December 8, 2022

What to Do if You’ve Been Placed on a PIP

Do you work in sales? Have you been placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP)?

That sucks. Take a moment to acknowledge the suckiness. 

Being placed on a PIP is a difficult and overwhelming experience so it's normal to feel scared or uncertain about what it might mean for your career. However, it’s important to remember that a PIP is an opportunity for you to stop, improve, and get your performance back on track. Here are a few steps you can take to turn things around:

1. Stop and Breathe

Take some time to reflect on what brought you here. What are the specific areas where your performance is falling short? What are the underlying issues or challenges that may be contributing to your poor performance? Examine both external factors (the company you work for, the product or service you’re selling) and internal ones. You can only develop an action plan after you’ve identified the root causes.

2. Communicate 

It’s difficult and scary to ask for help. However, life is a team sport. Communicate openly and honestly with your manager, HR representative and advisors / peers. Let them know that you understand the need for the PIP and that you're committed to improving your performance. Ask for their guidance and support as you work towards improving.

3. Plan

Work with your manager to develop a plan that is tailored to your specific needs. This plan should include specific goals and action steps that are quantifiable and have timelines. Be sure to set realistic and achievable goals, and make sure to track your progress along the way.

Seek out additional training and development opportunities to help you improve any skills or knowledge gaps.

4. Breathe Some More & Execute

Stay positive and focused. It can be easy to become discouraged when you're placed on a PIP, but it's important to stay positive and keep pushing forward. Remember that the PIP is an opportunity for you to improve and grow, so stay focused on your goals and stay committed to making the necessary changes.

If you have done everything you can and are still unable to meet the goals of the PIP, or if you realize your current company / team / product is just not the right fit for you, then it may be time to consider reaching out to recruiters. Recruiters can help you explore other job opportunities and provide guidance on how to position yourself for those roles. 

In summary, being placed on a PIP is a challenging experience. But remember:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

― Winston Churchill

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