Early-Stage Professional Development Spreads Like Wildfire
As a salesperson, the fourth quarter of the year was always a challenging time for me. Selling an enterprise marketing license, more than 80% of the enterprise clients I was chasing would sign on within a 4-week period between November 15th and December 15th, as these brands budgeted for their next fiscal year. Needless to say, this was a stressful time of year.
Shortly before the Q4 rush of 2014, my boss registered me for Intelligent.ly Exchange, a program that focuses on helping employees transition from individual contributors to effective managers. We were a small team at the time, and I was playing a player/coach role on our sales team.
When I received the welcome email from Intelligent.ly, I remember the feeling: my company values me. I thought: my boss is investing in me and is expecting me to be here for a long time. I have a higher chance of conquering the stress of the upcoming quarter.
Exchange taught me to recognize early on when something was “off” or bothering me, and that instead of quickly reacting, I should remove myself from the situation for a short period of time, and “Respond, not react.” If I gave myself ninety minutes, much of the negative emotion from a tense situation would disappear, and I could revisit the exchange with tact. It also taught me to recognize that, when my workload would cause me to sleep fewer hours than I would otherwise during Q4, I should double down on sleep for the next few nights instead of pushing myself to the point of getting sick and missing work.
The result? A drastic increase in my ability to deal with confrontation, and a significant increase in productivity during the busy Q4 selling period. It is for these reasons that I regularly say Intelligent.ly had a bigger impact on my professional and my personal life than any other program I’ve gone through, any books I’ve read, or any lecture I’ve attended.
And what’s more, there was a trickle down effect on my team. I was able to teach my teammates about my new skill sets, and we all quickly became better at managing both internal and external pressures. We were all less stressed out.
When I became CEO of my company Spotted Media in early 2016, part of my executive duties included helping my employees achieve a similar level of professional growth.
When our lead business development representative returned from her first Exchange session to our office around 7:00pm, we ended up whiteboarding all of these amazing ideas she had on how to create cohesion during our young company’s constant state of change.
Here is the proof:
There were book recommendations, suggestions as to how we could help our sales team feel more closely tied to our clients’ success, and thoughts as to how our Exec Team could get better feedback from our most junior level employees. The best part? We, as a team, reviewed these notes the next morning and, together, started implementing them that very same week. The trickle down effect continued…
I believe that when you’re a small company and you put your team through a strong professional development program early on, the resulting change can spread like wildfire. That simple investment makes your entire team feel like you see a brighter future for them. What I saw firsthand was that by investing in your employees early on, they’ll eagerly invest back in you.
Check out the Intelligent.ly site here: https://www.intelligent.ly/