Imagine Growth

Ready. Set. No, no, no…you have it all wrong

Posted by: Mike Nathan | Posted on: February 24th, 2013 | 0 Comments

When was the last time you accomplished something great by thinking and planning it for days, weeks, even months on end?  Just like in life, I suspect the best things ever done in business or in sales, involved a dash of cunning, a bit of luck, and a bunch of hard work.  You took action.

Action:  Take it NOW or lose your emotional and mental momentum.  Especially in sales and marketing, any success I may have had did not come from long strategic vision retreats, planning meetings, endless conference calls, or yawn-a-minute webinars.  It usually derived from taking appropriate action armed with just enough information to think I couldn’t be stopped.

There is a school of thought, let’s call it the Agile School.  My partner and the smartest guy I know, Lee Stocking, turned me on to this idea.  I will paraphrase my understanding of the idea into: Do, Reflect, Re-design, Do again.  Taking action and starting is the key, while learning how to achieve better outcomes during the execution is the balance in the Agile School.  U.S. Marines motto is Semper Fi, but their mantra is improvise, adapt, and overcome.  To be clear, this school of thought is not suggesting mindless motion for the sake of action nor abandonment of strategy and tactics.  However, it suggests the exercise of creating strategy and tactics is not enough alone…action must ensue logically.

Your strategic vision should give you a direction in which to head.  By all means, go in that direction.  Discussing the tactical plan for a 30-60-90 day plans for the next 60 days is completely counterproductive.  My mentor Craig Lien, Associate Dean College of Business and Organizational Development for Concordia University – St. Paul, always warned not to confuse motion for progress.  The point is the lessons learned in an agile sales and marketing campaign will yield greater insight in to the marketplace than just planning for it.  Take action, be agile.  “A good battle plan that you act on today can be better than a perfect one tomorrow.”- Gen. George S. Patton.

Consistent, high-quality activity is the Holy Grail for all sales managers, executives, and reps.  This is accomplished by a careful blend of preparation and action in sales and marketing activities.  It seems in our overly “strategic” business environment today, we’ve forgotten our wild abandon, our whirling dervish, our get up and go.  I will put forth that business development departments needs to drive the organization, push the envelope, and ask for forgiveness.  There will be plenty of internal (accounting and operations departments, I am looking at you) and external restraints to give fair warning before you can do too much harm to yourself.  Take action, be agile.

Human beings were not meant to spend 8 hours a day in meetings, on conference calls, logged-in to webinars, and gawking into their cubicle.   Get out on sales call…find the next account…call up a prospect…introduce yourself…go back to the prospect who said “no” one more time…find a connection in…find new value for your prospect/customer…listen…seek to understand…and for love of God, take action today.  Oh, by the way, your culture will explode (positively) once you become action orientated.

The take away: Take action and be agile in your business development efforts.  Good today is better than perfect tomorrow.  Action builds positive culture.

Mike Nathan, MBA

Managing Partner

Next Stage Growth Partners

(651) 214-7473

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