Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Procrastination the “I’ll Do It Tomorrow” Mentality

Almost two weeks into the New Year and is procrastination starting to rear its ugly head?  You know what I mean those  “I’ll do it tomorrow” thoughts.

Years ago during a workshop, one of my clients shared that her greatest obstacle to business success was her inability to:

  • Honor her commitments,
  • Do what she know she needed to do
  • Put things off until tomorrow

Her greatest obstacle to business success was consistent with the other responses that I have received during the last 20 years.

From my perspective, to procrastinate reveals a victim mentality belief rather than being a behavior.  Of course, many might bristle when I suggest that such behavior is an excuse, but in reality is it not?

The word procrastinate has Latin origins. “Pro” means forward and  “cras” means tomorrow.  Ultimately, this means to defer to taking action now and taking action tomorrow.

Sometimes to procrastinate might be a good thing. For example, a person lacked the necessary time to think through a current decision at hand.  Yet for many, the issue of procrastination is more about the unwillingness to take action and then to make an excuse for this belief.  For indecision is a decision and is totally within the control of each individual.

For example, how many people in business procrastinate (take no action) because they have no plan?  Most small business owners fly by the seat of their pants or by the spray and pray mentality (spray it on the wall and pray it sticks).  And if they do have a plan, they leave it on the shelf or in the desk drawer and think about getting to it later.

Procrastination becomes the excuse not to build your business.  Don Wilder once stated that:

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” 

For example, I know of many small business owners to sales professionals who actively attend chamber of commerce events to local civic organizations’ meetings.  Anywhere from 1.5 hour to 3 hours are spent several times a week at the same meetings with the same people.

Yet, how much new business did they secure? How many new leads have they uncovered?

For these individuals would rather procrastinate about doing what they really need to do to grow their businesses rather than take action to schedule a solid business appointment with a prospect.  Business networking is great provided you are realizing measurable results that turn into sales.  If not, then you need to fish in some new ponds.

TAKE ACTION procrastination is one of your business issues. Look to supporting beliefs. Listen to the excuses that you are making for your behaviors. Ask yourself are you being a victim to your own thoughts?

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When Planning Becomes Leadership Procrastination

Planning is essential to any endeavor be it a personal, professional or business one. By engaging in planning through the application of critical thinking skills and self leadership, resources are allocated in the most efficient and effective manner. Yet there comes a time to stop with the planning and take action.  Unfortunately what happens all too often is planning becomes leadership procrastination.

leadership-procrastinationThis turn of event is quite evident within larger organizations and especially government or not for profits.  How often do we read of leadership forming another committee to address a particular issue and plan in how to turn that usually negative issue around?

Here in Northwest IN, I have lost count of the committees formed during the last 20 years and the plans drawn up to address education, lack of qualified workers to economic growth.  Yet our region still lacks quality education based on graduation rates and post secondary attendance.  This continues to create a lack of qualified and skilled workers.  As to economic growth, last year the U.S. economy grew around 3.2%, Indiana at a higher rate of 4.7% and Northwest IN at a dismal rate of .3%.  (Source: IU Kelly School of Business Annual Round Table). So how is all that planning working for at least Northwest Indiana?

Here is where leadership continues through planning aka procrastination “to kick the can down the road.”  We will have the “dog and pony shows” of committees being formed recommendations being made and wait for the next group of leaders to take real action. Of course, the next group of real leaders are just the leaders in waiting trained by the existing leaders.

In business, leadership procrastination is one of the major obstacles to just getting things done.  How often have I heard “Yes it’s on my to do list (plan), but I need to take care of this stuff first.”  And the to do list continues to grow along with the procrastination.

Another symptom of leadership procrastination is consensus.  Have you heard or read about during a planning session of “We must get everyone on board. This will take time.”

Really?  What about finding those who don’t want to be on board, learning why and if it their reasons are personal and selfish, then get rid of them. Margaret Thatcher said “Consensus is the absence of leadership.”  She was right because authentic leaders know not everyone will agree.

Leadership procrastination hides behind planning and other false leadership behaviors.  Believe it or not, someone must take action even if it is the wrong action and requires a revision to the plan.  Things happen as they say that are beyond even the best thought out personal to strategic plans.

Ask yourself today are you really committed to taking action or are you hiding behind planning as inexcusable leadership procrastination?

* * * * *

Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The End of the Year Increase Sales Stampede

Time is quickly running out for small business owners to sales managers and all those in between to meet those sales goals and revenue targets not too mention profits. The end of the year sales stampede to increase sales is gaining speed as it does every year from early November to late December.

sales-stampede

Buyers or potential customers with extra dollars in their budgets are looking to spend them so next year’s budget is not reduced. Small business owners and sales people are hunting the small business market plains and following up on most sales leads all to increase sales.

Why?

Why does this end of the year to increase sales stampede continue to happen to so many small businesses owners and for so many sales professionals?

Is it because these small business owners and salespersons do not know that the year has 12 months?

Is it because all of a sudden all sales leads are acted upon?

Is it because buyers and customers only buy during the last 2 months of the year?

The obvious answer to all of these questions is No!

The last two months of the year in many cases is a direct result of poor marketing and selling performance during the first 10 months of the year.

Sales research continues to suggest most sales leads, around 50%, are not acted upon.

Then there is followup data suggesting that to earn the business requires 4 to 12 contacts and yet 90% of sales people stop after the third contact and hunt another buffalo (new sales leads) because they are tired of chasing the one in front of them to increase sales.

Just think about all that wasted effort, those wasted resources because sales people give up too soon.

Of course, there is also the human behavior of procrastination not to mention the Captain Wing It behavior often demonstrated by small business owners and salespersons. These behaviors also contribute to the inability to increase sales.

This time of year should be one of incredible personal satisfaction and joy because those in sales are just adding to already achieved sales goals. By working both harder and smarter during the first 10 months, the last two months should be truly a lot of fun because the annual sales goals have been met.

When small business owners and sales professionals are relaxed, less stressful and not sweating those beads of perspiration from chasing all those stampeding buffaloes (new sales leads), they are perceived differently by their potential customers, prospects or new sales leads.  This state of being relaxed is sensed by the potential customer and makes the interaction far more positive.

Desperate sales people turn off potential customers or prospects. 

Now is the time to start thinking about 2013 if you wish to increase sales and avoid the end of the year stampede to meet those sales goals.  Of course, you could be like so many sales folks and continue to engage in this insanity next year.  As always, the choice is yours.

P.S. Possibly just 3 words are contributing to the end of the year increase sales stampede not to mention stress. Join this FREE webinar, The 3 Dirty Words in Business, on Thursday December 6, 2012 from 12-12:30pm CST and learn how your sales, business and even personal life could be far better.

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