What would you think of a book called Winning Through Intimidation?
It brings to mind a book full of lessons on how to be more assertive, how to be the biggest, baddest person around. The kind of stuff someone about to go to prison for the first time might need to know.
The author, Robert Ringer, talks about this right from the start.
It’s not a book about how to beat others down.
Instead, it’s about how to get through being intimidated by others, how to keep going when there are obstacles in your way.
Where this starts to become useful is when we have to think about making and following a plan.
Take sales, for example. Every company has to makes sales.
It doesn’t always have to grow – that might be a goal but it isn’t essential – but it must make enough sales to cover its costs.
Here’s a pattern that seems to happen a lot when we’re trying to get sales.
Say you have a small company – it’s makes enough money to make the prospect of hiring a sales person a reality.
So, we get the cost of a person in the budget for next year – plan for the thousands a month it will take.
Is that enough? Will that person be able to come in and reliably meet the targets set every year?
Probably not… and that’s because just having one sales person isn’t enough to be successful.
You need a system. A system that includes a good product that is better in important ways than the competition, a good price, good information, a good order taking and distribution system and so on.
You don’t need a hugely expensive system that has every possible option thrown in.
But you do need a complete system.
A sales person can’t sign get a deal signed if there is no paperwork drawn up. They can’t get in the door if you don’t know the kind of person that wants to talk to you and can help them make contact.
It’s very easy to get discouraged and dismiss a project of this kind as a failure.
We hired a person who looked good on paper and at the interview, but it didn’t work out. We need to hire better next time.
We rarely notice that we have a broken or non-existent system in the first place – and no matter how great the sales person – we never had a chance at success.
But here’s the other thing.
We’ve also paid for a very expensive lesson – one that cost us in salary and time.
And it costs us even more if we fail to learn from what has just happened.
We’ve stumbled and fallen into a pit. We can curse and withdraw or we can move forward.
We can think about what we’ve learned, what went badly and what went well and, knowing what we know now, what we could do differently.
When we do this, we start to pull ourselves out on the other side of the pit.
And we start taking steps that move us in the direction of success.
We may stumble and trip again and again. There will be more pits.
But unless we learn and move forward, we will simply be left standing, looking at the failures we have had.
The next thing we try could be the thing that leads to success finally.
Failure is a state of mind. It happens when we decide to stop.
If we decide not to, if we always ask what is next, we’re going to find a way through. Always.