Do You Have Any Clue As To What You’re Doing?

Here we are, already in SPRING, one quarter of the year gone. Are you halfway there? One-third of the way there? At least a quarter of the way there? Big question: Where is “there”?

Most businesspeople have not defined what “there” is. This quarter. This year. Three years. TODAY. By Wednesday, they have no clue if they are on track for that week or off-track relative to where they want to be in sales, profits, clients, progress. Salespeople do this too: It’s Tuesday. Are you on track to hit your quota? Off-track? If off-track (and most are), what are you doing to get BACK on track and get THERE (meaning your goal)?

Of course, if you have no defined goals, any “there” will do. Without goals, you don’t know if you’re 10% on track, 60% on track or at 110% of goal, blessedly early or horribly lost in the woods. You have no factual or numerical benchmarks defined as goalposts to direct what you need to focus on. It’s the “let’s do a bunch of stuff and hope” plan to an undefined location. To quote Zig, “wandering generalities.”

LOTS of people talk about setting goals, but then, when pressed, they can’t articulate them clearly and precisely. To get my team to produce sales, I don’t just give them the two-part training of “good luck” and “hang in there.” They need a specifically designed, tracked measurement of activities, day by day, hour by hour. If 100 dials are needed per day, we don’t wait until Friday to discover that the goal wasn’t met. We check daily. Hourly. It’s noon and you’ve made 10 calls – you’ve got 90 more to make before you leave today at 5:00 p.m. That’s 22.5 per hour for the next 5 hours.

Highly successful sales call centers have predetermined activity quotas and milestones to hit. Dials, connections, appointments, sales they must meet every day, every hour. QVC measures and sets goals for how many units are being sold by the minute. The pitch person has a manager talking to them via an earpiece giving them direct feedback on whether or not the story they are telling or the feature they are pointing out is making the phone ring. If not, they change that very SECOND to a new story, a new feature a new talk track. They know what they’re doing.

People tell me all the time they are overwhelmed, without sufficient time to get anything done. These same people do NOT have goals and priorities set and scheduled because they don’t know HOW to prioritize or what needs to be done, by when, to hit predetermined goals, so they are awash in choices they cannot possibly make. EVERTYHING demands their attention, so they default to BUSYWORK and easy activities (checking e-mail for example) instead of pushing that busy work off to the side so they can work on more critical projects to drive new clients, more revenue and bigger profits. They don’t plan, they just do. There’s no glory in running fast and working hard to get nowhere. That’s how most run their businesses. Just work harder. Just do more. If you get in your car and drive fast in any direction, you’ll run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and have to walk home. That is the phrase, isn’t it? “Getting nowhere fast.”

At Starbucks, the women in front of me gave one of the most complicated set of instructions for what she specifically wanted in her drink: a grande, extra hot, low foam latte using low-fat, organic milk, with one pump of chocolate, dark roast. I wonder if she could be that specific with what she wants out of her life and detail what success is? Could you?

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