Successful Habits Often Start with a Small Step in the Right Direction - Modern Distribution Management

Successful Habits Often Start with a Small Step in the Right Direction

What does it take to build successful habits and keep them going for the long term? Consider setting micro goals for yourself and your business.
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Lately, I’ve been reading articles and listening to podcasts on the topic of what it takes to build successful habits and keep them going for the long term. In addition to developing positive practices for myself, it’s something I’d like to be able to help instill in my school-age children. One tip that particularly resonated with me during this time of pandemic-induced overload — when adding anything to an already full plate feels daunting, if not impossible — is the suggestion to set micro goals. For example, want to start reading more? Start with a goal of five pages or even five minutes per day. We can all spare five minutes. 

The same concept can apply to business goals. I hosted a recent webcast, “On the Bright Side: How to Create Opportunity from 2020’s Disruptions,” that covered a wide range of business development tips, from process improvement to people development to technology changes. During the Q&A portion, one participant asked the most important question one can pose: “How do I get started?”

The webcast explored a variety of interrelated and often overlapping areas of business development, making it potentially overwhelming to know what to tackle first. This can increase the likelihood that we will do nothing at all. 

So what’s a distributor to do? First, step back and look at your business, advised Dave Saunders of Ultra Consultants. Ask yourself, if you had another major disruption coming this year (perish the thought!) how would you respond to it? Do you have the right tools in place to weather the disruption? If not, pick one area to focus on, break it down into corresponding tasks, and start there. 

Fellow webcast speaker Diane Yarrow of Oracle NetSuite provided a great suggestion to set as an initial micro goal. Look at your processes and ask yourself, “What can we automate?” It’s a helpful tip when lack of time is often a factor in our failure to meet a goal we set for ourselves. (For more of Saunders’ and Yarrow’s advice, check out the webcast here:

Real-Life Inspiration

Meanwhile, look no further than the pages of this edition of MDM Premium for several real-life examples of executives in the C-suites of distribution’s top companies who are making positive change happen. In “Leading Distributors Share the Secrets to Their Success,” (p. 6), Kathy Mazzarella of Graybar, Debbie Weitzman of Cardinal Health Inc. and D.G. Macpherson of Grainger open up their pandemic playbooks.

They spoke during last month’s National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Digital Summit, discussing how they’ve led their businesses over the past year and how the lessons they learned during COVID-19 can help influence the industry, whether that’s diversifying business, rising to the complexity of distributing the vaccine or competing with Amazon.

What micro goals do you have for yourself and/or your business? I’d love to hear them so that MDM can help you on your journey. Send me an email at 

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