Staying busy is a good thing – but how often do you take the time to step back and assess the results of all your activity?
We’ve all met these people. Common sayings or phrases include “I worked 70 hours last week” or “I made 300 calls this week” or “I sent 1,000 e-mails” or “I’ve sent out 2,500 resumes the last 8 months”. How often does anyone ask, “What did that accomplish”?
We often say and do things just to make ourselves feel good or create the aura (at least in our own mind) that we are doing the best we can. Misery loves company. Ask anyone who has experienced sudden job loss. The natural reaction is to attend numerous networking events and swap stories (with others who have experienced recent job loss) on the evils, unfairness and heartlessness of Corporate America. While the therapeutic value is undeniable, does that really get you any closer to finding a job? Wouldn’t that time and energy be better spent getting in front of decision makers and networking with the still employed to actually find a job?
Whenever sales go down, it’s always the “bad economy” because it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with your prospecting techniques, pitch or focus. If you go fishing at the top of a mountain, chances are you aren’t going to catch many fish! Are you hitting your target market? You feel safe and secure in the fact that you’ve been doing all this “stuff” but have you ever considered whether or not it’s the “right stuff”?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you are sending hundreds of e-mails or making hundreds of calls how much of that activity is converting into actual business or a job offer? How does your recent success rate compare to your historical success rate? How does it compare to industry standards? If you send 1,000 resumes and only get 2 interviews, what does that tell you? If you can’t close a deal in 3-5 sales calls, what does that tell you? The answers are often hard to accept, but they are always the first step towards fixing what’s wrong and moving forward towards real accomplishment – not just feel good activity.
The movie Glengarry Glen Ross comes to mind. In one scene the Alec Baldwin character is berating the sales team for being inept and lacking results. At one point, he breaks into mimicking two people sitting at a bar talking shop. One says to the other “Yeah, I used to be a salesman once. It’s a tough racket”. He then proceeds to take a sip from an imaginary glass of scotch. The connotation – “Gee, I did all I could. I don’t know why I failed”.
If your activity isn’t producing the results you desire, it’s time to re-evaluate your activities. Don’t waste all your time on the things that are easy or the things that make you feel good. Focus your time on the activities that actually produce results.