Go Ahead and Tackle the Big Issues

In too many organizations there is too little communication about the big issues that prevent them from taking their game to a higher level. The sales organizations inside these organizations can be a little soft here, too. There are some areas where, if communication around the big issues was improved, the sales organization would perform quite a bit better.

Discussing these issues would increase the sales organization’s effectiveness and help them to win more of the opportunities for which they compete. Yet, the conversations are avoided because the issues are sensitive, complicated, and uncomfortable.

What do these issues look like?

How about the threats to a deal like problems competing with an aggressive competitor? You can’t do anything about the competitor’s aggressiveness, even when it comes to pricing. But you can tackle the issue of how you intend to compete against their strategy. To do so you would have to sit down and discuss the issue, instead of complaining about the fact that you cannot control your competitor.

How about the dream client who has an issue with the lead person on your operations team, the person you wanted there because they are the best person you have? There is a good chance feelings may be hurt, and you still have toput someone on the job to serve your client. Without a serious discussion, the client relationship is at risk. Problems don’t age well.

How about the big sales call you are making with the team member who talks, and talks, and talks, and neverlistens? They are the subject matter expert in their area, but they are going to make the sales call a lot less effective than it might otherwise be. If they understood more about sales and more about the importance of listening, they would be a benefit. Everyone loves this chatterbox and no one wants to hurt his feelings.

These are difficult issues to discuss, and so, they are avoided. But they are avoided at too high of a cost. Discussing the difficult issues provides the opportunity to make an improvement that otherwise would not have been made.

It Is Personal

I have to come to hate the saying, “It’s not personal; it’s just business.” The fact is that it is personal.

Tackling the issues, whether they are related to business issues or personal behaviors are difficult for a reason. We spend much of our lives at work, and our work is a big part of our identity.

Tackling these issues doesn’t mean that you avoid dealing with the personal feelings, the passionately voiced opinions, or the arguments. It means you remember that we are all human beings (well, there are a few people I have come across who give me doubts). We need to tackle the issue to get the outcome, and the outcome is never to destroy our teammates, colleagues, and friends.

Teams that communicate and tackle the big issues together perform better than teams that avoid them. Teams that treat each other with the respect that they expect for themselves perform better than teams that attack each other instead of tackling the issues.


What are the big issues that you and your team face now?

Why is it important to tackle these issues together? What are the risks of ignoring the issues?

If someone has a performance issue that needs to be tackled, it is really just business? Is it really just business when it is you that is being discussed?

Why do teams that communicate about these issues perform better than teams that ignore them?

What do we owe our teammates?

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Filed under: Sales

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