Away from work, one of the hats I wear is as a soccer coach – assistant to a friend as we coach a boys u17 team.

    A few weeks ago we had a match – our first match since last year.  Thanks to Covid.

    I noticed during the match that one of the lads – let’s call him “John” – was getting a bit frustrated with himself. Things weren’t going the way he wanted.  John’s a great lad – and is tougher on himself than he is on any of his teammates.

    I took him aside and had a quiet word.  I told him that he was trying to do the right things the right way.  That’s all he could do.  That’s all we expected from him.  I told him to trust himself – and that there’d always be another ball coming his way.

    He had (understandably) been making a mistake – he had been judging the quality of his actions based purely on the quality of his results.

    Perhaps you disagree with me about that being a mistake.  So, here’s another example:

    Imagine you deliberately break a red light while driving.  And you don’t get hit by a car and you don’t hit anyone.  So the outcome was good.  But what was the quality of your action?  Yep – it was awful – selfish & dangerous.  You got a “good” outcome through sheer luck.

    Now imagine in our business that you do some task twice, e.g., imagine you make two sales calls.  You make them to potential clients with a similar profile.  You make them at the same time of day.  With the same type of script.  With the same tone.  One is successful.  One is not.  But you did the same thing the same way in both instances.

    Can one call have been bad and a near-identical second call have been good?  If course not.  When making sales calls you’ve no idea how the recipient is going to react.  Maybe one of them hates receiving cold calls while the other just happens to have an immediate need for the widget you’re selling.  You have zero control over that.  What you do have control over is what you do:

  • Define a process.
  • Use that process.
  • Improve that process over time.

    Over time, as Andy Crowe from Velociteach says, “superior processes yield superior outcomes“:

    So: operate ad-hoc or be process-driven?

    Your choice!