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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kromwyk

How to get a 20% bump in sales through Communication, Organisational Design & the 4Qs

I was recently chatting with Andrew Olivier, an organisational design practitioner about requisite organisation and my experience in a previous role.  This company was not requisite even after I tried to get my division aligned. This company as a whole was not requisite, not being able to explain the 4Qs, no appraisal system, same levels reporting to each other, reporting difference not wide enough and ill defined tasks. Andrew wisely informed me that one part of an organisation cannot be truly requisite if the entire organisation does not embrace the system. 


Our conversation drifted onto how Leaders can help teams to become high performance in this environment, to maximise their output so that we can serve our customers better. Andrew said ‘simple – make sure everyone knows the 4Qs’. 


The four questions (known as the 4Qs) that every employee has the right to know are: 

  • Where are we going 

  • How are we doing 

  • What is your job 

  • How you are doing 

(Olivier, A., Organisational Design: What Your University Forgot to Teach You, 2013, p.33) 


Now while this company at that time couldn’t inform most employees on the 4Qs, I discovered that I had naturally done this with one of my previous sales team. As Andrew wrote in his book to me: 



Where are we going?  One of my first tasks when I arrived at this organisation was to meet with my sales team to explain that sales had been decreasing year-on-year over the past 3 years and if we continued on this down track that we would be a negative contributor to net profit. So, the leadership team changed the goal from chasing revenue to chasing net profit, focused on profitable campaigns, reducing overheads and individual targets to meet the net profit. The goal was to increase net profit by a minimum of 10% year on year compared to a budget prediction of a 25% reduced result. While I couldn’t tell them where the organisation was going, I could inform the team on where we were going. 


How are we doing? I was surprised to hear that the team had never been informed on their results – individually or collectively. They had been told that the team was performing. So, I committed to weekly coaching sessions and fortnightly one-on-ones with their team leader. Secondly, I committed to showing the team the financial result every month, celebrating the wins and workshopping the losses. Each month the team couldn’t wait to find out how we’re going not only on their campaigns but across the division.  


What is your job? While everyone had a job description, it was not emphasized enough that the job was to make sales that wear well and to ensure that we not only get target but get future sales as well. This has been reinforced through sales training and weekly coaching session. This calibration back onto the primary role has led to more engaged staff and higher sales outcomes. 


How you are doing? The organisation had only just introduced performance reviews before I started and everyone was learning how to use them again after years of being inactive. These are important as a time for reflection and to talk about the future. Ongoing, every day a sales board where the results are tabled is filled in by each individual; weekly coaching sessions focus on performance and the bi-weekly WIPs are about behaviours, results and team work. Everyone knows how they are going. As there are no MoRs built into the performance reviews, these occurred informally annually as a part of the annual review cycle in my division. 


In reflection, what Andrew had said would work, I in reflection had already tried and tested with some stunning results. 

  • Staff voluntary resignations down to 0 

  • Sales up by 20% 

  • 100% of coaching and meetings completed 

  • Redesign of the next campaign – employee led process and product 


It’s amazing what can happen when you communicate to your people, empower them, get the design right and explain the 4Qs. 


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