For many people, January is like spring: A new start, a clean slate, a new year and a new target. The festive season has often provided a “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” moment, meaning sales teams arrive into January with a certain malleability and new energy. And yet to avoid the risk of “New Year Gym Membership Syndrome” which quickly falls away by March, new initiatives have to be introduced with an eye on long term execution. After all, “What gets inspected gets respected!”
Coupled with a certain post-Christmas sluggishness and sales-hibernation, January is the month to set sales people in motion with a clear plan for the year. Now is the time therefore to do “realism coaching” – acting as devil’s advocate to ensure each sales person has a clear strategy to get to the goal. Indeed, we cannot take it for granted that they even have clear goals! Bruch & Ghoshals’s 2002 research showed that only 10% of managers exhibit both focus and energy in the activities, so better have a difficult conversation now than an impossible one in September when the target is unachievable.