Good Intentions Are Not Enough: My Improvement Plan as a Sales Professional


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Last month was the kickoff of the Seller’s Challenge to commit to doing things that work on a continuing basis, not just part-time, not just sometimes. In other words, to keep on keeping on, and not fall off the wagon (i.e., become complacent).

I presented my own “wheel” last month and invited you to draw yours to see where you may be overextended and where you may be coming up short. Since then, I went on a weeklong retreat with my business partner, Jim Dickie, and he offered another way of looking at the wheel—more like a tire. He asked, “Which segments of self do I want to pump more air into, which will I let some air out of?”

It would appear the lower left half of my wheel is suffering while the upper right half is succeeding. I don’t think this is the least bit unique: seeing family/social/spiritual time being short-changed while emphasis is given to work/working out/earning a living.

The past 2 years, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to work (since CSOi was acquired) and did a LOT of travel. My plan is to travel less and expand my virtual/digital presence more. At the same time, I’m cutting back my work week to 36 hours MAX, and shooting for 32, which will then free up more time for family and social.

I’m not aiming for a 4-Hour Work Week (see Timothy Ferriss) but I am targeting a 4-day work week.

You may recall, the thrust here is not merely to have good intentions but to publicly declare specific goals. So, cutting back to 4.5 days/week sounds easy, but it’s also easy for me to find myself working Saturday morning (doing expenses and billing).

Turning Intentions into Change

In terms of declaring intentions to make them real, I’m suggesting the following format as a starting point: target/goal, what success looks like, metrics to measure progress.

Here’s my public declaration for the Professional segment of my wheel:

Goal: 36 hours/week maximum (tracking actual hours in daily log starting 10/09/17).

Success looks like: Creating more digital content, more FOCUS during FEWER work hours.

Metrics: Actual hours logged each week. Queue of content developed and ready to post.

Goal: My thinking is that restricting the number of work hours will free up time to “pump more air” into other segments. Said another way, maybe taking Professional down to a 7, and increasing Family to at least a 5 or 6, would address the two hi/lo segments. I also have the strong feeling that being held accountable to a fixed/limited number of hours will help me stay on task.

I’ve spent some time the past week looking at specifically how I’m going to do this. Noting activities on my daily calendar (I use Google Calendar) is a good way to look at the week but not necessarily to track specific activities. I’m a huge fan of Microsoft’s OneNote and looked at various scheduling templates thinking I’d record my activities every 30 minutes. Then decided, that was more wasted motion than useful, so am focusing on setting clear objectives for each week and allotting specific time periods to doing each. I will still log hours in OneNote (have already been doing that) but will set goals and set aside time in advance on my calendar to start each week.

So it’s not enough to declare your intentions (though I maintain that’s important), you also need to figure out how you’re going to accomplish them. I’ll keep you posted.

Success: Creating more digital content. I have a number of concepts/topics/models that I’ve been talking about and/or carrying around in my head for the past few years—or decades. My goal is to create digital content to get broader exposure to these ideas to validate the–or not.

I’m not really interested in tweeting/retweeting but am interested in highlighting good content (whoever the author is). I’ll read/post more content over the coming weeks and have a consultant lined up to help me flesh out the process. Will create 2 videos and 2 blogs in the next 4 weeks in support of this goal.

Now it’s your turn. Did you draw your wheel and, if so, have you assessed where you want to either pump some air in and, at the same time, let some air out? I hope that you’ll share this journey with me and invite you to post your public declaration here, so we can hold one another accountable!

If you have suggestions on platform, your routine for being social, or other tips for swimming in the social stream, please share them here. This is about sharing, public discourse (and declarations!) and holding one another accountable to gain balance, productivity and joy.

Barry Trailer
Barry has been involved in complex B2B sales for over 30 years and is intrigued with how it's changed/changing and what this means to Sales as a Profession (SaaP). Salesware, the analytics company he co-founded, was acquired by Goldmine Software in 2000 and his next company, CSO Insights with Jim Dickie, was acquired by Miller Heiman Group in 2015. He has twice been published by, and been a keynote for, Harvard Business Review, and is author of Sales Mastery, a novel.


  1. Hiee Barry,

    I want to add one point in this discussion, if we want to write content, especially for Digital Medium… We should add “Creative and Visual Flavour”.. So whoever reading our stuffs can understand our topic in a minute.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ketan J


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