I’m looking around a room which my son put together to record our podcast. The changes he made causes the sound to be richer, helps me deliver the content in a comfortable setting, and gives the listener a great experience. The microphone is placed just so, and it’s a particular kind of mic. It’s quiet in here for reasons that my son understands and I do not, at least at his level, but I trust him. I trust his studies, research, and what he values and knows.
People get up each morning and they pay attention to the world around them through what they value. In some ways, they do not even see or care about things outside of the values they hold dear. In their homes and work places, they literally affect their cultures with what want to attend to. They may listen or dominate conversations. They may speak with sarcasm, kindness, selfishness or empathy.
They focus their attention on what they want at the moment – to eat, to sleep, to work at a job that satisfies, to play, to make love and on and on …
What we place our attention on matters to us. We pour ourselves into it on a detailed level. A diesel mechanic loves oil, parts, and fixing problems with machines. A farmer moves a tractor over the ground and brings food to life in the refrigerator with planting and cultivation. We love: books or fishing, knitting a sweater or hunting a bear, walking along a beach or up the side of a mountain, flying planes or exploring caves, art or raising chickens. What we value differs in all of us as we look around at our choices on this earth.
Is Sales Leadership Right for You?
At times, we get into areas we are not suited for, and find ourselves in roles we really don’t value. This can cause us to do poorly in the job. The more we learn about ourselves, our capabilities, and our makeup, the more we can fill our life with the work we care about. We can discover meaning and purpose woven together into the personality and cognitive ability we have. I am not, and will never be, a submarine commander. I am not a professional athlete. I am not an accountant or banker. You don’t want me to be any of these.
We are able to serve the world and its people with our best by using our unique abilities, insights, and strengths when we know ourselves and what we are made to do. Parents and good teachers early in our lives help us understand our strengths and weaknesses. They help us understand how we can best serve the world. They do this by giving us grades, observing our tendencies, watching our failures, sharing our successes, and then guiding us toward influences that bring out our potential for competency within the area of our future expertise.
In college, I chose the wrong occupation and the wrong subjects, because I thought it would please my father. I chose engineering, and, while I was a problem solver, my problem solving did not involve the physical or engineering sciences. I earned the degree, but I hated the work. It took me awhile to understand I was a coach, a teacher, and a person who could engineer training and teaching in a way that people became better versions of themselves.
I’ve seen many sales leaders who should do something else. They took the job because of the advancement, recognition, or money. They didn’t choose sales leadership because they loved to lead people, because they wanted people to grow and develop, and because of the joy that comes from being a catalyst that helps someone change their life through sales goal and income achievement.
Self-reflection to Realign a Sales Leader’s Focus
Diesel mechanics study engines. Gardeners pour over seed catalogues and work the ground with their hands. Engineers design processes and solve mechanical, electrical and chemical problems, because they love to know about tools, substances, friction, fasteners, the strength of metals, and the density of gases.
- Love sales?
- Like to learn about the psychology of people?
- Pursue transformational goals in your life?
- Read about sales leadership?
- Like to control the environment around you for the purpose of making sure goals are reached by the people around you?
- Like teaching others?
- Like coaching?
- Go to bed and wake up keeping track of your team’s goal achievement?
- Run strategies for improving sales around in your head most of the day?
- Love talking about this with other sales leaders?
- Value being a sale coach or sales leader, and if someone watched what you paid attention to, could they see someone caught up in being the best sales leader possible?
Where Do You Place Your Attention?
It all has to do with what you value. My bride loves her garden, and because of that love she keeps the weeds gone, makes it beautiful, and studies how to improve it. As sales leaders, we should always be reading books, listening to podcasts about our field, reading blogs pertaining to our industry, and bouncing ideas off of other leaders.
Look at what you value, pay attention to, want to learn, and answer these 3 questions:
- Does what you value help the people you lead?
- Do you want to coach salespeople?
- Do you pay attention to your craft with your intense focus on your own education and growth in it?
Yes, it matters what you value and where you place attention, because if you do something you don’t really care about, it hurts you and those you serve. It wastes everyone’s valuable time and is harmful.
Decide what you care about. Learn about it. Get better at it to find purpose, meaning, and joy in the journey, as long as leadership and goal achievement for the benefit of those you lead is in your heart.