One of my favorite business philosophers, Jim Rohn, had a fantastic maxim to live by: “In everything you do, take 100% personal responsibility for the outcome. It’s the highest form of human maturity. ”
I couldn’t agree more. It also happens to be the best way to get things done.
Here are some typical scenarios of salespeople abdicating responsibility, thereby damaging their ability to influence and shape their world:
A sales rep complains that a service provider dropped the ball and an expected service would not be completed in the expected time. Yet…no follow up was done on the morning of the due date to confirm it would be done in time.
Would the investment of 1-2 minutes been worth it that morning to make the personal phone call checking the status, thereby increasing the probability of completion?
A high achiever accepts that a certain portion of his daily actions need to be devoted to making sure his hand remains politely but firmly on the back of all his pending projects.
The other option is to just get mad that “nothing seems to get done in time.” How much closer to his desired outcomes will that attitude get him? The better course of action would be to take 100% responsibility and see how he can affect the behaviors of others in advance.
A sales rep says many of his accounts don’t want him to visit on a regular basis. This one place in particular is “not a friendly” place. “The president is a very tough, busy guy that’s very short with people.”
This is a failure to accept that he has not generated enough interest within the account for what he does. If they think his sales calls aren’t worth the time….they are RIGHT. I guarantee the president is interested in SOMEONE’S cost saving and productivity enhancing solutions, but at present the president MIGHT think the sales rep is a waste of time.
If the rep wants to blame the president or the account’s workers that’s definitely an option, but the more effective action would be to take 100% responsibility for their opinion of him. He should think of all the ways he can change their perceptions. Maybe its time to take a look at his presentation. What is he bringing to the table? As long as the rep blames the prospect instead of looking at what he can do better, he is at best treading water, and at worst, he’s at risk of an all star competitor arriving on scene and doing what he claims is “not possible.”
A sales rep claims she is doing all she can do during the course of a day. Its impossible to fit any more sales calls into that day…..meanwhile many of her competitors can and do routinely make 5 more sales calls per day than she does.
There’s 2 ways she can go forward with this: She can relinquish all personal power and just accept that a higher call volume is “impossible.” Or she could OWN the challenge and make a plan for incremental improvement through any number of possible avenues. Before you know it she’s making an additional 4-5 sales call per day because of an improvement in conversational skills, better budgeting and awareness of her time, etc etc. The end result? She makes more sales calls, and earns a higher income in the same amount of time.
The moment you choose to place something outside of your control, you have diminished your influence. You have diminished your ability to succeed. How ironic is it that some people willingly reduce their ability to shape their world, then complain about their self generated lack of results?
Is there a downside to taking 100% responsibility? On the face of things there may be. If you employ the strategy of taking full responsibility and proactively doing everything you possibly can to influence your outcomes, some may accuse you of being a control freak, high maintenance, or even a diva! Haters gonna hate! There are ways to limit this. The secret? You guessed it! Take 100% responsibility! Figure out ways to make requests more diplomatically, give people ample time to respond to your requests, and so on.
If you adopt this philosophy, I guarantee you’ll move farther and faster than the competitor that chooses to blame others, deflect responsibility, and play the victim.
When the results start to speak for themselves, the vindication of your approach will occur. Eventually people will listen and follow you in your direction. You can take 100% responsibility for that too.
How often do you find yourself shifting the blame for your lack of results to someone other than yourself?
After something goes wrong do you spend more time complaining about it or thinking of ways to prevent it from happening again?