I’m 30,000 feet in the air on my birthday – it’s my second flight. Instead of whining about not being with my family, I reflected on the things that have kept me from success. These are items I work on every day, and am hopefully making progress on them.
Didn’t tell the truth. I come up short not telling people what I really think. “That’s not really good work.” “Your team is not working with us in full collaboration.” “We stunk up that project. It’s not okay” Do more people like me because I have sugar coated things? Maybe. But there is a lot of pain, anxiety and losses because of not being brutally honest. Leaders are really coaching people up. And, the best coaches call it the way it is, articulate the situation clearly and make sure things get fixed. Now. Business leaders, like me, should do the same. This takes constant attention and practice.
Didn’t ask the best questions, because I was afraid what someone might say. I have come up short so many times because there was a fear to ask the questions I knew had to be asked. “Is there someone else you’re speaking with on this deal?” “Why did we lose this deal so I can learn from it?” or this magical query, “Based on what you learned about our company, is there someone you know we could help?” The quality of questions you ask will determine your fate – someone already said that and I agree.
Didn’t learn to sell soon enough. Many of the most admired business people in the world can sell, or started in sales. I firmly believe if you can sell and are willing to do it, starving will never be a problem. Increasingly, I have also learned that selling is all about giving and delivering value and information. Unfortunately, for me I grasped this much too late in my life or appreciate the value of developing a skill many people aren’t willing to hone.
There are million more reasons I’ve not met my potential. But, thank goodness, I’m about to land.