Motivating Employees: Ratio 5:1 praise to constructive feedback principle

Whether you’re the CEO of an international corporation, the owner of a small business or manager of a team, you will know that productivity depends upon your employee’s motivation and positivity. If only we could keep them motivated daily. While each employee is different, one Harvard University study found that positive feedback does wonders in the workplace. The study found that each employee, on average, needs to have six positive pieces of feedback for one negative piece of feedback received.

The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one). The medium-performance teams averaged 1.9 (almost twice as many positive comments than negative ones.) But the average for the low-performing teams, at 0.36 to 1, was almost three negative comments for every positive one.

The Asset-Based Thinking 5:1 Praise to Constructive Feedback Principle gives you a guideline for giving feedback to your employees, consistently and across the board.

How can you achieve this?

  • Seize the moment – as soon as you observe or hear about an employee’s positive behavior, praise them for what they did
  • Ensure your praise is specific – point out to them exactly what they did that was so great
  • Describe the impact that this has on the company and/or the customer as this demonstrates why it is so important and valued
  • Encourage them to keep doing this behavior

This process takes a couple of minutes of your day and means the world to employees. By focusing on the behavior you do want in your team, it lifts the standard in a positive manner.

A little constructive feedback is an essential part of the mix of course. It focusses people on what needs to change – showing it is not going unnoticed and that you are not willing to be complacent in your standards. This feedback needs to be in private, one on one and be objective not personal. Focus on facts and outcomes and ask them how they can do something differently in the future.

When they make a change, remember to praise them! Get that balance of 5:1.

Whether you are sitting down with an employee in your office for an annual review or are working in a collaborative team environment, practice the 5:1 Praise to Constructive Feedback Principle. Each employee is different, with various strengths and weaknesses. While it could be challenging to keep the feedback mostly positive, employing this tactic will help employees retain their engagement with your company, leading to loyalty, motivation and increased job performance.

Why Salespeople Don’t Prospect

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be once I knew what to do.”

This is a real quote from a participant in a recent NZQA sales certificate workshop we are facilitating. What inspired the sentiment? Learning how to prospect.

Sales prospecting refers to the process of seeking leads, which are people or clients that lead to sales. This can be done using a variety of methods: emails, phone calls, social media connections, in person meetings. Prospecting doesn’t just involve unearthing new clients, but it can also mean re-establishing connections with old leads.The benefits of sales prospecting are apparent, yet many companies have yet to hire individuals specifically for this position.A good sales prospector is able to supply his/her company with a reliable, consistent flow of new leads and clients. As a result, higher-ranking employees are able to focus on account development instead of salesmanship, which drives the institution forward. Many times, these folks can seal the deal begun by the sales prospector.

Sales prospecting may seem like an unfamiliar term, but almost everyone who works in sales probably understands the meaning. It’s common for people in sales to be required to seek at least some new business. The tricky part is that a lot of salespeople just don’t like it or don’t know how to approach it. Reaching out to potential clients can be stressful and comes with a certain amount of pressure. However, it’s often the most challenging aspects of a job that are the most rewarding. A salesperson who is good at prospecting will never be out of a job.

So what’s the good news for salespeople and their managers? Effective prospecting is trainable!

Prospecting is a process that, done consistently, provides results. Here are 10 guidelines:

  1. Define the target market: It’s difficult to sell a product/service to an unidentified audience.
  2. Develop a list of prospects: Organisation is key; keep a neat list, and be timely with responses.
  3. Set time aside to prospect regularly and consistently: Prospecting should become a standard part of the job; schedule it into your day.
  4. Know clearly what you offer of value to your prospective customers: The client will sense it if you are not an expert in your field.
  5. Qualify your prospects: Discount them if they are not right for your business or you for them. Not every prospect will become a paying customer. Ask plenty of questions to gauge their suitability.
  6. Develop a prospecting call template that works for your target market: This may involve some trial & error. With time, you’ll see what works.
  7. Track and record all prospecting activity, ideally in a CRM system: Without tracking progress, it will be much harder to study which methods worked well.
  8. Stick to the cycle – new prospect calls and follow up calls: Punctuality is professional and keeps you on the client’s mind.
  9. Ensure salespeople are allocated the time to prospect regularly: As a manager, it’s your job to equip your employees with the necessary tools. One of them is time.
  10. Celebrate successes! Putting in the work and learning best practices is a big achievement; celebrate!


Book Review – “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling”

This book originally written in 1949 is a timeless classic that is a must read for every sales manager or incentive driven sales person. It is a great resource when setting up sales teams to use CRM and get their buy-in on how activity tracking can enhance their results.

The book shares an inspirational story of how the author was going to give up his sales role selling insurance. Then he turned it all around by tracking his sales activity numbers. He soon saw a pattern in his activity and adjusted his approach feeling empowered once he knew what created his success. He then went on to be selected for the Million Dollar Round table club to be one of the industry greats.


Hiring and DISC

Recruitment costs can be very high – time, money, lost productivity, stress on the manager and the team who have to pick up the slack. Yes, but it’s also an opportunity.

Done well recruitment can bring in high calibre employees with a fresh outlook, new ideas and can lift the motivation of the existing team.  The key is recruiting the right candidate for the role and on-boarding them well.

One of the major causes of indecision and bet-hedging during the hiring process relates to ‘fit’. You may have identified a candidate that you think is technically competent. Your worry is that they won’t sit well within the team dynamic.

How, then, to sort the wheat from the chaff? You know the damage waiting around and leaving a position vacant could do, but the risks of hiring the wrong person can weigh heavily on your shoulders.

A powerful tool is Extended DISC profiling. Extended DISC profiling can reveal all kinds of insights about how a potential employee can fit into your team. What does this mean? A person’s score along each of these four dimensions can give a great indication of how they’ll operate in a team.

They might fit in similar mapped area to other employees – meaning communication will be similar, thinking and action of tasks will be similar. If they are mapped very differently – perhaps a “lone wolf” then the way they go about communication and tasks could be very different to the rest of the team so people might need to be prepared for that. How can this person be supported if they are out in a limb.  They might do and think things through far faster than the rest of the team and therefore get bored or lose focus quickly if not kept on track while the others process the same information. Or they might be more introverted and express or offer their opinions less and may be seen as quite reserved when actually they just need a window of opportunity to talk.

For a leader it can show what support they might need to give the candidate in areas of the job that might not have as ‘natural fit’ with behaviours to fulfill an expected task. It also shows a leader where the candidate’s strengths might sit so they can utilise and therefore motivate them better. Importantly, it helps a leader see how this new person might like to be led – do they like to connect with their leader regularly or work autonomously.

For the team, Extended DISC can show gaps in the makeup of a team. Should you be recruiting someone from an area of the map that you don’t currently have in your team? For example is your sales team lacking a “hunter”? Do you actually need those behaviours in your team? If so, is it best to recruit a “hunter” or is it reasonable to think you can train an existing member to “hunt”? By knowing what you need, you can use Extended DISC to evaluate your objections more objectively.

A reliable objective tool can help make recruitment, selection and development decision in a more cost effective manner.

With a tool like Extended DISC, the real advantage is that you can stop guessing what’s under the surface at interview and start making informed decisions. You can spend less on agency fees (often up to 25% on a new employee’s annual salary, depending on their seniority level) and reinvest those savings into your business. More importantly, you can hire with confidence, deliver a great hiring experience to your new employee and know ahead of time what to expect when they show up for work.

Becky Carr is a Master Trainer and Consultant in Extended DISC. Contact Becky at

Performance Reviews

Performance Reviews can be a daunting task even for experienced managers. Giving constructive and positive feedback to employees is a skill that not all managers have. The YMCA recognise the need to support their Centre Managers during this process and asked ProFormance to facilitate a Performance Review workshop. Tanya Mogg, who has facilitated many workshops already for the YMCA, delivered the training which was really valued by all the participants.

YMCA Performance Review Workshop Feedback July 17

DISC Profiling for Sales Workshops & Recruitment Services

We are pleased to introduce Mike Carr and daughter Becky Carr who have recently joined our our team. Both are master trainers in Extended DISC behavioural assessment and psychometric profiling and also bring a wealth of experience in sales and marketing. We have already provided a number of HR profiling reports as part of our recruitment services and have commenced in house workshops for sales teams enabling them to understand their customer’s personality types and how to sell more effectively to the different styles. See below the latest feedback report for one such workshop:

Contact us now for details about in-house workshops or for individual assessments.

Advanced Selling Skills Workshop June 2017

This month we held our open workshop: Advanced Selling Skills which is designed for the Healthcare industry. The participants really felt they benefited from it being a small group and allowed them to focus the training on their own products and role, whilst also receiving coaching. As part of this sales training workshop, Becky Carr – our newest Training Consultant – delivered the DISC Communication Types profiling which was one of the key areas of interest of the two day workshop.


To download the full Feedback report for this workshop click here.

PrintNZ NZQA Sales Certificate Training Course June 2017

We are delighted to announce our third NZQA Level 3 sales certificate training course, designed specifically for the Print industry, which will commence 29th June 2017.  This sales training course provides your sales people with the necessary skills to ensure they are maximising every opportunity to convert leads into new business, develop existing relationships and deliver the right solutions. This is delivered in partnership with PrintNZ and Competenz to provide participants with a recognized qualification, which is a great incentive to ensure they are fully engaged in the programme.

More details are available by downloading our brochure  and we are still accepting registrations. Please email us at to express your interest.

High Performing Teams Workshop

The High Performing Teams workshops that we have been running this month for a print industry client, is focused on their production team and taking them to new levels of engagement and performance. This programme has been well received by the participants with considerable input from them on how to improve communication and relationships between sales, customer service and production teams.

Selling Skills Workshop

One of our pharmaceutical clients were really in need of sales training for all account managers and sales reps, and wanted to include their customer service team too. We designed an in house workshop which encompassed customer centric vs customer service, as well how to understand the customer needs, which is critical in building relationships and making sales. The training resonated well with all levels of experience and the feedback shows this.