(First of two parts.)
December 5/12, 2016; Volume 31, Number 13
By Jim Augustus Armstrong
“I’ve cut my weekly work hours in half and increased my revenue by 27%,” Earl Swalm, a dealer from Saskatchewan, told me recently. I was hosting a mastermind meeting consisting of a small group of flooring dealers, including Swalm. Prior to the meeting, he had set a goal to dramatically cut his work schedule and grow his business, and he quickly accomplished this goal by using a proven, three-step system. Many other dealers have achieved big transformations in their businesses and lives by using this system. In this series you’ll learn this three-step system and how you can use it to achieve any goal in your business.
Step 1: Defining your big rocks. Picture a large glass jar, a pile of gravel, a mound of sand, a bottle of water and three big rocks on your desk. Your task is to fit the gravel, sand, water and big rocks into the jar. So you begin by pouring water into the jar. Then you add the gravel, and then the sand. You are able to partially fit one big rock into the jar, but most of it is sticking out the top. There’s no way you can fit in the other two rocks. So you start over. This time you put the big rocks in first. Then you add the gravel and it fills in around the rocks. Then you add the sand and it sifts down into the gravel. Finally you pour in the water and it soaks into the sand; it all fits.
The key, obviously, was to put the big rocks in first. Your big rocks are metaphors for the important goals you have for your business. The gravel, sand and water are the day-to-day activities that go into running a flooring business.
Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution to achieve a goal in your business, but when December rolled around you hadn’t accomplished it? Chances are you didn’t put the big rocks in first and instead allowed your days to be filled with the gravel and sand of day-to-day activities. An important key to accomplishing your big rocks is to put them into your schedule first. The gravel, sand and water will fill in the spaces around the rocks. Do it the other way around and you’ll likely never reach your goals.
You’ve also got to make your rocks/goals specific. More importantly, you have to establish a deadline. Most dealers have goals that are too vague. For example, many dealers tell me they have a goal to “make more money.” Here is how you could clarify this rock: “Increase my average monthly revenue from $80k to $100k by June 1.” This rock is measurable, you can benchmark your progress and come June 1 you’ll know whether you achieved it.
Following are a few more examples of vague vs. defined rocks:
Vague: “I want to close more sales.”
Defined: “I will implement weekly sales trainings by the first week of January in order to increase each salesperson’s close sale rate from 30% to 40% by April 1.”
Vague: “I want to work less.”
Defined: “By March 1 I will cut my weekly work hours from 50 to 35.”
Vague: “I want to stop selling.”
Defined: “Starting January 15 I will no longer work the sales floor.”
Finally, it’s important to write down your rocks. If it’s not written down it’s not a goal—it’s a fantasy. Your assignment is to clearly define two or three big rocks you’d like to accomplish in 2017 and write them down.
In Part 2 of this column I’ll cover the next two steps (Time Blocking and Results-Producing Tasks) you’ll need to accomplish these rocks.