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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


When I was a lad, I learned that criticism was, “I don’t like...” followed by an opinion. Anxious to become a grup, I emulated my elders. That criticism always felt bad at launch, and didn’t provide any light or happiness.

When I got to the point where I had to lead the parade, that kind of criticism cost way too much. I’ve never had that kind of resource to waste.

Stumbling around, I figured out that effective criticism would either establish context or expand meaning. Elegant criticism does both.

I’ve done that twice in the domain of selling.

One, when I redefined and was able to cancel out Objections in the Four Step Sales Framework. That was a major win. By avoiding swirling down the drain of objections we had eliminated the primary bubble of sales management speculative fiction.

The second time was figuring out how to effectively use evaluation in Sale Lab Status Meetings. Too often evaluation is the process described in the first paragraph of this post. People know those evaluations are uncomfortable, and generate a lot more heat than light, so they schedule tsunamis and air raids to get out of them.

What if there were two questions for effective evaluation, and they generated consistently excellent results? Would you try using them?

Here are the questions. What did we do right? And What do we do next? My experience is that just asking those two questions opens the next level of excellence.

What are the improvements you remember creating?

February 22nd Sales Lab’s Rainmaker 12 is WhatHave I Done for You Lately? at the Capital Technology Management Hub on Wednesday, February 22nd. The featured CTMH speaker will be Sean Crowley on the topic of The Open Source Web Content Management Platform, Drupal, and its Momentum.

1 comment:

  1. Dick:

    When the review starts with "...,but," the target stops listening and starts composing the "yeah, but..." response - neither person is advancing toward the goal line.

    When I taught managers about performance reviews, I would tell them to pick the behavior they wanted more of and highlight it in the review. When taken together, the score and the illustration of why they had received it would lead to more instances of the desired behavior. My question to the manager - 'since the reverse is also true, how much time do you want to spend on highlighting the bad stuff?'