The Power Of Yet (310)

“In a minute,” maybe a teenager’s favorite phrase when asked to do something by their parents. As parents, we understand that if we don’t continue to insist, the proverbial minute will never arrive. Our kids will never get around to taking out the trash, or whatever other chores we’re asking them to do.

Yet is a different sentiment. It’s not the equivalent of “in a minute.”

“In a minute” is about procrastination.

“Yet” is about the process of achievement.

Yet is powerful. It denotes that achievement and accomplishment just haven’t happened YET. But it also expresses confidence that it will come to pass. We simply have to continue pressing toward the goal.

It can also be a crutch when it’s merely an excuse for failure.

Lately, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this word because I hear it often used in both contexts. As an excuse and as a statement that a person is still working hard toward a target.

The optimistic part of me – the bigger part of me – focuses on the progress made. Or the progress attempting to be made. I’m happy to give folks the benefit of the doubt that when they use the word – YET – they’re putting forth solid effort to reach whatever goal they’ve set.

“Have you reached your sales goals this week?”

“Not yet.”

The power of yet is measured in whatever effort is being put forth to reach the goal. That’s the power of yet. It’s the declaration that in time we’ll reach it.

Only the pompous are able to judge the timing of success and achievement. It happens when it happens, and mostly only after great effort.

The real power of YET is in what follows. A sentiment sometimes expressed. Sometimes just implied.

“…but I will.”

Affirming our commitment. Hearing ourselves reinforce our determination.

Important matters of the mind.

As a business leader, you have a responsibility to your team to make sure that every single member embraces the optimistic idea of YET while refusing to embrace it as an excuse for failure.


Step 1: Review what actions have been taken and measure the results.

Keep in mind that wishes don’t have actions, but hopes do. If members of your team are hoping to achieve something specific, then it necessarily means they’re doing something to move toward that achievement. What things are they doing? How are those things working out?

Step 2: Are they taking enough of the right actions? Help them figure that out.

Be a profitable sounding board so your team members can individually and collectively figure out if they’re taking the appropriate actions. And then figure out if they’re doing enough of them. Sometimes we take action, but we fail to do it enough. A salesperson may make sales calls consistently, but failure results because she’s not making enough calls every single day.

Step 3: Figure out what’s working and what isn’t.

Not all actions are created equally. You owe it to your team to help them figure out what actions work best. Don’t issue commands, but instead help them arrive at the conclusions that will drive higher chances of success.

Step 4: Ask them what commitment they’d like to make in order to adjust to a more effective course of action. 

“What would you like to do to accelerate toward the goal?”

This is where the team member must commit to their own plan. Steps 1, 2 and 3 likely produce multiple answers and give the person a variety of choices they could take. Help them reason through the strengths and weaknesses of each option. Let them decide the option they think will help best reach the goal.

This step answers the question, “Now what will I do?” These should be specific action items the person is willing to undertake.

Step 5: Agree on a timeframe. 

When would they like to reach the next milestone toward the goal? Again, let them commit to a specific time-frame. These actions should be intentionally fairly short-term toward a longer-term objective. Think days or weeks here, not months.

Review the commitment made by the team member. “Beginning tomorrow you’re going to make a minimum of 20 calls and be at 90% of your monthly sales goal by the 22nd of the month.”

Again, specifics matter.

Step 6: Be their accountability partner.

Simple easy tactics are required. This isn’t a police action, but it’s a service your team members deserve. Reiterate that you have just one objective – to help them achieve their goal.

“At the end of every day text me the number of calls you made along with the number of actual sales conversations you had as a result. Text it with the number being the calls and the second number the actual phone presentations made.”

Step 7: Make real-time adjustments together.

Agree together that if adjustments are necessary, then they’ll make those adjustments. For instance, if 20 daily calls aren’t resulting in increases that will likely reach the goal…then agree to increase them to 25 daily calls.

Remember, the goal is to help them hit their target. You’re making a full commitment to them to help them do what must be done so they can achieve success. Their failure will be your failure.

But together you’re both going to commit to the power of YET. It’s not over until it’s over. So until then, the work continues with the die-hard belief that success just hasn’t happened…YET. But it will.

Be well. Do good. Grow great!


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