challenging is to set a level of extreme success to actively reach for. This isn’t just the “shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars” cliché. This method gives your team the freedom to always be striving for more. If an initial level of success is achieved, it may be instinctual to ease up on the throttle and coast, so setting this extra level gives you and your team motivation to continue to work toward improvement.
3. Don’t ignore the competition.
While it’s always important to measure success relative to previous performance, it would be a mistake not to track the movements and achievements of others as well. This concept applies in professional and athletic arenas alike. When champion swimmers are racing, they alternate the sides that they breathe on for several reasons – one of them being, to keep an eye on what’s happening in the lanes around them. Seeing the progress of their competitors allows them to gauge their own speed, gain motivation, and consider strategies to stay ahead.
Allowing your team the opportunity to focus their competitive spirit externally will not only give them a good guide for success, but it will also provide added motivation as they strive to achieve their goals.
4. Take note of any positive or negative outliers.
We’ve all heard the saying “a team is only as strong as its weakest link.” This is a universal truth, and it applies to the sales world as well. An entire team can be brought down by the actions of an individual. Conversely, a team can be brought up by a particularly strong contributor.
Taking the time to determine if a certain person is bringing down or raising up the team is a good habit to get into. Once you’ve identified an individual, you can determine if his or her level of achievement is having a major effect on the overall productivity and success of the team. If the individual brings the team down, determine if his or her detractions can be reversed. If the person is a positive addition, see if you can coach the remaining members of your team to adopt some of the same habits and attitudes.
5. Assess your level of involvement.
Through the four previous steps, many different criteria have been identified to be tracked and evaluated, but you must not forget to evaluate yourself as a manager.
A leader’s priority should be to ensure that things are running smoothly for his or her team, and that the team is equipped with the necessary tools and abilities to be successful. If you find yourself too involved in the day-to-day of your team, take a step back to ensure that you’re fulfilling your role as a manager entirely. If you fully accomplish your leadership tasks and still have time to contribute on the sales front, that’s one thing. But if you’re limiting yourself at all as a leader and manager by getting too involved in more granular tasks, you’re stunting your team dynamic and your growth as a manager.
Most of the time, it’s easy to determine if a team is successful, but how do you repeat those successes? By establishing a baseline, clarifying your definition of success, keeping an eye on your competition, analyzing your team’s players, and assessing your management performance, you can better judge and evaluate how successful your team is and how great it will be moving forward.