As we close the door on another amazing AFL season, I recall the effectiveness of the ‘self-assessment’ as the great coach Kevin Sheedy taught me.

In the late 90’s as Essendon was peaking on their way to their 2000 Premiership, I purchased at a charity luncheon a club boardroom lunch with my management team and Kevin Sheedy. It was a great cause – men’s prostate cancer – and a great privilege to have Kevin share his wisdom with us.

At the Essendon boardroom lunch, I asked Kevin about how he went about reviewing and managing so many different players to get the best out of them systematically every week? He said he and his coaching team didn’t review them unless they had to. Rather he relied on self-awareness and self-assessment to drive self-management in line with the performance plan. I asked Kevin what he meant?

He said; You learn more about a person’s self-awareness and in turn how that affects their capacity and ability to execute our team plan when you ask them to assess their own play, their own quarter, their own game. We always have all the video trail to show a player what they are doing wrong or right; however, that video review is not necessary for the player who is self-aware of what their performance was like – good or bad.

We focus on self-management, player by player, and they always review themselves before we attempt to manage them. We learn so much more about them, and so do they about themselves, says Sheedy.

He went on to point out: We leave our management reviews for the player who has not performed as required but believes they have, and the palyer who has performed well but believes they have not.

Kevin made it clear this is all predicated on the team having a clear game plan [culture and values] to drive the self-review process.

I believe this is an efficient and very potent solution to managing teams, particularly sales and business development teams. In fact, I know this now to be the key to successful management of sales teams. So if you are frustrated with the performance of a team member, try asking them how they think they are going first and listen very carefully. They may be right on top of their performance issues…or not.

At The McGinn Partnership, we believe self-management aligned to a clear company ambition is the successful way to maintain a consistent cadence performance in sales and business development.

The Takeaway Self-management is best achieved through self-assessment against clear and mutually agreed performance targets.

-Tony McGinn OAM