Every day I think we have reached bottom with the level of stupid advice I see in my social feeds. Every day, I’m surprised that we can find new depths of stupidity. Sadly, too much of this is from smart people who should know better. Yet, somehow they are seduced by the sounds of their own voices reinforced by countless, “100% man…… Such great insight….. Wow brilliant….!”
Today, I saw something from a very smart individual, someone who should know better. The net of his broetry said, “Average leadership tenures are 17 months…. To protect yourself get a side gig…. Do consulting on the outside…. Maybe over time move into consulting and fractional roles….”
There is so much flawed logic in this. And actually if you follow this individual’s posts it contradicts earlier positions he takes. But it sounds impressive, it sounds like one is taking an informed position, but it’s only built to attract likes, views, comments–all of which take the arguments to deeper levels of dysfunctional strategies and behaviors.
I’ll address the problems of these short tenures in a separate post, but this is just a simple example of too much of the flawed thinking I see expressed in our social channels. It’s popular to take a simple data point as a fundamental constant or “truth” in the way things are. In this case, it was 17 months tenure. In others it’s 15-20% win rates. In others it’s “customers want rep-free buying experiences.” And others, “outbound is dead…..”
The “woe are we” mindsets about the way things are and how difficult it is to sell continues to escalate. And there is are endless opinions about what we do as a result of this fundamental “truth” about how tough things are.
It’s rare that I see someone suggest, “Why do we accept this? What would happen if we change this? What does it take to change this?”
Using the example, above, we’ve seen continued declines in performance correlated, perhaps caused by, declining tenures. At the same time, we see data about the impact of tenure in performance. Most of my clients are among the highest performing in their sectors. In all of them, tenure is important. Creating cultures where people are aligned, feel valued and heard is important to them. As a result, tenures are up. Just last night I was on a call with an Australian client, their average sales tenures are 5-7 years, leadership tenures over 10 years and they are one of the top performers, consistently in their sectors. There is research and other data supporting this.
What about customers wanting “rep free buying experiences.” When do we ask, “Why? Is this the right thing for them? What would it take to change this?” And we see the data, while they want rep free experiences and we seem to be happy giving it to them, data around no decision made and decision regret is skyrocketing. What might change is we figured out, “How do we create great buying experiences through our sales people?” Again, we have clients doing this. And their win rates more than double, no decisions made plummet, sales/buying cycles reduce by 30-40%.
We seem “committed” to “this is the way things are, we just have to suck it up and deal with it.” Yet those that challenge it, those that ask the questions, “What might be possible? How do we change this? What might we do differently,” show tremendous results.
Then the biggest irony I see to the self inflicted, defeatist attitudes we seem to embrace, is when we look at the fundamental job of a seller it’s to challenge our customers about their status quo (the way things are), getting them to re-imagine the way things might be.