Here’s a great question that came in from Brett:
Do you think that a sales organization that has no sales goals top down, regardless of sales goals/plans/vision for individuals, is a formula for long term success? Existence, maybe, but growth?
Can I be proactive enough to work from my own goals AND influence my department enough to create departmental goals, even if there’s no connection to an organizational push?
I’m guessing any position anywhere can work if you pretend you’re the CEO of your center of influence (while still understanding that overall, you’re serving the company). Even if there’s no modeling from the top down, it can still be made to work?
Hey Brett, I believe you should do your work “as unto the Lord”. Therefore, you’re always doing the best you possibly can, in the role you’re currently in, even if those around you suck.
I’m not saying this because it’s the Sunday School answer. I truly believe that if you do that day in and day out, then God will respond to your diligence and honoring Him.
He may choose to convince those around you that they need to get on the same plan, or He may decide to take the talents that He has given you, since you didn’t shove them in a jar in the ground, and give you more to do. Like…somewhere else. Either way you win.
- If you continue to work hard at your goals, even though others aren’t, you will still sell and win.
- If by example you get the company to follow suit and work hard on company goals, you win.
- If all you do is please God because of your diligence, and He gives you more to manage, you win like crazy!
I hope this answers the unfortunately common issue you have at hand.
28 thoughts on “What To Do When…”
Awesome advice and perfectly timed – just what I needed to hear today. It can be difficult to continue to work toward goals when it feels like you are the only one working that hard, but you are right – the payoff is great. And what a treat when someone else comes around because of your example. Great post Chris!
Girl, in ministry, or volunteer programs, it’s VERY hard. People feel like goals are corporate. They think it takes away from the God factor. But it doesn’t. The diligent prosper. I read that in a book somewhere. 😉
Ha – you are so right. Focus on the diligent prosper! Thanks!
This is a great question and a great answer. I would definitely agree, even though it’s not always the easy way. It’s easy to just go with the flow like everyone else, but it’s the salmon that makes progress as it goes against the flow.
I would say that you should put everything you have into it. If you get too much resistance after a while (don’t you love an undefined time frame like that), it might be time to look somewhere else (while still giving your all). I say this with fingers pointing back at myself, too.
Hahaha…as do I. 🙂
I am a Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a $25 million manufacturing company. We were established in 1977 and, until 2012 there was no established sales goal. We just bumped along doing the best we could and adjusting our expenses to match projected sales. I joined the company in 1995 so I was a part of this “lack of sales goal” era. Frankly, it was boring but we attempted to honor the Lord with our work ethic and desire to win new business. In 2012 we took part in some strategic planning courses and consulting that pressed us to establish sales goals, internal metrics, and supporting cost savings initiatives that have energized the company.
With that background, here is my counsel to Brett. Set a sales goal and press to meet it. Be the example. Document your progress through visual aids. Don’t post them on your cubicle wall for bragging rights but set targets and then pick out three strategies to meet it. Not 5, not 10, just three. For example, 1. Develop a three year plan to grow the amount of business at your current customers. 2. Identify a target market and learn about it before you call on them. Know their current suppliers, their current products, their current growth plan. 3. Identify a competitor that you can replace and learn about them. What is their strength and their weakness and capitalize on it.
Most importantly, chart your progress! If it is not visual, you won’t track it.
Lastly, a little chastisement. Don’t let the lack of corporate goals be your excuse to not excel. You do work for the guy down the hall but, most importantly you work for the God of the universe and he loves you immensely. You sent His kid to die in your place…You can make one extra phone call, email, or office visit today to honor Him.
Beautifully written David.
Great stuff David!!
There is a huge additional benefit to David’s advice, esp point 2. When you’ve learned the needs of a niche market, and you’re networked well with lots of customers inside that niche, you begin to discover all of the other needs that they have that you might be able to meet. What does Seth Godin say? Find out what customers want and give it to them…? The risk is that you may become diluted in your core offerings. However, if you approach these opp’s with clarity, there can be significant sales growth in new areas.
And he’s back! Good to hear from you again Chris!!! Everyone’s been waiting patiently…
I know exactly how Brett feels in this situation and agree with Chris’s recommendations.
The thing I’ll add here is that you will most likely never 100% agree with how things are being managed from the top; even in the best organization. That’s because you don’t see things the way they see things.
With that being said…If there is a lack of leadership, which is often the case, you can’t let that stop you from leading yourself.
Time and time again I’ve seen situations where this happens and leaders notice. They may not say anything, but they notice. It may even rub off on them. Just don’t get mad if they decide to start using your ideas all of a sudden.
As long as you aren’t just looking for glory and you simply want the organization and your sphere of influence to be lead better, then I believe He will bless your efforts!
Well said sir!
Great advice–just be prepared to be forced out by small minds who would rather have less success and not be shown up by someone more successful; the harder worker sets up higher expectations that the small minds don’t want to have to reach. Do I sound cynical? It’s the voice of experience.
HAHAHA!!!! Yes you have experienced that. It sucks, but as long as you’re prepared, like you said, you can push on towards the goal. Thanks!
I like to say the difference between cynicism and realism is experience.
That being said, sometimes you can make converts from your critics, or they may just uncomfortable enough to self-deselect.
What would I do?
Work my tail off and be the top salesperson and make a fortune doing so. And like you said, if that doesn’t work, go elsewhere if needed.
Thanks Chris for this post! I’ve followed this advise for the last 17 years while serving in the military. Whenever I have a bad leader, I am quickly reminded that my work is unto God and not man. I also like the idea that I am the CEO of my own circle of influence. I feel so empowered now to make a difference.
Amen Cain!! And thank you for serving sir!!!
The issue of stewardship of our time and talents is really important to me – we have every reason to be awesome, and no excuses not to be!
Great answer Chris…Glad have back on the playing field!
If you are an exceptional working in a dysfunctional organization, then I would agree with Chris. Work for the Lord and with your focus on your own goals. I’ve seen this play out in a few ways, either that the great performances of a few key workers can be transformative of the culture and turn the whole ship around or you shine your light so bright that someone notices.
Of course, in the times we live in there is no reason to be developing sales and revenue for a company that has no vision of its own future, then that company may not have a vision with you in it. Take those skills, contacts and show the world what you can do on your own!
Among the many things I’ve learned being part of this community is that you can definitely lead up and influence those around you. It’s a matter of how much of a battle you want to fight and how long do you want to stick around for things to start changing.
There are people who refuse to be teachable/coachable and that’s when you have to make the hard choice to pack your bags. If that’s the case, it will be extremely liberating, and if you choose to stay, it will be very rewarding. Any way, you have made the choice and like Chris said, you will win.
Brett, Chris is right. Always do your best, period. It’s the best way to please God, and it’s the best thing for your own future, too. It’s the winner’s habit. If you do this and find that it is not appreciated or contagious, that may be your sign that your talents should be utilized elsewhere. My husband brought in business at his firm. It wasn’t appreciated. He now owns his own firm and is crushing the old firm. He’s not trying to be mean–he’s trying to be his best and serve his clients equally, not by the prestige of the contract. Serve your customers always. Push yourself, always! As Mother Teresa said, “Ultimately, it’s between you and God anyway!”
Great topic. I work in HQ operations for a major retailer and learned that sometimes you can set the goal next year by a what your doing today. If you accomplish a specific goal that adds real value to the organization one year, you can bring that up at the end of the year and say here is the direct value I added this year, and next year I think we can do this across multiple lines of business. By doing that you are letting the data drive the goal. And not to many managers can choose to ignore that – and the profitability that might come out of that if you scale it across a department – or maybe the whole company!
Very nice, real world answers that help professionals at all levels. Thanks!
Great responses all! And I really like David L’s suggestions. Not admitting to being the ‘Brett’ in question here, I would say that he would never say that ‘not working hard’ is an option. The question is how to frame work in such a way as to go against the flow of a culture so you really can do your best work. So many good suggestions here to that very point. To use an analogy from the old youth group days: How can you live for Jesus in a setting that cries out against it?
That said, I do realize that I always have to be figuring out where I’m my own worst enemy. I’ve read enough sales literature and blogs to know that typically, it’s less a ‘them’ problem and more of a ‘me’ problem. All orgs have their issues and we should spend less time righting their wrongs and more time being as exceptional as possible. At a certain point, either the excelling will be noticed in-house or elsewhere (or we’ll be so jazzed that we’ll have an opportunity to excel on our own).
A great post from The Sales Blog on the idea that an organization is what we make of it: http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2013/05/30/its-pretty-much-the-same-here/
My character is having an influence on my co-workers. Some co-workers, what the heck “a lot of” them, fear my can do attitude. But there is a growing group of peers that share my same work ethic and can do attitude. And we are starting to support each other. And all I have done is taken the challenges of my job and done it with intention.
But it is frustrating to not have real goals. I am not even sure my supervisors understand my job enough to set goals or guidelines beyond ‘show up and do what you do.’ I love the comments from David L. And I am glad you asked the question to start this conversation.