Mental preparation for success

Mental preparation for success

Personal vision of Sales Manager 2. Begin with the end in mind

Stephen Covey’s second habit is at the heart of most coaching (sports and business) in achieving the goals you set yourself.

One of the many ideas in this habit is that you create things twice: once in your mind, i.e. you visualise your goals, your life’s work, your Olympic race, whatever it is you want to succeed in; then once in reality – you make it happen.  After the fantastic success of the TeamGB athletes in this years’s London Olympics, you will hear a lot of them talk about the importance of their mental preparation as well as their physical preparation in achieving their medals.

The most famous example is that of Mohamed Ali, his mental strength and mindset were what set him apart, in addition to his natural talent. Over the years in books and TV interviews he has revealed how he conditioned his mind before a match to give him a very high chance of success once he got in the ring.

He once described in a TV interview how he would focus his mind on the actual experience of being there in the ring. He would feel the sensations, see the reactions, feel the punches, be aware of the sweat, the sounds, the sights, the flashes of the cameras.

He would rehearse the fight in his mind as if he were recording each moment. He gave this mental routine a name which coaching experts have since picked up. He called it creating a “Future History.”

How does this help you recruit and train your new Sales Managers?

Before you promote your best person, or before you decide who to promote, get your potential Sales Managers to put in writing what they would do if they were made Sales Manager. Encourage them to visualise themselves in the role before you appoint them, how they would manage and motivate their team, where the big new accounts will come from, how they want to be remembered in that role.

This visualisation technique will give them ideas before they start, and give you a good idea of who is ready for such a role and what level of success you can expect from them.

You can get your external candidates to do this exercise as a pre-selection activity before their job interview too.  (Tip 1 of 49 in “Superhero Sales Manager in 7 days”)

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

Personal vision of a Sales Manager: Be Proactive!

When I first became a sales manager, the book that gave me the support, tools and inspiration I needed was Stephen Covey’s “The 7 habits of highly effective people”.  The 7 great principles he taught enabled me to have confidence, manage my time, and achieve a lot which led to me gaining promotion or a new job every year of my career.

Sadly Stephen Covey passed away this week but his books and ideas will live on for generations to come. His ideas influenced a lot of my book “Superhero Sales Manager” with multiple responsibilities, tasks and goals to answer to.

As a personal tribute to Stephen Covey I will apply his 7 habits to today’s Sales Manager, starting with his first one: Be proactive.  To Covey being proactive means more than just taking initiative, although that is a strength in itself. To him it means that we take responsibility for our own lives. We no longer blame our circumstances or other people but we choose our response (response-ability) consciously based on our own values above our feelings.   It’s being a grown up.

Reactive people are affected by the weather, by someone else’s moods, by the reaction of one phone call.  Proactive people carry their own weather. They are value driven so if their value is to produce good quality work, it’s not relevant whether the weather is conducive or not, they’ll do it anyway.

It is a source of personal power that others can’t take away, to choose your response to any given situation and make it a positive proactive one.  As a Sales Manager years ago, this gave me a lot of confidence to take decisions. I didn’t worry what others would think or wait and see what decisions others would make. I would look at a situation, whether it was poorly performing staff member, recruiting a new team member or distribution partner, decision whether to exhibit or not and base that decision on what was right for the business with the information I had.  This meant I could make quick decisions. And as they were based on values, not emotions they were decisions I couldlive with and make work no matter what the consequences.

Today’s business is full of the fear of taking risks, of doing the wrong thing because the focus is often on revenue and profit rather than Values and taking responsibility for making proactive decisions based on those values.

When I work with my clients at all Executive levels one of our first sessions together is exploring, clarifying and highlighting their values as they are sometimes buried beneath years of following orders, being seen to do the right thing.

What are your personal values in the work you do?  What can you do today to make sure that the decisions you take are based on those values?

Next week: 2. Begin with the end in mind