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5 Ways to Finish 2014 Strong

The holidays are upon us. You know it because team members start disappearing, desks are empty, lunches are longer, and you start getting out of office replies! Here’s the thing though – we still have to hit our goals and this may be the most critical 2.5 week stretch of the year. Rather than let up, it is time to sprint into 2015.

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Here are 5 ways I have found to finish the year strong:

1) Keep your team engaged: Frequent updates.  If your team is like ours you are striving for your year-end goal. We started this year with a big goal and it’s now within reach.  Frequent updates are increasingly important this time of year. We celebrate every win now because each represents a visible step towards the finish line. Updates, metrics, and visibility are key tools to keep your team feeling meaningful and engaged on the path to your goal.

2) Keep your team engaged: Reward behavior (versus results). The end/beginning of the year is “review” time. This is the time of year when we reflect on the major accomplishments and, in some cases, undergo a formal review. The thing is “the formal review” can be quite a distraction. With a very short window left in the year now is the time to reward immediately beneficial actions. Did someone on your team stay late to get that proposal out the door? Send them a $25 Amazon.com gift card. Did you see someone jump in and help another team member without being asked? Send them a $5.00 Starbucks card. When behavior is immediately recognized it is repeated. Others notice and pick it up and you can create momentum.

3) Keep your team engaged: Competition.  Another good way to increase the engagement on your team is to foster a little good ol’ competition. Have you noticed that it’s Fantasy Football playoff time? Odds are pretty good a portion of your team is engaged in a battle for fantasy gridiron supremacy. The desire to compete is in us and we should use that to our advantage. Short contests can get your team aligned around smaller attainable goals. Who can be the first to convert 10 leads to opportunities? Who has the best cost-saving idea for December?  Who is the cold-call leader for the month?  Which customer service team member took the most calls for the month? By having a clear goal and building some basic rules you can create a fun and competitive contest to achieve meaningful results.

4) Don’t wait until the last minute. This is a practical tip from experience. If you know you need a response or to get connected before the year is over don’t wait to make the request. With varying schedules, vacation time, and folks disappearing for long stretches there is no extra time. This is a busy time of year when you have to start prioritizing which “emergency” to address. Do not let a non-response become one of them – send your inquiry now.

5) Remember 2015 is not a year away. This can be a strategic error and it happens every year. As we’re racing to finish the year strong we forget that when 2015 comes it’s just another Monday (in this case it’s a Thursday). If we haven’t planned for January, a week or two (or more) may go by before we’re focused and committed for 2015. In our case we didn’t let that happen this year – we finished our sales planning sessions and our goals are set for 2015. When the New Year comes we’ll be ready for the race once again!

Written by Nat Salvione

Nat_Salvione_HeadshotNat Salvione is VP of Business Development at Tango Card. He has been soaking in the prepaid industry for 15 years with companies such as Incomm, Coinstar, and Giftcertificates.com. With prepaid industry leadership roles under his belt in partnerships, product and sales, you might say he knows his stuff.

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