You’ve probably heard the old joke about the man stopping a cabbie in New York to ask for directions. “Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”
“Sure,” said the cabbie. “Practice, practice, practice!”
Nice gag, but practice by itself in any field will not guarantee success. Practicing the right things in the right way will. Winners find the best of the best as their mentors and coaches and are relentless in applying and practicing the guidance they receive. The greatest artists, scientists, and athletes hook up with teachers that know more about the craft than anyone else, then they follow their advice.
The same thing applies to business. Don’t think that doing something over and over is enough to achieve mastery. Find people who’ve been there before who can tell you where to focus your attention and how to practice your skills. That’s the ticket to success that really works.
Have you seen the TV series Lie To Me? The main character is an expert in micro-expressions, including the subtle signs that someone is not telling the truth.
When it comes to disengagement at work, a lot of the same signs are in play, and you don’t have to be an expert to spot them. You just have to care enough to look for them.
When people are disengaged, they make eyes at others during meetings as if others can’t see it. The person playing with a pencil, not making eye contact, or even texting during a meeting is disengaged. They might stand off to the side after the meeting is over, speaking under their breath, or even leave early without permission.
Forbes columnist Kevin Kruse suggests an intervention as early as possible. Engage the disengaged person by asking for input or opinions during the meeting: “Michelle, how do you think we can approach this in the most effective way?”
If the person doesn’t snap out by the end of the meeting, have a quick chat right away: “I couldn’t help noticing that you seemed a little distracted during the meeting. Do you have any concerns about the way this is being done?”
This can be done no matter who you are. You don’t have to be the project leader to address disengagement, just a team member who cares.
Whatever job you are doing, chances are you could shave off substantial time and get the same result, or use the same amount of time and DOUBLE the result, just by saying, “How can this be done differently to create a better outcome in less time?”
But we rarely do it. We dive right in and flail around, thinking a quick start is the best way to save time. No way.
This is especially important as we mature in our work. In fact, it’s the WAY we mature. Some people never get this, so they don’t improve, and they’re in the same job for 20 years because their performance is always the same. That’s not good.
If they’ve been in the same job for 20 years, their performance should be DRAMATICALLY improved from when they started. They should be able to get all the same results in half the time, or twice the results in the same time—at a minimum.
Otherwise…what were those 20 years really about?
This doesn’t always happen all at once. You don’t ask yourself, “How can I do this twice as fast?” right this second—although you could. But every day we should be asking the question, “How can I do this a little bit better, a little more efficiently?” Over time, those little efficiencies add up to a powerful result.
Have you ever been on a sales team that’s failing to hit the numbers, month after month…after month?
If you are hitting your own numbers, it’s tempting to just keep your head down and continue coming out on top. But the overall numbers matter to the health of the company, which means they should matter to you as well.
In fact, if you’re not on the direct sales team, hitting those goals matters because money for raises and bonuses comes from increased revenue.
YES, it DOES matter to you, no matter what.
So what can you do? Step up and solve the problem.
The most likely problem is people aren’t following the sales process. Perhaps they don’t know how to sell at premium pricing. Or perhaps they don’t have the confidence to make or handle the calls.
Whatever the problem, realize you are there to be a part of the solution. And realize that the solution can never work unless people get honest. Almost all sales discrepancies have to do with people not being full authentic about not following the sales process or making the right number of sales calls.
You’ve heard the old statement…the truth will set you free.
What can you do today to help your organization hit its revenue goals?
Encourage your colleagues to be honest with management about how they need to do things better or different. When the company wins, everybody wins.
People said it was impossible…
but on May 6th, 1954, Roger Bannister proved the world wrong, breaking the elusive 4-minute mile and establishing a new world record that had stood for 9 years!
Even more interesting that the achievement was the world’s reaction. What had been thought impossible, was suddenly just the starting point for even greater achievement.
Less than two months later, John Landy also broke the four-minute mile, besting Bannister by a full two seconds. And within three years, a total of 16 runners had joined the club.
Had the human body changed? hmmm…no I don’t think so. Had the track shrunk in size? Nope. A mile was still a mile.
So what changed? Runners believed it was possible. A limiting belief, a psychological barrier had held others back for years. But one after another, runners began to believe.
The world record currently stands at 3 minutes, 43 seconds. Fancy that.
What barriers have you constructed in your life? What have you deemed as impossible? Imagine infinite possibility. Disallow those psychological barriers and normalize the impossible.
How can you break the four-minute mile in your life?