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Committed To “Not Succeeding?”

by David Brock on April 16th, 2015
failure success

I don’t know anyone committed to failure.  Just the idea of it, sets one on edge.  Being accused of being “committed to failure,” is offensive.

But not being committed to failure doesn’t mean we are committed to success.

If we were totally committed to success, we would do those things are proven to make us successful.  And we would do them all the time.

We know–or should know, that customers don’t want to be pitched about our products.  They don’t care about our products, they care about their own businesses, goal attainment, their own business and personal success.  So if we are totally committed to success, we would be driven by those things customer cares about–and that we can help them address.

We know that we are more successful when we use a sales process.  We see the data, people/organizations that use a sales process have more sales people making quota, and have better revenue growth than those that don’t have or don’t use a sales process.  So if we are totally committed to success, it would be unthinkable not to use the sales process rigorously.

We know we are more effective when we research, prepare, have a plan and execute.  If we are committed to success, we would do this for our deal strategies, we would do this before each call, we would do this in expanding our share of account, we would do this in expanding our share of territory.

We know if we want to maintain our price/margins, we have to create, demonstrate, and communicate value that justifies the pricing/margins.  We know the customer must say, “Those things are important to me!”

We know it’s important to establish, build, and maintain trust and credibility with our customers.  If we are totally committed to success, we would be cautious in the commitments we make to our customers and we would meet 100% of those commitments.

We know the world is changing, our customers are changing, so if we are to be competitive and  win, we must continually learn, we must continually refine our strategies, we must continually improve.  If we are totally committed to success, we are curious, we are committed to learning, improving.

We know that if the things we are doing don’t produce the desired outcomes/results, then it is crazy to continue doing them, expecting a different outcome.  If we are committed to success, we know we have to change.  We have to identify what drives success and start doing those things—–all the time—everyday.

We know that sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes, despite all our best and smartest efforts, we fail.  Perhaps we made a mistake in execution, we had the wrong strategy, the competitor was better, there were hurdles we couldn’t overcome, there were requirements we couldn’t meet, or the customer just wanted something else.  But we know we can learn from those failures, change, and improve in the future.

I get confused when I see people not doing the things they know are required to be successful.

I wonder when I see them do the right things some of the time, but then fall back into bad habits because doing the things that create success require too much work, may be inconvenient, or take time.

I wonder when I see them to the same things, that produce the wrong results, over and over and over.

I wonder when I see them do the same things they did years ago, when they know things have changed–but they won’t.

Surely, they aren’t committed to failure, but they don’t seem to be committed to success.

I wonder, are they committed to being successful sometimes.  Perhaps, they are thinking, “I’ll be committed to success on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (except during the summer).”

It doesn’t make sense to be sometimes committed to success.

So perhaps they are committed to not succeeding.

But somehow being committed to not succeeding, seems a lot like being committed to failure?

Am I missing something?

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  1. I don’t think you’re missing anything, Dave. I’ve often pondered about this, wondering about the root cause of this mystery of human behavior. (And let me be clear that I have struggled with the same thing from time to time… not claiming to be perfect here… I just eventually catch myself and get back on the right track.)

    I’m not sure this is it, but I have a guess. From my early days studying behavioral psych and later from reading Aubrey Dnaiels’ work, I remember the PIC/NFU thing. Consequences that are Positive, Immediate, and Certain are almost always more motivating than those that are Negative, Future, and Uncertain. Not just in a lump of PIC vs. NFU, but also for each element individually (Positive over Negative, Immediate over Future, Certain over Uncertain.).

    Perhaps the ease (Positive/pleasure) of doing something less than effective (or continuing a current habit), right now, is more motivating to some than doing the hard work or making a tough change right now (Negative/pain) that could lead to a Future outcome (likely Positive, but still Uncertain, especially in selling where there are so many variables).

    I may have had too much coffee today, eh? 😉 But when I struggle with this issue that you’ve written about today, this is the stuff that I pause and wonder about. Then I usually look at my To Do list, and go back to work. 😉

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