Starting With A Clean Slate


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Sales is one of the few professions when we start each new (fiscal) year with a clean slate. Everything is reset. Whether we had outstanding success and overachieved are quotas or we struggled and didn’t quite make it, we come into a new year with clean slates.

New quota’s. Sometimes new territories and customers. Usually a lot of excitement around new initiatives and programs to help us be more successful. We may have celebrations—Sales Kickoff Meetings–celebrating the success of the past year and getting excited about the coming year.

It’s a great feeling!

However, in reality, we aren’t starting with a clean slate. Each of us carries a lot of “baggage” into each new year. It’s the baggage of habit, comfort, perhaps some overconfidence or complacency. Some of what is done in Sales Kickoff’s may focus on changing some of this. But in reality, it becomes very personal.

As professionals, we have to continue to improve, change, and innovate. The bar on performance is raised every year. Customers’ expectations are continuing to increase. Competition always intensifies.

The new year offers us an opportunity to change ourselves. Not with great pronouncements of resolutions and good intent, but with some reflection and commitment to improve. This commitment to improve isn’t just because it’s a new year, but because performing at the highest levels requires us to continually improve.

The New Year gives as a moment to consider what we might focus on and how we can create a habit of continual improvement. Spend a few minutes over the next few days to consider:

  • What did you do this year that really served your customers, your company, your colleagues well? How will you continue through this year?
  • What about the opposite? What didn’t work? How are you going to stop doing it? What do you need to improve?
  • What are your goals to improve this year? What milestones are you setting to make sure you achieve them? What help do you need and have you communicated that to those who can help you?

That’s enough. Just think about those things. Figure out what you intend to do–not as a resolution, but identify the first couple of steps you will take and set a goal to achieve it. When you reach it, do the whole process again–whether it’s the end of the month, February, March, or whatever.

Most importantly, try to rid yourself of “baggage” that serves neither your customers, your company, your colleagues, or you well. It’s a pure waste of your time to continue doing those things.

Best wishes for your New Year!

(Just a quick note. My friend Anthony Iannarino was thinking along the same path and virtually the same time. As I was about to push the “publish” button, I noticed his post on the same topic. Make sure you read it Wiping The Slate Clean.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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