Shiny Objects

One of the fastest cars in the world is the Bugatti Veyron. Its maximum speed is 415 km/h (258 mph). Unfortunately, at this speed, it takes 20 minutes before the car needs to refuel: Though Bugatti succeeded in making one of the quickest cars in the world, its masterpiece won’t take you from A to B quickly.

This is a typical example of improving potential over performance. We often take extreme measures to optimize a specific part of our business, but at the same time the overall business performance does not improve. The reason is that the performance of any business is actually determined by its weakest part.

Two years ago, I worked with a company which had built an elaborate and sophisticated CRM system to capture all kind of important details of their customers. Yet, anticipated business growth never materialized. We quickly discovered that account managers continued to sell in the old way, because they didn’t feel the need to use the data from the new CRM system. The actual issue preventing rapid growth, was that the leadership of this company lacked the courage to hold their account managers accountable for following the three basic elements of a sales processes: prospecting, presenting, and following up. They didn’t meet this glaring weakness head-on, but tried to solve an actual leadership behavior issue with a new CRM system. The new system earned them bragging rights, yet they collectively lost sight of the actual business growth goal.

If you want to improve performance, don’t mindlessly focus on the next shiny object. Instead, ask yourself honestly which one skill or behavior would have the biggest positive impact on your results. This skill or behavior is the weakest part which determines your entire performance. Then design and execute a plan to improve this skill or behavior quickly yourself, and hold your people accountable to improve as well.


Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/SSpino

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