Have you already lost your focus?
Remember last month when many of us started the year with gusto! “It’s a brand new year!” we declared. “Now I will start doing everything I have been meaning to!” we asserted. “This will be the year of change for me! I am committed to making it happen!” We told ourselves (and our team) over and over that this was the year we would meet those elusive goals that always seem just out of reach.
However, if we believe the statistics, after just one month, 80% of those commitments are already in our rearview mirror. It’s only the second month of 2019, how are your New Year’s goals? How about your team’s goals? What have you done to ensure you don’t slide right back down the hill you just started climbing?
Some leaders and teams answer this New Year’s challenge by simply refusing to set goals in the first place—“I know we won’t stick with it, so why start it and waste the time?” is their defense. If you don’t set any goals, you won’t fail to achieve them.
On the other hand, if you don’t try to improve the status quo, your overall results aren’t likely to change either. With the “avoid failure by avoiding change approach,” you are likely to be facing many of the same problems in 2020 that you are facing now. Unfortunately, by then it’s likely you’ll have a few new problems to deal with as well.
Even though, according to Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, most of us continue to do the same things over and over, year after year, and we are surprised when things don’t improve. We refuse to change because change and the growth that accompanies it can be painful. But without change and growth, our numbers never change, and we’ve all experienced that kind of pain, right?
Be honest, are you so afraid of failing that you are content to sit there at your desk and wait for that important change to happen? Of course not. You didn’t get where you are by waiting for change to come to you. You got where you are by taking control and creating change, remember?
Do you remember how you did that? More than likely, in order to really push yourself, your team, and thereby your organization as a whole to the next level, you had to push beyond the easy processes that most people get by with in a good market.
Let me give you an example from my own experience. Many years ago, when I was selling new homes, one of my managers told me “a trained monkey could sell the homes in this community.” Another day, he said, “Customers would buy a home if there were simply a computer set up in the model where you punched in your information and clicked ‘BUY’.” In other words, he believed the market in general and the homes in that neighborhood were such a good product that they didn’t even need me.
Although I agree that we had an excellent product, the flaw in this manager’s theory was evident when I left the company. The community I was working in immediately went to one third of the previous sales rate within months of my departure. You see, I added value to the transaction because I didn’t settle for just getting the job done. I put in more effort than your average person. I took advantage of a good situation, but I also made the most of it by working extra hard and creating my own opportunities—opportunities that monkeys and computers would never even notice.
Don’t you think it’s time for you and your team to risk a few growing pains? Declare again that this is the year, but this time, mean what you say. And, prove that you mean it by backing up your words with actions. Model the new behaviors you want from your team—set realistic goals and monitor your progress until you reach those goals. Remember, it’s only when we push ourselves through the painful changes that make us better than the rest of the market that we are likely to experience significant growth and ultimate success.
My question for you as this new year goes rushing by is, “Exactly what are you willing to do this year to push the proverbial ‘envelope’ where your company is concerned?”
If you think you are ready to push, it’s not enough to just say you are ready. You need a plan. You need a process to implement that push. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Start with a goal in mind of what you would like the change to achieve. Make sure it meets the classic SMART criteria (Specific, Measured, Achievable, Realistic and Timed). What would you like to see happen as a result of your efforts?
2. Identify ‘mile markers’ along the time frame as a way to evaluate your progress. By doing that, you will know if you are behind in plenty of time to make adjustments. This will also help you with the Realistic part of the SMART goal.
3. Assign responsible parties to monitor progress and report on data. Be specific about when they report and what they report. Then, share with the group as you monitor progress. Even though you’re the boss, give them permission to call you out if you do not stick to the plan.
4. Finally, decide on a reward if you achieve the goal. Depending on what it is, it can be company paid trips, dinner for the entire team and spouses, or a company sponsored party for families. It can also be something as simple as the management team washing all the cars that belong to the team that does the work. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be genuinely rewarding in some way.
Pushing your team beyond the pack is definitely the road less traveled. It isn’t for everyone. We all like to talk about it, but few actually have the will power and determination it takes to get there. I wish you luck and good fortune in your quest. And if you need some help figuring it out, coaching is an investment that makes it easier. If you really want to get there, we can help you. Contact us today to figure out how at firstname.lastname@example.org or (832) 356-4585. Now go be the rainmaker for your team today!