Show Notes

Have you ever been reading a book and just had a light bulb moment where literally you're turning the page but you can't even keep reading because your mind is just digesting what you've read and thinking about all the ways that this new idea changes everything in your life? I had a moment like that when I read Carol Dweck's book, Mindset about growth mindsets versus fixed mindsets and really the mind-blowing moment for me was when she was talking about how adults can learn to draw this is so silly but it was so profound for me she in this book if you haven't read it she has a picture of some subjects who did a drawing before they went to a drawing class and it looked like a drawing i would draw it was not very good and then they took a three-day drawing class and then the pictures they drew afterwards were phenomenal and I can remember just being like oh my goodness I can draw not that i can actually drop because I haven't taken a class or done anything to learn how to draw but it was just this gut moment where i knew that if i wanted to learn how to draw I could do that and I share this story because that book teaches us so much about why some people continue to grow and try new things and why others stagnate.

If you haven't read the book I'm going to give you a little spoiler here so to use her words she talks about two different types of mindsets a growth mindset and a fixed mindset a growth mindset states that a person's talents and abilities are not fixed at birth but can be enhanced by effort learning an persistence versus a fixed mindset that says you've only got what you're naturally talented with and no amount of effort will lead to more it's important to note here that you can have a fixed mindset in certain areas and a growth mindset in others for example you might say athletic ability is something you're born with and so you have a fixed mindset around your athleticism but you might think intelligence is something that can be developed through learning again it's not just one or the other and I'm going to talk a little bit more about

Why this is so important for your team if you want to have a team that continues to grow over time? I want you to also have this kind of concept of you don't you might have a fixed mindset for certain things and a growth mindset for others and the areas where you have a fixed mindset think people are just they're naturally good or they're not in the areas where you have a growth mindset you believe that people can improve and they can get better and that the results are really mirrored back to the effort that they're putting in and the persistence versus the areas where you have a fixed mindset you probably believe that people aren't going to get much better that they have that natural talent or they don't now we're talking about fixed mindset versus growth mindset.

It's really important she found in her work that people who have a growth mindset actually were more willing to try new things they were willing to take on new challenges and therefore they grew more and that's because if you believe that your ability or your performance isn't a reflection of you but it's just something you haven't learned yet failure isn't as dramatic in that area where if you have a fixed mindset you're less likely to challenge yourself if you were to fail that failure is a reflection of yourself this is really important when it comes to sales I mean.

They have found that actually people who have malleable beliefs that believe that they can get better at negotiating actually find people have a growth mindset around negotiating when they take a negotiating class they actually have greater improvements than people who have a fixed mindset around negotiating I'm saying all of this because as we talk about how can you help your team to avoid stagnancy the very heart of the matter is what is the mindset that your team member has.

If you were to ask your team right now when it comes to sales when it comes to your ability to sell when it comes to your ability to network when it comes to your ability to negotiate is that a fixed ability that you're born with or is that something that you can learn and grow the team members that believe they can learn and grow are the team members who will learn and grow and continue to get better.

This is also important for you as a leader what's your mindset in this area I want you to think about this right now when it comes to sales effectiveness does your team have a growth or a fixed mindset if the team members have a fixed mindset there's always going to be resistance to new ways of doing things and there's always going to be resistance to growth the same is true for you you know if you believe that your team is either naturally good at sales or not good at sales the way that you invest in your team and the way that you coach your team and the culture that you create is going to more often than not prove yourself right more so than your team's ability to get better if you haven't read the book, Mindset, I highly recommend it and I read it with the frame of thinking about your sales team mindset is only one of the three things that needs to be addressed if you want to keep your team evolving and getting better year after year after year.

There are two other key components that you need to address I've come to believe and I've come to see in my experience that the three things that need to be addressed if you want to create a culture of continual growth and avoid stagnancy is mindset which we've talked about the next one is resilience and the third one is culture and these things are all interlinked they all play off of each other but they are all different in their own way when we talk about resilience this is so important when it comes to sales there's so much research on resiliency being one of the key attributes that separates star salespeople top performers long-term sales professionals from people who struggle in sales there's some myths around resiliency too. 

Resiliency is a muscle that can be developed over time it's not something that you either have or don't have some of us maybe have a little bit more because of our life experiences because of how we've been mentored in our life because of how we've faced challenges some people on your team might have more resiliency today than others but everyone can continue to develop more resiliency in their life and this is important for you as a leader because if you want to have a team that continues to grow year after year even when they're doing well there has to be resiliency when you're learning something new.

If you go back to that Episode Four that we talked about last week and we talked about how adults learn anytime you're learning something new there's going to be a part of that learning process that's going to be uncomfortable there's going to be a part where people aren't doing well when they're learning something new and so if there isn't resiliency built into those team members they're going to struggle the same is true of course when it comes to sales you are going to get people who are going to say no you are going to go through a long negotiation process sometimes and lose the deal if you don't have resiliency muscles on your team those failures are going to block your momentum they're going to block your desire to learn more and they're going to stop you from pushing yourself as a team leader it is your responsibility to help your team develop resilience there is a lot of great research on this about some techniques some tools you know a lot of stuff is around reframing experiences so that when things don't go as planned that it gets reframed from failure to a learning opportunity.

I'm going to give you a favorite story on this here in a second some other things that really help with building resiliency are exposure say you have a team member who struggles with resiliency they really struggle making cold calls if you just say you're gonna go make cold calls for eight hours a day yes they're gonna be exposed to it but they're going to overwhelm their nervous system and they're probably not going to build resiliency versus if you think about exposure therapy and you do a little bit at a time and you continually have more and more exposure that is how resiliency gets built I want you to think about if you're building resiliency in your teams where does that resiliency need to come into does it come in negotiation does it come in talking about pricing is it happen in cold calls does it happen during going to networking events making new connections whatever it is how can you break down that part that you want to really focus on resiliency on the team for and break it down into small exposure steps so you're not just throwing your team members to the wolves or to the sharks and hoping they learn how to swim but that you can support their building resiliency by doing it in small steps over a period of time another great way to build resiliency is to reframe failure and to reframe it culturally. 

One of my favorite stories about this is from Sarah Blakely who is the founder of Spanx and she has built a phenomenal business for herself but she talks about how when she was growing up every night at dinner every week at dinner her dad would ask her and her brother I believe what did you fail at this week and I think we forget to ask that of our team members we talk a lot about successes what did you win at what's going well what are you proud of and we definitely want to be celebrating wins but we also need to be celebrating failures because I say this to people all the time if you're closing a hundred percent of the proposals you're making or if you're winning all of your deals you're either priced too low in the marketplace or you're not really challenging yourself that sometimes we take the easy wins because we don't have resilience and then we think we're being successful and we can kind of tell ourselves we're having a lot of success

When really we're avoiding the harder more challenging sales because we don't have resilience as a leader you have an opportunity to really help your team by supporting them in recognizing that failure is an inevitable part of the job and that failure means that you're growing failure means you're challenging yourself and if you're not failing then you're not actually growing and so really that question what did you fail at this week is a very very powerful question and then when they tell you really being supportive of that great awesome what did you learn from that how are you going to take that failure and transition it so that you're even better at what you're doing we want to celebrate those failures and we want to use them as tools to get better that is a really great question some other questions that you should be asking your team members on a regular basis what are you working on getting better at what are you working on improving right now this quarter just setting that mindset that where are you working to get better where are you looking to grow so that you can support them in that so that we're not shying away from the areas where we have development opportunities but sometimes these are areas where maybe you're already really strong or your team members really strong maybe you have an awesome negotiator on your team but they still want to get better at negotiating this goes back to what i said at the very beginning of the podcast that when you look at professional athletes let's take Michael Phelps for example he didn't go to his first Olympics win a bunch of gold medals and then fire his coach and just hang out he went back to the pool and he was practicing and he was adjusting and he was changing things and he was how can i do this better what can I do differently even though he was at the top of his field this is where this is so important for us in sales is that we need to recognize even our top performers have opportunities for growth as a leader how do you celebrate them and support them but not let them get stagnant and that is really really challenging this is where it comes down to the third thing that is really important so we talked about mindset.

Now we talked about resilience and the third thing that is going to help you prevent stagnancy on your sales team is culture does your culture support growth does your culture push your team members into discomfort versus do you let your team when they're doing well goes by because you can coast for a little while but if you stop going to the gym if I stop running within a pretty short period of time my ability to run is going to worsen that my cardio is going to go down it's going to be harder and i'm going to struggle more this is a really fine line as a leader because you want to celebrate achievement you want to celebrate growth you want to celebrate wins but we also don't want our top sales people to get into that mindset of I've been doing this forever I already know how to do this this isn't new for me versus how can I continue to do this how can I continue to learn how can I continue to get better how might I take this different way of doing something and put it in my style and what works for me so that I can continue to get better the reason that we don't often do this from a leadership standpoint.

The reason that we let our top performers coast if you will is oftentimes we are scared that if we continue to support their growth and continue to push for their growth that they are going to see us as micromanagers and that they're going to leave because they're not going to want to work for a micromanager so we kind of say okay you've been doing this for five years you've been in the insurance game forever you've been doing real estate forever you've been in software sales for your entire career I'm gonna be hands off now this is a mistake and I talked about this in Episode Two, we'll link to that episode about retaining your best performers and one of the top reasons people leave is because they no longer feel challenged and this is right here where that culture issue if you're not creating a culture of continuous growth and opportunities for continuous improvement you will lose your star talent and it's super counter-intuitive because we think that star sales people want to be left alone.

Yes they want autonomy yes they want flexibility yes they want to have the opportunity to lead their own experience and be the boss of their day own their business but that doesn't mean they don't want to grow and I think about this in my career in sales of course my quote unquote favorite bosses were the bosses who just didn't challenge me at all but when I really looked back to when i was most fulfilled in my career it's where I had bosses who recognized all of the things that were doing well recognized my talents but also continued to push me to get better and I performed better when they supported me in this.

I use this example I go to Orange Theory we're back to doing outdoor classes which is fantastic because I definitely need the coaching I will not push myself to do burpees I had to tell the coach at the Orange Theory when I moved here to Bend hey I need you to like call me out because if I have a coach that says you can do a higher weight than that they're right I can do a higher weight than that and I do it but if left in my own devices I'm gonna do the weight that I'm comfortable with that is easy and then I don't get better and I don't grow and that is what your sales team needs from you now the level of coaching and how what that coaching looks like is very different when you have somebody who's newer to sales who's newer to your industry who's newer to your company than when you have a seasoned professional who's an outstanding performer. How you coach them is differently, but you absolutely need to be coaching people at all levels of their career because otherwise they're not going to feel challenged anymore and they're going to start looking for other opportunities plus they're going to get stagnant which then creates a culture of stagnancy.

I just want to say there is a huge difference between micromanaging and pushing your team for growth micromanaging is about control and it stunts growth it's about controlling things that aren't really meaningful and strategic the other when we talk about creating a culture of growth and pushing for growth that's about recognizing that no matter how good you are no matter how good your team members are there's always room for improvement and as a leader it's your job to support your team in their improvement. You are fundamentally responsible for the culture and the culture will dictate how receptive your team is to continuous feedback learning and growth if you want a team that is always evolving always striving for growth always looking for ways to be their best.

You must be mindful about all three of these things you must be mindful about mindset. You must perpetually build the resiliency muscles of your team and you must consciously create a culture of growth on your team.

If you don't do those three things you are at risk for really moving into stagnancy and having a team that has skills and ability but doesn't feel challenged and when people don't feel challenged they aren't as engaged at work they don't show up as fully and they don't perform as well these three things not only help your team but they help the individuals as well.

Next week i'm going to give you some strategies to coach your team without micromanaging so that you can really do these three things and create that culture of continuous improvement and do so in a way that you avoid pissing off the people who drive your bottom line I do know being in sales there's nothing worse than having a micro manager.

I fundamentally believe you can absolutely coach your team to success and growth without micromanaging that's what we're going to be diving into next week in the meantime if you liked this episode if you found something in here that made you think differently that made you reassess how you're working with your team on their growth make sure to give us a five star review and subscribe to Sales Fiction so you can get fresh episodes downloaded as soon as they are available.