How to spot (and fix) a toxic culture

This week on the Catapulting Commissions podcast, Anthony is going solo. He’s talking about how to know if you have a toxic culture and how to fix it. Anthony has worked for many companies over the years that developed a strong culture. A strong culture helps a business thrive. It’s the key to the most successful companies. But he’s also seen companies that have lost their culture. When you lose culture, you start losing talent.

Anthony says the importance of culture is most evident on championship sports teams. Listen to the way the players on championship teams talk about the team they’re on, the people they play with, their coaches, and the organization. What they say about those around them speaks volumes about their culture. In your business, the salesforce is like the athletic team. If your reps are telling you great things about their colleagues, it’s a sign of a strong culture. If they’re complaining to one another about leadership, then it’s a sign of a toxic culture.

There are four signs you have a toxic culture.

Negative reactions to turnover: Speaking negatively about people who move on contributes to toxicity. The best way to deal with turnover is to not take it personally. It happens. Speak positively of people who leave. Even if you feel slighted in some way, keep it to yourself and stay positive. 

Top-down innovation: If the only innovation you see in your company comes from the top-down, you have a toxic sales culture. The truth is, great ideas can come from anyone. If your sales reps aren’t bringing you innovative ideas, it’s not because they don’t have them; it’s because they’ve been trained to keep their mouth shut because innovation comes from the top.

People don’t speak up: If your sales team doesn’t ever express concern with anything, it’s not because everything is perfect. In fact, it’s probably the opposite. Just like innovation, your team has to believe that they have a voice.  If you have a bunch of sales professionals who are too timid to speak up, you have a bunch of yes men and yes women. And you have a toxic sales culture as a result. 

We don’t talk about sales culture: Like the championship team mentioned above, if you’re part of something that is exciting, innovative and fulfilling, you want to tell people about it. If your culture is the best thing about your organization, your sales team will be talking about it. If you don’t hear people talking about the great things that happen at work, it’s because great things aren’t happening.

 To fix it, you have to do the following:

  1. Acknowledge you have a sales culture problem and commit to working on it
  2. Commit to full transparency with your sales team
  3. Create a space where your team feels safe to speak up
  4. DVG: Commit to DEVELOPING your team, articulate your VISION, and express GRATITUDE