Gravity of the Edge
Whether it exists in the public consciousness or only in my mind, I can't be sure, but there’s an anxiousness about 2008 that gives me pause. We seem to be pushing our way to the edge.
Presidency, economy, war.
What will happen?
I take a breath and close my eyes and remember the words of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus published 1800 years ago, “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
Anthony Hopkins shared a similar thought with James Lipton during a recent interview on Inside the Actor's Studio, “Today is the tomorrow I was so worried about yesterday.”
A client recently shared with me one of those amazing “weapons of reason” Marcus Aurelius spoke about:
I asked, “How is traffic trending? Are we ahead of last year?”
“Roy, I don’t measure traffic.”
“Last week one of my salespeople made 63 sales presentations and closed only 24 of them. That tells me 39 people bought somewhere else. And right now they’re telling all their friends why they bought where they did. They’re showing off their purchases and explaining why they didn’t buy from us.”
“That salesperson is no longer with us.”
“You’re really serious about this.”
“Today’s close rate is the most reliable indicator of tomorrow’s traffic. When close rate is high, traffic increases. When close rate begins to slide, traffic soon begins to slide as well.”
Does it surprise you that this client keeps better records than any we’ve ever served and that he’s currently our fastest growing client in North America? Thankfully, he knows what information can be correlated and what cannot. He doesn’t let his statistics lead him to ridiculous conclusions.
But the part of our conversation that jerked my eyebrows upward was that he was aware of the weekly close rate of each of his nearly 100 salespeople.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
What are you measuring?
“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of Science, whatever the matter may be.”
– Sir William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, Electrical Units of Measurement, 1883
There are lots of things business owners are secretly trying to achieve. And usually these goals are secret, even to themselves.
In a couple of weeks I’ll begin 3 intensive days of planning for 11 different companies. We’ll all sit in a circle on the first morning and I’ll ask each of them separately, “How will we measure success? What do you want me to help you make happen?”
I’ve been asking that question of business owners for nearly 30 years. It’s never easy to get an answer.
But it’s a whole lot easier to win the game when you’re clear on how points are scored.
Are you playing to win in 2008?
Your goals are your own business.
Helping you reach them is mine.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Will free press be the secret to your success in late 2008? Feature stories about you don’t happen easily or by accident. You must plant your seed now if you want to see a PR harvest in Spring, Summer, or Fall. Join Dean Rotbart in Tuscan Hall Jan 16-17 for Newsroom Confidential and learn how you can become part of the news.
Have you seen what else is coming up in early 2008?