Pick ‘n’ Mix

Remember when you were a kid and you’d go to the Cinema… one of the highlights was the pick ‘n’ mix! Well, it was for me anyway! The absolute delight in being given a pound or two to spend on sweets of my choice was palpable.

But this wasn’t a straightforward choice. As any avid pick ‘n’ mix-er knows, there is a strategy.

Put too many of the liquorish wheels or jelly snakes in and you’d go over your weight and budget within seconds.

Put too many cola bottles or cherry-lips in and there wouldn’t be enough variation.

And put too many flying saucers or flumps in and you’d be sick… as you could literally get hundreds of those in the bag!

Why on earth am I talking about this?

It came up on a field visit this week when one of the sales team talked about a previous boss, not being supportive of him doing the longer-term, slow burner, strategic activities on territory. He just wanted him to focus on the here and now.

And so I got to thinking, that the choice of sales activity you decide to pursue within a given month is similar to the pick ‘n’ mix choices above.

Put too many of the big, long term (12 months plus), slow-burning strategic projects in your calendar and you’ll do nothing else – you’ll be tied up in them forever

Put too many of the 3-9 month pay-off activities in there and you may be ok in 3-6 months’ time, but there is a lack of variation and risk that you won’t deliver today or in the long term

Finally, put too much of the short-term, now-now-now activity in there and you will literally be sick, burnt out and have nothing left for a later day!

So, what’s the solution to this? Well, you’ve probably got your own thoughts on how the split should work but here is my approach and why:

20% of your activities should be the longer terms ones which take 12 months plus to come to fruition

60% of your activities should be the 3-9 month impact ones, where the result is within reach but you’ve still got more to do and so means building a stronger base for the medium term

And 20% should be the here and now, the basics, the things which will make a difference today.

In doing so, 80% of your activity is likely to be higher value activity that is building your business for tomorrow.

Give some thought to your diary, your activities and consider which category they fall into. Do you have too many flying saucers in there, too many cola bottles or too many jelly snakes? Do you have the right balance? Do you have enough in there to give you what you need today, to provide variation and to make sure there is a couple of the big ones left for when you get home?

Who said pick ‘n’ mix was for kids?!


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