So there’s a critical but subtle mistakes I see founder make all the time when times get more challenging.  And they made it a lot the past year or so:

They don’t just reset the plan.  They lower the bar.

What’s the difference?  In practice, it can be a bit subtle, but let me give a recent real-world example.

A startup at $10m ARR hitting tough headwinds might want to reset the plan to say 30% annual growth from 100% in a really tough year.  Hopefully, a reset like that only happens once in your journey, but it’s happened to many the past 12-18 months.

OK so you reset the plan, and now instead of going from $10m to $20m in a year, you plan to hit $13m.  That’s adding $250k a month instead of $800k.

But for how long do you reset to a lower bar, not just a lower plan?  Forever?  If it’s forever … the team sort of settles into that lower goal.  

And in fact, here’s the thing: it doesn’t really help.  Morale still suffers.  Folks are still grouchy.  They aren’t any happier ultimately struggling to hit a newly reset plan.

What’s critical sometimes is a reset of the current plan, and a reset to a New Normal.  But you do have to get back to growth.

If you keep the plan so low for too long, it all becomes a muddled mess of “best efforts”.

And I’ve never seen a “best efforts” sales team hit any number.  I’ve tried it myself.  It doesn’t work.

So when you reset the plan, get everyone to buy into a new, realistic, but still tough plan.  And leave nothing on the field to hit it.  If you let too much pressure out of the system, it may take stress out for a month or two.  But not getting anywhere after that … just introduces new types of stress.

Here’s the thing: after a reset, if nothing else, you have to do better the quarter and months after the reset.

Reset the plan to +$300k a month instead of +$800k?  So be it.  But it can’t stay $300k forever.  You have to keep growing.  If you leave it there … at best efforts … you probably won’t even hit the +$300k plan.

More here:

Your New Plan After a Rough Patch: Just Do Better Than The Last 30 Days

(lower the bar image from here)

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