New Year, New Inspirations
I'll begin my first article of 2020 with a mini history lesson on Black Friday: Late 19th century, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official holiday; 1905, Canadian store (Eaton's) hosted the first Thanksgiving parade; 1924, Macy's launched its Thanksgiving Day parade; 1950s; people started calling in sick the day after Thanksgiving to shop; 1966, Black Friday term first used in print ads.
Present day: the National Retail Federation reported that more than 174 million Americans shopped through Cyber Monday 2019, averaging $335 per person. The biggest spenders were millennials, people from 24 to 35 years of age, who paid out over $419.52 per person, according to the Washington Post.
American shoppers spent a record of $5 billion in 24 hours. This marks a 16.9 percent increase in dollars spent online compared with Black Friday back in 2016, another one of the most successful Black Fridays, according the NRF.
The new year is here, the clocks struck midnight on Dec. 31, 2019, and people began to make their new year's resolutions. People want to do positive things like better themselves, find a hobby or spend more time with family.
Guide your team to new heights
Being in an industry that truly never sleeps, you will need to find new ways to spark your team to perform at its highest level over the next year. Following are several recommendations:
1. Cancel all large meetings unless necessary
I'm stealing a few ideas from Tesla and Elon Musk, one of which is to cancel all large meetings unless they will absolutely provide value to everyone attending. If you do have a large meeting, kept it short and sweet, no longer than a TED talk ‒ 15 minutes max.
Not many people really sit down and consider who needs to be in on the meetings. A majority of the time an entire company or department is included just because it's easier. One thing I like to do is check in with each department daily. This will reduce the need for large meetings. Plus, it's always good to touch base to see if anything is needed.
2. Limit frequent meetings to urgent challenges
Anyone who has worked for large companies will realize the value in this policy. Typically, however, meetings that were necessary to solve a large challenge continue after the issue is resolved. This is sometimes hard to recognize, but if you stop holding frequent meetings after an urgent problem is solved, the value of meetings you do need to convene after that will be much greater and appreciated by all.
3. Hire the unexpected
People like to use the term find the "diamond in the rough." Remember, diamonds don't come out of the mine completely clear and glimmering. You need the right jeweler to craft them with precision into faceted gemstones. To do the same in sales, your sales managers need to have strong knowledge of your product and service along with superb communication skills. This will help foster and build a strong, solid sales/support division.
4. Build heroes
Celebrate when someone does something noteworthy. It's an appealing and appreciated way to acknowledge someone's hard work and contributions to the company. Did I mention it feels great? People always remember when they've been recognized for something, especially if they weren't expecting it. This will also inspire your lower performing sales members to learn from the top performers.
5. Determine strengths and weaknesses
This is important. Think of your team like a baseball team. You have pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders. The entire sales floor can be viewed the same way. Not everyone can be a hero or will thrive under pressure. Recognize that your daily grinders and front-line (support) are the backbone of your organization. Know the differences among them.
6. Follow your company/core values
Your company values are directly correlated with your mission and set a standard for operating your business. Make sure you always keep your core values in mind at all times ‒ both professionally and personally. Remember, it's also what you do outside of work that defines you. You need to maintain and uphold the values even when it's difficult or risky.
7. Use offsite events and team building
It's understandable that this may not be high on employees' list of things to do; however, this tends to have immeasurable positive effects on performance. Team building can be as simple as having drinks, playing sports or going to an outing as a company, depending on size. This will help ease tension and maybe, for example, get those two employees that don't like either other to find a middle ground and create camaraderie.
Best of luck to you in 2020.