Early in my sales career, I had the opportunity to go to New York City for some sales training with the Guardian life insurance company. While there, I heard from a really successful life insurance agent about some of his strategies for success. One of the things he said was, that before he went on a really important sales call, he would go and buy something very expensive, something like a fur coat for his wife. That gave him a feeling of the pressure to perform and fueled his progress. I remember thinking at the time, what an idiot, what a stupid and irresponsible way to build your business career. What I realized is is that the pressure of performance the pressure of having a big goal to hit is really helpful in fueling our performance.
The Harvard Business Review talks about the big, hairy, audacious goal, or B-HAG, as something that high-performance organizations and high-performance people use to fuel their performance. They create an artificial, safe, and yet highly effective system for putting themselves under pressure. After all, athletes always perform better in a game than they do in practice. My coach Dan Sullivan, of the Strategic Coach, says: “if you want the energy to create the show, sell the tickets first.” On the surface that sounds like the poor fellow band for coats in New York, and it is to a degree. It’s really about creating an environment in which you can do your very best work by putting yourself under some pressure with a big, hairy, audacious goal. This is something to think about as you set business goals for 2020. Have a great new year.