Are You a Monday Morning Quarterback?

When I was growing up, I spent many joyful Sundays watching football with my father. At the end of every down, we relished critiquing the coach’s play calling – if it had failed – by boldly claiming we knew the plays that would have saved the day. We reenacted this ritual every week and even carried “our” game’s analysis through Monday morning breakfast. By the time we finished our discussion, we were self-acknowledged geniuses who, unquestionably, deserved a coaching spot on any National Football League roster. Unfortunately, since that’s not how play calling works, we found ourselves relegated to the role of “sage” after the fact.[wcm_restrict]

Many leaders run their business in the same manner and assert specific changes should have taken place as soon as they receive unacceptable bottom-line results from their finance department. They are typically lagging indicators, a consequence of decisions and subsequent actions that had already taken place. It’s a lot like closing the barn door after the horse escaped or, in my own example, Monday morning quarterbacking.

The solution that does serve as the primary predictor of consistent success and ends the cycle of “failure” may surprise you. Instead of cringing when dissecting month-end financials, I suggest employees in every position be held accountable for performing behaviors that are proven to positively affect the bottom-line. Once the top 10 behaviors for each position have been identified and communicated to every employee, the manager is responsible for reviewing them on a weekly basis to assure compliance.

Let’s use the sales department as an example, as it has the greatest opportunity to affect any company’s profitability. The following is a list of their top 10 behaviors:

  1. Lead generation (prospecting)
  2. Building Relationships
  3. Qualifying Opportunity
  4. Making Presentations
  5. Servicing Customers
  6. Account Management
  7. Territory Development
  8. Building a Behavior Cookbook
  9. Continuous Education
  10. Executing a Formal Sales Process

The execution of these behaviors can be measured on a performance scale of effectiveness from 10, high, to 1, low. If these behaviors are performed at the top of the scale, say 7 to 10, the salesperson has a predictably high probability of delivering their volume commitment. If the behaviors evaluated fall below a 7 and the salesperson is still predicting success, the sales manager can begin working with them to improve the results before month-end figures prove otherwise. There is one immutable fact in business that I learned a long time ago, “Behavior doesn’t lie!”

After key behaviors have been identified, they must consistently be utilized and reviewed to be meaningful as success predictors. At this point, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come into play as an indispensable tool to measure their effectiveness. To develop a KPI for lead generation, for example, the success of its execution is determined by measuring it against an acceptable result in the 7 or above range. Using the total number of first face-to-face meetings with new prospects on a weekly basis is an effective measurement. To use my own example, I require my sales team to schedule and conduct a minimum of 6-8 such meetings to achieve this rating. Since their weekly report includes their lead generation activities as well as other behaviors KPIs, I can easily score them and determine whether they predict success or “red flag” potential failure. I use the Monday morning meetings I conduct to either applaud acceptable ratings and/or discuss those falling below a 7.

The Success Equation for any company is: Hire the right people + Assign the top 10 behaviors impacting the bottom line + Develop Key Performance Indicators + Review weekly = success. If you’re consistently playing Monday Morning Quarterback like my Dad and I did for years, it’s time to get in front of the performance curve and zero in on behavior.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember]

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About the Author

Bill BartlettBill Bartlett is author of The Sales Coach’s Playbook: Breaking the Performance Code (Sandler Training / 2016). Bartlett is an experienced Sandler trainer who plays an important role in Sandler’s worldwide organization and is recognized as a business development expert specializing in executive sales training and sales productivity training. He currently heads a Sandler training center in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, IL.

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