Like many of you, the EcSELL Institute leadership team has a weekly meeting where we discuss strategies, goals and progress. These team meetings help keep us on the same page, drive collaboration among different departments and ensure that we are focused on our shared priorities. Once a month, however, we dedicate our weekly meeting to a different purpose – our development as individuals and professionals. I have to confess this is the weekly meeting that I look forward to the most because it’s a chance to step away from the day-to-day work and invest in ourselves and each other.
EcSELL Institute research shows two of the most important things sales managers can do to motivate their reps is help them improve their selling skills and develop their careers. The reason these activities increase rep motivation is because people tend to be more engaged in their work when they are improving, learning and developing. And this is precisely why we as a leadership team dedicate two hours each month to our own learning and growth. That is, we all feel more energized when we’ve taken the time to consider a new idea or explore a different concept, so the investment of time yields a great return by amping up our engagement and motivation.
Injecting this kind of development and learning into your own sales team is quite easy. First of all, rotate among the group who is responsible for planning the development meeting or, if you can’t dedicate an entire meeting, the developmental portion of a meeting. This helps to ensure variety and engages more people in the process. Next, make sure to give people freedom in choosing the development topic and how it will be addressed. Part of the magic of these development meetings is not just in the specific content covered, but in giving everybody on your team the opportunity to lead by deciding what they want to share in the meeting and how they want to share it.
The greatest benefit of these personal and professional development meetings is that they take your team out of the day-to-day grind and expose them to ideas or perspectives that they normally do not have the time to consider. People can think more creatively and on a bigger picture basis when they are able to take a break from the details of their work. Plus, providing an opportunity for them to think about and consider different concepts not only helps them learn about the particular content being shared in the meeting, but also stimulates their creativity in general. This allows them to bring a fresher and more energized perspective back to their day-to-day priorities.
For examples of some effective personal and professional development topic ideas, considering the following:
Writing a personal mission statement
Discussing a book or leadership article
Watching and talking about a TED Talk video
Bringing in an outside speaker
Also, be sure to check out the EcSELL Institute resource library for additional developmental articles and ideas to consider.
You can always learn more ways to motivate and develop your sales team by attending our EcSELL Institute Summit. For more information, click here: http://www.ecsellinstitute.com/summit-spring-2014