My lovely wife is a first grade teacher. It’s a challenging job to say the least. Every day she has to encourage her students to learn. To help reinforce the concept that Mrs. Arnold’s Room 138 is a place of love and learning she put a label on the bottom her classroom door frame. It reads “The Learning Line.” Every day when little first graders enter her classroom that line serves as a visual reminder that they are there to learn.
It’s no different when we go from first graders to adults. There are also a few “lines” your employees need to cross as well.
Here are three:
(1) The Learning Line. Learning doesn’t stop in grade school, middle school, high school or college. Your employees should be lifelong learners. And don’t just encourage employees to learn—make it a part of their job. For example, I’ve always required those working for me to read business books (hopefully four per year or one per quarter). But it’s not just reading: allow them to attend training sessions, webinars, local learning events, etc. Is it an expense? No—it’s an investment. The reality is the more your employees learn, the more your company earns. Don’t let your staff stay where they are with knowledge: make sure they cross the learning line.
(2) The Sales Line. Many employees are still afraid of the “S” word. Get over it. The reality is everyone is in sales. Rather than fearing sales, we should embrace it. The better your employees understand what sales really is (educating, teaching, serving, etc.) the better they will understand that sales is not a dirty word and something only for the used car lot and late night infomercials. So let’s change their mindset. Train them about sales. Coach them on how to sell. Improved sales won’t happen just with a wish. Don’t let your staff stay where they are with sales: make sure they cross the sales line.
(3) The Risk Line. Many companies (especially credit unions and banks) are risk averse. We are inherently conservative. That mentality can bleed into our employees as well (sometimes to the point where they are afraid to make decisions or offer improvement suggestions). If you (or employees) are not failing every now and then, then it means you are not taking enough risks.
Here’s an idea: encourage failure every now and then. You can take risks with your employees, your strategies, your marketing, and your tactics. Don’t let your staff stay where they are with ideas: make sure they cross the risk line.
Those are three lines you want to encourage your employees to cross. And if they don’t? You can always do what my wife does when one of her first graders gets out of line: make them stay inside for recess.