Planning to Maintain Momentum (Issue 543)

In which we are reminded to plan ahead to maintain our momentum to finish this year strong and prepare for 2012.

This past weekend in Boston was the 2011 Head of the Charles Regatta. This weather was almost perfect for rowing we were grateful that neither snow, nor sleet, nor hail fell from the skies.

8,000 rowers of all sizes, ages, rowing classes, and geographies rowed 3 miles up the Charles River in a “head” race (meaning that the boats started one after another in a numbered sequence rather than all together). They raced against the clock, lowest course time claiming the win. The boats wound their way up river under arched bridges and around several river turns.  Faster boats overtook slower boats and, ideally, did not lose precious time and momentum by going too wide or colliding with each other or with bridge abutments as this  men’s 8 did  late in their 2010 race…  (Youtube: Head of the Charles 2010 Mens 8+ takes a bad line)

 or as these youth eights did in their  2009 race  (Youtube: 2009 Head of the Charles Youth 8 crash)

The point is: these boats move quickly and turn slowly. While, overtaking boats have the right of way, but coxswains need to look ahead, anticipate the movement of their boats, and time their turns and overtaking moves deftly to balance safety with speed.  Failure to look ahead, failure to react correctly,  results in near misses, lost time, and (sometimes) the loss of $10,000 boats.

We run the same risks in our annual sales races. With two “turns” left in the 2011 sales year, time to look ahead and consider our passing and finishing strategies, like:

  • How will we position ourselves to get through the last few 2011 turns most effectively?
  • For 2012, what are our most important business, family, and personal goals?  Are they about the  maximum “speed” (compensation dollars)?  Beating particular “boats” (other sales people)?   What is it exactly we’re setting out to do?
  • How will we generate power from all of our “oars” (our resources) and allocate our time and energy among existing accounts, known prospects, unknown prospects, and referral sources to build momentum?
  • What moves do we expect our competitors to make on the course?  How, and when?  How will we “row” around them in our effort to overtake them?  Are there any narrow channels or dangerous turns to watch out for?
  • What do we need to do to position ourselves in the river now to make sure we’re positioned well for opportunities in January, or June or even September?

Most of us would rather drink river water than address those questions now.  However, to avoid rowing our boats into bridges, best to start planning now so we can row fast, make our turns smoothly, and maintain our momentum.

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