Some of my best thinking happens with Cali and Nimmy. It's not that they ask the right questions, in fact they don't stimulate me at all unless you consider they take me out into the woods each morning on a hike. Cali will turn 13 next week and is the most amazing Vizsla you'll ever meet. Nimmy is our soon-to-be 3 year old Vizsla, so you know what that means: we don't miss a morning walking the woods.
Today's walk focused on one particular thing: how can I measure each and every little moment of growth and learning by the many sales reps for whom I provide skill development training?
Just as I have general rules of engagement for how I conduct skill development exercises (must be fun, relevant to the challenge/problem, regular/consistent, accountable, and measurable), I have thought of how I need to set up the Lightbulb Popping Formula....just made that up moments ago but let's see if it, and the acronym LPF stick. (Sounds good so far, of course I reserve all rights to it, and the right to change it, and the rights to what I change it to.)
How 'bout this to start:
1. the Pop has to be enduring. Rep learns a new technique, starts using it, KEEPS using it for...hmmm, how 'bout a month? Gets good results. (Of course, said rep wouldn't keep doing it if he/she wasn't getting good results.) 1 point for that but only if the technique is utilized over a sustained period.
2. the Pop has to be aligned with the behaviors the company establishes. This means, of course, that sales management has to define those good behaviors in order to credit them. 1 point for that.
3. the Pop has to truly be something new that the rep is doing. Can't credit reps for things they know. I don't like the invitation for ambiguity here any more than you do, but again, we gotta start somewhere on this.
4. Benchmarking: it only makes sense for an organization if you are rating everything inside of the company, and, against a point scheme that is assigned for each skill development session. So you'd say something like this, "...today we're going to study obstacle handling, and because that particular skill is so important, there are THREE points in play today to measure progress." At the end of the session, you grade everyone and keep your tally running for the measuring period - no less than a month, no more than a quarter.
Mind racing right now? Mine too. It introduces some sticky things to consider, but it's worth the conversation, no?