Pinballs (Issue 1036)

 In which we are reminded that being thoughtful, generating ideas, and adding value, takes time.

“I don’t know about those goals.”  I was debriefing with a colleague a conversation with a prospective client about a new sales force he is creating. “I don’t know about those goals.  Don’t they seem pretty high to you?”

“Yes. Given his planned average deal size, his guys will be bouncing like hot pinballs from one place to the next to hit their volume targets.”

This same prospective client had followed his goals commentary with, “We’re in a commodity business so our sales reps need to add value –  get to know their customers deeply, bring thoughtful ideas, and advise them on business financial matters.”

“When would they have time to do that if they’re bouncing around from deal to deal?”, we wondered.

With those words still fresh in my mind, the snow storm that blew into Boston Thursday night and through the day Friday gave me a chance to follow links sent by friends to material they’d felt read-worthy.

One of those was the text of a lecture, “Solitude and Leadership”, delivered in October, 2009 by author William Deresiewicz to the West Point first year class.  Roughly in the middle of the talk, he said:

“Thinking means concentrating on one thing long enough to develop an idea about it. Not learning other people’s ideas, or memorizing a body of information, however much those may sometimes be useful. Developing your own ideas. In short, thinking for yourself. You simply cannot do that in bursts of 20 seconds at a time, constantly interrupted by Facebook messages or Twitter tweets, or fiddling with your iPod, or watching something on YouTube…. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea… [and] defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.”

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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