Never, Ever Quit
Never, Ever Quit
Two years ago I was in a hospital bed in Florida. I was numb. A cardiologist had just told me to get my affairs in order. I didn’t have a lot of time left. First comes shock. Then disbelief. This can’t be happening to me. Sure I had some heart problems, but I thought they were under control. I’d been watching my diet and exercising regularly. I’d even stopped drinking and lost a bunch of weight. Must be a mistake? The cardiologist must be reading someone else’s test results.
No, no mistake. I was in bad shape. Next comes anger. Then the will to fight. I had too many things I still wanted to accomplish. Long story short: Several cardiologists, doctors, multiple hospital stays and procedures later, new meds and a long period of recuperation, my heart is better than it’s been in 25 years.
Why do I share this intensely personal information with you? Why should you care? Only so you can learn something from my experience. As humans we tend to deify some professionals and experts. After all they have spent years developing their skills, and then many more years practicing those skills. They must know what they’re talking about.
Not necessarily true. Doctors are only human. In the US they are mostly overworked. Their time, and consequently the care that the patient gets, is often dictated by administration and the insurance companies. I suspect that there are formulas and criteria for handling certain conditions. Some situations may justify certain procedures and follow up. Other situations may be deemed economically unfeasible.
The bottom line is this: You are responsible for your own wellbeing. Nobody, but nobody, will look out for you like you can. Doesn’t matter whether it’s your health or your professional life. You are the master of your own destiny. You cannot give that control to anyone else. If you don’t like the answers you get from one person, find someone else. Put the right people on your team.
Let’s take the sales profession as an example. You have goals and a sales quota to achieve. You may have a defined customer base or a specific geographic territory. It’s your job to generate the revenue that your company expects from you. To do that you must sell certain products or services. You may be expected to attain a certain share of market. Sometimes that job is easier than others. You may represent the market leader and have tons of marketing and technical support. On the other hand, you may be fighting an uphill battle to sell an obscure brand from a start-up or underfunded company. Every sale can be a struggle.
Regardless of your particular situation, it’s up to you to make it happen. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you. Nobody knows your customers or your market like you do. If you can’t generate the sales you need through your existing customers, don’t quit. Find new customers. If you’re not getting through to the decision maker one way, try another way. As long as you accept responsibility for your role, and you take the company’s money, it’s up to you to make it happen. Find a way to make it work. Don’t quit. Work at honing your sales skills everyday.
A sales manager’s job is to generate the revenue that the company needs through the salespeople. That means having the right salespeople … salespeople who are onboard with the company’s objectives. Then you have to set clear expectations for the behaviors and activities that you expect of them. Track their activities as well as their results. Additionally you have to coach them and hold them accountable. Don’t accept excuses. It makes no difference how long they’ve been in the business or with the company. It’s your responsibility to make sure they deliver the sales.
There will be times when you have to make tough decisions. So what? Being a leader is not always easy. Look within yourself and figure out what else you can do.
In my case I searched for the right doctors. It took some investigating but I had a lot of help. Eventually I wound up in the care of Dr. Sandra Chaparro, a heart failure specialist at the University of Miami. She and her team, especially Julio Albornoz got me healthy again. I also owe a great deal to Elena Shea, MD in Camp Verde, AZ. I highly recommend her book, Health is here. With the expertise, caring and encouragement of those professionals, I didn’t quit. You can do the same with whatever challenges you face, either personally or professionally.
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors sales managers and sales professionals. For more information please go to http://www.clevelstrategic.com