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Does your company have standards?

Does your company have standards? Sounds like an overly simplistic, almost stupid question, but hear me out. In our Leadership MasterClass, we work with brilliant managers who are striving to become even better. One of the fundamental topics we cover is whether they have standards in their organization. As we uncover through discussion, most managers know what they “want” their teams to do, but very few have standards. The difference is two things:

Specificity — Are you specific? For example, I want my sellers to develop new business *versus* my sellers will develop a minimum of three new pieces of business a month.

Discipline — What happens if they don’t achieve the standard? If hitting your monthly goal is a standard, what happens if they don’t? Last year, over 75% of sellers did not hit their annual goal according to HubSpot.

Thinking through what you want your sellers to achieve in all aspects of the job can help attach specifics. If sellers aren’t clear on exactly what you’re asking them to achieve, they will never be able to achieve what you want.

Assuming your standards are clear, let’s deal with the issue of not meeting the standards. Often there is no discipline. Why? Fear or misunderstanding of what discipline is. Sadly, the first thing people think of when it comes to discipline is “punishment.” Discipline is not punishment.

Discipline is from the Latin word disciplina, meaning “instruction and training.” The root word discere—” to learn.” Not to make this a lesson on Latin, but bear with me, the root word of discipline is “disciple,” which comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “student.” Most people believe a disciple is a follower (probably because of the religious context), but, it means student—as in, “one who studies.”

If your team is not meeting your standards, first they need clarity to ensure they know what is expected of them. Then when they miss, they need instruction and training, coaching and support. Often, they are punished rather than coached or supported. In short:

Discipline is something you do FOR someone, not something you do TO someone.

Our next Leadership MasterClass starts July 14.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at jeff.Schmidt@Rab.com or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, VP of Professional Development