It was the fourth month in a row that we missed our sales target. “How could this be?” we all asked ourselves in the monthly sales meeting time and again. We had very senior sales staff and the engineers were some of the best in the business. Additionally, our clients were all prepared to buy our product. It just didn’t add up…
After months of banging my head on the table (literally) out of frustration, both teams finally identified the problem simultaneously: communication. We were all talking to each other, but no one was actually communicating. We all worked in the same room and the feedback loops were there, but everyone was still tiptoeing around issues and therefore real problems weren’t being solved.
I had preached full transparency before hiring each employee, explaining how difficult leaving your ego and emotions at the door every morning was. Unfortunately, I forgot how truly hard it was to adapt into this environment.
Spoiler alert: it all ended well. Sales and engineering finally discussed in length what they really needed from each other and new short-term milestones were set. Feelings were initially hurt; beers were drunken, and everyone made up. Our product became top notch and clients finally started buying like crazy. Our reputation for high quality products became so large that our biggest problem was filling orders, all because of an internal communication adjustment.
Regardless of your company stage, product or current problem, sitting with your colleagues on a regular basis and practicing fully transparency will always help you long-term.