Do you ever break the rules of a game?

I don’t mean cheat.

I mean buck the system, or challenge the status quo, or rewrite your narrative?

If you don’t, you might just be selling yourself short.

Here’s why:

Take a trip down history’s memory lane for a moment. Our civilisation has got to where it is today through evolution, and each stage has called for a new game with new rules – socially, economically and politically.

The industrial revolution, as we know, was riddled with rules. It’s where you couldn’t do anything without putting your hand up. Workers for pay packets, kids in classrooms and corner offices that yelled ‘Jump!’ to hear people ask, ‘How high, sir?’. The industrial economy was based on the carrot and the stick in order for people to do what they were told. To obey the rules of the game.

That era created this generation’s belief systems (i.e.what we believe to be true about everything from religion to money to selling), our values (i.e.what is most important to us) and personal rules (i.e. what must have to happen if I want value X to occur).

What underpins us personally always flows into business.

However, we are evolving yet again. We are exiting the Industrial Economy and moving rapidly into the Connection Economy.

As Seth Godin so aptly states : “Once you understand that you are in the business of connection, then never again will you spam your email list on the last day of the quarter because you gotta make the numbers go up.”

And putting 100% emphasis on getting the numbers, is one example of rules that have been carried over from the industrial economy.

The game we are expected to play today is based on respect as well as results. It is based on relevance as well as reverence – it is based on ‘values’, even more than that very much sought after, commercially disguised word, ‘value’.

Yes, we still need to make revenue and profits, no one’s negating that, but it’s how we show up and how we play the business game that’s important. So in effect, the game might be the same… but the rules have definitely changed.

And if some rules aren’t relaxed, eliminated or shifted, burnout will occur – at an individual and company level. Huge stresses will result and what’s lost along the way will be those things that are most important.

So here’s some rules you might want to consider re-evaluating :

  • Stop fixating on your competition – you are taking your eye of the ball when you do. Focus instead on your customer or what is in front of you. Focus on the bigger game. Know your ultimate result, because competition is everywhere today and the rules have changed. The courier company’s competition is not another courier company. It is Uber. The photocopier guys competition is not the other photocopier guy sitting in his Porsche around the corner, it’s a little word called ‘maybe’. The entrepreneur’s competition is not another entrepreneur, it is themselves.
  • Have an attitude of faith – and I don’t mean in the religious sense. Faith is bigger than belief. It is a knowing that what you are doing is taking you in the right direction and that you are still in the game. If you keep playing by the old rules, you will be measuring yourself against the old rules and losing. Decisions take longer today– it’s not you! Voicemail doesn’t work today – it’s not you! Closing techniques mean nothing today – it’s not you! Keep rolling the dice!
  • Know that there are no losers – unless, that is, you decide to leave the game. If you find you are detouring, or taking longer, or not winning as many deals, it doesn’t mean you have lost. It means you are still playing, just taking longer to get to the finish line and that’s OK so long as you haven’t made the decision to leave the game – mentally, emotionally and physically.

We are playing the long game today.

And the long game calls for a re-imagined mindset. It calls for rearranged skill-sets.

The long game means you focus on being the best person you can be, align your values to why your role exists, have clarity around your role’s purpose and identify what’s really important to yourself and to others. In sales, that’s your family’s growth and your customer and their growth.

The U.S. Army War College introduced us to the term VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complexity and Ambiguity) and it is now the environment we find ourselves in, which validates why what worked in the past is proven to not work for us today.

Carol Dweck, Psychologist at Stanford University, focuses on the importance of not having a fixed mindset, but one of growth.

James Carse, Professor Emeritus of history and literature of religion at NYU,  focuses on us playing an infinite game and not a finite game.

Unlike the mind game (The Game) my kids used to play, where the rule was, ‘whenever one thinks about The Game, one loses’, (by the way, I think you just lost!), the Connection Economy calls for us to rethink the game and make sure everyone wins.

So, for you to be a rule-breaker and a game changer,  instead of JUST measuring numbers, measuring dollars, measuring KPIs,  it’s a perfect time to also begin measuring the differences we sell, and will sell, for both our growth and our customers’ growth, from here on in.

I reckon that’s what hitting the Jackpot is REALLY all about. Don’t you?

Be Bold, Brave and Brilliant

Bernadette McClelland is CEO of 3 Red Folders – a modern day saleswoman and keynote speaker on business growth, personal leadership and sales performance.

BIO: Business environments wanting to increase their revenue and profits, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, ask for Bernadette McClelland because of her thought leadership on sales performance, her ideas on thinking beyond resilience and her fresh perspectives surrounding personal leadership skills — all designed to master the outcomes that matter.

Bernadette has proudly coached Harvard MBA students on their sales enablement curriculum, been the Master Asia Pacific coach for Anthony Robbins across twelve countries, authored five books on leadership and sales transformation, won a coveted Telstra award for Business Excellence, and continually shares her ideas around behaviour, the brain and business growth on stages in the UK, Europe, Thailand, India, NZ, Australia and North America.

Believing that sales performance is a leadership issue, you will also find her heading Melbourne’s human potential based sales performance consultancy, 3 Red Folders, as she navigates lead generation, message to market and digs deep into sales process activities with her clients in the mid-tier sector as well as founding ‘Women Who Sell’, an initiative designed to bring more women up to speed in their sales success.

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