Few things are more irritating than listening to some alleged professional duck, dodge and avoid responsibility. Over the last three decades, I’ve witnessed countless sales reps making all kinds of excuses and pointing their fingers this way and that. My goodness, the rep was certainly nothing more than an innocent victim of incredibly unique and harsh circumstances. Who could reasonably expect the rep to assume the burden of responsibility?
Let’s take a quick look at two current situations and decide who we’d like to have dinner with. First the Gulf Oil Leak.
“This wasn’t our accident.” “It was their people [Transocean’s] , their systems, their processes.” “I want my life back.”
Wow, Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, you’re quite the stalwart character! You’re pure as the driven snow aren’t you? Donate 100% of your salary, bonuses, stock options, etc. received post your approval of the Deepwater Horizon project and I’d be delighted to give you your life back. Till then, suck it up and try not to show the world what a wimp you are.
I can’t bear to re-expose you to the equally sniveling commentary and pathetic finger-pointing from Transocean, Halliburton and the army of federal bureaucrats and elected officials, all of whom emphasize the fact that they had nothing to do with this disaster. Not a single one of you has the character to acknowledge any responsibility whatever for contributing to causing the problem. At the same time you all want credit for riding in on your white horse to solve it. Join the Hall of Shame depicted by the legnedary 1871 Thomas Nast “Twas Him” cartoon, you, you… (colorful language censored)
Let’s contrast that with Jim Joyce, Major League Baseball umpire. He blew it. He blew it HUGE! He made an unequivocally wrong call and robbed Armando Galarraga of a perfect game. (For some perspective, consider that approximately 0.009% of MLB games have been “perfect.” There have been only 20 in 134 years and they now play 2,430 games per year! Pitching a perfect game is an automatic pass into icon-hood.) Here’s what Mr. Joyce had to say:
“It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the %&!# out of it, I just cost that kid a perfect game.”
He literally had tears in his eyes the next day as he spoke to an equally classy Galarraga.
Who do you respect? Who has credibility with you? Given the opportunity, who’s dinner would you buy? Who will you publicly proclaim to emulate?
Save the Nast cartoon above on your hard drive. Print out a copy and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Walk the walk. Be a sales professional that earns the respect of your customers.