It caught me totally by surprise.
Three years ago I was working Saturdays at a popular toy store. I had arrived 10 minutes before my shift was to start. The employee break room was where my name tag and box cutter were stored in a 5 story upright locker. I put my sack lunch of Tupperware-encased leftovers in the full size fridge across the room.
Then I saw it.
On the “Shout Out” bulletin board in the back corner was my picture. It was framed with details of the accomplishments reported by my peers. The headline read “Team Member of the Month”.
How We Recognize Greatness in Most Organizations
Sales are the fuel that drives the business engine, right?
Because that’s true, we believe it’s really inportant to celebrate the people who bring in the most business.
But there’s a problem.
When we celebrate the top salesman, that person feels great, doesn’t she? Of course. But if the party goes on too long and too often, the people who support that person feel left behind. And the other salespeople begin to grow green with envy when the top seller is held up as the ultimate role model.
“Why don’t you all sell like Tom?”
“Nobody can bring in the business like Sue.”
A couple things can develop as a result of this.
First, the star seller may start to believe his own press. When he does, he will see himself as the lifeblood of the whole organization.
“They’d be hopless without me. Why, they’re lucky to have me around.”
The second thing that happens is that everyone else begins to dread the very appearance of the star. If you’re familiar with the story of Joseph in the Bible, you know what happened to him. His brothers hated him and looked for an opportunity to get rid of him. They thought about killing him, but they settled for selling him into slavery.
So be careful what you celebrate, okay?
4 Ways You Can Bring Out the Best in Everyone
The beauty of celebrating a “Team Member of the Month” is that with the right effort, anyone can make it.
That’s because excellence in general is celebrated, not just cheering on the most visible performers like the top salesperson.
Here’s what Coach John Wooden had as his goal for every team member:
Make greatness attainable by all.
Here are 4 ways you can do that.
1. Remember that every role is important.
A business needs more than a great salesperson to succeed.
Someone has to design a product or service to meet a need.
Another person gets the product ready to market.
Someone else has to sell that solution to enough interested buyers to keep the fulfillment team busy.
Others deliver the product or service to the customer.
And someone has to be around to make sure the customer is happy with his purchase – and stays happy.
Which of those roles do you think you could do without?
Since every role is important, do everything you can to ensure that everyone on your team knows his effort counts.
2. Encourage your team members to be ambitious, but with the proper focus.
Let your people know that there is opportunity for promotion once they master their current roles. If someone takes her current role seriously, she’ll take the next one seriously, too. And you can be sure if someone gives her all to one task, she’ll probably do that with any role.
3. Tell everyone to be ready for unexpected opportunities.
This all goes back to the idea of making every day your masterpiece.
If you’re giving it your all every day, you’ll be ready when the big opportunity comes. So keep pushing. Keep reading. Keep learning.
When I was growing up, I shot baskets in my driveway every day after school. One day my cousin came to visit and challenged me to a game of 21. She matched every shot I made from every point on the court. So I decided to pull something out of the blue. I turned around, arched my back and looked back at the upside down basket. I hurled the ball up and … swish!
That was the only shot she didn’t make.
I was ready because I had practiced shooting day after day, all year round.
4. Believe everyone has treasured buried within.
She was a bit unsure of herself when I first hired her. Her husband handled all the money at home. She had spent most of her adult life at home keeping house. But she was my assistant manager’s sister, so I figured her work ethic was probably solid.
I tried to teach her the cash register. She was visibly nervous as I explained how simple it was. I left her to spread her wings and fly, but fear gripped her so hard she couldn’t leave the ground.
Then I turned over her training to her sister.
It was then that her hidden talents came shining through.
Do whatever you can to mine the gold in your people. Often, with enough effort, you’ll polish that person into a gem.
Now Go Out and Take on the World
Use these 4 tips and you’ll develop a team of high performers.
There won’t be any unimportant roles.
You’ll foster each person’s natural ambition.
Everyone will be ready for every opportunity.
And you’ll uncover the treasures inside every person in your organization.
There’s no better way to win in the marketplace.