In both our personal and business lives, the decisions we make today are largely the result of past experiences, relationships and the values that were ingrained in us as we developed.
Good or bad, our past will have an impact on our future and all too often restrict the decisions we make and limit our growth. This is natural and many of us are aware of this and actively work to address the issue.
From a business perspective, such thinking can limit our careers and our personal and business potential. As markets change so to must the way we approach business. A lot has been said and written about disruptive innovation, and what has happened to those businesses that got stuck in the past (think Sony Walkman, Kodak, Swiss watches), but ultimately it may just be a case of changing the way we think about the obvious.
I came across this story on a friend’s Face book page today which I think demonstrates this idea perfectly. Now I think the story has been around for a while and I am unsure whether this is a true story or not, but it does highlight just how we can be constrained by not thinking outside the box.
You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.
Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?
Think before you continue reading…
This is a moral/ethical/practical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.
You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first. Or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.
The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. He simply answered: ‘I would give the car keys to my old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams.’
Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations.
In sales, the game has not changed and I doubt it will ever change. But the rules of the game have changed and will continue to. Those of us who are charged with the responsibility of communicating and delivering value to our clients need to be continually honing our skills and keeping abreast of how the buyer’s journey is changing. If we don’t we will fail to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented and continue to develop as professional salespeople.
Never forget to ‘Think Outside of the Box.’