Sales Olympics: Lessons from the Games Part 5

Here is a wrap up from some of the Olympic news this weekend fro London, and what it means to you as a sales leader.

  1. 300 Kenyan runners made the qualifying time for the Olympic marathon. Only 3 could be chosen. The deep bench strength for distance runners in Kenya makes it easy for them to always field a team of winners. They were Silver and Bronze at the 2012 Olympics and the Ugandan winner was considered a surprise upset. How deep is the talent on your sales team? Do you have “up and comers” to succeed, replace, match or outpace your current top 10%
  2. If you play with matches you are going to get burned. Lo Lo Jones posed nude for ESPN magazine, and talked about her virginity on prime time TV. Then she turned around, played the victim, and cried foul when the US news objectified and criticized her. You have to take ownership of the environment you create and the public persona you communicate.
  3. Cheaters are caught eventually. Medals are stripped (Belarus lost a gold medal this morning), coaches and countries are investigated. Ultimately one cheater tarnishes the whole team. You can’t let your sales team, or your company, be tarnished by 1 bad apple. Remove cheaters from your team immediately. I suggest no second chances. Another good reason to follow lesson #1 above.
  4. Life is not always fair. Bad calls are made, rules can be interpreted against you. Regardless you MUST have the resilience to move forward. This doesn’t mean you forget about the past. It does mean you have the strength to leverage it in a positive way towards a future success.
  5. Mental strength is critical.  American runner Manteo Mitchell broke his leg during the 4x 400 meters and he finished the race (200 meters) with a broken Fibula.  I was doing my job,” Mitchell said. “But probably at 201 meters, I heard it and I felt it.” According to the Globe and Mail He credited something more than simple adrenaline for pushing him the rest of the way around the track. “Faith, focus, finish. Faith, focus, finish. That’s the only thing I could say to myself,” he said.  Mitchell finished the race to ensure his team could could make the finals. He claims he was “just doing what anyone else would do”. His team went on to win a silver medal.  How quickly does your team quit when faced with adversity?