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  • Jerry Phillips

Commitments Versus Goals

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the issues facing the world now. Whether it’s economic, political, or personal, the challenges can look insurmountable. Psychologically, the new year tends to bring optimism. However, this year doesn’t do that for me personally. It’s not that I’m pessimistic. I’m not. It’s more that I’m driven to make things better than last year.

My wife and I enjoy our morning coffee together. That is a positive from past years when I was traveling 50% of the time. Yesterday we outlined our commitments for 2021. Not our goals, but our commitments. Words have power, and commitment seems stronger that goals. Thus, the drive to fulfill our commitments and the lack of “optimism”. Our commitments are much more reachable than our past goals. They come with intention.

My experience with my teams and my clients I’ve worked with in the past share a common challenge. The sales and marketing teams are assigned a goal for revenue and profit and there is optimism that the teams can reach them. But there isn’t a detailed plan on how they will reach them. The optimism wears off quickly, as the first couple of months don’t provide the path to the goals. The goals become someone else’s goals and the teams don’t own them. The team must be committed to them, or the goals are just a wish. Wishing is not actionable.

There was a salesperson at a company that I worked for that had reached the pinnacle of President’s Club the year before I became their supervisor. It provided visibility, a nice commission, a large bonus, and a ring to commemorate the work they had done and the success they had. The first two months of the following year the individual was tracking 20% below the previous year. When we talked through what was happening, he shared that he had a large, one-time order in June of the previous year. That order set up his prior year performance. He had given up making his goal for the year mentally, based on his belief he couldn’t overcome the year previous. He wasn’t committed to the goal.

We talked through how he could make his number. We took a detailed look at his territory to determine the opportunities.

  1. What business could he count on to repeat from the previous year?

  2. What business would not repeat?

  3. What was the gap between the goal and what he could count on to repeat?

  4. What was his close rate on additional business?

  5. What is the true gap between his repeatable revenue and his goal?

  6. Using the close rate as the true indicator, how many additional revenue opportunities did he need to identify and close, by when?

The math made it easier for him to see the challenge. He was able to identify current customers he could target for growth, and prospects for new business. Once he had the list, he was able to commit to reaching the revenue numbers he needed. He was able to overcome the psychological barriers to reaching his goal. He finished the year over his goal after a terrible start to the year! He was committed!

There are challenges facing us this year that could paralyze us if we don’t break them down into manageable pieces. Wishing does nothing. Committing to action will help us drive to our goals.

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