RECOGNIZE FORWARD PROGRESS & Reward Exceptional Behavior

One hundred and sixty thousand dollars!  My boss’s words hung in the air for a moment. “Marty,” he said, “we need your team to hit $160K in special experience revenue next month.  That’s your target.”  I looked at him with mild confidence and replied, “Okay, we’ll find a way.”  And with that, I left his office with a clear agenda for the weekend.
 My sales team was strong, of this I was sure.  They were perfectly capable of achieving that number, I assured myself. We’ve got the right products, a conducive sales environment, and they’ve all gone through the proper sales training.  Achieving this goal would require everything in the tank from every sales associate, every day.  But I was confident that we could do it.  After all, April was Spring Break and with the volume we expected, the odds were in our favor…but only if I could keep my team 100% motivated.  And so I began my weekend with a significant take-home project.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I had a plan.  Here’s what I did:
Communicate the Standard.  I told my team that we needed to grow special experience revenue by about $50K from where it was the year prior.  Our goal for April was $160K.  (This was the first time I had ever shared the monthly goal with my team.)  I also broke down the goal to a daily number–about $5333 per day.
Visual Goal Tracker.  I created a large poster-size banner with an image of a thermometer.  The thermometer included hash marks at $5000 intervals, starting at zero and ranging to $160,000.  I fastened it to the wall in the same room where we held our morning meetings.  Then, I explained to my team that every day, we would run the sales report and update the thermometer with the day’s progress.
Words Matter.  I also said something that I believe resonated for the duration of that April goal:  “We are a team.  Everyone here matters.  Everyone here can make an impact on this goal.  I believe in each of you and your ability to knock this goal out of the park.”
Individual & Team Rewards.  My team was already receiving paid commission for their individual efforts to sell combination tickets and annual passes but I wanted to inspire them as a team to achieve the goal. I needed everyone to feel that they had a stake in achieving the goal.  After some ambiguous polling among several members of my team, we came up with the perfect goal:
If we meet our April goal,
we’ll throw a luau-type party on the beach.
The team was ecstatic.  They’d never worked for a goal like that before and they were very excited about it.
Measure the Standard.  Not only did I run daily reports but I made it a point to be present in the ticket windows for my team, observing and making adjustments to their interactions.  I gave them regular feedback and shared their individual performance metrics against the goal and in comparison to the rest of the team.
Recognize a Great Performance.  I recognized my top performers daily in our morning meetings, not only calling out their accomplishments but asking them to share their secrets.  I made them feel special and good about their performance.
Reward Forward Progress.  I didn’t expect perfection right away but I did expect my team to put in the effort to improve from one day to the next.  I needed to see that my team was making forward progress and that their sales behaviors were consistent.  Any progress forward would benefit achievement of our goal-and that was good enough for me.
My plan was a complete success.  The team worked hard to achieve their goal, holding each other accountable and recognizing their own improvement each and every day.  Teams perform best when they know what’s expected of them and when we provide them with regular updates on their own progress.  We met our special experience goal on April 23 and the beach party luau? Not only did it happen but it was a tremendous success!