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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Management'>Sales Management</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=sales career'>sales career</a>
Sales Leadership
Feb 2, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips show, we give thought to the elements which make up a first-rate work culture; one in which performance comes first. 

Our guest is Mark Franklin, President at Career Cycles

Listen to this episode of the CPSA Sales Tips For The Pros Podcast and discover:

* What are the character traits of successful salespeople?

* How can leaders help grow women that show potential into leadership roles by helping them develop decision making and critical thinking skills?

* So to recap, what can we do to empower women to achieve sales leadership roles?

Want to hear more? Check out the bonus insights:

What Should the Consequences be for Those That Don't Meet Targets?
How Leaders Can Protect Against Negative Competition 
Do the Top Performing Companies Foster Innovation?

Read the edited transcription:

Kristen H: In this episode of the Sales Tips for the Pros Podcast, Mark Franklin will join us to have a discussion around creating a performance first workplace culture. Mark is the practice leader and president at Career Cycles and co-founder at One Life Tools. He has a Masters in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering. He has over 10,000 hours of direct counseling and coaching experience at Career Cycles and in the Career Centers of Canadian Universities. Mark provides career management insight to local and national media and hosts a weekly radio show called Career Buzz. He wants to help people become empowered in their career and life choices. Mark, welcome to the show, it's great to have you.

Mark Franklin: Thanks, Kristen, really happy to be here.

Kristen H: What are some of the elements that go into creating a performance first work environment?

Mark Franklin: The elements are really about creating a culture, a culture that supports performance. That's probably the key thing is that focusing too much on performance doesn't lead to sustained performance. It may sound counterintuitive but it looks like all search that focuses in on culture and performance...Kind of get it this way, that culture creates performance and not the other way around so we have core values in a company that lead to a company culture and that leads to the actions and performance that management wants. If you don't have that then you have decisions that come down and they're just, they vary from topic-to-topic and day-by-day or year-by-year. Core values give a sense of corporate culture and culture then drives performance. I think anybody trying to really create a performance first workplace and culture needs to focus on those core values and be able to communicate those clearly and turn them into actionable ideas and methods. Then I think you get the right flow from core values to company culture to performance.

Kristen H: Why do you think some companies struggle with really creating those core values?

Mark Franklin: The values that organizations might try and, not just write down because I think everybody has seen those organizations that have mission, vision, and values that nobody really pays attention to. I think there's a lot of failure out there and people lose touch with the fact that this could really be beneficial. There's a lot of research out there, I was reading one story about a car dealership, a series, a network of car dealerships. They also focused on values and they found that those dealerships that were focused around values had sustained performance and, in fact, performance increases. Those who focused on performance alone actually found drops in their performance.

Kristen H: How important is it that the company...That they really engage and support employees? We hear a lot about millennials so do millennials not want more autonomy?

Mark Franklin: You know, we have a sweet spot in our career coaching practice for millennials. We find a lot of people in early career in their twenties and early thirties and so our team of associates are actually working a lot with millennials. It's funny, they say they want stability and if you look at surveys they say they want to stick around, they want stability but yet their behavior shows different. If they don't get the things that they want they're more than willing to change jobs more frequently because they see that that's the way the world works.

Right now in Canada the number, the duration, the average duration of a job is now less than three years. It's about two years and 10 months. There is a lot of change despite the fact that millennials say they want stability. What do they really want? Well, they want meaningful work, that's a term I hear a lot, at least their work and the products or services that their company is connected to there should be a connection with purpose or meaning, and meaningful work is a term I hear. They want feedback and they want to talk to their managers often. They want flexibility where they work, when they work. They want perks and if they don't get them then they move.

Those values we were talking about before can drive the kinds of things that keep millennials happy and engaged. Back to culture, I think...You know, Peter Drucker is one of those famous management gurus and he had this great line called create strategy for breakfast. You can have the strategy as much as you want but it's the culture that you create that supports your employees. These days that includes millennials and making sure that they get that feedback, they get that sense of flexibility, and then they perform.

Kristen H: Should risk taking be encouraged and what happens when people fail?

Mark Franklin: Well, risk is scary for lots of people. I mean, we're human and we have this aversion to risk, many do. Risk can also be accompanied by very big expectations but we also know that taking risks leads to acceleration and growth and it helps you grow, move faster, climb higher in both work and in life. When we learn about all these tech companies, they have this little phrase called fail fast. Take a risk and kind of organize it in time so that it's not a huge thing, you're not plowing years of resources into that one risk.

Check it out, do a small pilot, try things, fail fast. The idea meaning that you can build risk and risk taking as a skill. I think that's what it is, it's a skill that grows with practice incrementally. If you use small risks in your daily life, if you have strategies or tactics that you want to try that you've never tried before to reach out to a client or to make a call or different script or a different product or a different group of products, try it, pilot it in some limited way. Fail fast, learn how to build that muscle of risk taking and that skill will grow incrementally. I would say, listeners...What can listeners do? They can take a week and take on a new risk every day for a week and see what happens. Be methodical, be intentional about it. Some small, little risk, just try it, see what happens and then note the results.

Kristen H: What role, in terms of the values for hiring salespeople, how do you really encourage a performance first meritocratic culture?

Mark Franklin: Well, it comes back to what we talked about earlier about values, core values and then company culture. Those can really enhance pride in the company, it can help build those sales relationships, build a performance first organization and every new recruit wants that. If it's a question about hiring salespeople, well they're going to be attracted to companies that seem like they're moving in the right direction and that they're successful, and that not only is the organization successful but the individuals within it are successful. These days with reviews and so much online communication about companies and corporate culture, it's not too hard to find out whether you're going to join a company that has got a great culture, a supportive culture or a terrible culture and a toxic culture.

We hear that all the time. Imagine in a career coaching company you end up hearing a lot of the complaints. You hear people who have hit a certain point and they say, "Okay, I'm looking for something else." Maybe we hear a disproportionate number of people who have hit that wall but what are we hearing? A lot of workplace problems. Not so much I don't like the work but it's I don't like the workplace. This is happening, people are leaving companies. Survey after survey says that a huge portion of your employees are busy either actively looking for another job or at least passively open, and if the recruiter calls they're willing to hop. Therefore, if you want to hire people successfully, I think it's about setting up a good internal culture that people want to join and that the employees are sharing that over the internet so that others can see that that's the kind of company that they want to work for.

Kristen H: What do you think the dangers are placing too much emphasis on performance?

Mark Franklin: Performance is temporary, it comes and goes. For many listeners their products or services might be cyclical either for economic cycles or even annual cycles and so performance will be temporary and sometimes it's great, sometimes it's not. Back to something that's going to help you weather the storm, there will be peaks and valleys and have you navigate the valleys. Again, building that performance based culture because it's around values is the way to go. Culture is hard to replicate so you gain a competitive advantage. It's a little harder to build that and it takes longer but it is a competitive advantage because others simply can't copy it. It's your unique culture and that, in turn, drives performance and helps you both on the up turn, "Well, when things are good, things are good," and you don't need too, too much to support that. When things aren't that good how do you hang on to people and how do you hang on to people's morale? That's where some of those values come in.

Kristen H: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here today, Mark.

Mark Franklin: Yeah. Pleasure, Kristen, thanks for the opportunity.

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