The Windscreen

I love a good quote, and this one is from the forefather of modern day management, Peter Drucker: 

Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights, while looking out the back window.”

From a forecasting and pipeline management point of view I’ve also heard said, in several ways, that you need to be looking forwards rather than backwards.  If you think of it visually you have a small rear-view mirror, where it is often hard to clearly see out of, however, looking out the wide front windscreen you have stereo vision…

This metaphor works well in the context of managing a sales organisation and pipeline; not being focused on business results (the rear-view mirror), however, focusing on activities that ultimately deliver the results… Thanks to Jason Jordan and Michelle Vazzana who wrote ‘Cracking the Sales Management Code’ for that bit of advice. A great book for any sales leader interested in the right metrics to measure when managing a sales team: http://www.vantagepointperformance.com/cracking-the-sales-management-code/

However, since starting my own business I have found that sometimes I am not sure where to look, front or backwards? 

I have found it beneficial to look backwards sometimes, that is where I can draw on the knowledge I have learned over 25+ years in business.  And some concepts and lessons take on different meaning when I shift my vision from the rear-view mirror to the front windscreen.

Sometimes when I look forward down that road, I find that I’m struggling to focus.  And by focus, I mean that there is so much out there to look at, so many roads that I can drive down and paths I can take I need some clarity about which one to choose. Which direction I should take?

I decided to get professional help, and am working with Yu Dan Shi to assist me find that focus - so far, it’s working! If you’re also struggling to find your direction, then see below for a variation on some advice I received a little while ago, from a friend (and Executive Coach) Lesley Knight, which will help start you on the journey:

Start by looking in the rear-view mirror and I always find it easier to start with what I did not like.

  •      Write down which jobs in your past you didn’t enjoy so much, what was it about those jobs specifically that you didn’t enjoy? 
  •      Then look at the situations and functions you do in your latest role which you really don’t enjoy.  Be honest.
  •           Now think about which job or role you’ve had in the past which you really enjoyed?  What was it about that job that you really liked?  Was it that you had a large team to manage?  The flexibility?  That you had to solve complicated problems? Your boss – what about her?  
  •           Next think about the last two weeks, what at work have you specifically found pleasure in?  Think from a functional, situational and process point of view.
Once you have written all this down on a bit of paper step back, take a break and come back to it the next day or even later to review it.  If you’re like me, you might do your best thinking when asleep (i.e. give your subconscious mind time to work some things out). I am positive that after doing this exercise you will gain some valuable insights. 

And from this starting point there are a few other things you can do to analyse what it is that you really enjoy, and therefore are likely good at.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of any other person, organisation, employer or company.  The author is a performance coach for individuals and businesses with a belief that we all have untapped potential which once found can improve performance.  I draw on 25 years corporate experience, a Bachelor of Arts in Social & Cultural Anthropology and a Masters of Business Administration.

CONTACT: gareth.r@pinconsult.com.au / 0438 005598 / www.pinconsult.com.au 

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