As we embark on the 4th of July let us take time to remember one of the most memorable catalytic events of all time, The Boston Tea Party. When the Sons of Liberty decided they were not going to stand for the Tea Act, and decided to throw chests of tea into the Boston Harbor, it forever changed the world and began shaping the great Country we live in today. I am a bit of a history geek so I will spare you the rest of the details and pivot to this statement; almost all meaningful and systemic change is a result of a catalytic event or catalytic individual that drove the change. These events and individuals are represented throughout the timeline of our Country’s history: The Manhattan Project, Apollo 11, Rosa Parks, and Mark Zuckerberg are among a short list of examples.
What’s more American than our National pastime on the 4th of July? In 2002, Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s introduced “Moneyball” to Major League Baseball. Through the utilization of statistical analytics to acquire the right talent, which had never been done before, the A’s were propelled to the season’s longest winning streak, the playoffs, and came within a stone’s throw of making the world series. They did all of this on a shoestring budget when compared to the rest of the league. Billy Beane was initially ostracized, as most progressive leaders are, when he introduced the concept of “Moneyball” to his organization. However, he injected his belief and conviction into the entire organization anyway; he believed passionately that there was a better and more competitive way to field a baseball team than through the subjective eyes of scouts. Today he is revered as an innovator and thought leader. You can read more about Billy and Moneyball in this previous blog.
At the EcSell Institute we have defined catalytic factor as “Creating or embracing a growth environment that propels people into a high performance zone.” Our research shows that sales coaches that have a strong catalytic presence, or c-factor, with their teams and reps are the ones who achieve the most discretionary effort and ongoing sales results. Coaching is not merely a soft skill, but it is a skill that needs to constantly be measured and injected into teams and individuals in order to get them to peak levels of performance. The essence of the coaching role is to take people to higher levels of performance and growth than they could achieve on their own.
So why do so few sales leaders have strong c-factor if it is so important? Simple, it can be answered in the form of “what if.” What if this doesn’t work? What if this upsets people? What if I am not as good as a coach as I think I am? What if this, what if that, and the words that follow are almost always negative in connotation, that is, unless you are a great coach. Amazing visionaries and leaders have always been able to have a long-nosed view about executing against what they believe is right and true. They are not afraid of failure and certainly are not concerned with how they will be received or perceived in the short term.
This 4th of July, as I drink a Budweiser and give thanks to the luxury to be able to do so, on the backs of so many selfless men and women, I will toast to the leaders with c-factor. Without them, our journey would look much different and I’m quite certain it would not be nearly as amazing. And on Tuesday when I return to the office, I will pick up where I always leave off, relentlessly searching for the sales departments who want to build world class sales coaches, not only because they want to always grow sales, but because they want to forever impact the lives they touch.
Happy Independence weekend!
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