Written by Hamish Knox
Your employees work for you because working for you helps them reach their personal goals faster than working for someone else.
When we are frustrated with an employee's performance it's likely because they have slipped out of the growth zone into the comfort zone or panic zone.
An employee is in the comfort zone when:
- Their goals are achievable just by showing up to work each day
- Their production varies from month-to-month in a predictable pattern (low productivity months consistently follow high productivity months)
- They externalize their problems specifically (e.g. “my list sucks” or “our website needs updating”)
- They continually ask you for tactical coaching (giving them the answer, which creates learned helplessness)
- They spend little to no time improving their attitudes, behaviors or techniques
An employee is in the panic zone when:
- They dump their goals for survival mode
- They externalize their problems generally (e.g. “the economy sucks” or “it’s the wrong time of year to prospect”)
- They show up late or leave early
- Their behavior increases dramatically to compensate for lack of results (“don’t worry boss, look how hard I’m trying.”)
Once an employee spends too much time in the panic zone they give up and enter the death zone where they go through the motions of working, but have essentially given up on themselves.
An employee is in the growth zone when:
- They set challenging goals, create plans to achieve those goals, regularly track their progress and adjust their goals upward as they near achievement of their original goal
- Their productivity is consistent month-to-month
- They debrief interactions with prospects, clients and colleagues to learn and grow
- They practise very specific parts of skills that will make them more effective in their role (e.g. instead of role playing “a prospecting call” they role play “what to say when a prospect says, ‘sounds interesting. Send me an email with information and I’ll get back to you.’”)
- They work on their attitude daily by journaling or meditating
Challenging your team to live in the growth zone requires you to have a strong rapport with each member of your team. Because “trust” is at the root of rapport, it’s not easy to build. Being vulnerable with your team by sharing your goals, being accountable to your team and giving each member of your team legitimate strokes are ways you can create and strengthen your rapport with each team member.
The growth zone isn’t a comfortable place to live, but it’s the best zone for you and your team.
Until next time… go lead.