What Aren't You Willing To Do To Make It Happen?

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Dave Anderson - Also by this author

Companies stop growing when the price gets too high and so do people. In fact, whenever you fall short of your goals, there's normally a price you weren't willing to pay. So it's important to challenge yourself with the following question:

"What wasn't I willing to do to make it happen?"

You ask this question not to beat yourself up, but to get answers and a renewed focus that will prevent you from repeating the same errors and adhering to the wrong strategy. For instance, if you're in sales and have just finished a poor month, you might ask yourself the following versions of this question to get answers that will increase your performance:

  • What skills weren't I willing to develop?
  • What customers weren't I willing to call back, or wait on, or try one more closing technique on?
  • What hours weren't I willing to work?
  • What preparation wasn't I willing to do
  • What attitude wasn't I willing to maintain?
  • What setbacks were I not willing to forget about and get over?
  • What excuses were I not willing to let go of?
  • What goals were I not willing to set that would have kept me focused and motivated?
Again, the idea is to take responsibility for what you could have controlled - and there was plenty - and not to pass the blame to 'conditions'. It's our decisions, much more than our conditions, that determine our success. After you've asked yourself these questions, you'll be ready to make more of the right decisions next month.
If you're a manager, your questions could sound like this:
  • What skills weren't I willing to develop?
  • Which people were I not willing to coach, train, empower and mentor?
  • What strategies were I not willing to employ or abandon that could have produced better performance?
  • What preparation was I not willing to provide for my team to help ensure their success?
  • What hours were I not willing to work?
  • What extra mile did I fail to walk?
  • What advice was I not willing to seek out or listen to?
  • What poor performers were I not willing to terminate?
  • Which top performers were I not willing to adequately reward?
  • What vision was I not willing to develop or share?
It's important to learn from our mistakes. If we don't question ourselves when we fall short, we are doomed to cling to the wrong strategies and repeat the lessons again and again. When this happens, failing becomes a habit: an expensive and debilitating one.

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