Once you’re motivated to change, you’re committed to being the best you can be, and you know what you want, set your goals and clarify the actions you’ll take towards them. Setting and achieving goals is what separates high performers from the rest of the population.
In recent roles leading business teams in organisations, I was approached to act as an adviser, or mentor, to people within the organisation who wanted advice on how to ‘get on’ in the company. While each person had different needs, skills, experiences and ambitions, similar themes emerged. In these discussions, the key point I emphasised was that without the openness, willingness and desire to change, you cannot develop, improve and achieve your future goals.
The ability to change is everything
Once the person and I had established and agreed on the importance of change, the conversation would focus on three simple but powerful ideas:
- Commit to mastery and decide on a future role
- Gain future role experience immediately
- Set goals and take consistent action towards them
- Let’s look at each more closely:
Commit to mastery and decide on a future role
First, you must commit to becoming the best you’re capable of being in your current role. Become the go-to person. Someone who is known to be an expert and who consistently delivers their best over the long term. No spotty performance, no slacking – always delivering and searching for ways to improve and stay at the top. Second, you must be clear on what you want your future role to be. For some, this might involve a promotion. In the right company, performing at your best gets you recognition and promotions. I appreciate there are exceptions to this, but it’s worth remembering that even if this isn’t true for your organisation, there is no downside to this approach. If you’re focused on development, you’ll become so valuable that you can move on elsewhere, if not within your own organisation. What’s important is to define the future role. This will give you a point of focus – a target to aim for.
Gain future role experience immediately
I learned early in my career that it’s difficult to be ready for your next role if you don’t have experience doing it in some way. There is immense value in gaining experience in advance. It pushes you outside of your comfort zone, forces you to learn new skills, adds value to your business and prepares you for the future. There may be some pressure involved in the learning process, but this is fantastic preparation and life experience. It will make you a more well-rounded, confident person.
Once you’re clear on your next role, speak with your line manager and peers about your aspirations. They can help you find opportunities to ‘step up’ and develop. Most people wait for a promotion and then get frustrated when they’re overlooked, even though they haven’t done anything tangible to prepare themselves. Don’t wait for the promotion to get the experience. Take action. One other thing to consider – don’t get hung up on being paid more or getting rewarded for taking on additional responsibilities. The money and rewards will come when you have the experience and are able to move upwards to that role. For now, appreciate the opportunity to develop yourself. Once you’ve learned a skill or gained experience, it is yours to keep. It becomes part of you, and that is priceless.
Set goals and take consistent action towards them
Once you’re motivated to change, you’re committed to being the best you can be, and you know what you want, set your goals and clarify the actions you’ll take towards them. Setting and achieving goals is what separates high performers from the rest of the population. Make a habit of setting goals and taking action and it will pay you back tenfold over time. A number of goal-setting templates allow you to document and track your performance against your goals, including apps that you can use on your mobile, tablet or PC. Click here for an example.
When setting goals, it’s important to use positive statements. Be clear about what you want rather than what you don’t want. While this advice may be overused, it cannot be overemphasised. Our minds cannot process negative goals. The unconscious mind will work to achieve whatever you put your focus and attention on. While you can use consequences to spur you into action, you must not let them be the defined goal. Clearly state your goals (and write them down whenever possible) so that you give your mind (and your actions) a target.
Consider these statements:
- I really don’t want to miss my sales targets this year.
- I’m going to over-deliver by 10% against my sales target this year.
The second statement is much more effective. Even if you don’t achieve the 10% growth over your target figure, your mind, your plan and your actions are firmly centred on overachievement. Repeatedly asking yourself how you will achieve the 10% over target will stimulate thoughts and actions that will drive you to greater success. Be conscious of the goals you set for yourself, and make sure you use positive statements when writing them down. This simple principle will revolutionise your results.
Your career journey
In my working life so far, I’ve had twelve different careers (including being an author/speaker/executive coach). While this number might sound high, it falls within an average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average US worker will have 12.3 jobs in their working lifetime, and that number is rising. Workers now stay, on average, just four years in a role or an organisation. While companies are trying to figure out how they can keep employees loyal, employees are focusing on increasing their value so they’re ready for change when the time is right.
The best way to prepare yourself is to acquire skills and experience that can be easily transferred – skills and experience that will be valuable in the future as well as now. Once you set your mind to it, you can achieve virtually anything: you just need the time, practice and determination to improve yourself every single day. With this commitment, you can become one of the highest- performing people in your field (or any field). What’s more, you’ll have a highly valued, transferable skill set. My career has been a journey with numerous stops and changes along the way. Each part of the journey has formed the foundation for the next and given me a helping hand. As you develop skills and competence in one area, you’ll naturally aspire to improve or challenge yourself further. This level of internal desire presents amazing opportunities for personal growth and satisfaction.
Changing our behaviours and habits can take a tremendous amount of effort, but the results are well worth it. Before we can change, we must be aware of and break through our existing blocks, resistance and forgetfulness. The well-documented ‘Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve’ describes how we lose memory of learned knowledge over time, with as little as 25% of knowledge retained after just six days. But with action planning, reflection, repetition and coaching, this can be increased to as high as 90%.
Through my client work and career to date, I’ve learned that to make lasting change, you must envision a powerful and compelling future and then clearly identify your personal motives (your motivation for change), capture them and revisit them regularly. Awareness of your resistance to change and a compelling reason to change will be a source of energy that keeps your motivation levels high. Throughout these articles you’ll find opportunities to identify your reasons for change and actions you can take. This will help you gain clarity on your motivation and the ways in which you’ll make that change happen.
Taking notes, reflecting on them and then committing to action will fuel your desire to improve and ensure your future success. I recommend making a commitment to yourself in advance – a commitment that evokes a powerful emotional response in you. We’ll revisit it often, so you’re held accountable to change and can access the best version of you.
Before we move on, reflect on this chapter and write down your thoughts in your journal or notebook.
• What level of performance would you like to reach?
• Why is it important that you embrace change and strengthen your skills?
• How will you keep yourself on track when you’re busy or you lose focus?
You may also want to consider other points covered in this article and write about them. What are your thoughts and some possible actions you can take?
What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done better and what gets rewarded gets repeated!
If you’ve never measured your, or your teams, sales capability, then you’re missing out on priceless insights, awareness and potential. The act of measurement and creating self awareness can trigger intrinsic motivation and start the ripple of change that drive exponential future growth for your business.
There’s a simple and powerful way to do this for your team, and It’s completely free of charge.
The Sales Acceleration Scorecard!
Schedule 15 minutes In your diary, follow the link below, answer the questions and you’ll be starting a process that will change everything.
Our Mission to elevate the Sales Profession
Many people working in sales today have never been trained to use a true ‘Consultative Selling Approach’. This doesn’t just impact their performance and capability, it affects their confidence and enjoyment of their work. Very often they can feel anxious, uncertain and concerned that they aren’t fulfilling their true potential. Our Founder Justin Leigh knows this only too well from personal experience early in his sales career, before he discovered the impact of personal development and committed himself to lifelong learning and growth.
At Focus4growth we’re on a mission to elevate the Sales Profession!
Sales should be a position that is respected, professional and trusted. We believe Sales Professionals (and all business professionals) should feel proud of the work they do, have confidence in their abilities, enjoy their work and know they are performing at the highest level possible. When Sales Teams make this transformation, they create enormous value for their clients (and their business) and they begin a positive cycle that continually improves their performance, results and future potential.
This is the reason Focus4growth exists!
Don’t settle for ordinary, if you’re ready let’s start our journey together and your extraordinary transformation. You have greater potential than you ever realised, let’s unlock It!
About the author
Justin is the founder of Focus4growth Ltd, a Sales & Leadership Coaching company specialising in the dental market. He’s the best selling author of Inspire, Influence, Sell. He has over 25 years’ experience in sales & leadership and is an accredited Executive Coach. Justin runs programs for dental leaders and teams to develop high performance, high growth teams. Justin is privileged to work with market leading dental companies including; Align Technology, Septodont, Biohorizons, W&H, SDI, MiSmile Network and many more.
In 2020 Justin was invited to partner with the British Dental Industry Association as their preferred Sales Trainer and works with BDIA member sales teams using the proven INSPIRe consultative sales system. Justin speaks at many events and on behalf of leading associations, like the BACD, the Institute of Directors, the Association of Professional Sales and many more.
He is on a mission to show sales leaders and teams how they can achieve ‘best in class’ sales growth. At Focus4growth our vision is to ‘Inspire our Dental Clients with the confidence, capability and consistency so they become the market-leaders in their field.’