The Drift

The Drift

How We Show Up.

We tentatively emerge from two years of inconsistent isolation only to feel the gravitational pull of the economy. Ironically, even as much of the world was down and out, our sales numbers and performance were up and to the right. Now with the sun out, many of us are watching the last days of a rough second quarter tick away. Is that a recession ahead? Are we truly back? And what does that look like anyway? Anxiety is both by-product and fuel source for uncertainty, and right now uncertainty abounds.

Fortunately, there’s one set of decisions that we absolutely control. Leaning into these decisions won’t necessarily change the numbers or the circumstances, but they will change the narrative from one of anxiety and randomness to a story of perseverance, growth and personal victory. They may not change your Q3 number, but they will change you.

We all get to decide how we show up. Every call, every interaction, every day. I’ve chosen to start out this week, this day, by showing up and trying to say and do something useful and productive for the readers of The Drift (who, by the way, I haven’t done enough for this year).  How will you show up tomorrow?

Show Up Curious. Don’t settle for good questions. We all control how much we really want to know about how our customers’ businesses work, the nuances of their competition and more. Genuinely curious people are magnetic. We can all decide right now to commit to real learning and understanding.

Show Up Prepared. Not just for customer meetings, and not just with your story laid out. Real preparation is about critical thinking, about anticipation. Preparation in business is like defense in basketball: it’s really all about desire and dedication – no exceptional talent required.

Show Up in Service to Others. Diagnose and think things through. Why does this customer truly need our help?  What gap genuinely needs to be filled? What can we really do to help complete this customer’s plan, to genuinely make it better? And don’t stop with your customers. Show up in service to the people around you: pick up the slack for a coworker, spend a little extra time and patience in explanation and mentoring. It’s what you give away that makes you richer.

Show Up with Empathy. Behind every pair of eyes is a unique story, a different struggle. Take a beat. Consider that something may be weighing on the other person, even if you’ll never know what it is. You’ll create the space of humanity for real collaboration and sharing.

Show Up with Joy. Don’t buy the excuse that Zoom is a flawed experience. That’s a decision. We choose to make – or not make – every interaction more human and joyful, whether it’s on a screen, on a walk or over a desktop. Have some fun. Be a good host. Make it special for the other person.

You may righteously ask, what does all this have to do with business over the next few weeks? Isn’t it all advice about how to live your life?

My point exactly.


More Posts

Back.

The world of work we shut down in March 2020 is gone. Thinking we can just go back to it by getting on the train and turning on the lights is unrealistic to the point of delusion. Attracting, hiring and retaining valuable employees has never been trickier. What you could solve in 2012 with more money and a bigger title requires much more thoughtful answers today. Your competitive future depends on them.


Self-Inflicted Wounds.

You are shooting yourself in the foot and it’s clouding your vision, mucking up your forecasts and making your sales cycle longer and more unstable. And it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three self-inflicted wounds that can be fatal to your win-rate, but that are also easily corrected.


THE DURHAM.

This afternoon in San Francisco a man named John Durham died after many years of serious health problems. Those are the facts, but not the story. To those of us who knew and loved him so much, he was THE DURHAM: a life force, a gentle soul, a fantastic dresser and a terrible speller. In short, he was THE DURHAM. To his friends, no explanation is necessary. To those who were never touched by him, no explanation is possible.


Attending, 2021

I wrote this post about the value of attention a few years ago, pre-pandemic and pre-Zoom. Lightly-edited, it seems even more relevant now. Making others feel fully-attended earns us their attention in return. Read on.


More Stuff to Write Down.

Last week I used this space to share several of the leading themes from Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales, a book that I've begun working on. This week, a few more, including some challenging advice for both managers, individual contributors and their fellow humans from many walks of life.


The Drift is Back.

I've been outlining a book that will be called Write this Down: Memes and Metaphors for a Better Life in Sales. Since fleshing out the book will take a while longer, I've decided to share many of the aforementioned Memes and Metaphors across the next few posts of The Drift. Read on, comment, share, push back and apply them to your own life in sales.


A Time of Truth.

Five years ago, P&G CMO Marc Pritchard called bullshit on the digital supply chain and challenged us to get our house in order. I’ll make it even simpler. Tell the truth. Sell real stuff. Clean up after yourself. Leave the place a little better than how you found it. Create confidence. Now Google and Apple have done us all a favor. They not only locked the door to the digital funhouse; they pretty much burned the place down. What we build now is up to us. I hope we build back better.


What We Say When We're Not Selling.

While erstwhile sellers may never actually come out and say "Please don't buy anything from me today," these anti-selling clichés may be the next best -- or worst -- thing.


The VIP Manager.

For teams conditioned to their managers spitting out answers and directives, this approach is going to feel strange at first. The VIP manager is forcing strategic thinking and deeper context into decision making that’s too often situational, transactional and unscalable. VIP management will slow down the moments while simultaneously speeding up the growth of your team.


Our Year on Earth.

For exactly a year now, each day, without leaving home, we look into the faces of dozens of industry execs: we share meaningful phone calls with managers working to better lead and care for their teams. On a dime, and on a shoestring, we’ve pivoted into the fourth complete reinvention of our company. And we’ve spent this year on earth making a difference for good people. Who's luckier than we are?


Hiring in the Shadows.

The truth is, we’re still mostly interviewing the way we did in 2015 – and 2005 and 1995 – and it has nothing to do with the pandemic or Zoom. Our perspective on talent is compromised not because we are now hiring within the frame of a Zoom screen. It’s because we’ve always used a flawed lens to frame candidates.


Low Beams.

The person you’re speaking to right now… the work in front of you… today… the next hour. These are the only reality we can truly impact. Look past them and you’ll lose the only resource that can never be replaced: The moment.