How Building A Strong Team Performance Culture Boosts Sales
For the last two decades Kissing With Confidence has delivered transformational skills and behaviours that grow people, teams and businesses. In 2023 it’s fair to say that everyone I talk to is busy (and getting busier) and frazzled (and getting more so).
So we’ve been talking to clients about their building blocks for success. Many are focused on developing and keeping their talent, building skills in an environment that helps them flourish.
We know that resilience is key and is something that top executives should work hard to develop in themselves and their teams. But it’s hard! In this frenetic world of 24/7 hybrid working and the race to deliver for clients, resilience and people’s wellbeing is often neglected.
Why should you care? Quite frankly, people are still your biggest asset. They need to believe that they matter. They do matter. But running on fumes creates demoralised people who don’t deliver what you need most: sales.
So what can you do?
1. Take care of yourself
Whether it's maintaining a healthy lifestyle or managing stress levels, investing in your physical and mental well-being really matters. You need to decide to do something that will take care of your body, mind and feelings. For me - after a year in which I’ve had an operation on my shoulder that has really limited me, and now a dodgy knee (!) - even simple stretching, and getting my sugar intake under control, matter. When you’re physically fit, your mental fitness benefits and vice versa.
We suggest: picking one thing that’s a small change and will be a change for the better.
2. Keep going
It’s easy to give up and slump in front of the tv after a hard day’s work. Five minutes a day help embed the habits you’ll need to look after yourself. The crazed perfectionists among you don’t want to do only five minutes. Just…do.
We suggest: timetabling the time for your activity each day; first thing in the morning? During lunch (yes, a lunch break is important)? As you transition from day to evening?
3. Acknowledge what’s challenging you: share with another
When we tell another person how we’re feeling, it helps them and it helps us. They know they’re not alone, you do too, and it helps build openness and trust.
We suggest: understanding who you trust and sharing as and when it’s right.
So it starts with treating yourself as a valuable asset and means you’ll be more present at work, stronger and more resilient, and that means you can bring more to your team.
How do you do that?
Nurture that winning team
1. Make time for real check-ins
We see our colleagues and clients more often than ever before thanks to the wonders of Teams and Zoom, but if we’re not careful it’s all about the transaction and we’re not connected emotionally. It’s hard to know how people are really doing and so we need to ask. It’s ok to ask. It’s vital to ask.
We suggest: setting up a regular time to check in. Some people need daily, others weekly, others monthly times to do that. Neglect it at your peril.
2. Develop a feedback culture
Good feedback is the lifeblood of your team’s development and performance. Train them how to do it, and encourage your team to give and receive feedback regularly, not just at performance reviews. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It upsets people and means they spend more time focusing on the feedback when they could usefully be doing something else.
We suggest: adding the giving and receiving of feedback to your check-in agendas; even if there’s nothing to bring on a given day/week/month, the ‘space’ is there for the taking.
3. Get people together
Creating and maintaining a fantastic team is a continuous process. Try new activities and discussion points, and reflect on what does and doesn't work. As a team leader, it's important to encourage your team to be open to change and to continuously improve their processes and ways of working.
We suggest: a sandwich and a few discussion points - one personal, one professional - can help to create connection and purpose; it also builds networks and knowledge
But you’re together and you need to understand the people in front of you, and the cues and clues they’re sending through their behaviour as to how they want to be treated.
What can you do?
Flex Your Style First
Flexing your style is about adapting your approach to get the best results from others. It's about recognising that different people have different needs and preferences, and adjusting your communication style accordingly.
Why bother? 50% more sales closed; more money earned (29% more than your peers) and better performance ratings as a colleague (up to 27%), that’s why. This stuff really does make a difference to your bottom line and your morale. How?
1. Know yourself/control yourself
Start by understanding your own Social Style profile and understand your patterns of behaviour, such as how you communicate, what you say, and what you do. Understanding your style can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work on versatility to interact better with others.
2. Know others
Look, listen and learn. What do they need/want and how do they ask for this (or wait to be asked)? This knowledge can help you to understand what others need from you, and enable you to flex your behaviour to meet their needs, resulting in better outcomes.
3. Do something for others
Being versatile is key to interacting effectively with others. Practising different behaviours, such as using fewer words, speaking more slowly or loudly, or using more or less eye contact, can help you to become more effective at building relationships. The more you practise, the more natural it will become.
The four Social Styles (Driving, Expressive, Amiable and Analytical) bring their own valuable contribution; if we ignore or minimise any it’s to our own detriment as well as theirs. When we understand how what they need influences where they focus (and what they do when things aren’t working for them) we can develop and demonstrate an empathy through behaviours that make sense to them.
There’s a joy to be had by welcoming the ways in which others are different to us. We can learn, imitate (to broaden our own behavioural repertoire) and develop.
John Donne (1572-1631) said “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.
We can’t do ‘it’ whatever that is, alone. We can’t build a happy, thriving environment that people want to be a part of, unless we help look after our people, foster a sense of inclusion, and accept them for who they are when they’re on the inside of the team.
If it feels like too much faff for you, remember: happy workplaces hold on to their best people, people produce sales, and sales solve everything.