Deep Down, We’re All the Same
This article originally appeared in Amalgamate: A Mix of Ideas for Your Business, Winter 2016
“My industry is different.”
I hear this regularly in response to my advice. “That may work for them, but our industry/people/ prospects/offer is different.”
That’s true. That’s why, ultimately, you have to make it work for your people. You have to make it fit.
Here’s the thing, despite the rapid advances in technology, despite the increase in the flow of information, we, as human beings, haven’t made similar advances in cognition.
My friend, Vince Guerra, is working on a book called Wisdom Based Selling. He has convinced me that my favorite sales and marketing practices are rooted in ancient Hebrew Proverbs. Suggesting, that despite advances in technology and information, our underlying human natures have not changed all that much. The Ancient’s wisdom is still, stubbornly relevant today.
Decision making is what all business development comes down to. If we’re helping our clients make good decisions, we are rewarded. Whether that’s helping them solve a problem, helping them make better decisions, or showing them a new and better way for the future.
Let’s apply it to the concept of fit. My idea that your people are at their best when they are executing strategies that they can live with, and are a fit for who they are. As the CEO, you provide the strategic vision of the future. From there you work backwards, setting markers for progress to the goal. At that level, the process is the same. Where industry differences show up, and where your firm separates from the competition, is deciding which tactics your team employs.
That is where fit shows separation. Where the differences show up. Going back to the first paragraph, it’s not the process that’s different, it’s in your individuals and how they work in your industry.
This is why I fight the “this is how our industry does it” approach. Why I struggle with the “this is from the latest thought leader” tactical adoption. And it’s why I hate hearing, “Well, we took a look at what Amazon was doing” in reference to their planning.
All of those approaches are hit or miss. Sometimes they work, and most of the time they don’t. The reason? It all comes down to the people on your team doing the work. The best strategy and tactic, if your people don’t execute on it, is worthless.
I want you to focus on the approaches that your team has the best chance of actually executing. Focus on strategies and tactics that feel natural to them.
“Actions give strength to ourselves,” to paraphrase Plato. Ancient wisdom that still applies today.