There is a natural tension between goals to be achieved in a sales organization and the values to be followed. This tension is good. There is an interesting truth about values. In a tough economy your natural instinct might be to double down on your focus on goal attainment and not worry so much about the values of the organization (sounds like something we can focus on once the economy comes back). That would be a big mistake. The values the organization chooses to be guided by are more important in a tough economy—similar to how the importance of a lighthouse increases in a bad storm.
I was thinking about this irony the other day when I was helping my 7th grade son with his homework. He hates homework (what self-respecting young boy doesn't) and is not always the best worker when it comes to school. He is in the midst of a storm… that period in life when he'll learn what he's made of and what he's willing to commit to. If my wife and I focus on just grades at this point (goal attainment) he is going to be discouraged too often. Instead, we are focusing on his diligence, organization and attitude (the equivalent of values), believing that if he choses to be guided by these values, the grades will come.
Don't let your salespeople forget the values that drive your organization. At The Center for Sales Strategy, our guiding values are Quality, Integrity and Responsiveness. We focus on living these out as much as we do our goal attainment (not that we have anything against goal attainment). The truth about goals is they will more often be achieved when clear, concise values are at the core of how the organization behaves.
We believe goals and values are central to an organization's success. To learn more about six additional areas found in top performing sales organizations, download The Performance Prism.
John Henley is the Chief Operating Officer at The Center for Sales Strategy.