The Stages of Team Development

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The Stages of Team Development

Purpose: Use this job aid as a guide to the five stages of team development and the strategies you can use to help your team through each stage.

The stages of team development

Stage            Characteristics Leader’s strategies
Forming The team starts to focus on the goals, roles, and its purpose.

Team members are enthusiastic and motivated by a desire to be accepted.

Team members are polite to each other and wait for the leader to get the meeting started.

·         Find people in your organization who have the necessary skills and the time to be part of your team.

·         Ensure that members feel comfortable and knowledgeable about the group.

·         Clarify the team’s goals and outline the planned schedule.

·         Build enthusiasm by talking about why the group will be successful and the goals you know team members will accomplish.

Storming This stage is characterized by conflict as team members struggle over roles and responsibilities.

This stage can be highly creative as team members generate and challenge ideas and discuss important issues.

Team members must learn to voice disagreement openly and constructively while staying focused on common objectives and areas of agreement.

·         Be open to every team member’s input.

·         Ask team members to share their ideas.

·         Ensure that everyone stays on track with the team’s goal.

·         Help the team define a shared vision.

Norming This stage is characterized by team members moving toward unity.

Team members make decisions by consensus and negotiate differences.

Team members have learned to trust each other and their leader.

There’s a sense of agreement and cohesiveness.

Team members feel comfortable expressing their ideas, as well as their disagreements.

The team is finally beginning to feel like a real team – members support each other and work together toward goals.

·         Help team members feel confident that they’re doing a good job.

·         Show members that they’ll meet their objectives to instill confidence.

·         Create schedules for the project and for meetings that respect every team member’s availability.

·         Try to ensure that all members can attend every meeting.

Performing This is the most highly productive stage of team development and is characterized by unity.

The team has common goals.

Team members feel confident making decisions and sharing responsibility for processes.

Team members are more autonomous with a lower dependence on the team leader.

Team members know what they’re doing and can get things done with minimal supervision.

Team members have learned what works for dealing with disagreements.

·         Act as a facilitator.

·         Make sure everyone is involved.

·         Deal with difficult team members.

·         Keep tabs on the team’s progress.

Adjourning The end of the project, and often, the dissolution of the team.

During this stage, team members are dealing with their impending separation from the team.

Team members may feel insecure and reluctant to let go, or they may lose interest before they complete all their tasks.

·         Have a final meeting with the team where you discuss the things that worked well and the things that didn’t.

·         Get team members to talk about how they felt about the group and what it accomplished.

·         Give the group feedback about its performance as a team.

·         Give each team member individual performance feedback.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

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Conflict always has an emotional component, although both sides do not have to be angry. Conflict can be healthy if it propels an organization to greater levels of achievement, but it is unhealthy if it involves strong emotions and is disruptive to workplace productivity and morale.PrismPhil logo

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument categorizes five ways in which people handle conflict:

  1. They compete, looking for and using the power available to them.
  2. They are accommodative, giving ground on what they need and want.
  3. They avoid the conflict, simply refusing to address it.
  4. They compromise, exchanging concessions with the other party.
  5. They collaborate, working to find a mutually beneficial solution that meets both parties’ needs.

The VOMP model, developed by Crosby Kerr Minno Consulting, can be useful in resolving conflict situations. VOMP stands for:

  1. Ventilation: Each side airs its position on the conflict.
  2. Ownership: Each side takes ownership of what they actually said or did.
  3. Moccasins: Each side walks in the others’ shoes, expressing an understanding of, and empathy for, their point of view.
  4. Plan:The two sides strive to find a solution.

HIGH PERFORMANCE COMMUNICATION

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High performance communication is necessary to ensure that when people speak, their voices will rise above the ceaseless chatter and infinite information people will be bombarded with each day. There are three requirements necessary to achieve high performance communication:

1. A clear strategy: Speakers must develop a clear strategy for their presentations based on the desired outcome of the speeches.

2. Practice: As with any skill, mastering high performance communication requires practice. Meyers and Nix provide a self-assessment to help identify which areas speakers need to improve upon as well as a tool to help interpret their scores on the self-assessment.

3. Feedback: When communicating, the only thing that counts is the listener’s experience. Therefore it is essential that speakers elicit feedback from others. Understanding what the audience is experiencing is the only way speakers can fine-tune and improve their messages. The authors provide a “Communication Feedback” form to help speakers easily capture the impressions from their audiences.

The three parts of high performance communication that need to be mastered are: content, delivery, and state.

DARE TO DREAM

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Be yourself

People spend too much time and effort trying to behave how others want them to and not enough time being true to themselves. However, authenticity is what is required to be successful in life.

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Prism Created by Anubha Maurya Walia

Tips for being authentic include:

*Knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, and building on the strengths.

*Avoiding comparisons to others and instead focusing on applying strengths to achieving goals.

*Being positive and treating others with respect.

*Admitting to mistakes and taking responsibility for actions.

*Avoiding self-criticism and dwelling on the negative. It is better to learn from mistakes and move on.

*Not focusing on being liked but focusing on earning respect.

*Relaxing and realizing in hindsight things are not usually as big a deal as they seem.

*Not worrying about pleasing everyone–it is impossible.

*Following one’s instincts and inner voice.

Dreams Do Not Happen Overnight

It can take time to realize one’s dreams, and the path begins with goal setting. To get started, individuals should:

*Write goals down to ingrain them.

*Choose achievable, not unrealistic, goals.

*Visualize success because it is motivating.

*Seek advice and support from others.

*Set realistic time frames for achievements.

*Take smaller steps toward one big goal.

*Stick to it.

*Be flexible.

*Take time to celebrate successes.

Mistakes Make You Smarter and Stronger

Mistakes are learning experiences that strengthen character and build resilience. The fear of making mistakes stifles growth. Benefiting from mistakes comes through:

*Taking responsibility for them.

*Understanding what went wrong.

*Viewing mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failures.

*Avoiding unnecessary mistakes, like those that come from a lack of understanding.

*Looking for solutions first instead of seeking to blame.

*Being rational instead of emotional.

*Maintaining a sense of perspective–what seems monumental could be minor.

*Avoiding judgment.

*Letting it go. Just learn and move on.

*Reflecting on missteps.

Insights Come from Everywhere

People never know for certain who or what situation might provide them with valuable, life-changing insights. To stay open to insights, individuals must:

*Realize insights are everywhere, explore the world, and start conversations.

*Practice inventive thought.

*Write ideas down.

*Change their environments to spark creativity.

*Practice personal brainstorming.

*Always question why.

*Overcome limiting habits.

Leading Change

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DIALOGUE AND COMMUNICATION

Communication will take place between all members of an organization in the process of change, and the change leader’s most important challenge is to ensure that it is positive, inclusive, and empowering. Simply sending out a directive with no attempt to seek feedback or suggestions is the wrong way to begin. The successful change leader gets out and talks to people well before the change is announced, creating a dialogue with stakeholders who help shape and refine the plan and identify potential problems. This practice brings everyone on board from the start. Leaders who are willing to really listen during these conversations and to consider other people’s perspectives will gain their trust.

LISTENING

A major element of dialogue and communication is effective listening, which means more than just being quiet when the other person is speaking. Good leaders realize that they cannot possibly know everything, even about their own organizations. They are not threatened by honest feedback because it adds detail to the total picture. Leaders must also adjust and correct their listening skills if they can only interpret what they hear from their own perspectives. Developing a deep interest in other people and an openness to differing perspectives leads to authentic listening, which is an effective communication tool.

VOICING

While hearing what others have to say is important, an effective change leader must also ensure that everyone within the organization knows what the leader is thinking at all times. The leader acts as the focal point for communication, and realizes that others look to him or her for a continuing message that will help them make sense of the process. Being open, honest, and clear about what is occurring instills confidence in employees and encourages cooperation throughout the organization.

REFLECTION

While busy people are well-regarded in most organizations, the change leader should not get so bogged down with work that there is no time to think about how things are going, to identify what is working well, and to contemplate adjustments that may be needed in areas that are not working. Stepping back to look at the overall situation is important for the leader, but is also helpful for teams and other groups and individuals. It should be encouraged in the form of retreats, end-of-week recaps, or end-of-day sessions.

PERSPECTIVE, PURPOSE, AND IDENTITY

People within an organization are likely to have differing perspectives on elements of the change process. These perspectives may change and evolve during the process. When people are given the opportunity to express their perspectives and willingly listen to the perspectives of others, they become less resistant to change. Sharing their visions leads to the formation of a common purpose, an identity, which is further defined by engaging the perspectives of competitors, customers, and even former employees. The change leader must keep all this dialogue going, incorporating each individual identity into the change process.

POWER AND POLITICS

Fifty-six percent of those interviewed by Lawrence said support from the top management of the organization is essential to successful change. That said, the traditional top-down change model proved inadequate in most situations because it did not engage enough people in the decision-making process.

In addition to the executive team being deeply committed to the change, the support of middle management is vital. The people on the front line are used to working with and most apt to trust middle management, who are often the crucial facilitators of change. Change leaders must also take into account the other powers-that-be, such as resource suppliers and experts in the field, and acknowledge the networks of power within the organization.

AUTHENTICITY

All leaders are not alike, and most change and grow along with their activities and challenges. Authentic leaders who know themselves and understand what makes them tick, and whose actions reflect their beliefs, are excellent change leaders. They are not afraid to listen to others, and therefore they find it easier to see the similarities between people and bring them to consensus.

RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

People are sometimes labeled “resistant to change” when, in fact, they may simply be ambivalent. There may be several reasons people in an organization are not embracing change: They may be out of the loop and feel isolated; they may not understand the change and therefore withhold their allegiance to it; or they may believe that the change will mean they will lose their jobs. Open dialogue is the best way to help these employees gain a better understanding of the situation. Involving them in the change gives them the opportunity to see their parts in the vision.

SYSTEMIC THINKING

Systemic thinking, as opposed to systematic (top-down and linear) thinking, looks at the big picture and takes into account the complexity of the world as well as the need for flexibility during the change process. Lawrence equates systemic thinking with being able to view the ECM from various balconies, each providing a different view of the process. A problem manifesting in one area of the project, for example, is often affected by a totally different challenge in another aspect of the work, and that issue might need to be addressed in yet another platform in order to solve the problem. The effective change leader continually engages with people in all areas of the project and remains part of the meaning-making process, all while paying attention to who is saying what to whom and what organizational dynamics come into play.

APPLICATION

The ECM proved effective for a medium-sized manufacturer/distributor/retailer in Australia, with retail operations there as well as in China, Europe, and the United States. The problem was rapid growth combined with a paucity of new executive candidates who would be ready to step into larger roles. The organizational development manager discovered that employees did not think there was sufficient room for individual growth within the company, and turnover was high. He initiated a “coaching culture” by training the management team, creating a continuing dialogue with coaches, and using workshops and reflective sessions to evaluate how the system was working out. He even involved the CEO. Though the development manager eventually left the organization, as did other leaders and coaches along the way, the program was successful because a coaching environment had prepared employees to deal positively with these changes.

LEADERSHIP

Leaders are often tasked to maintain control and discipline while leading unpredictable change. Smart change leaders realize they cannot do all of this work by themselves. It helps if they can occasionally stand outside the moment to take an objective look at progress, and then report their observations to other stakeholders, who need to understand how the change is proceeding and what might need to be addressed down the road. At each juncture, they must listen to others’ viewpoints as detours or intersections arise. It is impossible to prepare a leader for every situation that could crop up. In place of tools and models, change leaders must rely on practical judgement, which is developed by authentic listening, reflecting on what is heard, and then becoming a curious leader bent on learning and passing on what has been learned to others.

BUILDING CAPABILITY

Helping people along the road toward change requires a holistic approach. In addition to other leadership skills, change agents must adopt a social presence and the ability to mix and manage dialogue between groups. Lawrence believes that workshop learning and team focus groups are integral to the future of change. They should not, however, be packed with content, but rather focused around dialogue and reflection. Establishing a clear purpose helps small groups to learn together, and continual evaluation of progress fosters systemic thinking within the organization.

THE ROLE OF COACHING

Today’s systemic coaches do not just talk; they listen. They are effective because they can verbalize company strategy and offer guidance to individuals or groups without being didactic about their expectations. By listening, reflecting, and suggesting, they help people make sense of organizational needs in the context of the individuals’ own needs. Coaching helps people discover how to use their skills and abilities to maximize their value for the company, the project, and themselves. Seventy-five percent of those interviewed five years after receiving successful coaching said they had benefited by gaining increased self-awareness, reflection, and confidence. They also had more productive relationships and the ability to see the bigger picture.

MEASURING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MATURITY

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Marketers can only measure things they can manage. Therefore, the authors developed the Sitecore® Customer Experience Maturity Model™ to walk people through the customer experience incrementally and to understand how to measure it.

Since connecting with customers is a goal that continually evolves, this model offers seven stages to map the customer experience and offers guidance on responding to customer behavior at each step. It matches marketing efforts with marketing objectives and reaches to all areas of an organization. The steps are:

1. Initiate: This is the beginning of the journey and often starts with a static website.

2. Radiate: Reach customers across channels, which often include a mobile website and social media.

3. Align: Digital goals are aligned with strategic objectives.

4. Optimize: Each point in the customer journey is optimized to be relevant to customers’ specific needs.

5. Nurture: Relate to customers based on their profile data so they can be nurtured.

6. Engage: Connect with customers across online and offline touch points. This step is challenging because it includes data from different parts of a company.

7. Lifetime customers: Use past customer data and predictive analytics to predict customers’ future needs

UNDERSTANDING THE CUSTOMER

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The Psychology of Selling

Understanding the dynamics of human behavior and how to effectively approach different people are critical skills for sales professionals. Along these lines, a salesperson’s first order of business is to observe rather than react. Observation leads to selecting the right approach for each person.

Assertiveness, responsiveness, and adaptability are three dimensions of human behavior. Assertiveness and responsiveness play a role in each of four distinct behavioral styles:

  1. A driver requires a minimum amount of responsiveness and wants a salesperson to get to the point.
  2. An expressive will become enthusiastic as long as the salesperson appeals to his or her vision and goals.
  3. An analytical wants detailed, specific, and accurate information; otherwise the salesperson will lose credibility.
  4. An amiable requires a warm and friendly approach; the salesperson must take time to build rapport to achieve a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship.

An observant and knowledgeable salesperson will be able to key in on a prospect’s behavioral style and tailor his or her sales approach accordingly. Likewise, salespeople themselves will align with one of these behavioral styles. An understanding of self is as important as an understanding of others.

Adapting to Your Customer

Adaptability is the behavioral dimension that comes into play when salespeople are dealing with others, as they must adapt to each prospect’s style and potentially overcome their own styles while doing so. The Platinum Rule of “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them” takes into account that not everyone wants to be treated the same way. It should be a guidepost for adjusting the sales approach to match a customer’s behavioral style.

Becoming adaptable is a learnable skill. Adaptability is based on:

*Adjusting one’s image.

*Targeting presentations to meet others’ needs.

*Possessing competence.

*Maintaining a willingness to receive feedback.

There are specific adaptability strategies for addressing each of the behavioral types. Additionally, the market now comprises four distinct generations:

  1. Civics (or the “greatest generation”).
  2. Boomers.
  3. Gen Xers.
  4. Millennials.

Each of these generational groups has specific values, behaviors, and communication preferences that salespeople need to be aware of and adapt to.

Understanding Customers’ Needs

Because selling value is based on understanding a customer’s wants and needs, a customer needs analysis should be performed for each sales effort. The goals of this analysis are to:

*Win prospects over early.

*Focus on needs and desires.

*See things from the prospect’s perspective.

*Establish trust.

*Gain high-quality input so as to make the best recommendation.

Listening is one of the best methods to achieve an understanding of customer needs. Taking notes is also extremely important. Whether the prospect is an individual or a large group, the overall objective is to gain information and knowledge that will lead to a proposed solution that best meets the prospects’ wants and needs.

Presenting Your Value Proposition

Communicating needs-based benefits is the primary way to create value in the prospect’s mind. Needs-based benefits are benefits that match the customers’ definitions of value and meet their needs at the current time.

Presentations that communicate value should be:

*Based on input derived from prospects’ key decision makers.

*Presented to senior executives and the right key stakeholders.

*Inclusive of specific, targeted value points and tied to the prospect’s senior management philosophy.

*Fresh, well organized, and relevant.

*Interactive and engaging.

Third-party references and testimonials inspire confidence and are excellent ways to communicate value to clients and prospects. Inside influencers (trusted individuals from outside the organization) are very useful in testing and confirming the value of a proposed solution and can help a salesperson refine a presentation.

Additionally, any references to the salesperson’s team and company should be contexted as “we” rather than “them;” each presentation should be unique; and any presentation should seek to inspire trust and ensure the salesperson has the prospect’s best interests in mind.

MAKING IT WORK with GENY

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Making Work Meaningful

Millennials want to know that what they do matters. They want to understand the context and contribution of their work, particularly if they feel the work is menial and entry level. Management can help keep these workers interested by involving them immediately in an onboarding process. From the start, a new-hire Millennial should be enlightened about the organization’s mission and how his or her job, however mundane, fits into those goals.

Older workers often complain that they never had to be told how their job fit into the big picture. They were willing to start at the bottom and work their way up, regardless. However, those in Generation Y need to feel that they belong and make a difference. A company that welcomes Millennials into the workplace will freely share and reinforce its vision with workers. It will delineate how the work of an individual and team affect the company’s mission. Finally, it will acknowledge a larger purpose by being actively engaged in the community. This can be achieved by:

  1. Offering employee match donations.
  2. Focusing on one to three nonprofits that are aligned with the company’s mission.
  3. Replacing client gifts with donations to charities.
  4. Assisting employees in their volunteer efforts.
  5. Sponsoring volunteer team days, where employees spend a workday helping in the community.A Good Fit on a Good Team

    Chemistry in the workplace is an important aspect of company culture. Many Millennials have seen their working parents deal with people they do not respect or do not want to associate with, and prefer not to do the same in their own careers. A Millennial wants his or her job to be a good “fit” from the start. Management can help make that fit work for everyone involved by clarifying the team’s and the company’s values. Fit can be determined even before the application process. For example, the company’s values, and a description of the company’s culture, should be stated on the posted job description.

    Employees’ personalities also play a part in whether they are a good fit for their teams. Personalities can be assessed using a variety of tools, such as a personality indicator (e.g., the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Strength Finders assessment). Once the personality of each team member is better understood, it will be easier to make adjustments to ensure that everyone’s contribution is maximized.

    It is a good idea for managers to review the team dynamics on a regular basis. They should check in after 30, 60, and 90 days to determine how new team members are fitting in.

    Meaningful Acknowledgement and Appreciation

    Parents, coaches, teachers, and camp counselors of Millennials gave them trophies, ribbons, and medals to reward them for just participating. Many Millennials have been conditioned to expect that same level of acknowledgment and appreciation in the workplace. Because of this expectation, they now have a reputation for being needy.

    Showing appreciation in the workplace is beneficial for employees of all ages; however, it must be authentic to be effective. Managers need to establish a culture of true appreciation that reinforces real contribution. Once such a culture has been established throughout the organization, it can significantly improve morale and performance for the entire team.

    The words “thank you” go a long way in reinforcing true appreciation in the workplace. Expressions of such appreciation can take many forms, such as an email, text message, or handwritten note; a group thank-you at a team meeting or a planned team celebration; company appreciation days for support staff or those in particular roles; and recognition of a birthday, anniversary, or other personal milestone. Regardless of the method used, the acknowledgment must be sincere to be effective.

    Give Clear Direction

    Just as Millennials need to know why their work is meaningful, they also need clear direction about how to accomplish that work. While conveying those directions, managers can use the opportunity to solicit Millennials’ input and ideas.

    Ambiguity can be avoided by providing clear and specific directions to all employees. When deadlines are given, there should be enough specific details that they cannot be misinterpreted. For example, instead of saying that a task needs to be completed by the end of the day, a manager should give a specific time. Terms like “shortly,” “end of day,” “end of the month,” or even “tomorrow” are ambiguous and can be interpreted differently by team members.

    Generation Y in particular has a different sense of time than older generations. For example, a Millennial may not anticipate that a particular task will require as much time as a manager expects. He or she may have a different view of what defines high-quality work. Both Millennials and their managers should never make assumptions; rather, managers should describe the quality of work required and the specific time involved, while Millennials should ask for further clarification when needed and communicate any delays or unexpected results.

    Feedback Is a Gift

    Millennials want and need feedback. Managers are constantly asked for check-ins so their Millennial employees can make sure they are “on the right track.” On the other hand, these same managers cannot understand why their Millennial employees appear to be so clueless. This, of course, has been a common theme among managers and young employees for many generations, including with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

    Feedback can be a gift, given to employees and coworkers, to help them capitalize on what they are doing well and improve other skills. Feedback does not cost anything, but it can prove invaluable in reducing time and frustration for all involved.

    Timing is extremely important when providing feedback. Corrective feedback should be given as soon as possible to action that required it. This makes the feedback more meaningful to the employee and allows for immediate revision; also, it prevents a manager’s frustration from growing and influencing the conversation.

    Managers and coworkers can use effective language to provide feedback in a constructive manner. The communication circle, developed by two executive coaches, separates facts, feelings, reasons, and blame. People offering feedback should be careful to avoid accusatory questions, such as “why” questions, and instead use questions that get to the matter at hand, such as “how” and “what” questions.

BLUEPRINT FOR SALES SUCCESS

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Goal Setting and Achievement

Actionable, defined goals provide the framework for success. Writing goals down and committing to a time frame dramatically increases the odds of achieving them. As individuals go about setting goals, they should address each of the following eight categories to help ensure life balance:

1. Career goals: It is important to avoid career complacency.

2. Education and personal development goals: New skills and continued education improve performance.

3. Family goals: A secure and balanced family life is usually the best and strongest support system.

4. Financial goals: Even just a small amount of planning and discipline can ease financial concerns.

5. Physical health and fitness goals: Good health leads to greater energy and happiness.

6. Social, hobby, and extra-curricular goals: These offer balance as well as the chance for increased socialization, which is always important in sales.

7. Spiritual goals: Spirituality is a personal commitment to greater meaning in life.

8. Community: Giving back to one’s community contributes to a successful and significant life; a person should always make the time and find the resources to give.

The next step in goal setting is to evaluate and rate each category in terms of current state and desired state. Based on this process, an individual can then develop tactical plans for improvement (including a defined time frame) within each category.

Even with goals firmly in place, habits are what drive day-to-day behavior. The following three steps will help eliminate bad habits that can undermine goal achievement and develop good habits that will support success. Individuals should write down the:

  1. Habit to be changed.
  2. New habit that will replace the old habit, the expected results from the change, and a detailed tactical approach for developing the new habit.
  3. Date to begin the change and end date for internalizing the new habit.

Managing Yourself and Your Market

Good time management is foundational to effective selling. Most successful salespeople have the ability to get more done in a specific amount of time than do others. Good time management is a skill anyone can learn and improve upon.

Preparation is vital to good time management. Sales professionals who want to improve their preparation abilities should:

*Establish a time and place for planning activities.

*Invest time and effort in prospecting.

*Carefully plan each day.

*Include call counts in daily plans, including specifics on who to call upon.

*Extend plans to cover weeks, months, and years.

*Carefully consider the appropriate mode of contact for each prospect and client.

Most importantly, individuals should avoid distractions and stay focused on the present.

Like time management, creativity and imagination are also part of self-management. Thinking big, avoiding complacency and a self-limiting attitude, and looking for opportunities to offer innovative solutions are behaviors that set high-performing salespeople apart from the crowd.

Strong communication skills are essential to successful selling. The critical aspects of communication that directly impact the sales function are quality, timeliness, frequency, and medium.

Managing the market is essentially about attracting and retaining customers. U.S. Learning’s Market Share Model identifies four market aspects that affect a sales professional’s market share:

  1. Market expansion.
  2. Market contraction.
  3. Front door (acquiring customers).
  4. Back door (losing customers).

Of the four, acquiring customers and losing customers are the two aspects over which salespeople have control. Understanding and communicating value, performing stellar service, staying informed, and keeping in close touch with customers are ways to attract and keep prospects, and thereby increase market share.

How to Build a Loyal Following

It is much more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. Also, loyal customers often bring new customers into the business. Improving customer loyalty should be every salesperson’s goal. Creating value for customers is the key to increasing loyalty.

The Loyalty Ladder is a six-step framework for customer loyalty, with sales contacts represented as:

  1. Suspects (potential customers).
  2. Prospects (likely customers).
  3. Customers (people who have bought from the company).
  4. Clients (repeat customers).
  5. Advocates (clients who also champion the company).
  6. Confidants (clients with whom the company and salesperson have developed a special, mutual relationship).

The goal is to move people from the bottom to the top portion of the ladder. Customer-centric, relationship-focused selling achieves this.

Kids These Days

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In 2014, there were over 77 million Millennials between 22 and 34 years of age. The number of Boomers is roughly the same. Each of these generations outnumbers the Gen Xers by about 68 percent. The large size of Generation Y suggests it is likely to have as significant an impact on the culture, and in particular on the workforce, as the Boomers did.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of myths about Generation Y have emerged. The six most prevalent are:

  1. Millennials feel a sense of entitlement.
  2. Millennials expect to be rewarded, and even promoted, just for showing up.
  3. Millennials do not work hard.
  4. Millennials do not complete their work and will not take initiative.
  5. Millennials are casual and disrespectful.
  6. Millennials are not willing to do their part and pay their dues, and they want freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance as soon as they begin their careers.

To be able to work with and manage Millennials, Boomers and Gen Xers must discover the truths behind the myths. Additionally, Millennials must do their part to understand why their older coworkers are frustrated.

Generation Y is the first “digitally native” generation. Its members have grown up with technology touching almost every part of their lives. This technology has fostered a sense of immediate gratification. Technology has also contributed to a different concept of time and place for Millennials. They can connect with anyone at any time, and access any information they want when they want it.

Millennials are also the most educated generation in the workplace today. Caraher blames grade inflation by colleges and universities for a part of the problem concerning Millennials’ work ethic. Secondary education has labeled most Millennial graduates as above average and allowed for negotiation with grades and feedback. Such practices have not helped others’ reservations regarding this generation’s ability to get work done. Parental over-involvement also hinders Millennials’ job satisfaction and tenacity.

Given that Millennials will constitute nearly half of the workforce by 2020, companies need to understand, appreciate, and effectively work with them without changing their standards of performance.