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We all have a personal comfort zone and we rarely step outside of it. If we do, it’s generally for only a brief period of time.

When stepping out of our comfort zone, we engage our emotions in what is often an uncomfortable way. We give rise to feeling fear, doubt, anxiety and even guilt. We find security and peace in our comfort zone – even if it yields less than optimum outcomes.

This obsession with being comfortable creates some potential big problems. In the sales arena (and most other arenas as well), growth is a function of one’s ability to recognize and accept the changing nature of the environment and the willingness to adapt by taking appropriate action. In other words, if your environment is changing and you don’t change with it, you’ll get left behind. Sometimes, we need to challenge ourselves and make a conscious effort to move beyond our comfort zone if we expect to thrive in a new situation.

With only 2 months to go in the year, it’s appropriate for company owners, C-suite executives and other leaders to ask: Where are our organization comfort zones…and which ones do we need to move beyond? In this final stretch of 2016, consider doing a fearless inventory of the past nine months. As part of that inventory, you and your team may want to explore the following questions:

• What has worked best for us over the past ten months? (Identify three specific initiatives.)

• What has not worked out as well for us? (Again, focus on three specific areas.)

• What do our best clients/customers have to say about where there is room for improvement in our organization (If we don’t know, how could we find out?)

• What is our competition initiating or about to initiate that we are presently not doing? (Again, if we are not doing it, how could we find out?)

• What short-term goals could we adopt for the period between now and the end of the year? • What longer-term goals should we consider adopting for the period between now and    December 31, 2017?)

Spending some time as a group on questions like these, and following through on the best answers, is a great exercise. You can use these questions to identify specific aspects of your organizational comfort zone that need challenging. Stepping onto a brand new path can be difficult, and it can bring about all kinds of strong emotional responses. But, in the long term, it’s better than remaining in a situation that’s familiar, but not moving you quickly enough toward your most important organizational goals.

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