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Reactive vs. Strategic

Meeting with a client yesterday to start mapping out a strategic initiative, I was struck afresh by how many decisions are made in “reactive” mode in sales training departments. Many of the programs, systems, and suppliers in place are there only because a certain need had to be met at the time. What this often leads to, over time, is a patchwork landscape that has no real strategic design.

Why does this occur? I can think of several reasons:

What you want to strive for is unified direction and leadership, around a single strategic vision, with a clear pathway on how to get from A to B. Otherwise, things will tend to spin around in multiple directions based on reactions to whatever comes down the pike (I wrote this paragraph because my brother just forwarded me a picture of a two-headed turtle. Had to get that image in here somehow…!)

A good consultant (hopefully, that would be me) can help clients step back, take an objective look at what exists and what the gaps are, and sketch out the vision of what ought to be, along with a blueprint on how to get there. Many times, consultants are viewed as money drains (and some have richly earned the reputation). But a good consultant, who knows best practices from multiple companies, will end up multiplying the effectiveness of the department, and more than pay for him/herself by recommending wise and practical strategic direction.

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