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When The Formulas Don’t Work

by David Brock on March 24th, 2021

We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what works. We look for methods, processes, programs, tools, systems, training that help us achieve our objectives.

Sometimes they work, at least for a while. Sometimes they don’t work. Sometimes, too often, we don’t give them the opportunity to work–abandoning them to chase some other miracle cure.

It doesn’t take a lot of brilliance or insight when something is working. You just keep doing it–perhaps refining it to continue to improve.

The problem is when the formulas don’t work. We don’t take the time to understand what’s happening. We don’t diagnose the problems or issues impacting them. We just do something else. And too often that fails, so we do something else, then something else, then…….

Rather than doing the work of trying to understand why a program or strategy or initiative or methodology or training isn’t working. We make a change. We don’t know if the change will work–because we haven’t done the analysis. We don’t know if what we put in place might have worked, because we haven’t understood.

We just know we need to do something different, but seldom take the time to diagnose and understand.

Too often, we abandon programs or initiatives too soon–we don’t give them a chance to work. We have unrealistic expectations of immediate changes and results. We put in place a new methodology or strategy for complex B2B sales. We invest money in training and tools. We implement, expecting immediate results and are disappointed because it takes time.

We lack confidence—have we done the right thing? We lack courage–we fear committing ourselves and our teams to a course of action and doing everything possible to make it work.

We don’t give our plans/programs time to produce results. Paraphrasing Warren Buffet, “9 pregnant women can’t produce a baby in 1 month.” Yet we expect miracles.

We abandon things, changing randomly, never taking the time to understand, learn, or adapt and improve.

Is it any wonder why we don’t produce the results we expect? Is it any wonder that we continue to see declines in sales effectiveness?

Interestingly, it’s the application of these skills that our customers also need? It’s disciplined analysis, problem solving and understanding that enables us to create the greatest value with them. But if we don’t have the confidence and courage to do this within our own organizations, how can we ever instill the confidence our customers seek?

We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our people, we owe it to our companies, we owe it to our customers. We need to be thoughtful about the strategies and programs we put in place. We need to be confident that we have done the work to put the best possible initiatives in place. We need to have the courage to give them a chance to work. We need to understand, analyze, adjust when they don’t. This is leadership.

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