Have you ever struggled with a decision that seemed right in the moment but turned out to haunt your future self? Have you made decisions during a sale that gobbled up profits? Have you ever wondered why you made such a blunder? After all, you knew better. Hello, McFly!
The choices we make form our future (no pressure).
Entrepreneurs (which always include salespeople) have to make tons of decisions every day. Some are calculated along with many that must be made in the moment. You have to decide whether to stay open or to close when extreme weather strikes. You have to decide to take a customer down a path of virtue, or one with shadowy consequence. The presumption is that you are experienced and knowledgeable enough to make the right choices quickly and accurately.
Now think of yourself making these same decisions under intense pressure. Do you make the same decision about closing the business when you’re not going to make payroll on Friday? Do you take the path of virtue for your customer when you don’t have enough money to pay your mortgage tomorrow? Or when you’ve been in a dog fight with your ex-wife over custody for the kids? Or when you’re depressed…full of anxiety…or fear losing your job?
The Unrelenting Force
In his groundbreaking book, Surviving to Thriving, author Steve Foran speaks of the unrelenting force constantly pulling us down into survival mode. This is deeply prevalent in small businesses with salespeople – battling every day to get ahead. Even when your company is growing like crazy, you are battling the cash flow demons, the finding and keeping staff demons, and many more monsters that rear their heads from the most unexpected places.
It’s this unrelenting force that we have to face every moment of every day. Neuroscience tells us that when we slide down into survival mode that we aren’t able to maximize the use of our prefrontal lobe. This diminishes the quality of our decisions. The Navy Seals train rigorously to be able to make decisions in the worst of circumstances. The average Joe, does not.
Behavioural science helps identify where bad decisions live. On the one side of the figure below you see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. On the other side you can see the unrelenting downward force and where good decisions turn bad.
When we’re living to survive, we are most focused internally on our next paycheck, meal, or mortgage payment. We aren’t thinking about the behaviours and actions that make us money. We just look for the quickest way to survive, forsaking most everything else, including relationships, customers, and even our status if necessary.
This is why managers fire salespeople. This is why salespeople get into slumps. This is why marriages fall apart. This is why business owners hack advertising and payroll budgets. This is why businesses fail…but it doesn’t need to be that way.
From Surviving To Thriving
The opposite of surviving is thriving. This is where abundance lives. This is where you find happiness. This is where good decisions live. Now, I’m not talking about rainbows and unicorns here. I’m talking about the actual definition of success.
I’ve toiled over the principles of growth, leadership, and what defines success since becoming a Wizard of Ads™ Partner. I knew sales, but I felt like the growth equation wasn’t complete with what I had learned up to that point. This took me on a journey with Roy H. Williams as my guide. Here’s what I discovered.
There’s a difference between values and core values. Core values steer all your other values. Your values, or as the Wizard of Ads™ calls them, “We believes”, are deeply personal to your entrepreneurial endeavour and must speak to your authentic personality as an owner or business entity.
But these values have a source. A source that drives the success of every single business I’ve studied from the small businesses I consult to the Just 100, to the Good to Great companies studied in Jim Collins book. You can choose to ignore them at your own peril, but every value, mission, purpose, focus, and passion I’ve found can be traced back to these 3 core values, every time. The 3 core values of every successful business are:
- Helping people win
- Being trust worthy
- Living gratefully
These 8 words are the path to your salvation. They are the values that allow you to create all the things you believe in and stand for. They are the values that dictate what you stand against, and the things you’re willing to die for. These are the values that pull you out of survival mode and into a world of happiness, health, and wealth. These 8 words are the guidestones of all good decisions.
Did you notice that each of the 3 core values is phrased as an action?
They don’t work any other way. Nouns just sit there. Verbs get ‘er done!
I can say with explicit confidence that after 3 years of complete immersion into the Wizard of Ads™ and those elements that influence our beliefs, that these 3 core values stand at the precipice of what is to come. These 3 core values form the basis for all things culture, buying experience, and exponential growth for successful companies.
For this I know to be true.
For many, this over simplification is too much to handle. They will sputter their ‘yeah-buts’ ad nauseam. I feel sorry for them. They will continue to live a very complicated and difficult life while you find clarity in your world of abundance.
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