My last post was focused on free will and how to effectively understand the concept to manage teams and your own focus. Another concept that I leverage is natural harmonics. With free will, it is about understanding ourselves and how we work our best on the tasks that we WANT to do, vs. NEED to do. With natural harmonics, it is about understanding that once we do our tasks, many tasks are left to others and there is only so much we can do.
The basics of natural harmonics are that certain activities progress at their own pace and cannot be meaningfully accelerated by outside forces. Why does this matter to personal efficiency? It reduces the time that we “wait around” and set expectations for ourselves in a way that we reduce stress and are more productive.
In my first company, I had ZERO sales experience and even less sales management experience. When my sales people had an opportunity to close, I would ask them every day about the status. In some cases, I would have them contact the client daily. My best salespeople ignored me. I learned the concept of a sales cycle. I also learned that sales cycle is dependent on the product, economic environment, process and ultimately the buyer.
Understanding your sales cycle helps set the right expectations for yourself. It’s 80% statistical and 20% “the buyer”. Hence, there is a natural harmony to a sales cycle. Looking back at how many wasted hours, energy and stress that I created with my sales team and how they could have spent time working more leads, learning new products, etc. is substantial.
You still have to do the work, but you focus on the right work. I was talking to friend about this concept. He basically said that it's like fishing. You figure out the fish you want to catch, you research a spot, you pick the bait, you drop a line and then you wait. If you keep moving around, switching out bait, keep dropping and reeling, then you will never catch anything. Sometimes you have to just wait.
In the startup world having cash gives you patience. Giving yourself to do the right work and then have patience for natural harmonics to happen will lead to success. In a world of lean startup, I hear entrepreneurs talking about pivoting all the time. It is great to try different things, but you also learn a lot from staying the course for a bit.
I remember doing some work for Blue Nile a long time ago in the late 90’s. They were struggling. E-commerce was just taking off, but their customers (men) were not sitting at their computers and buying diamonds. Once the mobile revolution happened, they were positioned well. I heard that a guy bought a $250K diamond ring while in his limo because he forgot about his wife’s birthday. Blue Nile is now the largest online seller of diamonds.
I would rather spend quality time developing content, spending time with my family, etc. than pushing a rope. I have become very focused on exerting time where I see immediate progress (not necessarily $). Otherwise, I leave it alone until it is time is right. It is not easy, we all feel that if something is not progressing that we just need to exert more effort. The opposite is true, and we should exert that energy somewhere else. We can only control our own work effort. We can barely control the effort of our teams (see Free Will) and we definitely cannot control clients, the economic environment or market changes.