Sales leadership

The Tao of Churchill in Sales

I recently visited Churchill's War Rooms in London and was inspired by his leadership. Everyone in sales can learn from his tenacity and wisdom.

“I am easily satisfied with the very best.” So are your customers so put your best foot forward and work to impress them with insight and genuine listening. General is the enemy of specific and mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.

“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.” Listening is everything in enterprise sales. You learn nothing while talking so aim to speak only 25% of the time. When we wing it, we will never fly. Be prepared, prepared to actively listen and be fascinated by the customer.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Sometimes the boldest card to play is silence. Sometimes the most powerful strategy is to take a conversation off-line and have coffees with other players in the deal, outside of the political power-base. The next time you sit down with a CXO, ask an insightful question about something you read in the annual report or in their social media stream. You’ll impress them that you took the time to provide research.

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Perseverance is critical in seeing major deals through. You must have the eye of the tiger burning bright, never faltering and never giving-in. Mastery of complex enterprise selling is hard, like climbing Mt. Everest hard. Those who have done it for decades make it look easy but make no mistake; they’ve earned the right to stand upon the mountaintop. It’s a humble road and a lonely one at that. When in doubt, go with gratitude and return to the fundamentals. Build pipeline proactively and get in front of your dream clients by knowing what an ideal prospect looks like.

“There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” It’s imperative that you integrate new methods with traditional wisdom. Getting caught-up in the latest sales training that provides a silver bullet can really be latching on to a red herring. Respect the candor in your coaches; be open to constructive 360 degree feedback. It’s the only way you’ll truly be mentored and improve. I think this quote is also a call to leverage sardonic humor as a weapon for good.

“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”In baseball, you only need hit the ball 3 times out of 10 to look like a hero. In cricket as bowler, you’re only 3 deliveries away for completely turning the match. Keep that fighting spirit. Remember, the IASM in enthusiasm means: I Am Sold Myself. Champion salespeople give everyone their best. They refresh and restart each day treating each engagement as if it were their first or their last. Be fully there and give it your all when you’re in the arena. You are the face of your company’s brand. First impressions are crucial and the first experience she has with you, may have repercussions on all future interactions with her company.

“The price of greatness is responsibility.” It’s a very big honour to close a huge deal. You represent the precious brand of your company and your own reputation is also at stake. Understand that everything will rise or fall with delivery of the promise. Manage expectations all the way through. Closing the deal is the beginning of delivery – signing the contract is the beginning of a long-term relationship. You are only successful if your customer is successful and happy with your solution, service and support.

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Humbly choose your own destiny by being intentional with the sales activities that actually make a difference. Identify and commit to the KPIs that create results. These include the number of calls you make, contacts InMailed, meeting planned and executed. Take control by creating three times pipeline coverage as a minimum. Focus on the leading measures that influence the static lagging measures. Incredibly, revenue itself is a lagging measure you really can’t influence. Understand the causal relationship between your actions and the business outcomes that they drive.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” If it were easy then they wouldn't need you. Be a problem solver who is positively paranoid… that may sound like a contradiction, breakthrough entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs were described as thinking this way. Optimism can actually positively influence revenue and prospects can sense it. Running through every possible deal scenario and fully mapping the account strategically will give you the confidence to run a winning strategy that you deserve to feel optimistic about.

“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” What I love about this quote is that even the extemporaneous can be planned. Be ready for what you will do off the cuff by role-playing with your colleagues. Never leave even the slightest detail to chance. Know the customer’s organization soup-to-nuts and your own solution, inside-out. Most sellers go about 10 feet deep into the water. You must dive deep into the bottom of the ocean to get the pearl… and avoid the giant squid of the status quo or enemies in the account seeking to eliminate you.

“Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.” In the end, it will come down to work-ethic applied consistently over time, persistently and with tenacity. (See my post on sustained self-discipline.) Many would say that selling is a numbers game but it is actually a game of strategy and sequence just like Chess. You can move the pieces ever faster and keep playing the game over and over again. Unless you get smarter with pattern recognition, deduction and predictive analysis, you will not see an increase in winning. Over time you develop more skill and a sixth sense at prediction. The harder and smarter you work, the ‘luckier’ you will become so embrace Churchill’s principle here.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.” If you have a great idea about how to transform an account and you present in the boardroom to a dozen executives, rest assured a few may try to block you. You may have made some ‘frenemies’ along the way here. People can be duplicitous due to competing motives or politics in play within the customer organization. Press on – it’s critical to crusade for ideas of integrity that are indeed good for the client. Have their best interest at heart and transcend negativity with cunning and goodwill.

“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” We must learn from our mistakes and the wisest people also learn from the trials and triumphs of others. Be a student of history and of all those who have trodden the well-worn halls of your customer before you. Internal knowledge transfer is critical. Do not take a key account for granted. Take the time to study how it was won and why they bought – know the narrative and the hard data. Research the client’s success and any challenges they’ve had implementing the solution along the way. Study the history of the deal to improve your future ability to grow the account.

“Please be good enough to put your conclusions and recommendations on one sheet of paper in the very beginning of your report, so I can even consider reading it.” Such a genius example of the busy executive or world leader for that matter. Brevity is the soul of wit. Always write the executive summary first; well before anyone on the team starts providing detail. This keeps everyone on message and helps them link the ‘what and how’ to the ‘why and when’. A forty-slide deck is a quantum leap backward. Never forget that the purpose of the first slide is to captivate the audience to move to the next. When communicating to key executives, use powerful imagery and brevity of words – practice economy of language. Have a document to leave behind that provides all the data and verbiage. The best advice I could give to sales people looking to ascend in their career is to take courses on writing. The pen is mightier than the sword and senior level executives with MBAs will very much appreciate relevant displays of emotive yet logical eloquence backed with evidence in an appendix.

“If this is a blessing, it is certainly very well disguised.” There’s something somewhat zen about selling. Sometimes something very bad occurs and turns out to be a stroke of good fortune. At other times, your ‘happy ears’ may deceive you. You’re dead in the water by EOD but keep the boat steady. The best deals take time and build from a simmer to a boil. Count your blessings such as a warm referral but don’t be too quick to mistake a curse for a blessing in disguise. I’ve seen an in-the-bag million dollar enterprise deal, shrivel up in an instant based on internal politics, external events or a competitor who hacked their pricing at the last minute. Success is about being the person worthy of it, learn form every failure and challenge – it makes you who your are. Remember, lessons in life are usually repeated until learned.

“I like a man who grins when he fights.” Practice insouciance. Enjoy the negotiation. Enjoy the battle. When it gets grim, find the élan vital. Personally, the most fun I’m having is when I’m solving the biggest, thorniest problem. I love to coach teams who are in the heat of a major deal and need to find a way to get things unstuck. Just like a cycling professional in a grand tour, enjoy the suffering – it’s what eliminates the competition.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” A positive attitude, thriving in the face of adversity, is how careers are made. Leadership is an inside job. I can think of several major deals that incumbents lost based on attitude issues with their sales person. Skills and qualifications do not differentiate – they’re just a ticket to the dance. Attitude and execution is what makes a person stand out.

“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” The greatest challenge of your life will be mastering yourself, learning to keep cool, grace under pressure, wrestling your fears and self-destructive tendencies, doing what is needed at the right time whether you feel like it or not. Every time you conquer an insurmountable challenge, you build that mental muscle. Churchill understood that a diamond is created by extreme pressure. There is dark before the dawn just as he lead the world out of a darker chapter of history. If you’re sitting at the tail end of the quarter feeling defeated, know that your luck is just about to turn if you’ve earned it. That’s the fun of sales – the uncertainty and the unknown. The challenges make success all the more satisfying. If it were easy, it would not be as rewarding.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main Image Photo by Flickr: cliff1066™

Great Sales Managers Spoon-feed Their Sales People

I know what you’re thinking – You’ve got to be kidding me. But hear me out on this. As a sales manager your job is to provide an environment within which everyone in your team can be successful. You need to train, coach, inspire and remove roadblocks. You also need to ensure they have viable territories, accurate competitive intelligence, and the necessary resources and tools to execute. And all of this built on strong intrinsic value in what they are selling to their markets. With all of this in place, you rightly expect them to be the positive differentiation needed to win business in hotly contested opportunities.

But how can sales people most effectively be the competitive advantage your business needs? How can they best be the difference that results in earning client trust and investment? Should you send them on training courses, drive a new sales methodology, implement a new CRM, engage expensive consultants to mentor and exhort, or perhaps an off-site team-building exercise?

There is an urban legend dating back to the height of the space race. NASA allegedly spent millions of dollars inventing a pen that could write in zero gravity. It was an amazing little feat of engineering. The USSR faced the same challenge… they used pencils. My point is that solving a problem does not need to cost huge sums of money and be a major feat of change management.

People are best motivated by reasons they themselves discover. This statement is true of prospects, customers, your CEO, management team… and yes, your sales people. Telling people something does not impart knowledge or create motivation for change… they need to feel it and own it. So what is the best tool for instilling transformational change in your sales people?

Here are some clues: It typically costs less than $40 per person, sometimes as little as $10 per sales person. The sales person then invests up to 12 hours of their personal time, rather than the company’s, in absorbing the information. They hear their inner-voice as they engage their imagination in applying the principles to their own challenges. Sound too good to be true. Every sales superstar I’ve worked with habitually uses this resource library and they are happy to invest their own money month after month. The answer is books.

Every sales manager must be a prolific reader to be truly effective. There is a book to help solve every sales problem and here are four examples. Yet it staggers me how few sales people are readers. The elite within sales, on the other hand, are naturally inquisitive and committed to lifelong learning, personal development and continuous improvement.

So, what is it should you spoon-feed to sales people? Certainly not criticism or unproductive pressure. You should spoon-feed them material to read that will inspire, educate and transform the way they think and operate. Training courses on their own just don't work; nor does forcing them to use some kind of methodology not aligned with their sales process.

For the next six months, put your team on a reading program. ‘Sales book club’ will make a huge difference if you make every individual in the team accountable. Insist that they read one book a month and schedule a monthly session to give them a written test concerning key principles in the book (have a serious prize for the person with the best test score – dinner for two at their favourite restaurant). Then discuss the book and what they learned. Finish the meeting with a workshop concerning how the ideas can be applied.

Importantly, don't let them get away with skimming content. Make your test a little obscure and with questions that can only be answered if they have read the entire book. You want them to go deep as they read. My own book, The Joshua Principle, was written as an emotional story to truly engage the reader and so that it cannot be skimmed. In the coming weeks I will be reviewing B2B sales books to help you decide what’s best for your team. Make 2015 the year of Sales Book Club!

In addition to book club, send your team a daily e-mail to read concerning sales leadership; a thought of the day with some commentary from you to inject your personality in creating relevance. Copy the leaders above you in your organization because you need them on the same page for supporting the difficult challenge of driving revenue growth. Find credible thought leaders to follow such as Anthony Iannarino from The Sales Blog, Jonathan Farrington from Top Sales World, Jill Konrath, Jill Rowley of #SocialSelling, Gerhard Gschwandtner from Selling Power or John Smibert from Strategic Selling who reads everything he recommends on social and it’s all relevant for B2B solution selling. My own blog corpus is here and feel free to plunder it to take your team on a daily 15 minute self-learning journey.

As a sales manager, invest 30 minutes a day reading blogs and LinkedIn posts to hand-pick the best to seed in your team. Harness the best minds in professional selling to work for you, getting inside the heads of your people to improve them… and all without paying for training or losing face-time with clients. This is how the very best sales managers operate.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main Image Photo by Flickr: Jessica Cross

Leadership Secrets From The Inside

Leadership is mercurial stuff – it’s very hard to put your finger on. Most of us think we know what good leadership looks like but the reality is that we struggle to appropriate it for ourselves. That’s because knowing the principles of leadership is very different from being the person needed to change our world. The human condition is a complex thing but here’s what we know for sure about great leaders – success is an inside job. To lead we must do so from the inside-out. Forget personas, we must be the real deal.

Poor leadership abounds and worse still, toxic leadership is often veiled in a cloak of transient success, sporting metaphors and bravado. Performance cultures where politics fester in every corner are common-place. Corporate bullies and psychopaths are all too common. Flame-thrower style management for short-term financial KPI achievement all to the detriment of sustained success. ‘Shareholder value’ touted as a euphemism for executive stock plan optimization. Lord Of The Flies meets Wall Street… it’s no way to live.

Real leadership, on the other hand, is precious because it’s rare. There are many in leadership positions but only a few are great. Most live lives of discomfort when it comes to leading, wondering when the day will come that they will be found-out. I have a confession to make; I’m one of them. I’ve been leading teams and companies for decades and I’m not a natural leader; it’s been hard yards, working on myself – building from the inside-out. What is leadership and how do we become one worth following?

Here is a great truth – leadership is an inside job. But within all of us is a labyrinth of complexity and we are the way we are for reasons we never fully understand. The first step on the road to success is to heed the advice of an ancient Greek aphorism: ‘Know thyself’. Here are my thoughts on the factors that contribute to the complexity of leadership and success.

First of all, we inherit our intelligence, personality and family of origin. None of us were able to choose our parents or genes – these are the cards we are dealt. But intelligence and personality can be enhanced and altered if we choose to do so. Any weaknesses in all three of these foundational elements must be managed as we strive to be the best possible person we are capable of becoming.

Upon the foundation of genetic IQ and personality our attitudes, beliefs and values build us into who we are. By the age of seven, our personality and values are largely formed and these are influenced heavily by our upbringing and environment (family and society). The Catholic Order of Jesuits is attributed with the saying: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man". There is much truth in this assertion but we are not robots, nor mere animals. We are uniquely endowed with the ability to laugh and cry, to dream and create, to choose appalling evil or breathtaking beauty, to plumb the depths of hell or reach for the stars. The hope for us all is that we can break the shackles of our past and redefine our futures.

Attitudes, beliefs and values can therefore be rejected, adjusted or chosen. It is natural to question and challenge all three, especially as we grow through adolescence. My father was a committed atheist and I had no religious brainwashing as child at all; yet I chose faith as a teenager and I remain a believer today. Others are raised in loving religious homes and reject the values inculcated during their upbringing. Free will and free-thinking are what make us truly human.

But all of this is below the surface – not visible to an observer. For most, it is the unseen baggage being carried while running the race of life. We are rarely held back by external factors, it is instead our inability to let go of limiting beliefs and behaviors that stymies us. Consider the illustration below as we now discuss the factors above the line.

Here is the reality and the problem that most of us face in life. We can only have the outcomes, results and wealth we desire if we consistently and masterfully execute the right inputs, actions and behaviors. To have we must first do; but to do effectively we must be the person worthy of the success we seek. All of the factors ‘below the line’ in the illustration either enable or sabotage our efforts.

The biggest mistake people make is seeking to manage by results rather than inputs. Jason Jordan taught me that you cannot manage revenue and he instead illuminates the path of focusing on activities that achieve objectives, that in turn create results. The only thing we truly have control of is our behaviour and actions to execute the inputs that create success. We cannot manage outcomes, results and prosperity or wealth; we can only have them as goals. We should relentlessly focus on what we do and being the person capable of executing masterfully.

It’s not enough to project a persona, we need to actually be the authentic person worth following. Anthony Howard is a business mentor and he taught me that there is no such thing as authentic leaders, just authentic people in leadership roles. He coined the term ‘human-centered leadership’ and he is worth following. The very best motivation for leadership comes from changing the lives of people by believing in them. Service of a noble cause for the benefit of people (customers and staff) is what drives the very best leaders.

So as you consider what really drives you and what baggage you need to let go of to be truly successful, here is my list of ten elements for success.

  1. IQ and EQ. Intelligence and self-awareness are both essential. One without the other is not enough. Read and be committed to life-long learning. Become an expert. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Mission and purpose. In professional selling I teach people to lead with 'why?'… it is equally important for leadership. Your why, and the why of your organization must be meaningful. Money, trinkets, and status are not enough.
  3. Passion and belief. Our why is what needs to drive us but we also need to be true believers in our cause and those with whom we work. The power of believing in another person is never to be under-estimated.
  4. Values and culture. The culture of an organization is the behaviour of the leaders, plain and simple. Are you values worth following and to they drive the right behavior? Culture is the signature of the leader.
  5. People and relationships. Nothing great can be achieved without the support of a team. Relationships with the right people are everything in any endeavor – people of integrity and genuine power.
  6. Numbers and discipline. Never neglect profit or cash-flow. Holding people to account is essential for any leader, yet proactively manage the right numbers – the KPIs which create ultimate results.
  7. Results and managing risk. This is language of leadership – delivering outcomes and navigating the challenges. Stay focused on the prize and be positively paranoid about what could blind-side you.
  8. Activity and attitude. Work-ethic is essential for success. Work hard and smart but realize that attitude is the biggest differentiator.
  9. Gravitas and humility. This may seem paradoxical but the combination is compelling. Powerful people listen much and talk little.
  10. Legacy and philanthropy. We all want to make a lasting difference and the very best leaders care about doing something worthwhile and improving the lives of others, especially those denied the opportunities afforded to the privileged.

Do the difficult work on the inside in addressing all of these issues. Read, dream, and challenge your own assumptions about yourself. None of us lives long enough to learn all the necessary lessons from our own mistakes. It is therefore important to learn from others. Jim Collins’ book, Good To Great, remains a seminal work. There are many others and we must carefully choose who we follow. Who are they in your life? Here is another related article I wrote concerning what I've learned about personal leadership.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

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      The Big Lies That Kill Success and Happiness


      I was speaking at a CEO conference recently and one of the other keynote speakers said from stage; "The purpose of life is happiness." I sat there thinking to myself, that's completely wrong. It's a lie and don't fall for it. Happiness is a byproduct of purpose, meaning and making a difference. It comes from service rather than focusing on yourself, pumping yourself up or buying yourself status symbols and expensive toys.

      Too many of us are addicted to the endorphin sugar-hit of winning or the thrill of reckless behavior. We long for the fleeting feel-good factor associated with recognition; often in [look at me, look at me] social media. Many seek to escape with alcohol or drugs while some retreat into the mind-numbing distraction of entertainment. The goal of life (and lasting happiness) is not found in being the center of attention or meeting our own needs. Happiness is a state of mind and I want to share with you the true value of what we pursue.

      "Although our actions and behaviors define us; it's who we become that determines the real value of everything we pursue." From the book: 

      Lasting success is the result of our positive choices and habits. Success is rarely an event; it’s a process. The key to living a successful life is to develop the right habits and make the right choices. We must thoughtfully choose our environment and beliefs as they create outcomes within us.

      These are the big lies that will rob you of success and happiness in life, both professionally and personally:

      1. Happiness is my primary goal. No, happiness is a byproduct of having meaning and purpose in what you do. It also comes from having a grateful state of mind about how you see yourself in the world.
      2. I am entitled. A sense of entitlement causes you to lack gratefulness and repels those who can help you. It also undermines the necessary work ethic needed to create what you want. Position and qualifications are merely a 'ticket to the dance' and we need to earn the support of others in how we behave and contribute.
      3. It's all about me. Narcissism disconnects us from relationships. To have good friends we must first be a great one. We must provide exception value to our employer and customers. Zig Ziglar famously said "If you can help enough people get what they want, then you can have what you want." Serve others with integrity and commitment and you'll attract success.
      4. I don't need to learn anymore. We must be the person worthy of the success we seek. If you don't read then you're not a leader, plain and simple. Disruption is a powerful force being exerted constantly on every business and individual careers. Our ability to unlearn and relearn is essential for staying relevant.

      Be open to new ideas and committed to learning. Avoid a narcissistic sense of entitlement and instead pursue worthwhile activities that make a positive difference in the world and the lives of others. Serving is what sets you on the path to happiness and fulfillment.

      What does great leadership look like?

      The very best leaders live by example and embody unbreakable determination in pursuing their cause, yet they do not bully or manipulate. Rather than create pressure they provide clarity, focus and energy for the people they lead. They focus on providing the right environment and ask the right questions rather than give answers. They are humbly self-aware, not self-absorbed, and they are honest, direct and accountable in their commitments and behavior. They understand that a good leader is first a good human being.

      Much can be achieved when you don’t care who receives the credit and when you surrender the need to be constantly right. Leaders seek to understand before attempting to be understood. They know that lasting motivation comes from within and they therefore encourage their people to personally take ownership of outcomes. They build their people’s self-esteem and promote their team’s ideas by encouraging them to take calculated risks, stretching their capabilities. When things go wrong they provide support and do not lecture or punish. Neither do they rescue when the consequences are not catastrophic; instead they regard ‘opportunities to fail’ as useful. Later, without negative emotion, they facilitate reflection.

      Great leaders are morally grounded in enduring values yet adopt purposeful pragmatism rather than judgmentally hold to narrow dogmas. They value difference, suspend judgment and accept diversity. Our ability to build other people in teams is more important than having all the ideas. Be counter-intuitive in your leadership style by humbly serving rather than grandstanding. Do what it takes rather than merely your best. You cannot lead from behind; pull people through rather than push. Accept the blame when things go wrong and learn the necessary lessons from criticism and failure so that you can adjust accordingly. Genuinely pass the credit on to others when things go well – success is always a team effort.

      Time is the only critical limited resource. Invest your time and treasure it rather than spend it. There is no such thing as wasted time if you always have a good book with you when you travel. Do not allow the trivially urgent to prevent you from doing the important. Make time for what matters most. Set goals and priorities, and regularly measure your own progress.

      Less is more – less talking creates more influence and more learning; less clutter and distracting noise creates more clarity; less information creates better cut-through in the message. The best way to improve something is to reduce it. Cut the unnecessary elements away rather than add complexity or overhead. The more we take the less we become; we only become greater when we give and contribute. We can become our very best when we let go of what we treasure and embrace the very things we fear. What does not kill us can make us stronger. Building character and developing emotional resilience is a valuable foundation for future success. Failure can educate, and with resolve to overcome, we can gain wisdom and prosper.

      Happiness is a state of mind concerning how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Laugh as often as you can. Reject judgment, bitterness and revenge – they are self-destructive forces, devouring the host. Do not take yourself too seriously; instead have an optimistic attitude and positive sense of humor. Freely admit when you are wrong, and say ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ every chance you get. Forgive and move on. Be prepared to take risks but without foolhardy recklessness. Never be a victim; instead be fully accountable for your own success and happiness. Do not blame others or bad luck for failure and set-backs. Believe in yourself and earn the right to ask for what you want. Never bully or manipulate and do not allow knowledge to manifest within you as arrogance. Do not allow success to make you egotistical; instead, learn genuine humility in acknowledging the contribution of others as well as good fortune or blessing.

      Choose your friends and work environment wisely as both will change you through osmosis. Avoid those who are addicted to destructive gossip. Encouragement is far more effective than criticism – believe in the competent and help them become better. Expect the best of others and treat them with respect regardless of their station in life. Serve your employer, team and customers ahead of your own interests – trust the law of reciprocity to reward your integrity and ability to create value. Show thoughtful initiative and a strong work ethic. We learn nothing while talking, and making a noise rarely makes a difference. Instead become a great listener who is genuinely interested in others, asking insightful and powerful questions.

      Success is living a life of purpose and achieving your goals, yet the passage of time is the only valid perspective for measuring achievement. There is no excuse for not being your best or failing to fulfill your potential. Barriers and difficulties are there to exclude average people, and for the purpose of ensuring the worthiness of those who achieve. Scarcity is what creates value. We all wish our circumstances would improve but it is usually we who must change first. Become better rather than wish it were easier. Be the change you want to see in the world – start with your own bedroom, garage, and backyard. You cannot manage an enterprise if you cannot manage yourself. Avoid gossip, criticism and judgment. There is genuine peace in not worrying about things that don’t matter (inconsequential trivia) or are outside your control.

      Knowledge and technical competence is not enough. Your value to your employer and customers is defined by your ability to positively influence and deliver results. Thinking strategically and executing masterfully is more important than adhering to methodologies. Think RSVP in every commercial endeavor and obsessively pay attention to excellence in execution.

      Success or failure is the accumulated result of thousands of tiny decisions. Most people become disempowered through inner-corrosion rather than a catastrophic external event. Sustained success is the result of painful and diligent growth occurring below the surface, for the most part unseen by the outside world. Work on yourself rather than criticize others. Self-awareness, self-discipline, self-leadership and positive attitude are what attract success beyond mere knowledge and skill.

      Work is not different from the rest of life – bring all of yourself to your work. Treat your sales career as a profession that creates value rather than being a competitive game. It has serious and profound lessons to teach if you are open to learning. Be the person worthy of the life you seek – success and failure, belief and doubt are necessarily conjoined. You can find the problem and the opportunity in the mirror.

      Here is another post that explains my framework for leadership.

      If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker

      Main image photo from Flickr.