My friend, Wally Bock, wrote an interesting newsletter last week on Bear Bryant. He ended it with a quote from Coach Bryant, “Can people watch you in action and tell what your value ares?” I thought about it for a moment, I think the answer is a definitive YES! 100% of the time!
We live and work what we value every day–it’s impossible to hide them, at least on a sustained basis. Perhaps every once in a while we can suppress them and put on an act. So, the good news is that our values are visible to everyone, every day. They are visible within our organizations, they are visible to our customers, they our visible to our suppliers, they are visible within the community–to our competition and everyone else.
Now here’s the problem, do our “real values” align with what we declare our values to be? If we claim to be customer centric, do our customers see that in every interaction with everyone in our organization? If we claim to value our people, is it apparent—particularly to our people? If we really care about solving our customers’ problems, are we able to suppress our urge to pitch at the least provocation?
See, we tend to think what we say is important. We spend lots of time and money focusing on what we say, developing great materials, polished presentations, and great messaging. In reality what we do is how we are judged and evaluated. If we don’t walk the talk, then we do more harm to what we are trying to achieve than we can possibly imagine.
As sales people, the only things we “control” are our credibility and, possibly, our time. Our credibility–the ability for others to trust what we say and do is probably one of the most powerful aspects of our value proposition. Our credibility is based on our values. We betray our true values in little ways, everyday. We’re late to meetings, we fail to deliver on a commitment, we focus on the order–because of the sales contest, and not on whether it is right for the customer. They may be little things, but they are visible demonstrations of our values to everyone around us. All these things are important to the people we work and interact with. They either reinforce or detract from how we are perceived by our customers.
So people are watching us every day. What we do, how we do it shouts out our values. Is what we do aligned with what we declare?