There is something you’ll notice about football (American football). The teams that tend to lose big games have quarters in which they score no points. When you look at all four quarters and the number of points scored by each team, the losing team seems to have taken quarters off. Because they go quarters without putting any points on the board, they find themselves in difficult circumstances later in the game.
There are always reasonable excuses not to play full out. At the time of this writing, Thanksgiving is right around the corner, providing the excuse that people will not be at work and not interested in doing anything now. Even though people will be at work, and those that are will likely have more time because some people are missing. Instead of “taking the quarter off,” find people who are around and engage with them.
Right after Thanksgiving, we get to the big holidays, including Christmas and New Years. More people will be off work, and those at work are as likely to be checked out for the year, having finished up their work. If they are at work, they’re likely to have already shifted their thinking into their next year’s goals and projects and tasks. What you want to talk to them about is their next year, and the ideas you have that will help ensure their next year is a success.
When you take quarters off, you fall behind. In the game of football, when you score, the points are put on the board in that quarter. When it comes to sales—and revenue attainment—the numbers you put up in the quarter are the result of the activity you took in prior quarters. Because there is a lag time between when you do the work of creating opportunities and when you win them, the quarters in which you don’t put up enough points don’t show up until some time in the future, meaning you won’t know you are behind until it is too late for you to do anything about it.
Like the game of football, once you fall behind, it is increasingly difficult to catch up. If you have a zero in a quarter, you have to double your goal in a future quarter just to get even. And if it is difficult to reach your goals now, doubling them isn’t going to be any easier.