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Don’t let complacency do for you what it did for Napolean

11th April 2016 | Blog


By Ben Jones, Sales Manager

In 1812, after repeated victories in Central Europe, Napoleon decided he would attempt to take over Russia. His recent success led him to believe that Russia would surrender after only a few battles and so he made no plans for a sustained campaign or occupation.

Russian retreat – a refusal to fall prey to Napoleon’s tried and tested tactic of manoeuvring enemy armies into unfavourable positions – and the systematic burning of crops left little for the French to feed off as winter set in and eventually, a loss of discipline set in.

Now, I am sure you are all thinking I have lost the plot and that this has nothing to do with recruitment, but it has. In military terms, Napoleon’s problem is called Victory Disease. In our industry, this could be called complacency.

Have you ever compared monthly sales figures across a year and wondered why September, for example, was a record month – let’s say a million pound month – but sales declined company wide in the following months?

What happened? Did people stop looking for jobs because it got colder? Do we all love Christmas so much that we celebrated for four months? The obvious answer is complacency. And there is no use playing the blame game here, complacency is infectious. Once it sets in, it can go viral.

So how do we stop complacency creeping in? How do we make million pound months the norm? Better yet, how do we make that an underachievement?

One thing that can breed complacency is habit. Some people may think if they make 50 calls a day, send a couple of CVs and do some business development that money will appear on the sales board. But we need to break that way of thinking, like Cossacks running sabres through the freezing, demoralised Grande Armée as it slunk back towards Paris.

Rather than coming to work to ‘do our job’, instead we should be thinking every time we walk through the door: what am I going to do today to make money?

Another way we can combat complacency is set ourselves short term goals. If we are all working aimlessly and have no goal in sight we can burn out easily and fall in to old habits. Set goals – finding new candidates, making a set number of placements, gaining a promotion – whatever it is, set a goal and make sure you treat yourself when you achieve it. Hard work deserves rewards and it will keep you motivated to carry on.

The most important thing to take from this is that every single person who reads this – from directors to the newest person in a company – must take responsibility for achieving the best they can and help others to do so as well.

Napoleon took over 610k French soldiers to Russia. About 110k returned, frost bitten and starved. The campaign left his reputation in tatters and weakened French dominance in Europe. Don’t let complacency do the same to you.

Find out how NonStop Consulting can help you today.