Adjust Your Own Mask First

The safety announcement on an airline reminds you that, should cabin pressure be suddenly lost, you are to adjust your own oxygen mask before helping the person sitting next to you. Can there be a more perfect metaphor for sales managers and sales leaders?

We live in the Disruptive Age. I’d like to say that there has never been a more challenging time, but I don’t imagine the first couple hundred thousand years of our life on planet Earth were particularly easy. That said, these may easily be the most difficult times in modern history, and they are surely the most difficult times of your life if you are reading this.

Disruptive change is coming ever faster. And it is ever more disruptive. The oxygen masks have dropped.

The Oxygen Masks Have Dropped

We’ve lost cabin pressure. The most important thing for you to do now is strap your oxygen mask to your face because without it you are useless to the people who are counting on you. If you are flailing around, struggling to help the people who need your help, it could be that you are starved for oxygen yourself.

You need your team to improve their individual and collective performance. It’s your role as a sales leader to help your team produce their greatest performance. But in order to help them produce their best performance, you have to first produce your best performance.

Breathe Deeply

You want your team to create more value for your clients? What have you done to improve your ability to create value for them?

You want your team to better lead the team that serves your clients? What have you done to improve your own leadership capabilities?

You want your team to learn to negotiate better and capture some of the value you create? Could you stand a little help learning to negotiate within your own company?

Maybe you need our sales team to work on their business acumen and situational knowledge? Maybe you think they should read deeper and wider instead of relying on what they already know.

Have you secured your own oxygen mask? Are you prepared to help the people counting on you?

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