While the rapid changes are the reality of all the domains of the business world, in no other function it is more palpable than in Sales. The sales force, therefore, is always charged with not only the responsibilities for current growth but also with the mapping out of future upcoming trends in business. Logically, the onus squarely lies with the sales leaders who find themselves engaged in a pitched battle at three levels; (a) external environment – customers, competitors, regulations etc, (b) internal environment- culture, team, cross functional tensions, and (c) the self. The ordering of levels are based on my own experience and as that of several sales leaders, I have worked with in my 25-year long sales career. Self comes last and is often neglected! Remember, leadership is about managing energy, first in yourself and then in others.
Therefore, if you want to provide the leadership that can effectively respond to internal and external changes, look for your own vitality quotient – VQ. Your VQ is the degree to which you tend to mobilize your vital functions (your Power to-live) in order to ensure the accomplishment of your Project-to-live. This degree is measured in terms of your intensity of Will-to-live. Leaders should be able to self-assess themselves by activating system 2 thinking which is characterised by a great deal of deployment of effort and attention. Self-leadership as a toolkit can be employed by sales leaders to help them strengthen their VQ and make them more effective and brave while dealing with change. Self-observation, Self-goal setting, Self-reward, Self-punishment, Self-cueing (positive and negative cues) are few behaviour focused strategies that can be deployed to achieve a higher level of self-awareness and control. The other set of strategies that helps leaders in sharpening their self-influencing abilities are self-talk and mental imageries. Lastly, focusing on the enjoyable/rewarding aspects of your leadership position can result in a stronger feeling of competence, self-control and a strong sense of purpose.
Leaders who are self-lead, are “Engaged” professionals carrying leadership point of view throughout their routine and strategic functioning. They could be facing challenges at various levels: company, industry, government or society, their response to such change situations clearly reflect the leadership point of view and their answers to the following question is always a resounding YES!
Can you see what needs to be done?
Do you understand all the underlying forces at play?
Do you have the courage to initiate action?