"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. " Mark Twain
Sales is a funny business and managing salespeople is even funnier. Days are filled with stories, anecdotes, personalities and memories that will last a lifetime. Are salespeople artists? Of course they are. Those few that build lasting relationships, clarify differentiated value propositions and create consistent demand are exceptional individuals that every business needs today and always will need. And the very best ones know that they are special - therein lies the rub. The very best salespeople know this and then they must learn to take the next gigantic leap - They need to get out of their own way. The very best salespeople learn that business is a two edged sword that includes both quantity and quality. These are not mutually exclusive concepts. Both are essential components of success. A great salesperson, and certainly a great businessperson, knows that they need to be superior to others in both quantity of output and quality of output in order to get better quantity and quality of input. If you are just focusing on one side of the equation you are only doing half a job.Yes great salespeople are artists - but the very best recognize that business is driven by numbers and sales is certainly a numbers game. So is it true as the book says that "Talent Is Overrated?" Yes - especially when we believe that talent alone is our differentiator. Quantity and Quality - you've got to deliver both if you really want to succeed in the highly commoditized arena of business today. Contacts - Calls - Connections - Conversations - Quotes - Orders - Profits. Focus on Delivering BOTH Quality AND Quantity. That trait will differentiate you as a true professional.
"Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else's hands, but not you."
A daughter and her father were walking together in the snowy mountains of Alaska. Suddenly, the young girl falls, hurts herself and screams: "AAAhhhh!!!" To her surprise, she hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain:"AAAhhhh!!!" Curious, she yells: "Who are you?" She receives the answer: "Who are you?" Angered at the response, she screams: "Coward!" She receives the answer: "Coward!" She looks to her father and asks: "What's going on?" The father smiles and says: "My dearest daughter, pay attention." And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!" The voice answers: "I admire you!" Again the man screams: "You are a champion!" The voice answers: "You are a champion!" The girl is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains: "People call this an ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives you back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life; Life will give you back everything you have given to it."
YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT'S A REFLECTION OF YOU!
"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."
What happens to us? ~ We get a little older and we start to believe we know stuff. We set limitations on ourselves and the light that shone so bright in childhood dims as we start to get in our own way. Each of us has experienced the pure bliss of watching, and listening, to a child share their dreams, hopes, visions and stories. It makes us smile and remember... But we tend to forget that each of us has that child still within us ~ we choose to stifle and excuse away the possibilities of our lives with reason, circumstance and 'knowledge'. We start to focus on what we believe we know instead of our dreams and possibilities. Why Not Bring Out The Child Again ? Why not get back to really enjoying life. Bring the child out to play - We only get one shot at this thing we call life. Do cartwheels, enjoy life - Bring out the child.
"Be the Change You want to See in the world" Gandhi
Have you ever had a flaky friend? The one that frustrates you with being chronically late just when you were depending on them to be on time. The one that assures you they are going to do something but you know they aren't going to come through. You love the fun times and easy going nature with these friends but try to impress upon them how important being dependable to you is and they just don't see it as a problem. Trying to change them is a lost cause - So what do you do? People don't change what they can't see - And they certainly don't change actions or behavior which they believe they have good reasons for. Almost all behaviors we have are learned very early in our lives and patterns are difficult to change - So what do you do? Don't try to change others - Change Yourself. It doesn't matter how well intentioned, persuasive or selfless your message to them is - it's not going to effect behavioral change in those you care about UNTIL that person takes ownership to change them-self. In the meantime change yourself - Be The Change. Set the example of what you want. That is all you can really do - and for some people that may be just enough.
"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you..." Gandhi
How do we differentiate ourselves? What characteristics, traits, actions and accomplishments mark people who differentiate themselves significantly from the rest of us? In my experience it's rarely a small incremental difference. Usually those who make a difference strive for something, an internal standard that only they initially understand - but it's significantly different than the status quo. As human beings we naturally resist and fear that which we do not understand and so these 'different' people encounter an inevitable series of responses to their difference. Every person,over centuries of human accomplishment, has encountered these series of responses. Sometimes the response category lasts for years and sometimes it defeats the would be initiators of change leaving another to pick up the mantle at a later date. But the series of responses - the way people deal with these difference makers is always the same. How, as human beings, do we deal with these people who strive to be the 'difference makers'?
- First We Ignore them
- Then We Ridicule them
- Then We Fight them
- Then we Copy them
Only those who make it through all 4 become 'Difference Makers'
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." Nelson Mandela
I was more scared than I've ever been in my life and to make it worse I was trying my best to pretend otherwise. I had always had a tremendous fear of heights. Yep here was a guy who was trying to become a special forces paratrooper and he's afraid of heights. You've heard all the jokes "Who in their right mind would want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?" But they say you need to face your fears in order to overcome them and that you need to want to become something bigger than that which you fear. I wanted to become something bigger than the sum of my fears. I'd heard the story of the thousands of paratroopers that jumped on June 6th, 1944 over Normandy and with their courageous actions those men had changed the face of history. On that day there were four men amongst the thousands on those planes who refused to jump. Four men who cowered to their fear. Four men who when faced with fear withdrew. What kind of regrets did those men have to live with for the rest of their lives? Don't be amongst those timid souls who look back on their lives with regret. Take a lesson from the wisdom of Nelson Mandela "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Face Fear And Take Action. Go ahead and JUMP - Do It - Take Action Now - Trust Me - You Won't Regret it.
."As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." ~ Andrew Carnegie.
An old army sergeant inherited a talking parrot from a recently departed relative who had run a busy dockside bar in Boston. For the first few days in his new home the normally talkative parrot was distinctly shy. The old sergeant, despite his stern and disciplined ways, felt sorry for the bird, and gently encouraged it with soft words and pieces of fruit. After a week or so the parrot began to find its voice - a little at first - and then more so. Responding to the kind treatment, the parrot's vocabulary continued to recover, including particularly the many colorful expressions it had been taught in the dockside bar. The old sergeant began to be quite irritated by the parrot's incessant rudeness, and after a few more days of worsening profanities, decided action was required to bring the bird under control.
The sergeant tried at first to incentivise the parrot with the promise of reward for good behavior, but to no avail. He next tried to teach the bird a lesson by withdrawing its privileges, again to no avail; the parrot remained stubbornly rude. Finally the old soldier flipped into battleground management mode; he grabbed the bird, clamped his hands around its beak, and thrust the struggling, swearing parrot, into the top drawer of the freezer, slamming the door tightly shut.
The swearing and struggling noises continued inside the freezer for a few seconds and then abruptly stopped. The sergeant listened for a while and then, concerned that the parrot's shock might have been terminal, carefully opened the freezer door and opened the drawer to look. The parrot slowly clambered out of the drawer and perched on its edge. "I must apologize for my rude and disrespectful behavior," said the parrot, ~ "I promise never to use bad language again."
"And by the way - What did the turkey do?"
"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."~ John Wooden.
There are men who define what it is to be a man and I was about to shake the hand of such a man. It's something I will remember for the rest of my life. "Coach ~ I'd be honored if you would sign your book"
Honored was an understatement. Here stood a man who exemplified everything I believed a man should be. Principled, tough, tender, competitive, disciplined, and a man of faith who lived to help others realize more of their god given potential. Coach John Wooden was a true testament of a mans life filled with meaning and substance.
Coach set the bar so high that the rest of us could only hope to achieve and be one tenth his measure. The numbers are legendary.
An 88 game winning streak - Four 30 - 0 winning seasons - Championship after Championship, Ten of them over all and 38 straight NCAA tournament wins. But his numbers were not what impressed me so much - it was the man, his character and the influence he had on other men. The players who bought in to his principles would one day become lifelong friends and those who didn't would never understand.
There was the legendary day that Bill Walton, already a superstar player and a rebellious young firebrand, showed up at practice with a fiery red beard growing on his chin. Coach Wooden had a policy of no facial hair and Walton exclaimed "It's my right". That's good Bill, Wooden replied. "I admire people who have strong beliefs and stick by them. ~ We are going to miss you."
You will read many stories about Coach Wooden. How he refused to play his team in the NAIB tournament because it wouldn't allow black players to compete - how he married his high school sweetheart, the only woman he ever dated, and remained with her for life - how his winning percentage of .813 will probably never be equaled -how in forty years he never made more than 35k a year coaching and when offered ten times that amount in a year to coach again for UCLA he refused. How after his wife died, in 1985, he continued to write a letter to her on the 21st of every month until the day he died, twenty five years later.
He was an honored veteran of World War II, a member of our greatest generation and he was THE COACH. He graciously signed my book, smiled, and thanked me for my interest ~ He Thanked Me !!
I came away from my brief meeting with Coach John Wooden with a treasured memory, a book of wisdom and a warm handshake from a man who set the bar on what it is to be a man so high that I realized I had an enormous amount of work to do. ~ Rest in Peace Coach.
"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else." ~ John Burroughs.
For many years I've observed men as they barter their way through business, battle, and boardrooms and have come to the conclusion that there's one trait that stands head and shoulders above all others.
Accountability - the way some accept it and others avoid it is what separates those who earn respect over those who deserve derision.
During interviews, one on ones, personal interactions or fleeting acquaintances the man who sits across the desk , or crosses our path, determines who he is, in my mind, with a simple response:
Does he deflect or embrace accountability? Does he make excuses? There are some that we need to ask to stand up - Just to see if they really have a spine. ~ Some wobble like jelly, pointing fingers and pitching reasons. They boast of successes and blame for failures.
Then there are some, a rare few, who really inspire us, with a willingness to embrace responsibility and accountability for what they do with their lives. They never make excuses - Never give reasons or point fingers. They accept accountability for who they are, what they've done, what they do, and what they are going to do . And whatever the outcome may be - They exemplify a phrase with ten simple words.
"If it is to be - It is up to me."