Friday, September 23, 2011

Fresh Eyes

I am part of a program called Strategic Coach .At my last session we focused on how to become intentional. As we roll into the end of 2011 and look toward 2012 I think this is a great topic to disucss. We are all starting to work on our plans for the next year. How we approach this task is very critical. It is especially tough right now with so many uncertantainties happening in the US markets. One example that was shared with us really hit home with me. I have continued to think about this passage on many occasions since my class.
Sir Lawrence Olivier example:  Before every play, he’d look through the curtain and say “this is not last night’s audience. This is not last night’s theater. This is not last night’s play. I am not last night’s character. This is not last night’s script. This is not last night’s cast” He would progressively get more and more scared and would take himself back as though it was opening night again, with all that same energy. Even though he’d done it really well the previous night, he couldn’t count on it this time. Every new situation needs to be seen with fresh eyes, so you have to remind yourself. You want a balance between the emotions of fear and excitement so your motivation is at its highest to do the best possible job.

I find this concept powerful in so many ways. In my industry of industrial products, specifically linear motion products, I find a pervasive culture of the use of the “milkman run”.  This is the habit of habitually calling on the same customers over and over again. What really frustrates me is how often the “script” that is played while making these visits is just the “script” that was used on the last visit. The salesman often makes assumptions as to what the customer needs are and where they are on their project. How much more could be achieved if they took on the Sir Lawrence Olivier example? If they went into new opportunities or even current customers but with no preconceived notion of the customers’ needs or wants? Let the customer define a new “script”. How many more opportunities could be discovered?

So how can we apply this when doing our budgets and sales forecast for next year? Do you have clear intentions of your desired future state? Are your goals clearly defined and based upon facts, not assumptions? 2012 is not a repeat performance of 2011. Are you looking at your forecast with “fresh eyes”? How high is your enthusiasm and motivation level when planning for 2012? Will you be ready for the opportunities that lie ahead?

While the world appears to be in a state of flux I am still optimistic for the year ahead. I can envision a new “script”. I am working on seeing the trends that will lead to a new “play” being written all together. It is an extremely dynamic situation that is playing itself out and while I cannot control what is happening in the world, I can control how I and my company react. And as the sign in the Boston Celtics locker room states: “The game is scheduled, we have to play it, we might as well win.”

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