Settle payroll. Follow up with Customer A. Send an invoice to Company B.
Jeff Bezos also thinks about what he wants to do, but the difference is, he’s two to three years ahead. Earlier this year, Jeff Bezos gave a talk at the Yale Club in New York. In this talk, he mentioned that he organizes his personal time so that he lives about two to three years out.
Here’s how he puts it:
“We’ll announce our Amazon quarterly results, and [people will say], ‘Great quarter, congratulations!’ And then I say, ‘Thank you.’ But what I really think about is [how] that quarter was kind of baked and done two or three years ago, and right now the senior executives at Amazon are working on a quarter that’s going to happen in 2021, 2022.”
Tony Robbins, whom I’m a huge fan of, gives similar advice. According to Tony, you need to always be working on two businesses: the one you’re currently in and the one you’re becoming. If you only work on today’s business (like many entrepreneurs make the mistake of doing), your business will never grow and evolve to your “future” business.
Struggling to fight fires everyday, and don’t know how to become more forward-looking? Here are two tips that I personally use to be more forward-looking like Robbins and Bezos.
Share your vision with your team and set KPIs.
The saying “You’re only as strong as your weakest link” is a bit of a cliche, but it’s also true. If you want to achieve great things two to three years down the road, then you need to have your entire team on board, and invested in what you’re doing.
Bearing this in mind, make sure you share your vision with your team, and set appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs). Sharing your vision helps motivate your employees, and setting KPIs gives them structure, and allows them to hit your expectations.
Setting KPIs for your team.
When you’re setting KPIs for your team, make sure these are specific, realistic, and measurable. For example, instead of saying Employee A’s KPI is to generate more leads, narrow it down and say that their KPI is to generate 15 percent more leads via online strategies by the end of the year.
On top of that, make sure the KPIs are realistic. If the best your sales team has ever achieved is a 20 percent increase in sales, year-on-year, and you’re asking them to hit 50 percent this year, how do you think they’ll respond? They might either react in frustration, or disengage and give up completely.
Moving on, it’s important that you’re able to track your KPIs — that’s where your customer relationship marketing (CRM) and other technology come into place. If you don’t have the proper tracking in place, and you’re unable to attribute your leads to specific sources, then you won’t be able to follow up and determine whether your employees have hit their KPI.
Pro-tip: To incentivize your team to hit their KPIs, come up with fun bonuses or perks that they can “unlock” with their KPIs. I know that many companies like to reward their sales team with overseas trips or cruises, but there’s no hard and fast rule here.
Survey your team and figure out what it is that they really want; flexible working arrangements? More snacks and beverage options in the pantry? A foosball table that they can use on their breaks? Then commit to providing them with this incentive, when the entire team hits their KPIs together.
Review your plan regularly to make sure you’re on track
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get distracted by the 101 things that crop up during your workday. That said, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize, and make sure that you’re steadily progressing towards your goal.
To do this, set up regular “review sessions” to look at how far you’ve come, and how long you’ve got to go. If certain strategies aren’t working, go ahead and fine-tune them, or implement new strategies that might be more effective. It’s perfectly fine to pivot; as an entrepreneur, you know that it’s impossible to get things right 100 percent of the time. The most important thing is to keep pursuing your goal, and do things today that will get you where you want to be two to three years down the road.