Making Habits

For sale professionals everywhere
I am on a flight home, thinking about my business trip to Oregon yesterday. It’s a dining2new and delightful account (Garrison’s Furniture in Medford) and the content of the sales process and attending sales actions are new to most of the participants. That means a LOT of new behaviors to coach and practice into habits.
We set up a system to record interactions and have weekly coaching calls. We had one call, and although I gave them times to schedule and confirm with me, we didn’t execute the remaining three. And I didn’t inspect the homework/practice logs that I gave them to use, so naturally, when we started our sessions yesterday with a brief review of successes and misses, no one had – or had done – their practice logs.
I know better than this. I know that more happens with new behaviors when they are inspected versus expected. I didn’t put on my calendar to email or call AGAIN when I didn’t get a response to scheduling dates and doing homework. These are new behaviors for THEM but these are not new coaching behaviors for ME. So, while it would be easy to put the reshabitsponsibility for their success and engagement on them, as a coach I have to be with the sales managers the way they have to be with their sales people….in contact, accountable, encouraging, and did I say, in contact? :)
It was an opportunity to open both the morning and afternoon sessions with a discussion about adult learning and practice, making habits happen, being accountable, the difference between knowing and doing, and about putting structures in place to support a new game and actions. And, had I been a coach on top of my game and my team, we would have started with an opening discussion that was further down the development road.
Some of you may hear this as me being too hard on myself; I am not doing that.  This is what sounds like being responsible for a lack of performance and results. And a magical thing happens when we are fully responsible…areas for action open up to take: We scheduled homework log practice and 4 coaching calls on our calendars (with alerts!) for the three weeks between this visit and November visit. All good, all usable actions, all opportunities for development.
 Lesson: Leaders – when you fail to execute your team suffers. Players – when you fail to execute your income and your customers suffer.
And what did YOU do this week?
Now, go sell something!

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