In war, when outnumbered, aggressors seek to injure more than to kill. That is because every injured fighter requires an able bodied soldier to help them. Hit one and you take two or more out of the fight. The same principle applies day to day.
When first-timer Javier couldn’t keep up with the 18 other fitness hikers we encouraged him to return to the trailhead. He said, “No, I’ll be along in a while. I just need to slow down.” Twenty minutes later nobody had seen him on the trail and all of us abandoned our hike to become a search party for Javi. A half hour later we found him happily sitting by a stream drinking a Red Bull.
Jocelyn hates Social Media. Not sure why, she just refuses to examine it occasionally or at all. She says proudly, “I don’t DO Social Media.” Two of our top clients and most of our prospects regularly reveal their interests and needs through their Social Media posts. At least five times a week, Jocelyn asks other workers what they know about our clients or prospects. She realizes that they’re more up to date than she is. Five times a week x fifty weeks = a great deal of lost productivity while our team compensates for Jocelyn’s prejudice against Social Media.
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Dependency is Cancerous to Productivity
Jean wouldn’t learn the new software, so we had to print out her reports instead of just posting them as usual. Rick doesn’t take care of his car or try to learn how, so he drops by on weekends to get me to show him what to do. There goes my weekend.
When my Army Sergeant caught me slacking off one day during infantry combat training exercises, he called me aside. He said, “You’re going to get other people killed! When you don’t develop the skills and confidence to do your job, others have to compensate for your weakness, and worse yet, you won’t have the strength to be there for them when they need you!” I grew up a bit that day and have remembered that lesson over all these years.
If the receptionist or operator doesn’t really know the company, then they have to take someone else away from their duties in order to guide a caller or guest. If you don’t mow your lawn and keep your home looking nice, then the whole neighborhood is less appealing, not just your place. When a child doesn’t learn to become a productive wage earner, they remain dependent on others even into adulthood.
Dependency is robbery.
You take someone else away from what they would otherwise do in order to take care of you. This is why Self-Reliance is the Holy Grail for an organization’s success. If you don’t take care of YOU, then you can’t take care of me if I need you, and I have to stop what I’m doing to take care of you! Needy people take away two or more producers from other endeavors.
In society, the more people who are on government assistance programs, the higher taxes must be on the self-reliant producers. They are getting less of a reward for their hard work and willingness to do their part and deal with risks and difficulties. Meanwhile, the dependents are getting by without difficulty or hard work. They avoid pain by forcing someone else to fill their void. This can only persist for a limited time. As they say, “Sooner or later you will run out of other people’s money.”
On the job you need to bring strength
For sales people what this means is: you must learn to generate your own prospects, find your own leads, learn from others so you can devise your own creative ways of appealing to people who are otherwise, “not interested.” It also means that you must learn to become your own sales manager and not wait for someone to train you, motivate you or remind you to keep accurate and current records. Your sales reports aren’t just yours. They are also the vital pieces of information that others could use for planning, budgeting, resource allocation and policymaking.
When someone asks what a salesperson’s job is, tell them, “First it is to follow directions eagerly, then it is to develop work habits and knowledge that will allow them to be good decision makers and effective workers. All of this is for the purpose of serving people well while earning a profit for our company.” They aren’t just paid to “make sales”. They’re paid to help build the business by creating and nurturing profitable new business friendships. Business is built upon relationships that are productive and a primary operating assumption is that each person will bring value to the operation.
In my own business, our mission statement is this: “We exist to make life better for people, profitably.” No profit means the business can’t endure. Profit is honorable and vital for the survival of the organization. We must become self-reliant financially in order to stay in business and to serve our customers and coworkers.
When you come to a meeting, bring value.
Be an eager participant, make efforts to learn, bring ideas or information, and prepare so others don’t have to compensate for your lack. Arrive on time, greet others and distribute materials. Turn off your cell phone.
When you participate in a training class don’t just attend, Learn! Guide with questions, help create examples that make sense of the ideas, be a contributor. Become a self-reliant producer who can help others when needed.
Reaching out for help is a very good thing as you are growing in your role. Reaching out after you could have become self reliant is selfish and destructive. Bring strength and value, be the source of happiness and productive behavior wherever you go. Make life better for people.
Take good care of YOU because I may need you someday and you may need me. And I pledge to do the same for you.