Sunday, June 19, 2016

Optimist, Pragmatism, and finding a path to success

Earlier today I was looking over ESPN's website for up to date news on tonight's Game 7 between Cleveland and Golden State. While on their site I clicked over to the MLB news to see what happened today with the Braves. I live in Atlanta, so at the time of this Post the ATL Braves are struggling through rebuilding, but have managed to win five (5) in a row, including a 2 game sweep of the Reds and a 3 game sweep of the Mets in NY. Somewhat sarcastically I put out a tweet that with this 5-game winning streak and Philadelphia having lost six (6) in a row, the ATL has gained 11 games on Philly and we're marching toward reaching 30 wins, the amount Philly has at this moment. The ATL is still 7 games behind Philly and 20+ games under .500 for the year.

Right after I sent the sarcastic tweet I began working the math for how the ATL will need to perform for the balance of the season to catch Washington for the Division lead or possibly climb into a Wild Card slot. While working the math I realized I was battling with the Optimist in me that wants my team(s) to succeed and the Pragmatist in me that knows some holes are too big to escape. Then I wondered if the tweet was really me being sarcastic, or just me looking for rays of sunshine. After all a 5-game streak of wins at any professional level is impressive (the other side is getting paid too).

The reality of wanting success and knowing that it is statistically improbable and your luck is better invested into lottery tickets is a challenging place to be for a sales person and their manager. The big deal doesn't come through or pushes itself to the right so far that there is no way it will come in on time to make the month, quarter, year (whatever your goal). So right away you start working the math on the balance of your/their funnel trying to find a patch to success.

I think you have to be both honest and optimistic about the possibility for achievement. You have to plan, prepare, work, be aggressive, be smart, and evaluate your plan constantly. Individual results are easy to fit into achieved/did-not-achieve categories, but what were the reasons for both. Sometimes luck swings both ways regardless of your planning, preparation, and effort. Knowing that your work and effort is the right work and effort can be the rays of sunshine (optimist) in the very real and unpleasant reality of your current success.

Good leaders need to recognize what is happening and adjust as needed. Good Sales Professionals need to do the same.

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