It’s so easy to lose sight of our goals and what we are trying to achieve. We start with great intentions, then we lose our direction. We start to focus on the wrong things:

What’s our sales process? Our sales process is important, but why do we have a sales process in the first place?

What’s our call plan? What’s our pipeline, what’s the forecast? What’s our deal strategy or our account plan? What are our marketing programs? And we can go on.

The “What” questions also generate the “How” questions—How do we execute our sales process? How do we do an account plan? How do we handle objections? How do we do customer service?

These are all important, but soon everything we do becomes about those things. We move into optimizing those things. We constantly tune our sales process, account management process, marketing programs, sales strategies. How do we do these things better? How do we become more efficient? How do we become more effective. We start leveraging tools and systems to help us become more productive in doing those things.

Over time, these start breaking down. They become unresponsive. They slow us down. Performance starts to decline. Inevitably, our reaction is to re-engineer, re-jigger, add more layers, do a little more–do it faster.

Ultimately, our focus is diverted, everything becomes about what we do. We lose sight of why we do what we do.

I’ve written before that we need to be driven by Principles and Purpose. These help us focus on the Why of what we do.

Focusing on the Why isn’t just a philosophical discussion. It’s really about ruthless focus and simplification. It’s about being very clear about our goals and the most effective and efficient means of achieving them.

Why, What, How are all important — but in that sequence. It keeps us focused, it keeps things simple, it enables us to maximize our impact.