How well are you Weathering the Storm?
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How Your Procurement Practices Affect Your Sales and Brand - By Sue Barrett
While there have been ups and downs in the business world, over the last 20+ years for the most part, many of us in the western world have been able to ride on the back of posterity and market growth. Up until the GFC, many fortunate sales people and business people found making sales straightforward and easy, however these tougher, contracting markets have left many wanting in the sales stakes. The current breed of 20-40 year old sales people and business people had never experienced business under these conditions before.
2009 put everyone’s emotional resilience to the test and in 2010 we are left with many lessons to be learned and emotional scars to be healed following the GFC storm. The focus of ‘Weathering the Storm’ is Emotional Resilience which is at a low point with evidence of a sharp increase in people not coping with increased pressure, the GFC fallout and the more complex business world we now inhabit.
Despite the obvious business failures and the associated consequences that test our ability to handle tough situations, the latest research into resilience is also pointing the finger at the Self Esteem Movement of the last 30+ years as a contributor to many people’s inability to bounce back quickly from setbacks.
Dr Penny Brabin, a prominent Melbourne Clinic Psychologist, has written extensively on emotional health and the effects of the self esteem movement only promoting and considering positive views of self ‘you’re special’ and avoiding negatives, put-downs and any comparisons considered to reflect on the “self”. Here she writes (excerpts from her paper “Promoting Emotional Health”…) about the negative consequences of this movement: “by not providing strategies to manage negatives it has also promoted the inability to manage criticism and difficulty with comparisons while inflating the drive for positives like approval, status and success with its flip-side the fear of failure or fear of having a go. Such consequences are associated with avoidant behaviours … and the significant increase in the incidence of depression in our society.”
I concur with the negative consequences of the self esteem movement. I have witnessed the effects first hand many times with one experience sticking very clearly in my mind. I had the opportunity to work with a group of professionals from one of the major professional services firms and was asked to introduce a proactive sales and prospecting culture. Having been brought up in the world of competitive sport, business and selling, I was very accustomed to having my ideas, capabilities and character challenged, assessing my strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to win and lose, hopefully graciously. However, in recent times I came across this group of 20-30 year old ‘professionals’ who were led to believe, by their firm (and possibly by ‘others’ earlier to this) that everything about them was without flaw. They were the ‘cream of the crop’, the elite, and the best of breed. Never a word was spoken about any personal gaps, weaknesses or failings, so it came as a rude shock to them the day when I turned up with their call reluctance profiles in my hand ready with the intention of helping them develop their selling and prospecting repertoire and beginning the journey to becoming an accomplished sales professional. Without saying it to their faces, in the world of sales they were novices not the elite, and they were about to begin a sales apprenticeship. Faced with this prospect, they did not respond favourably because it went against everything they have been told about themselves. And for all my optimism, love of learning, challenging yourself to be your best, and becoming more self aware approach, they didn’t like what they saw and after that day I was not invited back because I was seen as too ‘negative’.
As Dr Brabin goes on to say, “Simple observation suggests that many individuals who function wholly in this (self esteem) dynamic, living lives of competition, focused on obtaining status from material possessions or being liked or loved by others; their “feel-good” happiness (elation) are only an experience (pin prick) away from the misery (burst bubble) associated with rejection or failure – not a condition of general life contentment!”
Dr Brabin promotes the shift to Self–acceptance, “When our goal is to focus on living our lives rather than boosting our self-esteem we can enjoy ourselves by developing satisfying activities and promoting harmonious relationships with others. Whereas the self-esteeming demand for external validation from others leads to frequent interpersonal clashes from demand conflict, self-acceptance necessarily embodies other-acceptance promoting reduced interpersonal demands and less conflict. When we focus on enjoying rather than proving ourselves we value:
- mastery rather than success
- effort rather than outcome
- the relationship rather than approval
- true self-acceptance implies other acceptance and, thus, respectful treatment of others…
- emotional management because life events, including others’ unkind actions towards us do not risk any fall from glory or threat to our worth
- focus on effort towards achieving goals rather than the outcomes themselves (which are not under our control).”
As stated over the decades by the grandfather of rational emotive therapy, Albert Ellis, accepting ourselves with our abilities and flaws is the only rational alternative to promote our emotional health through healthy living.
Remember everybody lives by selling something.
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How Your Procurement Practices Affect Your Sales and Brand - By Sue Barrett
About the Author: Sue Barrett
RSS for Sue's articles - Visit Sue's website
'Selling is everybody's business and everybody lives by selling something' so says Sue Barrett, sales expert, writer, business speaker and adviser, facilitator, sales coach, training provider and entrepreneur. Sue founded Barrett in 1995 to positively transform the culture, capability and continuous learning of leaders, teams and businesses by developing sales driven organisations that are equipped for the 21st Century. Since inception, Barrett has worked with hundreds of Australian companies challenging thinking to create compelling reasons and continuous learning pathways for people and organisations to develop their skills, knowledge and mindsets to create the shifts they want and ensure they are well informed and equipped for the sales journey ahead.
Sue is one of the leading voices commenting on sales today. Sue has a unique way of getting to the heart of the matter - she combines extensive knowledge, research, insight, and practical experience with a deep sense of compassion to bring forth a more enlightened way of thinking and participating in the world. This makes her stand out from the usual crowd of existing business commentators.
Her ability to distill complex ideas and relate them to life's everyday challenges and opportunities has audience members and readers leaving with a stronger understanding of "self" and how they can begin to achieve excellence through purposeful action. Presenting and writing on a wide range of topics about the world of 21st Century selling Sue's presentations and articles include sales philosophy and culture, sales leadership and coaching, sales training, selling skills, resilience, neuroscience in selling and more. Sue's articles are some of the most widely read in Australia and she is gaining a following overseas as well. Besides publishing on Barrett Sales Blog site, Sue has been the lead sales writer for www.smartcompany.com.au since 2007, and is also regularly published on other highly regarded publications such as Australian Anthill Magazine, Niche Magazine, Marketing Mag, Business Chicks, and Business Deals.
Click here to visit Sue's website.
More from Sue Barrett
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