Monthly Archives: December 2013

Choose a Direction and Stop Setting all those Long Term Goals

Long term goals are tricky. First how far out in the future can a realistic goal be placed? If we don’t know anything else we do know long term goalsthat THINGS CHANGE. A long term goal for a common house fly might be measured in days if not hours. Elementary age students probably believe any goal measured in weeks is long term, while high school students might stretch that into months. However as adults we understand “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and some things just take time. Saving enough money for a down payment for a new house while you’re renting may require a one or two year goal. A coaches plan to build a championship program may set a goal at a few years. Saving money for retirement is often a 20 or 30 plus year goal. Living healthy might even be measured as a lifelong goal.

A common business goal setting strategy most everyone is familiar with is SMART goals. Though I’ve seen variances in the R – Realistic, Relevant, Results-Oriented…the T is always Time Bound.

If you’re in sales you have goals. Chances are you have more short term goals; as in how much will I sell today, this week, this month, or this quarter. Some goals you set, others are agreed upon, some may even be mandated, but rest assured your performance evaluations and your pay will in some way be tied to goals.

Companies have short term goals but in addition have more long term goals as it’s very common to find 2 year and 5 year goals. The CEO is often focused on the future and keeping the company growing and headed in the right direction or in sync with their vision.

You may be surprised though how many companies admit to doing a poor job of tracking their long term goals. What I say to that is why track them at all if they are five or more years out?  You see for a business to set and then start tracking long term goals can be a trap because they are using a baseline of what today’s business environment and resources are and not what tomorrows may be.

So rather than trying to predict the future, leaders should be trying to fit into the future as it happens. Instead of setting ten set goals, they should encourage a broad direction and adopt an evolutionary mind-set. That way, as the world changes, as the prices shift and breakthrough technology comes along, they can adapt.

As sales people take a lesson from this by setting and embracing short term goals. Hold yourself accountable to them. As for long term goals set a direction and let your short term goals help you stay the course.

Hard Knocks

As a sales leader do you ever feel that your sales team looks to you for all the answers? You may very well have most all the answersSchool of Hard Knocks but no one on your sales team will fully develop if you never allow them to seek and figure out a few on their own.

A former account executive I managed biggest issue was that anytime he ran into a problem or he didn’t have a solution he was quick to come to me every time for the answer.  I was glad to help, after all wasn’t that my job? Or was it…every time?

Why was it I had almost all the answers and my account executive had so few. While I had more experience he still had plenty. We both had solid educations and I’m confident it wasn’t a case of me having superior intelligence…so what was it and how could I help him get more of it?

I came to the simple conclusion that he simply wasn’t a risk taker. He would never risk being wrong. I know I’m not right all the time but being right most of the time works. My correct answers were not derived from possessing some vast knowledge bank. My answers came from making more good decisions than bad ones…but when I did get it wrong I become a “Straight A” student at the School of Hard Knocks.

We all want to see our sales people at the top but you can’t put them there you can only help them get there. Just remember though it often serve everyone well when you share and provide expertise to those that you’re in position to help…once in a while it’s OK to let them to figure it out on their own…because the bell is always ringing down at the School of Hard Knocks.