Did you choose wholesaling?
Or did wholesaling choose you?
Are you an accidental wholesaler?
Tim Cole is the founder and CEO of The Compass Alliance. His book, The Compass Solution: A Guide to Winning Your Career, offers practical direction to both senior leaders and employees on how to cultivate a rich culture – and ensure a significant work experience.
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Thriving and Surviving in a Glass Jaw Universe
I came up in sales – “made my bones” there so to speak and have no doubt that much of the success I’ve enjoyed in my career ties back to the fact that I learned that great sales people can move the world.
One of the hard-earned lessons from my early years in sales has carried with me. And every time I pick up a newspaper or watch the evening news I am reminded of why it remains one of the greatest gifts I ever received.
The world of sales has a way of culling out pretenders because here there are definitive quotas – productivity can’t be faked. You either demonstrate value – or the next man/woman up does. It also forces you to develop a set of internal muscles that other vocations might not.
If you want to test that supposition let’s go back to the national headlines. If you look for it you’ll see a common strain – someone somewhere will be under attack – criticized for a failed policy, an indiscretion that has come back to haunt them, a misstatement that is now being roundly assailed in the media.
Someone once said that the essence of story is and always has been conflict. If that’s the case then the daily news is the petri dish for great stories – because it is rife with them.
I grew up in the corporate world and made my career there – beginning with that foundation in sales. I learned a thing or two about conflict – and surviving it. I learned even more about people – and what distinguished a limited few from the masses when it came to how they dealt with adversity – or more specifically, criticism.
Here is the insight I eventually gained (and unfortunately this was not an overnight process.)
Everyone is at their best when they dictate the game – far fewer are effective when the game is being dictated to them. Said another way, if you really want to know the character of an individual watch them when the bright lights of scrutiny, criticism, or adversity is being directed toward them.
Many lose their way then. I liken it to the same phenomenon I see in combat sports like boxing and mixed martial arts – the offensive dynamo that withers when the opponent punches back often suffers from what experts describe as the proverbial “glass jaw” – meaning that part of the cranium shatters when it’s tapped very hard.
It is very, very real in the business world (certainly sales) and I suspect – in most careers. That poet laureate Mike Tyson might really have said it best.
“Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the face.”
I’ve seen it in leaders at every level – and in employees of every type – and eventually coined the term, The Iron Jaw Seven to distinguish the truly resilient career travelers from the masses.
The characteristics that distinguished this amazing minority:
• The ability to offer and to receive feedback.
• The capacity to ask questions – to seek to understand.
• The willingness to entertain differing points of view and in fact, encourage it.
• The flexibility to change, moderate, or adjust game plans that fall outside of the normal approach.
• The willingness to accept push back from the people that work for them or with them.
• The drive to stand up when a crisis emerges that threatens personally and in those times, to demonstrate what real leadership is all about.
• The capacity to get off the canvas when knocked down – and use the lessons learned to become even better. (I never met a truly great salesperson without this one attribute.)
The Flaw of the Glass Jaw is very real and is not limited to leaders on the national stage or the principals in today’s headlines. I’ve watched talented performers in the business world who grew so enamored with their talents that opposing views couldn’t be tolerated. The response was defensiveness, resistance, or outright aggression.
Said another way – they couldn’t take a punch.
If you have embarked on your own career journey I would submit you have already encountered a few “glass jaw” colleagues – or formal leaders. They are – and always have been – out there.
The really compelling question for all of us – how well do we absorb the left hook that takes us off stride?
The weakest collapse – the next level blindly strike back – but the greatest demonstrate the agility to not just react but to strategically respond.
Straight Talk – The world will never be completely fair.
If you’re a salesperson rest assured there will always be an issue with:
1. Your quota
2. Your list of clients
3. Your compensation.
I call these three elements the Universal Salesmen Knockout Punches. If you believe they are limited to your company – or even your industry – you’re delusional.
You either build your ability to take a punch or you extinguish it by how you respond to those knockout punches and by how interact with others. The very best generally have cultivated two skill sets beyond all others – the capacity to listen and the willingness to respond to the lessons gleaned.
There are a lot of career posers – not many Iron Jaw Career Athletes.
Written by Tim Cole