Sales Leadership Secret Weapon: Vacation

sales leadership vacation

My view right now is stunning.

The northern end of Lake Champlain is calm, like a dark blue blanket, interrupted only when a blue heron gracefully floats by.  Green leaves on a maple tree near the front porch cling to strong, sturdy branches as a breeze gently swirls by.  My cup of coffee is hot and the MacBook Air is in an unfamiliar position of having just one window open…the one I’m writing in.

The #1 Thing Sales Leaders Need to CRUSH Their Goals

Two weeks into 2016, it’s safe to assume that most pharmaceutical sales leaders have a stack of goals on their desk a mile high:

  • Personal goals
  • Sales Goals
  • Professional development goals
  • Goals for the National Meeting
  • Coaching goals for each person on the team
  • Goals for the goals…

With so much to accomplish, you might even be one of those super organized leaders with a plan in place to attack these goals. Maybe even a fancy spreadsheet with tactics and timelines.

And that’s important.

But the one thing that every sales leader needs to ultimately crush their goals in 2016 is this:



The worst looking PowerPoint deck, outlining the least strategic plan ever, can destroy a 20MB masterpiece if the actions are applied consistently.

Consistently once the buzz has worn off.

Consistently when urgent matters are thrown on your plate.

Consistently when you don’t really feel like it.

John Lee Dumas, on his Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast, regularly shares his F.O.C.U.S acronym as a key driver to the success of most entreprenuers that he interviews:

Follow One Course Until Success


These crazy, passionate and successful business people have the capacity to do the work on a focused plan long after others have quit.


While there is no magic formula for generating consistency in driving toward a goal, here are 4 ways you can increase your chances:

  1. Nail down your WHY: Making sure that your goals, and the plans built around them, are grounded in a strong WHY is critical. Why is the goal important? How will it benefit you, your team, others? Why – not What – keeps you going.
  1. Less is more: It can feel good to load up a plan with tons of cool action steps and tactics but the reality is: less is more. Instead of blowing up a document with lots of stuff, pick just 1 or 2 items and focus on execution.
  1. Block the time: Use your calendar to block time off for the execution of your plan well in advance. Create a recurring event, with a reminder feature, that will keep the action in front of you and make it a priority well into the future.
  1. Partner up: Find someone close to you and ask them to keep you accountable. If they know what you’ve committed to and are willing to call you out – bring it on. Massive goals and plans are never accomplished alone.

At the end of 2016, it will be the sales leaders who stayed consistent to their process and plans who hit their goals. The ones who SHOW UP.

Will you be one of them?

Take a moment and share your thoughts in the comments section. How have you developed consistency over the years? Anything work really well for you?

Would be grateful for a share if you found this useful – just use the social sharing buttons at the top of the post.

If you thought it sucked, tell me that too so I can get better. I’m here to serve YOU. 🙂

Until next time,


In 2016 STOPPING might be your best START


I love this week leading up to a new year.

Lots of family time, an opportunity to reflect on another year in the books and a chance to map out a fresh start.

A real emphasis on personal leadership.  Deep. 🙂

If you’re anything like me, this process always ends up with lots of things to START doing.

  • Start working out X days a week
  • Start reading more
  • Start that thing I’ve been putting off

This is important because there are ALWAYS worthwhile actions to start implementing in a new year to achieve more.  My plan for 2016 has plenty of “starts” that I’m pretty pumped up about.

But what about STOPPING?

Think about it.

You know you just got a present (or a bunch of presents…) over the Holidays and went to put it in that drawer, closet or garage only to say to yourself – “where the heck am I supposed to put this?!”

You end up with two choices that have vastly different outcomes:

  1. Cram it in so that it (or the other stuff in there) never gets used or
  2. Throw some crap out so you can focus on what you’ll actually use

This idea plays itself out in our goal setting efforts too… and it’s time to throw stuff out.

Time to STOP.

I just went through this really enlightening online tool developed by Michael Hyatt that allows you to map out all 365 days of your year out against a revenue goal to see not only where your STARTS fit…but where you need to STOP doing less important things.

My report?

Once I punched all my actions in, the tool said that I needed an extra 35 days in 2016 to accomplish my goals.  Yikes.

I have some work to do around STOPPING some less important things for the New Year to make sure I focus on the stuff that matters most.

How about you?

As you embark on your own goal setting journey for 2016, or reflect on those goals you’ve already set, think long and hard about what you need to STOP to make it all work.

Best wishes for a truly remarkable 2016,


PS:  If you’re still looking for a proven plan for setting strong goals in 2016, my buddy John Crowley is launching 7 Steps to Master Your Destiny today – a step-by-step guide to help define and achieve your biggest goals…check it out!



4 Mistakes Sales Leaders Make Measuring Performance

4 Mistakes

“How do they KNOW that?”

My 9-year old son asked me this question recently as the color commentator for an NFL football game on TV shared some crazy statistic about how the team had a losing record playing on Thursday nights, on real grass fields, against left-handed quarterbacks whose last names have more than 2 syllables.

Or something like that.

It was a moment of awareness for him (and an important reminder for me…) that we live in an age of measurement and data.

This is certainly true for folks leading and coaching teams in pharmaceutical sales.

Having spent time seeing this develop and play out from multiple angles over the last 15 years, here are 4 common mistakes that pharma leaders (myself very much included…) make when measuring the performance of their sales teams:

  1. They don’t

Wait, what? Even with the flood of tools, technology and opportunity out there, some leaders simply aren’t measuring the performance of their sales teams in response to coaching efforts.

It’s easy to let happen.

I’ve written my share of “action items” on field coaching reports and performance reviews which have had zero chance of success because there was no effort made to structure them in a way that could be measured.

That’s a miss.

  1. Use Sales Results Only

This one might get me in a little bit of trouble, but I’m willing to go there. Measuring the impact of coaching solely on the basis of sales results in most pharma markets is impossible to do.

Most individuals operate as part of a geographic pod team and share responsibility for product sales.

And unlike other industries, sales data is derived in part (because it has to be…) from algorithmic projection and with difficult to track influences such as mail order fulfillment and other managed care dynamics fogging the mirror.

So yes, it’s sales and delivering on goals is critical – but the reality is, behaviors and skills drive this success and THEY need to be measured first.

  1. Measure The Wrong Things

Every representative is different and should be coached according to their individual needs.

[“Wow – how insightful, Dave” :)]

Most leaders get that and try to employ some form of situational coaching or leadership. The issue arises when it comes to measurement.

Everyone is getting coached on a situational or behavioral basis – and yet we measure the same stuff across the whole team (test scores, call metrics, activity)…so we end up looking at data on the wrong things.

Well intended, but a mistake.

  1. Don’t Do Anything With It

OK, so lets assume some data has actually been collected…and maybe it’s even the RIGHT data.

The most damaging mistake a leader can make is to do nothing with the insights we have.

Maybe the data is in a difficult format to understand. Maybe there’s too much of it. Maybe your body simply freezes up when Excel app opens up. Maybe you’re just really stinkin’ busy. Every one of those has paralyzed me at some point.

No matter what the challenge is – not DOING something with the data you have is a missed opportunity to help your team get better.

The reality is, it takes courage and a degree of creativity or know-how to measure the performance of a sales team.

Courage because you might not like what you learn from your analysis and you’ll have to respond accordingly with your coaching efforts.

And creativity / know-how because measuring coaching efforts around certain competencies and behaviors can be difficult to do.

But it’s worth the effort.

Curious where you might fall relative to some of these mistakes and where a place to start improving might be? Try a quick exercise in the week ahead as the year winds down:

Go back to your last 2-3 field ride-along reports, check out your coaching action items and ask these 3 simple questions:

  • Is there any kind of measurement approach in place for the prescribed coaching plan?
  • If there is, does it actually attempt to measure the behaviors you’re looking to impact?
  • If you’ve collected data from that plan, how have you followed up and what will you do next to help your representative improve?

Would love to hear any comments you have on this topic!

What are your thoughts on measuring coaching efforts with a sales team? What has worked for you?



How to Identify and Build Powerful Habits into your Field Sales Coaching Days

How to Identify and

Over the weekend our bulldog Moe taught me a really interesting lesson about habits.

You see, Moe hates to do just about everything except sleep.  He particularly dislikes going outside to take care of his business.   Just utter the phrase “let’s go outside, Moe” and he’ll give you a look and growl.

That is, unless you put his leash on.  Actually, if you even grab the leash and place it on or near his back (like in the quick 0:41 second video below) he’ll gladly comply and take care of business.   Check it out – you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Somewhere early in Moe’s training – long before we rescued him several years ago – he developed the habit of going outside on a leash.  And now, unless he’s on a leash, he’s just not going outside.

As pharmaceutical sales managers, that’s how habits work for us too, especially when it comes to our field coaching days.  Consciously, or more often unconsciously, we get used to operating a certain way and create habits that simply become part of how we do things.

Like most things in life, leadership habits can be value GIVING (that work out before hitting the field each morning that leaves you feeling energized and positive) or value TAKING (that hour lost each morning down the social media rabbit hole that leaves you feeling zoned out and tired.)

Here are a few ideas that can help you become more aware of the habits that create the fabric of your field coaching days and some steps you can take create value GIVING habits that supercharge your leadership and life:

  1. Take an inventory: for one full week, use a paper or digital journal and keep track of everything you do on a field coaching day.  Start from the moment you wake up until the time you go to bed.  Don’t try and change anything, just simply make note of what you do and how much time it takes.
  2. Sort: with a week’s worth of field coaching days logged, take a few minutes and identify which category your activities fall into:  value GIVING or TAKING.  Even if you just did that activity on Tuesday – write it down.  Was there something missing on the GIVING list that you know would improve your coaching?  Make note of it.  Be brutally honest with yourself in this process.
  3. Start Small: using this list, identify just one small activity you’d like to break as a habit (TAKING) or one you would like to make a habit of (GIVING.)  Don’t go for a big one first – just look for one that can give you a small, early win in the quality and effectiveness of your field coaching!  If you’re looking for some help with more formally setting goals, take a look at this post I wrote a couple of months ago.
  4. Track it: now that you’ve got a goal in your sights…time to track it.  You’ve got to make this easy and aligned with how you like to operate.  If you’re attached to your phone, an app might work (Michael Hyatt reviews 7 great options here…check them out.)  Still prefer paper?  Check out The Habit Journal, it looks awesome and was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.  Let’s face it, we’re district managers so we love to track things.  Have fun with this 🙂
  5. Persist: we have all heard it suggested that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  Quick research on that idea shows that it’s not exactly that simple.  A study from 2009 in the European Journal of Social Psychology showed a HUGE range from 18 to 254 days for subjects to “automate” an eating, drinking or exercise behavior.  It will be different for every person depending on the habit being worked with…so persist.
  6. Pick a partner for support: once your system is in place, find someone you can lean on for support and accountability.  A peer district manager that you trust might be a great choice since they understand the world you operate in and can easily see the importance of making field coaching days as valuable as possible.  Set up a system to stay in touch formally and  encourage them to hold you accountable.
  7. Celebrate: changing the way we do things is hard work, so find ways to celebrate successes along the way.  Set up milestones and rewards for rocking the habit in advance.  Make them fun and something to truly look forward to.
  8. Leave the leash: just like Moe responded to the leash in the video, we often need triggers or reminders to stay in place for the long haul, especially as our days in the field can change all time.  So even when you feel comfortable that you’ve nailed down your habit, don’t feel bad about leaving these cues in place to help stay on target.  In fact, it might just be the tactic that matters most for long term success!

I’d love to hear from you on this topic in the comments section below!

From your experience…

  • What are some of the most valuable habits that help create excellent field coaching days in the pharmaceutical industry?

In next week’s blog, we’ll continue this conversation with some of your ideas around field coaching habits, insights from thought leaders in the area of productivity and some ideas I have from time spent in the field.

Until then have an excellent rest of the week,


3 Important Benefits of Self-Inspection for Sales Leaders


At church over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hearing an excellent discussion around one of the most well-known (by Christian and non-Christian folks alike…) passages in Bible:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.   For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5  (NIV)

While I have heard this passage discussed many times, what struck me was the pastor’s observation that it does not really suggest that as a blanket approach we should never judge anyone (as it is often interpreted.)  Rather, the primary message is to make sure that before we address an important matter with someone that we first inspect ourselves with the same standard to ensure that we have clear vision going into that conversation.

An eye-opening reminder for important matters of faith, as the sermon continued to explore – but it also got me wondering how it might apply to the daily life of a leader.

Think about it.

As a sales leader, a large part of our job description is built around evaluating (or, “judging” if you’d like) the team we work with.  Nearly every day we are coaching selling skills, analyzing performance, conducting competency reviews, addressing problems, giving advice…the list is endless.

Given that fact, how much time do WE spend in self-inspection mode – measuring our own performance with the same standards that we expect from those we are privileged to lead?

The answer for me:  not enough.

While I believe the value of introspection is likely endless, here are 3 important benefits that self-inspection can bring to our leadership approach and coaching interactions:

  1. Clarity

    The passage from Matthew 7 suggests that by inspecting ourselves first, we’ll be able to see clearly to then call someone else out on an important matter.  Nothing brings clarity to a coaching situation quite like putting yourself into the other person’s shoes and measuring your own performance.  It provides a 3-dimensional picture of the situation versus the 1-dimensional view we often have looking in from the outside.  How have you felt in that same situation?  What challenged you when dealing with it?  How did you overcome it?  While leadership is never about YOU – this kind of inspection provides a level of clarity around what THEY are going through which has incredible value.

  1. Humility

    With 3-dimensional clarity often comes a degree of humility.  Humility is a word that can be taken many ways, especially in the world of leadership.  For this discussion, I’d suggest it’s a posture that lacks false pride or arrogance.  If you’ve identified a selling skill that someone on your team needs to improve, a time of reflection around your own challenges and success with that skill (currently or in the past) allows you to approach the coaching table with a grounded and potentially modest mindset.  This does not mean weak or wishy-washy coaching – quite the opposite.  It means that you’re able to identify with the person you’re working with in a very human way that can help your message be received openly and powerfully.

  1. Patience

    While a sense of urgency and drive are clearly needed in the realm of sales leadership, this can quickly and easily turn into impatience and frustration in coaching situations without self-inspection.  As with humility, this doesn’t imply being soft or tolerating underperformance for endless periods of time.  Performance needs should always be addressed right away and directly.  It means that we are able to set appropriate expectations and timeframes on skill or competency development from a point of having first looked at our own development for clarity.

Our lives as leaders are full of opportunities to take the time for self-inspection.  Not beating ourselves up or over-thinking everything…just good, solid reflection on the topic at hand from our own perspective.  Give it some thought this week and feel free to share some comments from your own perspective…

  • What have your experiences been with taking time to reflect or self-inspect as a leader leading up to important coaching situations?  How has it helped or hurt?
  • Do you have ways of doing this formally that work for you? Informally?
  • Do you totally disagree with me? 🙂

Thanks always for taking the time to stop by the blog.  I appreciate it more than you know and value your insights.

Until next time,


End the Detour: Getting Back to What Matters Most

End the Detour

I was taking a walk early one morning last week and ran across the sign that you see in the title picture above:  End Detour.

I drive by that little orange sign every morning on my way to work and never notice it.  But that day it caught my eye for some reason.

This detour (and the sign, apparently…) has been in place since Hurricane Irene rumbled through our town back in August of 2011, rendering a nearby bridge unusable.   It’s been so long that I don’t even think of my drive as part of a detour.  It’s just how I do things now.

It got me thinking about how often in life we find ourselves on some kind of detour away from the things that matter most, or the way we should be doing things, and then forget we’re off track.  We create and accept a new normal.  Think about it…


Another view from my walk last week…

We end up on detours in our personal relationships all the time.  As a married guy, I’m reminded of this every year when my wife Kristine and I take our annual wedding anniversary trip.  We spend a couple of nights at a B&B in a cool town, go out to great dinners, go for hike or walk and just re-connect.  It pulls us off the detour of daily family life: coordinating calendars, household projects, cleaning and fixing stuff, taking the kids to practice, helping with homework (you get the idea.)  If just for a couple of days, we begin to remember what our relationship is all about and what road we started down in the first place.  Taking the time away reminds us both of what matters the most at the core of our relationship.

  • What relationships in your life are traveling in detour mode?
  • What’s just one small thing you might do this week to move back toward what matters most?

The detours we take in the world of sales are endless!  It’s so easy to get caught up in piles of sketchy data, peripheral noise and administrative nonsense that we forget that our actual job is to have quality conversations with customers.  Instead of drilling into important matters that might actually lead to a solution we can offer, we get comfortable chasing strings or offering canned presentations.  How about that customer you’ve been discussing price or coverage with since the day you started in the field.  Detour.  And that message you’ve been “running with” for the last few months with all of your customers without a change in sales.  Detour.

  • What customer relationships do you need to end a detour with and get back to what matters most TO THEM?
  • What conversations are you having with customers that revolve around canned or packaged messages that seem “right” but just aren’t moving the needle?  How can you make them more authentic and real?

The life of sales leader is prime territory for getting stuck on a series of detours, too.  It’s easy to begin thinking that your job is to send e-mails, write reports, approve expenses, attend meetings, attend meetings about the meetings, attend meetings to follow up on the meetings and to circulate spreadsheets of data.  All of these activities are certainly part of the job but they can pull us far away from what matters most.  As sales leaders, we need to develop and inspire the folks on our team and deliver results.  Period.  At least that’s how I boil the job down.  And yet we spend plenty of time focused on other, less important things.

  • What items on your to-do list are paving a detoured path away from the activities that matter most for developing and inspiring your team? How can you re-frame/remove them?
  • Are there strategies or initiatives in place that looked good on paper but really aren’t moving sales and now represent a detour? Should you drop or change it?

Life and leadership will never offer a straight path and we’ll always end up stuck on some kind of detour.  That’s just part of the process.  The hope we have is finding that sign which prompts us to examine our situation.  Seeing that orange sign last week was just the reminder I needed to examine the parts of my life where I can refocus on what matters most.

I’d love to know what challenges or detours you face in your daily grind and how you approach getting locked in to what matters most…share in the comments section below!

Also – if you think anyone else in your world would appreciate this info, I’d be honored if you shared. 🙂

Have a great rest of the week!

Until next time,


12 Simple Tips for Crafting a Powerful Mid-Year Performance Review

Simple Tips for Crafting a

As we roll toward the middle of July, it’s fair to say that summer is in full swing.   There is so much to enjoy this time of year:  trips to the beach, lazy weekends by the pool, taking in a baseball game and mid-year sales performance reviews.

What’s the matter?  Not a baseball fan? 🙂

The mid-year review can be a powerful coaching and motivational tool if done well.  But the reality is, for many the process is just another administrative task that both the field sales leader and representative muscle through in order to move on with their busy lives.  And while I’m not sure there is anything that can be done to turn this process into a day at the beach, there are some actions we can take as leaders to help improve both the experience and impact of the exercise for our teams.

People with strong HR expertise and loads of academic research data have written extensively on this topic.  That’s not what you’ll find here.  What follows are 12 practical tips (of probably hundreds that could be written…) that come from spending time in the field on both sides of the table for a mid-year review.   Hopefully one or two will strike a chord and make a difference for you and your team this year:


  1. Mindset: early and often, remind yourself that you’re doing a mid-year performance review for a real, live person.  That person is not just a collection of sales data and competencies but rather a complex human being with goals, dreams and aspirations.  I respect that we need to anchor a review in observable, tangible examples – but never forget the person.  Less process, more people.
  2. Start Early: We all have a ton going on but don’t wait until the last minute to get started. The first thing we do under time constraints is cut corners.  The quality (and eventual impact) of work goes down as the amount of copying, cutting and pasting goes up.  Schedule blocks of time well in advance to craft thoughtful, well researched comments for the folks on your team.
  3. Gather information FIRST: I hate stretching before I run but I know it improves the overall quality of my training and helps me run longer and faster.  The same idea holds true here.  Invest time in collecting your performance examples first.  Don’t just jump in to start writing a review and THEN scramble for examples.  You’ll never get into a writing “flow” because you’ll be jumping around and searching through e-mail, documents, etc.
  4. Set clear expectations: It’s really important to set clear expectations for your team around what competencies are being reviewed, what powerful examples look like and precisely what they can expect from you in the process.  Also, it’s critical to proactively offer direction to your team around expectations for writing their self-evaluation (if that’s part of your process.)   I shamelessly borrowed language from a colleague this year which I felt hit the mark!


  1. Write offline: If you’re formally documenting mid-year performance review information in some kind of an online system, consider first using a simple offline tool, like MS Word.  This approach allows you to be flexible with your writing time (no need for Wi-Fi and no fear of a dreaded outage before you hit save), offers reliable formatting options and creates a copy you can save in your records.
  2. Limit the jargon: The language in the mid-year review you write should sound like YOU, not like a stitched together quilt of business clichés and corporate jargon.  Remember you’re writing this for a person.  It certainly needs to sound professional and include appropriate references to the list of competencies you use but it should still sound human.  Steve Woodruff offers some great insights on jargon here in a recent blog post.
  3. Be direct: No one loves to be flowery and long winded in writing more than I do, but it has no place in a performance review.  (There…I tried.)
  4. More results, less activity: Performance reviews are often just a long inventory of activity. The more stuff you can write down, the better.  But we’re in sales, so what really matters is the RESULT of activity not just being busy.  This puts the performance in performance review.   So, include fewer examples in your writing and instead focus on depth and explanation around the impact that a person’s effort had (or potentially, didn’t have.)


  1. Pick a creative spot to meet…Nothing screams “I mailed this in” as much as camping out at that same old Panera Bread again to discuss a performance review.  If you’ve taken the time to prepare and write a thoughtful review, have your meeting place reflect that same level of effort.  You’ll be shocked at how much more energy is in the discussion with a change of scenery.   Check out that cool coffee shop in town, grab lunch at a place you’ve always wanted to try or even take a walk and talk.  It’ll be worth it!
  2. Be present: We are all pressed for time and trying to juggle more projects than we can realistically handle.  But for the block of time you have to discuss a review with someone, they deserve your full attention and energy.  Don’t cram 5 meetings into one day if you can help it.  Consider doing it first thing in the morning so you’re fresh and fully caffeinated.  Put your cell phone in your bag. Make sure you have the time, energy and attention to show your team that you’re invested in them.
  3. Embrace candor: This is a really important time of year to let members of your team know exactly where they stand because there is ample time left to make adjustments, if necessary.  Avoiding tough conversations or glossing over strong performance will only hurt the progress of your team and make an end of year discussion even tougher.
  4. Stay future focused: Spend more time in your mid-year review discussion on the next steps versus the recap.  The “review” portion of the review should really just set the baseline for a more important conversation around what to do next.  If you’re direct and candid enough in your comments, there should be plenty of time to focus on the future.  Get your team involved deeply in that conversation and help them set a clear course for success.

If a bunch of mid-year review discussions are in your future, I hope this list got your wheels turning around ways you can prepare for, write and deliver a better overall experience…for you and your team!

Please leave any suggestions or thoughts you have on the topic of performance reviews in the comments section below and if you found this helpful, consider sharing it with someone who could benefit as well!

Until next time,


The Power of Specific Goals: Why I’m Going to Run a 1:50 Half Marathon

leadership goal setting sales

The Power of Specific Goals

If you’ve been in the sales game for a while you’ve no doubt been introduced to the goal setting acronym S.M.A.R.T.    In short, it proposes that the best and most achievable goals are:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  Up there with the 80-20 rule, this is one of the most quoted and rock solid approaches to planning for success.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence (or because it makes the cool acronym work…) that SPECIFIC is the first attribute on this list.  If you look back at Dr. Edwin Locke’s pioneering work in The Goal Setting Theory (1968), in which the S.M.A.R.T. approach is rooted, you’ll notice that one of the key findings was that specific and difficult goals are significantly more achievable than general and easy goals.

This idea was on my mind when I signed up last week to complete a half marathon.  I’m not much of a “runner,” so this was kind of a big deal for me and I wanted to set a goal to reflect that.  Here is a look into my mind (scary, I know) and how this vague thought/idea was sharpened into a SPECIFIC goal:


I want to run race:  This was my starting point, but just an idea or dream versus a specific goal.  I’d simply watched some runners over the last month at a 5-K and the idea came to life.

I want to run a half marathon:  I ran the NJ Half Marathon back in 2014.  It felt great to finish but I don’t feel like I left my best mark on the distance.  So, a half marathon was the race I landed on.  Still not a particularly specific goal, but certainly challenging given my minimal running credentials.

I want to run a half marathon in under 2 hours:  Not a blazing speed by any means, especially for an experienced runner, but a good benchmark.  I finished the NJ Half Marathon in 2 hours and 8 minutes in 2014 so the goal that came to mind was 1 hour and 50 minutes.  This met Locke’s criteria for specific (and for me, certainly challenging.)

I want to run it before I’m 40 years old:  Since I won’t be running out and buying a sports car, why not mark a mid-life milestone with a personal achievement like a half marathon.  A personal and emotional connection always helps to cement a specific goal.  I’ve got until November 17, 2015 to get ‘er done.

I want to pick a memorable race location:  There are a ton of races out there but I wanted to pick a spot I’d enjoy and remember.  In my search, I came across the Fall Foliage Half.  It takes place during the peak of foliage season in the quaint Hudson Valley NY town of Rhinebeck.  The course takes you through town, out into the country and along the Hudson River.  That seemed to hit the mark.

After working it through, I finally had a specific goal to sink my teeth into.


Think about it…how often do we leave our personal AND professional / sales goals vague – like “running a race” – and then act surprised when we don’t achieve them?

  • I want to hit my quota
  • I want to make more money
  • I want a promotion
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to have more free time
  • I want a better relationship with my spouse

I’ve made goals like these countless times in the past and the result has been the same:  nothing.

Get SPECIFIC and challenge yourself to accomplish more than you ever dreamed of.  Vague, unclear goals will always lead to uncertain results.  Running a half marathon in less than 1:50 this October 11th isn’t exactly changing the world, but it’s a clear, SPECIFIC step for me toward better health and achievement!

What will yours be?  How will you challenge your sales team to set SPECIFIC goals and achieve outstanding results in the second half of 2015?

If you’re looking for some guidance in the goal setting process, click on the image below for a FREE 90-Minute Goal Setting Workshop you can work through on your own or with your sales team.  It’s super easy and no time out of the field.  Give it a try by simply subscribing to my blog!

leadership goal setting sales

Wish me luck,


Goal Setting: FREE 90-Minute Workshop for Field Sales

It’s hard to believe but the first quarter of 2015 will officially be in the books later this week.

Time is truly cranking along, as it has a tendency to do. 🙂

As field sales leaders, this is a common time of year to connect with our teams and reflect on sales performance year-to-date, discuss strategic adjustments for Q-2 and determine progress on bigger picture goals for 2015.

With those bigger picture goals in mind, I wanted to share a short, FREE 90-Minute Goal Setting Workshop that I worked through with the folks on my team late last year.  We did it with a full 2015 in mind, but now might be the perfect time to work through it with your team to create goals for the remainder of the year (especially if you haven’t done something similar already.)  No better time than the present!  There are a ton of excellent, effective goal setting workshops/worksheets out there – put together by much smarter folks than me, I might add – but the results and feedback from this short program have been quite good.

The concept is very simple and I think that’s what makes it work:  take a current inventory of these 3 core elements and then be disciplined to only set goals which are aligned with all 3.  That’s the deal.

Three Elements Diagram

The 3 Core Elements of goal setting success.


The FREE 90-Minute Goal Setting Workshop allows the representative to take inventory of these 3 core elements at home and then works with you as the sales leader and coach to nail down goals that line up…all in just a total of 90 minutes.

Here are the highlights:

 Distribute the Goal Setting Workshop PDF (available free below) to individuals your team at least 1-2 weeks in advance of your next field visit with them individually.

30 minutes of pre-work for sales representatives to walk through before their field visit with you.  Primarily just a few pages of questions to answer and reflect on.

60 minutes of scheduled time together during a field visit to walk through the questions, set clear goals for the future and discuss key action steps.

 Goal Overview Worksheet included

Goal Action Steps Worksheet included

Just enter your name and e-mail below for a link to download the FREE 90-Minute Goal Setting Workshop PDF which walks you through the process.  Good luck and please stop back and share your feedback – would love to hear what your experience is and how it can be made even better!

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Goal Setting Workshop 2