Nothing Says Thanks More Than Fruitcake
How to Say Thanks and Mean It (without giving the dreaded fruitcake).
Nothing quite says thank you like giving (or receiving) a fruitcake, eh? Given this month of thanks, it might be good to think about how you thank those around you who pound at it every day. (Hint: they DON'T want a fruitcake.) Yes, many folks will receive bonuses and commissions soon, but expressing gratitude in other ways is important too. Plan now for some things you can do in December to say thanks in unique ways and you both will be smiling well into next year. (Not to mention it's the right thing to do / way to be.)
Employees appreciate cash, but at the end of the day, they don't remember what was on their W2 each year, they remember the grace, kindness and respect that comes from those they respect in their company. Here are a few ideas on how to say thanks in a meaningful way come December: kidnap one or two (or more) on your team and play hookey late one afternoon. Plan something really fun (try not to include alcohol). Do something touristy in your town, see a movie, go to a museum...just do something totally different and bill it as your way of saying thanks. Here's another one: write a personal note on a card (no, not a type-written note) and use words and specifics that truly express your gratitude for their efforts. Or, what about a pancake breakfast at a fun eatery just to talk and have an hour of honesty about the year and how much you appreciate his/her effort?
Gestures and spontaneous acts by you will go much further than you think, as long as your heart and soul drive the bus. Have fun....truly.
Are you a hammer or a nail? Wanna try being both?
If you're reading this, you are - most probably - a hammer. You get things done. You take control. I read this article about the issue of being one or the other, yet am now thinking that, perhaps, you and I could be a nail. (Is it even possible to be both a hammer and a nail?) To constantly evolve as a business executive - and human being - we must think broadly on what we are and how we think and act. It just might be time to entertain thinking about how we can be both, a hammer and a nail.
I consider myself a good hammer. Yet I'm wondering if I can be a good nail too. Personally, I don't want to be one-dimensional and after I read the article, I started challenging myself more on broadening my perspective. After all, it's not a bad thing to be a nail; so I'm learning to trade my hammer in and feeling-out what this nail think is gonna work. Check back with me in a few months. Who knows, I may be able to cut it....but THEN, I'll be a SAW ,eh?. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
Getting the Most from Q4.
Yes, we're down to the wire and you want to squeeze as much revenue as you can out of the year, but should you focus more on revenue driving, or overall effort? Once All Hallows' Eve hits and ushers in the holidays, it's harder for everyone to focus as effort often wanes from all corners of an organization. This is a great test not just for managers, but for everyone wishing to stay consistent and sustain momentum into next year. Squeezing every last ounce of revenue makes sense during these final months of the year, but doubling-down on effort may net more substantive mid-range results. Hey, Q1 is around the corner.
Focusing solely on results rarely works. Instead, try to use late Q4 as a time to focus on exercises like performance reviews and account planning to help focus people; those exercises will not only drive immediate results but also establish momentum heading into the following year. Also, use these last months of the year to increase frequency of your formal training sessions and you'll find you and your people will become more focused on the priorities of your offering. Whatever you do, show people what it means to be focused and consistent by leading with your actions. It may take a little bit more effort, but the example set will be seen!
Commission Plan Chaos.
Soon, reps will be knocking on the door to talk commissions. Some will line up because they're gonna miss their 'minimums' and they don't want coal in their xmas stocking, some will be raising issues which make you think you need to tighten your plan for '16. Either way, critical analysis of how your commission plan drove desired results for the year should be a part of your December talks.
For most early and fast growth companies, there is no such thing as a commission plan that doesn't required amending from year to year. It may not be a rep who introduces the need to "fix" certain elements of the plan, yet it's just good management practice to assess whether the plan drives the behaviors that align with company capabilities and goals. Sales executives can be a huge help in the process too, so consult them on their thoughts as they are the ones who will provide insight you can use.
Your Tight 2016 Sales Plan.
I'm asked the following all the time, "Given my current job, should I be writing a sales plan?" The Rule of Thumb is: if you have anything to do with driving revenue, you should be writing a sales plan for every upcoming year. Whether or not you are supported with tools and formalized instruction for planning, you need to write a plan. Your role (sales VP, manager, executive, etc.) will dictate the details of your sales plan. Whatever your role, you need to write one.
I know a guy who wrote a really good article about this awhile back....oh wait, that was me....check it out. It's kinda helpful.
The Dreaded Holiday Party. (...doesn't have to be that way.)
Face it, not everyone loves the holiday party ritual. But we go, we smile, and pray something bad doesn't happen. And while we don't witness inappropriate, hand-covering-eye hi-jinx every year, we've seen enough so that many folks cringe at the mere thought of a attending yet another company party. Is attitude the problem, or can change occur to welcome needed positive holiday spirit?
Idea (call me COMPLETELY crazy): do something philanthropic and then when everyone meets up afterwards, don't make it about alcohol (interpret that as you wish).