What’s gotten us here will not get us where we’re going

Every now and then you have the chance to be genuinely inspired. If you haven’t seen the documentary, I Am, the trailer is just below.

This is a film well worth seeing if, like me, you’re into all the breakthroughs in the neuro and social sciences of how we all connect. Tom Shadyak, who directed Ave Ventura and other commercial hits, was on top of the world by conventional success standards. Then one day he had a biking accident that nearly killed him and reset his mission in life. He goes on a journey with cameras to explore and ask questions, interviewing some of our great contemporary minds/scientists.  I wIsh that every sales manager, the entire Sales Training industry and anyone even connected with sales productivity would watch this.

I had a conversation with the President of the world’s 5th largest Software company, and he said something almost identical to what is said at minute 1:10 of this trailer, “What’s gotten us here; will not get us to where we’re going, and I’m done with all that other stuff.”  He then said, “That other stuff we’ve been hammering doesn’t work, never has. Sales is connecting, we’ve been teaching hammering.”  Then, he closed with, “If we treated sales enablement as if it was human development, it would work.

To me, he was saying the same thing as what the woman says in minute 1:10 of the trailer.

I was doing a workshop last week, and during the Who I Am story on day 2, one person stood up and said, “This is more like therapy.”  I didn’t have a good answer at that moment, but i thought about it later. If our careers in sales are about relating to others, having others relate to us, and trust us, it requires an emotional connection. It requires relating to ourselves first. The next time I get that question, I’m going to say, “Sure is.”

Early in the conversation with the CEO I mention above I said something like, “This stuff might be too new for you.”  That been my schtick lately to qualify people out because for me, at this point of the Story Leaders journey I need to find my early adopters. But he stopped me and in almost a reprimand tone, said something like, “It might be too new for others, but I’m in the business of innovation, so how can we be doing the same thing a we’ve been doing all these years.”

And just yesterday, I client of mine asked me to get on the phone with their PR agency. Now that he’s affected his sales organization, the people having 1:1 dialogue with customers, he wanted me to dip their agency in our ideas.  The executive of this agency who does their PR, advertising, public messaging, started by saying “We have to figure out the “new” value prop, the market differentiators, new messaging to go to market with.”  This is the same stuff we were talking about 30 yrs ago. While that approach seems OK, it is crazy when your desire is to challenge your way of doing something and to try to look at something in a whole new way.

The movie was extremely provocative for me and I wanted to share.  You’ll see the connection to Sales.

I dug a little deeper into the story of the director of the movie and found this interview. I thought you would find what he says about vulnerability during the interview interesting. You will find these comments at the 6:23 mark of the interview. He talks about comedies and how they open people to being vulnerable and how that opens them to new thoughts. Enjoy.


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Categories: Selling, Story

Author:Ben Zoldan

Demystifying what the most inspiring people do to influence change, Co-founder, Story Leaders and Co-author, What Great Salespeople Do: The Science of Selling Through Emotional Connection and the Power of Story

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