New Years Resolutions. The majority of us have made them and probably broken them at one point or another in our lives.
Why do we do them?
People tell us we should each year. It feels like the right thing to do at the start of the year. We love the feeling of a new year and putting the year before behind us (especially after the year that 2020 was), wiping the slate clean and starting new. We say that this year will be different from last year and this is the year I finally reach all those big, hairy, audacious goals and live the life I want.
But why do we fail at them and at times are doomed to repeat our past mistakes?
There are many reasons that this occurs and what can be done to change this. I am not writing this to go through all of the possible reasons and fixes out there. Instead, I am writing this to focus on a few key observations of challenges that were caused by some bad habits by companies and their sales teams in 2020 and what to do to avoid repeating them in 2021.
So, here goes my top 5 list for 2020 and what to do to overcome these in 2021.
Top 5 Bad Habits I Observed with Companies in 2020
1. Giving in to non-supportive beliefs.
What thoughts were regularly going through your or your people’s heads during 2020?
Was it, “Wow, this is really bad. I don’t know if we can recover from this.” Or “No one wants to talk to me about what I am selling right now.” Or was it, “No one is buying right now.” Or “I am not sure what to do next, so I’ll wait and see what happens and hope for the best.”
What actions and results happened from this?
What we believe and focus on come true. If we believe no one is buying right now, we’ll find every way to ensure that no one buys from us. If we believe it is better to wait to see what happens versus making some decisions and taking actions, we’ll find that things are taking a long time to happen.
2. Indecisiveness – Not making decisions and waiting to take action.
The last belief I wrote about above feeds right into this one – indecisiveness. More is lost by indecision than by wrong decision and taking action. (Marcus Tallius Cicero) This is one of the biggest challenges that the majority of business owners face (and the majority of people face) that I have observed in my time in sales consulting and coaching. Too many times we over-analyze, over-compare, over-think, and wait to make a decision or take an action. Even though our gut tells us that making a decision and taking action is the right thing to do, we let our head get in the way and decide to do nothing.
The best way to combat this? Learn to limit your choices and make decisions effectively and in a timely fashion. Trust yourself that you’re making the best decision based on what you know at the time and that you’ll figure out what to do next as you get to it.
3. Not spending time working on the things that really drive value for your business.
Have you defined the top 3 things that you do that drive your business, bring value to it, and drive you to your company’s vision and mission? (You do have a vision and mission for your business, right?)
If not, how do you know if your time and behaviors are marching you in the direction of your business? How do you know if your people are focused on the top 3 things that they do that drives value for your company?
Get yourself and team focused on these top 3 things and ensure that you and your people’s time and efforts are focused on these and get rid of or delegate all the rest of the items you’re doing that don’t align with these.
4. Not knowing what really motivates your people (and not aligning company goals to it).
A wise person once said to me, “People work hardest for the pool in their backyard, not the one in yours.” Do you know what the “pool” in your people’s backyard is? Are you still assuming it’s just money or they just enjoy working at your company?
Stop assuming what motivates your people and ask them one on one about it. Then set a plan to help them achieve these things through reaching and exceeding company goals. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much more they are driven to excel at work due to this.
5. Not spending enough time coaching your people on the right things.
Leaders and managers still aren’t spending enough time on a weekly basis coaching and developing their people. Or they aren’t focused on the right things and effective in the time they’re spending with their people. Because of this, they keep having to fix the same problems again and again with their people and they see their people performing at the same level again and again. What most leaders don’t realize is that they’re causing this never-ending loop to happen.
Stop the madness and break the cycle. Spend regular time coaching with each of your people on a weekly basis and learn the items that are most important to coach them on from a behavior, technique, and attitude perspective.
As you review the list, what do you notice?
Were the things on the list caused by all of the challenges from 2020? Or were they already there before 2020 and just got brought to the surface due to the challenges thrown in front of you and the fact that you have been avoiding them for a while?
Do you really need to wait for a new year to start working on fixing these challenges?
Make a decision to commit to fixing these today.
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