I heard that every day. We all did. No matter what position we were playing or what situation we were in, you could hear the coach yelling “Feet Die! You Die!” I was a scrawny, lanky, wannabe football player. My nickname was the ‘toothpick’. At that age, I couldn’t control what my body was shaped like. Yet, I did have something I could control: my actions, my motor, and my energy.
Feet die, you die means that as long as you are moving, you are alive, there is a chance, there is potential, and you have hope.
Business is the same way. If you are constantly taking action you always have a chance to win, to help the customer, to innovate, to deliver, and to serve. The only way to fail is to stop.
Now the trick is to just take the right action.
According to the best-selling author (and fellow Inc. columnist) Jeff Haden, motivation comes from taking action and finding success, not the other way around. So, if you need motivation, then you are not doing it right. Yet taking action can be difficult, and taking the right action is even harder. Especially in sales, marketing, and customer success, when there are so many things your team could be doing.
When leading yourself and your team to achieve better results, understanding what actions are the right ones will drive the greatest performance. Below are some simple truths in how humans process data and turn that information into knowledge that drives behavior.
Connecting team objectives to the organizational mission will maximize your results.
Having a mission is only useful if you know what it is, and then actually think about it. Because, once you think about something, then can you act on it. And once you know your mission, then you can create objectives to match.
Recently I was discussing growth and sales with Mark A. Smith, who is the Vice President of Sales at Womply, he said that “All leaders, from VP on down to frontline coaches, must begin with clear objectives.” If the objectives are clear, then the actions needed to get to those objectives will be easier to define.
Your key objectives are the foundation for taking proper action. Make sure they are aligned with your company mission. This helps everyone get on the same page. If the alignment between objectives (goals) and mission is off, nothing will make sense. The more clearly linked the team’s goals are to the group’s mission, the more likely the proper actions will take place.
Weeding out the non-essential actions will clear your path.
Often, business leaders, especially entrepreneurs try to do too much. Some of the best people at weeding out the essential from the non-essential are seasoned sales executives. We can learn a lot from them on to how they determine what to focus on. David Brock, the author of The Sales Manager’s Survival Guide recently told me that “too often, teams try to focus on qualification. Instead, try focusing on disqualification.” Focusing on getting people, projects, customers, and teams out of your way will make sure that what you are focusing on works.
Weeding out mediocre opportunities allows you to spend time with the winners.
Creating authentic relationships will drive you to take better actions.
You need to connect often and you need to make sure you are doing it the right way.
It doesn’t really matter what you think the other person wants to see, you need to be the true version of yourself. Long gone are the days when companies and leaders could hide behind fancy marketing. Recently I met Mark Hunter, the best-selling author ofHigh-Profit Prospecting, he said that transparency is more than just nice to have: “In this era where everything private is public, the need for authenticity is more important than ever. Being authentic is no longer a bonus, it’s a requirement.”
Taking action is so much easier when everything you do is natural, is real, and is in congruence with who you are. Deciding on the correct action is not hard when you know who you are and do not try to hide it.
If you are transparent with your words and past behavior, your actions are then free to match. Those actions are what determine your ultimate success.
Today, the only thing leaders can control is the actions they take. Taking action will keep your dreams alive. When you focus on doing and being rather than portraying an image, your actions will easily align with your vision. As you keep taking action, business growth will come. As you take proper action, your business will grow faster.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.