An Execution Lesson for Business – Compliments of the Military

McChrystal

Planning is important. Training is important. People knowing what the goal is, and the actions necessary to attain the goal is critical.  But great planning and training is not enough to beat your competition.  Companies spend millions each year doing both. The infamous “strat plans”, and training sessions, and off-sites all take time and money. Yet the list of companies that actually execute on their plans and achieve their goals is a much shorter list than those that fail. So what’s the lesson that business can take from the military when it comes to successfully executing a strategy? The answer is organization.

A well-trained employee (solider) can not be effective operating in an unorganized environment.  A fairly trained employee operating in a highly organized environment can be very successful.

Current military leaders suggest that an enemy who is well-organized – regardless of training – is the enemy to be feared.  Likewise, companies with strong organizations, processes, infrastructure, and culture of execution, will take the talent they have and win nearly every time.  This understanding is summed up by the great management consultant Peter Drucker who said, “No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it.  It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”

Are you organized?  Is your company?  Your department?  Do you have goals that are clear and understood by your entire team?  Have your “organized” your business around meeting those goals? Or have you simply created a new goal to execute within an existing organizational structure?

Goals change each year.  Sometimes more often depending on circumstances.  That’s the nature of business.  If all you do is change the goal without organizing you business around the specifics of that goal you’re bound to fail.  The old saying, “what got you here won’t get you there” will prove correct.  Take the time to test your goals against your current organization structure.  Chances are you’ll quickly identify gaps in your structure that may prevent or hinder the achievement of those goals.  Act quickly to identify them and address them.  Once you do…you’re on your way to successfully executing your plan.

3 Hints to Help You Hit Your Goals in 2016: Hint #2 – Write it Down

Goals

In my previous blog, 3 Hints to Help You Hit Your Goals in 2016 ,I wrote about the power of visualization; having a crystal clear mental picture of exactly what you’re trying to achieve.

Hint #2 for helping you hit your goals is to write them down.  There’s something about committing goals to paper that transform a goal to a mandate.  Imagine if the Constitution was never written down and signed, or the Ten Commandments, or a speed limit sign.  When our brains see something in writing we see it more as a rule, a definite, a conclusion.

After you’ve visualized your goal take the time to write it down.  Include as many details as you can.  All the things your brain saw when you visualized the goal should be captured on paper.  Be specific.  Include pictures where possible.  If it’s a new home, find a picture of a house you’d love to own, cut it out, and keep it with your written goals.  If it’s a trip to Iceland, find a picture of Iceland and include it with your written goals.

Make sure your written goals are visible.  Don’t write them down and put them in a drawer somewhere.  Keep them out and in front of you.  Your nightstand, your desk, the refrigerator.  Remember, your subconscious brain will continue to work overtime on bridging the gap between your current reality and the goal you’ve set.  The more you review that goal the harder your brain will work to reach it.

Stay tuned for Hint #3 on Friday.

3 Hints to Help You Hit Your Goals in 2016: Hint #1 – Visualization

Goals

We all know goals are an important part of success.  Whether our objective is personal or professional, having a goal provides us with a “thing” to focus on to achieve that objective.

Over the years I have found 3 actions that have improved my ability to reach my goals.  I’ll share my hints this week.  Today, my first hint is visualization.

Visualization is a powerful way to gain clarity of your goal.  What is it you really want?  Can you see it?  What does it look like?

When I was younger I had a poster in my room with a picture of a mountain range in Arizona.  I was mesmerized by that picture and promised myself that one day I would live near the mountains.  And while I never got to Arizona I did move, and live in Reno, Nevada for two years at the base of the Sierra Nevada’s.  A goal achieved.

So what goal are you striving for in 2016? Is it a new house?  A new car?  A specific weight you’re trying to reach?  A book you’re trying to write?  A new job? A vacation? Bungee jumping?  Taking up a new sport or activity?

Find a quiet place to think.  Close your eyes and visualize exactly what the goal is you’re going after.  What does it look like?  Be as specific as possible.  Where is it?  What color is it?  How does it look?  What will you be feeling when you reach the goal; your emotions? When will you reach it? What’s the timeframe?

The more detail you can place around your goal through visualization the more likely you’ll be able to achieve it.  In his book The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield talks about how visualization activates the subconscious mind.  The more you visualize your goal the more your subconscious mind works to bridge the gap between your current reality and the goal you’re focused on.  He goes on to say, “Your creative subconscious can only think in pictures, not words.”  Having a clear picture, a visual, of the goal you’re trying to achieve is the first step to successfully achieving that goal.

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s second hint on improving your success in reaching your goals.

 

 

An Awe-inspiring Sales Encounter

persevere

I’ve been in Sales my entire career. When you add up the years I spent as a kid going door-to-door to cut lawns I’ve in effect sold for more than 30 years. In that time there have been only a handful of occasions when I have been truly astounded, in a positive way, by a sales professional doing their job. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on thousands of sales calls in that time and have seen some incredible selling skills, influencing, and relationship development happen before my eyes. But this week I experienced not just an awe-inspiring sales encounter but one that carried with it an incredible lesson of the human spirit and will to succeed.

Like most of the country this week, Philadelphia, where I live, was trapped in a deep freeze. We were well below zero for 2 days this past week and for the rest of the time we were single digits to teens. Simply said, it was cold. The kind of cold that inhibits motor skills if outside for more than a few minutes. The kind of cold that rattles your brain and activates the fight or flight emotion within humans to find warmth…shelter. The kind of cold that many sales professionals would use as an excuse for not going on calls. Many but not all.

My doorbell range at 7:30 pm Thursday evening. I walked to the front door thinking it was one of my kid’s friends. I turned on the front porch light, looked out the window and to my surprise saw a lady standing on my front doorsteps with a bright red Comcast coat and employee ID hanging around her neck. She had an armful of materials which she held with her gloved hands and wore an incredibly huge smile. I opened the door…a bit leery if not completely skeptical truth be told…to a warm and heartfelt greeting from this lady. Within the first 20 seconds she told me who she was, her company, and managed to get in names of two of my neighbors she just “signed up” for Comcast’s new Triple Play program. And while it was below 20 degrees outside she exuded a warmth and passion for what she was doing which in her words was all about “putting money back in my pocket”.

I’m not blogging about this to share details on her sales skills which by the way were excellent. No. Instead I am blogging about this to prove the power of the human spirit to overcome most any obstacle we can face and persevere. She had goals and she loved people, and most of all she enjoyed “putting money back into her customers pockets.” She had a level of authenticity that I find doesn’t always exist in today’s sales professional. She was real, she was knowledgeable and most of all she was honest. How do I know that? Because one of the products she was selling wasn’t the right fit for us and she told us so. She didn’t try to force a sale by masking the problems or shortfalls of that specific service relative to the service I currently use.

Her ability to build trust and rapport rivaled some of the best pros I’ve worked with over 30 years including those selling into the C-Suites of Fortune 100 companies. Pure determination coupled with an intense focus on her specific goals and a mastery of listening and customer assessment skills makes Marie one of the most impressive human beings, and yes sales person, I have ever encountered.

So when it’s too cold out, or too hot. Whether you’re too tired or just not in the mood, think of Marie. Push yourself, drive yourself and get moving. Get out the door and engage your human interaction skills.