Land of 1000 Delights (Issue 594)

In which we are reminded to set clear parameters and priorities in our territory plans.

With a Saturday evening to myself (my family out of town), I grabbed a hummus and tabbouleh sandwich at Sabra, one of my favorite tiny restaurants in Harvard Square,  and chugged over to the Harvard Coop bookstore for a little browsing before heading off to an eight o’clock performance of The Mikado.

The Coop bookstore is a Land of 1000 Delights for me, an experience something like the  three-year-old me seeing a huge Christmas tree fully decorated, twinkling with lights, surrounded by packages in piles as high as my head – (Sharp intake of breath) “Oh…..BOY!”  – shivering with excitement to dive into the pile, strip the gifts clean of paper, and hold ALL of them in my arms.

Within 20 minutes, I had spied Drew Faust’s This Republic Of Suffering (which, if you didn’t see the PBS program on this, it’s terrific!), Howard Gardner’s Changing Minds, The Checklist Manifesto, The Big Short (no, I still haven’t read it), Steal Like An Artist, Reclaiming the Game , In The Garden Of Beasts, Outliers (I am embarrassed to say I haven’t read that one yet either),  The Spanish Holocaust, Tinkers, Why The West Rules – For NowJustice, Deep Survival, Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, Maine (the novel), Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya,  and Winning the Story Wars. I picked up at least 10 other books to peek at them and take their measure. I walked by a large display of Campus Best Seller 50 Shades of Gray hidden from view behind the information desk at the back of the first floor (30% off for those who care) to reach the Harvard Business Review Press section… when time ran out and I needed to get to the theater. Lucky me, I thought. After 45 minutes  of “oh, look at this…” and “And look at this…” and “Wow… look at THIS…,”  I had no idea what to buy.

And so we come to thinking about territory planning and priorities for 2013. If we are not yet clear about on whom we will be focusing our 2013 sales efforts, then we may be standing together in the bookstores of our territories, brains fried. We may have heard names of companies about which we are curious, we may be attracted by “shiny objects” to which we might want to pay attention, but we are grazing, bouncing from table to table, poking briefly at books that attract our attention, and moving on to the next attractive cover.

In earlier years, I would BUY the books that captured my imagination (piles of them and, oh, and I am SUCH a sucker for book cover designs). More recently, I have learned to make lists (this should come as NO surprise to any of you),buy one book from the list on the spot, and then buy others from the list as my capacity for and interest in reading them continues. Focus is great relief.

So… Territory plan first drafts should be completed by month end.  Focus is a great relief. Make a list!

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