How many times have you worked like a fiend on something and then found yourself so burned out you couldn't bear to even look at it again?
You're not alone.
The up-down cycle of intense work followed by a sloth-like period of no results is a common phenomenon in business and life.
Up-down cycles of revenue make it difficult for organizations to budget and plan. One month it's a boom; the next month it's a bust.
Colleen Francis, author of Nonstop Sales Boom says that for many organizations, "Results lurch between highs and lows - with the end of each quarter reduced to a mad scramble to meet quota. The pattern is commonplace and seems unshakeable."
Francis says, "What kills me is how many companies are experiencing this, and they treat it as business as usual."
The same could be said of our personal lives. We work like crazy to get our house ready for a party. But then afterwards, we're so exhausted by the effort that we do worse than go back to business as usual. We actually get worse. After our herculean efforts, we can't even muster the energy to do the basics like hang up our coat.
And thus, the up and down cycle continues. In business, the problem creates organization chaos when companies can't meet demand during volume spikes, or pay staff during down times. Francis, a sales expert who helps organizations like Chevron and Trend create and sustain revenue growth, says that organizations often blame outside forces, like the market or their buyers, for the boom or bust cycle. But in reality, the problem often springs from within.
Organizations set up reward systems that focus people on closing deals, rather than sustaining their pipeline. The result is that people work like crazy to close sales, but then have nothing on deck for the next quarter. Francis says, "It's exhausting. People are useless the first week of the next quarter, and it's super stressful for individuals to have lumpy revenue."
Sustainability isn't just an environmental term; it's essential to business, and our personal lives as well.
As someone who thrives on adrenaline, I've had to learn to pace myself, to put things in place that will create peace and success for next year, not just next week.
My month-long chalk painting obsession notwithstanding, I've learned that my clients, and my own business, achieve more by taking a longer view.
In Nonstop Sales Boom, subtitled, Power Strategies to Drive Growth Year After Year, Francis recommends, broadening the focus from closing deals to actively nurturing four critical stages of client engagement: Attraction, Participation, Growth and Leverage.
On a personal front, that might translate to staying actively engaged with your important relationships versus planning grand parties. When I coach executives, I recommend that they look beyond the next quarter, and think about what they need to be doing right now to achieve market leadership next year, and the following.
People get frantic because they're trying to hit an arbitrary target, today. Whether it's a monthly sales goal or making your home look perfect for a party, it's a single moment in time.
Taking the time to examine what will create sustainable success reveals strategies that can free you from the day-to-day scramble. Or at least make it more manageable.
Frantic isn't sustainable, focus is more satisfying.
Lisa McLeod is the creator of the popular business concept Noble Purpose and author of the bestseller, Selling with Noble Purpose. She is a sales leadership consultant and keynote speaker. Organizations like Genentech, Google, and Kaiser hire her to help them grow revenue.