Intentions and Decisions

It’s been a while since my last post, as I recently developed a pretty bad infection, and then was given an anti-inflammatory that kept the antibiotics from working. Was the doctor trying to kill me?

Probably not. His intention was to get me better, but his decision regarding anti-inflammatory medication turned out to be bad, considering that a major study had show that particular drug to block the bioavailability of penicillin-based antibiotics. Because he hadn’t known this, he didn’t make the best decision for my situation. Likewise, many times in our pursuit of success we have good, great or wonderful intentions but fail to match our intention with an appropriate decision. As I’m fond of saying to my coaching clients, an intention without a decision is just a wish, and an intention with the wrong decision is practically a sure recipe for frustration.

If you’re struggling in bringing your intentions into the world, take some time to review the decisions you’ve made, then ask yourself these questions:

What actions have you been taking in the direction of that intention?

  • Have these actions been productive?
  • Have you been consistent in your actions?
  • Do you have a system in place for reviewing your decisions ad making ‘course corrections?’
  • Do you measure your progress, and if so, how?
  • How do you come about your decisions? Are they hard and fast, or slow and sloppy?

Plenty of business consultants and coaches will say, “if it gets measured, it gets done,” but measurement alone doesn’t guarantee accomplishment. How you measure is just as important, and perhaps more important than when and how you measure your activity and achievement is how you decide. Decisions determine the direction of activity, and activity determines results. Some books I recommend on decision making include:

  • Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions, by Zachary Shore
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
  • How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer

Next week: Be the Part – The Art of Becoming the Successful You

Dealing with low-value clients

Don’t qualify them. Disqualify them. Another profound truth that we sometimes forget is that not everyone is qualified to do business with us. Some may even be qualified from a financial standpoint, but they may not necessarily be a good client in the the long run. Yes, it’s true that you won’t always land the perfect client, but part of making your initial contact numbers really count is eliminating bad prospects whenever possible, or at least reducing them to a lower priority so that you spend less of your time on your less qualified prospects.

Recognizing when a prospect is going to be troublesome, or a high-maintenance, low value client is vital to meeting your sales goals, and to the health of your business. This may seem counter-intuitive at first, because you’ll cut your sales numbers down by not doing business with troublesome, tiresome, or time-consuming clients. After all, you need the sale, right?

Wrong! A low value client can very easily end up taking up a lot of your time. For example, I once took on a client on a sliding scale with their promise that they’d send me several referrals. This client proved to need a lot more work than they initially let on, the project consumed a lot more time than originally anticipated, the client was not teachable at all, and in the end they just weren’t worth the trouble I’d gone to. Needless to say, those referrals never happened, either. So, I learned my lesson and decided not to deal with people unable or unwilling to pay my full price. Those who are willing to pay more for your services are much more likely to respect your time, effort, and expertise.