What Tom Brady and Buddy Rich Can Teach Us About Sales Efficiency

Empowering employees to think about efficiency in their work is one of the best ways to identify and resolve inefficient processes.
As I said in my previous article, Maximizing Sales Efficiency, efficiency is more than performing a task quickly while minimizing waste. It’s getting the best result in the shortest time using the least resources. 

Efficiency separates those who are good at something from the all-time greats. It’s a mindset, a way of analyzing and approaching an action or activity to get the best result.

We’re all familiar with efficiency in the workplace. Using efficiency metrics as KPIs for measuring performance is commonplace for many organizations. It’s not a new concept, but what we can learn from looking at efficiency in other activities can be surprising.

Efficiency of Motion

Efficiency of Motion is a basic principle - use the smallest movement to achieve the desired result. The goal is to limit wasted energy. We can see this in many forms.


Athletic Prowess

Have you ever watched a pro athlete perform? Think about a quarterback scrambling from a blitzing linebacker. This is a high-pressure situation, and the quarterback will analyze every step. Each movement is planned in anticipation of what opposing players might do.  One misstep, a wasted motion, will be impossible to recover from, and the quarterback is sacked. If they remain efficient with each movement, the chances of saving the play amplify. Turning the scramble into a completed pass can be the difference between winning and losing. Efficient motion is fundamental to this accomplishment.

We can witness this in any sport: Tennis, baseball, golf, and even curling. Optimal results occur by not wasting motion.

Virtuoso Mastery

An awe-inspiring guitar solo can send chills down your spine. The musician behind the solo isn't only a master of the instrument but a master of efficiency as well. An exceptional guitarist plans all their hand movements to minimize required motion to move from one note to the next. 

A great drummer knows how to maximize the impact of each movement. Efficiency is the only way to move around the drum kit quickly. Understanding stick control, rebound, and how to redirect energy with small gestures is essential. A wrist or finger movement is exponentially more efficient than moving the arm from the shoulder or elbow.

Buddy Rich exemplifies this mastery of motion in his gravity-defying upside-down drum solo from 1975.

Efficiency in the Workplace

There are significant differences between a sales team and an NFL team or group of musicians. However, the applicable concept of efficiency remains. 

Create the Mindset

The quarterback knows that efficiency in high-pressure situations is needed to win a game. The drummer knows that efficient movements are necessary to play uptempo songs. Your team needs to know that efficiency in their tasks will lead to success. Efficiency doesn’t happen by accident; it requires intent.

It isn’t as simple as telling your employees to work faster or practice typing until they hit 120 words per minute. It requires harnessing the right mindset. Harboring this mindset can start with small efforts, like sharing helpful keyboard shortcuts or software programs to help employees perform their daily tasks more quickly.

Creating efficiency in your organization's processes to accomplish its common goal benefits everyone. Empowering your entire workforce to think about efficiency within their work can make all the difference. Think about it like this - the more efficient we are, the less effort it will take us to succeed.

Nurture the Mindset

When employees are empowered to work with efficiency in mind, they begin identifying inefficiencies right away. To become part of your organizational culture, employees need their ideas heard. There are two ways to achieve this - employees need to be able to report inefficiencies they identify to management, and employees need to be included in a feedback loop.

It’s easy to dedicate a communication channel for employees to report ideas to management. After management reviews suggestions, the results should be communicated with employees, even if the organization is not in a position to provide a viable solution. By closing the loop, the employee feels heard and empowered and is more likely to foster an efficiency-forward attitude.

Adapt & Persist

A one-time push for efficiency isn’t enough. A professional athlete doesn’t develop efficient motions just once, nor does a musician. They study, learn, and practice continuously. They identify and develop new ways to become more efficient and hone their skills.

Employees of any organization should be no different in this regard. Actual efficiency requires an active mindset. As the business changes and grows, the attitude must remain constant. Any professional should strive to improve and be efficiency-oriented, approaching their career with the methodology of a musician or athlete - study, learn, practice, improve. 

Empowering employees to think about efficiency in their work is one of the best ways to identify and resolve inefficient processes. When organizations encourage and assist their teams in creating efficient processes, individual and group inefficiencies can become a thing of the past.


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