You’ve probably heard the story of the golfer who steps up to the tee box and hits a wicked duck hook out of bounds.
Embarrassed, he reaches in his pocket, tees up another ball and again, hits another horrific twisting shot left out of bounds. Now angry and determined, he walks back to his bag, gets another ball, tees it up again, and duplicates his first two shots out of bounds to the left. In a fit of frustration, he slams his club into his bag, aggressively flings his club over his shoulders, mumbles some choice expletives to himself as he’s chipping his teeth, and heads up the fairway uncertain as to where he’s going to drop a ball to make his next shot.
I use this as an analogy often in my talks with groups when discussing business professionals who are determined to be successful yet continue to fail. People like:
The determined sales executive who is working extremely hard and is not bringing in the sales and makes the decision to work even harder.
The determined manager who has a tight grip on her team but cannot get them to take their game to the next level, so she implements even more controls.
The determined leader whose company is not reaching their numbers and meets endlessly with his team to discuss solutions, but he keeps asking the same questions over and over again to the same people, never getting any outside opinions.
So, in these examples, what’s missing? You certainly can’t fault their determination, can you? These people possess many characteristics of a determined individual. Their persistence, assertiveness, and even aggressiveness are to be admired, right?
Well, yes and no.
You must be determined to rise to the challenge when faced with adversity, challenges, even hardship. However, determination alone doesn’t solve problems.
In my daily work with others, I encounter many different executives in sales, operations, management, and leadership roles who are very determined people. They are successful on many levels, yet many are also struggling to breakthrough to new levels and have hit a wall in terms of how to get there. Usually it is because the very thing that got them this far, their determination, is missing a key ingredient: the willingness to make intelligent changes along the way.
People who make personal and business related breakthroughs of any significance are first and foremost determined individuals. However, inside their determination is the ability to learn from their actions and constantly change those actions until they reach their desired goal. Trial and error causes them to rethink and retool their strategies. Their determination is fueled by their willingness to make intelligent changes and adjustments along the way.
Top 5 Things You Must Do Today For Breakthrough Achievements Tomorrow and Beyond
1. Write down the goals you want to achieve and list the obstacles or roadblocks that keep you from reaching them. Be thorough.
2. Brainstorm three new ways to get around the roadblocks. Make sure they’re things you’ve never tried before. Run your ideas by someone you have confidence in and see if they can add to or give you any new ideas. Better yet, meet with someone who has achieved the goal you are after. Be open-minded.
3. Turn the three best ideas into actual strategies and prioritize them with the most important coming first. Be bold and take some risks outside of your comfort zone.
4. Put tactics behind those three strategies. Be detailed on the little tasks you have to complete to implement your strategies.
5. Start with your best strategy and implement with pure determination. If that doesn’t work, move on to the second one, and so on. If you’ve exhausted the three best ideas and still have not achieved your goal, make a list of three more ideas and repeat the process. Make intelligent changes.
Successful people have a “crack the code” mentality.
Successful business leader, executives, employees and people in general are forever making changes to their problem solving approaches until their problems are solved. Then, they move on to a new one. Like the golfer used in the example, if your duck hooking the ball off the tee—change your grip, your stance, your back swing, something. Don’t do the same thing harder and expect different results. Fuel your determination with intelligent changes along the way.
By Chuck Mache
Chuck Mache has 25-plus years of experience in selling, managing, building and leading sales organizations regionally and internationally. Get his book, The Four Kinds of Sales People: Your Personal Path to Breakthrough Achievement, at www.chuckmache.com.