Delay Gratification – Strategic Discipline
FRIDAY, MARCH 5TH, 2010
Interruptions, distractions, technology and the speed that things change. It seems today that we are living in an ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] society. One of the biggest challenges with business today is the inability to stay focused and committed to your top priorities.
Chet Holmes in The Ultimate Sales Machine notes that the key to success is, “pigheaded discipline and determination.” Positioning Systems defines this as “Strategic Discipline.”
Brian Tracy suggests that, "The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success."
One of my clients recently demonstrated the value of having a clear vision for his future, then staying true and being persistent to this vision despite delays and setbacks.
Third quarter of last year this client began searching for a candidate to succeed him in his business. It became one of the company’s top three priorities for the third quarter. He’d built a successful private practice, and recently expanded to new, larger facilities. Business was growing, so much so that he felt he could sustain another full time professional. Systems were allowing his staff to contribute more, and with an additional professional they would grow even faster. The recent application of quarterly priorities/themes
had focused his staff on achieving 90 day goals and they were responding very well.
Third quarter goals included finding a lateral. The plan included identifying possible candidates from the pool of professionals already in the market, someone either at a larger firm or possibly had their own firm who might be interested in merging. The latter option was least desirable. They quickly identified 4 strong candidates, sent letters and then proceeded to follow up. It quickly became apparent that each candidate was not interested in moving from their present position. In fact all of them appeared to already be on a path to secure business partnership or succession where they presently were.
As the quarter ended my client’s team succeeded in achieving every one of their priorities with the exception of finding a lateral. It was disappointing, especially since business continued to increase. Despite the frustration, my client offered this on the success of identifying priorities/themes
for his business, “Establishing quarterly priorities and themes has had a dramatic impact on our business. Even in our relatively small business of 5 employees we've seen growth that can be measured. The first quarter of 2009 was our 5th best revenue wise in our history with $17K in profit versus a loss the previous quarter of last year. Our second quarter was our 2nd best revenue producer ever and produced $33K in profit versus another loss from the previous year. Finally our third quarter was our best in our history and produced $66K in profit a 100% increase from the previous year’s 3rd quarter. Our employees are excited, aware and most importantly accountable to their metrics which we review in our daily huddles. We certainly intend to continue establishing quarterly priorities and rewarding our employees with celebrations and recognitions through quarterly themes.”
Disappointment in meeting goals can often cause companies to lose faith, abandon or weaken commitment, and change priorities. The success of the previous quarters helped to diminish to disappointment in their number one priority. Fourth quarter, the lateral position was set aside and once again the business continued to do well with the team exceeding all their 4th quarter priorities. First quarter the quest for a successor took a new path. The surprising results next blog.
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