Recently I read an article about ‘Job Hopping’, an  expression of millennials expectations of continuous career change. The surprise for me reading this is that the number of years that this group expect to be in a role is 3 years. When I entered the workforce in the 80’s this was significantly longer. I was not of the belief that I would find a job and stay there for my entire career but I didn’t start planning my exit as soon as I was given a desk.

My first career position lasted almost 10 years. I then went back to sales and have had varied tenures from months to 5 years. Of those there was only one that was a placeholder position. And that lasted over a year. If you were to average it out, 3 years would be about right. But this certainly has never been planned, nor expected.

With the changes comes training. I have worked with a great many sales trainers in the past 20 years. And I have trained a great many myself. Xerox has the most comprehensive training program I have experienced. And you are expected to use what they have. A lot. For those who complete everything available its possible to have trained and never had time to see a customer! They have a world class training facility in Canada and long tenured facilitators. Joining Xerox out of University is comparable to doing a practical Masters degree in sales. And lasts about as long. 2-3 years.

With other companies I have done a range of training from Dale Carnegie to SPIN to The 7 Habits. Some of these training programs were focused on the product, some on cold calling some on a holistic approach to sales. Each had targeted measurable results as the end purpose of the training. They may improve your understanding of a new product, the 7 stages of the copy process or what phase a prospect fall in. All can be tested.

One in particular always stuck with me. One of the 7 Habits is – ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ The idea of this is to never enter any endeavour without a clear understanding of your purpose. Be intentional and that which furthers the end goal. This allows you to pare away that which is irrelevant to the goal and stay focussed.

Sort of in the same vein is the Carnegie tool of painting a word picture. This further refines the process of knowing what the end game is by having you relate this to another as a persuasive technique. It can be a positive or negative word picture. The negative one playing the bigger role in another sales technique that Canon used called SPIN.

This stands for Situation, Problem, Implication and Need. In this you would find problems with the current way of doing things and then develop fear to show how your solution can magically take the fear away. Beautiful, and very effective if you are a subtle painter of these word pictures. And I am a marvellous wordsmith in front of a client. Great symphonies of implication flowed from my mouth when I was in this mode. Nodding heads and further questions were my responses.

I do not use most of these methods today. Not that they aren’t effective because they sure can be. I have done my best to not use them as I find they are limiting.

Take for instance beginning with the end in mind. Setting expectations only creates doubt and fear within me. They create limits to what I can accomplish. By being focused I can miss some of the most wondrous events along the way. Instead I believe in process. And the process is of being helpful to another.

When embarking on this journey of transformation some years ago I had no idea what I would end up as. I only knew that what I was wasn’t working for me. My plan for living was failing. So by setting the end goal for myself I was just further following a failed plan. I was directed to throw out these expectations and just make myself available to the process.

What is truly remarkable about this paradigm shift in thinking is it allows for me to be a much better follower of instruction. I no longer have this driving need to ask why? We do it this way? Great, I don’t understand but I see you have success and I want that as well so lets go! Show me a path to betterment and I will follow.

Sometime when you are on a path that you don’t know the destination, it’s possible to take a fork that is not the right one. Happens not infrequently to me I have found. These little detours also can be beneficial because they allow us to further change. So we can return to the main path. And continue on the journey.

I could have started with this thought, that had I set my destination before starting on this journey I would have sold myself short. But then you may have not journeyed either.

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