Though you're reading this column in April, I'm writing it at a time when my New Year's resolutions are still fresh. I hope that when this is published and I read it in the comfort of my clean office (see No. 2 below) I will swell with pride because all my resolutions are being faithfully executed.
None of my resolutions is too difficult (especially No. 1), but still, a reminder come April will be welcomed.
Here are my resolutions as well as my current progress as of Jan. 18, 2006:
- I will refrain from skydiving. (Status: So far so good on this one.)
- I will keep my desk and office clean. Any incoming paper, be it mail or faxes or notes from the main office, I will handle once, then file appropriately or throw away. I will no longer pile things I plan to look at later on the left side of my desk, and I certainly won't pile things behind my desk when the pile on the left gets too high. A third pile on the windowsill is strictly forbidden. (Status: I'm already concerned about this resolution. While there is no pile, per se, on the left side of desk, there is a a gathering of papers in the general area threatening to create a pile.)
- I will keep my contacts file up to date. One of my resolutions last year was to computerize my daily schedule. I followed through and now use a Palm Pilot. But I still have two Rolodexes on my desk, and I frequently don't take the time to enter prospective clients. I also resolve to type addresses into the database, not just phone numbers. (Status: I'm doing well with this one so far.)
- I resolve to keep my cool with my sales staff, even when they are missing sales quotas and are nagging me about things like the weather, vacation days due, health insurance, and flavored coffee. I further resolve to remember that each member of the sales staff has his or her own strengths and weaknesses and that if we all do the best we can, we, and the company, will succeed. (Status: So far, I've been successful on this one because sales are up. Still, I will continue to be committed to this resolution because I think it's important.)
- I will stop eating potato chips at lunch. (Status: Broke this one about 12 times already.)
- I will visit my clients more often. If I can't visit, I will call. It's so important to keep in touch with our customers. Still, I find it so easy to push a visit or phone call to the bottom of the list, focusing instead on things immediately related to a sale. I resolve to remember that relationships build business, and an unplanned visit or phone call is just a nice thing to do. (Status: I'm currently driving around with a bottle of wine that I planned to drop off to a client as a holiday gift, so the resolution is on my mind, clearly, but not being fully executed. If that bottle is still in my car when this column is published, obviously I will have broken this resolution.)
So there they are. Now, I will place this column in its appropriate file as soon as I print it out; I will not set it down anywhere on my desk to be handled later. I will then use my updated contact list to call the client who is getting the wine, and then, right after lunch, which will not include potato chips, I will visit the client with a member of the sales team, who can complain to me on the way about anything he desires, even if it's as silly as the flavored coffee in the showroom, and I will listen dutifully to the complaint, all the while not jumping out of an airplane.