Celebrate Failure to Improve Sales Performance

The reports are in and your team’s numbers don’t look so hot.

You need to improve sales performance, and you need to do it quickly.

As a sales manager, you are like the lead singer of a band, tasked with inspiring your band mates to reach their full rock star potential. But how? There are systems in place to help your team reach their goals, but what once worked, no longer does.

Marvelless Mark always tells his clients, “When we start thinking about big, visionary, and unknown things, we associate with it fear, failure, and… well, hard work.

It’s time to get creative, develop new processes and ideas, and celebrate failure.

What is Celebrating Failure?
Celebrating failure isn’t about giving your employees bonuses or pats on the back for not meeting their sales goals or doing their job. Celebrating failure is about encouraging your team to step outside of their comfort zones and use creative thinking to accomplish their goals.

Celebrating means redefining the construct of failure as we have always understood it. Failing doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish something, it means that you tried something new and learned something along the way.

Why you should Celebrate Failure?
No one ever hit the top of the Billboard Charts by playing it safe. Rock stars play full out. When faced with a problem, they approach the solution with creativity, ingenuity, and guts.

When you ignore (or even worse punish) failure, you send your employees a message that in order to succeed, they have to play 100% by the rules. If you want a different outcome than you’ve always gotten, you need to use a different method than you’ve always used.

Learn from mistakes

Thomas Edison is quoted as having said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

As long as you keep trying, you haven’t failed at all.

Foster resilience

When we encourage experimentation and celebrate the failures that produced new learning, we inspire our employees to stand up and try again. When they try again, they’ll eventually succeed.

How to Celebrate Failure?
There are a variety of ways that you can celebrate failure in your office:

  1. Admit when you’ve failed: If as a leader, you hide your failures from your team, you communicate that failures are full of shame and should not only be hidden from others, but avoided altogether.
  2. Ask your employees an important question: “How did you fail today?” Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx had to answer that question every night when she spoke to her father. She credits some of her success to this practice.
  3. Display failed ideas just as you would goals that have been met or exceeded: Do you have a board in the office where you celebrate successes, highlight the employee of the month, or congratulate the team for a job well done? Include a section (or give failure its own board) and give credit to the team members that are taking risks.
  4. Reevaluate your goals: Are your goals based solely on deals closed or money earned? When you encourage risk-taking for improvement, you need to incorporate it into your goal setting.
  5. Apply the lessons learned: Perhaps an idea didn’t work out exactly as your team thought it would. That doesn’t mean that what was learned can’t be used in another manner. Brainstorm with your team to determine if they’ve just failed their way to success.

If you truly want to improve encourage your team to improve sales performance and reach their rock star potential, it’s time to take the stigma out of failing.

“We all fail somewhere along the line.… It is what you learn from your failure that makes all the difference.” Jon Bon Jovi

Copyright MMXVIII Marvelless Mark  All rights reserved.


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