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Stop Blaming the Economy for Your Unproductive Business Development Habits

Are you blaming the economy for your business’s lack of performance? I’ve got news for you: The economy has only exposed the real problems in your business, i.e., poor business development habits and lack of accountability.

Here are the top 10 habits that could be responsible for the business development results you’ve been blaming on the economy (click on the links for more information about these crucial topics):

  1. You forget that your people aren’t you. You complain when a person or team doesn’t live up to your expectations, yet what you’re really expecting is what YOU would do in the same situation. They’re not you. And that’s not a fault, it’s a fact.
  2. You overbook yourself. If you’re overbooked with no room in between meetings, you can’t do the problem solving that’s required in the course of a business day. You’ll either have to ignore the fire that’s just cropped up, or tend to it and drop one of your other commitments. It’s one or the other.
  3. You take too much responsibility for day-to-day operations. If you and/or your key leaders are the only ones who can keep operations going, you’re completely unprepared for the unexpected but inevitable. If half your leadership team were to leave to form a new firm, or even if a few people were out sick at the same time, where would that leave your bottom line?
  4. Your people are unclear about their job descriptions and responsibilities. Accountability begins with people really understanding what you expect from them. Actually, it begins with you understanding of what you expect from other people. If you don’t know, how can you expect others to know? If you’re not in the habit of clarifying your people’s role and responsibilities, no one is accountable for what needs to be done.
  5. You let yourself and your people off the hook as soon as you hear the first “no.” Don’t give in to your ego. Instead, work to confidently match your solutions to the client’s problems, and then follow through and solve those problems. Encourage your people to innovate and create new services that will help current and future clients.
  6. You attack your people when they’ve disappointed you. Attacking tends to shut down creativity. Who can think when they’re being attacked? Who dares submit an idea when it might be mocked or rejected? When it’s time to have a conversation with one of your people-even someone who’s not working up to par-think of it as an approach, not an attack.
  7. You enable your people to keep depending on you. If, for instance, someone handles a project poorly, and you re-do it yourself, you’re enabling that person to remain unskilled, instead of empowering them to grow, learn, or develop. Turn over the control and develop the talent that’s in front of you.
  8. You don’t follow through with requests or consequences. You can talk all you want, but in the end talking is a waste of time. Doing and following through is the way. Use proven accountability tools such as regularly scheduled accountability meetings, recapping, upfront agreements, the accountability meeting binder and the 48/24.
  9. You let simple things stand in your way.Instead of dealing with small frustrations or blocks, you either ignore them and force yourself to walk farther and farther out of your way to get around them, or you let your resentments build up and then explode inappropriately.
    And what’s the #1 habit that’s blocking business development and keeping your business stuck and underperforming?
  10. You don’t put time into developing your people. You either try to bring in all the business yourself, or you put yourself and your people through an endless cycle of demands, disappointments and deflation. Without a foundation of support and development, you’ll continue to invite resistance, rebellion, turnover and a whole host of other people problems.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these unproductive habits? Is it possible that some of these things are what’s really responsible for the state of your business? Here’s the good news: Once you turn around these habits, then you, your people and your business can thrive in any economy.