Focus on the Process

By A.T. Gimbel

Many people start the New Year with lofty goals; some are professional, some are personal. It is an exciting time with a clean slate and a chance to achieve big things. Unfortunately we inevitably get busy, time goes on, and we often look back at the end of the year and many of those goals were unachieved. One area I’ve found to be helpful in achieving your goals is to get specific and focus on the process (which you can control), not the results (which are often subject to factors outside your control but a direct result of executing the process).

Little Things Lead to Big Things

Rarely is any goal achieved by just one event in a short period of time. Most often, it takes a lot of little things to lead to big things. For example, to reach $1 Million in new ARR, you often need to close many smaller deals to get there. To lose 20 pounds, you need to first lose one, then another, etc. Therefore, in order to achieve that goal you need to define the little things/steps required to achieve the big goal. For example, I need to sell 200 deals at $5,000 per deal.  Therefore, that is over 16 deals per month/four deals per week. You know from experience what your sales process should look like. Four closed deals per week requires X demos which requires Y cold calls, etc. How do you achieve these specific smaller steps?

Consistency and Process

Now that you know the smaller steps, how do you create consistency in delivering the little things and put a process in place to ensure you stay on track? You need to put a process in place that says how you will achieve those daily cold calls: what time of day you do it, how you will track progress and achieve the support, what resources and preparation you need, etc. Block that time and put it on a consistent schedule. The more you can systematically outline the process, the more it just becomes about execution. For example, picking a set time/times every day for cold calling will help you get in a routine and ensure consistency in making those calls. In my experience, consistently executing a good process is infinitely better than not consistently executing the perfect process.

Focus on Process vs. Results

Now that you are executing on the process, you will eventually start to see some results. But your process is the best leading indicator of achieving your bigger goal. In business and life, I’ve found it helpful to control what you can control. You can control process; you can’t always control results. In the long run executing the process will lead to strong results, even if in the short term there are bumps (and there will be). This doesn’t mean you don’t ever need to evolve/tweak your process, it just means when you focus on the right process, you can consistently execute and not be worried about any short-term results or distracted by longer term visions.

As the great college football coach Nick Saban says: “Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the National Championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”  

Remember, you have complete control over the process. Control what you can control and you will achieve results in the long run and worry less about what you can’t control. Trust the process! Happy New Year and best of luck in achieving your 2019 goals.