Achieving desired results is a product of having the right mindset, taking actions consistent with that mindset, and having a process of follow-up or accountability. To do that, there are two important rules: you must know exactly what it is you want (your goal) and exactly how you are doing – at all times!
This is a concept we can all easily agree to, and yet we resist the actions necessary to turn the concept into reality. It can be especially hard for business managers to believe that “Playing the Game” works with grownups – until they give it a try.
As branch manager for a bank, my client Jane managed a staff of seven people. Her team was charged with achieving a daunting list of sales goals that grew more challenging each year. Jane had always worked hard to keep her team informed of their progress toward goals with the use of spreadsheets and graphs. She had met with her team monthly to go over the sales reports and discuss the status of their goals. She had tried incentives and contests to motivate the team, but was frustrated by their short attention spans and seeming lack of interest in long-term success.
Facing this yearly challenge once again, Jane decided to try something different. She challenged each team member to create a poster to track progress on one of the team’s goals. She offered to pay for all materials and asked them to bring their creations to the next meeting.
On the day of the meeting, Jane called me, ecstatic! She insisted that I visit the branch immediately. When I arrived, she ushered me into the room where the posters had been hung and waited for my reaction. I was equally dumbstruck! Seven brightly colored 3-dimensional “posters,” each of them creative and unique, hung on the walls.
To track the number of checking accounts opened, round colored “gum ball stickers” would fill a giant gum ball machine. To track the amount of insurance sold, an action figure would climb the rocky face of a mountain, each ledge representing another $100,000. To track consumer loan volume, small plastic pigs would climb a ladder to “Hog Heaven”. It all made it easy to see who was winning the results game.
Jane laughed, “All this talent and I was doing bar graphs!”
Jane then asked team members to take responsibility for updating his or her poster. Each would be accountable for reviewing the appropriate reports each month and recording the team’s progress.
Amazingly, team members anxiously awaited production reports to check the numbers. They couldn’t wait to record the information on their posters. Discussions in sales meetings came alive as members challenged each other to bring up the numbers, find new sales ideas, coach each other on technique and more. They had taken ownership of the team’s goals and they were determined to make the year a success.
That year was the best sales year in the branch’s history!
When other managers asked how Jane was so successful, she told the amazing story. Some caught the fever and believed; others shook their heads and returned to their spreadsheets.
Playing the Game is about having fun as you track your progress and about celebrating your successes. It’s about putting gold stars on a chart, moving pigs up ladders, or adding pennies to a fishbowl. Seeing your results tracked as a game keeps the bottom line top of mind while adding levity to engage participants in whole new – and often unexpected – ways.
When all team members are invited to Play the Game, the results can be unbelievable!
About the Author
Karen Morey is the grounding force of the Best Year Yet® Home Team, having been with the company since 2002. She currently serves as our Training Team Manager – no small feat as we continue to grow with new programs and instructors. She also brings 25 years of experience in corporate leadership, giving her an insider’s view to working with teams of all sizes.
Karen has extensive experience training facilitators worldwide, both internally and in businesses and organizations. She has designed and delivered training in leadership, performance management, customer service, and sales management as well as Best Year Yet® system delivery.
When she is not traveling the globe, Karen is a keeper of the Best Year Yet® Partner history, helping us develop and grow our Partner community in our new incarnation.
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