Just Three Things for 2014...plus More Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Jan 07, 2014

three resized 600Just Three 2014 Things...

If there were just three things that you could improve on and be super successful at during 2014, what would they be?

At the firm, we have the privilege of working very closely with hundreds of execs every year, and over and over, we hear the complaint of "I just don't have any time anymore".  As a result, I might recommend that one of your "Three 2014 Things" might be to create more time for yourself.  A few ideas...


#1.  Sleep less

sleep less and sales time resized 600

I know all of the stats on getting seven or eight hours of sleep every night, but, really, eight hours of sleep?  

...30% of your time sleeping?  

You've got to be kidding me if you want to be a successful sales person or a promotable manager.


Very successful execs work, not sleep

  • Tim Cook at Apple, up at 4:30, in the gym at 5:00AM
  • Jeff Immelt at GE has worked 100 hour weeks for 24 years
  • Ursala Burns at Xerox, up at 5:15, personal trainer at 6:00
  • Indra Nooyi at Pepsi, up at 4:00, in the office at 7:00

I'm certainly not in their league, but I'm in the gym at 5:00 every morning and have my first customer or student breakfast at 7:00 at the University Club of Boston.  Typically I sleep 4-5 hours and have done that for 30+ years, but I also know that that type of schedule isn't the most healthy and doesn't work for most people.  I just figure that I'll have plenty of time to sleep when I die.  In the meantime, my attitude life is too precious to waste sleeping, and it's been working for decades.  Of course, I do have problems remembering where I left my car sometimes.  

I know that many people will now comment that "there are morning people and there are evening people...", but I don't buy it.  Sleep is overrated, and if you want more time to work and since time is inelastic, even picking up one hour in the morning to work out, to read, to do emails, or to do whatever is going to be helpful in managing your time more effectively in 2014.

#2.  Stop Complaining  

stop complaining 2One of the easier methods of gaining more time is to stop talking and obsessing about it.  I have one of my execs who is always complaining how busy and overworked he is.  He is always trying to figure out how to squeeze in gym and personal trainer time, and the result is that he's more out of shape than he's ever been and constantly has colds, sprains, and just looks worn out, which, of course, he complains about.


For once, I’d like to hear someone brag about their excellent time management skills, rather than complain about how much they can’t get done. Maybe we could learn something from each other, and here's a great little HBR blog to start this process with the use of a couple of easy-to-begin tactics that might work for you.  

#3. Take the Time...Right Now

Strategic planning for your business or for your sales organization is not going to get any easier later this quarter.   I clearly recognize and respect the huge pressures on every senior manager right this minute...
  • Sales meeting kickoff
  • Marketing campaign approvals for the first half
  • Key account travel schedules to review 2013 and plan for 2014
  • ...and a myriad of other pressing requirements

But, that's why you're paid the big bucks, and somehow, somewhere, you need to schedule in a one day offsite (preferably a day and a half) to meet with the team, agree on primary strategies and come together on mapping out tactics for at least Q1.  If you're not going to do it now, just when?  It's not that your schedule will be less busy in March, and, by then, the tone and rhythm for 2014 will have been been set, but by chance, not by plan.

To stimulate you and your team, take a look at this interesting perspective (Four Keys to thinking About the Future) on planning for this year.  Try just one of these as an exercise for all of your team in prep for that offsite.  

So, that's my list of my Three 2014 Things

Certainly, not convinced that it's the best, but it works for me and my team.  You probably have much better ideas, and I'd like to listen to your thoughts.  What do you think?

Good Selling !!!

 Jack Derby 

 Head Coach

Linked In and Sales

No better way to put some new thinking into 2014 than to attend our upcoming Sales Management Boot Camp.  To learn more...

  1. Click on the icon below for an outline of what takes place.  
  2. You can also click HERE for a more detailed agenda
  3. Or just email me at jack@derbymanagement.com, for a 10 minute call

Sales Management Boot Camp

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