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Improving the rules instead of changing them can pay off

One of the oldest sales and personal development strategies was the simplistic “Plan, Do, Review.” It was great 50 years ago, but is no longer adequate. Notice I didn’t say it doesn’t work. I just said it’s inadequate for these times.

So, I took the “Plan, Do, Review” model and expanded it to the 21st century. The new version will give you a more detailed strategy and a more complete list of what it takes to get from where you are to where you want to go. It’s about more than goals. It’s about more than quotas. It’s about achievement of whatever it is you desire.

I started last week and ran out of room. Here’s the rest of the formula.

And keep in mind, I used the old “Plan, Do, Review” model in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Then, with each passing year, I realized its inadequacy and made adjustments, so I could reach my goals.

Here is my (PART TWO) version of “Plan, Do, Review:”

7. Step back and take in the big picture for any adjustments along the way. Make the necessary course corrections; look at the map again (this is the “review” part). Some people are able to read a map without any problems. They find a path and know how to get where they’re going. When faced with roadblocks, they find other paths. But you also have people that can’t read maps and get lost easily. These people always stop at a gas station to ask for directions. Don’t get me wrong, it never hurts to ask how to get from here to there, but how many times have you be given the wrong directions? When you look at the big picture, it’s always best to have several sets of eyes that are just as smart as — or smarter — than yours.

8. Keep on your success schedule. Personal self-discipline is the prime factor that keeps you on your path. It’s easy to make excuses for your lack of achievement. The interesting thing is, no one really cares about your excuses or your achievement. It’s up to you. Why on earth would you make an excuse to YOURSELF about why you’re not achieving?

People who stay focused have the best chances to succeed. People who consistently let some diversion get in the way of their own success will always whine about why they came in second. I’d like to redefine the word “excuse” and call it a “whine.” I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression: “He had 100 excuses, but not one good reason.” It’s been around so long because it’s true. What’s your excuse?

9. I did it! (This is the “money” part.) “The Thrill of Victory, The Agony of Defeat” is a film clip that ran on ABC’s Wide World of Sports for 20 years. Let’s concentrate on the thrill of victory. The moment you cross the finish line, whether it’s running a road race or completing a task, there’s that feeling of fulfillment that often manifests itself with some form of victory gesture or yell. There’s even the third-party victory yell when your team wins or your kid hits a home run. You have a vicarious victory. Either way, you store the thrill in your mind so you know what it feels like as you head for the next one.

10. Set aside time for basking in the thrill of achievement. Celebration is a course you won’t find taught in our schools. Too bad. It seems that our educational system has cornered the market on negative discipline. If you talk in class, don’t do your homework or you cut a class — you get punished. Why isn’t there a room to celebrate success? When you get an A, come up with a new idea, write a great paper or do something intellectually extraordinary — you go to the CELEBRATION room. Seems so obvious, yet NO ONE does it. Pity.

But here’s your opportunity: win a few victories and celebrate yourself. Celebrate the victory, and then…

10.5 Get back to work (the “reality of life” part). Too much celebration and not enough self-discipline lead to personal self-destruction. Our society is a great breeding ground for personal self-destruction. Because we live in the land of “too much” — rather than indulge, we tend to overindulge. Too much celebrating, too much eating, too much watching television — “too much” of other distractions can keep you from the next celebration.

Making you accountable

Okay, that’s the list. The new strategy for the old “Plan, Do, Review.” It’s not very complicated, but it is very challenging because it makes you accountable every step of the way to the most important person in the world: you.

Before you start, you have to answer these questions: What are you doing right now? What’s your planning process? What’s your doing process? What’s your review process? And as you study these elements, determine for yourself how they best fit into your achievement plans. Start with one idea or goal.

Put it through the paces. Get a sense for the type of work that is involved. When you complete it, you’ll gain a greater sense for how you reward yourself. From one or two small victories, you’ll tweak your own game plan and give yourself the opportunity to accomplish anything you desire.

The cool part about this whole process is that you don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. It’s all about you, and it’s all for you — so if you don’t hit the mark, it’s your responsibility and your loss.

One more thing: I’m not giving you some theory that I created. I’m sharing with you the same methodology that I use myself. I cannot guarantee that it will work for you, but I can guarantee that it works. Please take advantage.

Did you miss part one? If you want both parts of “Plan, Do, Review,” go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time user — and enter PLAN in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
salesman@gitomer.com.

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