Walking along the beach this morning, I was asking myself “What’s it all about?” for a number of reasons. Is my master plan to be the best sales guy? Probably not-I’m good, but far from the best. Is it to be the best sales manager? It used to be, but time has passed me by on that, and I’ll never be as good as some of the people I coach. Then maybe, it’s to be the best coach? I think so, but I also realize that in many aspects, I’m still a student, not the Zen Master I want to be...yet. This actually drives me in a lot of what I do reading all of the time, studying harder, and it’s why I specifically teach at MIT and Tufts.
I went to a wake last night, and the funeral is this morning in a lovely church hugging the coast and overlooking the ocean. It’s just what she, an exquisitely wonderful and loving person, would have wanted. An expansive mind, extraordinarily bright, cut down with no warning by a heart attack. Which is another reason for my asking “What’s it all about?” as I passed her family’s house while walking on the beach this morning.
For me, it’s all about my work, wife and family, all of which are inexorably intertwined in a complex network of customers and friends from business and social environments all tightly mixed together. Most importantly, it works for me and pushes me to continue to study, to teach and to take on complex and more demanding customer assignments than ever before.
As we wind down the last couple of weeks of the summer, and jump headfirst into the reality of the next four months racing to the end of the year push, I have a couple of suggestions on this particulare Friday morning.
1. Take just one hour
Write down your own answer to the question, “What’s it all about?” Life, family, job, work, and money-it’s not important what the answer actually is about. It’s important that there’s an answer, at this time, and that you actually write it out. Then take this one sheet of paper out at the end of the year-sometime between Christmas and New Year-and check how it sounds to you in a different place and time. Polish it up, and do the same thing next August. The process centers your head and gives you the ability to do short term personal check-ins and retuning.
2. Now, take just one more hour
Do the same thing, but specifically now for your job. If you’re in the sales or marketing game, even better, since we should all now be very focused in these economic times about thinking differently and creating new Blue Oceans in our work life to sell more stuff, increase margins and reduce costs wherever we can. Not incrementally, but in a new Blue Ocean way to create meaningful innovative value for our businesses and ourselves.
This one page needs to detail personally where do you want to be by January 1 and July 1 next year, and what are the three (no one can remember more than three plus if it’s more than three, you’re not going to have enough time to execute on them anyway) specific actions that you’re going to take to get there.
You need to be very specific in this process.
If you’re a CEO or general manager, what is it that allows you and your managers to create fundamentally innovative value and swim out of the highly competitive red ocean in which (my expectation is) you currently conduct the majority of your business.
If you’re a sales or marketing person, and if it’s a promotion that you want, then write out exactly what this means. If it’s a specific bonus, then put that amount on the piece of paper. If it’s being part of end-of-year, "President’s Club", note down where you actually want to rank in the standings at the end of December.
That’s for the objectives part. Then write out the one, two or three actions that you’re going to specifically take over the next four and twelve months to get there. Not that complicated when you get right down to it, and now’s a perfect time of year, as the summer pushes to its end, to get right down to it.
Good Selling Today !