I received an email today from a CEO who I coached during his start-up at Vistage International. If you are not familiar with Vistage, you should be. They are the largest CEO resource firm in the world with the mission of helping CEO’s, presidents and executive managers to become better leaders who make better decisions that produce better results.
CEO’s have gotten a lot of bad press in the USA lately, yet they are responsible for leading the companies that produce our economic growth. Their willingness to take risks, both personally and financially, is driven by a clearly defined vision and an undying conviction that something better is possible. If you are from the “Baby Boomer” generation, I’m certain that you heard this kind of commitment described by your parents as the duty to sacrifice for the greater good.
Change is hard. It causes stress and discomfort. Human instinct is to push back and rationalize the discomfort using any excuse as to why it’s not possible, workable or practical. The counterweight to this behavior is commitment and desire. How much do you want to improve at what you do? How important is personal growth and improvement? Are you really committed to reaching your goals?
I’ve coached many CEO’s, in a selling or sales management role, who commented that it was one of the hardest things they had ever done. If CEO’s, with their experience and wisdom, struggle with this issue, why do we conclude that salespeople don’t need tremendous amounts of coaching, mentoring and development? This conclusion does a disservice to the profession and the people in it - not to mention our companies and the people who hold a stake in our success.
My CEO friend had the courage and open-mindedness to seek help and then use what he learned to create a group of peer CEO’s with whom he could share his knowledge and experience. Desire is the passion to achieve something; commitment is the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish this.
Sales Leaders are generally experienced successful salespeople who have advanced in their career. This experience, understandably so, can cause them to believe they have “figured it out”. The question is not whether what they know has great value and is well deserved. The question is what don’t they know? Mastery is a never-ending process. The journey, the challenges and the opportunity to learn and grow are the real value. “Masters” know this and seek out other masters who can help them.
Do you have the desire and commitment to improve as a sales leader? Do you need your sales leaders to have more impact on your sales organization?