I have been witnessing a growing trend in many organizations. I call this trend “managing to avoid,” in which goals are set and decisions made simply to avoid failure. Instead of setting a goal that will challenge and stretch the organization to grow, a goal that is just slightly better than current performance is set. Instead of making decisions to go after major opportunities, managers are deciding they “don’t stand a chance” at getting that significant a deal, so they choose to “not waste time.”

Failure is to be avoided, so they manage to avoid instead of managing to achieve. Failure is inevitable at some level in anything we do. In business, we cannot expect to win ever bid, sign every client, or close every sale. However, we will never generate revenues from deals we don’t pursue. We won’t achieve goals we don’t set.

I am not advocating that you go after a customer that you don’t have the capacity to serve. I am challenging you to get out of your comfort zone and go after deals that stretch your abilities, that are just a bit bigger than you are used to doing. I have had clients that spent as much time going after a $1000 deal that could have been spent going after a $100,000 deal. They were capable of more, but they were afraid to watch their metric on “deals closed” go down. If you want your business to grow, then think about setting growth challenges. Teach your organization to grow by managing to achieve and avoid missing great opportunities.

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