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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Leadership Development Through the Eyes of Winston Churchill

Leadership_Development_through_the_eyes_of_Winston_ChurchillWinston Churchill said “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” There is a sweet spot you need to find as a leader.  You can’t spend too much time dreaming about a future you aren’t sure how to get to, but you also can’t fail to set goals and develop plans that will improve revenue performance.  Churchill is encouraging us not to look so far ahead that we set our eyes on a destination for which we have no clear route in which to get there. This is very important advice! 

As the calendar moves toward the end of the year and you look ahead to the start of another, it’s time to evaluate how your sales department is doing and determine changes you will make in the coming year.  We have a tool we use for this process that is called the Performance Prism.  The metaphor is this… “Just as a prism separates light into its component colors, our Performance Prism separates a sales organization into its components.” This approach will force you to break down each important area (like the prism separates light) and search for opportunities for improvement. It will also prevent you from looking too far ahead, but instead will help you focus on the next link in the chain that will move you along the desired path.

The key areas of the Performance Prism are:

  • Goals & Values
  • Structure & Process
  • Metrics & Accountability
  • Talent & Skill

We will focus on Goals & Values here. Your organization is driven by its goals and values. Goals are about the outcomes you seek. Some of those goals are revenue based and others that don’t have a dollar-sign in front of them. Values are the beliefs, standards and principles you choose to follow as you pursue your goals.

To get started in thinking about your current goals and values, ask yourself these questions:


  1. What are your revenue goals for next year?
  2. How much of an increase are you projecting over this year?
  3. How do you break it down by segments? What segments are most important? Are there emerging segments you are focused on?
  4. What specific revenue goals are you most concerned about making next year?


  1. Do you have a Reason for Being statement you use now (helping your team focus on more than just “making their goals”)?
  2. Are your sellers using that Reason for Being in their elevator speech with prospects?
  3. In what ways do you showcase or talk about the results or return that you deliver for customers?
  4. If we asked 10 of your best customers, what values your salespeople regularly demonstrate that are of great value, what kind of words or phrases would we hear?

Wrestling with these questions will give you insight into where your efforts need to be placed to make your revenue goals and, at the same time, will help you consider what values need to be emphasized to help you get there.

A great tool to help you consider where your best opportunities for improvement are for next year is our Thirty Provocative Questions.  We encourage you to download this document, answer the prompts and send a copy to us for review.  We’ll provide feedback to help you spot opportunities.

30 provocative questions