It is that time of year when all dedicated sales professionals are not only ending the year strongly, but should also be focusing on what they want to achieve next year. When we have our plan already in place before we return in the New Year, means that we hit the floor running, and we surge into Q1, rather than amble.
Having said that, most people, and I would estimate 80%, because Pareto's principle is always pretty accurate, will not set objectives and, although it has become a bit of a cliche, in failing to plan will in effect, be planning to fail.
The greatest difficulty most people have is knowing where to begin, so here are some thoughts that will hopefully assist you in constructing an achievable plan for the next twelve months and beyond.
You have to set yourself goals, become goal orientated and a goal achiever - otherwise you will drift through life like a ship without a rudder hoping to be swept into a "harbor of opportunity" Unfortunately, without a rudder, you are more likely to end up on the rocks and in later life look back in frustration: "I could have" "If only I had" etc, but by then it will be too late.
Do You Have A Life Map? - If Not, Think Of the Pilot:
Before a pilot takes off he knows the distance and the payload; he has assessed the weather conditions at departure and arrival points and he has contingency plans should those conditions dramatically change in any way.
He is the manager of his crew, he is prepared at all times for the unexpected and he is capable of making instant decisions. He is also able to psychologically accept the mundane
What Have You Been In The Past? Making an Honest Appraisal:
The objective of appraising your past performance - whether that is last year or your entire life - is to improve and capitalize on your strengths and eliminate your weaknesses or limitations. Completing a SLOT analysis regularly will help you enormously, and you are probably already aware of it - but do you update yours regularly?
I would also say that many people call this a SWOT analysis, and the W= Weakness. But you know, I think "weakness" sounds far more permanent than "limitation" which can usually be overcome.
The SLOT analysis can be an extremely useful technique for you to think about what you can offer relative to your external environment and helps you to take stock of your position so that you can plan your future development.
S = Strengths:
What can I do well? What are my best skills and attributes? Where do I have the greatest talent? (Try to illustrate your ideas with concrete examples.)
L = Limitations:
What am I less good at? (In which aspects of your work and personal life do you need improvement? Is the improvement needed large or small?)
O = Opportunities:
What is currently happening that can give me the opportunity for personal growth and improved performance? As technology changes and society advances what new opportunities will occur that I can take advantage of?
T = Threats:
What changes or forces may affect my current situation or act as a barrier to future development? Which people might get in the way? How could I sabotage my own development?
The Strengths and Limitations elements are personal to you. Opportunities and Threats lie in the external environment.
Use Your SLOT Analysis to:
• Identify how you can maximize the use of your strengths
• See how you can compensate for your limitations
• Identify opportunities, particularly ones that may not be immediately obvious
• If at all possible, see if threats can be turned into opportunities
What you have been in the past can only have two influences on the present - positive or negative.
I believe that successful people have invisible plastic wings on their shoulders and this prevents them continually looking back: They only take good experiences forward with them, casting off disappointments, errors of judgment and unhappy times.
Negative people on the other hand, do look back over their shoulder often and carry all the bad experiences forward with them in a large sack on their back. They expect the future to be very much the same as the past and it usually is - this is of course, the "Phenomenon of Fulfilled Expectation"
And yet, ask a group of divorcees who have since re-married, if they are happier now with their new partners and you can be sure that they will be.
Ask anyone who has gone through the stressful experience of redundancy and then found another job, if they are not now happier and more secure - they will be.
So you see the future really is better than the past if we choose to make it so; we have to attack the future fearlessly to achieve a better tomorrow.
If you are serious about setting your goals early for 2012, you may enjoy reading the FREE eBook from my library "If it's to be, it's up to you - the secrets of effective goal setting"