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Author Archives: TonyB

Connecting the Dots?

Dots      Last time we talked about the topic of Introverts and Extroverts. It’s really fascinating how much our society is wired to appreciate Extroverts and make Introverts feel out of place! Here’s one recent example…

I was at a day-long business conference last week in a room with about 200 strangers. There on our plastic-enshrouded name tags alongside our names (First Name BIG FONT, last name smaller font) and company/organization was a colored dot. Oh-oh, I thought — this has all the earmarks of an ice-breaker.

Sure enough, at the first break, the cheerful lady at the mic announced that during the break we were to find someone else with a dot the same color as ours and converse. Strike up a conversation. Get to know each other. I presume we weren’t supposed to get too deeply into the weeds of intimacy since we only had 15 minutes (“Five minute countdown, everybody — five minutes!”) This was a longish break so we were supposed to connect more than one dot, as it were, although I think I cheated and talked to the same guy for maybe 20 minutes before I headed to the restroom.

I don’t really mind this stuff, actually, being more or less an Ambivert — with elements of both Intro and Extro woven into my personality. I can do fairly well chatting with strangers. (I do confess to an impatience with rules, though, which explains more than anything else my cheating on the colored-dot protocol.) But when I mentioned this episode to my delightful, sociable, introverted daughter, her immediate response was, “I hate ice-breakers!” And I had to wonder, how many of the people in the room wearing colored dots on their nametags felt exactly the same way? Was this exercise really designed by Extroverts, for Extroverts, leaving a significant number of Introvert attendees feeling awkward and out of place? Did it really break any ice?

The wonderful book by Susan Cain called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking delves into this fascinating topic in detail, and I highly recommend the book. One thing she said toward the end really struck me. “If you’re a manager,” she wrote, “remember that one third to one half of your workforce is probably introverted, whether they appear that way or not.” Boss, you had better stop and consider that reality, especially if you’re an Extrovert yourself! How much of your workplace, from the placement of desks to the assignment of accounts, is designed to appeal to (and maximize the performance of) Extroverts — to the possible detriment of many gifted Introvert members of your team? Have you made provision for these quieter, more reflective types to make a full contribution to your organization’s success?

More about this later. For now, if you go to a trade show or seminar and your name tag bears a colored dot, take my advice and plan your strategy ahead of time. Find a pleasant person with the same color dot as you, grab some coffee and locate a comfortable corner to chat. You even have my permission to talk with a dot of a different color! Oh, and one more thing — they called this particular ice-breaker “Speed Dotting.” I am not making this up.

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Introverts and Extroverts

goldfish jumping out of the water    Think about your workplace for a minute. Or your non-profit, your church, your classroom. Think about the people who get noticed, rewarded, promoted. If the environment you’re thinking of is typical, you may perceive that it’s the extroverts — those with outgoing social skills and a work-the-room personality — who tend to be the ones to rise to the top and end up in positions of prominence and leadership. The quiet ones — those who analyze before they speak, who generally prefer small groups and one-on-one conversation to big crowds, who don’t put themselves forward — tend to be overlooked, their contributions often undervalued.

If that’s your perception, you’re not alone, and now there’s evidence to back up that notion that our American society favors the extrovert. I’m reading a really interesting book, and it has opened my eyes to a strong bias that I think exists in our culture — a bias in favor of extroverts over introverts. The book, published last year, is called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Quiet is extremely thorough and well-researched, and it gets pretty scholarly at times, so I won’t try to over-simplify the author’s concepts, but basically she says this: our Western culture idealizes the extroverted personality type over the introvert, and we often do so to our detriment.

Why is this apparent bias such a bad thing? Well, there are two problems with our infatuation with the extrovert. On one hand, in group discussions, extroverts often get their way by sheer force of personality, especially when they gain positions of power. Any of us who has worked for a strong-willed extroverted boss knows how hard it is to confront him or her when we disagree about the wisdom of a pet project or new plan. Extroverts may be persuasive, but that doesn’t make them right. A study of the Wall Street personalities who brought us the recent recession would almost certainly show that it was the extroverts, those bold, passionate, articulate risk-takers, who with overwhelming confidence strode out onto the thin ice and practically sank our economy.

The other downside of our love affair with extroverts is that introverts frequently have the best ideas. In Quiet, Susan Cain cites author Jim Collins’ research in the business classic Good to Great. Collins did not set out to write about leadership — all he was trying to do was to analyze why the eleven companies he chose to study had so dramatically out-performed their peers over a long period of time. But as Collins looked more deeply at these eleven firms he made a startling discovery: none was led by the stereotypically outgoing, high profile, “Top Dog” extroverted leader! Every single company had a leader who was described by employees with words like self-effacing, encouraging, thoughtful, introspective, and reflective. In other word, all eleven winning companies were led by apparent introverts.

There’s a lot more to absorb in this book, and much more to write about. (Besides, I haven’t finished it yet.) For now, if you’re an extrovert, learn to back off a bit and be careful not to use your passion and persuasiveness to mask your doubts! You may not be as sure of yourself and your ideas as you think you are. This is especially important if you’re in leadership, where you must learn to listen to other voices. And if you have introverts on your staff, go out of your way to seek out their wisdom and advice. Just because they aren’t the first ones to raise their hands and holler, “Pick me! Pick me!” doesn’t mean they don’t have outstanding insight.

Introverts, you may have to learn a few extrovert tricks and speak up with greater boldness. But above all have confidence and take heart: you are not alone. Just because you live in a world that won’t shut up doesn’t mean you can’t make yourself heard — you may simply need to find some creative ways to do it while remaining true to who you are.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“What’s the Point?”

uncle_sam_pointing_finger       You’re a Sales Manager leading a sales meeting. Suddenly you notice that glazed look gradually forming in the eyes of your team. The longer you talk, the more you realize that you’ve lost them — they’re not paying attention. What happened?

Or you’re a parent lecturing — um, I mean communicating with your kids. But soon they’ve stopped listening to you, and you notice their attention drifting. Where did you get off track — and how do you get back on?

Your team, your kids, your spouse, your clients, your donors — any time you’re trying to communicate and you notice that you’ve lost your audience, it may be that you’ve failed to answer the one question that is uppermost in their minds. It’s the one question you and I ask when we’re listening to our boss, or our spouse, or a salesperson, especially when they’re sort of, you know, going on and on. It’s a 3-word question that, if we stop and ask it, can really make our communication more direct and more effective.

The question: “What’s the point?”

Nationally known author, speaker and learning styles expert Cynthia Tobias (www.applest.com) says that “What’s the point?” is the single most important question a parent needs to ask when trying to motivate a strong-willed child. I would add that it’s also the best question a boss can ask when dealing with employees who seem reluctant to get with the program — maybe the employees are tired of the boss’s long-winded abstractions and really want him or her to cut to the chase! “Don’t give me chapter and verse…or the entire 50-page strategic plan,” they cry. “Just tell me what you want me to do. What’s the point?

If you’re in sales or in fundraising, my suggestion is that during your presentation you frequently remind your client or your donor what the point of your presentation is. Otherwise they may become fearful that you’re going to go on talking indefinitely! Or if you’re leading a team in something complicated, like a planning session, it’s your responsibility to remind them frequently what the point of the whole exercise really is. Otherwise, especially when tension and fatigue begin to rise, people grow frustrated. “For crying out loud, what is the point?” they’ll ask — a question you don’t want to hear!

So take it from someone who has done it wrong more times than I can remember. Before you open your mouth to communicate something important, stop and ask yourself, “What’s the point I’m trying to make here?” If you can state it succinctly, and if you can answer that question in the minds of your listeners, it will go a long way toward preventing that glazed-over look of indifference and detachment that no boss, or parent, or spouse, or sales rep or fundraiser likes to see! You can even play a little game with yourself: pretend the words “What’s the point?” are emblazoned across the foreheads of the people you’re talking to. Or if you’re really daring, hand them a three-by-five card bearing the words “What’s the point?” and give them permission to hold it up if you wander off topic.

After all, it’s all about clear, concise, effective communication. That’s the point!

 

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Fresh Pair of Eyes

Gene Wilder       Back when I was a sales manager for a major metropolitan radio station, a rookie salesperson asked me one day to come on a call with him. “I feel like this client is really close,” he said, “but I’m not sure what to do next.” Of course I said I would go.

A few days later we met with the prospective client. It was clear to me that my sales rep had done a good job — there had been several face to face meetings during which the client’s budget and goals had been clearly determined. The rep had prepared and presented a workable radio schedule. My sales rep and the client went over all this stuff while I sat there mostly listening and nodding a lot. All the pieces were in place. The presentation concluded with smiles and words of agreement.

Then…nothing. For an awkward minute no one spoke. And in a flash of managerial brilliance it struck me: the sales rep had done everything except to ask for the order! So I cleared my throat managerially and said to the client, “Um, well, Karen, it sounds like this plan will work well for you. Would you like to start next Monday?” She beamed (with relief, I suspect) and said, “Sure, that would be great!” Sale closed, contract signed. We all smiled and shook hands and left the office.

In the car on the way back to the radio station the account rep thanked me profusely and sang my praises. I was brilliant! I was insightful! But no, I thought to myself…all I really brought to the table was a fresh pair of eyes. I was able to see something that was painfully obvious where my sales rep could not. The sale was 100% ready to close — all that was needed was the slightest nudge. Someone had to do the obvious and ask for the order.

Thinking back on that episode causes me to wonder: are there relationships I’m managing now where I can’t see the obvious? Are there donors who haven’t given simply because I haven’t asked? Maybe I need a fresh pair of eyes to help me see how to move those relationships forward. I know there are people in my worklife who would do that for me, just as I would for them. And I suspect that in no time at all I could come up with a list of several “stalled” relationships where some new insight would be in order.

Perhaps it’s time for me to overcome my hesitation, swallow my pride, and let someone else help me see more clearly with a fresh pair of eyes.

 

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Cognitive Dissonance

cognitive dissonance hat      I just made up a new answer for people who take me to task for my sometimes-inconsistent opinions: “I have a love/hate relationship with cognitive dissonance.”

Or as the saying goes, “Cognitive dissonance: you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.”

The notion of cognitive dissonance is a handy one, because it explains a lot. (It is also the only concept I recall from my Introduction to Psychology class all those years ago.) The phrase “cognitive dissonance” refers to the mental tension one experiences when one attempts to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s head simultaneously. And, let’s face it, in our society there are plenty of times when we cling tenaciously to convictions that clearly contradict each other. For example…

  • “It’s all in God’s hands” versus “It’s all up to me.”
  • “It’s important to be humble and self-effacing” versus “It’s important to assert oneself and to get ahead.”
  • “I long for the simpler life and will give up material success in order to achieve it” versus “I long for material success and will embrace busyness and complexity in order to achieve it.”
  • “I have 400 friends on Facebook” versus “I have no close relationships.”
  • “It’s good for my kids to relax and play” versus “It’s good for my kids to be involved in lots of extra-curricular activities.”
  • “I am not defined by what I do” versus “I’d be lost if I ever got laid off.”

Each one of us has our own cognitive dissonance list. Right now, for example, I’m in the middle of planning for an important fundraising event at work. As a person of faith I believe fully that God will move in the details to make the outcome exactly what it ought be. But as a relatively neurotic and overly self-reliant person I also believe fully that the success or failure of the event rests 100% on my shoulders and if I drop the ball the whole endeavor will collapse in a heap. No pressure, of course. In reality, both statements have elements of truth: I need to work hard, and I also need to pray hard. That second part is the part I too often overlook.

If you find yourself stressing out over some of these kinds of thoughts from time to time, it can be useful to stop and realize that cognitive dissonance is a very real psychological by-product of a very real internal conflict. Maybe the stress you’re experiencing stems from trying to balance two ideas in your mind that are in conflict with one another. You may not be able to resolve the conflict — that’s why it creates dissonance, after all — but at least understanding why the conflict exists might help you gain some clarity. News flash for each of us: we’re all more or less normal.

Or are we? “I’m normal” versus “I’m abnormal.” Hmmm…there’s a concept sure to create plenty of cognitive dissonance in the best of us!

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Making Great Time — on the Wrong Road

wrong-way-red-sign     “Map? I don’t need no stinking map!”  Sound familiar? Or am I the only one?

I was driving to meet a client on the outskirts of a rural Seattle suburb. It was unfamiliar territory to me, but I had a pretty good sense of where I needed to go. So when I saw heavy traffic a quarter mile or so up ahead at the intersection where I was planning on turning left, I made a swift and perfectly (I thought) logical decision: I’ll turn left right here, a quarter mile before my intersection, and then I’ll make a right on the next available side street. It’s sure to connect with the road I need to be on.

This is where a map might have come in handy.

I didn’t do all that well in sophomore year geometry, but I do remember an interesting factoid about parallel lines: they never intersect…especially when they stop being parallel and gradually begin to diverge. Had I glanced at the map, I would have seen two important things. First, I would have noted with interest that the road I was on and the road I wanted did indeed run parallel for a mile or so before they began to separate imperceptibly but inexorably. Second, I would have perceived that, contrary to all the basic precepts of urban planning, there was no right-angle street connecting these two — at least, not in the state of Washington. Maybe had I driven to Idaho I could have found a road, but that seemed a tad extreme.

Nevertheless, in the confidence that can only come from fundamental ignorance of the facts, I pressed on. And on. And on. It was a sunny day and the scenery was lovely, but I was not, in fact, enjoying the drive — I was getting later and later for my appointment, and more and more frustrated at the growing awareness of the fatal flaw in my plan. I was making great time, but I was on the wrong road.

When that happens, we have two choices: change course now or change course later. I chose to keep driving for maybe 20 minutes before I realized the obvious, even though I suspected the truth about two minutes after I made that fateful, premature left turn. I finally did turn back, re-tracing my steps, and sheepishly arrived 40 minutes late for my appointment. And I learned a couple of things:

  • Get good advice. I could have asked the client for specific directions, or (gasp) stopped to ask someone else if I was on the right road, but in my ego-driven state I refused to do so.
  • Use all available resources. Common sense may be sensible, but it’s not always common! I could have used a map (or, today, MapQuest) but again I thought I had the route all figured out. The fact that my route was wrong made little difference, until it was too late.
  • Make corrections early. Enough said about this one. I needed to slay my ego and change course MUCH sooner than I eventually did.

Are you making good time? Super! But are you on the wrong road? Maybe it’s time for a thorough reevaluation…before you end up clear over in Idaho! If you need to turn around — and we all need to turn around from time to time — sooner is always better than later.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Maybe You Need a Bigger Pan

Ham    A little girl was watching her mother get a ham ready for baking. Before putting the ham in the roasting pan, her mother sliced an inch off each end of the ham. Then she placed the ham in the pan and slipped it into the oven.

“Mom,” the girl asked, “why do you cut a slice off each end of the ham before you put it in the pan?”

“Gee, honey, I’m not sure,” answered Mom. “When I was little your grandmother always trimmed the end off the ham, so I’ve done it that way ever since. I never stopped to think about it!”

Not satisfied, the girl decided to call her grandmother. “Nana,” she asked, “I was watching Mom get a ham ready for the oven, and before she did she cut a thick slice off each end. She said you always did that. Do you remember why?”

“Sweetheart,” Nana answered, “what a funny question! Actually I do remember doing that whenever I cooked a ham. But — isn’t that odd? — now that you mention it, I’m not sure why. When I was little my mother always trimmed a thick slice off each end of a ham before she baked it, and I did it that way when I started cooking. But I don’t know when your great-grandma started doing it that way. Maybe you could call and ask her — I know she’d love to hear from you.”

Great-grandma was getting old but still had a great memory, so the little girl called her on the phone. After exchanging pleasantries, she asked Great-grandma her question. Did she recall cutting a thick slice off each end of the ham before baking it?

“Oh, honey,” said the old lady with a twinkle in her voice. “Back when I was a young mother and your grandmother was about your age, our family hardly had any money. Our next door neighbor was a butcher, and every few weeks he would bring us a nice ham for the oven. But my roasting pan was too small and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one — so I always trimmed the ham so it would fit my pan!”

A silly habit gets passed down through four generations…because Great-grandma’s roasting pan was too small!

Have you ever stopped to consider why you and I do the things we do? Are there habits and attitudes we’ve picked up from others — former bosses, colleagues, mentors — little things that we do without thinking? How many of these things may have long since outlived their usefulness or validity? I’m sure I can think of several things like that, and I’ll bet you can, too. Now don’t get me wrong: many of our tried-and-true ways of doing things have withstood the test of time, and need to be retained — even fine-tuned. But “the way we’ve always done it” can’t be our default response whenever someone asks why we do what we do.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins121993.html#D6fdB6J3A1uwejTF.99

We’ve all heard variations on the famous Albert Einstein quote that goes like this: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” We need fresh insights, not merely the same old familiar habits and thought patterns. So here’s a thought for you and me: next time we pick up the knife to trim the ham, maybe we can decide to stop and consider a better way. Get some new ideas! Get some new insight! Get some new opinions!

Or at least get a bigger pan.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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When Do You Decide to Stop Being the Boss?

The Office    You’re the boss, but you’re unhappy. You’re the Sales Manager, the Operations Manager, the Senior Team Leader, but you really don’t like it very much, and you’re beginning to wonder if you made a terrible mistake wanting to be a manager in the first place.

So…when is it okay to decide you want out? When is it okay to decide to stop being the boss?

Let’s consider a few thoughts about this — but first, a disclaimer. I am NOT giving you advice here! A decision to step down from a management position is a highly individual one, not to be taken lightly. Seek plenty of honest input from people whose counsel you trust, and make sure you’ve handled the decision well before you take what many would consider a leap backward. Don’t act impulsively. (And before you read on, sign this release form. Just kidding.)

I bring this question up because I have twice made the decision to step out of a management job and to stay with the same organization in a “front line” role with no supervisory responsibilities. In hindsight both decisions were good ones, and were I faced with the same choice today I would likely do the same thing. The first time I stepped down voluntarily was early in my radio career when I was Sales Manager; the second time came more than two decades later when I was VP of Donor Relations. Here are a few common denominators that affected each decision. Do any of these apply to you in your present managerial situation?

  • In both instances I was working for a boss I found very hard to please, largely due to my inexperience
  • Both those bosses felt they knew more about my job (radio sales and fundraising) than I did, and they may have been right
  • In both instances I felt like I was in over my head and had doubts (groundless, but real) about my future job security
  • In both of these situations my dissatisfaction had gone on for months — and seemed to be getting worse
  • In both cases I had begun to doubt my professional abilities, and that self-doubt was compounding the stress in my life
  • In both situations I had complete support from my trusting and discerning wife who saw how the stress was affecting me
  • In each of these situations, before I made a move, I had met with my boss on multiple occasions and talked openly through my decision process so the choice to step down from management did not seem impulsive or irresponsible
  • In each case I planned as well as I could for my own transition within the organization, and also helped plan how my managerial duties would be covered by reorganizing the team.

How did it turn out? The first time, I moved from Sales Manager into a sales position and things went fairly well. The second time I moved from the VP position into a fundraising job and things went okay but I ended up taking a job outside the organization six months later. The downside both times was that I did take a hit in salary and benefits — ouch — and my ego took a hit as well, to be candid, even though leaving management was my decision. So it goes. But each time I was happier and will probably live longer as a result. And I did end up managing again (after the first self-demotion anyway) and was much better at it the second time around.

If you’re a leader and happy in that role, stick to it with enthusiasm. If you’re new to leadership and you’re not sure how happy you are, hang in there — you need time to learn and to grow. But if you’ve been managing for a while and you’re increasingly unhappy and unsure of yourself, it just might not be the worst thing in the world, after you’ve taken all the variables into account, to decide to do the counterintuitive thing and step down voluntarily, moving into a non-managerial role. Just a thought, for what it’s worth.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Confrontation or Clarification?

Clarification mug       Hey, business leaders and supervisors, here’s a suggestion borne out by personal experience. If you habitually shy away from confrontation, try clarification!

Ever notice how some workplace leaders and managers seem to afraid of confrontation? I know there were many times when I was. Back in my supervisory past I’m afraid I sometimes tended to shy away from confronting personnel problems, especially conflict between co-workers. I would make excuses, look the other way, or tell myself it wasn’t all that bad. For me, creative avoidance sometimes became a sort of hobby when it came to confrontation!

Maybe this is the way you tend to handle conflict and confrontation.But avoiding workplace confrontation is dangerous! The longer some of these issues persist, the more corrosive and even destructive they can become, especially when your whole team is waiting for you, the boss, to do something about the situation. Best selling business author Patrick Lencioni in his wonderful book Five Dysfunctions of a Team identifies the failure to deal properly with conflict as one of the 5 Big Reasons why some organizations are habitually ineffective.

Why do bosses avoid confrontation? Same reason most people do: we’re conditioned to steer clear of circumstances that are likely to generate unpleasantness. When you as the person in charge wade into a confrontational situation you are almost certain to cause sparks to fly. And here’s the big problem for us pleaser types: we want everybody to be happy and play nice, but confrontation virtually guarantees that somebody is going to get his or her nose out of joint. So when the choice comes down to fighting or flying, we too often choose flight.

So next time you’re faced with the need to confront a situation in the workplace, try this: change your language. Instead of dwelling on the need for confrontation, focus your energies and your intellect on the more important and much more positive need for clarification. It will change the way you think and probably change the language you use. In fact, if my experience is any guide, it will change the entire process.

This is important because the distinction between these two concepts is much more than merely semantic. The definition of “confrontation” includes the clashing of forces or ideas. No matter how you nuance it, “confrontation” implies a battle. But confrontation for its own sake was never the goal, right? The real goal is “clarification” a word whose definition includes eliminating confusion and making things understandable. Isn’t that a big part of the leader’s job description — to clarify the causes of problems as a step toward solving them? Confrontation almost  always sounds negative. Clarification almost always sounds positive. I’d love to be known as the boss who brings clarity and understanding to workplace relationships!

One caution: even when you focus on clarification instead of confrontation, at the end of the day somebody will probably still end up irritated, angry or disappointed. That’s inevitable. But wouldn’t it be nice if that somebody weren’t always you?

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Three Clues I Was in the Wrong Job

wrong-career        As I have mentioned before, I had a very brief and VERY unspectacular sales stint years ago working for an unnamed office products company. To this day I wonder why I took that job in the first place, and when I realize how little enthusiasm and energy I brought to my employer I feel a twinge of guilt.  (Sorry, Greg. Sorry, Phil.) On the positive side, I did learn a lot, but I knew almost from the very start that the job was a bad fit for me, and I for it.

I’m not trying to give career advice here (I suspect I’m the wrong guy for that…) but during the time I worked for this company there were at least three persistent clues that kept telling me I was in the wrong job. I may not have heeded the warnings at the time but in hindsight I know that these three alarm bells were sounding loud and clear! The Three Clues were…

Clue #1: I didn’t like telling people what I did for a living. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of it — the company was fine and all that. But I knew that people would start probing about how I liked the job or how well I was doing, and I really didn’t want the conversation to go there. It made me uncomfortable to reveal how unhappy I was and how ill-suited I felt for the position. (By contrast, when I’m enthused about my work — like I am now — it’s hard to get me to shut up about it!)

Clue #2: I found myself wasting inordinate amounts of time. Part of my territory included Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle (cold calling in the Smith Tower with those old fashioned elevators was an experience never to be forgotten). There was a deli in one of the old buildings where I sat many a morning at a table next to the old brick wall, sipping English breakfast tea with honey and half and half, letting valuable time slip by, daydreaming about other things I could be doing for a living. No excuses — I see now that I was simply practicing an unhealthy level of creative avoidance.

Clue #3: I didn’t really care about the profession. In the training they taught us to do product demonstrations and to ask lots of questions, which was a valuable skill, one that I mastered during the role play sessions (don’t you just love those?). But in the real world I quickly realized that, even though I could go through the motions and all, I really didn’t care two cents about what the client was telling me! That’s a bad sign: you’re supposed to be listening for valuable information upon which to build your sales presentation, but instead I would ask the question and then mentally tune out the reply. Not professional, and not very respectful of the client’s time, either.

No doubt there were other warning signs, too, but you get the picture. The more I avoided talking about my work, neglected basic habits of productive time management, and zoned during sales calls, the more obvious the conclusion: this job was not right for me. Fortunately through a referral I was able to change career fields shortly thereafter, embarking on the thrilling adventure of selling radio advertising which kept me occupied for most of the ensuing 28 years.

So how about you? If you feel you’re in the wrong job, some honest self-assessment may be in order. It may be time for a change! But if you can’t make a change, what else can you do to make things better? Several ideas come to mind…but I suppose that’s a question better left for another time.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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