The great thing about the bell curve is, well, it applies to everything. If you have enough data, most things are going to be in the center of the curve, and there are going to be a few outliers at each end of the curve.
It’s probably true in every field, for every manager, but it somehow feels more true for sales reps: the high performers out at the far right of the bell curve are also the biggest mavericks. They are also the biggest producers and can be hard to handle as they are driven to a degree that most are not.
When you think about it that way, the job of being a sales manager seems nuts. Your job, ultimately, is to take that entire bell curve and shift it to the right.
If you succeed, then the highly competitive profile of everyone on your team make them a challenge to work with and lead. So how do you go about maximizing performance and minimizing conflict?
The secret to doing it with high-performing teams is to understand two factors: your team will perform to the level of your expectations, and the team will perform to the level of your expectations. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the recently released college bowl schedule. Sure, some of those teams have been there forever, but some of them were down in the gutter just one or two years ago. Now they’re at the top of the pack, and the only thing that changed was the coach. If you don’t demand the extraordinary, all you’ll ever get is the ordinary.