Following on from my post on the Short Cut Culture some of you have emailed me to ask about whether I believe there is a broader context to this and indeed I do. We have begun to celebrate and tolerate mediocrity in all its forms as a way of avoiding standards that take hard work to attain and to hide behind it as some kind of great equalizer. Either way it has made the quest for excellence the path of increasing resistance.
Let’s stay on the Hollywood theme for a moment. How many high quality, excellent movies are really produced in a given year or has the bar been set so low that “the best movie of the year” is really one that is slightly better than the dozens of mediocre ones and the countless sub-standard straight to DVD releases? (As an aside: has there ever been a more mass produced and expensive product that is routinely launched into the marketplace with such moderate expectations of success?)
This creeping abandonment of the quest for excellence is a challenge that all of us in the sales performance improvement industry face. We are confronted too often with a desire for something “simple” or “easy to adopt”. It sometimes feel like the expectation is that we can deliver a miracle solution akin to those early morning infomercials which promise 3 minutes a day, 3 times a week will deliver you abs like Mark Wahlberg in Date Night. The trouble is they can’t – what these infomercials gloss over in the small print are the diet and other exercise requirements which when taken in totality require a whole lot more commitment and effort if you are even going to see any change let alone a rippling six pack.
The same is true of any sales performance improvement initiative worth its name. There is no 3 minutes a day, 3 times a week solution. There is a meal plan, an exercise plan and a lifestyle change. I believe it is imperative that we continue to be honest that equipping sales people to operate at an optimum level takes time and commitment.
On the other hand as a sales performance improvement organization we cannot afford to operate somewhat outside of the realities of how sales people function on a daily basis and the work-flows and work practices that inform this reality. There is an onus on us to make what we do simple to understand, easy to implement and to provide the support needed to deliver success. This is why we at Huthwaite created the Integrated Learning Experience to provide sustained support for sales people and sales managers as they work through a sales behavior change initiative and why we launched the Huthwaite Dealmaker solution to embed those skills into an intelligent sales performance automation system that works as part of their CRM of choice. These solutions are designed to increase productivity where the job happens which is at the interface between the sales person and the customer and the sales person and their organization.
It is after all one thing to say that you are committed to sales excellence and another to provide the roadmap and support to actually get there and then sustain such high standards. Huthwaite is completely committed to making a stand on the side of excellence and backing it up with the platform to achieve and sustain it.
How about you? Are you ready to take a stand for excellence?