An old saying: those who cannot remember
the past are condemned to repeat it. History has a tendency to repeat itself
and oftentimes this statement is associated with bad or poor performance.
However, history can be repeated and can be a good thing.
Not that long ago I was told by a
younger (in terms of career not necessarily age) sales manager that I was “old
school” and that my way of selling should remain a part of the “history” of the company.
He took a firm stance that his way, a more modern way, of selling was necessary
for the growth of the company. History, as he firmly put it, should not repeat
itself. And, as he was taking this position, my fellow executive management
team members and I watched his performance slip along with his direct reports. It would
seem that his firm stance about history not repeating itself was biting him
square in the butt.
You see, I am not so foolish as to
believe “my way” of selling is the “only way” of selling. I am open to change.
I believe I’ve evolved and have grown in my own sales career
quarter-by-quarter, year-over-year. But, at the same time, I am also not so
foolish to ignore where my firm has come from, how we’ve grown as an
organization. History, as I strongly believe, can and must repeat itself when
and where it’s been most successful. In other words, I believe we can use our
experiences from the past, from the times where we’ve achieved great levels of
success, to make our selling decisions today. You should not abandon where you’ve
come from, make dramatic changes to your selling approach, unless what you’ve
been doing has not been working.
My now former sales manager has moved
on. He believes that the grass will be greener on the other side (see last week’s
post). He believes that he can move into a new organization and make changes
for the sake of making changes and ignore where his new organization has come
from. His naiveite is going to catch up to him and cost him another position if
he continues to ignore history.
History tells stories. History, when
analyzed carefully, can highlight the times where you were at your very best
and at your worst. You can draw up a game plan based on this analysis. There is
no reason to change simply for the sake of change. Instead you should use your
history, or your company’s history, as a guideline for when and where to make the
necessary changes. History does not have to repeat itself in negative terms.
Embrace your history and allow it to repeat itself when success comes into