The most important thing about 2016 is that it will be a year of substantial change!
- A new president. Whatever your current thoughts are and whomever you like, the fact is that there will be a new leader at the helm of the most powerful, the wealthiest, and the most diverse country in the world, and this single act will result in substantive change. The changes will mostly come in 2017 hopefully after getting Congress off its butt, but the prepping for that change has already started and will become a much louder chant in the 2016 congressional elections.
- The economy, you tell me...
-"How do you feel?" Secure? I don't think so !
-"Knowing where and how to invest, or not invest?" Probably not !
-"In control or carefully watching?" Most likely, carefully watching !
-"Business spending up or down?" The word, "cautiously" will be heavily used during 2016 !
With the recent Fed increase, we seem to be slipping to the right, or left, or down, but certainly not up.
- War, Terrorism, Refugees & Political Unrest
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and then Kenya and Somalia, are the not space that we have boots officially and unofficially on the ground. Add to that, the general fears about ISIS bombings and too-frequent mall shootings, and "Be Safe" quickly becomes a necessary add-on to "Have a Nice Day".
More than in other years, this issue of change, both in reality and in the anticipation of change itself, will be a serious factor for all of us as we look ahead into the somewhat foggy crystal ball of 2016.
From a business standpoint, the only sure way to deal with this general lack of clarity is going to be through our ability to not only plan and measure our businesses and our sales activities more specifically than this past year, but also be able to embrace change more quickly than we've ever done before.
SO WHY 5 RESOLUTIONS?
I typically focus on my favorite phrase of... "Just 3 Things", under my belief that none of us can easily remember more than just three things, let alone focus on taking any meaningful action on them that effects a required result.
With both consumer and business marketing messages now regularly topping 6,200 a week and business emails and messages averaging 250 a day, trying to focus, and most importantly, to take meaningful action on more than three things, just doesn't reflect the reality of our very busy lives as sales warriors and business managers.
BUT, THIS YEAR "JUST 3 THINGS" BECOMES "I NEED 5 ACTIONS" ...
- The requirement for change will become more rapid and more dynamic in 2016 than ever before
- The world of Sales specifically will become exquisitely driven by a much wider use of more easy-to-use tools and their corresponding metrics than ever before. As Sales Coaches, we already know from our customer data that the #1 most critical sales and senior management issue is... "I must increase the productivity of my salespeople!"
- The world of Marketing? Change in 2016 will now happen at an even more blinding rate. The use of data analytics, just as an example, where two years ago, we needed both IT gurus and number crunching math specialists has now been turned into countless simple apps, easily and quietly integrated into our CRM and CMS platforms.
- Technology integration at the specific point of the individual user, in the critical markets of education, finance, and healthcare, and in the critical jobs of Sales and of Marketing, will take a quantum increase in personal sensor applications whether they're in our mobile devices or wearable or implantable. All voice-activated or sensor applied, of course.
IT'S TIME TO DEVELOP YOUR PLAN
This is the perfect week to do something, even if it's just a start.
Nothing much will be happening between today, Wednesday, and next Monday, the 4th, when everyone is back at it, immediately jumping into the deep end of the pool and rushing ahead into sales meetings, kickoff meetings, board meetings, business planning meetings, product plan meetings, fundraising meetings...and just lots of more meetings.
- Plan Your Business More Specifically
It's not the actual plan per se. It's the planning process of you and your team coming together and looking out-not at the entire year of 2016-but only at the first and second quarters. Defining strategies (your decisions on your longer term primary directions) is critical, but, defining your sales and marketing tactics and then your specific activities that you and the individual team members take is much more important.
- Go Back to School
Ok, I know that that thought may strike fear into your heart, but you need to be on top of your game in a world of constant change.
Don't want to get another degree? That's cool, then think about auditing a college course, or signing up for a Harvard Extension course, or doing an online course.
Can't do any of those? Ok, then take 60 minutes and select a book a month that you're going to read in your field, or maybe in something else that interests you. Too much? Ok, then commit to just 8 business or personal development books this coming year.
Do none of these in a year of dramatic change, and you will atrophy, just like your muscles would if you didn't work out, jog or take long walks.
- Spend Time on Your Health
I've always known this resolution in general and usually followed most of the healthy tips that I needed to do...although I never met a french fry or an oatmeal cookie that I didn't like. Having now successfully passed through a couple of surprises over the last 18 months, I've become a very vocal disciple of being even more careful, more focused and more overt about taking care of one's health. BTW, my observations over hundreds of discussions about health over this last year are that men, in general, do a wicked poor job of taking care of themselves. Women...much better!
Yes, I know, a very general and "Big Bullet" word that's hard to wrestle to the ground. Begin with taking measure on all the times that you say, or at least think, the words, "But, we tried that before", or "Back in 2000...", and then think about just how you're restricting the innovation of your team with that stupidity.
Much better for your team is to loudly declare 2016 as being the year when you and your team will innovate your business and your approaches especially in the worlds of Sales and Marketing, Create a Rally Cry in the business, or simply among your salespeople to innovate and push everyone to define at least three innovative tactics through which they'll seek out new business from new customers during 2016.
Take a look at this HBR easy-to-ready, 20 Minute Manager book on Innovating Teams
- Totally Focus on "Customer Value Creation"
Forget about your product features and the services that you provide. All of those skillfully crafted messages are already on your website, so merely restating those during a sales call will only get you a frustrated "So What?" from your prospects.
What you must get-especially this year-is not an unexpressed, rolled- eyes-to-the-ceiling, "So What?", but an eager request of... "Can you tell me more?"
2016 is going to be "The Year of the Buyer", and you need to totally think about the person on the other side of the table and see your products and services as means of increasing his or her personal value and the value of their company, not yours.
Expect lots of change in 2016. Just make sure that you're totally prepared for it
Best of success, health and happiness in the coming year ! Personally, I am very excited about the year ahead!
Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaches for CEOs & VPs
Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222