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Short-Cuts Always Come Up Short

by David Brock on September 7th, 2016

Under pressure, it’s human nature to take short-cuts.  We have the tendency to consciously choose the expedient over what we know to be right.

We don’t have enough deals in our pipelines, we need to find more deals.  Under pressure, we relax our qualification criteria, we cast a wider net, looking far outside our sweet spots.

Sure we achieve the objective of getting more in our pipeline, in the short term.  But the quality of our pipeline had suffered in the process.  Our probability of winning plummets, we have to spend more time on flaky deals, rather than focusing on deals that are high quality.  In the end, the short cuts we have taken have satisfied the short term objective–we’ve put more in the pipeline, but the overall impact is very negative, time consuming, and distracting.  It never produces the desired results from a business point of view.

Unwinding from this “short cut” is difficult and takes even more time.  We’ve fallen into bad habits in qualifying, we’ve lost site of our ideal customer and have to refocus.  We have a lot of crap in the pipeline that we have to clean out.

So short cuts produce a long tail of bad practice that has to be corrected.  Not only do we fail to achieve our short term goals, but there is an adverse impact on long term goals.

Likewise, we do the same thing hiring.  Desperate to fill a vacancy, we relax our recruiting criteria.  We settle for the best person we’ve interviewed, instead of waiting to find the right person, based on a sales competency model and clear criteria.  “Settling” for the wrong person is devastating, each talent decision is a mulitmillion dollar decision.

Likewise, unwinding from these bad decisions takes more time, cost, and more lost opportunity.  Just think of the management time in dealing with poor performers!  Add the lost business and time/costs involved in finding the right person.

All caused because we choose to do what is expedient rather than what is right.

We take all sorts of shortcuts.  A lot of them unconsciously.

We don’t take the time to prepare correctly for a meeting, instead winging it.  We either have a disasterous meeting or fail to accomplish as much as we should.

We’re desperate to win a deal, rather than follow our sales process, we take short cuts, skipping important steps.  All of this makes us less likely to win the deal.

We don’t take the time to understand a problem, to look for the root causes, instead we apply a “fix,” a band-aid, but we still have the underlying problem, which will persist or recur until we try to understand and address the core issues.

We’re busy running from meeting to meeting.  We have so many meetings, we don’t take the time to prepare or publish an agenda.  As a result we don’t achieve what we should.  Guess what, the solution to this is scheduling yet more meetings, where we repeat the same behaviors over and over.

We know what’s right, yet we don’t take the time to do it.

We know what works, but it involves too much effort, so we instead spend even more time producing worse results.

It’s simply madness—yet we persist.

Short-cuts always come up short.  Imagine what would happen if we chose to do what we know is the right way to get things done.

We might actually get things done, freeing up all that time we spend repairing damage and fixing things.

What a possibility!

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