The Action Reflex

As I make the rounds to various companies, I am often asked what the single biggest difference is that I see between ultra-successful salespeople (and business people in general) and the rest of the competitive set. My answer is something I call “The Action Reflex.” Here is what I mean.

Most highly successful people I know do not have long lists of things to do. They also do not have a meeting schedule that is booked way out. Why? Because they do not plan . . . they act . . . right away, with a sense of urgency and an intensity that most people may not begin to imagine. To people with “the action reflex,”  if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right now, so they pick up the phone and make the call, or push the deal, or press the initiative immediately . . . otherwise it does not even make it to a list.

Over the years, this “action reflex” has never ceased to amaze me. There are dozens of CEOs I can call right now, and they will either pick up their own phones or get back to me within a few hours, but when I contact people who work beneath them, I often do not get a call back or a meeting planner is sent for a meeting three weeks out. Why? Because they say they are “so busy.”  But all too often they are defining “busy” as handling way too much lower level work and noise they have picked up along the way which winds up on endless lists and a cycle of meetings that push out further and further.

At times when I bring this up, people will push back and say, “Of course the CEO’s and senior executives have more control of their time . . . they have access to resources who can handle the less urgent work for them.”  But here is the key . . . ultra-successful people operated this way before they reached the top and it was this very sense of action and urgency that helped get them there in the first place.

This week, think about how you are going after the most important goals in your life.  Are you attacking them today, or are you listing them for tomorrow?  Ultra-successful business people and salespeople have figured out that the concept of “tomorrow” is a thief that steals productivity and achievement.

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