We Need Focus and Practice
In the 3 previous blogs covering Maxwell’s indispensable leadership book, Talent is Never Enough, we’ve gone over the 3 things we must believe to lead and how passion and initiative make one a talent-plus person.
Throughout this leadership masterpiece, Maxwell keeps stressing talent alone won’t get it done. It’s highly overrated and what the great leaders do is pull talent out of people, including themselves instead of lamenting over not being able to find ‘talented’ people.
I sure took this road in networking. I kept looking for ‘whales’ and ‘big-hitters’ and mega-talents…and I was living in 2 basic moods, 24-7.
Then the wonderful ‘Ah-ha’ moment came when I discovered this was a skill-based business. The only difference between the big check cashers and the non-check cashers was not talent nor ability. The check cashers simply learned what to say and what to do. They had learned some simple skills, practiced and executed those skills at the appropriate time because they had focus.
The practice left them prepared so they could pay attention to prospects, always saying and doing the correct thing.
What knocked them up to the next level and beyond was training. They learned the skills and focused on training their people the skills.
So it was not a revelation that Maxwell’s next key segment was focus. I understood but I picked up a couple of tidbits in his section on focus that dramatically increased…or should I say drew more talent out of me, and helped me draw more out of leaders and newcomers on my teams.
1. Be Intentional – make every action count.
Folks who are undecided tend to drift. No one produces dinner when chasing to rabbits…and they’ll damn near starve if they can’t decide if they even want a rabbit.
Newer reps all have one thing in common. Fear. And if you are not…if I am not…focused on calling prospects, they sure won’t be. I found by aiming at 18+ dials in an hour and starting on time, things started to happen but it is up to the leader. When you’ve got a time scheduled with a new rep at 8, get on at 7:55 and be dialing by 8…and if they have a ‘quick question’ (it is a stalling tactic, unconscious but just as counterproductive), tell them, “Let’s knock out 18 dials then cover that.”
2. Challenge your excuses.
No other way to say it. We all make excuses for not picking up the phone. Challenge your excuses and assume every ‘reason’ is an excuse.
3. Don’t let yesterday hijack your today.
WOW. What a bingo. What is the point of re-hashing a conversation about a prospect that did not come in when they said they were going to go to the site to sign up? Notice how many conversations you have about people who did not get in, reps who did not show up at the big Saturday Seminar or on the Webcast. All that time, energy, and negative thought hijacks the present.
4. Focus on the present.
Not living in yesterday is one thing…and focusing on the task at hand is something else and powerful.
5. Be an observer.
This is my addition. Look, when talking to a prospect you already know what you are going to say. Focus on what is really going on, like a third person watching the ‘dance.’ Don’t be ‘involved’ …you’ll lose focus. What is the prospect really saying? Are they really a prospect? Have you lost them? Are they interested? Are you wasting your time?
As an observer, you have to stay focused and watch yourself and them… It will save you time and you’ll see areas of improvement.
Focus, is what separates the superstars from the average producers. They can focus longer. They never forget why they are meeting or talking to someone.
In a nutshell, focus makes us talent-plus people because it directs talent.
There is a myth about talented people…a huge one.
“They were born that way.”
Tiger Woods hits 2000+ balls a day and works out daily.
Kobe Bryant shoots 2 hours+ a day over 350 days a year and works out daily.
Baseball players like David Ortiz workout 4-5 times a week in the off-season and then take batting practice every day from mid-February till September 30th or longer.
In Kauai, we call that a CLUE.
Marketers do not practice.
I know four that do, like myself, every day. All multiple 6-figure earners.
As Maxwell points out, people are not born that way. They paid the price to develop their talent.
If people won’t practice a couple of sentences, their goals are bogus. They cannot focus because they are not prepared.
Wooden says when you see something extra-ordinary in a performance that, ‘most of it is practice, the rest of it is work.
Practice Sharpens Talent.
1. A little extra effort.
I love practice because I know the pay-off. I hate it when people say, ‘you’re so good at this, I don’t think I could ever be that good.’ GAWD, I hate that. I practiced and I still do…every single day. It is so, so little we need to learn. It only takes an hour or two a couple of times and 15 minutes or less a day. Make the effort so you can be prepared and be the observer in conversations.
2. A little extra time
My gosh – 10 minutes a day…in the shower, driving in the car…10 lousy minutes!
3. A little extra help
Showing a willingness to practice will get you all the help you need. Practice develops habits and skills. Make sure you practice the right stuff. What is that? What to say so a prospect will look with an open mind.
4. A little extra change.
Look, practice, actually practicing is a change from the way most people operate. Really, when was the last time you practiced anything? Embrace this as a different behavior. Love this little change and everything else will change.
What will change?
You’ll get sharp.
And when you practice and improve so will your teammates. Is there anything more exciting than seeing people improve?
By improving via practice, you inspire others in a matrix of positive ways.
And you draw out your own talent and most importantly, the talents of others.
Isn’t that what everyone really wants?