Failing to Plan

Regardless where you may live in the world, you no doubt have heard about the “Snowpocalypse” that hit Atlanta on Tuesday. To people outside of Georgia, it appears that we are a bunch of southern idiots who can’t handle 2-3 inches of snow. If you didn’t know any better, you might mistakenly think that the city, as well as Atlanta drivers are “unaccustomed” to snow and are therefore ill equipped to handle the challenges. Well, let me shed some light on the story.atlantasnowstorm

The meltdown can literally be called a perfect storm due to the confluence of events that came together at once. No plan and no leadership led to chaos and fast.

Storm warnings were ignored. Precautionary measures to prep the streets did not happen. Schools were not closed. Parents went to work. When snowfall began, schools then decide to close. Parents rush out in mass to try and reach their kids. Corporate employers start telling everyone to go home. Rather than the timing being staged, the mass exodus of several hundred thousand people clogged freeways and side streets bringing everything to a grinding halt. And the final coup de gras is that the state had the necessary storm equipment to handle the situation (we basically had nothing in 2011 and in years prior) but once roads were blocked, responders could not get through to sand the streets. As a result, snow quickly turned into sheets of ice.

I’ve lived in Atlanta 17 years. This isn’t our first snowrodeo. Reading some of the media reports, you might get the impression that Atlanta has never had a serious snow storm. The “snowcation” of January 2011 shut the city down completely for 5-days and then some. Truckers and other drivers were trapped for three days on I-285, a major interstate that circles the city. Yesterday’s Throwback Thursday picture on my Facebook page clearly showed the snow storm that hit us in 2010. I remember at least four other instances prior to 2010 when we had serious snow and ice storms. Every single time government officials say, “We will do better next time.” Folks this was next time; they didn’t do better.

Some of this years storm madness can be chalked up to our city, state and school officials making grievous errors in judgment. Not once but several times throughout the situation. At the same time, making elected officials the sum total target of our ire and blame isn’t exactly fair. The hundreds of thousands of people who chose to ignore the storm warnings, keep their kids home and stay off the roads are responsible too. I mean really…you trust the government to do your thinking for you? You could argue that if many of Atlanta’s employers had been a little more responsible, they might have insisted that their employees work from home.

There were certainly bright spots during the chaos of it all but so many of the challenges these last few days could have been avoided entirely.

So what does this have to do with selling?

No plan leaves you drifting along with the current. Like a rowboat without oars, you are left at the mercy of circumstances and people who can stall your sales success. Maybe you’ll hit quota, maybe you won’t. Without a plan to follow, you’ll lack focus, waste time, make poor decisions and you will be unprepared with contingencies when problems arise.

Learn from the lessons of Atlanta Snowpocalypse. If you expect to hit sales goals, plan for how you’ll get there. Don’t trust anyone else to do it for you or risk being left in the cold.

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