I’m filled with optimism about the future of selling and business. We are in a period of change, where we have the possibility, and the necessity to reinvent what we do, and how we do it. Customers are changing, possibly faster than we. Technology provides us capabilities we have never dreamed of. We have the capability and capacity to contribute to our customers, organizations, peers, and our own growth in new and powerful ways.
“…I eventually learned these things…..and rather instilled in me a sense of how much work we have yet to do to bring our values (ideals) more consistently into practice. It’s the human condition. Our ideals typically outstrip our performance, and more work is needed for improvement. It’s good to have such ideals precisely to give us direction and encourage us to grow and get better.” Tom Morris, The Everyday Patriot
I’m privileged to hang around some interesting people, people driven by a sense or purpose, improvement, personal growth, and contribution. They are challenged by what they do, they are curious about how to improve and create greater value in their work. These people aren’t just top executives, in fact more often, they are inspired individual contributors.
For example, this week, I had the privilege to have a conversation with Tobia La Marca, an Enterprise Sales Manager in Italy. He had recently moved from SDR and AE roles, and wanted to talk about the future of these roles and how to improve the experience and success of people entering these roles. It has been one of the most insightful discussions I’ve had on that topic in years. I asked Tobia about why it was so important to him. His response was about his personal growth, but also about how he could contribute to the growth of his profession and his peers.
I had a different conversation with my friend, Kevin “KD” Dorsey. Kevin has been a friend and client for years. Recently, he started consulting. We were talking about his work and his dreams. What struck me was his focus on his purpose and contribution. Too often, when I coach consultants, the focus is on the money. Kevin had discovered the money was relatively easy, while not unimportant, it wasn’t the driver to his success and his goals to achieve. He is driven to have an impact on the lives of the people and organizations he works with.
Every top performer I work with seems to have similar outlooks. Whether entry level, individual contributors, front line managers, senior executives, they are inspired and driven by something greater than the money/commissions, achieving quota. They seem to have a purpose around how they can contribute, how they can make a difference. It inspires their personal growth, more importantly it changes everyone they work with.
I’m not sure this purposefulness is something innate. I think we have the ability to learn, develop and grow. It may take some time to discover what it is. We may get lost (I know I have), along the way and have to reestablish it. In establishing it, we gain confidence. We recognize we have to continuously learn and develop. As Tom cites, sometimes our ideals/purpose outstrip our performance. But that just tells us what we have to learn and drives us to improve.
I worry, sometimes, that so many in our profession seem lost, that they don’t have goals or a purpose beyond making a living and staying out of trouble. I know that each of us can do more and be more. And when we start trying to achieve beyond getting the money and making quota, we lift those around us up. And that, in turn makes us better people.
Nothing any of us can do or say can make another commit to this. But hopefully, we can help people imagine the possibility and what it could mean for each of us and all of us.
Afterword: My friend, Tom Morris, has written probably one of the most important books I’ve read in some time. “The Everyday Patriot: How To Be A Great American Now.” As with all of Tom’s books, I find his message goes far beyond the title. If you read anything in the next weeks, make this one.