INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT vs. INQUIRE WHAT YOU REQUIRE
While it may sound like a subtle play on words—in 1:1s and/or deal reviews the difference from a buy-in perspective is MASSIVE. . .
One approach leads to an interrogation of the pipeline; the other to a constructive coaching conversation.
One approach introduces friction and tension into the relationship dynamics; the other removes it.
One approach obfuscates the truth; the other reveals it.
One approach leads to compliance; the other to commitment.
In short, one approach works, the other doesn’t.
It’s obviously critical for FLMs to have a rigorous process to help identify gaps in deals, qualify them in or out, and ensure forecast accuracy.
It is intention with which FLMs approach 1:1s—and the subtle nuance of how they execute it—which will determine whether or not the desired outcomes are achieved.
The old adage “inspect what you expect” was invented 40+ yrs ago—the product from a bygone era based on a top-down management philosophy.
Conceptually, with this old-school approach, managers and employees are on opposing sides of the table in an adversarial position—which naturally leads to contentious conversations.
With this approach, trying to get the facts and expose gaps in deals is like playing Whack-A-Mole.
In fact, the word “inspection” in-and-of-itself has a negative connotation in that it assumes a manager vs. subordinate relationship dynamic—implicitly conveying a lack of trust.
When you approach 1:1s or deal reviews from this outdated paradigm, grounded in the wrong intention…
It introduces tension into the relationship dynamics and friction into the buy-in process…
➜ which leads to an interrogation of the pipeline
➜ which leads to compliance vs. commitment
➜ which leads to inconsistent, sub-optimal sales performance
➜ which leads to attrition
GET GROUNDED IN THE RIGHT INTENTION, FIRST
Understand that you are not using MEDDICC or whatever qualification framework or sales process you use to beat the hell out of your reps in deal reviews and yell at the scoreboard.
You are using it as a tool to legitimately understand where the gaps in deals are so that you can collectively, work together as ONE TEAM to close them.
When you make this subtle paradigm shift and go from opposite sides of the table and opposing teams, to the same side of the table and operate as ONE TEAM…
It creates alignment and diffuses any tension—significantly improving the odds your team will buy-in to doing what it is you want them to do.
“Inspect what you expect” ➜ Interrogation of the pipeline
“Inquire what you require” ➜ Coaching Conversation
Your job is not to inspect; it’s to coach.
Never shy away from asking the tough questions.
But first get grounded in the right intention, create alignment, and communicate to your people that you care about them, believe in them, and genuinely have their best interests in mind.