Brian Mitchell, CEO & Managing Partner.

Early in my career, I was hired as an entry-level salesperson in the telecommunication industry. It was an incredible business training ground in retrospect and I’m very lucky to have had an opportunity to learn and achieve success in that environment. Like a lot of emerging tech industry sectors and a lot of upstart companies in those sectors, everything seemed to move FAST. The office culture fed on the fast pace and anyone who wasn’t up for for that sense of urgency eventually washed out one way or another. There were some people who appeared “slammed” all the time but yet their performance wasn’t all that great. One of the more tenured salespeople (he was really old, maybe 30!) coined a phrase that has stuck with me some 20+ years later. His saying was “creative avoidance”.

Creative avoidance was that salesperson reshuffling their desk around getting organized instead of picking up the phone and making a sales call. Creative avoidance was that Sales Director scrutinizing client service issues instead of letting the Client Success team handle them. Creative avoidance was the Service Director spending all his time reacting to a client billing issue instead of educating the client on a self-serve solution or creating one. Creative avoidance was the GM focused on bashing the under-performers instead of recruiting more qualified backfill, which would have sent a clearer message to the under-performers and entire organization. We can all get as busy as we want to be but that doesn’t mean we are working on the critical inch necessary for success. Busy does not equate to effectiveness nor efficiency.

  • Task mastering will keep you busy but not necessarily prioritize results. Invest your time ON your business, not just IN your business.
  • Going by instinct vs. metrics isn’t trackable so you can’t validate accomplishments for a year, month, week, or day. Leverage a simple SYSTEM, don’t wing it.
  • Don’t equate ‘doing’ with ‘accomplishing’. You must prioritize your most critical goals or they’ll never get done.
  • Stop talking about how busy you are. Results do the talking.
  • Don’t say “yes” too quickly. Take initiative towards your goals first or they simply won’t actualize.

Of course we can all get sidetracked on issues or opportunities and sometimes we need a down day but we all need to be conscious of our tendencies to execute what is easiest and least painful. At this half-way point through 2017, it’s a good time to examine our business plans and goals stated at the turn of the new year. Have you been extremely busy yet your progress isn’t where it needs to be? Perhaps you’ve creatively avoided the more critical elements which contribute the most towards your goals. If you’ve creatively avoided the tasks or effort necessary to achieve your objectives for this year, why is that? If you’re not on track, what specific measurable tactics can you implement now to achieve your stated goals for the year? It’s up to you. Nobody falls on top of the mountain – they climb to get there.

The price of success is planned perseverance. The price of failure comes cheaper but is far more expensive.