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If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Get You There

by David Brock on April 24th, 2012

A well known saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  I’d like to add a corollary, “It helps to pay attention to the signposts.”  

Yes, this is a post about establishing and executing plans.  Whether it’s a plan to win a deal, to make a high impact sales call, to maximize your share within the account or territory, to make your quota, to hire the right people……  For all of these, we maximize our effectiveness and the quality of the result by having well defined goals and strategies in place, and refining our plan based on signs/signals we see as we execute the plan.

Many will say, “Dave, I have a plan and goals–my goal is to win a deal, my goal is to make quota….”  This is insufficient, the highest performers we have to know what path we are going to take to achieve our goal.  With aimless wandering, we may achieve our goal, but it could take us a very long time. 

High performers develop a specific plan, they map out specifically how they will achieve their goals.  Their plan focuses on effectiveness, efficiency, and impact.  They are purposeful in what they want to achieve, so they have strong plans in place.  If it’s a sales call, they are focused on accomplishing as much as possible–compressing their sales cycle.  If it’s a deal strategy, they focus on aligning with the customer buying process, creating the greatest value in the process, outperforming the competition.  If it’s a manager hiring a new sales person, they have a profile of the ideal candidate, they look for those that best match that profile.

With a plan that is purposeful, high performers can adapt to “road conditions.”  They recognize when things may be going off target — without a plan it’s impossible.  They are sensitive to the “signs” along the way–they can see obstacles, adjust their strategies to avoid or overcome them, they can see opportunities, taking advantage of them.

Everyone is time constrained–our customers, our team members, our managers.  We don’t have enough time to accomplish everything we want or need to accomplish.  The highest performers manage this by having clear plans in place, executing those plans relentlessly, by paying attention to the signals they encounter–adjusting their plans appropriately?

Do you know where you are going?

Do you have a plan to get there?

Does your plan maximize your effectiveness in achieving your goal?

Does you adjust your plan based on signals you see on the way?

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2 Comments
  1. Ken Stofflet permalink

    Dave, Well said; and might I add another old saying which ties into your “reading the sign posts”; and that is .. ” If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Having a simple goal isn’t enough, you have to constantly evaulate where you’re at vs goals to determine your next move.

    If you don’t know where you’re at, you don’t need a map!

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